Tuesday, January 29, 2008

An Uncommon Wealth of Success Hits Boston

Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

Boston fans in October celebrating the Red Sox’ victory against the Colorado Rockies in the World Series, their second championship since 2004.

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Published: January 29, 2008

BOSTON — For a city with an inveterate inferiority complex, Boston has been feeling awfully superior lately.

The Red Sox just won a second World Series in four years after an 86-season drought that traumatized generations of New Englanders. The Patriots, already winners of three Super Bowls this decade, are storming into Sunday’s game an unprecedented 18-0. And the Celtics, only months after being accused of trying to finish with the N.B.A.’s worst record, have the league’s top mark at 34-8.

All this winning raises the question: what has Boston lost? If not games — since Oct. 16, those three New England teams have won 87 percent of the time — then perhaps a certain identity the region must now reconsider. Wearing a Red Sox cap or a Patriots jersey no longer identifies citizens as connoisseurs of pain, lovable Charlie Browns to New York’s success-swiping Lucy. Boston’s little garage bands have made it big, and the victory parades are crowded with bandwagons.

“There’s an embarrassment of riches, all these championships; we’re terribly spoiled,” said Chris Greeley, a government-affairs consultant in Boston and who was once a former chief of staff for Senator John Kerry. “Being the underdog was something Boston always liked. It was easier, and it was good for banding together. But now we don’t have a great enemy to point to — New York, we’ve become them.”

Marty Meehan, the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell who was a former United States Congressman, added: “I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. I wonder if they’re ever going to know what it was really like here for all those decades.”

No city, let alone Boston, has ever fielded a threesome in the most popular national team sports as dominant as the current Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics. The closest — fittingly — was New York from 1969 through 1970, when the Jets won Super Bowl III, the Mets won the 1969 World Series and the Knicks won the 1970 basketball title. But New York had multiple baseball and football teams, which Boston does not. That inspired Carl Morris, a statistics professor across the Charles River at Harvard, to calculate the chances of a monofranchised city having the three best teams in one year: about 1 in 29,000.

“I’m not sure if people here realize how unlikely this thing really is,” Morris said. “No city is ever going to see anything like this again.”

New York celebrated its 1969-70 sports success with a decade of bankruptcy and rampant crime; Boston’s future appears rosier. Paul Guzzi, president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, described the economic impact of the region’s sports success as modest, citing added tourism and spending during World Series games, and impact of the Patriots’ new stadium/mall complex in Foxborough.

Terry Francona, the Red Sox manager for both recent World Series titles, said the benefits of winning were probably more spiritual. Francona grew up outside Pittsburgh in the 1970s, and watched the Steelers and the Pirates win championships in 1979.

“The steel mills were shutting down, and Pittsburgh was going to have to change its identity,” Francona recalled. “People were walking around town wearing the black and gold with pride. Winning made people feel better about themselves.”

If Bostonians are feeling sunnier, they do not always show it at the Harp, a watering hole down the street from the TD Banknorth Garden. Katie McAuliffe has tended bar there for six years and she laughed as she considered the difference in fan outlook. “They’re a lot more bold than they used to be,” she said. “They like to break things more now. I think it’s pent-up frustration — like they don’t know how to handle this.”

Indeed, success can demand some emotional recalibration. Sports columnists for The Boston Globe, who for decades could charitably be described as dyspeptic, now must scrounge for material. And even Champagne loses its allure in six-packs.

“When the Red Sox finally won in 2004, the city just went bananas; it was the greatest bachelor party ever,” said Mark Sternman, a researcher for a state government agency, adding that, “2007 was the best party you could have as a married man.”

The Celtics, of course, spent the 1960s as one of sport’s great dynasties, and became dreadful only recently. (Last spring, the team was accused of losing games on purpose so it could finish with the N.B.A.’s worst record and increase its chances of landing the No. 1 or 2 pick in the draft. The Celtics botched that, too.) The Red Sox have been traditionally competitive, just not good enough to outlast the hated Yankees.

The Patriots’ history has been the most pathetic. Beyond frequent 3-13 seasons, their first true home, Schaefer Stadium, opened in 1971 with massive toilet overflows and barely improved thereafter.

Meehan has been a fan through it all. He has held season tickets since 1984, and he said that winning had changed the Patriots fans’ experience. “There are times when you want fans to get up and remind the team that this is a home game,” he said.

Greeley said that Boston fans today expect more of their teams but less of their players. His father once caught a foul ball off the bat of Ted Williams, but threw it back because he, and most of New England, disapproved of Williams’s sulking and apparent selfishness. Fast-forward to today, when the slugger Manny Ramírez is generally shaky on the field and quite flighty off it, but is beloved for this (and his .300 average).

“Manny would never have gotten away with being Manny 40 years ago,” Greeley said. “Nowadays there’s such emphasis on performance. There’s a whole generation that’s growing up now with so much focus on the winning that they may never appreciate the play and the artistry itself. They’re not being trained to appreciate it.”

At Sully’s Tap, not far from the Harp, Jon Megas-Russell did not agree as he nursed a beer at the weathered counter. A devout Boston sports fan and Celtics season-ticket holder, he said that old, rumpled Fenway Park was better than ever thanks to recent renovations (although some complain that rampant advertising has left the Green Monster looking like a Nascar entry). Also worth it, he said, was having to coexist with frivolous front-runners who jump in the marathon only at the end.

“You don’t lose anything by winning, you only add on,” said Megas-Russell, 25, a sales manager from suburban Somerville. “When they win, it validates what you’ve been doing. It puts the city in the limelight in America. People look at the Pilgrims, but we’ve been in the back seat to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago. This brings us back.”

He added: “A true fan takes it when it’s good and takes it when it’s bad. When Tom Brady retires, the Patriots won’t be as good. You have to live in the moment.”

Boston’s moments, for most of the last century, ended in heartbreak — none more poignant than Bill Buckner’s grounder between the legs against the Mets in 1986. The New Yorker writer Roger Angell encapsulated New England’s perpetual and divine grief in a palindrome: “Not so, Boston.”

Yet as the Patriots enter Sunday’s Super Bowl as heavy favorites — over the New York Giants, naturally — to win the city’s sixth championship in seven years, “Not so, Boston” seems as outdated as those Pilgrims. Backward is forward, and Boston is first.

Crimes of the Heart second time.....

THEATER REVIEW; Granddaddy Is in a Coma, And That's the Good News

Published: April 17, 2001, Tuesday

Angst comes in shades of pink in the perky new revival of ''Crimes of the Heart,'' Beth Henley's Pultizer Prize-winning comedy about the sorrows and strengths of Southern sisterhood.

Pink is the color of the tissues that a character uses to mop her eyes and nose as she sobs over mortal thoughts on her 30th birthday. Pink (leaning toward fuchsia) is the color of the rope with which another young woman tries to hang herself.

Pink, for that matter, is often the color of Ms. Henley's prose, which somehow always finds the sugar in the shadows of despair. This probably was not what Édith Piaf meant when she sang about la vie en rose. Still, there's something in the pain beneath the pastels that Piaf might have appreciated.

It's been two decades since ''Crimes of the Heart'' wowed the critics and skipped blithely from the Manhattan Theater Club to Broadway, turning Ms. Henley into the playwright of the moment. Here, it seemed, was a feminine answer to the dysfunctional family dramas of Sam Shepard: a girl's guide to American Gothic, as opposed to Mr. Shepard's head-tripping, brawling boy's-eye views.

Theatergoers who were then seduced by Ms. Henley's sticky brand of whimsy may feel a little sheepish sitting through the enthusiastic production of ''Crimes'' that opened last night at the Second Stage Theater. Under the direction of Garry Hynes, the show scales up the preciousness of this story of three Mississippi sisters in emotional meltdown.

Certainly there are stretches when the cuteness of it all gets to you, when the experience starts to feel like listening to ''I Enjoy Being a Girl'' played in a minor key on a country church organ. This is, after all, a production in which an overgrown nymphet, fresh out of jail, curls up on a cot with her pet saxophone, suggesting Tennessee Williams's ''Baby Doll'' as a musical comedy.

Yet there are also moments when ''Crimes'' still rings true enough to draw that dark, heart-deep laughter that might turn into tears any second. There is, for example, the scene where the play's fractious sisters dissolve into a harmony of giggles over the news that their grandfather has fallen into a coma. Surely you've been there, to that point where life has sprung so many horrors that you're punch drunk.

Such grotesqueries are plentiful in ''Crimes,'' and they don't benefit from magnification. (That was clear in the 1986 film version starring Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek.) The play, you may recall, includes tales of a mother who hanged herself and the family cat, a beloved old horse struck by lightning and a childlike wife who mixes herself a pitcher of lemonade after shooting her husband in the stomach.

Ms. Hynes is the Irish director who brought a welcome matter-of-factness to (and won a Tony for) her staging of another play about fatal family eccentricities, Martin McDonagh's ''Beauty Queen of Leenane.'' Yet here she goes for exaggeration, sometimes to the point of slapstick, when a throwaway attitude would be far more effective.

As it is, the evening is alternately moving and cloying. The same might be said of all but three of the four major performances, though it's a pleasure to find so many talented young actresses on a single stage. And one couldn't ask for a more socially eloquent backdrop for them than Thomas Lynch's fraying kitchen set.

Playing the Magrath sisters are Enid Graham as Lenny, the premature spinster with ''a deformed ovary''; Amy Ryan as Meg, the promiscuous one who comes home from a thwarted career as a singer (and a nervous breakdown) in Los Angeles, and Mary Catherine Garrison as Babe, the husband-shooter who is out on bail. Julia Murney is the bossy Chick, their status-quo-worshiping cousin.

Ms. Garrison's vanilla-ice-cream Babe is the evening's attention getter. Her timing is inspired as she wearily takes account of a future that may include prison, and she brings a fine air of abstraction to Babe's account of her crime to an adoring young lawyer (Jason Butler Harner). She also delivers machine-gun volleys of ''ooohs,'' to evoke anger and frustration, that belong more properly to Southern sitcoms like ''Designing Women.''

Enid Graham, the appealingly intense actress from ''Honour'' on Broadway, also runs the danger of suffocating her inhibited character in big idiosyncrasies. Ms. Murney has no choice but to play the grating Chick as a target for audience hatred, but she nevertheless brings a dead-on pious relish to descriptions of scandals and illnesses.

It is Ms. Ryan, though, who gives the evening its center of credibility. An inappropriately fierce Sonya in last season's ''Uncle Vanya,'' she here lets you glimpse the anxiety beneath Meg's defensive toughness without wallowing in it. And every reaction, no matter how extravagant, seems grounded in a firm emotional logic.

She also listens with an intent focus that suggests intriguing undercurrents in what the others are saying. Everyone else, including Talmadge Lowe as Meg's former lover, benefits from sharing the stage with her.

