AFTER SEPTEMBER
my book of poetry about September 11th, 2001...and after Available NOW at Amazon.com -click here
.

Monday, December 5, 2011

NEW PLAY BY J. BOYETT






















We took in a staging of a new play by J. Boyett last Saturday and I am writing to let you all know there is still time if you want to see an exciting play explore a troubling trend in our age of techno instant gratification. Without giving too much away I will just say the ride starts slowly, but once it picks up speed the emotional twists and turns are non-stop.


Samantha (Kelly Kay Griffith) is Sam's (Dennis Brito) younger sister and she has flown almost 2000 miles to talk to her brother about his upcoming nuptials to a considerably younger Dee Dee (Kate Eastman). What ensues, directed by Kathryn McConnell, is a lively and sometimes hilarious debate on morals, generational differences and sibling rivalry.


The radiant Kelly Kay Griffith and luminous Kate Eastman sizzle as they square off to compete for the respect, adulation and love of Dennis Brito's "Tom". A man who proves unworthy of either powerful women. An insipid secret is at the nexus of this play. Both what it is doing to society as a whole and what it specifically does to these three people is revealed.The play deals with its issues not in a preachy, showy way, but presents the dilemmas and tragic consequences with jarring realism. This is an interesting effort by Boyett who has a strong sense of drama and a keen ear for poetic dialog delivered beautifully at times by his actors.


In the end, a women's issue is eclipsed by obscene, misogynistic objectification. Thought provoking and disturbing, it was well worth the 90 minutes without intermission.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"My Week With Marilyn"


In this most gentle late November last evening we strolled into Fort Green and BAM to see "My Week With Marilyn" about the tense filming of a 1956 "light comedy" in London. Based on a true story, the film dramatizes the relationship between the newly wed to Arthur Miller Marilyn Monroe and a young third assistant director working on his fist movie set.

I have been a casual fan of Monroe's since I first saw her in "Some Like It Hot" on TV when I was maybe 10 years old. Michelle Williams does an earnest job of portraying our cultural icon, Kenneth Branagh is brilliant as the aging Sir Laurence Olivier and Eddie Redmayne plays Colin Clark, the wide-eyed and innocent star struck man/boy at the heart of this story.

Beautifully shot on location, meticulous in every period detail, the film is an intimate behind-the-scenes look at a snapshot in time. While a valiant attempt to depict the mufti-faceted and layered personality of a Hollywood legend, this film seems to only reinforce the stereotypical notions that Marilyn was some sort of idiot-savant with no intellect what-so-ever. Michelle Williams' performance is complex and nuanced and readily worthy of high praise, but director Simon Curtis chooses to view his heroine through the soft focus lens of nostalgia. He gives us a Marilyn at once crushed by fame and disabled by insecurity addicted to both love and Tuinal with very little in between. There's not a moment in the film where she's not hiding behind dark glasses, preening for the camera, flirting with disaster by taking too many pills, or playing up to our adult male fantasy of Marilyn Monroe.

"Shall I be her?" Williams coos at one point in the third act. The "her" I wanted to see was the real Monroe, and there was nothing of reality in this love letter to a preconceived notion of the star.

Julia Ormond as Vivien Leigh, Zoë Wanamaker as Paula Strasberg, Emma Watson as Lucy, Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike and Derek Jacobi as Sir Owen Morshead (a cameo really,but always a joy) round out this all-star cast.

A must see for everyone who is up on everything Marilyn. Also recommended: fragments (2010) Poems, Intimate Notes and Letters By Marilyn Monroe.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving

I have so much to be thankful for...I know that is ending a sentence with a preposition...and for that I am thankful. I have an amazing wife with amazing friends whom we love and they take us on awesome adventures like kayaking in Maine during the summer of 2010 as pictured here. We were supposed to go see them this holiday and enjoy the peaceful rural environs of Meadowood in Palmyra VA. But due to circumstances beyond control we have been delayed. Our love is not lessened. Our thanks but deepened for all we have in the richness of our family and friends. We cooked our first turkey together, Jennifer and I. I have either worked or we have gone to friends for the past 12 years we have been together. It has been fun to cook together, just the two of us going nowhere.We wish all of our loved ones bliss this season of abundance and giving. Regardless of financial situation, while we draw breath, we have love to give.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Readiness is All

You know things are going a little crazy when you got to put your reading spectacles on and you are already wearing your glasses. It inspired me to take a few moments and get present. The Mrs. is in Montreal at a conference and I am home writing my next novel even thought the first draft of my first is still warm. I have come to the conclusion that when I am not at work as a building inspector I am a nut. (My co-workers might tell you I am nuts there too.) I can’t believe I am the age I am. Can’t believe the world is the world. Look at all the wealth and all the poverty; the darkness and the light; the good and the evil. Look at all the natural wonders, and then at the man-made, and just which is mocking which. How do we navigate it all? How do we stay on the right side of the road? Is insanity not just a little bit healthy in learning to cope with opposing forces that constantly pull and stretch at reality? It is a time of thanksgiving. I am very thankful for so many things; my wife, my family, my friends, my job, my city. But mostly today, I am thankful for my madness, my source of inspiration and vision. Here’s to a peaceful, joyous holiday season. One in which we take the opportunity to give aid to one another. To love one another just a little more than we did last year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

10/31/11 October. Ends.

