Saturday, April 11, 2009


Analog ... it's going ... going ... gone ...

They've been touting it, warning us, no more rabbit ears, don't worry, it'll work. just get a converter, or apply for one, it'll cost next to nothing.

When CD's were invented, you knew sooner or later all your records, 45's,78's, LP's were going to have to be replaced. Reel to reel tape recorders disappeared. Video cassettes might as well be thrown out. DVD's are IN and JD our son says were heading toward Blu-ray.

We've got a new set in the kitchen. Our favorite channels look great. Our favorite commentators -- wow, they look so young! No frown lines, minimal smile creases, definitely no wrinkles. The background, the foreground ... it looks ... almost unreal, such bright neat colors ... kind of like colored cardboard, a new-fangled cartoon.

(Reminds me of those commercials where they outline the bodies, faces, movements of real actors and make them look like comic book characters.)

Anyhow, we've had the set for more than a week. No doubt about it -- the colors are great, the focus is crisp, and clearer than ever before. We're in tune with the times, right on in the trend.

"Digital" is progress!

Our RCA (twelve years old but still works) is on the red bench in the hall waiting to be given away or put in the trash. It was temperamental, had to be re-booted much too often. And the picture wasn't as clear, or reliably focused. But I have to admit it was, still is what I think of as TV, not what we're getting on the new Toshiba -- that poster perfect vision of reality.

Reality today ......

Well, I'm enjoying the way the set turns on, tunes in, and its wonderful reliability, even though reality today isn't that bright, neat, poster perfect, digital picture.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Mornings when you don't want to get up ... school days ... no matter how old or wise you are, you'll never forget the dread, the knot in your stomach because of the test for which you don't feel prepared.

When was it -- was it when I was working on "Dream Dances"? It was an ambitious full-length ballet, featuring each of my eight dancers in his/her dream.

The state unemployment bureau informed me by mail that I owed them money. One of the dancers had applied for unemployment insurance. I phoned the bureau. Was told I had to pay into the fund, and prove that I had disability insurance.

Huh? What's that?

Mrs. Moglia, a clear-speaking, humorless, not friendly head of the department had said, "It's the law. You need a policy. Basic coverage is - - - - - -"

Did she say 1000, or 10,000, or what? I don't remember the amount, just the awful feeling in my stomach. The amount was a flock of blue birds in the sky, flying over my head. In Manhattan I'd seen gray wrens and pigeons. I'd never seen a blue bird.

All too well, I remember the days when we had no money -- nothing for salaries, dancers rehearsing without pay. Home was a 9 x 12 room in the back of the rehearsal space. We had to tiptoe through it to get to the bathroom. When I wasn't rehearsing, I rented out the space for $1.25 an hour. The Sunday Times had asked for a picture of my dance group. Pictures could be picked up with a check for $50. I didn't have $50. Rent was due, other bills were pending. We needed groceries. We'd been eating rice, chuck steak and apples, a dish I'd invented.

Mrs. M. said, "I've sent you a Proof of Insurance form. You need to file it within ten days."

I remember the tenth day. The phone ringing. I didn't want to get up. I wanted to lay in bed, snuggled in, safe, in my house of sheets, blanket, and JC's arms.

I don't remember how the problems were solved. I just remember Moglia -- that authoritative voice -- the feeling in my stomach. Even now, when too many things to do pile up, I get the Moglies.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Save water!

Do you try? I try. Brushing teeth, one turns on the water, and leaves it on.


Rinsing hands, one turns on the water and leaves it on. DON'T.

After a meal, I don't know about you, but we clear the table and put utensils in a tall plastic container that's filled with water, and a little liquid soap. End of the day instead of running the dishwasher, we soap up a sponge, sponge-wash each utensil, then rinse them all together, set them in a drying holder.

Flushing the toilet. (DON'T, not each and every time you use the toilet.)

DO (gently) remind other members of the household, to do the same.

DON'T take long showers -- DO make them shorter.

Washing clothes: DO larger loads.

Shampooing: Once your hair is wet, turn OFF the water while you're applying it. Turn water ON when it's time to rinse. Water OFF while applying conditioner. ON when you're ready to rinse.

DON'T drift into a contented reverie, enjoying the flow, and forget.

Picture people in other countries -- drinking, washing clothes, washing themselves in a contaminated river -- we've all seen those pictures. Smile inwardly, give yourself a gold star, pat on the back, a Yay Team, for economizing. WE'VE GOT TO SAVE WATER.

Why post this today? It's time to do my hair. Time to do machine-washable clothes. JC's hamper is full; mine is black exercise togs (oft used, the black won't run) With vigilance his load and mine can be done together.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Today is, was ... definitely not a Day Off. It was an OFF day.

Nothing went wrong but nothing went quite right. JD and Shareen are taking over the loft on the 2nd floor, one flight below our studio and office on 3. (Our home is the 4th floor loft.) All day underneath me I can hear and feel things being hammered, plaster being chipped, as the place is readied to become her NYC store.

It'll be unusual, funky, jammed with customers like "Shareen Vintage" in LA and Venice. Women and girls love what she finds, re-designs, and with startling intuition, helps them chose for themselves. How lucky we are, that our son married a girl who's like a daughter, sister, pal, best friend, to me.

The noises fit my thoughts. My sense of order is itchy irritated, jangled. Writing a novel is different from writing a letter, which is, I've discovered in the past couple of weeks, similar to creating a post for your blog. Letter writing just flows. But a letter that's going to get POSTED?

You gotta polish it! Gotta make it make sense!

