Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 1, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of May 1, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
When the first George Bush ran for U.S. President in 1988, he worried that he and his wife Barbara appeared less affectionate in public than their opponents, Michael and Kitty Dukakis. "Sweetsie," he wrote to her, "Look at how Mike and Kitty do it. Try to be closer in, more romantic on camera. I am practicing the loving look, and the creeping hand. Yours for better TV and more demonstrable affection. Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo." Though my moral principles make it tough to ask you to imitate any president named Bush, it's my astrological duty to do that, at least in this one matter. Your Love Quotient has got to go way, way up. So please: Practice the loving look and the creeping hand. And find an excuse to call someone "sweetie-pie-coo-coo." [Source: My Dear President: Letters Between Presidents and Their Wives.]

Monday, April 28, 2008

tribeca Film Festival time

Lake CIty

Lake City
When her family is threatened by violent criminals, a mother and son must reconcile the past in order to save their home. Powerful performances by Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity highlight this potent drama, also featuring Dave Matthews and Rebecca Romijn.

Behind the Screens: The April 26th screening will be followed by a discussion between actress Sissy Spacek and Variety's Dade Hayes.
Dade Hayes asked the most benign and insignificant questions of this great american film actor. The audience asked smarter, sharper questions. Hayes had an hour to talk to SS and he used 20 minutes. He asked elementary questions like, motivation, script selection and time off as a career arc. Sensory memory, hollywood likes 50 year old women and raising kids were SS answers. DUH!!!!

Missed opportunity

STRANGERS In Berlin, an Israeli man and a Palestinian woman accidentally swap backpacks on their way to the World Cup. Meeting again, they discover an instant connection, but can two people from the same land but different worlds transcend the larger struggle between their communities?

ZEN of Bobby V
Former New York Mets manager Bobby Valentine took his baseball expertise to Japan in 2004. This film follows a season in the life of an American who has become an admired icon-and a primary reason that baseball remains Japan's most popular sport.

celebrity sightings

Pete Yarrow at Whole Foods with daughter and Granddaughter

Sissy Spacek at a screening of Lake city

american tune

The Roches-American Tunes
The Roches-Another Galaxy
The Roches-Cecelia
Paul Simon-50 Way to Leave Your Lover
Paul Simon-Mrs. Robinson
Grizzly Bear-Graceland
Grizzly Bear- Mother and Child Reunion
Olu Dara-Slip Slidin' Away
Olu Dara-Still Crazy After All These Years
Josh Grobin-America
Josh Grobin-Silent Eyes
Josh Grobin w/ Paul Simon-Bridge Over Troubled Water
Amos Lee-Peace Like a River
Amos Lee-Nobody
Amos Lee-Homeward Bound
Gillian Welch/David Rawlings-Gone at Last
Gillian Welch/David Rawlings-Duncan
Gillian Welch/David Rawlings w/ Paul Simon on guitar-Boxer
Gillian Welch/David Rawlings w/ Paul Simon-Sound of Silence
Paul Simon-Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Paul Simon-Train in the Distance
Paul Simon-How Can You Live in the Northeast?
Paul Simon w/ the Roches as backup singers -The Only Living Boy in New York
Paul Simon-Late in the Evening

Friday, April 25, 2008

Paul Simon: American Songs

Paul Simon: American Songs
(Brooklyn Academy of Music Howard Gilman Opera House; 2,100 seats; $95 top)
Presented inhouse. Opened and reviewed April 23, 2008. Closes April 27.

Performers: Paul Simon, the Roches, Josh Groban, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Amos Lee, Olu Dara, Grizzly Bear.

The final program in the Brooklyn Academy of Music's monthlong salute to one of Gotham's greatest pop exports may have been the most mainstream of the bunch -- following on the heels of a reframing of "Capeman" and a survey of his forays into African music -- but neither Paul Simon nor his collaborators for the evening were willing to coast through the perf on familiarity alone.

Much as he did at the previous two events, Simon hovered in the background for a good chunk of "American Songs," providing sweet vocal counterpoint and a shot or two of Queens-kid verve. He filled that role well enough, bringing a relaxed, low-key vibe to much of the two-hour set, but not surprisingly, the aud responded most enthusiastically to the solo performances that served as bookends for the program.

Simon dusted off his old-school street smarts -- as well as sassiest delivery -- for a strutting, spot-on version of "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" before ceding the stage to new-generation Brooklynites Grizzly Bear, who delivered lovingly deconstructed takes on "Graceland" and "Mother and Child Reunion."

Cornetist Olu Dara took things even further afield during his stint in the spotlight, digging deep into the bones of "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" and "Slip Slidin' Away" to reveal a surprisingly rich marrow of funk secreted inside. The same couldn't be said for Josh Groban, who flattened the highs of "America" and failed to approximate the ethereal tone of Simon's old partner Art Garfunkel when he and the evening's honoree duetted on "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

Gillian Welch acquitted herself far more stirringly when sparring with Simon on "The Boxer" and "Sound of Silence." Sans Simon, Welch and partner David Rawlings offered up a scooting rendition of "Gone at Last" that captured every bit of the original's feistiness.

Simon returned to close out the evening with a passel of songs that showcased the breadth of his pop skills, including a thoughtful "Train in the Distance" and a winsome "Only Living Boy in New York" that gained extra buoyancy from the harmonies of the Roches.

Simon closed the proceedings alone with a reverberating "Late in the Evening" that lived up to the song's lyrical boast that "it was late in the evening and I blew that room away."

Capricorn Horoscope for week of April 24, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of April 24, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
I've got three messages for you. They may seem unrelated, but by this time next week you will see that they are intimately interconnected. 1. Unless you were raised in the woods by badgers, it's a perfect moment to slip into your second childhood. 2. Unless you really can't stand having your mind changed, it's an excellent time to launch a daring project that would have seemed impossible to the person you were a year ago. 3. People unsympathetic to your cause may think you're in the throes of delusions of grandeur, but those of us who have faith in your untapped powers say they're not delusions but viable fantasies.

Simon and Song Reunion: Celebrating a Life’s Work

Simon and Song Reunion: Celebrating a Life’s Work

Published: April 25, 2008

“Where’s Paul?” somebody shouted during a lull halfway through “American Tunes,” the final stretch of Paul Simon’s monthlong residency at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. This indecorous question roused just a bit of awkward applause. Then the stage lights brightened, and out walked ... Josh Groban. That’s pretty funny, as cosmic rejoinders go.

In some regards Mr. Simon was a constant presence throughout the concert, which took a retrospective spin through his songbook, reaching back to the Simon and Garfunkel years. He did perform, at the top of the program (briefly) and toward the end (generously). But he also lurked in the cadences and convolutions of the songs, regardless of who was singing them. In an evening with many guest stars and some excellent performances, the focus never strayed from his wry and searching narrative voice.

Some artists were reverential, for better or worse. The Roches — a trio of sisters with a long history in commercial folk music and credits on the album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” — opened the concert with “American Tune,” sounding pious if not quite pitch precise. (Later they mangled “Cecilia.” It wasn’t their night.)

Mr. Groban, whose chaste and luminous singing style places him squarely on Art Garfunkel’s side of the fence, made hay with “America,” a song he has lately honed on tour. (His earnestness worked to his favor on one of the song’s pivotal lines, “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.”) The singer-songwriter Amos Lee was equally straightforward but much more low-key with “Peace Like a River,” fingerpicking an acoustic guitar and singing in a honeyed tone.

The Brooklyn indie-rock band Grizzly Bear took a more liberal approach, producing haunting results. “Mother and Child Reunion,” an upbeat tune, became something stark and slightly warped, as though it had been left out in the sun too long. “Graceland” was even better, thanks to the harmonic recasting of Daniel Rossen, Grizzly Bear’s principal guitarist and singer, who has recorded the song. Adding to its mystery here was a shifting pulse by the drummer Christopher Bear. At one point he evoked the famous drumbeat for another classic tune, “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.”

The program included a decently insouciant version of “50 Ways,” by the Mississippi bluesman Olu Dara. Backed by an attentive electric band, he took its lyrics almost as a suggestion, except during a single iteration of the chorus. His casual tone did less to carry “Still Crazy After All These Years,” set as a shuffle: it felt unstructured and glib.

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings struck the evening’s best balance between faithfulness, care and reinvention. With their impeccable vocal harmonies and effervescent guitar playing, they made “Gone at Last” into an edge-of-the-seat bluegrass romp. And their quieter take on “Duncan” was stunning, as Ms. Welch sang in a warm and weathered tone and Mr. Rawlings keened above her, at hairline intervals.

Mr. Simon joined them for a couple of his landmark songs, “The Boxer” and “Sound of Silence,” as he had done earlier with Mr. Groban on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” In each case he sang in his silvery and conversational style, harmonizing graciously. The songs themselves felt stout and impassive, like features of a familiar landscape.

