Saturday, July 30, 2011


Somewhat reluctantly, the Cullums remember dark days, when it didn't seem as if they were going to be able to live on happily ever after.

Days when things were looking up, for John in theater and Emily in dance -- he was in the musical, "1776," getting bravos, and offers for other shows, and she was dancing in major concert series, and scheduled to perform a solo with a symphony orchestra at Lincoln Center.

Looking back at what happened, they've often wondered if they had known what was going to happen, would they, could they have prepared for the bad day in Indianapolis?

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Sometimes I feel as if I'm wandering, not sure where I'm going or what I'm looking or waiting for.

I seem to be in a wandering age, a phrase of my life when not sure what it is that I want.

Things? No.

Applause, fame, money? No.

The words ring faint bells that had to do with my younger self, but don't fit with me, nowadays.

I haven't thought about that sort of thing for a long time. In the past, when I was a dancer, I went to the theater to see other performers, took dance classes, keeping in tip-top shape, physically, athletically as well as socially. I wore hi- fashion outfits, and makeup -- doing all the female stuff that has been a part of my life all my life. And continued doing it, when I changed into a writer, and no longer danced professionally.

Till lately, till very recently, when I seem to have entered this wandering age.

I watch me. I look down on me and my life -- my home, family, possessions, shortcomings, strong points, and the past ... old worries, ailments, mistakes, even a few earthshaking decisions I made that I wonder about now. And friends, advisers, associates, and employees.

It's odd, not like me, that I'm not spending time thinking ahead about tomorrow and tomorrow.

I'm just not in the mood to think about what's next.

Some of this has to do with Facebook -- exchanging messages with current friends. I've been noticing old familiar names of friends whom I don't hear from anymore. Fragments of who they seemed to be are sort of echoing. I actually miss them as if they were in my real life.

What's odd about these old friends who were never people I'd recognize if I bumped into them on the street -- they're strangers -- I don't know them, but they're on my mind. I'm not haunted by them, but, nevertheless, I want to stay hello, and find out how they're doing.

No, no! I tell myself. They've moved on. Like ships, they're into other rivers, floating and swimming elsewhere.

Am I moving on? Am I heading toward other rivers where I will be floating, and swimming elsewhere? Or is this aimless wandering mood going to continue and not go away?

I think it's time to grab a log or a leaf that's floating in the water, moving with the tide, Even though I may not know where I'm heading, I'll be heading somewhere.

No, it isn't Christmas, but I love the song.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


What are 51-year-old Magic and 88-year-old Henry K doing on this page together?

Magic Johnson plays the life game, scoring, winning, fleetly obeying the rules, buddy-buddying with others, effortlessly winning, exemplifying bold, courageous, spur of the moment, amazing inventiveness. He's a big man -- a famous man, with laughter and joy in his bones, a spirit that warms me like sunshine.

Henry Kissinger, the weighty-wise, opinionated, knowledgeable, authoritarian statesman whose very presence demands respect and inspires awe, is a big man -- a famous man whose every word we listen to attentively and are inclined to absorb respectfully, despite his somewhat off-putting superior tone and his German accent.

Big men they both are, who take up more space than most men, because of who they are and what they can do.

Dry, gravel-voiced Kissinger bestows his knowledge like gold coins, as he tells renown world leaders what to do. Jolly, mellifluously drawling Magic spouts practical, basic advice to his peers, be they CEO's or average ordinary guys.

Magic is utterly in today's world, participating, joining, fund-raising, supporting worthy causes, while Kissinger is looking down from above, from his own Mount Olympus, where he doesn't need approval, applause, or anyone's input, or money.

When Magic, 20 years after he announced he had HIV, talks about his struggles, fears and triumphs, I am touched and excited.

When Kissinger, an authority on world affairs for almost 40 years, who's publishing his 16th book, is answering questions about it for a Time Magazine Interview, I feel weary.

At the end of the interview, the reporter commented cordially, "Artists from Monty Python to Bob Dylan have songs about you, Mr. Kissinger. Do you have a favorite?"

Mr. Kissinger said: "This will be shocking to you: I don't know any of them."

Whambam! That remark insulted me, insulted the world that's been profoundly affected by Dylan.

I feel Kissinger belongs on his Mount Olympus, with plenty of moth balls to keep out the today things that I am sure Magic thoroughly understands and enjoys.

I put them on this page together so that when you grow up, you'll be a "Magic," and beware of turning into a un-kissable Kissinger.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


John Cullum's career, once it got going, took off and has kept him working primarily in musical theater -- in long runs on Broadway, playing leading roles. Emily Frankel's career was mostly one night stands -- she performed in every state in the union -- small towns, and some larger ones, more than one thousand one night stands.

I've been a traveling salesman for dance... bringing dance into communities that had never seen any dancing other than folk dance, line dancing, dancing that was done in local bars and gyms.