With five query e-mails sent to various literary agents I begin the task of getting the damn thing (aka my novel) published.

And now this Random Ransom thought. When you see someone smoking out on the now, tobacco filled streets of NYC and you ask: “What are you doing?” and they answer: “Oh, nothing, just having a cigarette,” what they really mean is:

LIFE SUCKS THEN YOU DIE! So I’m just helping that process along by inhaling some poisonous gas and then, oh yes, spewing it out in to the fresh, crisp Autumn air, because I’m miserable and everyone around me should be miserable TOO!”

Oops. Did I just think that out loud. Sorry. never mind.

Happy Day of the Dead

Thursday, October 27, 2011

FIRST DRAFT

My friends. Here it is. First draft hot off the press. In scanning the first few pages, I see changes I would like to make, so it is by no means finished. Now the work begins. I must find an agent and a publisher. What is a novel called Port Richmond about?

When a Mexican/American day laborer falls to his death from an Upper West side Manhattan apartment building, it sparks a political and social uproar in post 9/11 New York City. An Emergency Response Building Inspector is assigned to work with detectives from the NYPD to investigate the possibility of wrong-doing, and winds up battling demons from his own past as the trail leads him back to his boyhood home in…Port Richmond.

More than anything, this exercise proves to myself that I am able to focus my scattered attention long enough to take on a big project and see it through. I look forward to the challenge of finding a publisher. I am already formulating the plot for another in a series.

Speaking of publishing…Alister Sanderson proposes to immortalize yours truly by filming me performing one of his riddle poems. Very excited about that also.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

I Read The News Today...Oh, Boy...

It’s almost three in the morning. I have been working since Friday afternoon, just got off a few hours ago, thinking about a friend whose father just passed. Drinking a Patron or two to his memory. The windows are open and the street is quiet save for the frequent passing of taxi cabs and the leaves rustling on the breeze. Not three miles from here, young people are staging an historic protest.

Much has been made about what people think they are doing and why they are doing it. My own two cents is just about frustration. People want to work, and work hard and feel that their life’s work means something. Nobody I know wants or expects a free ride, and to couch what the Wall Street protest is all about as a simple matter of “Let Them Eat Cake” is to over simplify and insult the entire endeavor. People are fed up. They are mad as hell, and they are not going to take it any more. The People are the sole premise for this whole thing to begin with.

We…The People…well...the people are dissatisfied. Conservative, Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Anarchist, we are all fed up. They feel…we feel, everyone feels that we are no longer represented in our representative government.

We…the People are exercising the right of free speech to let every one know it. There is a real consternation about the fact that there are no demands being made by the protestors. They have picked Wall Street as the object of their ire because…well, I don’t know why because…I can only guess, and so can everyone else…I do know that We…The people…BAILED WALL STREET OUT…so I think that entitles us…yes I said it…we paid…we should get our good capitalist money’s worth, we are entitled, by virtue of the good tax dollars that went into the WALL STREET BAIL OUT, to vent a little. OK so it was billions of dollars...to vent a LOT.

By the way,IT HAPPENED BEFORE, AND it’s happening all over.

To quote a late, great, famous, and beloved American Playwright: “In Spain, there was revolution. Here there was only shouting and confusion.”

And Pepper Spray.

Long Live Liberty Street.

God Bless John Marion. May he rest in peace...John..we hardly knew ye...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October...2011


I have been 10 years with ERT...13 with DOB...it has been 30 since WSIA FM...

OCTOBER...AND THE LEAVES ARE STRIPPED BARE OF ALL THEY WEAR...DO I CARE...

It really is fall. I look back on a wealth of experience and wax with melancholy. Through the miracles of technology our pasts are no longer consigned to mere memory or moments captured in fading photographs enshrined on silver nitrate. Our friends from high school and before...and after...are now Face-Booked and Linked-In on My-Space...people we never knew had interest in us now say hello as if for the first time. The whole of a life's experience never leaves us, but is condensed, like a fine liquor, heady and intoxicating as we revel in the life lived, the loves lost, the loves gained, the dreams that remain...the dreams just that...fantasy...and the harsh halo of reality meshed with day to day onerous life of constant value. I pray every night giving thanks...to what ever all-in-all God, if you will, for my existence...for all it is and all it is not...I give thanks. And those who did not come with-in arms length for whom I still lust...and for those whom I've held in my arms and will ever love...my heart feels full and heavy, like a ewer overflowing with fresh cream and milk.