By contrast “Mrs. Robinson” brought out Mr. Simon’s playful side: together with his superb working band, led by the multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart, he imbued the song with elasticity and whimsy. He was even friskier on “Train in the Distance,” which marshaled the full forces of the band during a surging coda, and “Late in the Evening,” a show-stopping encore, complete with horns.

And in a concert steeped in nostalgia, it was gratifying to see Mr. Simon offer something new — “How Can You Live in the Northeast?” from his 2006 album “Surprise” (Warner Brothers) — with gusto and conviction. “I have harvested and I’ve planted,” he sang as the band surged hard behind him, sounding utterly at ease.

“American Tunes” continues through Sunday at the Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; (718) 636-4100; sold out.
Paul SImon Photos

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Still Innovative After All These Years

Still Innovative After All These Years

April 22, 2008

The tribute concert — sometimes scary, sometimes thrilling — is a tricky concept. It can be a venal and indulgent celebrity death match, where pop stars du jour compete to deliver the lamest cover versions of a classic song simply because their management insisted they be there. Or, a tribute show can yield quirky epiphanies by turning overfamiliar material sideways and reclaiming a song from the dusty jukebox of the mind.

As the Brooklyn Academy of Music's monthlong series of concerts devoted to the music of Paul Simon concludes this week, it's clear that this comprehensive mini-festival is striving for the unexpected. This week's performances, which will showcase Mr. Simon's "American Tunes," don't immediately promise some of the inherent magnetism of the two previous themed programs in the BAM series: "Under the African Skies," which revived Mr. Simon's ground-breaking fusion of New York urbanity and South African township music on the classic "Graceland" album, and "Songs from 'The Capeman,'" which showcased the only thing people seemed to like about Mr. Simon's maligned 1997 musical.

This week's shows, which begin tomorrow and run through Sunday, focus primarily on the songwriter's pre-"Graceland" body of work, but take in some of his more recent fare. The material ranges from the cringingly overexposed "Bridge Over Troubled Water" to the witty ironies and bittersweet asides of his most popular 1970s solo albums, "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" and "Still Crazy After All These Years," and on to the overlooked "Surprise," a 2006 collaboration with ambient-music kingpin Brian Eno. The guest performers include some names a Simon fan would probably expect, like the plaintive singer-songwriter Gillian Welch, and the Roche Sisters — New York folk music royalty whose 1975 debut album was produced by Mr. Simon. The same can be said of the house band, with its assortment of session professionals (drummer Steve Gadd, percussionist Cyro Baptista) and musicians whose association with Mr. Simon dates from the "Rhythm of the Saints" days (namely the wizardly Cameroonian guitarist Vincent Nguini).

But Mr. Simon, apparently, likes to shake things up. "I knew about him, but if I had heard his music I wouldn't have known," the Harlem performer Olu Dara, a jazz musician turned bluesy raconteur, said recently. Mr. Dara sups deeply on the same gumbo of traditional American sounds as Mr. Simon, but in all their mutual decades of playing in New York they had never crossed paths until two months ago. Mr. Dara, who will bring his smooth and devilish Mississippi wiles to bear on "Still Crazy" and "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover," made contact with Mr. Simon via an unanticipated third party: the young neo-soul singer Joss Stone, who suggested Mr. Simon check out Mr. Dara, who was conveniently playing a date in Norwalk, Conn., not too far from Mr. Simon's residence.

"The best thing about it is I get to do the songs the way I want to do them," Mr. Dara said. The 67-year-old performer has an interesting method. He's learning the material through his guitarist, who sings the lyrics to him. "He can't sing, either. It's like a handicap. I like handicaps. I love to create things off the top of my head. That keeps it really fresh. I can't wait to see [Mr. Simon's] face when I do it."

During the 1980s, Mr. Dara was known as one of the city's leading jazz cornet players. He played alongside a budding Wynton Marsalis in a brass group known as the New York Hot Trumpets, and he was featured on one of that decade's greatest jazz albums, David Murray's "Ming." He later picked up a guitar and recorded a couple of belated albums for Atlantic Records, but only after his son, the rapper Nas, became a hip-hop icon. These days, Mr. Dara prefers to sing, mostly. But he likes to play a little pocket trumpet. "I saw these horns for $199," he said. "Little kids were playing them. Their parents thought it was a toy. I thought, this is a really beautiful thing."

That spirit of spontaneity also abides in Grizzly Bear, the Brooklyn-based experimental rock band that also seems to have stumbled onto the "American Tunes" roster through a side door. Again, there was a third party involved, this time the Canadian singer-songwriter Feist, with whom the band shares a manager. Mr. Simon, whose son is a huge Feist fan, was at her sound check for an appearance on "Saturday Night Live" the same day that Grizzly Bear was performing in the city.

"She mentioned that we do a cover of 'Graceland,' and an hour later he showed up at our concert," Chris Bear, the drummer for Grizzly Bear, said. They all hit it off, and before long Grizzly Bear was hunkered down in its Greenpoint rehearsal space cooking up a new version of "Mother and Child Reunion." Mr. Simon dropped in one day and gave an impromptu performance.

"I doubt if anyone in the band has a super-deep connection to 'Mother and Child Reunion,'" Mr. Bear said. He grew up listening to "Graceland" and "The Rhythm of the Saints," Mr. Simon's richly percussive, Brazilian-themed follow-up. "It's sort of a fun Paul Simon reggae song. But we took it completely out of that context and created our own relationship with it. He's got a very specific lyrical style, often with a lot of words. He tells whole stories. As a band, we are mostly on the brief side with lyrics."

Mr. Bear (his real surname) wasn't quite sure how it would work out yet, he said. "But I hope it meets his expectations."

"Paul Simon: American Tunes" runs between Wednesday and Sunday at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (30 Lafayette Ave., between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street, Brooklyn, 718-636-4100

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge (haiku)

Sunrise on the bridge
light splashing through the arches
joggers chasing dreams
Brooklyn Bridge (haiku)

Sunrise on the bridge
light splashing through the arches
joggers chasing dreams

earth day

what the president has not done

The President has not done enough to preserve the earth.


dot earth

Brando at the Seder by Louie Kemp

a story that was in the L.A. Jewish Journal about a Passover Seder that Marlon Brando was invited to. This was published last year in the LA Jewish Journal and this year some other papers are running it - written by Louis Kemp, of Kemp Seafoods.

Brando at the Seder by Louie Kemp

You might remember him as Don Vito Corleone, Stanley Kowalski or the eerie Col. Walter E. Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, but I remember Marlon Brando as a mensch and a personal friend of the Jewish people when they needed it most.

I got to know Marlon about thirty years ago through a mutual friend. His son, Christian, came to work for me in fisheries I owned in Alaska and Minnesota. Marlon impressed me as a dedicated parent. He would often call me to check on his boy with all the tenacity and loving concern of a Jewish mother: Was he eating enough? Did he get to work on time?
Was he hanging out with the right people?

Christian was a great kid. He worked hard, had a good attitude and earned the respect of all his co-workers.

In the mid-1970s, when I would visit Los Angeles from my home in Minnesota, Marlon and I would get together. I was becoming increasingly involved in my religion and he would tell me with great pride and satisfaction about his support for Israel even before it became a State. Marlon explained that in 1946, two years before Israel achieved statehood, he desperately believed that the survivors of the Holocaust deserved to have their own land where they could live free from oppression and the anti-Semitic tyranny of the outside world.

True to form, Marlon put his money where his mouth was and donated all of his proceeds from the play, 'A Flag Is Born,' to the Irgun, a Zionist political group dedicated to rescuing European Jewry and the establishment of Israel as an independent sovereign nation. He continued his donations and charitable work over the entire two-year run of the play as it went from Broadway to touring destinations around the United States.

'A people that fought so hard to survive need and deserve their own land,' he told me. 'I did all that I could and actively supported Israel's statehood anyway I was able.'

Marlon also told me with great emotion that his success in theater and movies was largely due to the Jewish people in New York who befriended and taught him. He warmly mentioned Stella Adler, the legendary acting coach who both taught Marlon his craft and housed him with her family while he was getting on his feet as an actor. He was also especially proud of the fact that he could converse in Yiddish, having learned it while living with her family.

One of my visits to Los Angeles coincided with Passover. I was not yet Orthodox and made plans to attend a seder at a local synagogue with my sister. Marlon called me that very day and invited me out to dinner. I graciously declined, explaining that it was Passover and I was going to a seder.
Marlon became audibly excited over the phone and said, 'Passover -- I've always wanted to attend a seder.
Can I come with you?' He had made me an offer I couldn't refuse. I told him it could be arranged and called the synagogue to add one more to our list.

A short time later, Marlon called me back and asked if he could bring a friend. I said, yes, by all means, never thinking to ask his friend's name.

I called the shul again. They were a little less patient this time and begrudgingly told me that they could squeeze one more person in, but this was absolutely the last one as they were now officially sold out.

