Friday, November 1, 2019

VISIT OUR THIRD FLOOR THEATER --TODAY, TOMORROW, ANYTIME, AND DO SOME DANCING.


Here's EUGENE ORMANY CONDUCTING ... just listen, feel how it rises and flows.


AS YOU LISTEN you con't eee leaps, and pirouettes. You'll just see dancer Emily visiting the room, relatng to each object, relating the chair with curiosity and tenderness recalling how it was used. When I'm dancing to this music, you don't see typical dance steps such as leaps, pirouettes, and intricate footwork. Instead, dancer Emily visits the room and discovers each object, relating to each with curiosity and tenderness, recalling how it was used.

The sound equipment, designed by Bela Bartok's son, Peter, is powerful professional equipment which we've used in Broadway and Off-Broadway theaters.

"We use the space for staging shows, play readings, and raising funds to produce our theater projects. Over the years, a lot of very well-known people have been here for previews.

The floor space is 40 x 25. Our lighting equipment is homemade--we 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 the costumes and props I used when I performed as soloist with symphony orchestras, and toured the world with my dance company.

In the center of the floor are the chairs and barre I use every day, not just when I listen to this fantastic piece of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams. He named it "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis." Just about every day I perform a four-minute section of this music. You'll hear how the music recapitulates its various themes. Of course, the ending is always the same. Standing tall on the double set of chairs, dancer Emily surveys the room. Then, swiftly, recapitulating the memories, 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, warm up at the barre, turn on the sound.

As you listen, again, perhaps you'll understand how the music inspires me. Listen again, and LET YOURSELF FEEL the way it it rises and flows. As you hear the music, stand tall. Raise your arm, left arm or right. Now, salute the room. Salute Ormandy himself. And you are dancing. Yes, dancing to this music. YOU CAN DANCE TO IT AGAIN AND AGAIN. NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU DO THIS, YOU ARE INSPIRED, thrilled, touched, intrigued and yes, oh my, ready willing and able to keep on dancing. dancing, dancing.

I got one word left to say.

Wow!

.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

MISSING THE BAD GUYS

The list of bad guys keeps getting longer.

Since April 2017, when Fox News Host, Bill O'Reilly was forced to resign, more than 250 powerful people — celebrities, politicians, CEOs, have disappesred. It took me a couple of hours of wading through the names, looking for favorite celebs -- commentators and actors mostly, whose work I no longer see.

Here's a link to a bunch of  guys who've been unemployed for a long time -- golly, good guys like Tom Brokaw -- I miss him.

Found anyone who belongs on your own personal GOOD GUY list?

WHAT NAMES DID YOU FIND THAT SURPRISED YOU?




Monday, September 23, 2019

BEST COFFEE IN THE WORLD....

The Los Angeles Times wrote about the Klatch cafe with branches in Southern California and San Francisco that's touting its $75 a cup as the world's best.

Being a coffee nut, pissed off by $75 a cup, I checked out "Ten Great Coffees" online.

I started with Hawaiian Kona Coffee, price $34/pound. The online article said "has a fantastic flavor and unique taste. Most sellers use a blend of 10% Kona coffee and 90% cheaper variety. Make sure you buy and consume 100% Kona coffee." I drank Kona coffee when my husband was shooting the film "Hawaii." We were living in the Ilikai, a luxurious hotel in Honolulu where all the actors lived for a couple of months. Since the film company was paying our bills, I figured it was 100% Kona.  But the hotel -- 8 a.m. till 7 p.m, constantly had loud bang-bang noises because it was being renovated. Living there was lousy and room service Kona coffee was lukewarm.

I drank Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, $50/pound, known for it's mild taste, when I was performing with my dance company in Japan but it made me sleepy. Saint Helena Coffee--$79/pound intrigued me since Napoleon Bonaparte was ardent fan of its caramel and citrus flavor but you'd have to visit the island where he lived in exile, to taste it.

Civet
Very expensive coffee -- civet coffee,  Kopi Luwak -- costs 160/pound. Indonesian Asian Palm civets, consume the beans, ferment them, deposit the coffee beans in their feces from where it is collected and processed.

Elephant
The tip-top most expensive $500/pound coffee that's favored by coffee afficionados, Black Ivory Coffee, like civet coffee, it is made by elephants that consume the beans. Their feces provide an especially robust flavor.

Guys, I have to say drinking a cup of civet or elephant poop is just too too icky. Next time we visit our son who lives  in North Hollywood, we'll visit our friends in southern California and won't mind paying $75 for a cup.


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

(VIDEO) JOHN CULLUM'S FAVORITE TOTEMS.

Got any routines, ridiculous superstitious things you do?


Em reveals hers, and gets John to talk about things he does on opening night of a big Broadway Musical.

Friday, September 13, 2019

CELEBRATING MOM'S BIRTHDAY



Today is the day I celebrate my mother's birthday. There's a green light glowing in her brass candle holder. It's electrified, and sits on a shelf above my desk. The nurse, who tended Mom, during the last weeks of her life, sent it to me. I keep it lit night and day.

