Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Talking about one's wishes is an easy, fun topic. But John Cullum surprises his wife, Emily Frankel.

He is apparently not in the mood. Their discussion becomes an argument that she tries to smooth over but can't smooth over. Can they resolve it?

Thursday, February 16, 2017


John Cullum reads the opening chapter of Emily Frankel's "Karen of Troy," a tale of perseverance and strength -- a shattered, fifty-ish ex wife/mom, coping with divorce, 4 daughters and ailing mother, attends law school -- while finding a new self, amuses and inspires us with her thoughts on fitting into today's world.

Click title:  Karen of Troy
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Scan the New York City skyline and there's a new high -- 432 Park Avenue -- a pencil-thin, tall, concrete structure rising above Central Park.
My neck hurts when I walk by it and look up, up, up.

It's a residence, the tallest one in New York City, and the city's second-tallest building -- 1446 feet tall and 95 floors, while the 1,774 foot One World Trade Center has 104 floors. 

Here's how the city looks from the 95th floor, the million dollar penthouse's master bathroom.

In 1930, the first-ever super-tall, 1,046 foot Chrysler Building, was completed with its 77 floors. For 60 years thereafter, the U.S. was the only country to have buildings that were more than 984 feet tall. The Empire State Building, built during the depression, reigned as the tallest building in the world with its 1,250 feet and 102 floors for 41 years until the World Trade Center (1,368 feet, 110 floors) was completed in 1972. Two years later it was surpassed by Chicago's 1,450 foot-110 floor-Sears Tower that was the world's tallest building for 24 years.

The development of the elevator, the evolving use of steel beams, columns, and glass enabled architects to build taller  structures. In 1998, the Petronas Tower (1,483 feet, 88 floors) opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2004, the 1,670 foot Taipei was completed in Taiwan. In 2011 the Burj Dubai became the world's tallest building at 2,716 feet, 160 floors, and it contains the world's fastest elevators.

What is it this up up up trend?

Tall, tallest, taller is very tall.
Too many floors make it a mall.
Looking down at the street is a feat--
You fearfully feel you might fall.

Architecture, nowadays, has gone far beyond tall. Wildly-weird buildings are being built for many, many millions of dollars. Eeny-meeny-mini-moe, which one would you like to go and visit.

What about The Cobra tower?

When I showed this photo to my husband, he asked "Were is it?" I was surprised to learn that some people say it's in Kuwait, others mention another city -- apparently it hasn't yet been built. The photo sent me scurrying around the web and finding other marvelous buildings and this video.

Wow -- it's pictures of 35 most amazing (and some of the weirdest) buildings in the world. Browse --  brace yourself for gasps, chuckles, utter amazement and click the link.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Here's a photo of the space -- it's where I exercise and dance every day. 

In the next picture, you see how the room looks when the black curtains that are on both walls are closed, and the theater lights are on. There are 65 seats.

We don't rent out this space. My husband John and I use it for our own projects. I've used the studio for creating choreography, for rehearsing my dance company, and teaching dance classes; the space has also been used by us for staging shows, plays, play readings, as well as raising funds to produce our theater projects.

A lot of very well-known people have been invited to our studio-theater, and seen our projects. That's what you do if you're trying to make a name for yourself in dance or theater. My husband, Broadway Star John Cullum, has done thousands of auditions and showcase performances in the course of his amazing career. Even now, he'll audition for projects that interest him.

The floor space is 40 x 25. The sound equipment, designed for me by Peter Bartok, Bela Bartok's son, is on a rolling platform. It's powerful professional equipment, that we've used in Broadway and Off-Broadway Theaters. Our lighting equipment is homemade -- John and I scrounged large tomato cans from neighborhood restaurants, converted them, and made tinfoil frames to hold the gels for each light. Our homemade dimmer board sits in the dressing rooms that are next to our two offices.

Above my office is storage space for costumes, props, trunks and boxes with which I traveled when I toured the world, under state department auspices, with my dance company, and toured as a soloist with symphony orchestra.

In the picture above, what you see in the center of the floor are the chairs and portable barre that are the stage set for the dance I perform to "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Seven days a week, I dance to a four-minute section of this music.

When I'm performing, you don't see typical dance steps such as leaps, pirouettes, and intricate footwork. Instead, dancer Em visits the room and discovers each prop -- relating to each, with curiosity and tenderness, recalling how it was used. In the fourth section of "Fantasia," standing tall on the double set of chairs, dancer Em surveys the room. Then, recapitulating dancer Em's pleasure with these props, with many dance steps, triumphantly I leave the room.

 Dancing has been the major part of my life since I was ten-years-old. I dance -- like people who go to church -- I just go into my studio, warmup at the barre, turn on switches on the rolling table, and the Vaughan Williams music begins.

Listen to what I hear, and perhaps you'll understand how the music gets me revisiting the room, the space, remembering, reliving, and dancing. Having seen the theater we built, and heard how we use this space, we hope you enjoyed your visit. The great Eugene Ormandy is conducting the music.