Still later that day, I received a phone call from a childhood friend of mine who had become a well-known singer/songwriter. Being Jewish himself, and hearing I was going to a seder, he asked if he and his wife could go along. The shul was unhappy to receive my most recent request, but somehow I softened the heart of the receptionist and she agreed to let my people go -- to the seder.

I will never forget the sight of our table in the synagogue. Marlon Brando was to my left and sitting next to him was his guest. This was during the height of Marlon's involvement with Native American causes and he had brought with him noted Indian activist Dennis Banks of Wounded Knee fame.

Banks was dressed in full Indian regalia: buckskin tassles on his clothes and long braids hanging down from a headband, which sported a feather.

My childhood friend Bob Dylan sat to my right, joined by his wife, my sister Sharon, and other friends.

At first the seder progressed normally without anyone in the temple noticing anything out of the ordinary. After about forty-five minutes, the rabbi figured out that ours was not your average seder table. 'Mr. Brando, would you please do us the honor of reading the next passage from the Hagaddah,' he said. Marlon said, 'It would be my pleasure.'

He smiled broadly, stood up and delivered the passage from the Hagaddah as if he were reading Shakespeare on Broadway.

Mouths fell open and eyes focused on the speaker with an intensity any rabbi would covet. When he was done I think people actually paused, wondering if they should applaud.

Somewhat later the rabbi approached another member of our table.

'Mr. Dylan, would you do us the honor of singing us a song?'

The rabbi pulled out an acoustic guitar. I thought he would politely decline.

Much to my surprise Bob said yes and performed an impromptu rendition of 'Blowin' in the Wind' to the stunned shul of about 300 seder guests. The incongruity of a seder, with Marlon Brando reading the Hagaddah followed by a Bob Dylan serenade, would have made for a good Fellini movie. Needless to say, everyone was both shocked and thrilled by this unusual Hollywood-style Passover miracle.
The entire shul came by to shake both Marlon and Bob's hands and they actually paused and spent time with everyone.

Just a couple of years ago, Marlon called me up in Minnesota, out of the blue. We had kept in touch through the trials and tribulations he was going through with his family. 'Louie Kemp,' he said, 'I've been thinking about you. Twenty years ago you took me to a seder. I want you to know that I still think about it to this very day. In fact, I was thinking about it today and that's why I called you.'

He continued to thank me and tell me of the special spiritual impact it had on him and how much he identified with a people freeing themselves from bondage and uniting to celebrate and remember that freedom.

He told me he was sending his three youngest children to a Jewish day school in Los Angeles. When I asked him why, he said, 'Louie, don't you know that the Jewish schools are the best?' I could almost hear him smiling over the phone.

measure for Measure

I am loving this series of Blogs or Essays. 4 Songwriters, two of whom i cant get enough of their words or voice or both. two i see in concert multiple times a year. And two unknown, revealing themselves, how they write, why they write, how inspiration and creativity come to them. 4 Songwriters and I get to peek into their process.

Thank You New York Times

Monday, April 21, 2008

Always Marry An April Girl

Always Marry An April Girl

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.

Ogden Nash

Sunday, April 20, 2008

but if a living dance upon dead minds... (LXVIII)

but if a living dance upon dead minds... (LXVIII)
e.e. cummings

but if a living dance upon dead minds
why,it is love;but at the earliest spear
of sun perfectly should disappear
moon's utmost magic,or stones speak or one
name control more incredible splendor than
our merely universe, love's also there:
and being here imprisoned,tortured here
love everywhere exploding maims and blinds
(but surely does not forget,perish, sleep
cannot be photographed,measured;disdains
the trivial labelling of punctual brains...
-Who wields a poem huger than the grave?
from only Whom shall time no refuge keep
though all the weird worlds must be opened?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

new century by ben bratley

Zingers Hurtling (Duck if You Can)

The question arises, as it often does with Mr. Rudnick, as to whether a fat column of great one-liners adds up to more than the sum of its jokes. After all, three-quarters of “The New Century” is monologues, two of which have been staged in New York before. On the surface these tales of gay men and the women who love them are not so very different from stand-up routines or the inspired in-print musings that used to run in Premiere magazine by the matron-cum-movie critic Libby Gelman-Wexner, Mr. Rudnick’s alter ego.

What’s more, the people portrayed by the unmatchable team of Linda Lavin, Peter Bartlett and Jayne Houdyshell are — let’s be honest — flaming clichés. “Let us not resort to easy stereotypes,” says Mr. Bartlett’s character in the show’s second vignette, “Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach.”

Need I say that he’s kidding? A pastel-wearing, wrist-flopping, voice-curling fellow who has been exiled from New York City for being “too gay,” Mr. Charles just adores stereotypes, especially the one he fits into. So in their different ways do Helene Nadler (Ms. Lavin), a Ralph Lauren-worshiping Jewish mother (of three sexual frontier-crossers) from Long Island, and Barbara Ellen Diggs (Ms. Houdyshell), a home-crafts fanatic from Decatur, Ill. So, of course, does Mr. Rudnick.

For this playwright — the author of “Jeffrey,” the break-through comedy about love in the times of AIDS (1993), and “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” (1998), which rewrote Genesis as the story of Adam and Steve — stereotypes are meant to be worn extra-large, preferably in neon brights. Building on time-honored traditions within gay and Jewish humor, Mr. Rudnick turns stereotypes into bullet-deflecting armor and jokes into an inexhaustible supply of ammunition.

As is made clear by “The New Century,” directed with precision timing by Nicholas Martin, Mr. Rudnick’s insistence on staying determinedly on the surface does not mean that he’s not aware of the darkness beneath. Frivolity for his characters is a solid existential choice in a threatening universe. It’s Absurdism lite, a sensibility that is universally accessible.

When Barbara Ellen pauses to explain why she thought the World Trade Center had been attacked on 9/11 by people in cheap cotton fabric (she heard “Muslim terrorists” as “muslin terrorists”), she’s reminding us of how distracting silliness will raise its inappropriate head during the direst crises. You might as well embrace it. (The play’s title, by the way, refers to Century 21, the discount designer clothing store across the street from the World Trade Center site.)

The depths in Mr. Rudnick’s superficiality are what allows performers as skilled as Mr. Bartlett, Ms. Houdyshell and Ms. Lavin to draw affecting portraits out of scripts that on paper read as line-ups of great jokes, followed by abrupt U-turns into sentimentality. Fluidity of tone and plot has never been Mr. Rudnick’s strong suit. It’s telling that in “The New Century,” the monologues, especially the first two, are far stronger than the last vignette, which brings the three main characters together in a hospital maternity ward.

Ms. Lavin’s Helene Nadler, who opens the evening with “Pride and Joy,” is probably the most intricately drawn. (The piece was previously staged at the TriBeCa Theater Festival in 2004.) The complaining, consumerist, cultured Jewish woman of a certain age has been portrayed before by Mr. Rudnick (in the novel “I’ll Take It”) and Ms. Lavin (in Charles Busch’s “Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” and Wendy Wasserstein’s “Sisters Rosensweig”).

But as Helene breezily describes being the mother of children who turned out to be, variously, a lesbian, a transsexual and a leather fetishist, Ms. Lavin freshly illuminates the seriousness of an archetype’s flippancy as a survival tool. Her Helene is overwhelmed and overwhelming, funny and sad, with the full courage of her contradictions.

Yes, what she says in a speech to the Massapequa chapter of “Parents of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, the Transgendered, the Questioning, the Curious, the Creatively Concerned and Others” is often hilarious. (Of the television show “Will & Grace,” she says, “It was like if Pottery Barn sold people.”) But she’s also persuasive in the conclusion that she draws, with resignation and compassion, about why her children behave as they do.

“Mr. Charles” has become something of a recital piece for Mr. Bartlett, who performed it, among other places, for the Ensemble Studio Theater in 1998. But he continues to bring bite and freshness to the role of a Florida cable show host who has never fallen out of love with the idea of being gay in its pre-Stonewall, Cinerama-size, Technicolor sense. His history of gay theater in 60 seconds remains a mini masterpiece. He also happens to own my favorite joke of the evening — about how you can tell if the man sitting next to you is gay. (“He’s saving his Playbill. And he’s awake.”)

If Mr. Rudnick gives the impression of knowing Mr. Charles and Helene inside-out, he’s on shakier ground with Barbara Ellen, a crafts-crazy homebody whose son died of AIDS. The litany of her wacky, tacky projects — from toilet-paper-roll cases to cakes decorated like Leonardo’s “Last Supper” — can feel strained. It’s Mr. Rudnick’s imposed hyperbole that’s operating here, not (as with Helene and Mr. Charles) the character’s own. And in hands less skilled than Ms. Houdyshell’s, Barbara Ellen could come across as more target than sharpshooter.

But this first-rate, late-blooming actress, of “Well” and “The Receptionist,” brings a redeeming dryness to a potentially sticky part. And she arrives with impeccable style to what might well be the show’s mantra: “I don’t know if I believe in God anymore. But I do believe in cute.” As Ms. Houdyshell pronounces them, they are noble words to live by.


