Category Archives: New York

Defend Occupy Wall Street From Eviction

I’m on the phone right now.

Please call and sign the petitions to support Occupy Wall Street!

From Van Jones at the Huffington Post:

 

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making a cowardly attempt to end Occupy Wall Street, the anchor of a movement that has captured the hearts and minds of the country in just four weeks. Tomorrow at 7 a.m., under Bloomberg’s orders, the NYPD will evict the 99%.

Unless we stop that from happening.

We have very little time to act. There are at least three things you can do right now:

SIGN THIS PETITION now. MoveOn.org has started a major petition drive to tell Mayor Bloomberg: “Respect the protesters’ First Amendment rights. Don’t try to evict Occupy Wall Street.” The petition will be put in the hands of the occupiers TONIGHT, and then delivered to the mayor. A massive stack of signatures will show Occupy Wall Street and Bloomberg that the nation stands with the 99%, not the 1%.

Tell everyone you know in the New York area that they should head to Zuccotti Park at 6:00 AM tomorrow (Friday Oct 14) to prevent Bloomberg from evicting the protesters. If enough people literally stand with the protesters, Bloomberg could back down.

Call 311 (if you live in New York City) or 212-NEW-YORK (if you live elsewhere in the US) and demand that Bloomberg back down from interfering with the occupiers’ brave stand on behalf of the 99% of us.

The mayor’s justification for this eviction is a ruse. Bloomberg says authorities need to “clean” the park. Meanwhile, he refuses to acknowledge that Occupy Wall Street has a functioning sanitation detail, just as they’ve self-organized every other aspect of their dignified, intentional community (including a working library).

Bloomberg says the protestors may return after the “cleaning,” but this also is less than honest. Upon returning to the park, occupiers must follow rules that make the occupation impossible: no camping; no sleeping bags; no tents; no lying down; no storage of personal property.

Make no mistake — this is an eviction. Winter is coming, and the occupiers cannot continue without the ability to stay safe, warm, and dry.

via Van Jones: Defend Occupy Wall Street From Eviction.

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A Southern Boy’s Reflections on New York on September 11th | My Southern Gothic Life

Here are my thoughts on September 11th from a while back…

Seems like a good day to revisit them again…

Here’s a brief excerpt fromt he beginning and a link to the full post:

I am blessed to be able to go to New York at least 3 or 4 times a year- for either business or pleasure.  I can say, with no shame, guilt or qualification that I love New York.  As I have said before, I’ve had my love affairs with London and Paris, but I always come home to New York as my favorite city.  It is the most alive place I have ever been.

I know people go to New York to escape where they are from or who they may have been before.  That’s part of the magic.  Nothing is as it really seems.  From Broadway to the Bronx, you create your own reality in New York.  But it is always alive and you can’t hide from life in New York.  At least not easily.

In other parts of the country, you can isolate yourself.  You can’t do that in New York.  You can only have so much delivered.  You have to go out.  And when you go out, life smacks you in the face.

via Chapter 20: A Southern Boy’s Reflections on New York on September 11th | My Southern Gothic Life.

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Happy Birthday, Anna Kendrick!

She is only 26 years old today….

But she already has had an amazing career- with, hopefully, much more to come!

Surprisingly, this is one of my top rated and most viewed posts….so I’m going to re-post it again on this talented young lady’s birthday….

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I love it when I find new performers and then learn they are already seasoned veterans…

Anna Kendrick was nominated for an Oscar this year for “Up in the Air.” She’s also been in the “Twilight” movies. I knew she looked familiar and discovered a couple of clips of earlier musical performances I had seen. I thought I would share.

Her she is as a very small child,  singing a song from “Show Boat” at the “Leading Ladies” Broadway Benefit– with the “Cabaret” Kit Kat Club girls.  She had just been nominated for a Tony Award for “High Society” when she appeared in the show on Broadway:

And here is the scene I loved and remembered well from “Camp”.  I just didn’t realize it was her.  She comes in after about 25 seconds:

This young lady has a long and exciting career ahead of her.