Read a first draft to JC? He loves me, enjoys my writing, but Cormack McCarthy, the writer, I am not. It's better for me to flounder. Take a break, do something else, turn off my computer, and try again later.

I started out early early this morning, backing up my computer. Reorganizing a lot of files. Did it carefully, thoughtfully, logically, creatively! Did it so excellently that I have to make a guide for myself, to find out where, oh where did I put things?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Since the day, the night, thousands gathered and rejoiced with tears in their eyes, we have joy and hope again. I feel it every day, we feel it, you feel it every day. We still get tears in our eyes, amazed that it happened, and proud to have shared it with so many many many people.

I'll not forget it. None of us will. He won. He's the president. His spirit and all that he conveys is inside, all around us, touching us all.

Shh. Whether we believe in prayer or not, we pray that nothing will hurt or harm or destroy that one guy. We don't want to think about the way our other heroes were taken away, don't want to mention their names in the same breath and connect them, so that assassinations belong in the past, and that good man will go on and on being what he is.

(I asked JC to read this. He said, don't publish it ... don't put that awful thought in anyone else's mind.)

The hardest thing is to write about the hardest, worst things that you know, and feel. I think it needs to be said. So, here it is. Should I, shouldn't I keep it on Em's Talkery?

Monday, April 6, 2009


Had a lovely time at the Music Box Theatre up in JC's 3rd floor dressing room being re introduced to various cast members. Writing keeps me on the outskirts of the business, and I miss being actively involved. While John was getting into his costume, I browsed a movie script for him.

It's an offer to play "Jim." Skimming it, JC couldn't find where Jim appears. I found three pages -- small role, low budget movie. But if there's a challenge, no matter how small or how low the budget, JC will consider it. Yes or no depends on the character. If he's 100 % rotten, no. But if there's a sympathetic element, a touch of something heroic, JC might give "Jim" a try.

Took me a long time, as a writer, to realize how important "sympathetic" is. In a play, or a novel, there needs to be something good in the person. Unmitigated evil gets to be bore.

Since I'm the wife of a star, the stage manager walked me through the audience, discreetly down a side aisle, and I sat in the back. JC's doing a 15 minute scene; no interaction, a rambling sort of soliloquy. It's fun, watching JC making the role his own, getting laughs, audience reaction, where it's needed.

Off through the raindrops and wind we went -- JC's tour de forcing, doing two separate shows each night. It's not a long walk, getting from one theater to the other, but the tourists and oddballs on 42nd street slow you down. At the Clurman, a 99 seat Off Broadway theater, "Heroes" is about three old men, nearing the end of their lives.

I was delighted, tickled, to see how JC's deepened the role. I'd seen the first dress -- he and the other actors made the show almost work, but they were sucking air. (Show biz term, like phumphing, when actors aren't sure of the lines.) At the dress rehearsal, I couldn't help thinking that JC being in two shows at the same time was too taxing.

But now the three men interact. JC is interesting, very real. There's a sweet kind of impact at the end -- small play, small idea, but now it works. I hugged the director, quickly complimented him. (It's not a good idea to rave.) Backstage, I gave a hurrah to the actors. (Carefully -- actors drink in every word. Excessive praise can haunt an actor more than zero praise -- i.e. -- a fan discussing the wonderful stage set.)

There were 56 in the house at the Clurman. (I counted.) At "August: Osage County" there were about 400. Both shows are getting good audiences, despite the economy.

Anyhow, we taxied home instead of going out. JC has three shows on Saturday; he's got to get a good sleep. So we celebrated with bowlfuls of Em's curry flavored, noddles-chicken-veggie soup. My soup's a super meal, perfect for after the theater.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Age 11, on Saturdays I sold blouses; at 12, I cashiered at a men's store. In NYC, claiming to be an experienced assistant, I was Typist-File Clerk at Hearst Publications, mostly alphabetizing card files -- my typing was hunt and peck. Later, became advertising director for Dance Magazine till I quit, because, after six weeks they asked for a copy of my college degree so I could get a raise. (I was fifteen, claiming to be a twenty-one-year -old graduate.)

It happened again a year later. I worked for Forest Neighborhood Settlement House teaching dance for two dollars an hour. With my invented credentials, that job paid for my own dance lessons. I resigned when they gave me a paper to fill out for their NY Board of Education files.

So I helped out a potter making pots for her kiln, ran a summer program at a playground in the Bronx, filed cards, ran errands, addressed envelopes, mopped floors, scrubbed toilets, painted the walls at the Humphrey-Weidman Studio Theater. Till one day, after folding and stuffing brochures about their summer course, with ridiculous bravado, I borrowed their card file. It was a list of colleges where they'd performed.

I put together a brochure, and booked a tour for myself and a possible dance partner. Handsome, tall, ultra masculine, (you might say "macho") Mark Ryder, leading man for Martha Graham, had a lot of theories of what a man's role in dance ought to be. (More about all that later.)

We got a first "booking." Then, we choreographed a program. What came first, the chicken or the egg? The booking got us going.

After that, I never had to have a paying job. We were earning a living that supported us in the un-fancy style to which I have never become un-accustomed.

Creating credentials for Karen's lawyers in Troy, for Ivy's mid-western club lady friends, Rose’s customers in Harrisburg, and all those inhabitants of Heart City, Oklahoma – there was no danger of being found out, forced to resign, or fired.

It's fun -- each project is filled with people I knew, know, have met, wanted to meet, almost met, bumped into, wondered about ... if you were one of them, I'll bet you wouldn't guess that a bit of you is there on the page.