Plays by Paul Rudnick; directed by Nicholas Martin; sets by Allen Moyer; costumes by William Ivey Long; lighting by Kenneth Posner; music and sound by Mark Bennett; stage manager, Stephen M. Kaus. Presented by the Lincoln Center Theater under the direction of André Bishop and Bernard Gersten. At the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, Lincoln Center; (212) 239-6200. Through June 15. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes.

WITH: Peter Bartlett (Mr. Charles), Mike Doyle (David Nadler/Shane), Jayne Houdyshell (Barbara Ellen Diggs), Linda Lavin (Helene Nadler), Christy Pusz (Joann Milderry) and Jordan Dean (Announcer).


PAUL SIMON (Wednesday and Thursday) Two-thirds of Paul Simon’s three-part retrospective were devoted to his 1980s and 1990s forays into African, Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean. That leaves a huge catalog of “American Tunes” dating back to the 1960s: folky, jazzy, poetic, catchy and quietly complicated pop songs to be revisited by Mr. Simon, along with the popera singer Josh Groban, the sibling harmonizers in the Roches, the old-timey revivalist Gillian Welch, the dreamily harmonizing indie-rock band Grizzly Bear and the down-home jazz trumpeter Olu Dara. At 8 p.m., Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100,; sold out. (Pareles)

Friday, April 18, 2008

emma lazerus poem

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008

from Song of Myself

Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

from Song of Myself


I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loaf and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.

My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents
the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and school in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.


Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with
I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.

The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

The smoke of my own breath,
Echoes, ripples, and buzz'd whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine,
My respiration and inspiration, the beating of my heart, the passing of blood
and air through my lungs,
The sniff of green leaves and dry leaves, and of the shore and dark-color'd
sea-rocks, and of hay in the barn,
The sound of the belch'd words of my voice, words loos'd to the eddies of the wind,
A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and
meeting the sun.

Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much? Have you reckon'd the earth much?
Have you practiced so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun, (there are millions of suns
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through
the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of April 17, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of April 17, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
"The great theme is not Romeo and Juliet," said poet Anne Sexton. "The great theme we all share is that of becoming ourselves, of overcoming our father and mother, of assuming our identities somehow." This is certainly your great theme, Capricorn. And it's especially important for you to devote yourself to it now. You're at a turning point in your life-long transformation. You're being presented with a clear-cut choice between sinking back into the ill-fitting yet comfortable mold that others have shaped for you, or else striding out into the frontier in a brave push to become a higher, deeper, more complete version of yourself.

from Everyman

Anonymous (16th Century)

from Everyman

Messenger: I pray you all give your audience,
And hear this matter with reverance,
By figure a moral play.
The Summoning of Everyman called it is,
That of our lives and ending shows
How transitory we be all day.
The matter is wonder precious,
But the intent of it is more gracious
And sweet to bear away.
The story saith: Man, in the beginning
Look well, and take good heed to the ending,
Be you never so gay.
You think sin in the beginning full sweet,
Which in the end causeth the soul to weep,
When the body lieth in clay.
Here shall you see how fellowship and jollity,
Both strength, pleasure, and beauty,
Will fade from thee as flower in May.
For ye shall hear how our Heaven-King
Calleth Everyman to a general reckoning.
Give audience and hear what he doth say.

I Know what i Know and You can Call me AL

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All Is Not Groovy at Paul Simon Celebration

All Is Not Groovy at Paul Simon Celebration
By Jennie Rose Halperin

If a musician is only as good as those who surround him, then Paul Simon is the greatest musician alive. This Friday night, the prolific singer-songwriter performed selections from the albums Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints at the magnificent and acoustically perfect Brooklyn Academy of Music opera house with a powerhouse band and a selection of friends that was so over-rehearsed not a note was missed—or creatively interpreted. Indeed, the band was huge and overpowering to the extent that Simon looked small and silly on stage. As he sang, he would occasionally strum his guitar, presumably because he needed something to do with his hands.

While most of the crowd-pleasers were from Graceland, the incredible 1986 album that has been experiencing a recent renaissance, the genius The Rhythm of the Saints also received its due. The standouts from that album included a spot-on version of “Can’t Run But,” sung by Brazilian singer Luciana Souza, and a lovely scatted version of “Proof,” sung by Cameroonian singer Kaissa. While Kaissa succeeded in putting lyrics like “My face, my race don’t matter anymore” into context, she later misstepped by over-interpreting and rewording the “The Coast,” removing the refrains “all along the injured coast” and the tragic “that is worth some money, now that is worth some money.”

The night was, however, supremely and wonderfully dorky from the moment Ladysmith Black Mambazo marched out in matching outfits, high-stepping to their traditional South African vocal repertoire. After an overly electric version of “The Boy in the Bubble,” sung effectively by South African singer Vusi Mahlasela, Simon walked out for a disappointing performance of “Gumboots.” What followed was approximately an hour of extremely uneven performances, highlighted by a version of “Under African Skies,” in which Kaissa completely drowned out Mahlasela with a badly construed harmony that was not at all in step with the rest of the band. The night trudged on, though, and Luciana Souza, looking exceptionally beautiful and five months pregnant, joined Simon for a duet written by Simon and the Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento with competence, although Simon’s stance throughout resembled a performer in a middle-school talent show.

Then, out stepped David Byrne, that iconoclast and seasoned performer—he and the band proceeded to steal the show from everyone. Beginning as back-up for Souza and Kaissa (who knew he had such a beautiful voice?), with a hip swing and a swagger, he was completely mesmerizing. Stepping up to the microphone, he set up the guitar hook for “I Know What I Know,” and the audience, elated and clapping, rose to dance.
This was after a man in the back first yelled, “Who wants to get up out of their seats and dance?!” to the seated and sober audience. Twenty minutes later, he yelled from the doors: “Don’t let them throw me out! I just want to dance!” Simon’s response? “Aww, throw him out!”

Byrne led a newly rejuvenated audience through “You Can Call Me Al,” even yelling over the audience and band at one point—completely audibly. Next, Ladysmith Black Mambazo came back out to sing a heartbreaking rendition of “Homeless,” combined with South African folk melodies. The song, in a post-Katrina, post-tsunami world, took on new meaning, and the words were given the heartwrenching weight they deserved. But when the first a cappella notes of “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes” were uttered, the audience stood up again to dance for a raucous version, during which the band and performers seemed to finally enjoy themselves. In the final 15 minutes, Simon ploughed through his hits, including “Graceland” and “That Was Your Mother.”

The audience stood up after a scanty two hours with some of the greatest performers in the world, feeling pleased and a little empty. Simon’s songs were once a radical force, a transformation of American pop music to a more ecumenical and inclusive model, but they felt dated and vacant in the modern concert setting. Diaspora has never been so easy to digest.
TAGS: BAM, Paul Simon
Nobody expected Paul Simon to release the best album of his career in 1986. Up until that point his only projects of the decade had been a disastrous movie (One Trick Pony), a cash-in oldies tour with Art Garfunkel and two poorly received studio albums (the soundtrack to One Trick Pony and 1983’s Hearts and Bones). When he headed down to Apartheid-era South Africa to record Graceland with local musicians he was called both a cultural imperialist and a political scoundrel for violating the boycott. When people actually heard the album — which combined American pop with Isicathamiya (South African a cappella) — it became abundantly clear that Simon had brilliantly bridged the cultures and taken a musical quantum leap forward.

(Check out more photos from Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies” concert.)

He hasn’t been able to duplicate its commercial success or creativity in the years since (though he came close with 1991’s Latin America-infused Rhythm of the Saints). These two albums were celebrated by Simon and guests on Saturday night, the fourth of a five night Under African Skies concert series at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It’s the second of three-part, month-long residency at the theater called Love In Hard Times: The Music of Paul Simon. The first part revived Simon’s 1998 Broadway musical The Capeman and it concludes next week with American Tunes, which honors his non-world music catalog.

Much of the Graceland touring band was back for the concert, as well as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, South African folk singer Vusi Mahlasela, Cameroon vocalist Kaissa, Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. Simon was onstage for much of the night, though he was often content to strum his guitar on the side of the stage and let other performers take the mic. Mahlesela sang a powerful version of “The Boy In The Bubble” backed by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who later played a note-perfect a cappella rendition of their Graceland spotlight track “Homeless.” Simon took the vocals for “Gumboots,” “Cool Cool River” and sang a tender duet with a very pregnant Souza on “Vendedor de Sonhos.”

The MVP of the night, however, was clearly David Byrne. Wearing a bright green shirt and grinning like a madman, he sauntered onstage to sing back-up on the standout Rhythm of the Saints track “Born At The The Time,” before launching into a rollicking “I Know What I Know” that bought the entire audience to their feet for the first time of the evening. He followed it up with an orgasmic “You Can Call Me Al,” which had much of the audience dancing in the aisle while Byrne maniacally danced Stop Making Sense-style onstage. It was a hard act to follow, but Simon tried with a triple shot of “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes,” “Graceland” and “That Was Your Mother” as the finale.