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Filed under Broadway, Entertainment, New York, Social Commentary, Theatre

Historic Chelsea Hotel Closes to Guests – NYTimes.com

This place is part of New York and music history.  We’ll have to keep a close eye on this to see what happens….

The Ghosts of Sid and Nancy are probably really pissed off….

On Saturday, though, apart from crestfallen guests whose stays had been abruptly cut short, the goings-on at the Chelsea were, by its standards, relatively standard.

Wide-eyed tourists snapped photos of the lobby as residents swept past them without a glance. Steve Johnson, 29, visiting from North Carolina with his cousin, sat in the lobby gravely recounting the time he said he was approached in his room by a ghost. Gabriel Marchisio, a Uruguayan tarot card reader and hotel fixture, lingered by the front desk dispatching, for the heck of it, his signature “muah ha ha ha” monster laugh.

Shortly before dusk, police officers rushed in and up to the ninth floor. A guest had gotten into a fight with his girlfriend and called his mother to tell her he wanted to kill himself; his mother called the police, who in turn escorted the man to Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric ward. “Never a dull moment,” a front-desk clerk said.

In the rooms above, people partied, prowled and slept. Hip-hop blared from Sid and Nancy’s old room. Hotel guests held earnest, drunken conversations from the balconies overlooking West 23rd Street. Ms. Ramona combed the halls with her camera. Tony Notarberardino, a photographer who has lived at the Chelsea for 17 years, hosted an “end of an era” party in an attempt to cheer everyone up. He scattered white rose petals near the entryway of his sixth-floor apartment, which is choked with chandeliers, beaded lamps, red walls and gilt-edged mirrors and feels like a speakeasy crossed with an opium den. “Let’s celebrate what we had,” he said, “and embrace change.”

Sometime before dawn, someone drove a fist through a swinging door on the first floor, leaving a wide penumbra of shattered glass. A worker discovered it in the morning.

“Already,” he said sadly, “they’re destroying the place.”

via Historic Chelsea Hotel Closes to Guests – NYTimes.com.

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The Road to Gay Marriage in New York

This is a fascinating front page story in today’s New York Times about the behind-the-scenes political machinations that pushed through Gay Marriage in New York.

I encourage those of you who are interested to read the entire article.  It really shows how politics work-when it works-in America.

It’s also interesting in that the Wall Street guys had more clout than the Religious Right.

Money always wins in America….

 

The story of how same-sex marriage became legal in New York is about shifting public sentiment and individual lawmakers moved by emotional appeals from gay couples who wish to be wed.

But, behind the scenes, it was really about a Republican Party reckoning with a profoundly changing power dynamic, where Wall Street donors and gay-rights advocates demonstrated more might and muscle than a Roman Catholic hierarchy and an ineffective opposition.

And it was about a Democratic governor, himself a Catholic, who used the force of his personality and relentlessly strategic mind to persuade conflicted lawmakers to take a historic leap.

“I can help you,” Mr. Cuomo assured them in dozens of telephone calls and meetings, at times pledging to deploy his record-high popularity across the state to protect them in their districts. “I am more of an asset than the vote will be a liability.”

Over the last several weeks, dozens of lawmakers, strategists and advocates described the closed-door meetings and tactical decisions that led to approval of same-sex marriage in New York, about two years after it was rejected by the Legislature. This account is based on those interviews, most of which were granted on the condition of anonymity to describe conversations that were intended to be confidential.

via The Road to Gay Marriage in New York – NYTimes.com.

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The Scary Faces of Gay Marriage

Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka To Marry: Gay Marriage Passage Enables Stars To Wed

Good for them!

Is this what the conservatives are so scared of????

From The Huffington Post:

As Americans of all stripes celebrated the passage of marriage equality in the New York State Senate, gay New Yorker couples affirmed their commitments to one another and began the 30-day countdown until they could finally say “I Do.” Amongst them, one of New York’s most famous gay couples jubilantly announced that they were getting married.