I just want to tell all of you in this moment, where you read these words and for a second join with my thoughts in this most incongruous and intimate of universes, that I... I am truly, truly, blessed.Thank you for your friendship past and present. Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes and know I send the same to you and yours...in our hours or need...we always have each other.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"My Happiness"

I miss you dad, and find it strange to be writing a novel about you that I will never feel completes our story since I will never see you read it. I know you are somehow helping me write and you know every word. “Rest, rest perturbed spirit.” Here you are in happier times with Susie.

I did not finish the draft before we left for England because of Hurricane Irene which called me into work. So, we are back from Stratford-upon-Avon and the birth place of Shakespeare, and London, where a replica of his Globe Theatre now stands. I began the last chapter today adding a page and a half to the narrative which brings the total to just over 71,000 words.

I started the process a year ago today, not knowing it would ever develop this far. I thought I would not have the stamina, or the focus for a long narrative. Now I just hope people will read it. “Any place on Earth will do just as long as I’m with you.” Love you dad, forever.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"Well, I'm back." Sam Gamgee


It is comforting to know that at my advanced age there are still experiences yet to be had that are life altering. Our international travel to England, I trust, will be the first in a long line of journeys that lift the veil from our mundane, day-to-day existence long enough for a real look at the wide world. While travel was exhilarating, it was also hard work. The rewards we hope to share, Jennifer with her students, friends, and family and I with all of you. But instead of boring you with the details, I will just post photos from the journey and urge you all, if you have a passion for Shakespeare and his theatre as it was originally presented, then by all means take the trip. I let my camera do the site-seeing. Often just raising it above my head and letting it see and record the places we were passing through.I took almost five hundred photos. Don't worry, I will only bother you with the best.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dateline: London

We arrived in London late afternoon Sunday which helped us avoid a mad crush I am certain. Please, first I must apologize for my spelling errors in the previous post. When you travel with a professor it's best you let her read before you push send. We just completed our tour of the White Tower. Fantastic. Last night we made our way out to the Globe Theatre by the Thames. No easy task when, on a Sunday, the Underground is just as messed up with track work as the NYC subway, but we had a lovely walk. Rewarded by a stunning Dr. Faustus by Kit Marlowe, the trek back to our hotel, which is virtually on top of Victoria Station, did not seem so bad. Next stop today after our Starbucks Coffee, St. Pauls, then a tour of the Globe, then Ye Olde Cheshire Pub, if we can locate it.

On Saturday we did hike out to Anne Hathaway's Cottage and hopped a train (one stop to Wilmcote) and visited Mary Arden's farm. In the evening we treated ourselves to dinner at the Rooftop of th RSC and then took in an interesting rendition of A Mid-Summer Night's Dream. Tomorrow we head home. Then I will start posting photos.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Macbeth

Our first day in England was full of sight seeing, touring and culminated with an RSC production of Macbeth, the shortest and one of the bloodiest plays in Shakespeare's cannon. Of course I had to finish the evening with a single malt Scotch, yes Lagavulin. It has been one peaceful thrill after another here. Beautiful weather, lovely gardens. The river Avon is soothing and full of Signet Swans. It is a vibrant town with a wonderful buzz, but not crazy hectic. Getting used to the currency has been a challenge, and getting wi-fi in this Starbucks a chore and a half (and hardly free!). All in all yesterday was one of the fullest days of my life. I don't know where we found the energy, but we were up at 7 and touring the town, the Bard's birthplace, his daughters house, the place where he is buried, and then one of his most favorite works in the land where it was first performed!!! Bliss. And the local beer helps. Great stuff. Today we venture further to see Shakespeare's wife and mother's houses respectively and tonight we see another classic :

A Mid-Summer Night's Dream which apparently was written during a time of hard weather here in England where the sun refused to shine and summer's had been either drought ridden, cold or both causing crop failures and the like. Gotta go, my English Breakfast is waiting.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ransom is an English Name

Often when we are asked about our heritage we first point out that mom is Italian, so we have a clear sense of where we come from on that side of the family. But on dad's side of things the path from the past is not so clear cut. So as we journey to England this weekend in search of facts about William Shakespeare, I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for everything and anything Ransom.

While I am third generation Italian on my mother's side, the Ransoms have been in America for centuries. There are records of them participating in the American Civil War on both sides. Just how far back we go I have not looked into very closely, afraid I may find some nefarious and unsavory facts about my distant relatives. Yet, curiosity is getting the better of me...so I will be keeping in touch form the Motherland as we make our away into the heart of England.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Much Ado About...Irene



We get a bucket of brown water every time we have a wind driven rain, so Irene just forced more water through the leaky windows.Lots of twigs and leaves, and one big branch down in our immediate vicinity. I will be going to work in a few hours where I am sure to be dealing with the hardest hit areas.We are all fine here and have weathered the storm safely. We do now know all the verses and chorus to "Good Night Irene" which we sang between episodes of "Rescue Me" on DVD. After this shift I will be on vacation. Next stop...Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rinse Cycle

