“A Bronx Tale”–touring production review   Leave a comment

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There is a certain magic that takes place in a theatre between the cast on stage and the audience sitting in the auditorium.  It happened last night without any explanation or understanding what happened.
 
Being familiar with Chazz Palminteri’s one-man show about growing up in the Bronx, which was made into a movie starring Robert De Niro, this Broadway musical was based on the former’s play and is directed, with Jerry Zaks, by the latter. Alan Menken who wrote the music and Glenn Slater the lyrics are both professionals who have written many hit songs for other shows. Sergio Trujillo, who won the 2019 Tony Award for best choreography for the musical “Ain’t Too Proud” this past Sunday, did the choreography for this show and has won awards for other Broadway shows and there was a certain curiosity of what he would do with the dancers ‘in da Bronx’.
 
The show opened with a 10-year-old Calogero, alternately played by Shane Pry and Brigg Liberman, and a decade older Calogero played by Joey Barreiro. I was sort of outside the show, not getting involved, and I can’t quite say when I lost awareness of how the audience was reacting and knew I was watching something special but, I think, it was around the time Barreiro and Brianna-Marie Bell, playing Jane, sang “Out of Your Head” and I didn’t want the first act to finish but it did. The second act flew by and before I knew it the show was over!
 
Joe Barbara as the leader of the neighborhood gang Sonny, Richard H. Blake as Calogero’s father, Michelle Aravena, as the mother, and Bell originated their roles on Broadway, along with a few others of the cast members, bring a professionalism to the show that makes what could have been an ordinary show something special. And, yes, Trujillo, puts the ensemble, especially Antonia Beverly, through steps and dances that make you understand why he has won many awards.
 
“A Bronx Tale” is a show with heart, humor and emotions with a cast that knows what they are doing and does it the best they can which is everything you can ask for!
 
“A Bronx Tale” runs 2 hours including a 20 minute intermission and will be at the Fort Lauderdale Broward Performing Arts Center until June 23.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Posted June 12, 2019 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“Pain and Glory”–a must see movie–review   Leave a comment

pain 4
I have been a huge fan of Pedro Almodovar since 1983 when I saw his “Dark Habits” and have seen about 15 of the 20 movies he has directed.  This, without a doubt, is one of his best if for nothing else the writing and direction of a scene between Banderas and Julieta Mallo though this is just one of many scenes that grab and hold your attention. I defy you to take your eyes off the screen in the scene between  Asier Flores, playing the young Salvador Mallo, and Cesar Vicente, a laborer with artistic abilities, that provides another scene with the older Salvador, played by Banderas, bringing back the past.
 
Many of Almodovar’s films have featured and/or revolved around beautiful women with one being Penelope Cruz who in this film plays the young mother of Salvador but in this one it revolves around 4 beautiful men, including Banderas who grows better looking every day he grows older!
 
Talking about Antonio Banderas, there is no doubt in my mind he gives one of the best performances, not only of his career but, of this year. There are so many facets to this story of an old(er) man and his journey to where and who he is today and the actor deliveries in every scene. Whether in flashbacks or current day we follow him every step of the way and the complex life he has lead.
 
“Pain and Glory” is in many ways a perfect film but not an easy one to watch as there is a lot of pain and a little glory.
 
PS If for no other reason I will have to see it again and find out what I missed those first 15 minutes!
 
 
 
 
 

Posted October 18, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

New foods in October!   Leave a comment

New foods 1 Oct 2019
I like trying new food items and each month I do just that! I haven’t had snails in years and usually it was in a French restaurant where the best part was dipping the bread into the garlic and butter sauce but I made these in a fresh homemade Marinara sauce using fresh garlic. The sauce was delicious but the snails added nothing to the taste.
 
I tried the Torani sugar/calorie free caramel sauce in coffee a few times but I’ll stick to Sweet ‘n Low or vanilla extract.
 
The cotton candy was a fun treat but one I wouldn’t have again while the Tostones was a sharp sort of potato chip.
 
I gave the Kumquats to a neighbor because though I like sweet foods being a pre-diabetic these are too sweet–well, nothing can be too sweet but they can be too high in sugar!
 
You taste any new foods?

Posted October 17, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD

Cafe Vico Twice and “Les Miserables”   Leave a comment

Cafe Vico Oct 8 and 10 2019

Though all weeks are good some good weeks are better than others and last week was just that! Before seeing “Les Miserables” we had dinner at Cafe Vico, needless to say one of my favorite restaurants! We had a groupon for $40 worth of food, with Rion having Portobello Mushrooms and Peppers ($16.95) and a glass of Miller LIte ($6) while I had Shrimp Scampi ($29.95) and we both had a dish of ice cream ($4.95 each) The check came to $24.39 plus tip. I must admit I had some sticker shock at the new prices but at least I had that groupon!
 
Another sticker shock was when we got to the parking garage. Allen and I usually valet park and we have gotten use to the $25 charge plus tip but the last time we parked at the garage it was $6 and now it was $15—but at least no tip involved!
 
On Thursday, having another groupon, this one for $50, Allen and I went to Cafe Vico for lunch and the prices were a little more reasonable. For an appetizer we shared an order of 4 meatballs in a very tasty sauce ($10.95). Allen had a ‘special’ flounder dish done in a light sauce ($14.95) while I had the Veal Francese on linguini ($14.95) and, yes, 2 dishes of vanilla ice cream ($9.90) a diet cola and a cup of coffee bringing our check to $3.95 plus tip!
 
In pictures 5 and 7 you can see the working owner Marco.
 