It is Meg who, after her sister's aborted suicide attempt, speaks the play's simple watchwords: ''We've just got to learn how to get through these real bad days here.'' Such understatement in the face of absurdity cuts right through the clouds of feyness. When this production maintains a similarly straight face, the tickling sadness that first made ''Crimes'' a hit shines anew.


By Beth Henley; directed by Garry Hynes; sets by Thomas Lynch; costumes by Susan Hilferty; lighting by Rui Rita; original music and sound by Donald DiNicola; dialects, Deborah Hecht; production stage manager, Kelley Kirkpatrick; stage manager, Amy Patricia Stern. Associate artistic director, Christopher Burney; general manager, C. Barrack Evans; production manager, Peter J. Davis. Presented by Second Stage Theater, Carole Rothman, artistic director; Mark Linn-Baker, 2001 season artistic director; Carol Fishman, managing director; Alexander Fraser, executive director. At 307 West 43rd Street, Clinton.

WITH: Julia Murney (Chick), Enid Graham (Lenny), Talmadge Lowe (Doc), Amy Ryan (Meg), Mary Catherine Garrison (Babe) and Jason Butler Harner (Barnett).

Crimes of the Heart again.... 1981 review holds up


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Published: November 5, 1981, Thursday

BETH HENLEY'S ''Crimes of the Heart'' ends with its three heroines - the MaGrath sisters of Hazelhurst, Miss. -helping themselves to brick-sized hunks of a chocolate birthday cake. The cake, a ''super deluxe'' extravaganza from the local bakery, is as big as the kitchen table, and the sisters laugh their heads off as they dig in. The scene is the perfect capper for an evening of antic laughter - yet it's by no means the sum of ''Crimes of the Heart.'' While this play overflows with infectious high spirits, it is also, unmistakably, the tale of a very troubled family. Such is Miss Henley's prodigious talent that she can serve us pain as though it were a piece of cake.

Prodigious, to say the least. This is Miss Henley's first play. Originally produced at Louisville's Actors Theater, it won the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle Award after its New York production last winter at the Manhattan Theater Club. Last night that production arrived, springier than ever, at the Golden, and it's not likely to stray from Broadway soon. Melvin Bernhardt, the director, has fulfilled Miss Henley's comedy by casting young actors whose future looks every bit as exciting as the playwright's.

''Crimes'' is set ''five years after Hurricane Camille'' in the MaGrath family kitchen, a sunny garden of linoleum and translucent, flowered wallpaper designed by John Lee Beatty. The action unfolds during what the youngest sister, 24-year-old Babe (Mia Dillon), calls ''a bad day.'' Babe knows whereof she speaks: She's out on bail, having just shot her husband in the stomach. And Babe's not the only one with problems. Her 27-year-old sister Meg (Mary Beth Hurt), a would-be singing star, has retreated from Hollywood by way of a psychiatric ward. Lenny (Lizbeth Mackay), the eldest MaGrath, is facing her 30th birthday with a ''shrunken ovary'' and no romantic prospects. As if this weren't enough, Old Granddaddy, the family patriarch, is in the hospital with ''blood vessels popping in his brain.''

A comedy, you ask? Most certainly - and let's not forget about the local lady with the ''tumor on her bladder,'' about the neighbor with the ''crushed leg,'' about the sudden death by lightning of Lenny's pet horse, Billy Boy. Miss Henley redeems these sorrows, and more, by mining a pure vein of Southern Gothic humor worthy of Eudora Welty and Flannery O'Connor. The playwright gets her laughs not because she tells sick jokes, but because she refuses to tell jokes at all. Her characters always stick to the unvarnished truth, at any price, never holding back a single gory detail. And the truth - when captured like lightning in a bottle - is far funnier than any invented wisecracks.

Why did Babe shoot her husband? Because, she says, ''I didn't like his looks.'' Why, after firing the gun, did she make a pitcher of lemonade before calling an ambulance? Because she was thirsty. Why did she carry on with a 15-year-old black boy during the months before her crime? ''I was so lonely,'' explains Miss Dillon, ''and he was goooood.'' Why has Babe's lawyer, a young, sheepish Ole Miss grad (Peter MacNicol), taken on such a seemingly hopeless case? Because Babe won his heart when she sold him poundcake at a long-ago church bazaar - and because he believes in ''personal vendettas.''

You see Miss Henley's technique. She builds from a foundation of wacky but consistent logic until she's constructed a funhouse of perfect-pitch language and ever-accelerating misfortune. By Act III, we're so at home in the crazy geography of the MaGraths' lives that we're laughing at the slightest prick of blood. At that point Miss Henley starts kindling comic eruptions on the most unlikely lines - ''Old Granddaddy's in a coma!'' - without even trying. That's what can happen when a playwright creates a world and lets the audience inhabit it.

We're not laughing at the characters, of course, but with them. We all have bad days, when we contemplate - or are victims of - irrational crimes of the heart. In this play, Miss Henley shows how comedy at its best can heighten reality to illuminate the landscape of existence in all its mean absurdity. But the heightening is not achieved at the price of credibility. The MaGraths come by their suffering naturally: It's been their legacy since childhood, when their father vanished and their mother hanged herself -and her pet cat - in the cellar. ''Crimes of the Heart'' is finally the story of how its young characters escape the past to seize the future. ''We've got to figure out a way to get through these bad days here,'' says Meg. That can't happen for any of us until the corpses of a childhood are truly laid to rest.

Like the compassionate author, the director makes us care deeply about the MaGraths, crimes and all. Mr. Bernhardt is completely in touch with the play's strong family feelings; he turns a funhouse into a love-suffused, sisterly home that fills the Broadway vacuum left by the departure of ''Morning's at Seven.'' Though he can't quite whip the evening's slight overlength and the routine writing of the two secondary characters, you'll probably be too busy enjoying the four principal players to care.

It's great fun to watch Miss Mackay's spinsterish Lenny blossom from a moody, self-pitying fussbudget into a self-possessed woman; the actress walks a tremulous line between hilarity and hysteria as she goes. As Meg, the loose, selfish sister who blossomed too early, Miss Hurt proves she's a powerfully sexy comedienne as well as a good actress. A battle-scarred, rueful adult, she also lets us see the golden, headstrong teen-age girl who once liked to shock her peers by mocking the March of Dimes posters at Dixieland Drugs.

Miss Dillon and Mr. MacNicol are priceless as the accused Babe and her green lawyer. Perhaps the baby-faced Mr. MacNicol is so because his awkward little boy's demeanor - slow molasses voice, misbuttoned suit and toothy, open-mouthed grin - is in such ridiculous contrast to the no-nonsense professional manner he adopts to impress his client. Perhaps Miss Dillon - speaking in an excitable girlish yelp - delights us because she's guileless when contemplating murder yet naughty on the subject of birthday cakes. But why try to pin them down? Just be grateful that we have a new writer from hurricane country who gives her characters room to spin and spin and spin. Unvarnished Laughs CRIMES OF THE HEART, by Beth Henley; di- rected by Melvin Bernhardt; sets by John Lee Beatty; costumes by Patricia McGourty; lighting by Dennis Parichy. Presented by Warner Theater Productions Inc., Claire Nichtern, Mary Lea Johnson, Martin Richards and Francine Le-Frak. At the John Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street. Lenny MaGrath ..........................
Lizbeth Mackay Chick Boyle ............................Sharon Ullrick Doc Porter ..............................Raymond Baker Meg MaGrath ............................Mary Beth Hurt Babe Botrelle ..............................Mia Dillon Barnette Lloyd .........................Peter MacNicol

hibernation according to mutts

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 31, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 31, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

"Personally, I would sooner have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopedia Britannica," said Capricorn writer Stephen B. Leacock. I encourage you to adopt a similar attitude in the coming weeks. Unleashing your heated creativity will be more important to your success than gathering the cool facts. Being an irrepressible devotee of the wild mind will be more practical than marching in lock step to logical necessity.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dumb criminals can be really funny if they were not so pathetic

Sister of dead man shocked by scheme

Sister of dead man shocked by scheme


Thursday, January 10th 2008, 2:07 AM

The sister of a dead man wheeled around Hell's Kitchen in an office chair can't believe his best friend allegedly used her brother's corpse to run a twisted check-cashing scam.

Elizabeth Cintron told the Daily News she hopes her brother Virgilio Cintron died on the way to the check-cashing shop - and wasn't propped up in the chair by James O'Hare and another dope, as cops and witnesses say.

"Some days he couldn't walk so good, and Jimmy would take him to the check-cashing place," Elizabeth Cintron told The News. "Maybe he was alive and died on his way."

Hardly, police say.

O'Hare and David Daloia, both 65, were busted Tuesday in the "Weekend at Bernie's" stunt.

The dumb and dumber duo were arraigned in Criminal Court early this morning on forgery and attempted petty larceny charges as well as failure to properly dispose of a body. Bail was set at $1,000 each.

In her failed request for $20,000 bail, Assistant District Attorney Carolyn Hocderness said both men had extensive criminal records but gave no details.

"We didn't do anything," Daloia, of Queens, declared earlier as the scruffy pair was led from the Midtown North stationhouse. O'Hare remained silent as he was loaded into a police car.

O'Hare, who shared a W. 52nd St. apartment with Virgilio Cintron, found the 66-year-old dead in the home Tuesday. Rather than get help, O'Hare and Daloia grabbed Cintron's final $355 Social Security check, put his remains in an office chair and headed to the nearby Pay-O-Matic check cashing outlet on Ninth Ave., cops said.

The corpse quickly drew a crowd, including a detective, and the suspects were caught. Cintron apparently died of natural causes, although the medical examiner said a final determination was pending.

Elizabeth Cintron, 58, said her family has no money for her brother's burial. Her brother, once a counselor in a Manhattan AIDS clinic, had stopped working about 15 years ago when he fell ill, she said.

Neighbors described Virgilio Cintron and O'Hare as inseparable, saying O'Hare became a caretaker for Cintron, who suffered from Parkinson's disease.

But Italian tourist Gianmaria Solini said he spotted Cintron's body splayed out across a staircase in the apartment building. It was obvious he was dead, and Solini offered to get help.

But O'Hare waved him off.

"Oh, no, it's okay," O'Hare said, according to Solini. "He's going to wake up."


Two in Hell's Kitchen bring dead man on trip to cash his Social Security check

Two in Hell's Kitchen bring dead man on trip to cash his Social Security check

Life imitated the movies Tuesday when two dopes wheeled a dead man around Hell's Kitchen in an office chair as they tried to cash his Social Security check, cops said.