August rains began in earnest around 2:30 AM this morning. The streets of Brooklyn New York are being given a serious wash down. Unfortunately all the detritus of life not neatly collected into bins for waste is washed into the city sewer and makes its way to the waterways of this our fair city. But it's hard to be depressed when even the air is rinsed to a fresh fragrance of late summer. Here nature wins at last. Like the biting freezing cold of winter, the summer rains pervade and overwhelm the senses in a good way. There's no sound like the hissing whoosh of passing cars slowed to a human pace by downpours. Pedestrians present to their environment seek shelter beneath colorful umbrellas. Floods flash as streams and brooks overflow their confining banks, leaders spout, and roofs in need of TLC become known to the sad inhabitants of not so dry rooms below.Its a day for the movies or indoor games, bending your elbow, tour a museum, write poetry, make love. Get on the phone and keep in touch with those far away. Listen to music. Write a letter, with pen and paper. No Yankee game I'm sure, and the Mets are in Arizona. Stay safe my family and friends. Keep dry, but be thankful, for in Texas they are in a drought that is reminiscent of the dust bowl. Love rain over me!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Call Me a Radical

With the news full of the gloom and doom of economic disaster worldwide, I never thought that my conservative behavior over the past ten years could be considered radical, but now I don't know.

During the housing bubble we resisted the urge to be seduced by the temptation of 120 percent financing. We actually paid off all the outstanding balances on our credit cards with what we earned from our jobs, and we are now considered "dead beats" by those companies because we pay our bills on time and do not have to pay interest or fees.

We actually managed to start a modest savings program and, aside from student loans which are on their way to being repaid, we are debt free. The only thing we own is pictured above, a now "used" truck. I am not bragging. We still pay way too much in rent for way too little space. We got rid of our storage locker because the price kept going up. The same space they offered for $75.00 a month for first time renters, is going for twice that if you are a longtime loyal and consistent customer.

I consider us truly blessed. Too many of my friends are being devastated by what has happened. For once the government should make a productive use of "Imminent Domain" by seizing every foreclosed property in the United States and return those homes to the very people who have been duped by disingenuous mortgage lenders and banks. Homeowners who fell victim to schemes and get restored to their homes in that way should pay what they can afford based on their incomes. Talk about stimulating the economy, once banks have a vested interest in what people make, lets see how fast and how many jobs get created.

I don't know, I'm just saying...

Monday, August 8, 2011

SUDDENLY THIS SUMMER


NOW...
that mid-summer is well past and the dog days are upon us I am taking a moment to get present with the things we've done thus far...we start in Essex, CT where we did a sunset sail on the Mary E. AND saw Bill in "The Producer's" at the Ivoryton Playhouse centennial.Took a break to go to work (yuck!) And then... proceeded to Cape Code with Cyndy and V for a wonderful mid-week day at the beach. Next stop for Jen is Chicago and her ATHE conference. And then, as labor Day looms we're taking a leap of faith (considering all the gloom and doom on Wall Street) and we are making the pilgrimage to Stratford-upon-Avon to visit the birthplace of William Shakespeare in preparation for Jen's course she's teaching at Marymount this coming semester.

As you can see by the photos I am very plump these days...fat and happy as the saying goes. I am like the stock market. I lose...I gain. Life goes on. If you would like to check my flesh out...I mean see me in the flesh...check out Rebstock 2011 this Sunday in Tompkins Square Park. It's free.(http://www.rebhan.com)

The novel is in the final chapters of its first draft. The pace has slowed somewhat but I am still on track for a September deadline. More about September and the marking of ten years since the 9/11 attacks next month.

Finally this: "They all want you to borrow anyhow. Banks, car lots, investors. The whole thing's geared to invisible money. You never hear the sound of change anymore. It's all plastic being shuffled back and forth.It's all in everybody's heads."

from Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard first performed in 1978.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

John "Jack" P. Meade Way



One of the very best things to ever happen to me was when I met Jack Meade at Apprenticeship Training in the Bronx a long time ago. Jack showed me one opportunity after another in the trades. It was he who suggested I put my resume in with the Building Department. Jack was instrumental in helping me obtain my Site Safety License, my evening trade school teachers certificate and so much more. If Jack could help someone, he would and he did. He was tireless and selfless. Many times we would meet in ECB Court and we would be the only two inspectors there. We would shoot the breeze about the old days. I heard someone say it has been a year and a half since his passing. It seems like yesterday. His street was re-named in his honor. The ceremony was well attended by Jack's many friends and family. Also attending were the Boro President of Staten Island and representatives from City Councilman James Oddo's office.