Paul Simon’s career has been a little rocky since his two forays into world music. He spent seven years crafting The Capeman, only to see it universally panned and close after just sixty-eight performances. The recent reunion tour with Art Garfunkel was a great show, but not exactly a forward looking project. His only two albums since Rhythm of the Saints — 2000’s You’re The One and 2006’s Surprise — were met mostly with indifference (though I’d argue they both had many strong moments). He hasn’t seemed cool in a very long time, which is probably why he agreed to spend a month at BAM reviving his past. The Under African Skies show was a strong reminder that he was one of the very few 1960s rock stars still putting out brilliant music twenty years on. Decades from now, Graceland will most likely be seen as Simon’s crowning achievement, and this show was a wonderful reminder of that fascinating chapter of his career.

[Photo: Getty]
rollingtsone Paul Simon

The Spring

Thomas Carew (1594 – 1640)

The Spring

Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the longed-for May.
Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;
Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
Her heart congealed, and makes her pity cold.
The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
Into the stall, doth now securely lie
In open fields; and love no more is made
By the fireside, but in the cooler shade
Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep
Under a sycamore, and all things keep
Time with the season; only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January.

Monday, April 14, 2008



While waiting patiently
For another rebuke,
She plans dinner,
Thawing poultry,
Privately packing pain into poetry.
Upon arrival,
He feasts predictably
Upon her mind.
How productive this pastime has become,
Seeds of anxiety perpetually plowed
Into a fertile psyche,
Bud perennially into paranoia,
Keeping once opulent fields
Obedient and still,
The occasional weeds of opinion
Plucked then poisoned at the root.
Ripe growth pressed
Into a flatly laundered hush.
Roseann Geiger

Tony for best support in a drama comedy

After Years on the Road, New Dreams in New York
Photographs by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

Jayne Houdyshell in, from left, "The Receptionist," "Well" and "The New Century."

Published: April 8, 2008

For many little girls who live in rural America and dream of one day becoming actresses, the fantasy that dances in their heads usually consists of holding a golden Oscar and reciting an acceptance speech, or perhaps playing the diva in a big-budget musical on Broadway.
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A Day at the Office
Theater Review | 'The Receptionist': Computers, Cubicles and Creepiness (October 31, 2007)
Theater Review | 'The Pain and the Itch': The Indiscreet Moral Defects of the Bourgeoisie (September 22, 2006)
Critic's Notebook: Jayne Houdyshell of 'Well' and the Art of Appearing Artless (April 29, 2006)
Theater Review: Lisa Kron's 'Well' Opens on Broadway, With Mom Keeping Watch (March 31, 2006)
Times Topics: Jayne Houdyshell
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Michael Falco for The New York Times

Jayne Houdyshell backstage at the Newhouse Theater.

Not Jayne Houdyshell.

When she was growing up in a big wooden farmhouse in Topeka, Kan., in the 1950s and ’60s, starring in epic dramas and blushing romances conjured from her loneliness and imagination, Ms. Houdyshell’s dreams involved performing in regional theaters, she said: traveling from city to city, getting the juiciest roles and working nonstop.

And that’s precisely what she did for about 25 years.

“The ideal regional theater career really spun itself out,” Ms. Houdyshell said, sitting over a bowl of matzo ball soup at the coffee shop of the Edison Hotel in the heart of the Manhattan theater district. Over that quarter-century, she lived out of a suitcase 9, 10, sometimes 11 months a year, performing in a couple of hundred plays all told. “I got to play huge parts I had no business playing,” she said: Linda Loman in “Death of a Salesman,” Lady Bracknell in “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

“I knew I wanted to work all the time,” she said. “That’s actor heaven.”

So in 2000, when Ms. Houdyshell finally decided, at the age of 46, to empty her suitcase and settle into a studio apartment at the northernmost tip of Manhattan, no one in the theater world — casting agents, directors, producers — had any idea who she was. This middle-aged actress seemed to have spontaneously generated, with superb technique, enormous range and pitch-perfect instincts. “Where has this woman been?” the playwright Paul Rudnick said. “I thought she was extraordinary.”

Ms. Houdyshell is now starring with Linda Lavin and Peter Bartlett in Mr. Rudnick’s play “The New Century,” which is in previews and opens Monday at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater. And though she may not have obsessed about Hollywood and Broadway musicals when she was young, she now has a foot in each of those worlds.

On Friday Ms. Houdyshell picked up the script for Robert De Niro’s new film, “Everybody’s Fine,” in which she will appear, and accepted an offer to return to the blockbuster musical hit “Wicked” for six months as Madame Morrible, a part she played in 2006.

Ms. Houdyshell had performed in musicals like “Damn Yankees,” in which she played the devilishly seductive Lola in summer stock when she was 20. (The production resulted in a short-lived marriage to the leading man.) But no one in New York would have suspected she could sing, except Joe Mantello, the director of “Wicked,” who had a bit part as a waiter in a 1980 summer stock production of “Hello, Dolly!” starring Ms. Houdyshell. “He always remembered me as this musical theater diva,” she said.

Those commitments and a few others, including a workshop for a musical based on the children’s story “Coraline,” will keep Ms. Houdyshell occupied through next year.

How can she possibly juggle so many different roles at the same time? “I’m a single woman without children,” she replied.

Still, success in New York did not come easily, she noted. She loved the community of actors at regional theaters, but the constant traveling had worn thin, and she wanted to branch out and perform in new, original plays. But for two years she barely worked.

“That was a very dark time,” she said. “It was a real struggle. I hadn’t been auditioning, so I had to learn how to do that.”

Then she began collaborating with Lisa Kron on her eccentric autobiographical comedy, “Well.” Ms. Houdyshell was cast as Ms. Kron’s idiosyncratic mother, Ann.

Even during the play’s workshops Ms. Houdyshell, who spent most of the play’s two hours wearing a shabby housedress and sitting in a La-Z-Boy, was generating that life-giving force in the entertainment industry known as buzz. Her performance, first at the Public Theater downtown and then on Broadway, was praised by Charles Isherwood in The New York Times in 2006 for its “flawless authenticity.”

“Ann Kron is observed and presented with an honesty, a rigor and an understated compassion that recall the work of the great documentary photographers who capture unexpected moments of beauty on the fly,” he wrote.

In the insular but exacting New York theater world Ms. Houdyshell became a star. (“I love your work,” whispered a man as he brushed by her table at the Edison on his way to pay the check.) Her Broadway debut, which earned a Tony nomination, was everything she had imagined. “There was something really beautiful at having your Broadway debut at 52,” she said. “I felt really ready.”

She drew raves again late last year playing the title character in Adam Bock’s comedy “The Receptionist.”

In “The New Century,” a collection of three short plays with a final scene in which all the characters meet, Ms. Houdyshell is Barbara Ellen Diggs, a woman from Decatur, Ill., whose creative impulses find an outlet in handicrafts like a crocheted tuxedo cover for the toaster. (The primary expenses for her next project are “labor, Zoloft and glue,” she says perkily, screwing up her face like a chipmunk.) Her monologue, by far the most poignant, recalls visiting her son in the hospital as he lay dying of AIDS and a moment of connection with a New Yorker in Central Park.

The show’s director, Nicholas Martin, described working with Ms. Houdyshell as “slightly intimidating.”

“She connects with the character and the play with such ferocity, she doesn’t really need a director,” he said.

Heading toward Lincoln Center for a recent performance, Ms. Houdyshell said just going there reminded her every day of how lucky she is. On the main stage upstairs, a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” had recently opened. “It’s something to walk into your workplace and hear a 30-piece orchestra playing ‘Bali Ha’i,’ ” she said.

Although Ms. Houdyshell is heading downstairs to the Newhouse, the orchestra might just as well be playing for her. After all, “Bali Ha’i,” as Bloody Mary sings in the show, is where you find “Your own special hopes/Your own special dreams.” And at the moment Ms. Houdyshell’s can be found eight times a week on the lower level, amid tuxedo-clad toasters and crocheted toilet caddies.

Rudnick's The New Century Arrives at Lincoln Center Theater

Rudnick's The New Century Arrives at Lincoln Center Theater March 20

By Adam Hetrick
and Andrew Gans
20 Mar 2008

Paul Rudnick's collection of short comedies, The New Century, begins performances at Lincoln Center's Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater March 20.

The Manhattan-set comedy – a series of four short plays, "Pride and Joy," "Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach," "Crafty" and "The New Century" – stars Peter Bartlett, Jayne Houdyshell, Linda Lavin, Mike Doyle and Christy Pusz under the direction of Nicholas Martin. The New Century will officially open April 14.