Throughout my life, Mom was always there for me -- it didn't take much conversation -- just "Mom, I've got a problem," or "Mom, I'm not sure what to do," or just "Hi Mom."  (I've blogged about her in "Night Light" -- 4/13, and in " Marching" --  4/17.)

After a head-on collision on the highway near Indianapolis, I was rushed to a hospital -- cut out of my clothes, temporarily repaired -- my small intestine had been severed by the seat belt, my facial injuries were extensive. Because I had a fever, surgeons postponed the major surgery that was needed on my back.

For the next three weeks, I was strapped to a Stryker table. The nurses turned it and me like a flap-jack, every 45 minutes. I couldn't sit up, or raise my head, or move any part of my torso, though I could move my arms and hands. I lay on my bandaged stomach wounds, facing the floor, then lay face up with my injured back (at the waist), positioned over the padded hole in the center of the table.

My husband, John Cullum, and Mom arrived while I was still unconscious. He was in "1776" on Broadway singing "Molasses to Rum," playing the Senator from South Carolina. While I was being treated with antibiotics for fever, the show's producer let him miss performances and fly to Indianapolis twice a week. The shows he missed weren't deducted from his salary. The cast members had a "kitty" -- money they collected to help cover the cost of the airfare.

Mom, who was recovering from a mastectomy she had a few months earlier, was with me every day. She got me large-size knitting needles, white yarn, and cast on thirty stitches, so that upside-down or right-side up, I could knit. With her encouraging me, I managed to make the first four inches of a scarf that my husband even now, occasionally wears.

The Doctors came in routinely, and tested my legs, arms, face as well as my private parts with a feather, asking, "Do you feel that?" Though I didn't feel anything, I always said, "I can march."

It seemed to cheer everyone when I said that. An orderly had told me I was temporarily paralyzed. Someone had murmured "partial paraplegia." I didn't have a dictionary, but if I had one, I wouldn't have looked up paraplegia or fracture. No one said "your back is broken" -- they just said that the lumbar vertebrae at my waist were "fractured."

It took all my energy to concentrate on minutes passing between pills and the hospital routines that had to do with food, toilet, bathing, combing my hair. I didn't ask for a mirror -- I didn't want to see what I looked like. Watching the clock -- what a torture it was, staring at the second hand, watching the minute hand, waiting for the hour hand to move. Only after three-and-a-half hours had past, could I start asking for the pills that let me disappear for a while.

It was a orderly who noticed a reddish, swollen area on my arm. A sliver of glass, probably from the shattered windshield of the car, was removed and treated. By the next day, the fever was gone.

JC was onstage in New York when the two surgeons examined me head-to-toe with a needle, instead of feather. Frowning, one of them said, "Well, we can operate in the morning. The other surgeon smiled, and joked -- "I'm the best bone fixer around town -- this is the hospital where we fix the racers from the Indy 500.  My friend here is a neurological specialist -- best in the country, figuring out nerve endings."

I tried to say something about marching. The way they were talking -- one frowning, the other smiling -- frightened me. They said ... maybe a year ... two years ... maybe five ... hope for best ... "Wheelchair" was mentioned twice.

After they left, Mom pulled her chair in. Squeezing my hand, she said, "Recovering from surgery is easier than waiting like you've been waiting. What you need to do is get a good night's sleep, and wake up strong, looking forward to the operation."

"Is that what you did, Mom?" She'd hadn't mentioned her mastectomy. I was thinking ... five years ... wheelchair ...  hope for the best ...  I wanted to say I don't want to live if I'm going to be in a wheelchair.

Mom spoke softly. "Don't think about what you fear. Try to give yourself to the doctors, dear, like you'd give yourself to a lover." She kissed me, and said it again, louder and very clearly. "The doctors need you to trust them, dear.  It will help them, if you give yourself to them like you'd give yourself to a lover."

I had never talked about lovers or my love life with my mother. How did my mother, married to my father -- for so many years the hard-working, faithful, adoring, good wife -- find the knowledge, the words, the wisdom to say what she did? And help me -- give me the command, and then, the power to look forward to tomorrow.

Happy birthday, Mom -- you gave me health, a body, resilience, a healing capacity, a powerful life force that's in my bones, my muscles, my blood, my skin, my pores, and you were always, always, always there when I needed you.''

Sunday, September 8, 2019

ERASING GEORGE WASHINGTON

Why would anyone want to erase the stern perceptive George Washington, Father of Our County, The Commander in Chief of the Continental Amy during the Revolution?

Golly, young George Washington who cut down the cherry tree and admitted it to his dad -- "Father, I cannot tell a lie, I cut down that cherry tree..." We need him, grew up with him -- whenever we need to exaggerate something we achieved, he's on our minds, reminding us to tell the truth.


In San Francisco, California, they think differently. The city's Board of Education has made plans to paint-over a mural about the life of George Washington that decorates GEORGE WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL. All seven members of the board voted 'yes' to appropriating funds to cover the cost of paint.