I can only wish you a week of seeing a good musical and eating out—twice–at your favorite restaurant!
 
 
 

Posted October 16, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, MUSICAL THEATRE

“Lucy In The Sky”–movie review   Leave a comment

Lucy

Was it titled “Lucy In The Sky” just so a few lines of the Beatles’ song could be sung? Maybe.
 
I hadn’t been to a movie theatre for 11 days and though I watch movies on TV it isn’t the same! My choices were “Jexi” which I would have liked to have seen but the schedule was wrong or “Joker”–NO WAY!—or “Lucy In The Sky”. I like Natalie Portman when I see her but I usually don’t go to a movie just because she is in it so off I went.
 
“Inspired by real events” the names have been changed—to use the title song?—and is based on a female astronaut attacking a lover who has been seeing another woman.
 
The picture starts off showing Lucy (Portman) in space, lost in thought and asking for just a few minutes more. After landing, and at the first opportunity, she signs up for another trip not comfortable on earth anymore with her husband (Dan Stevens). In a brief conversation they decide she will have another child after she returns from the next trip but she knows that will never happen and so the affair with Mark (Jon Hamm), another astronaut, starts. It is here the film goes completely off track.
 
Lucy looks, feels different, even states that she never felt so alive and instead of following why the change, what happens physically and mentally when you go into space, we get into the melodrama.
 
The script by Noah Hawley, who also directs, Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi misses the chance to approach a space movie from a different and interesting angle. Hawley’s direction does many  tricks with the camera to try and see Lucy’s big world out in space and the small world she has returned to only making the screen annoying.
 
Natalie Portman does fine as does  Dan Stevens and Jon Hamm but Ellen Burstyn is wasted, as is the title tune!
 
“Lucy In The Sky” is too long at 126 minutes to hold your interest but as your mind wanders what it could have been helps the time past.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Posted October 15, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW, MOVIES

Day birds and night blooms   1 comment

Birds after rain and blooms at night Oct 2019
It doesn’t happen all the time but after a very windy rain overnight the birds come out to have brunch! Maybe it is the wind that stirs up the worms and crabs but they come out in large numbers.
 
I have always been a night person as it is a whole different world than daytime and night people are a different breed of human being even when it comes to being old but that’s another discussion!
 
At night when I am sitting at my computer desk no matter where I look I see flowers blooming and they have a different look then when in daytime!
 
Someone asked–I don’t remember who–asked when I sleep and I answered, usually, 2 to 10 AM or 3-11AM but I don’t ‘wake’/ up until 1 PM when I consider my day starting! I am not a nice guy before then!!
 

Posted October 14, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, GARDENS, MOTHER NATURE

4 Seasons in Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Autumn October 2019
The old joke goes that we have 4 seasons in South Florida: 1) early bird season (they go cheap, cheap) 2) snow bird season (the Yankees and French Canadians invade us)  3)hurricane/rainy season and 4) hot, humid summer!  The last one is true and lasts 6 months while we have 1-2 weeks of winter usually in January and/or February when temperatures can drop into the 60s and even, a night or two, into the 50s and Spring, with high temperatures in the upper 70s, generally from late March to early May and, last but not least, is Autumn, as you can see in the pictures above, when all the Queen Crepe Myrtle trees lose their leaves, lasting through October and early November!
 
No, I don’t miss the snow, ice, freezing temperatures of November to March nor the summers in New York city where the temps are usually higher than down here or the times I have to tell Chuck and Terry to come down here when we are cooler (lower 80s) than they are in Memphis (in the 90s)!
 
By the way I will take the ‘wet’ heat of the southeast versus the ‘dry’ heat of the southwest where you will burn your hand faster and deeper reaching the car door handle to open it!
 
Excuse me as I have to go out and help them rake the leaves—in the rain!

Posted October 12, 2019 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, MOTHER NATURE, SEASONS

No movie?? Okay, then Cabo Blanco & Dairy Queen!!   1 comment

Cabo Blanco and Diary Queen Oct 11 2019
“Gemimi”–no thank you! “Lucy In The Sky”–I am not a fan of Natalie Portman and word of mouth hasn’t been too good. “The Addams Family”? PUHLEEZE! “Jexi”? Sounds like a TV rom/com, maybe Tuesday. Okay, I have found out that if I don’t go to a movie on Friday the world doesn’t come to an end. Allen wasn’t in any particular mood to see a movie so I suggested–sometimes I am brilliant!–that we go have lunch at Cabo Blanco for which I had a groupon for and we hadn’t been there in awhile.
 
 Cabo Blanco is one of my favorite restaurants and the best of the dozen or so Peruvian restaurants that have opened in the past decade. When we first went I tried all 29 lunch specials they had (no, not at one time!!) and there wasn’t a bad one in the group but there was definitely a standout dish: Camarones Saltados, about 12 sauteed shrimp with onions and tomatoes on a pasta in a dark sauce, which I think is soy based but not sure. I do know it is delicious and the price, $11.99, ridiculously low for such a meticulous made dish plus they serve a freshly made chicken soup and a side of various sauces. They use to serve bread with the latter which they no longer do so I don’t know what the sauces are for because the shrimp sauce is great as is! I have had this dish about 20 times and LOVE it!
 
Afterwards I was moaning that they don’t have plain vanilla ice cream which is something I like to have after a slightly spicy meal and Allen came up with a brilliant idea of going to Dairy Queen in Wilton Manors for dessert! He had a chocolate and I had a vanilla Blizzard! Now that’s what friends are for!
 
Trust me, the lunch and dessert was better than any movie I could have seen!
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