Jack was a member of so many organizations, but I will always remember him as a Labor Leader of the highest order, a superb craftsman, and a diligent inspector. Jack my friend, I hardly knew ye. Born on Saint Patrick's Day, Jack was all Irish/American, all the time. He had a smile on his face always. He will not be forgotten.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A View From the Game

This is the view from Staten Island of the ever expanding skyline of Manhattan. The new World trade center is rising just to the left of the flag. We had an awesome time at the game, the SI Yankees came back to beat the Brooklyn Cyclones in extra innings. everything was cool and gravy until they forgot to tell us the boat back to Whitehall would be early so we missed it and had to wait in the ferry terminal for an hour or more. Not like that hasn't happened a million times before. Still don't like it. Anyway...can't complain. The sight of the city gleaming and rising, thriving and changing despite all that has taken place with war and economic downturns...oh say, did you see, that star spangled banner...still waving over the land of the free...

Wee Wee Hours

This is a first. I am blogging from the Emergency Operations Center this AM. To all my loyal fans: The City is all quiet at the moment. I was just reading my archive and see that I have been slacking. I used to blog a lot more. I am never sure how I am being received. Nobody ever comments and I get a little discouraged.

I took last week off from writing. I am itching to get back at it. Hopefully blogging from the iPad will rejuvenate the experience since now I can do it where ever I can get wifi.

My main character is a lot like me. Except tall, dark and handsome. He is also sometimes at a loss for the write stuff at the right time. I am listening to the mice squeal. All is quiet this summer morning.

So last week zero pages, but proofed some copy with the help of God and two friends I will get by...time to listen to some Grateful Dead.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Taking a Break...for a Beer and a Dog

Happy 4th of July everyone. We celebrate freedom with a trip to Yankee Stadium...on Staten Island of course...that affordable alternative to...HOLY COW I THINK HE'S GONNA MAKE IT!...NY YANKEE BASEBALL in the big ball yard in Da Bronx. Not that I have stopped writing...got my page done today plus and now stand at 61,975 words and 148 single spaced pages!!! moving right along to the finish line. For those of you who want to know more about the story it's about an investigator whose case leads him back to his home town and the very house in which he grew up in his old neighborhood. It is filled with suspense, excitement and nostalgia.

The photograph is from a trip to Wrigley Field...go Cubbies...not to worry, I still like the Mets (except when they play the Yankees)...and a trip ti Citi Field is being planned for later this year with Eric and Stew...stay tuned...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writer's Workshop

I've been a bit remiss with my blogging lately because I am in the middle of composing my first novel. Literally, in the middle and now I am starting to frighten myself a little. I might just finish the thing. With the help of God and two friends...so I thought I would begin to blog about it in a way to challenge myself to stay the course. As of this week I am at 142 single spaced pages and roughly 60,000 words.The goal is a minimum of 71,000 words, but no more than 120,000 which is acceptable for a first rough draft I am told.

The working title of the tome is "PORT RICHMOND". Here is an excerpt from a chapter I have been working on called "The Trial".

Ominous clouds, dark purple, and gray descended over and around the Empire State Building. Forks of lightening spiked out of the sky as if aimed by a malevolent, unhappy god. Foreboding as this was, more dangerous to the two, lone, tiny figures of men suspended on a scaffold hanging on the east elevation, was the roaring wind. It began to swirl in all directions. Angry blasts against sheer limestone walls created down drafts, and up draft which tossed the platform about like a row boat on high seas. The two men were almost in the middle of a drop on the tallest part of the building, the fifty stories between the 25th and the 75th floors which creates a monumental vertical rise giving this stately, landmark tower its prestigious position as the tallest building in midtown Manhattan.

The men had made several egregious errors. One was not listening for the weather forecast. The second was they failed to bridal the running lines to the structure every three floors or so. The tethers would have prevented high winds from blowing the scaffold nearly across Fifth Avenue. Then slamming it into the facade of the building as it swung back. 911 calls were coming in furiously from all over the city as local news cameras broadcasted the harrowing ordeal. The terrified men were not wearing safety harnesses. They were nothing more than paralyzed passengers clinging to the back rail of a scaffold, frozen in utmost fear for their lives.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lear BAM

CAN'T GUSH ENOUGH ABOUT THIS. Derek Jacobi's Lear was stupendous.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strange Days Indeed



I have seen some weird things in my line of work. This takes the cake.

However, if you are an aspiring "exotic" dancer at Mr. Wedge's club, you are not allowed to eat any. This was posted at the entrance of the establishment for all to see. I am not sure these requirements are even legal, but one thing is certain...they are morally repulsive. I would dare say bordering on extremism of those who would make women wear a Burka or veil.

You can't make this stuff up kids.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

DUSTY MIRROR

IT IS A MOMENTOUS OCCASION...when the President of the United States visits New York to specifically pay tribute and remember the victims and survivors of the September 11th, 2001 attack on New York, the Pentagon and the sky over Pennsylvania. Taking a moment to reflect on the historic event that took place a few days ago, it is neither a day of joy or celebration, but a moment of triumph over despair. The work by so many, evident in the green of the trees at the World Trade Center site, is a testament to the resiliency of a united people who want only peace, but who have been provoked by acts of war. What has happened must never be forgotten. The dust has been removed from the mirrors. May we see ourselves and each other as a nation on Earth free to civilly disagree without resorting to violence and chaos. May our debates going forward be tempered by the unity we feel as human beings at this moment. Let us show the world that differences will not tear us apart. On the contrary, let them solidify the faith we have in Freedom.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DAKAI ROCKS NATIONAL UNDERGROUND





Not talking about a new group of subversives, but an exciting duo from Williamsburg Brooklyn creating music in New York City. Definitively not your pre-teen's goth band. Though influences of acts like Nine Inch Nails won't go unnoticed, unlike NIN, DAKAI seduces with a feather touch rather than a jackhammer.

