Friday, August 28, 2009

Third Cemetery of the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, Shearith Israel

Third Cemetery of the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue, Shearith Israel, is located on 21st Street in Manhattan, right off 6th Avenue. In it are graves which date back to 1829. I had to stick my camera through the iron gate to get a few photos.

I sometimes pass this cemetary at night. Sometimes, long after darkness has fallen, I wait... almost expecting some apparition to appear in the moonlight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Grand Concourse, a boulevard in the Bronx

Roosevelt Gardens apartments, in 1922 the world's largest apartment house

a kiosk

a boulevard most grand

unidentified, now "Citizen's Advice Bureau"

The Andrew Freedman house

1150 Grand Concourse, an Art Deco residential building

The Loew's Paradise

Concourse Plaza Hotel

1244 Grand Concourse

Although this was not "an interview," the experience of visiting this once great boulevard today was very moving. I enjoyed it so much I never even felt the heat... and trust me, today was a typical New York summer shvitz bath.
You can read more in these NY Times articles:
here and here.

At Forgotten-NY:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wallace Shawn, actor

I had bumped into the actor Wallace Shawn last week and I asked him if he wanted to particpate in this blog project. He took my card and he said he would send me an E-mail if he was interested. Alas, I never heard from him.

Today, lo and behold... I bumped into him again and I asked him if he checked out the blog and if he would like to be included with an interview. He replied: "I do not think I am exactly what you would want." I said: "You are exactly who I would want." I was well aware of his impressive body of work and accomplishments. I also knew that his father was William Shawn, the editor (from 1952-1987) of The New Yorker.

He brushed me off, but it is all good. He allowed me to take his photo and I am linking to his long list of credits:

Wallace Shawn at IMDb

I am wondering why he refused to sit down with me for a lunch over which we could discuss his career. I was always aware of him as a neighborhood presence. So maybe he heard of my reputation as the neighboorhood kook...

At IMDb, he is quoted as saying: "I don't happen to have a sense of humor personally, so I don't know what's funny about a character... This happens to be a feature of my life generally. I do things, and other people laugh at them. I rarely know what the joke is supposed to be or why they're laughing."

That seems to be the truth because today, I could hardly even get him to crack a smile.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lara Parker, actor

Did you run home from school to watch "Dark Shadows?" It began in 1966 with: "My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me and link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place, to the edge of the sea high atop Widows' Hill- a house called Collinwood: A world I've never known, with people I've never met. People who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows."

Today, the always beautiful Lara Parker was at the Dark Shadows Festival in Newark, New Jersey. I have attended these festivals since 1981. At one point, they were held every year. Now, they are every two years and I look forward to them more than ever. Lara Parker, who played "Angelique," is always there, too. So is Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played "Josette." And in 2007, Jonathan Frid, the seductive vampire "Barnabas," also returned to the festivals after about a hiatus of fifteen years.

If you are a fan of "Dark Shadows," time travel with me to parallel time and remember...

"I set a curse upon you, Barnabas Collins! You wanted your Josette so much, well, you shall have her- but not in the way that you would have chosen. You will never rest, Barnabas! And you will never be able to love anyone- for whoever loves you will die. That is my curse, and you will live with it- through all eternity!"
-- Angelique to Barnabas, 1796

"So this is how it ends. Your beautiful face. How quiet, as if you were asleep. Am I never to see your eyes again? So often, they looked at me with love, and I returned nothing but hatred. I was blinded by my fury that my rejection of you caused. And so, through the years, we battled and fought- and I never guessed that, beneath my rage, I felt a love as strong as yours."
-- Barnabas's final farewell to Angelique 1841

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Michael Imperioli, actor

Look who I bumped into today in front of the laundromat! This was a lucky break. I am so happy I did not stay home longer to have that second cup of coffee with the mouth-watering powdered sugar donut. I would have missed this great photo op.

I did realize Michael Imperioli was in a rush but he kindly and patiently waited for me to take a few pictures... even after I kept nervously pushing the power on/off button instead of the shutter button.

Michael Imperioli appeared as "Christopher Moltisanti" in "The Sopranos" and most recently as Detective Ray Carling in "Life on Mars." I always attended the plays at his Chelsea theater, Studio Dante. I loved the excellent "Dark Yellow," "From Riverdale to Riverhead," and "The Joke." I was sad when the theater closed.

Look! Michael is holding my card with my contact information. I asked him if he would be interviewed for this blog project. I am hoping he replies and agrees to participate. A retired teacher can have her fever dreams!

Nov. 17, 2009: He never replied.
So this from 2007:
David Chase speaks, so I bump this entry up... which I wrote the day after the series' finale. This is why he cannot figure out how to do a "Sopranos" film... it is because:

"T" is Dead!
Although David Chase has written: "The Sopranos: The Complete Book," and in it he discusses the future of the family, I am going to blog my thoughts on the series finale as they were before part of the book's contents were revealed.
I rewatched "Made in America" on HBO On Demand... which was the controversial and confusing last episode to the phenomenal series "The Sopranos." Many fans were disappointed and even angry that the series did not come to a more satisfying conclusion with more clear closure. It was so layered with different innuendos and possibilities that some diehards referred to the last episode of "The Sopranos" as the Zapruder film of TV finales. But, now I am even more convinced than ever that my initial impressions and interpretations are valid.
The textured theme for the entire run of this series has been the meaning of life and the afterlife. "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right," Bobby asks Tony in "Soprano Home Movies" when they are out in his little boat on the lake. That one line was a nuanced foreshadowing in terms of the final scene of "Made in America" which opens with the soundtrack of a funeral dirge and then moves along to the family dinner at Holsten's. A suspicious guy in a Members Only jacket enters the restaurant and he nervously looks around. We are thinking he could be dangerous. When he gets up to go to the bathroom, the tension that has been building is unbearable. And all of this is happening while Meadow unsuccessfully attempts several times to park her car. Just as she runs across the street, Tony hears the bells as the restaurant door opens and he looks up and seems startled. Then, the infamous quick and unexpected cut to a dark and silent screen that lasts for about 20 seconds before the credits roll. "What the fuck?" we all initially thought. And all across America customers were calling their cable companies.
After I calmed down, I realized Tony Soprano got whacked by the guy in the Members Only jacket! In his death there was no lighted "Inn at the Oaks" filled with deceased family members, no big answer to "where am I going," and no insight into his desert revelation, "I get it." Carmela was wrong... Tony did not go to hell. The blank and silent screen at the very end implies Mama Livia was right all along! "It's all a big nothing," she told AJ. How funny is that? In my book, that's surreal, mind-boggling, and ultimately amazing. The series ended in great irony and dark comedy.
My jaw drops open at that final 20 second blank screen each time I see it. David Chase has to be disappointed that people reacted so negatively at first to his masterpiece. They did not "get it," so maybe it was a bit too esoteric. But it remains a twist so bizarre, so richly funny, so blended with the theme of the entire series, that "I just can't shake it." In the end, Mama was right and "it's all a big nothing!" "T" RIP.

In June 2007, I sat shiva for Tony Soprano.