According to the Lincoln Center website, "Linda Lavin is Helene, a Jewish matron from Massapequa and the self-proclaimed 'most loving mother of all time' to her three gay children. Peter Bartlett is the flamboyant Mr. Charles, currently of Palm Beach, described by Mr. Rudnick as 'an aging homosexual hounded out of New York City by younger gay men, who find his flamboyance a threatening throwback to an earlier tougher time.' Mike Doyle plays two roles: Helene's son, the doctor, David, and Shane, Mr. Charles's partner in life and on their cable television show, 'Too Gay.' Jayne Houdyshell is Barbara Ellen, a Midwestern craftswoman and competitive cake-decorator on a visit to New York, and Christy Pusz is Joanne, the cable show's young receptionist." The New Century features set design by Allen Moyer, costume design by William Ivey Long, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and original music and sound design by Mark Bennett.

Rudnick's Regrets Only received its world premiere by the Manhattan Theatre Club under the direction of long-time collaborator Christopher Ashley in 2007. The two previously worked together on The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla, Rude Entertainment, The Naked Truth and Jeffrey, for which Rudnick won an Obie, Outer Critics Circle and the John Gassner Playwrighting Award. Rudnick has also penned Mr. Charles – Currently of Palm Beach, Pride and Joy, and I Hate Hamlet as well as the screenplays for "Addams Family Values," "Jeffrey" and "In & Out."

Nicholas Martin previously directed the Lincoln Center Theater productions of Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, John Guare's Chaucer in Rome and Arthur Laurents' The Time of the Cuckoo.

Show times are Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM with matinees Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.

Tickets, priced $70 and $75, are availably by phoning (212) 239-6200 or by visiting

The New Century

Lavin, Houdyshell and Bartlett Set for Rudnick's The New Century
by Staff

©2007 Bruce Glikas for
Top to bottom: Linda Lavin, Jayne Houdyshell & Peter Bartlett
Linda Lavin, Jayne Houdyshell and Peter Bartlett have signed on for Paul Rudnick's The New Century at Lincoln Center Theater. This series of four short plays will begin previews at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on March 20, 2008, and open on April 14, directed by Nicholas Martin. Additional members of the cast of five will be announced at a later date.

The four plays in The New Century feature everyone from a concerned Long Island mother of at least three gay children (Lavin) to an accomplished Midwestern craftswoman (Houdyshell) to one of Rudnick's favorites, Mr. Charles, a flamboyant resident of Palm Beach (Barlett). Ultimately, they all collide under surprising and comic circumstances and we discover just where our new century might be heading.

Lavin won a Tony Award for Broadway Bound and has starred on Broadway in Hollywood Arms, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, The Diary of Anne Frank, Gypsy and The Sisters Rosensweig. Off-Broadway, she won the Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards for her performance in Death Defying Acts.

Houdyshell received a Tony nomination and numerous award for her performance in Well and played Madame Morrible on Broadway in Wicked. Off-Broadway credits include The Pain and the Itch and Much Ado About Nothing.

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Tickets to A Catered Affair on Broadway

the country girl stalls

Mike Nichols returns to Broadway to direct Morgan Freeman, Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher in Clifford Odets's The Country Girl. The production will play a limited engagement on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street) beginning Thursday, April 3rd and open on Sunday, April 27th.

The first major New York production in more than thirty years, The Country Girl is a classic backstage story. The title character, Georgie (Frances McDormand), is married to actor Frank Elgin (Morgan Freeman), once a great theatre star, now down on his luck. When Frank is offered a major role by hotshot director Bernie Dodd (Peter Gallagher), he has the chance to make a major comeback.

Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman last appeared on Broadway in The Gospel at Colonus in 1988, and Academy Award-winner Frances McDormand last appeared on Broadway the same season in A Streetcar Named Desire. Peter Gallagher was last seen on Broadway in Noises Off in 2001 and was nominated for a Tony award for Long Day's Journey into Night.

Director Mike Nichols is an Academy Award-winner and eight-time Tony Award-winner, most recently for the smash hit musical Monty Python’s SPAMALOT. His most recent film is Charlie Wilson's War with Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts.


Friday night at the Jacobs theater, after two scenes.....the curtain does not move. As set changes happen that curtain closes and music from the radio in the apartment of Elgins begins to play. Music plays and then stops...nothing.. nothing...nothing...
an announcement for technical difficulties and then more waiting... Finally Mike Nichols take the mic and announces a Wench broke and they are trying to fix it. He jokes we will have stories to tell and will share stories later. He thanks the audience. @0 minutes later the music starts and we are ready to go... Tenatively, with each set change.

I have to say Peter Gallagher was excellent and MF and FM were also stunning. The plays disruption..didnt help get the groove back or get hte audience back. We were lost and the play was dated. But it had a multilayer of characters that classic plays possess. Classically Odets, wish i was sitting in the orchestra, wish the wench didnt break... wish i got home earlier.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rabbi dies in a fire

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - A rabbi who died with his wife in a house fire was remembered as a leading voice for modern Orthodox Judaism.

Rabbi Jacob Rubenstein, 58, and his wife, Deborah Rubenstein, were buried Sunday following services at the Young Israel of Scarsdale synagogue, which he founded in their home nearly three decades ago.

From 1997 to 1999, Rubenstein was president of the Rabbinical Council of America, the nation's largest group of Orthodox rabbis. He also was a president of the Westchester Board of Rabbis.

The synagogue issued a statement Sunday saying the Rubensteins had "practiced a joyous, inclusive and embracing traditional Judaism that will now serve as their lasting legacy."

Rubenstein founded the congregation with five families in the late 1960s and over time saw it grow to about 400 families. "Their home was open to all, and they were renowned for their hospitality, compassion and acts of kindness," the statement said.

Rabbi Richard Jacobs, of the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, said Rubenstein built close relationships and was trusted by his congregation.

"People loved him. People can be respected, but people loved Jake Rubenstein," Jacobs said.

Rubenstein was a graduate of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, with a master's degree from Harvard University. He and his wife are survived by four adult children and four grandchildren.

The fire at the couple's New Rochelle home remained under investigation. Authorities said a lightning strike early Saturday might have started the fire on the roof and burned unnoticed for about two hours.


Information from: The Journal News,

Rabbi Rubenstein was the Rabbi in Milford Massachusetts when i was a teen. He was young and new out of rabinic school. he was not an old nervous breakdown Rabbi that Milford could afford. He and his wife dedicated themselves to getting to know the congregates. I remember he started classes for the teens. Classes in jewish cooking, Holocaust and Yiddish literature. He brought more than studying prayer to the Hebrew classes. He brought the teens back to Hebrew school
Rabbi Rubenstein was Rabbi when my learing disabled brother had to study for Bar Mitzvah. He was empathetic and worked with my brother. THey put his portion on cassette tape and Rabbi Rubenstein chose sections that my brother COULD learn. He helped my brother succeed in completing the portion that he was required to read.

I remember a humane and brilliant human being who loved his religion and loved to share that in a way that was understood and could reach people.

Rabbi Jacob S. Rubenstein

Rabbi Jacob S. Rubenstein, Rabbi of the Young Israel of Scarsdale has long been active in outreach, social activism, legislative advocacy, international affairs and philanthropic endeavors. His writings, which span the academic to the popular, have appeared in a number of newspapers, books and journals.

He was born in Rosenheim, Germany and as a displaced person immigrated to America at an early age, residing in Memphis, Tennessee. Rabbi Rubenstein received his Jewish and secular education in Memphis, Chicago, Israel, and Boston. He attended the Yeshiva at the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Illinois, Yeshivat Radin in Netanya, Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and is one of the founders of the Diaspora Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He received his Rabbinic ordination from the Chief Justices of both the Rabbinic Court of the Ashkenazic, as well as the Sephardic community of Jerusalem, and Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, Rishon Le Zion, Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rabbi Rubenstein is a graduate of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel where he received a Bachelors Degree in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah, and holds a Masters Degree from Harvard University in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.

He is the immediate Past President of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and currently serves as its Honorary President. He has served the RCA as chairman of its Social Action Committee and organized the first Rabbinic Missions to Washington. He has served as both President and National Chairman of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the United Jewish Appeal. For a number of years, Rabbi Rubenstein chaired the Rabbinic Advisory Council of the U.J.A- Federation of New York. He is a past President of the Westchester Board of Rabbis, an executive officer of the Westchester Rabbinical Council and has served on the board of the Westchester Jewish Conference. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Institute for Jewish Leadership and Values and a member of the Orthodox Jewish Caucus.

Rabbi Rubenstein's awards include: the Orthodox Union National Rabbinical Leadership Centennial Award, 1999, the Keser Torah Award, Ariel Institutes of Israel, 1994; the Samuel W. and Rose Hurowitz Award, UJA Federation of New York, 1993; Rabbinic Award, General Assembly of the Combined Jewish Federations, 1991; Rabbinic Service Award, UJA-Federation, Westchester Division, 1987; City of Peace Award by Israel Bonds, 1978; NCSY New England Region Meritorious Leadership Award; Dr. and Mrs. Abraham Stern Service Award, Yeshiva University; and is listed in Marquis Who's Who in Religion, 1991,1998. and Marquis Who�s Who in America, 2000.