The "Weekend at Bernie's" stunt was an attempt to collect 66-year-old Virgilio Cintron's dough less than a day after he died, police said. One suspect is Cintron's roommate.
"They didn't kill the guy. He died of natural causes. But they were all about not letting the situation go to waste," a police source said. "'How are we going to cash it? Let's bring him with us.' They must watch too many movies."

The roommate, James O'Hare, and his pal David Dalaia attempted to dress Cintron's corpse in a pair of pants, a T-shirt and sneakers, police said. When they couldn't get the pants to his waist, the 65-year-old men threw a jacket over his crotch and wheeled him from his W.52nd St. apartment to a check-cashing outlet around the block on Ninth Ave., police said.

"Witnesses observed Mr. Cintron flopping from side to side and these individuals propping him up as they rolled along," said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
The men left Cintron's body outside while they went into Pay-O-Matic, where Cintron always cashed his checks, police said. An employee recognized the name on the $355 check, and when he asked to see Cintron, O'Hare said, "He's outside. We'll get him," according to police.

"They were trying to pass the guy off as alive," Pay-O-Matic clerk Mariano Galvez told the Daily News. "They just left the body in the chair outside." The casual corpse on the sidewalk at 3:45p.m. drew a large crowd, including an on-duty detective who was eating lunch at a restaurant next-door. He reported the incident and called the Emergency Medical Service.

As O'Hare went to get Cintron, an ambulance arrived to cart his remains off to the morgue, police said. Moments later, O'Hare and Dalaia were taken to the Midtown North stationhouse, where last night police were preparing to charge them with check fraud.
A neighbor of the roommates, Jeff Bell, 51, said the pair had lived together for years and that Cintron had Alzheimer's disease. In 1989's "Bernie" flick, two young pals cart their dead boss around, successfully passing him off as alive

Source: Daily News

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 24, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 24, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
To advertise its upgraded features, the search engine Ask3D.com rolled out a marketing campaign with a seductive catchphrase: "Instant Getification," as in immediately acquiring your desired results. I'm borrowing that mantra, or at least half of it, for your horoscope. Your getification levels will be way up in the coming weeks. That doesn't mean you will instantaneously and automatically obtain everything you crave without any effort. Rather, it suggests that you will have an enhanced power to summon the will and ingenuity and resourcefulness that will help you get what you want.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Chris Matthews aplogizes

into the wild

Into the Wild

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis, Marcia Gay Harden, Cheryl Francis Harrington

Directed by: Sean Penn

RS: 3.5of 4 Stars Average User Rating: 3.5of 4 Stars

2007 Paramount Vantage All Movies

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Sean Penn has molded one of the best movies of a bustling fall out of Jon Krakauer's best-selling Into the Wild. Krakauer told the true story of Chris McCandless, an honors grad from Emory University who walked into the Alaskan wilderness in 1992 to find himself outside the confines of estranged family, well-meaning friends and any governing impulse besides his own questing heart. If you read the book and pegged Chris as a wacko narcissist who died out of arrogance and stupidity, then Penn's film version is not for you. If, like Penn, you mourn Chris' tragedy and his judgment errors but also exult in his journey and its spirit of moral inquiry, then this beautiful, wrenching film will take a piece out of you.

Into the Wild represents Penn's most assured and affecting work yet as director and screenwriter, in the wake of The Indian Runner, The Crossing Guard and The Pledge. His connection to Chris is primal. Following Penn's lead, Emile Hirsch (Lords of Dogtown) gets so far into Chris' skin that they seem to share the same nerve endings. Over the film's enveloping two hours and twenty-five minutes, Hirsch gives an award-caliber performance of astonishing depth and humanity. Penn was insistent about shooting the film on the same locations that Chris traveled over two years, after he burned his driver's license and credit cards, gave away $24,000 in savings and set out to find his place in the world without a map. Penn uses narration from Chris' beloved sister Carine (Jena Malone) to reveal why he cut himself off from his affluent Virginia parents, Walt (William Hurt) and Billie (Marcia Gay Harden). Dubbing himself Alexander Supertramp, Chris lets his wanderlust take him to a South Dakota farm run by Wayne Westerberg (Vince Vaughn), on a scary kayak trip down to Mexico, and to a trailer shared by "rubbertramps" Jan (Catherine Keener) and Rainey (Brian Dierker). An unconsummated romance with underage Tracy (Kristen Stewart) in Slab City, an RV camp in the California desert, also speaks to his character. Chris' ache for connection is movingly portrayed in his relationship with widower Ron Franz (Hal Holbrook in his shining hour onscreen). And Penn makes the lack of that connection palpable when Chris heads to Alaska, enduring four months of isolation until his starved body (Hirsch lost forty pounds for the role) is found in an abandoned bus. Was it a death wish? Hardly. On a page torn from Taras Bulba, Chris wrote an SOS: "I need your help. I am injured, near death, and too weak to hike out of here. I am all alone, this is no joke."

Penn, in tandem with the superb cinematographer Eric Gautier (The Motorcycle Diaries), captures the majesty and terror of the wilderness in ways that make you catch your breath. And Eddie Vedder's remarkable songs, notably a cover of "Hard Sun," sound like the voice of Chris' unconscious. Since his death, admirers have made the arduous trip to that bus. But Into the Wild celebrates the person, not the myth. Mistakes didn't make Chris unique, his courage did. Through Penn's unmissable and unforgettable film, that courage endures.

the color purple with lakesha Jones, Chaka Kahn, and Bebe Winans

One Woman's Awakening, in Double Time

Published: December 2, 2005

TIME doesn't just fly in the exhaustingly eventful world of "The Color Purple," the musical adaptation of the Alice Walker novel and film of the same title that opened last night at the Broadway Theater. It threatens to break the sound barrier. In faithfully adapting Ms. Walker's incident-crammed 1982 Pulitzer Prizewinner about Southern black women finding their inner warriors, the show's creators have fashioned a bright, shiny and muscular storytelling machine that is above all built for speed.

So much plot, so many years, so many characters to cover in less than three hours. Or, as one of the many vibrant heroines sings, prettily papering over a gap of eight years, "So many winters gray and summers blue." From the brass-warmed opening bars of its eclectic overture, this musical has an on-your-mark, get-set quality that promises that pages will be flying off the calendar as if in a tornado.

Watching this beat-the-clock production summons the frustrations of riding through a picturesque stretch of country in a supertrain like the TGV. The landscape looks seductively lush and varied; the local populace seems lively and inviting, like people you might want to know; you can even hear tantalizing snatches of folks singing in an intriguing idiom as they go about their work. But it all passes by in a watercolor blur. This show isn't stiff and anemic like its chief musical competition this season, "The Woman in White" (another plot-crammed adaptation of a novel). But it never slows down long enough for you to embrace it.

Would that "The Color Purple" did take time to stop and smell the lilacs. Directed by Gary Griffin - with a book by Marsha Norman and songs by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray - this show is blessed with a surfeit of performing talent. There's not a clinker among the major cast members, led by LaChanze as the downtrodden, man-mangled Celie, whose sexual and social awakening over four decades gives the story its shape.

As for the rest of the production, there's a sumptuousness throughout that, while hardly true to the harrowing bleakness of the early chapters of Ms. Walker's novel, does bring to mind the enjoyably hokey cinematic ravishments of Steven Spielberg's 1985 film version. (You don't ask yourself, as you often do on Broadway these days, how the show could cost as much as it did - $10 million, in this case.) John Lee Beatty's sets summon rural poverty in Georgia in the early 20th century with a romanticizing, fairy-tale sense of wonder, enhanced by Brian MacDevitt's sunset-and-starshine lighting and Paul Tazewell's handsome period costumes.

The trio of songwriters for "Purple," all making their Broadway debuts, have backgrounds mostly in pop, film and television. And they clearly have a knack for clingy, synthetically tasty melodies adorned with spicy regional accents (rather like Cajun-style Kentucky Fried Chicken.) Or at least I think they do, since no sooner is a song started than it is killed to make way for yet another narrative-propelling number. (Ditto with Donald Byrd's sprightly fits of choreography.)

Thanks to the cast's spirited way with a song, "Purple" strikes some sparks during its long and winding journey. But it takes a concentration and leisure the show lacks to fan sparks into a steady flame.

The overwhelming breathlessness of this production is probably unavoidable, given its determination to hew as close as possible to its source. Ms. Norman is an eminent playwright whose " 'night, Mother" won the Pulitzer for drama the same year that Ms. Walker's novel did for fiction. And Ms. Norman brings a refreshing if dogged writerly respect to Ms. Walker's work.

But the novel - which contrasts the lives of stay-at-home Celie and her traveling missionary sister, Nettie (Renée Elise Goldsberry) - covers not only four decades but also three continents. Related largely in bluntly vernacular letters written by Celie to God and to her sister, the book's central focus is the feminist evolution of Celie, who at 14 is sold in marriage to an abusive older man (called Mister and played here by Kingsley Leggs), after having given birth to two children by the man she believes to be her father.

"The Color Purple," though, is also the story of other, more innately forceful women from whom Celie gathers the strength to find herself. In addition to Nettie, who discovers her ethnic identity while a missionary in Africa, there's the strapping and defiant Sofia (Felicia P. Fields), Celie's stepdaughter-in-law, a role created on film by Oprah Winfrey (a producer and invaluable promoter of this show). And the voluptuous, pleasure-seeking Shug Avery (Elisabeth Withers-Mendes), a saloon singer and sometime-mistress of Mister, initiates Celie into the joys of the flesh and is most important to her growing self-esteem.

It is to the credit of each of these confident actresses that their characters register as emphatically and winningly as they do in the midst of the narrative rush. Ms. Fields and Ms. Withers-Mendes both exude a sensual energy that you can feel the audience wants to luxuriate in. (The same impression is cut, in a sunnier vein, by Brandon Victor Dixon as Sofia's cheery husband.) But every time they work toward musical climaxes, that darn hydra-headed Story intervenes with another plot twist.
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Many of these are related by a hyper-lively quartet of gossiping church ladies. Others, set in Africa, come from Nettie's letters to Celie. Even a big dramatic aria like "Mister's Song" winds up spending an awful lot of time recapping events the audience already knows and undercutting Mr. Leggs's best dramatic efforts.

Mr. Griffin, acclaimed for his ingeniously miniature productions of big-scale works like "Pacific Overtures" and "My Fair Lady," emerges mostly as a skillful traffic conductor here. He keeps things moving at a jaunty clip, even when the events are as ugly as rape, domestic abuse and racial violence. This discrepancy would probably be jolting if you had time to think about it.

Amid the whirlwind of story lines, LaChanze holds admirably steady in what is a rather thankless part. Since Celie spends much of the show being scared and downtrodden, LaChanze must hide her considerable natural light under a bushel of homeliness and self-effacement. And her long-delayed survivor's anthem, for which she is allowed to pump up the volume, is unfortunately a generic power song. (Sofia's truncated "Hell No!" and Celie's top-40-ready duet with Shug, "What About Love?," are better.)