The set kicked off with a slow driving "Heaven and Hell" and never looked back. The stunning Leela provided power packed vocals with a blend of raw sensuality and skill while Dirty Soul supplied everything else in an electronic repertoire wall of sound masterfully constructed.

Sultry, haunting lyrics and melody of "Little Boy" bounced off the stone basement vault of this Lower East Side performance hole transporting its audience deep into the twisted mind and dirty soul of a boy hanging out in some graveyard looking for thrills.

Hypnotic numbers like "The Uncertainty Principle" and "Shocking" cast a spell that can calm raging madness or incite a riot in your psyche.

The show ended with an apocalyptic "Motherland Blues" with its reverberating question of "Whose God is gonna save us now?"

The band plans on playing future dates at venues in our area. Stay tuned for details and definitely check them out.

http://www.myspace.com/dakaimusic

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

DAKAI TONIGHT

You may not have heard of them yet...but DAKAI is coming. Tonight at National Underground 159 E Houston Street at 9:30 PM the first NYC performance of this exciting new duo....DAKAI.

COME WITH ME...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March: Out Like a Hunter Colt

March was a break out month for theater going. We began with a deconstruction of Tennessee Williams by the Wooster Group and a revival of his work by the Roundabout, Vieux Carre, and The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore respectively, sandwiched between was HERE and the experimental Feeder: A Love Story (pun intended). We followed those up with Beautiful Burnout and Room by the SITI Company, not finished by a long shot we then saw CSC’s Double Falsehood and finally War Horse at Lincoln Center.

This past month of theater, surely enough to make any Greek proud, was a most intense and delightfully rewarding experience.

War Horse, being the most spectacular effort with special emphasis on the word “spectacle”, is a performance which needs to be seen to be truly explained. Suffice to say it is not beyond my power to describe, yet I would rather you see it for yourself. With such notables in attendance the night we went as Donald Rumsfeld and Betsy Gottbaum and that announcer guy Allan Kalter from the Letterman Show, we certainly were in some high profile company. Rummy sat in the first row center on the aisle. I didn’t notice him until the second act started, but by the end of the play, he was weeping too.

Let me just say this work does not judge or glorify war, but depicts it in all its savage and heroic complexity of moral ambiguity. War is hell for man and beast. Beast proves more praiseworthy than man does by the end.

From our near vantage point we suffered some obscured sight lines, but we were treated to intimate performances by the enormous cast and got to see the wires and woodcraft of some amazing puppets. War Horse will move anyone who loves equestrian arts.

April now begins cool and clear. It is a cruel month, “breeding Lilacs out of the dead land mixing memory and desire.” As Poetry month kicks off hopefully this tragic fire season will come to an end in New York City.

War Horse plays through June.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Room of One's Own...

Ellen Lauren in Room

Directed by Anne Bogart, if you want to see Viewpoints in action go see Room at The Women’s Project. A meticulous physical performance combined with a cerebral interpretation of the late great Virginia Woolf in all her glory of mad genius. The performance is hypnotic and inspiring. You will not be unmoved. As an aspiring novelist, I was uplifted by the gifts of text delivered with laser-like precision by the masterful Ellen Lauren. What a treasure, a must see for all who count themselves artists in the post modern world. Friends who are interested, we have a half price ticket offer we’d be happy to share. Contact me for details. Life is so good, three shows in the last week, three worth while experiences and we are not finished with the month of March yet…

Saturday, March 12, 2011

They Call Me Mac...

St Ann’s Warehouse presents
Frantic Assembly
National Theatre of Scotland

Beautiful Burnout
Text by Bryony Lavery
Directed and Choreographed by
Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett.









Anyone who has had padded leather fists thrust into his or her face and tasted his or her own blood in his or her mouth will immediately identify with the electric performance delivered by the stellar cast of Beautiful Burnout. For those who abhor the “sweet science” for the barbaric and ultimately cruel element of humanity it deifies, you will identify with the electric performance delivered by the stellar cast of Beautiful Burnout.

The folks who brought us the amazing Black Watch a few seasons ago have triumphantly returned to Brooklyn with a piece inspired by a visit to our own Gleason’s Gym. This amazingly accurate and unglamorous look at the world of a boxer from humble roots, to sweaty gym, to goals inspired by lofty ambitions and finally bitter reality, is a one hour and forty minute piece that will engage your senses from start to finish.

