Full disclosure: of all the Stark Trek chapters whether in books, TV episodes and movies I have only seen 2 of the 6 Star Trek movies. Being fairly new to what has been around for nearly 50 years I hope “Star Trek Into The Darkness” as a stand alone movie doesn’t represent all the previous stories. I felt a lot depended upon being a ‘trekkie’ and knowing what came before.
The current film, in spite of the title, has more strobe lights and different colors than any movie I have seen in a long time. Between “Oblivion” and “Iron Man 3” this movie had very poorly executed non-special effects except how San Francisco will look years from now. The fights whether between men or machines were very lame.
The screenplay by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof offered some looks into the human side of all from a possible romance between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Nyota (Zoe Saldana) if not a bromance between Spock and Kirk (Chris Pine) though I didn’t know who the latter was until later in the film when he is referred to as Captain James T. Kirk and, for whatever reason, I immediately thought of William Shatner.
The standouts were Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain with Simon Pegg as Scotty offering the only laughs along the way. Whether the rest of the cast were satisfactory to Trekkies I didn’t have any problems with John Cho, Alice Eve, Bruce Greenwood, Peter Weller or any of the other actors.
A new director and other screenwriters would bring a lot more to the sequel than those involved with this did. With many more ‘summer’ special effects blockbuster movies on the way I would suggest skipping this one.
The tale of a boy and his horse in “Warhorse”, though capable of having you shed a tear or two, is the marvel of the puppetry that overshadows everything that takes place on stage. At first you watch the human legs under the material that makes up the animals but within minutes you think you are seeing living, breathing animals on stage and they are as real as the person sitting next to you. The stars of this play are the people moving the horses, the Handspring Puppet Company that made them under the direction of Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, along with the director and choreographer of the horses by Toby Sedgwick. Though these names may mean nothing to you they are the heart and soul of the show and the horses: Danny Yoerges, Gregory Manley, Brian Robert Burns, Harlan Bengel, Rob Laqual, Jon Hoche, Adam Cunningham, Aaron Hasbell, John Greig and Harlon Bengel, fine horses all. Another remarkable animal is the goose, lead and controlled by, Jon Hoche who will bring a laugh to your face more than once.
The story of “Warhorse” is the story of a boy Albert (Alex Morf) who raises his horse named Joey from a foal and becomes a man due to the circumstances of WW1 and his horse. Joey is drafted into the army and Albert goes in search of him. We follow the adventures of Albert and Joey together and separately. During the play we meet Albert’s mother, the tender hearted but tough Rose (Angela Reed), his cowardly drunk of a father Ted (Todd Cerveris) who is responsible for buying and bringing home Joey, along with friends, soldiers and various women, who both Albert and Joey meet in their journeys through war and life. A standout is Andrew May as a conflicted military man. The large cast of over 30 work constantly, and tirelessly, during the whole production.
The play by Nick Stafford, based on the original novel by Michael Morpurgo, manipulates the audience to tears but it is the horses that hold your attention throughout, aided by the background projection and animation design of 59 productions. The technical aspects of lighting (Tom Schall and Paule Constable), costumes and sets (Rae Smith) are all consistent within the time and period the play takes place. The sound (Christopher Smith) is not as crisp as it was the last show here and makes it difficult, at times, understanding the English accents.
“Warhorse” is an adult puppetry marvel that equals any special effects that you may see on any movie screen but they are performed here by actors making you believe that they are horses, real animals with feelings, and let us not forget the funny goose.
Act 1 1 hour and 5 minutes Intermission 20 minutes Act 2 1 hour and 5 minutes Total 2 hours and 30 minutes
Smoke, strobe lights, gunshots on stage
Next tour stops: Fayetteville, Ark. 5/22 Charlotte, N.C. 5/29 Providence, R.I. 6/5
It is the early 1950s in Memphis, Tennessee, when black and white people were separate and unequal. It was also a time when ‘colored’ music, eventually to be called rock ‘n roll, was filtering into the white world of radio and TV, being taken over by the latter. Huey (Bryan Fenkart), an illiterate white man, falls in love with rock music and Felicia (Felicia Boswell), a black singer, who sings in her brother Delray’s (Horace Rogers) nightclub. Huey comes into the club one night and is not welcomed until he convinces the club people how much their music means to him.