Rabbi Rubenstein has served in pulpits in Milford, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island, before coming to Scarsdale. He is married to Deborah Rubenstein and they have four children.

under africian Skies

Last night at BAM, Ladysmith Black Mamboza took the stage and sang one of their own ballads. They added South Africa's Vusi Mahlasela and he joined them a few times and also sang his own song. Joining them was the Paul Simon band and added African and Brazilian drummer and a bassist. There were 4 sets of drums and percussion on stage, horns of all sorts, an accordian and singers singers singers and Paul Simon...

The set list covered most of Graceland starting with

Graceland- Paul simon and Band
Gumboots - LBM and Paul Simon
You can CAll me al - David Bynes
I know what i know David Bynes
1. The Boy In The Bubble Vusi Mush
5. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes Paul Simon and LBM
7. Under African Skies VH and LBM
8. Homeless LBM
9. Crazy Love, LBM
10. That Was Your Mother Paul Simon Final Song

2. "Can't Run But" LS
3. "The Coast" Luciana Souza
4. "Proof" Kaissa

7. "Born at the Right Time" LS, DB and K
8. "The Cool, Cool River" Paul Simon and LS
9. "Spirit Voices" LS and Paul Simon

Milton Nacimento was ill and was replaced by the very pregnant and wonderful, Mrs Larry Klein.... Luciana Souza.... She and Paul SImon sang a NM duet that PS recorded

Kaissa a singer from Cameroon also sang on the songs and sang solo in addition to Proof...
The audience was up on the feet and then DB's version of "i know what i know" and "you can call me al" created a dance party...

People were on the feet dancing and singing and the party continued through Graceland and That was your mother..

The original set list was changed... Luciana is very pregnant and her song was changed from Obvious Child to Born at the Right Time.... to hear her lovely scat on her songs and her duet with PS made me a fan. Born at the right time being sung by a very pregnant LS was a treat...

Vusi Mahlasela is a large man with a beautiful voice. i want to explore his music more..

This was night two of the triple header..... I cant wait til Gillian Welch, Josh Groban, the Roches and Paul SImon

BAM - Under Africian Skies

Paul Simon: Under African Skies
(Brooklyn Academy of Music Harvey Theater; 874 seats; $95 top)

Performers: Paul Simon, David Byrne, Luciana Souza, Vusi Mahlasela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cyro Baptista, Kaissa.

What does a lil' ol' boy from Forest Hills, Queens, know about the so-called dark continent? As Paul Simon has proven over the years, plenty. Simon has never posited himself as an ethno-musicologist, but his everyman approach to African forms has always worked in his favor, since he's drawn attention to the inherent emotional similarities in the varied musical forms, rather than emphasize stylistic exotica.

That was clear throughout this concise two-hour program, which served as the bedrock for BAM's annual gala -- an event that drew an aud dominated by nonpartisans who readily responded to the immediately infectious sounds that emanated from the Harvey Theater stage on Wednesday night.

Simon was onstage for virtually the entire performance, but he wasn't the focal point of every song. When he was, he evinced both fluid musicianship -- not all that surprising to see -- and a guileless joy that proved a bit more unexpected. He and his 10-piece band slithered through a slinky version of "Graceland" and sprinkled a copious amount of spice onto the audience fave "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes."

The man of the hour seemed perfectly happy, however, to cede the spotlight to a passel of guests who, by and large, furthered his vision with aplomb. Admittedly, David Byrne took things a bit too far into his own hermetically sealed universe for an overly stylized take on "You Can Call Me Al" that could've been a "Stop Making Sense" outtake, but the rest of the crew took Simon's own vision and ran with it to a charming end.

South Africa's Vusi Mahlasela, for instance, used his natural-born pop instincts to create a smooth-yet-sizzling version of "The Obvious Child" (perhaps the best known of Simon's African-imbued tunes). Brazilian-born singer Luciana Souza added a tinge of her country's Afro-Caribbean tradition into an ethereally compelling take on "Further to Fly," a more obscure tune of the same vintage.

The most interesting thing about the program was just how natural it felt. It would've been simple to just look for a way to pair the most visible African musicians with Simon's best known songs, but the care used in putting the perf together said a lot about the way the artist views his own work -- all of it good.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Songs Sung in a Foreign Key Reveal Themselves Anew

Songs Sung in a Foreign Key Reveal Themselves Anew
Stephanie Berger for The New York Times

Published: April 11, 2008

In “You Can Call Me Al,” a hit from Paul Simon’s 1986 album, “Graceland,” a tourist finds himself in a foreign marketplace, hears unfamiliar sounds and cries “Hallelujah!” That must have been something like Mr. Simon’s reaction to the South African music that revitalized his songwriting in the mid-1980s — a revelation that exploded his perspective and transformed his musical vocabulary.
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Times Topics: Paul Simon

“Under African Skies,” the second part of Mr. Simon’s monthlong retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, revisits “Graceland” and the 1990 album “The Rhythm of the Saints,” on which Mr. Simon followed the African diaspora to Brazil. At the concert, other singers — Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Vusi Mahlasela from South Africa, Kaïssa from Cameroon, Luciana Souza from Brazil, David Byrne — took over many of the songs, fitting themselves into familiar arrangements.

Mr. Simon’s songs remain rich and startling. A few “Graceland” tunes overlaid his very Western lyrics onto existing South African tracks — a singer-songwriter’s remix. But both albums revolved around Mr. Simon’s own hybrids; the later one has vertiginous layers of rhythm and harmonies. Few bands but his own could handle the intricacy of songs like “Can’t Run But” or “She Moves On.” They need Vincent Nguini’s guitar, Bakithi Kumalo’s bass, Tony Cedras’s keyboards and Steve Gadd’s drums.

The lyrics dart from the personal reflections to visionary montages that touch on art, science and faith. From “Graceland” to “Spirit Voices,” two songs Mr. Simon chose to sing himself, the traveling narrators on the albums are seeking something to believe. Through the two albums, Mr. Simon also pondered the contrasts between his own mobility and privilege and the rooted and hardscrabble lives he saw. The concert did soft-pedal one song: “The Coast,” about a family of traveling musicians living “a lonely life/Sorrows everywhere you turn.” Kaïssa didn’t sing the hard-nosed lines that follow: “When you think about it/That’s worth some money/That’s worth something.”

In 1986 “The Boy in the Bubble” might have been inspired by cable-TV news; now it could be about YouTube and the Web’s “staccato signals of constant information.” The two albums — part of a period of ’80s world-pop discovery that also reshaped Mr. Byrne’s band, Talking Heads — presaged the file-shared, remixed pop of the Internet era.

The songs are not African or Brazilian songs, but very much American ones, as the guest singers demonstrated. Mr. Byrne was in his element with “You Can Call Me Al”; he gave it his old geeky yelp. And Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s deep vocal harmonies and high-stepping footwork were trusty as ever.

The other singers warmed the melodies and personalized what they could: Mr. Mahlasela with tone-shifting improvisations, Ms. Souza with supple scat-singing. Kaïssa and Ms. Souza sailed through the matrices of songs from “The Rhythm of the Saints.” Yet everyone except Mr. Simon himself had to strain to deliver the bobbing, weaving, naturalistic syncopation that he builds into his lyrics. Now and then a foreign accent obscured the words, turning the songs into exotic world music. Yet when that happened, the nonverbal groove said all that was needed.

“Under African Skies” continues through Sunday at the Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; (718) 636-4100,; sold out.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Clifford Odets's The Country Girl

Mike Nichols returns to Broadway this spring to direct Morgan Freeman, Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher in Clifford Odets's The Country Girl. The production will play a limited engagement on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre (242 West 45th Street) beginning Thursday, April 3 and open on Sunday, April 27.

The cast also features Chip Zien (Into the Woods), Remy Auberjonois (Frost/Nixon), Anna Camp (The Scene at Second Stage), and Lucas Caleb Rooney (Henry IV at Lincoln Center). Additional casting will be announced shortly.

The creative team is composed of Tony Award winner Tim Hatley (scenic design), Academy Award nominee Albert Wolsky (costume design), Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (lighting design) Acme Sound Partners (sound design) and David Brian Brown (hair design).

Tickets will be available exclusively to American Express cardholders beginning February 6 with a general on sale date of February 23. Tickets will be available via Telecharge on the internet at or by phone at (212) 239-6200. Ticket prices range from $76.50 - $100.

"The first major New York production in more than thirty years, The Country Girl is a classic backstage story. The title character, Georgie (Frances McDormand), is married to actor Frank Elgin (Morgan Freeman), once a great theatre star, now down on his luck. When Frank is offered a major role by hotshot director Bernie Dodd (Peter Gallagher), he has the chance to make a major comeback," explain press notes.