One of the many highlights is a movement piece where every gesture a boxing referee might make is choreographed into an absolutely sublime dance to which even a novice of the square ring can relate and admire.

I could go on at length about my love/hate relationship with boxing, how many of its core disciplines represent the best values of humanity, but how, like anything pure and good humans strive for, the attraction of our darker natures seems to be exponentially magnified as well. Attention to detail in story telling is paramount to this production: Fact. Science and social nature entwine in this tragic tale of heroes and heroines, mentors and men-tees, obedience and rebellion. Definitely worth the trip to the Brooklyn waterfront. Now through the 27th. In DUMBO

My own brief incursion into boxing happened many years ago inspiring a one-person show performed in the Knitting Factory once upon a time...once upon a time they called me Mac...

ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES
By Mark D Ransom

He stands
As if an alabaster David
With padded gloves fixed to wrists
Like cudgels on arms of old.

Young, strong, determined and
Alone against his foe, his fear,
He woos a maddened crowd
Cheering for a champion
Shouting for redemption
Hollering for Blood.

Smoke rises above the din,
Rules of engagement are exchanged
Like mean pleasantries,
Before a harsh alarm rings
And two combatants begin.

He moves.
Sinuous muscle wrought in
Furnaces of pain,
Sweat, anger and guile
Sweetly fly into motion
Defying science as
Living, moving, grunting
Art.

Driven through crushing blows
Never to surrender
With a pounding heart

He falls.
Broken like Achilles,
Laurels, limelight and spoils of
Victory elude his reach
For yet another day.

He sits
Alone and exhausted,
Empty upon a heavy canvas
His essence flows
Like color from brush strokes
Painting yet
Another saga of sorrow
Pain and Hope

Monday, March 7, 2011

FEEDER: A Love Story HERE

As you enter the theater at HERE, the first thing you notice is a partition which has been partially demolished next to a closed door. You may, as you walk past this set piece, peer through that opening to notice a hospital bed with someone in it. As you round the corner to find a seat you will undoubtedly note that indeed, Jesse, played by Jennifer-Conley Darling is pre-set in the bed, she is a feedee who has gone immobile in her quest to weigh 1000 lbs. That is to say, she is willfully gaining weight with the aid of her husband and feeder, Noel played by Pierre-Marc Diennet. You will also notice that you have little or no information in your program about the play you are about to experience.


This is not an oversight. (A link to a PDF will be provided after the show.) A web-log of the characters is available on line. If you have not checked it out before coming to the theater, there is a MAC set up in the lounge where you can read Noel’s blog entries or watch him on video. You will notice the playing space demarcated by long slender tables which look like a pantry stocked with cans of Goya beans and frozen pizza boxes neatly arranged and stacked. You also notice television monitors suspended from the ceiling. Cameras trained on the players have been planted through out the set. The only thing you can not do is ignore the 750 lb woman in the room, or the device stored in a corner used to lift her from the bed so sheets can be changed.

Director José Zayas has taken James Carter’s script and run it through a production team which includes scenic design by Peter Ksander and Video & Projection Design by Alex Koch who may well have changed the way we experience Black Box Studio Theater forever. Their work alone is worth the price of admission. Unfortunately, though the acting was first rate excellent, the play seems to take on too many topics at once.

The issue of the play is the fringe fetish of Feederism, a practice where-by one enjoys sexual gratification from feeding their partners in a foodie version of dominance and submission. Mealtime becomes foreplay, and this couple doesn't just play with their food, they fuck with it. Complicating this sensual pleasure are facts like Noel’s predilection for women of size, and Jesse's willingness to become totally dependent on Noel for even her most basic needs perhaps pointing to a problem with low self esteem.

The couple meets on line. This is where the entire theme of technology continues, for it truly begins when you open your promotional e-mail and become attracted to the provocative photo of a woman reclining on red satin sheets surrounded by a sumptuous feast or when you Google "feederism" or perhaps check out the web-log where you may find out that Noel is not only a dominant feeder, but also a webmaster of many fetish sites including a few he develops after he begins his relationship with Jesse in order to support their "Lifestyle" making him a true celebrity in this loosely connected virtual community.

The inciting action takes place when a former employer of Jesse's, a television show host/producer who seems to be a cross between Oparh and Nancy Grace, stages an intervention and literally breaks Jesse out of the apartment she shares with Noel through the wall. The characters tell their story to cameras, Noel on webcasts and Jesse to Judith who is doing a feature documenting Jesse’s recovery. Interspersed there are flashbacks of Jesse and Noel’s life together, their courtship, wedding, and their huge plans for Jesse to become the biggest woman in the world.

In the end the premise is never fully explored or expressed, instead all we get is the sensationalized Jerry Springer-esque detritus which results from the slanted, edited media exposure of our darkest and most mysterious impulses. Jesse reclaims her sense of self-worth and mobility with the help of Judith, the TV producer, though she would still take Noel back. But Noel? Well you have to judge Noel for yourself. I am certain I left the theater knowing less about the subject than when I entered, but one thing was crystal clear: the lens through which we may experience life was altered to the point where I found myself watching an actor on a monitor rather than watch the actor on the stage and it’s not because I was too far away. That disturbs me more than any fetish.