At the show's end, Celie has acquired, in addition to gray hairs and a personal fortune through the making and selling of pants for women, an air of matriarchal dignity that she wears like vintage couture. And it occurred to me that somewhere along the way in her odyssey of survival and triumph, Celie had morphed into a heroine of the kind of inspirational women's fiction found in airport bookstores, written by Barbara Taylor Bradford and Danielle Steel.

These are authors I would never have thought to compare to Alice Walker. But such things happen in adaptations that emphasize sheer story over sensibility. Devotees of Ms. Walker's novel would be better off thinking of this show less as "The Color Purple" than as, say, "Celie: A Woman of Independent Means."

The Color Purple

Based on the novel by Alice Walker and the Warner Brothers/Amblin Entertainment motion picture. Book by Marsha Norman; music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray; choreographed by Donald Byrd; directed by Gary Griffin; sets by John Lee Beatty; costumes by Paul Tazewell; lighting by Brian MacDevitt; sound by Jon Weston; hair design by Charles G. LaPointe; production managers, Arthur Siccardi and Patrick Sullivan; production stage manager, Kristen Harris; general management, NLA/Amy Jacobs; music director, Linda Twine; dance music arrangements, Daryl Waters; additional arrangements, Joseph Joubert; music coordinator, Seymour Red Press; orchestrations, Jonathan Tunick; music supervisor and incidental music arrangements, Kevin Stites. Presented by Oprah Winfrey, Scott Sanders, Roy Furman, Quincy Jones, Creative Battery, Anna Fantaci and Cheryl Lachowicz, Independent Presenters Network, David Lowy, Stephanie P. McClelland, Gary Winnick, Jan Kallish, Nederlander Presentations Inc., Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Andrew Asnes and Adam Zotovich and Todd Johnson. At the Broadway Theater, 1681 Broadway, at 53rd Street; (212) 239-6200. Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes.

SW at the Rubin Museum

Susan played an acoustic unplugged show at this Museum in NYC. She used pieces of art work to amplify her work.

natalie merchant at Newport

Saturday, January 19, 2008

21 Odd Facts About Music

21 Odd Facts About Music

1. The only guy in ZZ Top who doesn’t have a beard is Frank Beard.
2. None of Elvis’s films got nominated for Oscar, but he did win three Grammy Awards - for his gospel recordings.
3. John Lennon wrote “Good morning, good morning” after hearing a Corn Flakes commercial.
4. Marilyn Monroe got a white poodle named Mafia from Frank Sinatra.
5. The airplane that Buddy Holly died in was called “American Pie”. Don McLean wrote a song with the same name about the accident.
6. Duran Duran was named after a mad scientist from the Jane Fonda movie “Barbarella”.
7. The first CD that was pressed in the U.S. was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”.
8. Before composing Beethoven dipped his head in cold water.
9. Like humans, birds can learn music while they are still in the egg stage.
10. Mozart was five years old when he wrote his first piece.
11. The first pop video was released in 1975. It was “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
12. In 1976 Barry Manilow sang a chart topping song named “I write the songs”. The song wasn’t written by him.
13. Termites will eat wood two times faster when listening to heavy metal.
14. When Madonna was 15 years old, she got grounded for the whole summer, for sneaking out to see David Bowie in concert.
15. In the year 1988 tenor Luciano Pavarotti received a record 165 curtain calls at a Berlin opera house.
16. Make music not war: Monaco’s national orchestra is bigger that its army.
17. Wham!’s hit single “Wake me up before you go go” was written by George Michael who was inspired by the note that was left to his hotel room by another band member Andrew Ridgeley. The note was mistakenly written as “Don’t forget to wake me up up before you go go, George”.
18. “House of the rising sun” by The Animals was recorded with only 15 minutes because the band was on a tight budget. In spite of that the song went all the way to number one in 1964.
19. The longest song title is 305 characters (including spaces): “The Sad But True Story Of Ray Mingus, The Lumberjack Of Bulk Rock City, And His Never Slacking Stribe In Exploiting The So Far Undiscovered Areas Of The Intention To Bodily Intercourse From The Opposite Species Of His Kind, During Intake Of All The Mental Condition That Could Be Derived From Fermentation” by Rednex.
20. When Billy Crystal was a child, his babysitter was the legendary Billie Holiday.
21. Suzanne Vega is considered the “mother” of the mp3 format. The creators of the mp3 used her voice from the song “Tom’s Diner” for analyzing the different sound spectrums when creating the compression algorithm.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 17, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of January 17, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
When Doris Lessing was informed she'd won the Nobel Prize for Literature, she said, "I couldn't care less." What prompted her to be so blasé about receiving the world's foremost award for writers? Can you imagine what her state of mind was? I think you'll be able to after this week, Capricorn. You're likely to get a major ego stroke that isn't all that big a deal to you, mostly because you already know how valuable you are and don't need external confirmation of that fact.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Giving Up Everything

Giving up everything
My hungry ghost of hopefulness
Giving up everything
Not haunted by wanting this
Giving up everything
The fortune I was saving
Giving up everything
I mercy-killed my craving

Giving up everything
Opened up my eyes for this
Giving up everything
See the warm and innocent emptiness
Gave what I want for how it is
The stone inside, the bitterness
The sweetness at the core of this

Giving up everything
The compass and the map I was reading
Giving up everything
My persistence leading (?)
The compass and the map I was reading
The hints and the lies I was weaving (?)
Finally leaving behind

Giving up everything
The big to-do, the hullabaloo
Tug of war for some twisted truth
For the everlasting ache of it
No longer sweet
No train to it
No gain, no cred, no keeper
No guru, master, teacher

I see the slow receding faces
Dissolve to black, no traces

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

celebrity sighting

At the Public theater, i saw Phillip Seymour Hoffman walking in with this young son in tow. His 5 year old son is a spitting image of him only with flaming red hair. They have the same gait, same body shape, same freckles and same smile.

Yellow Face at the Public Theater

One of the most satisfying scenes in David Henry Hwang’s new Yellow Face, a play full of satisfying scenes, is the face-off between a playwright named David Henry Hwang and an unnamed New York Times reporter. The playwright has taken the unusual step of making himself the protagonist in this cracked-lens look at identity, cultural loyalties, and the relative reliability of commercial theater vs. commercial journalism.

The meeting between the writers ends after each gets his story: an exposé of Hwang’s father for the two-faced journalist, and a final chapter for Hwang in the saga that will become Yellow Face (continuing its world premiere through July 1 at the Mark Taper Forum, in a co-production by L.A.’s Center Theatre Group and New York’s Public Theater in association with L.A.’s East West Players).

To both ape and undercut the media’s claim of objectivity, Yellow Face employs the scattershot quoting of headlines, bylines, and datelines to identify its events and characters. Rather than reflecting on history – as set designer David Korin’s wood deck and massive gold-framed mirror suggest – Hwang at first seems to be transcribing it. The more these citations punctuate the script, however, the more holes they produce in it. Soon, we are in a limbo where fact and fantasy, whether on stage or front page, are indistinguishable.

As Hwang told Sylvie Drake in LA Stage, “Some of the stuff in the play is true and some of it isn’t and I hope it’s hard to tell the difference.”

The seesawing between drama and documentary serves Hwang’s larger goal of revealing the cost of prejudice in real terms while showing its utter absurdity through farce. He does this through his own powerful writing and the strong yet playful direction of Leigh Silverman. Silverman holds the tonal teeter-totter for her Asian and Caucasian cast, who balance their alternately scary or silly performances upon it. Future productions of this play, however, will only be this good if they can rest on the kind of sharp-yet-solid fulcrum provided by Hoon Lee's performance as Hwang. In one of the region's best stage performances so far this year, Lee makes simultaneously getting the laughs and landing the punches look easy.

Ironically, Hwang credits stories in The New York Times with inspiring his M. Butterfly, the take on the Puccini opera that became a landmark Broadway hit in 1988 and made the 31-year-old the first Asian American playwright to win a Tony for Best Play. Whatever political capital came with his success was immediately tested when mega-producer Cameron Macintosh announced that Miss Saigon, which had opened its record-breaking London premiere in 1989, was heading to Broadway.

Lead Broadway roles for Asian Americans was a dream come true for the underappreciated theater community that Hwang found himself providing a public face. When Macintosh announced that he would bring his London stars, including Caucasian Jonathan Pryce as the Eurasian “Engineer,” to America, there were protests. The producer justified it by saying he could not find an Asian American good enough for the role. That just compounded the indignity, much like Attorney General Gonzalez did this year in attempting to soothe the feelings of fired U.S. attorneys by attributing his actions to their poor performance.
It was just the latest in a long list of show-business slights for Asian Americans. And in his newfound prominence, Hwang was faced with a lose-lose decision. He could be loyal to the commercial theater that had helped make him a star, or be an advocate for the community that had helped make him a man.

What transpired is both reported and satirized in Yellow Face, which incorporates Face Value, Hwang's failed mid-'90s spoof of these issues. As Spike Lee did with the hypocrisy of blackface in Bamboozled, Face Value did with yellowface, a performance style in which Caucasian actors tinted their skin and pulled their eyelids to evoke an Asian look. As bizarre as it sounds now, stars as big as Marlon Brando, Katherine Hepburn, and Mickey Rooney joined the ruse.

Like Bamboozled, Face Value could not work its brilliant satire into sustainable drama, and famously closed its Broadway run after previews. But, thanks to Yellow Face, it is now part of this hysterical history lesson.

(Hwang, who would also protest the depiction of the woman in Miss Saigon, gave a lecture in 1994, which provides additional context.)
Among the stand-outs in the cast are Tzi Ma in numerous roles including Hwang’s father, and Peter Scanavino, as the white man who becomes a leading Asian personality based on some resumé tinkering. (By putting him in The King and I, Hwang reminds us of Lou Diamond Phillips, who starred in a recent tour of that warhorse after gaining fame in La Bamba, directed by the same Luis Valdez who had his own casting nightmare with a Frida Kahlo biopic.)

Others who give multiple dimensions to multiple personalities are Julienne Hanzelka Kim, Lucas Caleb Rooney, Tony Torn, and Kathryn A. Layng, the real-life wife of the playwright who, despite Yellow Face's careful blurring, knows exactly where the newspaper ends and the fish-wrapper begins.

This world premiere is a co-production between Center Theatre Group in L.A. and The Public Theater in Manhattan. At press time, the Public’s press office confirmed that the play would be produced in its 2007-08 Season, but the exact slot was yet to be announced. The production is also made in association with East West Players, which America’s paper of record called “the nation’s pre-eminent Asian American theater troupe.” There will not be a separate run at East West – whose main stage is named for this playwright, and whose health is in part owed to his father. So that 10% of the ticket price will benefit East West, order tickets online and use code 8873.

