Saturday, September 29, 2007
spoon river

Forty-four years ago today, "Spoon River Anthology" opened on Broadway. Why do we all remember and hold this date so high? Well, because of the amazing journey that this show took. It is a very rare thing for a show, (in this case a play with music, based on a book of poetry,) to start it's life in a little 40 seat Actors Workshop Theatre in Los Angeles, (Theatre West), and to then find it's way to the Booth Theatre on 45th street receiving seven rave reviews....But that is exactly what happened....And one of those reviews---The New York Times---the most important of the seven New York City newspaper reviews for a show---said, among other things, "Let no one say that California only takes and does not give..."....Believe me, that was the highest compliment a show could receive from a reviewer in New York, and coming from Howard Taubman the NY Times critic back then, it meant the world. We had gone to New York as a special "concert" type piece for a four week limited run....And we played for 14 weeks, surviving a move from The Booth Theatre to The Belasco Theatre...a notoriously difficult thing to have happen to a show....And then there was the assassination of John F. Kennedy----a terrible terrible tragedy and in certain ways, one that took it's toll on almost everything happening in the city at that time, as well as the whole country....and in my opinion, our country was never the same after that....All of us that were involved in this beautiful little gem of a theatre piece, always remember this date each year....Why? Well, because our journey was such a completely personal one and the commitment each of us had was so deeply heartfelt.....and as I said, this journey was such a rare and fabulous thing to have happen....So, Happy Anniversary, dear Betty and Joyce....we are just about the only ones who still survive, and were all a part of the journey from that little theatre on Roberston Blvd., to Broadway. This picture above was taken backstage, I believe in Betty's Dressing room...Betty Garrett and Me, standing, and seated in front of us, Joyce Van Patten.

Charles Aidman, who adapted the Edgar Lee Masters book of poetry and who also Directed the piece as well as acting in it too, is gone now, as are Robert Elston and Hal Lynch....the six of us appearing on the stage in the show when we opened at The Booth Theatre.As some of you already know, I wrote 'Original Music' for the evening and Chuck put lyrics to my music....The memories are lovely and warm and so very special---that rehearsal process before opening at UCLA, (The second stop on the way to Broadway) was magical and creative in ways that one dreams about but rarely gets to 'live out'....I think it was the most exciting thing that any of us were ever involved with...and everyone has done a lot of things---particularly Joyce and Betty....But "Spoon River" remains the benchmark for the true theatrical 'highlight' of all of our lives....and September 29th, the most exciting Broadway Opening, ever.


More To Come.....

Note: The top picture is of the Original Cast Album put out by Columbia Records---the very last Original Cast Album that the great Goddard Lieberson was involved with. The next picture is of the songbook from "Spoon River", published by Music Publisher's Hold Corporation...now, Warner's Music..((((OOOPS, I FORGOT TO POST THIS.....WELL, IT IS RIGHT BELOW THIS NOTE......)))).....And be sure to click on that review and see what Howard Taubman said about our dear little show....to receive a review like this....well, it was more than wonderful.



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Thursday, September 27, 2007
robin

Yesterday was my sister Robin's birthday. She would have been 84 years old. It is still hard for me to fathom. First of all, that she is no longer here and second, that she would have turned this amazing number. In my mind Robin will always be young and vibrant and filled with the love.Love for family; love for friends, love for humanity. She gave me unconditional love and I know I am not the only one who feels that way....Almost everyone who knew Robin felt her complete and unconditional acceptance and love....This was one of the great gifts that she gave to everyone that knew her. Probably the greatest gift.To say I miss her is an understatement. There are no words for what I feel about the fact that I can no longer pick the phone up and hear her cheery happy voice on the other end of the line....."Hi Nay....", always making me feel that she was truly happy to hear from me, and that there was no one else in the world that she would rather be talking to at the very moment----as if she had been waiting for my call.Robin was eight years older than me. So when I was 5 or 6 years old, and she was 13 or 14...this gap was really great at those younger ages. I looked up to her and I when she went away to college I was very lonely for her....In fact, there was a point when I wanted to run away from home.....(I had my little kerchief all packed and ready...tied to a stick, just like in the movies...) And where was I going to run? Why to Robin, at Mt. Holyoke.....I didn't know how I would get there or anything, but I knew that running away from home to Robin would be running to a safe haven, and that was all that mattered.Robin married very young. She met Bobby when they were both nineteen years old and married when they were both twenty....They were married almost 61 years.They have three children, and eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild. I know that no marriage is all smooth sailing and in those sixty-one years there certainly were lots of bumps in the road...but one of the loveliest things that both Bobby and Robin said about their marriage: That those last two years of her life were some of the very best years of their marriage.....Closer in their love for one another just as their relationship had been in those first years of their marriage. And I know Robin felt the very same thing, too, because she told me that...I am so happy for Robin that this was the case in those last years of her life....Some of the family in this picture above....Robin, of course in the pink sweater, Gene, behind her....Debbie, Robin's daughter right next to her and Robin's oldest son Michael behind Debbie and next to Gene....And of course, Gordon standing next to Michael, and Gordon's youngest daughter Jennifer, in front of him.....This was in September, 2004.....
I miss you dear Robin, with all my heart. Rest well, sweet sister. And, Happy Happy Birthday.


More To Come.......