Neil Patrick Harris, the “How I Met Your Mother” star and Tonys host, became engaged late Friday night to his longtime partner, actor/chef David Burtka. Earlier in the night, Harris tweeted words of encouragement to the State Senate and said he’d “sure love to get married,” and following the law’s passage, Burtka took to Twitter and announced that the two were getting hitched.

“I’d sure love to get married. Please, NY Senate, vote in favor of marriage equality today. My family would really appreciate it,” Harris wrote before the vote; once it was passed, he tweeted his excitement, saying, “It PASSED! Marriage equality in NY!! Yes!! Progress!! Thank you everyone who worked so hard on this!! A historic night!”

Burtka then gave the big news in a tweet to a fan. “I’ve already purposed, he said yes! Thank god!” he wrote, before adding, “he proposed to me as well. I said yes! Thank god!”

Of course, it only makes sense that the pair should be allowed to marry; together for at least five years, the pair are fathers to fraternal twins, Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, born via surrogate in October 2010.

Congratulations to the happy couple, and all the other loving pairs finally granted equal rights in New York State.

via Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka To Marry: Gay Marriage Passage Enables Stars To Wed.

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‘Lysistrata Jones’ Musical May Come to Broadway

Looks like the show Steve and I saw in a Church Gym last Friday is heading for the Big Time- Broadway!

We both saw “Spring Awakening” when it was being done off-Broadway in a converted Church then again on Broadway.  I saw “Grey Gardens” off-Broadway and again once it transferred to The Great White Way.  Steve saw “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Public before Broadway.  It’s so cool to see these great off-Broadway shows transfer.

“Lysistrata Jones” is really, really good.  I hope it makes it on Broadway.

From the NY Post:

That “new translation” is, of course, his new musical, “Lysistrata Jones,” a modern twist on Aristophanes’ comedy about Greek wives who force their husbands to negotiate peace during the Peloponnesian war by withholding sex.

It was a big hit in 411 B.C., packing them in for years at the Theater Dionysus, a Nederlanderious house, and winning the Tonyiod that year for Best Play.

Beane’s version, running at the Judson Memorial Church until Friday, is a hit as well. The Post’s Elisabeth Vincentelli called it “a terrific splash of summer fun,” while the Times’ Ben Brantley said it was “effervescent and tasty.”

(Sounds like Ben was hitting the retsina again.)

And now comes word that the show will move to Broadway in the fall.

Alan Wasser, a general manager who oversees such long-running hits as “The Phantom of the Opera,” has quietly been hunting around for theaters. He’s got his eye, I’m told, on the Broadhurst or the Walter Kerr.

The budget is said to be between $6 million and $7 million.

Set in Athens, Ga., Beane’s “Lysistrata Jones” is about a group of high school cheerleaders who refuse to sleep with the members of the basketball team until they start winning games. The musical has no stars, which could be a drawback on Broadway. However, the bright young cast is winning, and Liz Mikel, as a saucy goddess, is likely to find herself in a good seat at next year’s Tonys.

So, I hope, will Beane.

via ‘Lysistrata Jones’ musical may come to Broadway in the fall – NYPOST.com.

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New York City Diary: Part 1- Catch Me If You Can

I won’t be posting much the next few days because I am vacationing in New York.  We usually do at least 2 or 3 long weekends a year in the City and this is one of them…

I know you’re not supposed to tell people when you are out-of-town, but we have a house sitter and an alarm system, so I’m hoping the alarm will stop them, the pets will attach them and the house sitter will shoot them if anyone tries to break in…I’ll take the chance for some time in New York.

Let me start by saying, for once, the journey up on USAirways was relatively smooth- which is exceedingly rare nowadays.  Of course, my expectations are lowered.  As long as we get to the original destination within a couple of hours of the scheduled time, without crashing and with luggage, I accept that as the best-case scenario.

Given this, It didn’t faze me that before we left they told us the plane’s bathroom was broken, so if you had to go to the bathroom, go before you boarded.  I’m just surprised they didn’t use this as an excuse to cancel the flight.  But then, it was a full flight and they probably just wanted the money.  If it hadn’t been full, I’m sure they would have canceled.