Over 30 people in the production staff for a 75 minute, one act, two-hander that packs three issues into one play: Feederism as a fetish, fat acceptance/fat prejudice as social phenomena, and the ubiquitous incursion of technology into every corner of our lives rendering boundaries between the virtual and the real permanently and irrevocably blurred. Zayas and company scratch the surface of the first two issues while concentrating heavily on the latter, consequently the human story, provocative and mysterious as always, seems merely rendered as a vehicle for…tech.


Sent from my iPad

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Men At Work

The winter drags on. This ice palace was the scene of a deadly fire on a sub-freezing night.

Structural stability inspection complicated by extreme ice condition made just walking on flat surfaces treacherous.
No injuries to the inspection team that day, I am happy to report.

Never a dull moment with ERT.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Cozy

Nothing like being home for the Super Bowl Holiday...most people take it for granted, but sitting at home on a Sunday evening is not always a given with me and my crazy schedule. Routh brought over a Little Sumpin' and it was a great time with Jennifer, Green Bay, me and the chips 'n dip. We drank beer, turned the sound up for the advertisements, and had a splendid time catching up and making future plans for all kinds of fun dates together. Go Cheese Heads, cheers on your VICTORY.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"But this is More than Winter..."

The frosting on the fire balcony
in silence stares
Court Street is clear this year
The plows can get through
The private carters too
Though they cannot find the bags of trash
Stashed under fresh
White snow

A new aura is added
To the street lights glow
For a moment
New York is not so hectic

For a moment
we must get present
With what Nature is

Reminded of the fact that
We adapt to our world
Not the other way
Around

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Another Bitterly Cold Night

The city is encased in ice, but the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets are ready to fly. Let's hope their access to the Super Bowl is NOT denied by the Steelers and their Super Pride. New York (and New Jersey) is along for the ride! Let's hope that we can turn the tide, it's been far too long since the Jets were IN.

A BIG SHOUT OUT TO:

SCOTT BROOKS, and the cast of

Screen Play now on stage off-Broadway.

BREAK LEGS BUDDY...may this be the first of many grand victories for you. Onward...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Long Winter...Just Started...

Kitty has discovered the planter. He is now showing off his ability to light upon this perch. It is snowing outside, an elderly man just slipped and fell on school property across the street and an ambulance had to come.

My cough persists, but thanks to some warmed Bourbon and well wishes from you my friends I got a decent nights sleep (thanks NyQuil). I feel a bit better today. Regardless I am going to work tomorrow for my all day Saturday tour. The last time I worked all day Saturday with the pager we vacated half a building...they were all back in for Christmas!Let's see what tomorrow brings.

It feels like a long winter already and we are only just getting started. Take heart my light deprived North Eastern neighbors, we can get through this together.

Holy salt-spreader Batman, I thing I hear a plow outside! Nope, just a front end loader dragging a steel plate along Court Street. Go figure. Snow not even sticking.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CABIN FEVER

SICK OF BEING IN THE APARTMENT, BUT THE TRUTH IS:


I have not been out of it this year. New Years day I woke up with the infamous "cough" that everyone is talking about.

I have done everything, EVERYTHING the doctor said:

rest,hydration,no antibiotics...and it's been a freaking week, feels like a month and now I want to feel better.

RIGHT NOW! UUUGGGGHHHH!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

January 1st 2011. Yes, that is the world famous Times Square Ball. We were perched in an adjacent building on a unrelated matter yesterday at work and saw them testing it in the bright December morning sunshine.

New Years Day. Always a time to reflect on what has passed...my resolutions will not be to lose weight or some such non-sense, but to face the challenges that loom before us in the coming year. Most notably: relocation. Will I be sitting in this seat next year at this time? Dr. Mobley is on with her job search and none of the prospective Universities on her list include a one in the five boroughs of New York City. So where does that leave this life-long City boy? On the road my friends, to a new life somewhere far from here. Will this transition be swift? Will it be slow? Stay tuned for the blow-by-blow. I will be keeping my camera handy and doing my best to document the good-bye tour. As the old Jackson Browne song goes..."Maybe the hardest thing I've ever done...was to walk away from you..."

OK enough drama...one of the last things I did in 2010 was make a donation to the World Trade Center Memorial. I have promised all the proceeds from the sales of my two books of poetry...not the profits, mind you, but all the proceeds, are to be donated to the Memorial. So if you have not yet ordered your copy of "After September", do so soon. Or make a direct donation to the Memorial so that future generations will remember what happened there.

Thank you all for your continued interest in my life and for periodically stopping by to check in on me. If I have one resolution it will be to contribute more content to this page. May you and yours have a bright and fruitful 2011 and enjoy the bounty of our times.