By a set of circumstances Huey becomes a DJ on a Memphis station making it the number 1 station, with playing ‘Negro music’, in the area. He makes a promise to Felicia come true by having her sing in the radio’s studio. She has to sing it live because Huey’s mother (Julie Johnson), due to her own prejudice, breaks the record that Delray and Felicia had saved money to make. A couple of years later, having become lovers, walking Felicia home, Huey kisses her, after asking her to marry him, only to be spotted by a couple of white boys who then proceed to beat her up while holding him back.
The second act starts with both Felicia and Huey being offered a chance to go to New York. She is all for it, thinking that they will not only become famous but would be able to live together openly without fear which was common thinking among black people then. Huey has become a big star on Memphis TV and loves being a big fish in a small pond while Felicia sees her future as a big star, which she always wanted, if she takes the offer. In a desperate attempt to keep Felicia he kisses her on camera on his show and the repercussions are immediate. Though things have changed since the two first met it would take 2-3 more decades for a black woman to be seen in the company of a white man socially let alone kissing.
With a Tony award winning book and score by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, while directed by Christopher Ashley, the shows keeps moving at a lively pace. The musicians are on stage and visible most of the time while the ensemble works hard whether dancing, singing or backing up the main players. There are two show stopping numbers by supporting cast members. Julie Johnson as Mama has a voice that takes it places you didn’t think it could go and Rhett George, playing the club bartender Gator, has the audience holding its own breath wondering how long he could hold a note and then doing it again. The “Memphis” touring company is a good example of a Tony award winning Broadway show.
Act 1 An hour and 15 minutes Intermission 25 minutes Act 2 1 hour Total 2 hours 40 minutes.
Cigarette smoke, strobe lights, gunshot on stage.
Next stop on tour Orlando May 14-19
On February 29, 2000 I celebrated my Sweet 16 Leap Birthday and divided it into 2 parts. For lunch I took 12 people to The Cheesecake Factory and I ordered a slice of each kind of cheesecake they had. In the evening I took 26 people to eat at The Ark which has a Captain’s Buffet table consisting of most anything you could think of to eat.
You can see ‘scenes’ from both The Cheesecake Factory and The Ark in the collage that James made for me–which is a good thing because I am unable to find the pictures that were taken that day except for the ones shown here. (By the way I will be going to The Ark also to celebrate the 19th. oooops! No I didn’t as the Ark was closed by then !)
I received many great presents that year but one of the best was a complete BBQ dinner from Corky’s in Memphis that Chuck sent and how could one not love a ‘money balloon’–I still don’t know how they got the bills in the balloon but I did wait for all the air to go out before I ripped it open and took the money out! LOL Also, since I was fairly new working on a computer, I got ‘tech’ stuff from Betsy, Bob, Nancy and Doug!
I only had to wait 4 more years for my 17th birthday and that would be a memorable one–some of the folks here at Gateway who came are still talking about it!
People ask “What day do you celebrate during the ‘off’ years?” and my answer is “I don’t!” I only celebrate my birthday every 4 years and when I do it is usually all month! LOL I am now starting to save for my 20th Leap Year birthday in 2016
In 1956, after hitchhiking from Hollywood, California to Miami Beach, Florida (see part 3 or 4 in this series) upon being thrown out of the Marine Corps now that the Korean War was over and we (gays) weren’t needed anymore I got my first job in an Italian restaurant making pizza. It was a big show in a store front window and I learned how to toss it all sorts of ways so that eventually a crowd would gather and some might come in for a pizza. I quickly discovered that waiters made more money than pizza makers and started to look for another job.
I have spoken a lot about Picciolo’s Restaurant at 101 Collins Avenue near the beach as it was one of, if not THE, best restaurant jobs I ever had. From the beginning Sam and Dorothy Piccolo welcomed me and made me feel at home just as their sons Don and Vinnie did. The two waitresses, who worked with about 10 waiters, took me under their wing and it wasn’t long before I knew everything there was to know about Italian food from how to cook it to how to serve.