My biggest issue was that at least a third of my fellow passengers were wearing flip-flops.  Those who read this blog know this is a pet peeve of mine- people who wear flip-flops on airplanes and in other inappropriate places.  Not to mention on an airplane on a flight to New York City.   Doesn’t get much more inappropriate than that- short of the White House.

Who in their right frigging mind would wear flip-flops in New York City?  That’s like walking barefoot down Broadway.  That’s just nasty, unsanitary and unsafe.

Don’t get me wrong, I love flip-flops, I own flip-flops, I wear flip-flops, but I know when and where to do so.  It’s inappropriate use of flip-flops that make me crazy.  If the plane crashed, do you want to try to escape through fire and hot metal wearing little pieces of rubber on your feet?  If they didn’t fall off on impact?  Talk about slack-jawed idiots.

And there are pages of articles on the web about how unsanitary and unsafe it is to wear flip-flops in New York.  Just Google “Flip Flops in New York City.”

I’ll rest my case and I’ll try to move on…

After a pleasant cab ride into the City, I got to the hotel and made my first of three attempts to check in.

First, the room wasn’t ready, so I went to lunch.  Since I was carrying my messenger bag crammed full of all my electronics:  iPod, Bose Headphones, 2 cell phones, MacBook Air and Kindle, I didn’t want to go far.  That was too much crap to schlepp all over town.

So, I had to break one of my rules and eat in Mid town.  Tourist trap food.  Over priced.  Not very good.  Mid town.

I ate at a trendy little place on 8th Avenue and ordered a Beet and Grilled Shrimp Salad.  It was 4 shrimp, 3 cubes of beets and a couple of lettuce leaves for $14.95.  Never eat in Mid town unless you know the place or it’s an old diner…..I paid for my sins.

Try two, I actually got my room, but no key cards.  The machine was broken so the bellman had to let me in.   This was after standing in line for 20 minutes just like the first time.  Anyway, I got my room, unpacked and went off to get theatre tickets.  I got great orchestra seats for us to “Catch Me If You Can” at the Neil Simon Theatre.  Once I got back to the hotel, they had finally fixed the key machine and after a third 20 minute wait in line, I finally had both a room and keys to it.

I settled in to wait for my partner Steve to get here from the East Village where he is wrapping up a seminar at NYU and once he arrived, it was off to the theatre.

I had read mixed reviews of “Catch Me If You Can”, but had seen some scenes on YouTube and the Tony’s broadcast, so we decided to give it a shot.  Especially since we had discount coupons.

Another rule:  Never pay full price for theatre.  Going to the theatre is like flying.  On the plane, everyone paid a different price for their seats.  Same in the theater.  If you know where to look, you can get in for less than the posted price.  It’s the only way we can see as many shows as we do.  We do have to miss some until they cool off- there are no discounts for “Book of Mormon” right now and we aren’t about to pay $375 for two tickets to a show with no stars.  Even we have limits…

Anyway, “Catch Me If you Can” was a delight.  We both thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was a great homage to the spirit of hope and innocence of the early 1960’s.  It had a kind of Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin Rat Pack feel.  Great choreography.  Excellent music and lyrics playing to the various early 1960’s sounds.  And uniformly excellent performances- especially by Tony Award Winner Norbert Leo Butz, leading man Aaron Tveit, Tom Wopat and Kerry Butler.

Aaron Tveit should definitely been nominated for the Tony.  He carries the show.  Norbert Leo Butz, in what is really a supporting role, steals it.  Kerry Butler, with the 11 o’clock number stops it and Tom Wopat proves again how far he’s come from the “Dukes of Hazard” to being one of the most consistently excellent actors on Broadway.

The problem was the book.  It took a while to draw us in, but about a third of the way through the first act, it had us hooked.  There is lot’s of glitz in the first act, but in the second act, it finds its heart and soul.  That surprised me as so many shows fall apart in the second act.  But in this one, that’s the stronger act.

I really recommend you see this show if you come to New York and are looking for one new musical to see.  And if you miss it in New York, see it on tour.  This is better than the Critics led us to believe.  Just be prepared for a somewhat slow start, then hold on for a great ride in the theatre.  You won’t regret it once it gets going…It’s thoroughly engaging…

Here are some scenes, then I’ll sign off for now.