The students didn't like the idea. Almost unanimously the students voted to preserve the murals.

The murals were created by the highly acclaimed muralist, Victor Arnautoff. The board held that mural's images of slaves and a dead American Indian might hurt some teenagers' feelings, and remind them of Washington's role in slaughtering indigenous people and perpetuating slavery.


The Board of Education allocated $825,000 to paint over the mural.

Boston Globe's highly respected journalist, RenĂ©e Loth, published her opinion: "It isn't just wasteful, it's official vandalism. Though we can't ignore that some teens feel that Arnautoff's imagery is hurtful, to destroy part of our cultural legacy because it is painful to look at is just another kind of whitewash."

In July, I read about this in a New York Times article by Bari Weiss. Since then, I have searched everywhere to find out if the murals are now painted over. I got no information, except one reply asking why do you want to know?

Golly gee, painting over the murals is like taking down the statues of Civil war Confederate generals who fought brilliantly but lost the war -- we're depriving ourselves and our kids of what's important to understand, about what's happening all over the world right now, today.



Monday, September 2, 2019

(VIDEO) HURRAY FOR JELLY BEANS

John Cullum  asks wife Emily  about the latest batch of videos they're going to shoot. .


He's surprised, quite taken aback, as Emily describes how she manages to come up with oddball, interesting ideas. 


Sunday, August 11, 2019

EMILY FRANKEL IS ON VACATION


EM NEEDS A VACATION


Need new ideas.
Will miss blogging and friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and be back after Labor Day.


Friday, August 9, 2019

BIKING DAYS REVISITED

Back in the days when John Cullum, my husband, was job hunting and I was taking over as artistic director of my dance company, John and I biked everywhere. Quite often on weekends, we went on excursions to areas of New York City that we'd never visited before.

It was an autumn thing to do. I loved the wind in my hair, and the exercise -- using my legs, my straight-backed posture -- tut-tut observing John, who rides his bike hunched over. I wanted my ex-tennis-champ husband to have a dancer’s posture. He wanted me to bike like a biker, and stop worrying about how I looked.

Golly, I still remember when I was a little girl, what a big deal it was to learn how to ride a bike. Harder, even more important than learning to tie the laces on my shoes, riding a bike was a way of becoming a grownup who could head for the park where grownup, bigger kids were jumping rope and playing baseball.

Well, I did it -- learned, and it grew me up, like learning to drive a car did, when I was older. I had to learn to drive in order to be able to tour and earn a living from performing on college campuses.

After John landed a role in Shakespeare in the Park, on our bikes, we visited all sorts of wonderful Central Park nooks and crannies. When John, who was understudying two leading roles in “Henry V" went on for the Chorus, and did the famous “Oh for a muse of fire” speech, he was discovered by Alan Lerner’s assistant.

While John was playing Sir Dinadan in Lerner and Lowe's “Camelot," on his day off we rode our bikes up and down all the streets -- 41st to 50th street, stopping and studying the exteriors and backstage entrances of famous theaters, not realizing that John would be working on the stage in most of them someday.

Sometime around then, my second-hand pink bike (I’d painted it) was stolen. We’d been parking our bikes in the hallway of our building, where the main entrance door wasn't locked. We'd rented and transformed the 4th floor loft into a spacious home and dance studio, but back then, we didn't have a buzzer that allowed us to unlock it for mail and package deliveries.

John’s blue bike (I’d painted it) was stolen when he was standing-by for Richard Burton in "Camelot," when Richard was off to Rome to co-star with Elizabeth Taylor in “Cleopatra” -- big event that changed their lives, as well as ours.

John’s rising income enabled us to install a buzzer system and buy a smallish Honda motorcycle from an actor pal, who was in “1776," when John was singing “Molasses to Rum.”

Though traffic and potholes scared me, while John auditioned for Lerner, over and over for a new show, working on the Viennese accent Lerner wanted the leading man to have, I started learning to ride “Harry” the Honda.  (That's what I called the Honda.)

Nevertheless, I usually sat behind John on Harry, clutching him as we explored NYC's downtown Jewish shopping district (open on Sundays) where I was shopping for fabric for 16 costumes for my performances at Lincoln Center.  Suddenly, “helmets” had to be worn. Golly, I hated the way my head sweated, when I wore a hard hat. John said, "Stop worrying -- you look fine," but my hair looked lousy for hours, after a trip on Harry.

Also, Harry stalled sometimes, and there were skids -- a nasty skid hurt my collarbone, so Harry temporarily lived in the hallway. With John’s “On a Clear Day” earnings, we bought our building, also new bicycles, and baby furniture --  parenting was part of our growing up -- our little one, John David Cullum, was arriving.

As JD grew, we employed housekeeper-baby-sitters, and there were more jobs on Broadway for Dad, more prestigious bookings for Mom. We ventured out as a trio on Harry but it was nerve-racking, not safe -- city streets were getting to be very crowded. We gave Harry to John's understudy. JC, while playing Laertes in Burton’s “Hamlet,” bought a tricycle for JD.