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007
butterfly

I had no idea that Butterfly's liked the flowers on the Senecio's here in my garden...This is the very first year I have seen a Butterfly spending a lot of time here, every day....It was purely by accident that I discovered this phenomenon.....I was actually photographing a Bee......and lo and behold, there was this Butterfly who I actually thought was a moth of some kind....From the picture above, it looks more like a moth to me, but, I know nothing about this really, but that doesn't stop me from conjecture. Here's what I honestly do think: I think it was a "young" Butterfly....I have no idea if this is correct, at all, it's just that within days this beauty below came to visit.... And, I have since gotten quite a few wonderful pictures of this lovely lovely Butterfly and it's cousins...Here below are some more pictures of this very delicate creature..... I kind of love this one above because she/he is somewhat hidden behind the blossoms and I love that you can see the light coming through the wings, too....Lovely..... The sun was kind of in the wrong place while I was trying to get many of these pictures....I was looking into the sun a lot of the time, but then, the dear Butterfly would move to another blossom and I could move too.... Here below is another view of this stunning Butterfly. And another..... And yes....another..... And yes, yes, yes....and yet, another..... And.....ditto, ditto, ditto.....
Do click on these pictures to see them a bit bigger....the design on the wings and the body of this Butterfly is awesome.....And one last one here below...... There are a couple of others, too and the truth is I Love Them All...but I don't want to wear out my Butterfly Welcome with all of you....So, that's it for now....








More To Come.....


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Sunday, September 23, 2007
rain & after

As the day went almost into twilight time, there was this subtle rainbow...We had the first real rain today, since April....at least I think it was April....And it was one of those hey-the-sun-is-out-and-now-it's-pouring kind of rains....My Gardener and his sons got soaked, because it seemed to come out of nowhere..... There were certainly some very dramatic looking clouds and my favorite trees over on the hill across from me appeared in silhouette the way I love them..... They are looking quite full right now....one would think we had had rain through the summer by looking at them, by the end of winter they will once again look spindly and in need of attention....Here below is another view of my dear sweet trees as the sun began going down..... During the afternoon, it rained on and off---well, poured, on and off, but at one point when the sun was trying to stay out, I took this next picture below..... I am always fascinated how I can see so much of what is happening across the city, on a day like this....And I realized that the Good Year Blimp was in the air today so that meant that something was going on here.....
Hard to tell what I am talking about...well, here's a closer look...not terribly clear, but..... Yes! The Los Angeles Coliseum...I can only assume that U.S.C. was playing today...or trying to with the rain turning on and off, and the Goodyear Blimp was bringing you all the pictures from overhead.... It was very very clear today and one could see way way out into the ocean....I always love that because you do feel that if you just put your hand out----you could touch it...and that is true of downtown, too.... Yes, that is the Pacific Ocean out there with my long lens....but, believe me, it really looked like you could just reach out and put your finger in that cool water....And here below, a closer look at Downtown Los Angeles with the long lens on this rainy-sunny day.... It really has become an amazing skyline, and in this strange late afternoon light, quite beautiful, I think....And below, one last look at this 'city' from not quite as close, but still an amazing view....I first came to Los Angeles in 1947, and I can tell you that the skyline did not look like this....
Hope everyone has a lovely Sunday.....



More To Come.....


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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
happy birthday brother of mine

Today is my dear brother Gordon's 78th Birthday....And here we are when we were little people.....Gordon is really a genius. Smart as a whip, verbal beyond words....musically talented----He can make a musical instrument out of anything---He was always my protector when we were children...me, being two years younger than him, he really looked out for me..... Here we are at "sleep away camp"....I am four years old, he is almost six years old....How did we ever survive that horror....? Well, we did, and we are both still here.....! This picture above with that wonderful two toned jacket really dates this to about 1941....Gordon on the verge of becoming a teenager....He has such a sensitive face, doesn't he? Life was not easy for Gordon as the only boy in a family of all girls, plus, a father who was competitive with him in ways that were subtle and confusing....This is not exactly a "happy" group up above....particularly Gordon....Here below, a closer look at this boy who was slowly getting beaten down by both his parents..... You can really see how unhappy dear Gorden is in this picture above...I don't look exactly ecstatic myself---having survived a horrendous illness just some months before this picture when I almost died, (now come back to haunt me)....But, I sure don't look as unhappy as Gordon does. And here above, about five years later...on the verge of manhood...in truth, already a man, in many ways. And with Daddy & Mother separated, the only man left in the house....

Gordon was always a ladies man....lots and lots of girlfriends. He has a way about him that my Hungarian friend Hanna says is very European...very charming, indeed. Here he is above in the process of attempting to lure this good friend of mine Anne G. into a more romantic situation. He said to me..."I tried everything and she wasn't having any part of it!"....What he didn't know because it was a secret, she was already involved with a gentleman at that point....Below, a picture of Gordon and Helen.Dear Helen---the mother of his three girls.....They divorced after 25 years of marriage. They are still good friends which is kind of wonderful, I think. And then we jump in time to this next picture below..... Three year's ago...At Gordon's 75th Birthday. Our sister Gene, and our oldest sister Robin, who died on February 5th, 2005....None of us has really recovered from the loss of Robin. Almost every time we talk about her on the phone, Gordon's says how much he misses her, and we both cry a bit, certainly echoing that feeling and that sentiment. She was our oldest sister and this really special sweet person who gave unconditional love....something both Gordon and I needed.... Here above is Gordon and Michelle, his wife of 18 years now, sitting around my Dining Room table, last January....Gordon is a Family Therapist, and though supposedly retired, he still sees quite a few patients and is available by phone, if needed....He has worked with a lot of family's and helped many many people. What is so very gratifying for him is that so very many of these family's stay in touch with him and have such deep gratitude for the help they received from him and the changes that took place for them as individuals and as a family..... You've come a long way baby....and I can still see that dear little sensitive boy in your almost 78 year olds eyes and face.....And by the way, he still has the ability to charm the ladies, big time....

Happy Birthday, My Dear Brother.....I Love You With All My Heart.....



More To Come......


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