a brief programming note

The Tony Awards are on tomorrow night. I hope to be back home in time to see it. Here’s the thing; I realize that 98% of people reading this don’t give a rat’s ass about the Tony Awards or Broadway plays in general, and that’s perfectly understandable. The Tonys are a gaggle of out-of-touch-with-reality actors over-emoting and prattling on endlessly about their CRAFT and their FEELINGS. The ratings are low for a reason.

But this year there was an unusually robust crop of plays. Perhaps one of the best seasons in a decade. During the Tony Awards, they always perform a scene or two from the nominated shows, so if you can suffer through the nauseating acceptance speeches, you might see some world-class acting.

If you care.



UPDATE:I just discovered that the Tony Awards are on NEXT Sunday, June 7th. Not tomorrow. I could have taken this post down but I decided to leave it up as proof positive that I rarely know what I’m talking about. I could have easily blamed my fragile state of mind on my Mom’s recent passing (see post below), but the truth is that I’m like this ALL THE TIME.

some things DO change

While watching the morning chat program here in Cleveland, I saw a story on my old high school. It was the featured “cool school” of the week. The track team won a record number of meets. The robotics team is in the finals of a competition. The glee club visits retirement homes to spread their joy.

When I attended, they had a smoking lounge. In order to get a passing grade, all you had to do was show up the majority of the time. Most of the students (myself included) walked around in a weed-induced haze. I have no idea who my guidance counselor was. In fact, now that I think about it, I’m not completely certain that I had one. So things are looking up at old Midpark High from an academic standpoint.

* * *

I had to delete my Mom’s name from my phone contacts. How sad is that?

mom, r.i.p.

My Mom passed away. I’m in Ohio for the funeral. Her’s was not a sad passing. She lived to a ripe age and never had any serious health problems until the end.

She had pulmonary fibrosis. Her lungs were irreparably scarred. When first diagnosed, the doctor asked my sister how long she has been smoking. The irony is that my Mom never smoked a cigarette in her life. Unfortunately, her father and the two zeros she married were all chain smokers, so she lived her life inside a cloud of cigarette smoke. I told her, “See, Mom, you should have smoked after all.”

She facilitated her own demise. Because of her deteriorated condition, we had to move her from her condo into a nursing home. She hated it, but knew there was no alternative. She couldn’t live alone and none of us had the wherewithal to take her in. Among other needs, she had to wear an oxygen mask 24-7.

She lasted three days in the home. As soon as Fr. Jim gave her her Last Rights, she refused to take any more medications and signed a Do Not Resuscitate order. The only drug she allowed was morphine to ease the pain. She slipped into a deep morphine induced sleep and, according to my sister, her last words were a stab at black humor: “I’m a morphine addict!”

She had a rough life but had mad ninja skills as an optimist. I think some people are genetically predisposed to always be happy or always be sad, no matter what their circumstances. She was the former and I’ll miss her.

Eerie factoid #1: When my sister phoned to say she was gone, she grabbed the nearest cell phone, which happened to be my Mom’s. Her death was imminent and I knew what the nature of the call was, but I had to stutter-stop when my caller ID read: “Mom.”

Eerie factoid #2: My Mom was born in 1935 and died in room 35 in the hospital. Later that day, after Mom passed, my sister’s neighbor paid a visit to express her condolences. While walking up my sister’s driveway, she picked up a penny that was on the ground. It’s wheat-back penny from 1935. My sister has it as a keepsake.

words fail me, so take a look at these photos instead

I wish I was enough of a wordsmith to describe how overwhelmed I was when I walked into the Park Avenue Armory to view Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s anthropodino, the installation currently running through June 14. If you’re reading this and you live in the area, you really owe it to yourself and to your kids (if you got ’em) to pay a visit. The New York Times called it magical and that’s the best way to describe it.

The Armory is starting a program of “big-room” installations. The Tate Modern in London has had a series of successful exhibits in the turbine hall that require a large open space. New York wants to get into the act and the only space in Manhattan big enough to accommodate artwork of this scope is the Park Avenue Armory. It’s not as sexy as the Tate Modern, but it’s functional.

Neto’s hard-to-describe exhibit uses yards of stretched, translucent Lycra to create forms, labyrinths and weird objects. To wit (clickable pics):

It’s both mounted on the floor and pours down from the ceiling.

art+11 art+9

Here’s the view as you walk into the beast.


The tunnels are filled with soft white, blue and gold light. The sacks hanging down contain spices—cumin, ginger and cloves—so the fragrances permeate the air.

art+5 art+4 art+3

The wooden lattice work is made to look like bones.


Here’s a large purple sack inside a Lycra enclosure that’s filled with tiny Styrofoam pellets. You can take your shoes off and go inside to relax.


Of course I, child that I am, couldn’t resist.



bruce works hard for all that money

Bruce Springsteen could live to be 175 and still not spend all the money he’s earned. So why does he do it? Why on earth does he knock himself out the way he does? I pretty much work for the money. Don’t you?

I like Bruce but I’m not as fanatical as some. I have a lot of respect for his catalog, and his work ethic is second to none. He’s a people-pleaser, that’s for sure. Mrs. Wife and I saw his Saturday night show at the Meadowlands Sports Arena in New Jersey. Seeing Bruce in New Jersey is akin to seeing the Beatles in Liverpool. He began the evening with a heartfelt, “Good evening, neighbors!” That’s a nice sentiment but I know the area where Bruce lives and I can assure you that I am NOT his neighbor.

It’s one of those concerts whereby you don’t realize how familiar you are with the material until one recognizable song after another rolls off the stage. The same thing happened to me when I saw the Rolling Stones. I don’t have any Stones albums, but I knew the lyrics to just about every song. Bruce, too. You just know his stuff. That’s how steeped into our cultural consciousness their work is.

And, yes, he was great. At just past 3:00 hours he announced that, “The turnpike is closed! Nobody goes home!” and ripped into a version of Tommy James & the Shondells Mony Mony that tore the roof off. Just like he promised it would. He’s the man.

We got backstage passes. He briefly chatted with Mrs. Wife and pretty much ignored me, which is fine by me. I hate going backstage. I always feel like I have no business being back there because…well…frankly, I have no business being backstage. I was talking to his sister and I said I felt sorry that after working his ass off for 3+ hours, he now has to meet and greet a corridor full of people. She said, in a flat tone, “It’s part of the job.”

True dat. Meeting a bunch glazed-eyed worshipers after performing to the point of exhaustion might be a pain in the ass, but it beats the hell out of commuting 4 hours a day.