On Sundays, the three of us biked around a nearby huge empty parking lot -- us on two new bikes, JD on his first two wheeler, then, a full-size bike. He was growing up fast.

When JC starred in “Deathtrap,” like rich folks, we commuted to a rented summer home in the Hamptons, exploring, on rented bikes, possible fabulous homes to buy. It was a fun game -- we weren’t rich, but a lot of things were in the offing -- meetings with Hal Prince about “On the 20th Century,” talk about John starring in a TV show, a tour for my adaptation of “Cyrano,” with John playing the part. All that, while I was on my way to London for a British Arts Council tour and JC was starring in “Shenandoah,” with JD playing a small role. No doubt about it -- the Cullums were in the busiest time, the prime of life. John bought a scooter but his producers objected, so he and JD traveled to the theater in the limo they provided.

Today, in NYC, there are about 800 Citi Bikes stations in the five boroughs. Cost: $3 for 30 minute trip, $12 for 24 hours, 3 day pass $24.00; annual membership $169.00 per year.

T'aint a friendly city these days -- car-guys hate bikers, bikers hate car-guys, pedestrians hate the cyclists whizzing the wrong way on one-way streets -- last year about 800 people were injured by bikes, but Citi Bikes say fewer are being injured nowadays.

Anyway, JD’s a working actor in LA now, driving a fancy sports car, and our dusty new (old) bikes belong to a neighbor who has two rambunctious kids. Hey, if you want to ascend to a ripe and active old age, you live less dangerously. On weekends, if we’re not busy puttering and fixing worn-out things, JC’s on our treadmill in our studio, and I, being concerned with staying in shape, do my barre every day in my studio and practice standing tall.

Yes, now is a great time for biking -- yes, our biking days are over -- but I stand very tall, and so does John Cullum, when we go on one of our long, long, lovely long walks.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

(VIDEO) DO THE CULLUMS EVER YELL AT EACH OTHER?

John politely avoids the topic. Emily admits and demonstrates that she's often too loudly passionate.


John explains lovingly, why he tends to keep disagreements "sweetiepie graceful."

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

BIOHACKING YOURSELF...

A well-known, No.1 British researcher, backed by the rich guy who founded PayPal, says that someone alive today will live to be 1000. A bunch of other No.1 guys--Oracle’s founder, Larry Ellison, Google's co-founders, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla's Elon Musk, are into ways to live longer, along with tens of thousands of biohackers, who are sure that ageing is just another curable disease.

Is it? Or isn't? The oldest humans have lived to about 120, and that hasn't been topped in recent decades despite vast improve-ment in health care. Most scientists are skeptical. Professor Richard Miller, of the University of Michigan, wrote an article that's been co-signed by 28 ageing experts, stating that extending our life-span is "So far from plausible that it commands no respect at all within the informed scientific community."  

If dreams of bio-hackers are realized, rich folks, who can afford enhancements, will be superior to the rest of us. Also biohackers, who install hardware in themselves.
A car salesman in Utah, installed magnets in his fingers that can open car doors, and got headphones implanted in his ears. In Sweden thousands of people have installed Radio Frequency devices, which are the size of a grain of rice, and cost about $180 each.

Here's what the most famous biohacker, David Asprey, does so he'll live till he's 180 years old.


If you don't want to change your life, you don't want to make a commitment to biohacking, is there anything you can do if you just want to live longer?

Yes.

Guys, all you need to do is concentrate on what you are doing. Stop thinking about ageing, and wondering about living longer. Just quietly, without making a big deal about it, utterly intensely at the moment you are doing something, focus on the moment of the moment. Ten seconds, sixty seconds of focus, or a day of focus--it's tricky. It takes practice to do whatever you are doing, with all of you participating, no day-dreaming, no visions or comparisons of yourself to what other guys are doing. Just to be there on the moment of the moment you are living longer.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

SALUTING IDA KEELING.

At one-hundred-and-four, Ida Keeling, is a very busy lady.

She grew up "Happily," she says, as one of eight children in Harlem. The days when police opened the hydrants with with sprinklers on them, there were wonderful times--dancing to drum music, (boys made pails into drums). But drugs came--everyone was after the quick money that killed both her sons in drug related violence in 1978 and 1981. Their deaths broke her spirit. She was 67 and began running. Ida says: "The more I ran, the faster and stronger I became. It released the hold that death had on me."

"Preparing for races--sprints of 60 to 100 meters--I'd go to the gym, ride my bike, work out. Age aint' got nothing to do with it. When you really want to do something for yourself, you go and do it."

She doesn't run as fast as she used to, but this American sprinter still competes, and being the only sprinter in her age group, of course, always wins.



There's a contagion of these youngsters nowadays. Another gal, merely 103, who just won the meter races in Albuquerque, says keep your mind on magic things. Her advice? Look for "magic moments" like sunsets, sunrises, rainbows, beautiful birds, music and people’s "lovely comments."