More to come..

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Anthony Weiner Scandal: In Congressman’s District, A Chorus Of Support

I kind of thought this would roll off his back in New York….New Yorkers aren’t easily shocked by sexual affairs without sex.

And remember, Anthony Weiner wasn’t a  Republican”Family Values”  hypocrite having an affair like Republican Senators David Vitter and John Ensign were…

Weiner just might survive this if he listens to his Constituents and not to the press and the DC insiders.

The question is:  Does he really want to?  Especially  now that his fast-track political career will be stalled for the foreseeable future.

What he really wanted was to be mayor of New York and the Democratic Establishment has lined up against him- even if his constituents haven’t.  Is he content to stay a Congressman for several terms? Or does he resign and try to change careers to the Media, like Eliot Spitzer.

Time will tell….

Thursday (and for anyone not keeping track, it’s exactly two weeks into the saga known as Weinergate), a 64-year-old woman named Ann Oniszko stood in the lobby of one of the buildings of the Queens Community House and expressed undiminished admiration for her congressman. Wearing a specially-made gold pendant, her first name molded into a Star of David, she said, “I hope this doesn’t kill his political career. People just have little bad habits.”

“They just have to use technology better,” said Steve Pullano, the director of the teen program at the center.

“I just hope he salvages and builds himself up again,” said Onizsko.

Even as Weiner’s fellow Congressional Democrats have called for his resignation, the residents of New York’s Ninth District appear to stand behind their congressman in solid formation.

According to a recent poll by Marist and NY1, 56 percent of those interviewed said that Weiner shouldn’t resign, while only 33 percent said he should (12 percent said they hadn’t made up their minds).

In the Queens and Brooklyn neighborhoods that make up Weiner’s jigsaw-puzzle district, the congressman has long enjoyed the kind of poll numbers generally reserved for authoritarian rulers. He won 60 percent of votes in the last election, actually a significant drop-off from the previous election, in which his constituents chose him by a ratio of 93 votes to six.

Even now, he doesn’t seem much in danger of losing local support, and nowhere is that support more evident than at the Queens Community House, a sprawling network of project buildings and community-service centers based in the Queens neighborhood Kew Gardens.

via Anthony Weiner Scandal: In Congressman’s District, A Chorus Of Cheers.

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Anthony Weiner Admits He Tweeted Lewd Photos, Will Not Resign

Personally, I think this is much ado about nothing…

Not a real bright move, but no big deal since this was between consenting adults…

I also think Anthony Weiner is an incredibly effective Progressive politician, with an unfortunate name, who is going to be drug through the mud over this…

The Right Wing wants him out of the fight and they’re going to do all they can to bring him down.

To me, this is an issue to be handled between him and his wife.  This is the type of foolishness that, in the good old days, would not even have been reported.  (Remember JFK, among others….)

He needs to take the heat for a while and ride this out…

Thank god, he a represents New York City district and they’ll probably shrug this off…

Remember, Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana broke the law by playing with hookers and he is still in office….

There are also two probable side effects to this:

1.  This will put an end to the Gay rumors and innuendoes about Congressman Wiener-which I always thought were wishful thinking.

and

2.  Sarah Palin is probably standing in front of a web cam right now taking topless shots and sending them to Glenn Beck to get the media back to paying attention to her….

From Talking Points Memo:

Anthony Weiner admitted to lying about a lewd photo he sent to a college student in Washington state, telling reporters at a press conference in New York that he concocted a phony hacking story in a panic after deleting the public message.

“Last Friday night i tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle,” he said, fighting back tears. “Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”

He added: “To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent this. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, friends, supporters and staff.”

As for his own future, Weiner pledged to remain in Congress, saying he had not broken any law to his knowledge. “I am not resigning,” Weiner said, telling reporters he would try to convince his constituents this was a “personal failing” and did not alter his record.

via Anthony Weiner Admits He Tweeted Lewd Photos, Will Not Resign | TPMDC.

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