CREDITS by David Henry Hwang,

Monday, January 14, 2008


January 14, 2008 -- You will be fun-loving and fancy-free over the coming 12 months. No matter what serious issues you are expected to deal with you will always find a reason to be cheerful and your positive attitude will rub off on those around you. Who says Capricorn is all work and no play?
f Today is Your Birthday: January 14

The Year Ahead
Forecast for January 2008 to January 2009

With Venus in a tense aspect to Uranus in your Solar Return, some disruptions in your friendships and attachments are possible this year. Unusual attractions (to people and things) can have you acting on a whim. You may deal with freedom versus closeness issues in your relationships. It may be that you experience sudden changes or breakups with a friend or lover. However, the chance of a sudden new friendship is just as likely. At the root of this is a stronger taste for the unusual. What is familiar is less exciting to you than what is new and different. If a relationship seems to threaten your sense of freedom, you may have an easy time separating from it. Some fireworks in both your social and financial lives are to be expected, keeping things fresh and exciting. The best way to handle this energy is to open yourself up to the need for change in your love life or with regards to how you spend and make money--or both. Get in touch with this need for new experiences and/or attitudes so that changes are not forced upon you.

Venus also forms a harmonious aspect to Neptune, however, and you are more imaginative and attuned to the world of beauty and romance this year. Gentleness with others is the best way to harness this energy and to attract what you want into your life. There could be truly "magical" times on a romantic and social level. You might even find and fall in love with the person of your dreams. Benefits come through paying attention to your dreams and intuitions.

Mercury in a hard aspect to Mars suggests some problems with hasty decision-making and a sharp tongue.

Mars opposes Pluto at the time of your birthday, adding quite a bit of intense energy to your year. You have powerful, transformative energy at your disposal this year, and much will depend on how you handle it. Channeled positively, you could move mountains when it comes to pushing your projects ahead. If mishandled, however, you could be argumentative, stressed, and hell-bent on having your way! Avoid taking extreme measures to make things happen your way, and avoid people who might be doing same. Deliberately trying to maneuver things in order to get the upper hand will be a lesson in frustration.

With Mars trine the Moon's North Node, you may be actively involved with teamwork and collaboration with others this year. This can also indicate an increased need for sexual union, as it stirs the passions and generally indicates ease in satisfying one's desires through positive connections with others. This aspect is one indication of getting engaged, married, the beginning of a significant new relationship, or the intensification of an existing romance.

Jupiter harmonizes with Saturn at the time of your birthday this year, suggesting a period of constructive accomplishment. In general, you are practical, realistic, and your judgment is especially sound--and you derive much satisfaction from practical accomplishment. The key to harnessing this wonderful energy is to identify and find pleasure in the simple things that make you happy. A nice balance between optimism and practicality is with you this year.

More involvement with groups enhances your life, and the ability to find a balance between optimism and practicality helps you to achieve your goals. Some intensity and a tendency to overdo is likely, however. Avoiding power struggles with others, and jumping into decisions before giving issues careful thought, will be necessary. While romantic ups and downs are likely, there could be some truly magical moments in your love life this year.

2008 is a Number Seven year for you. Ruled by Neptune. This is a year of preparation, chance, and refinement. It is not a time of dramatic changes. Instead, it's a year when reflection on the past is helpful, and when refinements to your life path should be made. It's a good year to study and analyze. Unexpected twists to your life story and "chance" meetings are probable. Advice - take stock of your life in order to prepare for more exciting years to come, examine the past and plan for the future, get in touch with your deepest needs and uncover your personal power, don't strain yourself or actively try to expand.

2009 will be a Number Eight year for you. Ruled by Saturn. This is a year of power and accomplishment. Actively seeking to expand, taking educated risks, and moving forward are highlighted. This is a year of opportunity, particularly in the material and business world, and opportunities need to be seized. It's generally not a year to find a new love partner, simply because the focus is on the material world and your place in the world. This is a problem-solving year in which you can expect real, tangible results. Advice - take action, plan ahead, seize opportunities.

our personal ruling planets are Saturn and Mercury.

The energies of these two powerful planets result in a most revolutionary and incredibly changeable destiny. You are cautioned to act with great care, lest your own power devour you. It is best for you not to act impulsively, nor to speculate, but to harness the gift of this great electrical and magnetic energy that you have been endowed with.

You are at a crossroad in your life in this incarnation, and will be confronted with choices as to whether to "buck the system" and authority or to use those forces to help you achieve your own ends. You may have had issues early in life that relate to your father and so must resolve those facets of your inner life to bring out the best in your love, marriage and relationships generally.

The only way you can achieve grand success in this life is through keeping your motives channelled along higher lines of action.

Your lucky colour is green.

Your lucky gems are Emerald, Aquamarine or Jade.

Your lucky days of the week are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Your lucky numbers and years of important change are 5, 14, 23, 32, 41, 50, 59, 68, 77.

Famous people born on your birthday include Albert Schweitzer, John Dos Passos, Julian Bond, Faye Dunaway and Emily Watson.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

3 mo tenors

Off-Broadway's Little Shubert Welcomes Three Mo' Tenors Sept. 12

By Andrew Gans
12 Sep 2007

Phumzile Sojola in Three Mo' Tenors.
photo by Zaven Khashikian

Three Mo' Tenors, which has played numerous dates in regional theatres around the country, arrives at Off-Broadway's Little Shubert Theatre Sept. 12.

The production — conceived, directed and choreographed by Marion J. Caffey — will officially open Sept. 27. Willette Murphy Klausner produces.

Described as "part opera, part jazz, part Broadway, all music and all passion," the production features two separate casts who take the stage, three at a time, at alternate performances. The singers who comprise Three Mo' Tenors include Kenneth Alston, James N. Berger Jr., Ramone Diggs, Duane A. Moody, Victor Roberson and Phumzile Sojola.

Theatregoers can expect to hear opera, jazz, gospel, soul, spirituals, new school, Broadway and the blues. Creator Caffey said in a previous statement, "Three Mo' Tenors is the zenith of versatility. Where else can you hear Usher, Pavarotti, Sondheim, and Marvin Gaye come out of the same two vocal chords?"

Show times are Tuesdays-Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 and 8 PM and Sundays at 2 and 6:30 PM.

Tickets, priced $75, are available by calling (212) 239-6200 or by visiting www.telecharge.com. The Little Shubert Theatre is located in Manhattan at 422 W. 42nd Street.

New Jerusalem

Spinoza Clashes With Community in Premiere of Ives' New Jerusalem, Opening Jan. 13

By Kenneth Jones
13 Jan 2008

David Ives, currently on a roll with his acclaimed adaptation of Mark Twain's Is He Dead? on Broadway, is represented Off-Broadway witn New Jerusalem, opening Jan. 13 after previews from Dec. 28.

Tony Award winner Richard Easton, plus Fyvush Finkel, David Garrison, Jenn Harris, Michael Izquierdo, Natalia Payne and Jeremy Strong star in the world-premiere drama, produced by Classic Stage Company in Manhattan.

Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie (Chicago, White Christmas, High Fidelity) directs the play, about the 1656 interrogation of the philosopher Baruch De Spinoza. The production continues to Feb. 3, at CSC's home at 136 East 13th Street.

In New Jerusalem, which is presented by special arrangement with commercial producer Robert Boyett, the Jewish community of Amsterdam interrogates Spinoza for his controversial ideas. The play "examines the clash between religion and modernity that Jews, Christians and Muslims are still, some 350 years later, struggling to reconcile," according to CSC.


Ives worked with CSC last season as the translator for Yasmina Reza's A Spanish Play, which starred Zoe Caldwell and Denis O'Hare. His translation of Feydeau's A Flea in Her Ear won a 2006 Jefferson Award in Chicago. His original plays include the popular collections of one-act comedies All in the Timing and Time Flies; Polish Joke; Canvas; and Saint Freud. He has adapted more than 30 classic musicals for the acclaimed City Center Encores! series.

New Jerusalem features set design by Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty, lighting by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, costumes by Anita Yavich, and sound design by Nevin Steinberg/Acme Sound Partners.

According to CSC notes, Baruch de Spinoza, born November 24, 1632, was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish origin. Today, he is considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, laying the groundwork for the 18th-century Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism. By virtue of his magnum opus, the posthumous "Ethics," Spinoza is also considered one of Western philosophy's definitive ethicists, and has been called "the absolute philosopher." In his early 20s, he became known in the Jewish community in Amsterdam for positions contrary to Jewish belief. On July 27, 1656, a convocation of his temple board was called, and a writ of kherem (excommunication) was issued against Spinoza. Although there is no record of what was said in the temple on that day, the precise terms of Spinoza's kherem have come down to us. The writ was severe, and never revoked. Following his excommunication, he adopted the name Benedictus, the Latin equivalent of Baruch; they both mean "blessed." Banished from Amsterdam, he earned his living as a lens grinder, and died at 44 on Feb. 21, 1677.

Richard Easton (Mortiera) appeared last season in the highly acclaimed, Tony Award-winning production of Tom Stoppard's The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center Theater. In 2002 he received the Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for his performance in Stoppard's The Invention of Love.

Jeremy Strong (Spinoza) most recently appeared at Playwrights Horizons in Richard Nelson's Frank's Home and John Patrick Shanley's Defiance at Manhattan Theater Club.

David Garrison (Van Valkenburgh) has appeared on Broadway in Wicked, Titanic, Torch Song Trilogy, Bells Are Ringing and A Day In Hollywood/A Night In Ukraine, for which he received a Tony nomination. On television he starred in "Married…With Children."

Fyvush Finkel (Ben Israel) is a major figure of the New York Yiddish theatre. In 1970 he assumed the role of Tevye in the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. In 1992 David Kelly cast him as attorney Douglas Wambaugh on the acclaimed CBS series "Picket Fences," for which he received an Emmy Award in 1994. He was most recently been seen in "Boston Public."

Director Walter Bobbie received the Tony Award as Best Director of a Musical for the current revival of Chicago, now in its 11th year on Broadway. His other Broadway directing credits include the recent revivals of Sweet Charity and Twentieth Century, and the original musicals High Fidelity and Footloose. He is the former artistic director of the NY City Center Encores! series. He is also director of the popular commercial production of Irving Berlin's White Christmas, seen in major markets around North America.

New Jerusalem will be performed Tuesday-Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM and Sundays at 3 PM. For tickets and information visit www.classicstage.org or call (866) 811-4111, or (212) 352-3101, or visit the CSC box-office, 136 E. 13th Street, Monday through Friday noon-6 PM.