Wowy!!! These older women winners are wonderful philosophers as well!!!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

(VIDEO) WHAT DO WE DO ON SLEEPLESS NIGHT...

Go for a walk?  Talk about various possible projects?  Turn on the television?

John makes a beeline for the kitchen.  We could have a sandwich--we seem to be hooked on bacon, lettuce and tomato on rye toast--NOPE-- John opens the orange cabinet where we keep starchy foods.  And I get the right-size small pot.






Monday, July 15, 2019

THANK HEAVEN FOR CHARO

"Thank heaven for Charo," said the New York Times, with an article and this photo.
Out of the blue, the photo became visions of the sexy, silly, outrageous girl-woman, married to Xaviar Cugat, and an inner "wow," as the newspaper quoted her saying, "You must live! And you must watch out for the people you love!"

Charo, married for more than 40 years to Kjell Rasten, was walking through her home on February 19, singing, "Good morning, good morning," when she found him. He had shot himself. Her 78-year-old husband, father of Shel, their 38-year-old son, was suffering from a rare disease that is characterized by terrible blistering of the skin. He'd been deeply depessed.

Shel entered just as Charo told the New York Times lady, about making cuchi cuchi with his dad. Bandleader of TreaZon, a heavy metal group, he said, "I clearly picked the right time to show up."

Charo said, "Around the world I am known, as a great musican, in America I will always be the cuchi cuchi girl. That's okay, it has taken me all the way to the bank."

According to Wikipedia, right after she filed for divorce from Cugat declaring she was 13 when she met him, Charo was paid as much as Sinatra, headlining shows in Vegas.

Charo told the woman reporter, "I retreated to the bedroom the month after his death. I cried, but did not pray. I was empty. My time as a woman has ended life as a woman who experiences romantic love. I have my son, my sister, and nephew, and God. I love life. I will continue entertaining, and I will continue praying," Charo said each word as if it were the most important thing in the world. "Forty days after his death, we drank wine and planted a cherry tree to honor Mr. Rasten, and now it bring joy to others."

"The best thing that happened in my life--I recommend it to you--one day you have Sangria, open your legs and get pregnant. You must live! And you must watch out for the people you love! I have a plan. I want to change the world. I know what I want--what I want is what people want. When I read on Instagram, 'You make my day,' they make my day. When I can make people happy, I am happy."

The newpaper reporter asked if she is happy with her legacy and what she has accomplished.

"No!" She said with a girl-woman smile that said 'yes.' "I am a Capricorn, and a Capricorn always goes to the mountain. In my mind, it’s 'Next!'"

According to IMDb, the world's most reliable source for movie, TV and celebrity facts, Charo was officially 16 when she met Cugat. She is currently 78.

The New York Times "Thank heaven for  Charo" rings in my mind along with my "Wow!! What a woman!!"

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

PELOSI FOR PRESIDENT

Nancy Pelosi is second in the presidential line of succession, immediately after the vice president.


Nancy Pelosi has been involved with every issue listed here--it is a list of every issue that has concerned America.

Civil liberties and human rights
Immigration 
LGBT rights 
Marijuana legalization 
Removal of Confederate monuments 
waterboarding.
Women's Economic Agenda
Veterans
Gun Violence Prevention
Economy. 
Monetary policy
Infrastructure
Disaster relief
Education 
Environment 
Health care 
Affordable Care Act 
Abortion 
Contraception
Security 
Gun laws 
Military draft 
Use of government aircraft
Trump presidency:
(His fitness, tweets, state of the union speech, etc.)
Foreign Affairs: 
China; Colombia; Cuba; First Gulf War; Iran;
Iraq War; Israel; North Korea; Russia; Syria; Libya; Turkey.

Is anyone more knowledgeable, more capable of handling what's next?

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, saying Pelosi for President makes one feel safer, and more hopeful about the future--your personal future and the future of America and the World.




Thursday, July 4, 2019

CELEBRATING JOHN CULLUM

I love this photo of  my husband, John Cullum, in costume, on the set for the  film "1776."

This blog is what I need to say every year around now. The feeling I have demands that I say it again, and again.

The candle on the table, the shoulders seen on each side of John indicates that other people are with him. The photo is John as "Rutledge," the Senator from South Carolina thinking about how he'll vote while other senators are voting.

Golly, the look on John's face is so real--typical--just the way my husband looks when he's thinking about one of our domestic problems.

John told me that this scene in the "1776" film had been done as a long shot, then cameras and lights re-positioned for the medium shot and filmed again; the setup was again changed for the closeups--he'd already sung "Molasses to Rum" twice. He told the director, Peter Hunt, "Better get it this time, I've just got one more "G" in me."

(JC told me just now that if I listened to the film again, I'd hear how he "slipped into the high note," that "G." He's a Baritone--a G can be tricky.)    
   
Wife, fan, lover of John Cullum delights in studying that photo of the man she fell in love with at first sight, the guy who had evolved from a very good looking, handsome, leading man on a stage, a leading man who could rivet an audience--into a man who could truly star in a show and draw thousands of theatergoers.