Morgan Freeman last appeared on Broadway in The Gospel at Colonus in 1988, and Frances McDormand last appeared on Broadway the same season in A Streetcar Named Desire. Peter Gallagher was last seen on Broadway in Noises Off in 2001.

Director Mike Nichols, Academy Award-winner and eight-time Tony Award-winner, most recently for the smash hit musical Monty Python's Spamalot, recently directed Charlie Wilson's War with Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts.

One of Clifford Odets's last plays, The Country Girl premiered to great acclaim and box office success on Broadway in 1950. A movie version of The Country Girl was released in 1954 and received two Academy Awards. The Country Girl will be produced on Broadway by Ostar Productions and Bob Boyett.

Morgan Freeman

Spring is like a perhaps hand

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window,into which people look(while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and from moving New and
Old things,while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.


Inaugural Poem

Inaugural Poem
Maya Angelou
20 January 1993

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.

The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

under African Skies

This is the second of three mini-runs this month for Simon at BAM. The first was a concert version of his Broadway musical, "Capeman." The next and last will be more traditional Simon fare such as "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and solo hits.

But the night was all about Simon’s amazing musical journey with African musicians, showing the roots for the "Graceland" and "Rhythm of the Saints" albums. Filmmaker/PR guy Dan Klores, who was Simon’s press agent for years, convinced his friend to help raise money for BAM on for its anniversary.

The program is called "Love in Hard Times: The Music of Paul Simon." Ken Starr and Diane Passage helped produce the event.

Among the guests at the star-studded event: Susan Sarandon with powerhouse movie producer Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas; plus Steve Buscemi and wife, Jo; Cynthia Nixon; Suzanne Vega and hubby, Paul Mills; famed artist Chuck Close; chef Mario Batali; Ed Schlossberg (husband of Caroline Kennedy); Eddie Simon (Paul’s manager brother); Edie Brickell (Mrs. Simon); and producer Phil Ramone, who gave the event its lush and perfect sound (as usual).

The highlights were many, but ex-Talking Head David Byrne’s solo performance of Simon’s "You Can Call Me Al" was a tour de force. Byrne remains an ingratiatingly awkward performer. For "Al" he did a kind of ostrich dance and mambo, winningly singing off-key and totally captivating the audience. It was just genius.

Other guests included Ladysmith Black Mambazo with the amazing African singer Vusi Mahlasela, who solo’d the vocal on "The Obvious Child," aka "These Are the Days of Miracles and Wonder," with aplomb.

A star is born! The very pregnant Brazilian jazz singer Luciana Souza also got cameos and much applause, particularly for Simon’s lesser-known songs "Further to Fly" and "Can’t Run But…," each, like "Obvious Child," from the underrated "Rhythm of the Saints."

I counted 10 musicians in Simon’s band, seven instrumentalists and three background singers. They sounded as if they were 10 times as strong in number. That’s how rich, textured and precise the orchestrations were.

Simon, himself, is center stage all through the show. He’s very much there, leading the cheerfully historic Ladysmith Black Mambazo through a bunch of songs they did together, such as "Graceland," "Homeless" and "Diamonds on the Souls of Her Shoes." Simon still gets a good rousing hometown cheer for the couplet "There’s a girl in New York City/Who calls herself the human trampoline."

And he even got a little personal, telling the audience: "There are so many people here who I’ve worked with over the years, I’m a little emotional."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of April 10, 2008

Capricorn Horoscope for week of April 10, 2008

Verticle Oracle card Capricorn (December 22-January 19)
Want to know a secret? I "predict" the present, not the future. In other words, I discern unconscious patterns and invisible influences that are affecting you *now.* I also try to inspire you to read your *own* mind so as to uncover feelings that you've been hiding from yourself. So I can't necessarily tell you what specific events will transpire in the coming days. But I do suspect the following things are true, although you may not be aware of them yet: You are in the midst of redefining what home means to you. You've been neglecting a deep need that's a bit embarrassing to you. And there's a place in your foundation that's in disrepair and requires your immediate attention.

Got enough clues to chew

go down Moses - Natalie Merchant

Go Down Moses

Moving on moving on,
Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?
Just hold it back and
Keep moving on.
Keeping on, keeping on,
Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?
Just hold it back and
Keep moving on.
But it's so hard to keep moving on.
Pushing on pushing on,
Isn't that what everybody tells me I've got to do?
But it's so hard pushing on without you.

Every morning waking in a fever wet and shaking.
My heart inside me pounding,
Muddy water all around me.
Cold shocked and speechless
Can anybody reach us?
And why, oh, God why?

Go down, go down, Moses.
Go down to the city of New Orleans.
Go part the muddy water,
And let your people cross over.
Go down.

Pushing on, pushing on,
Isn't that, that's what I've tried so hard to do?
I'm holding back and I'm,
I'm pushing on.
Keeping on, keeping on.
That's what I'm trying so hard to do.
But it's so hard pushing on without you.

Gone and lost my patience with this hopeless situation.
Oh yeah, I'm alive,
The lonely sole survivor.
Spared me for some reason,
So I'm picking up the pieces.
But why, oh, God why?

Go down, go down, Moses.
Go down to the city of New Orleans.
Go part the muddy water,
And let your people cross over.
Go down.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

you know its spring

the days are longer and weather warmer

the earth smells of mud

shake shake in madison sq park is open

summerstage, prospect park schedules start to get posted

the knicks are not in the playoffs, but the celtics are

the daffodils are out in prospect park, growing wild

Mr Softee is back on the streets

the cats are in heat

Baseball is back at Yankee Stadium and Shea- therefore more yankees shirts and mets caps

NCAA final four is down to 2

there is no football news

the Rangers are in the playoffs

the Circus left Madison SQ Garden

Passover is next week

401 children removed

I cannnot imagine how the Child Protective Agency begins to remove 400 children. I try to imagine the meetings, the strategies, the shelter to be procured, the professionals needed to interview, the doctors, nurses, the work to keep children and mothers together, the sorting out of mothers and children, the history taking, the work to get to the bottom of the years of sexual abuse, physical abuse and trauma...

BREAKING NEWS: 401 children removed from Eldorado-area ranch, taken into state custody

By Paul A. Anthony (Contact)
Originally published 12:10 p.m., April 7, 2008

The state's Child Protective Services agency has removed 401 children from the polygamist sect near Eldorado, and officials are now looking for another shelter area, a CPS spokeswoman said.

A judge has told the state CPS it can take all 401 children into custody who have been removed from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' YFZ Ranch, said CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner this afternoon. That includes instances where the mothers of the children also have been removed from the ranch, about 3 miles northeast of Eldorado.

Some 133 women also have left the ranch owned by FLDS, a splinter sect that practices a form of plural marriage and is no longer associated with the Mormon Church.

Former ranch residents are being housed at Fort Concho National Historic Landmark, but that site lacks capacity for the total number of people removed from the ranch, Meisner said.

Authorities have arrested one person at the FLDS' Schleicher County compound, but the suspect sought since Thursday remains at-large.

The person arrested faces a misdemeanor charge of interfering with the duties of a public servant, said Lisa Block, an Austin-based spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The person arrested is not Dale Barlow, the man sought in the arrest warrant that initially gave authorities access to the ranch, Block said.

"There was an arrest made," Block said. "We don't know if it was yesterday or today."

Meanwhile, in San Angelo, no hearings will be held today in the cases of the 18 Schleicher County girls already taken into state custody from the FLDS-owned ranch over the weekend, Tom Green County court administrators said this morning.

Instead, the cases will move straight into 14-day hearings, also known as adversarial hearings. At those, the state's Child Protective Services agency must show why it feels the children removed from the polygamist compound are at risk for further abuse if they return.

State law no longer requires emergency 24-hour hearings after CPS removes a child from parental custody, instead leaving the timing at the discretion of the judge, who in these cases is 51st District Judge Barbara Walther.

"The judge can waive that hearing," said Debbie Brown, executive director of the Children's Advocacy Center of Tom Green County, "and apparently, she's done that."

The advocacy center employs individual advocates who attend to children in CPS cases and works with the courts to assign advocates to each child.

Dozens of CPS caseworkers continue to interview the hundreds of women and children removed from the YFZ Ranch since Friday. The hundreds of women and children are now being housed at Fort Concho after being removed as the result of a CPS raid on the compound Thursday night.

CPS this afternoon is expected to release updated numbers, as well as to clarify the status of the hundreds who have not been taken into state custody.

The interviews could provide the basis for affidavits CPS must file that support its decision to remove the 18 girls from parental custody. Likewise, the interviews could turn up more evidence of alleged abuse and lead to more girls being taken into state custody, Brown said.

"That's what we're waiting for," she said, "how many people would we have in there once the petitions are filed."

Standard-Times staff writer Jayna Boyle contributed to this report.