CSC is under the leadership of artistic director Brian Kulick and executive director Jessica R. Jenen.

So, Young Mr. Spinoza, Just What Is Your Thinking About God?

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Published: January 14, 2008

In recent years the playwright David Ives has become better known as a theatrical plastic surgeon. He’s the man primarily responsible for nipping and tucking the wayward books of the wheezier Broadway musicals for the City Center Encores! series. And this season he did his level best to spray away the smell of mothballs from a previously unproduced play by Mark Twain, “Is He Dead?”

Mr. Ives’s latest act of literary ventriloquism is possibly his most challenging yet. In his new play “New Jerusalem,” which opened Sunday at the Classic Stage Company, Mr. Ives is channeling no less a thinker than Spinoza, the influential Jewish philosopher of the 17th century and a man not exactly known for his snappy humor.

Before Mr. Ives established a reputation as the best cut-and-paste man in the business, he was known for short comic plays presented in omnibus collections like “All in the Timing.” So is he kidding with this Spinoza business? Will the great thinker find reason to sport a pair of plastic Groucho glasses at some point?

The play’s sobering subtitle — “The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza at Talmud Torah Congregation: Amsterdam, July 27, 1656” — provides the answer. Intellectual persecution is not a laughing matter after all. Mr. Ives has strayed a long way from 42nd Street, into territory more suited, it would seem, to the likes of Tom Stoppard. One fears footnotes.

But Mr. Ives’s humor has always mixed the cerebral with the silly, so his daring leap into metaphysics is not entirely anomalous. In “New Jerusalem” he occasionally indulges his relish of a good wisecrack — “There is no Jewish dogma,” Spinoza quips, “only bickering” — but for the most part he takes off the clown mask and serves up a straight drama full of heady talk about God and nature and the essence of things. The play is a lumpy but generally engrossing primer on Spinoza’s radical thinking, presented in the classic style of a courtroom drama and buoyed by a skilled cast.

As that daunting subtitle suggests and students of philosophy will know, the play is based on actual events. Spinoza, a Portuguese Jew living in Amsterdam, was a brilliant scholar whose inquiries led him into territory that made trouble for his fellow Jews, who were graciously tolerated if not wholly welcomed into Dutch society.

The play opens with the brief for the prosecution from Abraham van Valkenburgh (David Garrison), a civic leader who is alarmed at rumors that the well-liked young man is spreading poisonous thought through the city. “He is a threat to the piety and morals of this entire city, and he and his ideas must be stopped,” he importantly intones. “The city’s regents send you this message: Abide by our laws, adhere to the regulations governing your community or face the consequences.”

Mr. Ives lays out the mechanics and the consequences of Spinoza’s interrogation in a debate among van Valkenburgh; the city’s chief rabbi, Saul Levi Mortera (Richard Easton), Spinoza’s teacher and mentor; and Gaspar Rodrigues Ben Israel (Fyvush Finkel), a “parnas” of the temple congregation, or member of the committee that will pass judgment on the case. At stake is possible excommunication from the religious fold, and indeed all social contact with the city’s Jewish establishment.

What exactly is Spinoza accused of? Oh, just general atheism and heretical questioning of key tenets of Judaism and Christianity. But before presenting the interrogations as a battle of ideas between Spinoza and his accusers, Mr. Ives gives us a snapshot portrait of the philosopher as a young man.

Idling at a tavern with a friend, Simon de Vries (Michael Izquierdo), the young Spinoza, who is played as a gentle-hearted genius by the engaging Jeremy Strong, speaks of his interest in things eternal and things mathematical, and the connections between the two. Later, exchanging confidences with a music teacher, Clara Van den Enden (Natalia Payne), to whom he is romantically devoted, he dismisses as “entertaining stories” many of the biblical tales she holds dear. “Nature, which is to say God, cannot depart from its own laws,” he explains in a friendly tone, as if speaking of simple sums.

Mr. Ives has studied his Spinoza and infuses the dialogue here and in the interrogation scenes with chunks of his later writings trimmed down to their essentials. There is no historical record of the actual testimony at the synagogue, so Mr. Ives has a free hand to present the conflict as a sort of impromptu seminar in Spinoza’s theology and philosophy, interrupted with skeptical questions from the opposing team.

For the most part the debate makes for lively if dense listening. Mr. Garrison huffs and fumes with convincing earnestness as the grand inquisitor, while Mr. Finkel’s slyly sympathetic Ben Israel does his best to find the good Jew underneath the iconoclastic thinking, at least until Spinoza begins picking apart the Articles of Faith.

Mr. Easton conveys Mortera’s divided heart with moving simplicity. Deeply fond of Spinoza and often swayed by his dazzling thinking, he nevertheless knows the welfare of the city’s Jews relies on the forbearance and good will of the Dutch Christian leaders.

The play has its unwieldy passages. The intrusion into the proceedings of Spinoza’s half sister Rebekah, her peevishness honed to strident intensity by Jenn Harris, is jarring and unconvincing. Rebekah’s long monologue excoriating Spinoza for his heresies adds little to the conversation, and her sudden conversion to his defense in the play’s last moments is bewildering. And like many another courtroom drama, “New Jerusalem” is often static.

But as Mr. Strong’s Spinoza parries each attack with good-natured ease, the debate mostly holds your attention. His Spinoza is perky and adorable, a brash but modest young fellow whose head is amusingly stuffed not with baseball statistics but with incisive conclusions about God, nature and the universe. You may have no idea what he’s going on about — Spinoza’s work is famously dense — but you can’t help rooting for the guy.

into the wild

Following His Trail to Danger and Joy

Published: September 21, 2007

There is plenty of sorrow to be found in “Into the Wild,” Sean Penn’s adaptation of the nonfiction bestseller by Jon Krakauer. The story begins with an unhappy family, proceeds through a series of encounters with the lonely and the lost, and ends in a senseless, premature death. But though the film’s structure may be tragic, its spirit is anything but. It is infused with an expansive, almost giddy sense of possibility, and it communicates a pure, unaffected delight in open spaces, fresh air and bright sunshine.

Some of this exuberance comes from Christopher Johnson McCandless, the young adventurer whose footloose life and gruesome fate were the subject of Mr. Krakauer’s book. As Mr. Penn understands him (and as he is portrayed, with unforced charm and brisk intelligence, by Emile Hirsch), Chris is at once a troubled, impulsive boy and a brave and dedicated spiritual pilgrim. He does not court danger but rather stumbles across it — thrillingly and then fatally — on the road to joy.

In letters to his friends, parts of which are scrawled across the screen in bright yellow capital letters, he revels in the simple beauty of the natural world. Adopting the pseudonym Alexander Supertramp, rejecting material possessions and human attachments, he proclaims himself an “aesthetic voyager.”

Mr. Penn serves as both his biographer and his traveling companion. After graduating from Emory University in 1990, Mr. McCandless set off on a zigzagging two-year journey that took him from South Dakota to Southern California, from the Sea of Cortez to the Alaskan wilderness, where he perished, apparently from starvation, in August 1992. “Into the Wild,” which Mr. Penn wrote and directed, follows faithfully in his footsteps, and it illuminates the young man’s personality by showing us the world as he saw it.

What he mostly saw was the glory of the North American landscape west of the Mississippi: the ancient woodlands of the Pacific Northwest, the canyons and deserts farther south, the wheat fields of the northern prairie and Alaska, a place that Mr. McCandless seemed to regard with almost mystical reverence. Mr. Penn, who did some of the camera work, was aided by the director of photography, Eric Gautier, who previously turned his careful, voracious eye on the wilds of South America in Walter Salles’s “Motorcycle Diaries.” That movie, like “Into the Wild,” finds epic resonance in a tale of youthful wandering and proposes that a trek through mountains, rivers and forests can also be a voyage of self-discovery.

Mr. Salles’s film, in which Gael García Bernal played Che Guevara, found a political dimension in its hero’s journey. And while Chris’s fierce rejection of his parents’ middle-class, suburban life contains elements of ideological critique, Mr. Penn and Mr. Krakauer persuasively place him in a largely apolitical, homegrown tradition of radical, romantic individualism.

An enthusiastic reader (with a special affinity for Tolstoy and Jack London), Chris is in many ways the intellectual heir of 19th-century writer-naturalists like John Muir and especially Henry David Thoreau, whose uncompromising idealism — “rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth” — he takes as a watchword. (Had he survived, Mr. McCandless might well have joined the ranks of latter-day nature writers like Edward Abbey and Bill McKibben.) His credo is perhaps most succinctly stated by Thoreau’s mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson, who advised that “the ancient precept, ‘Know thyself,’ and the modern precept, ‘Study Nature,’ become at last one maxim.”

One problem with this strain of American thought is that it sometimes finds expression in self-help nostrums and greeting-card sentiments. “If you want something in life, reach out and grab it,” Chris says to Tracy (Kristen Stewart), a teenage girl who develops a crush on him, collapsing Self-Reliance into something like an advertising slogan. But the movie’s theme, thankfully, is not so simple or so easily summed up in words.

Mr. Penn, even more than Mr. Krakauer, takes the Emersonian dimension of Chris McCandless’s project seriously, even as he understands the peril implicit in too close an identification with nature. The book took pains to defend its young protagonist against the suspicion that he was suicidal, unbalanced or an incompetent outdoorsman, gathering testimony from friends he had made in his last years as evidence of his kindness, his care and his integrity. The film, at some risk of sentimentalizing its hero, goes further, pushing him to the very brink of sainthood. After Chris offers wise, sympathetic counsel to Rainey (Brian Dierker), a middle-aged hippie he has befriended on the road, the older man looks at him with quiet amazement. “You’re not Jesus, are you?” he asks.

Well no, but it’s a comparison that Mr. Penn does not entirely discourage. (Note the final, man of sorrows image of Mr. Hirsch’s face and also an earlier shot of him floating naked in a stream, his arms extended in a familiar cruciform shape.) At the same time, though, “Into the Wild” resists the impulse to interpret Chris’s death as a kind of martyrdom or as the inevitable, logical terminus of his passionate desire for communion with nature.

Instead, with disarming sincerity, it emphasizes his capacity for love, the gift for fellowship that, somewhat paradoxically, accompanied his fierce need for solitude. Though he warns one of his friends against seeking happiness in human relationships — and also rails incoherently against the evils of “society” — Chris is a naturally sociable creature. And “Into the Wild” is populated with marvelous actors — including Mr. Dierker, a river guide and ski-shop owner making his first appearance in a film — who make its human landscape as fascinating and various as its topography.

The source of Chris’s wanderlust, and of the melancholy that tugs at the film’s happy-go-lucky spirit, is traced to his parents (William Hurt and Marcia Gay Harden), whose volatile marriage and regard for appearances begin to seem contemptible to their son. (His feelings for them are explained in voice-over by his younger sister, Carine, who is played by Jena Malone.)