Why am I jabbering about all this? I'm doing it to remind you that people with whom you are intimately involved change, grow up as you do, and viewing them freshly, grows you up too.

Here's John yesterday at noon--at his computer, reviewing lyrics from "On a Clear Day You See Forever," one of the shows he starred in on Broadway.
       He's already meticulously rehearsing what he'll be talking about and singing in his One Man Show, at Studio 54, in September.

Yep! Wife Em WAS, IS, on Independence Day, enthralled by John in that marvelous film, stunned by the power in him, artist, musician, singer, actor, performer that he is. I am gifted by Mother Nature, God, and happenstance, to have been able to grow up with him.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

NEED A GURU "BEST" FRIEND?

Last year, at this time, not many women have heard of Rachael Hollis. Now, millions have read her self-help books.

Her first bestseller came out in February, 2018--"GIRL WASH YOUR FACE." (Love the title!) It's celebrated by Drew Barrymore and Reese Witherspoon, but derided as nonsense by liberal media and Christian advisers. It's popularity amazed the book industry.

In March, Hollis' second book--"GIRL, STOP APOLOGIZING," another socko title, was almost instantly a best seller. It's basic advice that tells you to make a goal plan, and go for itHer tone of voice inspires you to stop worrying about what others think of you, while author Rachel reveals her own shortcomings--that she's bad at sex, she's had a boob job, her guilty mom "sins"--she's not always there for her kids--how she's peed in her pants, and has hair on her toes!

Back in 2015, she published this picture with this comment: "I have stretch marks and I wear a bikini. I have a belly that’s permanently flabby from carrying three giant babies, but I wear a bikini. My belly button is saggy, Those marks prove that I was blessed enough to carry my babies, and that flabby tummy means I worked hard to lose what weight--they aren’t scars ladies, they’re stripes and you’ve earned them. Flaunt that body with pride!"  It went viral.
Her honesty, her courage, impresses me. She inspires women who aren't sure what they want, more than what they already have, and gives them permission to pursue a dream, and be more than a wife and mother. In this video,  I loved seeing and hearing her. (The guy's her husband, Dave.)





Monday, June 24, 2019

THE VACCINE WAR

Jeffrey Kluger, invariably an interestingly creative reporter for Time Magazine, in a recent issue describes how a woman, pregnant 14 years ago, decided her baby would be brought up naturally and chemical free, just as a British doctor published a paper, linking vaccines to autism. It stuck in her mind.

Though the paper and others like it was deemed fraudulent later, the woman, Christina Hildebrand, who is currently founder of Voice for Choice, an advocacy group that challenges vaccine science, was part of the huge crowd of pro and anti-vaccines, at the statehouse in Sacramento, California, as the legislature voted on bill to close loopholes that allows parents to sidestep vaccines.

Reporter Kluger describes warring crowds in Arizona, Texas, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Texas, revealing that every state in the U.S. except Alaska and West Virginia, has at least one anti-vax political action committee, even though 82% Americans, (Pew Research number), believe children should be vaccinated, unvaccinated children represent danger for other children. as well as adults.

What galls public-health experts is anti-vaxers saying they are fighting for their personal choice, which isn’t all that personal. Depending on the disease, it’s necessary for about 95% of a population to be vaccinated to provide so-called herd immunity, the ability of a well-inoculated community to protect its members. During the current epidemic, anti-vaxers are choosing the individual over the group that's in mortal danger.
       “Vaccines are a victim of their own success,” says an authority. “People have forgotten how sick measles can make you and how dead measles can make you.”

None of that is likely to dissuade Hildebrand and other opponents of mandatory vaccines for whom the argument becomes YES or NO: Do parents have the right to choose? Kruger points out how climate-change deniers make it harder to get environmental legislation. Similarly, every parent who chooses not to vaccinate has at least one child whose own health is being left at risk, and who represents a danger to others too.

       As I was writing this blog, tucked away in my office here in NYC, wanting to shout, "Guys, you have to do whats right for the country, not just for yourelf"--fortuity! June 14th, the powerful, well-known guys who run the state and affect the Northeastern part of the country--yay hurray--HERE'S WHAT THE STATE OF NEW YORK HAS DECIDED.  



Wednesday, June 19, 2019

(VIDEO) JOHN CULLUM TURNS BACK THE CLOCK

John delights in revisiting age 26, and bragging a little, explains why it was his favorite age.



Emily gets John to reveal when, where, and what part he played, the very first time he "acted" in a play.

Friday, June 14, 2019

BLACK HOLES ARE HAUNTING ME

Take a look. Messier 87 is a supermassive black hole. You could have observed it, if you used a small telescope sometime in May.   

So what is this black hole? Astrophysicists, (AstroP's), say: "It's a puncture in space-time. Think of space time as the  rubber surface of a trampoline, and a black hole as a bowling ball placed on that surface. The ball causes the fabric to sag, so that smaller objects fall into the hole." (Since black holes create bottomless pits, Astro Ps don't know where matter that falls into them winds up.)