Since that time I had worked in all kinds of restaurants from 5 star like the 4 Seasons in New York to the Bageland Deli in Fort Lauderdale but Italian restaurants were always my favorites. On October 15, 1999, hurricane Irene hit and things were a bit of a mess for a few days like the phone being out. Gino stopped by a few days later and we went to buy tickets for “Chicago” which was touring and would stop at the Broward Performing Arts Center. After that we went to Big Louie’s for dinner and I spoke to Sheila, the manager, about a job and she told me to come back the next day. As these things happen when I got home there was a message that the manager from Border’s called and wanted me to come in to fill out the paperwork to start there the following week. Instead I went to Big Louie’s where Sheila introduced me to Sergio who was the head manager and had originated the menu the restaurant had been using for awhile. I believe at that time Big Louie’s had been in business about 12 years.
I won’t get into the ‘mob’ bit as EVERY Italian restaurant in the United States is rumored to be owned by the ‘mob’–sorry that isn’t true but even if it was Sergio and Sheila certainly were/are not part of the mob and, as far as I could tell, though I seldom saw them neither were the owners! On Friday October 29 I started at Big Louie’s and the next day I was given station 1 and I felt as if I had been working there forever. I started off working 5 days a week which didn’t thrill me but I needed the money as I had been out of work for 8 months. Tips were good, the kitchen wasn’t a problem, the 3 rooms that made up the restaurant were compact and close to the kitchen.
Everything was going great as I was back to going out to the theatre like seeing productions of “Torch Song Trilogy”, “Chicago” and, of course, seeing movies and eating out. I was having trouble with my teeth and my car plus I got new glasses. It was if the world heard I was making money again and they were lined up to take it all. Also lined up was Gateway as I was to find out the more money I made the more money they got which would lead to problems later on but then I didn’t care. I knew Big Louie’s would be the last job I would have and I wanted it to last until 2001 when I hit 65 and could/would retire for good. Little did I know there was bad health news along the road.
Sadly 1999 ended on a real downer as David, Ronnie’s cousin, called on December 8 to tell me that Ronnie had died. I thought of all our great times working at the Brass Rail in NYC, going to all the theatre previews on Broadway, the bars all over town and the 35-40 years we had been friends. All we did came back as Ronnie’s home was in Watertown.
One thing we don’t lack at Gatewat Terrace are Mother Nature’s colors in flowers of all shapes and sizes spreading beauty–just like Mothers do.
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY
If memory serves me right this has been two other restaurants but stands a better chance of survival as the prices are reasonable (which can’t be said for most of the restaurants in the area), the help is great with everyone, including managers and hostess, working together with servers and runners, to make the customer happy– which is a rare thing in the restaurant business.
Going to the Broward Performing Arts Center for theatre we are always looking for a place to eat and Rok Burger was starting to get tiring and with OB having the rudest owner ever even they had stayed open for dinner we wouldn’t go there anymore!
In any case except for the pictures hanging (and you can drive everyone who works there crazy by asking them to name some of the portraits hanging up–we did! LOL) on the walls and the upstairs the place isn’t an easy room to change. Whether by design or not parties of two get a double table which is so much better than sitting on top of strangers.
Our server Stephy, though busy, was always with a smile and letting us know she was there to get whatever we wanted. Also, as only a smart server knows to do, she wanted to get our order in before she took and placed the order for a party of 8 that was seated just before us. After asking a couple of people who worked there what they would suggest Allen took the Beef Brisket ($15.50) with an iced tea ($2.50)–we are not alcohol drinkers–and I had the Shepard’s Pie ($16.00) and coffee ($2.50) made with beef and lamb.
I am not familiar with the dish which is why I ordered it. The Pie was served in a skillet, very hot and with a layer of cheese on top which surprised me. (When I got home I did a little research and found out that there are many variations of this dish. Though I enjoyed it next time I will ask for them to eliminate the cheese, hoping the chef won’t come out and stab me! The cheese made it too greasy but, though having to wait for it to cool off a bit or burning my tongue, I did enjoy it.
Allen said his brisket was tender and we both agreed the staff was hard working and doing their best to please everyone.
It looks like we have finally found a reasonably priced restaurant in the Arts area with a very varied menu ranging from entrees, sandwiches, salads and a wide variety of appetizers, but most important a great staff.