Fleeing from his mother and father, Chris finds himself drawn, almost unwittingly, to parental surrogates: a rowdy grain dealer in South Dakota (Vince Vaughn), a retired military man in the California desert (Hal Holbrook) and Rainey’s companion, Jan (Catherine Keener), who seems both carefree and careworn.

Chris reminds some of these people of their own lost children, but all of them respond to something about him: an open, guileless quality, at once earnest and playful, that Mr. Hirsch conveys with intuitive grace. “You look like a loved kid,” Jan says, and “Into the Wild” bears that out in nearly every scene.

He is loved, not least, by Mr. Penn, who has shown himself, in three previous films (“The Indian Runner,” “The Crossing Guard” and “The Pledge”) to be a thoughtful and skilled director. He still is, but this story seems to have liberated him from the somber seriousness that has been his hallmark as a filmmaker until now. “Into the Wild” is a movie about the desire for freedom that feels, in itself, like the fulfillment of that desire.

Which is not to say that there is anything easy or naïve in what Mr. Penn has done. “Into the Wild” is, on the contrary, alive to the mysteries and difficulties of experience in a way that very few recent American movies have been. There are some awkward moments and infelicitous touches — a few too many Eddie Vedder songs on the soundtrack, for example, when Woody Guthrie, Aaron Copland or dead silence might have been more welcome — but the film’s imperfection, like its grandeur, arises from a passionate, generous impulse that is as hard to resist as the call of the open road.

“Into the Wild” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has profanity, brief nudity and some violent or otherwise upsetting scenes.


Friday, January 11, 2008


This is my new friend Brian. I met him on line waiting for Natalie Merchant. Brian and I talked the line away. He became my friend when in the bitter cold. He offered me his hat. We chatted the time away and he was joined by a friend. We continued to talk and we both realized we had tickets for Wednesday. During the show, we stood near but separated from each other and at the end of the show. We looked at each other and knew.. wednesday, whoever got there first. Would save space for each other.

Wednesday came and I was there first. We spent the waiting time together and then the show. At the end of the show, i told Brian I made a new friend.

Brian had many natalie stories to tell. He travelled to a number of shows during the Tigerlily tour and became friends with a NM bandmember so spent many nights back stage. He joined NM a few times on stage to sing. He told me a story of buying chocolates on Valentines day for his friend Jennifer and NM and here is the result..

Brian is a school teacher of 5th grade boys in a private school on the upper east and tutors. He is looking to relocate to Baltimore to be with his partner, Justin who is in medical school. They are the proud parents of two french bulldogs...

Heres Brian with more hair than he has now... he has a great new haircut....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

teh Malbone Street Wreck

Last night, after meeting a student, I got on the train at Canal Street and so didnt a small trollish man with whiskers like a motorman from 1900s. He could have worked at one of those dress up like the ages, character places like Plymouth Plantation. As we started over the Brooklyn Bridge, be started to yell out the History of the Bridge. Random Trivia facts about the Manhattan Bridge and ofcourse "the most famous bridge of all" The Brooklyn Bridge. He was a transpotter who i then referred to as the Q train tour guide. He even stopped talking on the Manhattan BRidge for people to use their cellphone, like a tour guide would.

His mission to tell us about the worst train wreck in NYC history right there on the brighton line in 1918, where 97 people were killed, second only to a crash earlier that year in Nashville where 100 died. The worst mass transit wreck not train crash in US history second to Nashville....

was the Malbone street wreck. The tour guide was not quite accurrate about the blame and how it all happened but it was good yarn and i learned something new and it was entertaining.....


First Car Crashes Into Tunnel Pier
and Other Cars Grind It to Splinters


Dispatcher, as Strike Motorman, Sends Crowded Train
to Doom at 70 Miles an Hour.


Rescue Hindered by Jam of Debris In Narrow Tunnel
-- Hardly a Soul Escapes from First Car.

A Brighton Beach Train of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, made up of five wooden cars of the oldest type in use, which was speeding with a rush hour crowd to make up lost time on its way from Park Row to Coney Island, jumped the track shortly before 7 o'clock last evening on a sharp curve approaching the tunnel at Malbone Street, in Brooklyn, and plunged into a concrete partition between the north and south bound tracks.

Nearly every man, women, and child in the first car was killed, and most of those in the second were killed or badly injured. Rescue work in the wreckage, jammed into the narrow tunnel, was extremely difficult, and the counting of the dead proceeded slowly. At 11 o'clock eighty-five bodies had been taken from the wreckage, and the police announced that no more bodies were in the tunnel. The names of many of the injured were not obtained, but the police estimate that at least 100 had been injured.

District Attorney Lewis announced at midnight that the train was being run by a train dispatcher. This man had been pressed into service in the rush hour because of the strike of motormen, which began in the early morning. At 2 o'clock this morning, as a result of the wreck, the motormen called off the strike, leaving the adjustment of their grievances to the Public Service Commission. The District Attorney ordered all the officials of the B.R.T who could have been responsible, and members of the train crew put under arrest. He said the B.R.T. officials had withheld the name of the man who was operating the train.

Mayor Hylan arrived at the Snyder Avenue Police Station shortly after midnight and consulted with District Attorney Lewis and Commissioner Enright as to what steps should be taken in ordering the arrest of the officials of the B.R.T.

Just before one o'clock this morning, the missing motorman, Anthony Lewis, who is 29 years old, was arrested at his home, 100 Thirty-third Street, Brooklyn, by Detectives McCord and Conroy, and brought to the Snyder Avenue station, where he was immediately taken into a room to be questioned by the District Attorney, Mayor Hylan, and the Police Commissioner.

After Motorman Lewis had been escorted to the Snyder Avenue Station and questioned, it was stated that his story indicated criminal negligence in hiring him to run the train. Mayor Hylan said:

"This man confessed that he had never run a train over that Brighton Beach line before. He also admitted that when running around that curve, he was making a speed of thirty miles an hour."

A post on the curve warns motormen not to go faster than six miles an hour in this part of the road. When he was asked at the examination why he had taken a job for which he was unfitted, Motorman Lewis replied: "A man has to earn a living." He said that the only experience he had had in running a motor was in switching about a year ago, but that he had been taking instruction for two days on the B.R.T. before running the train yesterday.

On the way to Flatbush the motorman said he had no intention of running away. He said he remembered nothing until he found himself at home, following the accident. He does not know how he managed to get out of the wreck, nor how he got home. He says he has an indistinct recollection of having boarded a trolley car but cannot remember what car it was. He was seated in a chair, pale as death, when the detectives reached his home. He was very nervous and seemed to be on the verge of a collapse.

After the conference with District Attorney Lewis at the Snyder Avenue Police Station, Mayor Hylan said:

"I have ordered Police Commissioner Enright to station policemen at every terminal and carbarn from which trains leave, with instructions not to permit any green motormen to take out a train. No man will be permitted to run a train, unless he has had at least three months experience."

Mayor Hylan said that he did not wish to discuss the legal and possible criminal phases of the accident until he had completed his investigation.

District Attorney Lewis, after his conference with Mayor Hylan said:

"I have ordered Colonel Timothy s. Williams, the president of the B.R.T. and Vice President John J. Dempsey to appear at my office today and give me an explanation of Lewis's running the train".

A few minutes before the accident the motorman missed a switch, according to passengers, went some distance on a wrong track and then backed up and switched again to the Brighton Beach line for Coney Island. After that the train moved at such high speed as to frighten many passengers. Some thought the motorman had lost control of the train, and others supposed he was going at unprecedented speed to make up for time he had lost. A naval officer who was a passenger said the train was making fully seventy miles an hour when it left the track.
Rams Concrete Partition.

The first car left the rails a few feet in front of the opening of the tunnel and rammed one end of a concrete partition separating the northbound from the southbound tracks. It was thrown at right angles across the roadbed in front of the entrance to the tunnel. The other cars cut right through it, the second car smashing it to bits and the whole train passing over the wreckage and coming to a stop 200 feet down the tracks inside the tunnel.

Packed together as in a box without structural strength to give them any protection, the passengers in the first car were crushed and cut to pieces. Not one is believed to have escaped. After breaking through the first car, the rest of the train dashed it against the partition wall and strewed wreckage and passengers along the tracks ahead, where the wheels of the cars following passed over them. Only splintered fragments of wood and broken and twisted bits of iron and steel remained of the first car.

The second and third cars, leaving the rails after their impact with the first, ran sidewise into a series of iron pillars supporting the roof of the tunnel at intervals beside the partition. The pillars cut great gashes in the sides of the cars, which were still traveling at high speed, and mowed down the passengers who were standing striking the heads of some from their bodies.

The left sides of the second and third cars were stripped away. Scores of men, women, and children were flung by the impact out of these cars against pillars and the concrete wall, where they were killed instantly or ground under the wheels after falling back upon the tracks. Some who were not flung from the car were killed inside when they fell upon the broken iron of seats, splintered timbers and iron beams which projected through the shattered bottoms of the car. Passengers on the platforms were nearly all killed instantly. One dead man was found impaled on a broken bar of iron, which had run underneath the car, but which broke and shot up into the air like a javelin in the crash.

Firemen who took part in the rescue work said the second and third cars had fallen over so that one side formed the floor, and the passengers were heaped upon one another, some dead some dying, some slightly injured and some unhurt, but all so tightly gripped in the wreckage and so menaced by steel and wooden splinters that movement was impossible. Bodies were found with only slight marks of injures, indicating death by suffocation. Small fires were reported to have started but these, it was said, lasted only long enough to cause terror to still conscious persons imprisoned in the wreckage.

Most of the passengers in the two rear cars escaped without serious injury, although nearly every one was cut by glass or bruised when thrown from his seat. They were packed so tightly in these two cars that the force of the shock was broken. Women became hysterical when they learned what had happened in the front cars.

The rear cars were without light, and when the passengers made their way into the tunnel, they found themselves in total darkness. Many who tried to reach the forward cars in answer to the cries of the injured found their way cut off by masses of broken wood and twisted steel which barred the entrance to the second and third cars. There was no access to eitehr of these cars and no means of escape for the survivors, who were pinned by broken seats or jutting timbers from the roof, sides, and floor of the car, so that they could not move. Some were pressed against dead bodies, and others jammed until they were smothered against wounded or fainting passengers
Delay in Rescue Work

Because of the position and the nature of the accident there was a delay in spreading the alarm and police and firemen were not notified for fifteen or twenty minutes. It was nearly three-quarters of an hour before an organized attempt at rescue could be made.