How do black holes get formed? Astro Ps say when stars exhaust their fuel, the star's huge mass collapses. The star explodes in a new bright star. If the remnants are as massive as our sun, the star collapses with such force that nothing can stop it. It will swallow everything including light. 


The late physicist Stephen Hawking said, "It's like going over Niagara Falls in a canoe--if you are above the falls, you can get away if you paddle fast enough, but once you are over the edge, you are lost. There's no way back."

According to Astro Ps, there are billions of black holes. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains as many as 400 billion stars. That could mean 400 million black holes--about one star out of every thousand  can create a black hole after it dies. The Milky Way has a huge black hole called Sagittarius A, with "4 million times the sun's mass crammed into a space that is about 30 times the diameter of the sun."  I can't picture something that massive, but here's photos of Sagittarius A.   

So, what would happen if you fell into a black hole? Hawking said, "You would appear to slow down, and hover just outside. You would get dimmer and dimmer, and redder and redder, until you were effectively lost from sight. If you approached the black hole with your feet first, its gravity would pull harder on your shoes than your head, and you'd be stretched and shredded in a process that Astro Ps have dubbed "spaghettification."

At the University of London, Astro Ps are saying they need to invent new physics. Some think a black hole represents a shortcut to another region of our universe, and figure black holes lead to other universes. Others think the Big Bang that created our universe might represent a black hole from another universe. Hawking said, "This might be possible--the hole would need to be large, and if it was rotating, it might have a passage to another universe. But you couldn't come back to our universe. So, although I'm keen on spaceflight, I'm not going to try that."


Hadron Collider
Scientists at CERN (European Research group) are using the Large Hadron Collider which can speed up protons to almost the speed of light. When they collide, the energy produced could create microscopic black holes that would be evidence that our our universe is part of an infinite number of universes. That possibility has gotten theorists to warn CERN about creating micro black holes that could grow and swallow our planet, even our universe.  Other theorists say a micro black hole would be unstable and disintegrate immediately. 

Leading Astrophysicist Ethan Siegal says, "Fears about our planet being eaten by a black hole are completely irrational. The world is safe."

My blog's based on an article in The Week Magazine and sources I used to clarify words and concepts. I've decided, just now, that I'm not going to let myself wonder about all this anymore--Cern guys, theorists, and Astro Ps are going to be figuring it out. I enjoy standing on the roof of my house in New York City. There are no stars, just lights from other buildings and glittering flashes from the streets below that are interesting, actually quite fascinating to think about. 
   
        

Sunday, June 9, 2019

THE ART OF JEFF KOONS "ART".....

Jeff Koons' steel rabbit just sold for $ 91.1 million at Christies--it's the most money ever paid for art by a living artist. It's 3 feet tall, a blow-up was in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, 2007.
Jeff Koons' art works have been in major prestigious museums throughout the world--especially his popular "Balloon Dog;" about 12 feet tall, five versions--blue, magenta, yellow, orange, red.

Many galleries have also displayed Koons'  porcelain and gold "Michael Jackson" sculpture.

 'Made in Heaven' sculptures, anatomically unambiguous sculptures of Koons having sex with his first wife are--"Not pornography,." Koons says. "I'm interested in the spiritual, to be able to show people that they can have impact, to achieve their desires."
"Tulips," sold for a record-breaking  $58.4 million. Five unique versions. 80 inches x 180 x 205.

The 64-year-old artist, from York, Pennsylvania, is heralded by some critics as a pioneer. Others dismiss his work as 'kitsch.' New York Times article on Koons quoted art critic, who called Koons' art, "cat excrement." Koons' approach to art is evident at his huge studio in NYC. He employs 130 assistants, who use paint-by-the-numbers techniques to create the unique versions, reproductions exhibited, praised by major critics everywhere. Here's what Koons says about it.


Koons creative process and success says a lot about today's world and culture. "Igg" is my reaction to balloon dogs, tulips, and sex sculpture. Maybe his art is just not my cup of tea, or I'm  reacting to what I feel, and don't like about Koons' York, Pennsylvania mentality. It's prejudice based on my growing up years in Harrisburg, Pa., with kids like Jeff, perceiving from class reunion letters, what these kids aren't and ARE. For many of them, money is God, is status, the true measure of success -- the most important thing in life. I think Jeff Koons' art may be where art is heading. Artist Jeff Koons has created many, many stunning, astounding works over the years. If you haven't made up your mind about liking or disliking his art, click the link -- you'll enjoy this "Stop Hating Jeff Koons" article in the New York Times.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

CULLUM'S FAVORITE BROADWAY SHOW

John Cullum is asked, by his wife Emily, "What role, in what Broadway musical, would you love to play."


Without hesitation, John blurts out the title, the name of the character, the starring role he's never played, and why he'd love to play that role right now.






Wednesday, May 29, 2019

WHERE OH WHERE IS KEANU REEVES HEADING?

 At 54, Keanu Reeves wonders if at any point he will feel secure enough to take his foot off the gas and be content to just enjoy his life and make fewer films.

Keanu told the interviewer from GQ.com, "I wonder if this is going to be the house I die in? I never wondered about things like that when I was 40. I haven’t really thought about my career future, or what was going to happen, until recently. In 1995, when I was filming A Walk in the Clouds with Anthony Quinn, a two-time Oscar winner, Quinn was always on the phone, checking to see if he’d booked on this or that. I asked 80 year-old Quinn, is it always going to be like this? Quinn said there’s this idea that, like, at some point you’re going to be set, and then, maybe there won’t be so much working on working."

Was it just his mood, or a man who's earned more than $350 million from being in films, not sure what he was achieving.


I wikipedia-ed him. Keanu Reeves has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The New York Times has said he's a good actor. I searched around for sad events in his life and saw that he and his girl friend, Jennifer Syme, had a baby, a still born--their grief resulted in a breakup. Taking pills for depression, she sideswiped parked cars, her car rolled over and she was killed.  He postponed shooting The Matrix, expressing his need for peace and time to deal with it.

Although Keanu has revealed that he believes in God or some other higher power, he says his spiritual beliefs are "personal and private."

Reeves gained fame, starring in blockbuster films--the Bill and Ted franchise (1989–1991); action thrillers Point Break (1991), Speed (1994), and The Matrix (1999 -2003), currently the John Wick franchise (2014–2019), with offers for other films pending.

"Money is the last thing I think about," Reeves said when he gave about $80 million of his $114 million earnings from The Matrix sequels, relinquishing his contractual right to a percentage of the earnings from the ticket sales, which added $38 million back into the producers' film budget. Later, he co-founded a company that produce Henry's Crime, a film starring himself, and co-founded Arch Motorcycle Company, which builds and sells custom motorcycles. An avid motorcyclist himself, he's  certainly in control of what he does personally, as well as professionally. 

At the same time, there's a photo of Keanu sitting on park bench eating alone that was used on news sites, and led to a "Sad Keanu" meme on internet forums. A Facebook fan declared June 15 as "Cheer-up Keanu Day."

Who is this guy really? There's a part of him that's a musician--he played bass guitar for two bands. Keanu, the writer, wrote the text for a book, "Ode to Happiness. As a producer director, he produced a documentary, "Side by Side," and directed the martial arts film, "Man of Tai Chi."

Just recently he created a cancer charity, but didn't attach his name to the organization. He supports PETA, the SickKids Foundation, and Stand Up to Cancer, explaining in an interview that his sister had battled leukemia for more than a decade.

But what he said to the interviewer from GQ.com--"Is this going to be the house I die in..."--that thought and his history tell me that what he's done so far in his life is not work that he loves. He seems to be building a structure where he can affect many people. He reminds me of Danish social critic, Kierkegaard, the existentialist philosopher, who said, "Since my earliest childhood a barb of sorrow has lodged in my heart--as long as it stays I am ironic, if it its pulled out I shall die."


The words get me remembering my own sorrows. Anyhow, its good to see that at times, Keanu smiles, even laughs.



Having gathered all this information, I think that actor Keanu Reeves is uniquely, a famous movie star who probably never wanted to be a movie star.

No doubt about it, as this blog shows, I am a fascinated fan....

Friday, May 24, 2019

WHY WARREN BUFFETT WON'T RETIRE

Buffett, who is 88-years-old, says, "Why do I get up every day and jump out of bed? It's because I love what I do and the people I do it with!"

He and his 25 colleagues occupy a single floor of a tower that displays someone else's names, and a sign that says "Invest Like A Champion Today."

The modest office doesn't indicate what goes on inside.  Every working day, Berkshre Hawthaway, (name he borrowed from a  client,) Warren puts in $100 million from subsidiaries, shares, dividends, and interest from Treasuries. They out perform S & P by almost 2.5 million percent, though in the first decade of this year, the firm fell behind. Buffett, unworried, sticks to the investment strategy he developed since buying his first stock at age 11. He wrote his investors, "We are willing to back our own conviction with our own money."

Here's his basic advice.


This secret club is what he's done for young people.


Playing the long game could seem very risky for any man, especially for one his age, but Warren sticks with what worked when he says, "I am not bothered by the thought of my death,"  adding, "I'm not big on superstition... that can be expensive."

Guys, in Wikipedia and other biographical sources, there are fun details about his private life--what he eats, drinks, reads, his health, family, kids, first and second wife--it would fill a week of daily blogs and help to explain why he has a finger in thousands of money-making pies.

He's busier than ever, not retiring--that's why I'm writing about him. Clearly what he eats, wears, and how he handles his day, shows us that he ignores the current golden rules for survival that we're bombarded with every day. He enjoys, truly e-n-j-o-y-s what he does--is doing today, yesterday, and tomorrow.

Grab that. Apply it! Find a way, a hundred little and big ways to enjoy what you are doing.