The word that a terrible accident had occurred, with little detail as to the place, or time, spread quickly over the borough. As a large part of the people in Brooklyn have fathers, husbands, sons, and daughters traveling home in the rush hours thousands of persons were alarmed. When the place of the accident became generally known great crowds gathered there trying to learn the fate of friends or to satisfy curiosity, and the work of the police and fireman was for a time greatly embarrassed by those who crowded forward as bodies were being lifted up the side of the open cut which approached the tunnel.

Reserves from six precincts were sent to keep back the throngs which filled the streets near the wreck and ambulances arrived from every hospital in the borough. Scores of doctors and nurses were sent from the Department of Charities. Aid was given promptly by women and ambulances of the Women's Motor Corps of America. Women of the motor corps went into the tunnel to aid in carrying out the injured women and children. Some of the desperately injured breathed their last in the arms of these women.

District Attorney Harry E. Lewis of Kings County and Police Commissioner Enright, who started an inquiry into the causes of the wreck at the Snyder Avenue Police Station with Timothy S. Williams, president and other officials and Messrs. Whitney, Kracke and Hervey of the Public Service Commission present, expressed the positive opinion that the accident was caused by the negligence of the motorman of the wrecked train.
Due to Recklessness

"The accident was undoubtedly due to the negligence and to the recklessness of the motorman," said Mr. Lewis. "This man was drafted from another department to run this train, and we are searching for him. He disappeared immediately after the accident and apparently he was aided in making his escape. We are searching also for the other men who were in charge of the train. "From information in my possession he was traveling at a highly excessive rate of speed around this curve and disregarded the signals. When his car jumped the track the second, third, and forth cars were buckled and smashed. These three cars were old-fashioned wooden coaches, and at least twenty-five years old. The first and fifth cars of the five car train were motor cars, but they were of wood like the others.

"All five cars were loaded to the gates with people. Directly after the accident happened the motorman, Lewis, disappeared and I heard that he had been spirited away by one of the claims adjustors in the employ of the B.R.T. I have ordered his arrest, and sent a notification to the company to produce the man forthwith. I also went to the home of Turner, the conductor of the train who was in his bed under police surveillance suffering from an injury to his hip received in the accident. Turner said the train was going at a fast rate around the curve. Lewis was known as a train dispatcher at Brighton Beach and it was his first trip with a train".

Mayor Hylan visited the scene of the wreck last night, went down the ladder and into the tunnel, where he viewed the wreckage, from which bodies and parts of bodies were still being taken. His first remark was: "Wooden cars." Later he said: "I believe this this is the result of employing an inexperienced motorman and the use of all wooden cars. I shall make an investigation tomorrow and see if the B.R.T. cannot be compelled to stop using 'green' motormen."

He left the accident to go to the Flatbush Avenue Police Station to confer with District Attorney Lewis.

Commissioner Enright went to the wreck to direct the police, in their efforts to find the names of the men who were running the train. They found none of the officials of the transit company were able to give them the names because the regular men were not in their places on account of the strike. The police reported to the Commissioner that officials of the B.R.T and employees as well had showed disinclination to aid in discovering the names of the motorman and guards.

By direction of the Commissioner and District Attorney Lewis, Acting Captain Jon Coughlin, in command of the Sixth Branch Detective Bureau, confined the efforts of his men last night to search for the motorman and other employees.

Police and firemen, making their way by the light of lanterns into the tunnel. and moving cautiously among wreckage and dead bodies, chopped openings into the second and third cars and then began the painful task of lifting wounded men, women, and children from the tangle of steel, glass and sharp splinters which stuck out like bayonets in all directions, some of the having already pierced those in the cars.

Those able to walk or to be helped along were carried to a concrete buttress at the right ride of the cut which made a path about two feet wide and sloping inward. Those not badly injured were supported up a ladder running up the side of the open cut to the street. One woman, who had escaped uninjured from one of the cars which had suffered least, fell from the ladder, but was caught by a fireman just below her.

Cradles of burlap were made for the recovered bodies. These were made fast by ropes and hoisted by firemen and policemen to the street level, where they were laid out in rows and then carried to police stations.

While surgeons were hastily binding wounds by lantern light, inside the tunnel, priests were administering last rites to the dying and to bodies of those apparently killed instantly, but in whom it was thought possible that a spark of life might linger.
Thousands Seek Friend

Tens of thousands of men and women went to the police stations where the bodies were taken, The number of those fearing they had lost relatives made the identification of the dead a slow and difficult process in the midst of affecting scenes. The bodies were finally removed to the Kings County Morgue.

The telephone service in Brooklyn was overburdened until communication was almost impossible by thousands of families seeking news of members who came home by this line and had not arrived. The wreckage put an end to Brighton Beach traffic, holding up tens of thousands on trains which followed it. Many of those who were delayed had to take long walks to overcrowded street cars, that that practically all the ordinary travelers on this line, who did not get through the tunnel before the wreck, were an hour too two late in getting home. In the meantime their families had in many cases become alarmed and had gone to the place of the wreck in search of news, so that their reunion did not take place until late in the evening, after many hours of suspense and dread.

Those fearful that they had lost relatives in the wreck reported them as missing at the police stations nearest the accident, and the list soon grew to several hundred. Most of the detectives in Brooklyn were put to work by Police Commissioner Enright aiding in the identification of bodies. Many of the bodies were in such a state that identification may never be made. Women and girls, it is thought will be in the majority when the list of the dead is finally made up.

For a long time last night Charles Ebbets Jr., was very uncertain as to the fate of his father, the President of the Brooklyn Baseball Club. The young man was to have met his father at Ebbets Field about the time the collision occurred, and he feared that the elder Ebbets might have been on board the ill-fated train. The young man after working the telephone for an hour or so, was finally able to get tidings of his father, who was making a four-minute speech in the War Savings Stamp campaign. The young man threw open Ebbets Field for the treatment of the less seriously injured. About fifty of those not badly injured were attended there by physicians who had volunteered for this work.
A Survivor's Story

Walter H. Simonson, a civil engineer and President of the American Lead Burning Company at 30 Church Street, who was a passenger in the third car of the train, said the wreck was caused in his opinion by the speed maintained by the motorman on the curved tracks leading into the subway beneath Malbone Street, at the approach to the new station at Prospect Park. Mr Simonson, who lives at 935 East Thirteenth Street, Flatbush, gave this account of his experience in the wreck:

"I entered the car at the Flatbush station, At the Franklin Avenue Station, where the tracks curve away from the Fulton Street tracks, and which the train should have followed, the motorman, instead continued upon the Fulton line for a block or more. The the train was backed across a switch to the Park Row tracks, and thence onto another switch, and finally over to the Coney Island tracks. Instantly the speed of the train was increased, even at the curve at the Franklin Avenue Station, so much so that many of the passengers showed nervousness."

"At the Park Place station where the tracks begin on a down grade, the motorman seemed to continue the same speed, apparently to make up for the delay at the Franklin Avenue switch, and this speed continued at the curve to the entrance of the tunnel. As the wheels hit the tracks of this curve under Malbone Street I felt the car rise from the rails and turn partly over, striking against the concrete pier at the entrance to the tunnel with such force as to tear out the entire side of the car."

"The left side of the car crumpled against the concrete wall. The car seats were torn apart and the men and women jammed among them, and down on them came the roof of the car. We sideswiped the wall for a car length or more before the train was stopped. My head bumped against a wooden column in the side of the car that was not demolished with all the other woodwork, but this protected me from contact with the concrete wall."

"Every light in the car was extinguished. When I partly recovered my dazed senses I found myself pinned down at the neck with a beam from the roof. I got free and assisted two men to get out through a window on the opposite side. His the cars been of steel construction instead of wood such an accident could not have had such disastrous results."

Mr. Simonson said the car was crowded, many of the men and women standing.
Crash Heard a Mile Away

The series of crashes that demolished the train against the immovable sides of the narrow tube in which it was traveling was heard for blocks, and policemen on post near Flatbush Police Station in Snyder Avenue, almost a mile away from the enclosed tube, reported to the superiors in the station their belief that a great accident had occurred somewhere in Prospect Park.

Thousands of persons living in the vicinity heard the noise, and those within a few blocks of the tube heard the cries of the injured a few moments after the demolition had ceased. Immediately the station employees on the Brooklyn Rapid Transit and all the near-by stations, as well as policemen and civilians who had heard the noise sent telephone calls to the police and fire stations.

The policemen and firemen did not reach the open breach where the road enters the tunnel before hundreds of civilians, and the police had difficulty driving back the crowds. All this added to the general confusion, and before the police had been able to drive the crowds back other thousands, from trains that had been stopped at other stations along the line for passengers to alight, ran to the tunnels only to form an immense barricade against the efforts of the policemen, the firemen and others who were trying to beat their way into the tunnel to aid the injured.

Exerting great efforts under the direction of Inspector Murphy, in charge of the police for the borough, the police managed in time to drive back the crowds so that the rescuers worked without being hampered, but occasionally a person anxious about the safety of a relative would break through the lines and run to the tunnel.

The first man to emerge from the tunnel was almost divested of clothing. His coat and trousers had been ripped from him; he had only one shoe, and was without hat, collar, and tie. His face was bleeding from many gashes and is left arm was useless. The crowd divided for him to pass through and before the police could get his name he was taken into an ambulance bu a surgeon from the Kings County Hospital and hurried away.

Before many minutes had passed scores of persons, most of them men, struggled out of the tube with the assistance of policemen, and other who had made their way through to the high piled wreckage. Many others injured did not have enough strength to leave the tube and lay upon the concrete emergency walk at the sides of the tunnel, helpless.

Officials of the Edison Company heard of the difficulty of the work in the dark, and gangs of men were sent to set up a system of emergency lights. For more than a block around the entrances of each end of the tube was made as light as if searchlights were playing.

The first rescuers found that they would be unable to give much assistance to the injured or to bring out the bodies at once, because the wreckage was jammed so tightly into the tube that no crevice or opening was left. They had to tear away the debris piece by piece, to uncover the bodies and to release the injured. As they worked, carrying the wreckage out at the mouth of the tube they found parts of human bodies, with purses, books, newspapers, broken packages, shreds of apparel, and here and there some breakable article that remained unbroken and unscratched.

The wreck occurred the evening of November 1, 1918 at 6:22PM, during the last days of World War I. An elevated train, consisting of five cars constructed primarily of wood, entered the tunnel portal beneath Malbone Street, negotiating a curve designated to be taken at six miles per hour (9.6 km/h) at a speed estimated at between 30 and 40 mph (48-65 km/h). The trailing truck of the first car derailed, and the two following cars completely left the tracks, tearing off their left-hand sides and most of their roofs. The first and fourth cars sustained relatively minor damage, while the second and third cars were severely damaged, the third so badly that it was dismantled on the spot. The fifth suffered no damage at all. The motorman was not injured and left the scene of the accident.