Archive for January 2013

CLOSED FOR THE DAY/EVENING   Leave a comment

The Chimney House for a late lunch (Me) and early dinner (Allen) and then we are going to ‘defy gravity’ at “Wicked”–for a review of the latter go to http://www.broadwayshowbiz.com over the weekend and I will be writing my review about the restaurant on Saturday!

Posted January 31, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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3 SPECIAL THEATRE PEOPLE & OTHER TOPICS   Leave a comment

It is not a secret to anyone who knows me that going to the theatre is, and has always been, one of the greatest joys of my life. Very little equals the house lights coming down and the curtain going up (though many times today it is already up) and, with a musical, the orchestra conductor giving the downbeat for the overture (though that has changed too as not many musicals have overtures today!) It has been that way since 1943 (I was 7) when my parents took me to see the original production of “Oklahoma”. Tomorrow evening at 8 PM I will be experiencing that unexplainable tingling down my spine when I see “Wicked” at the Broward Performing Arts Center and I have to thank three people for making that possible. From left to right in the picture above:

A) Corine–Editor of www.broadwayshowbiz.com where you will be able to read my review this weekend.

B) Charlie–Florida Press Representative for Broadway Across America that brings the best of Broadway to Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

C) Charlotte–the Marketing & PR Associate for Broadway Across America .

Thanks to the three of you for being so kind and generous the past few years !

I guess I better include thanking ‘my driver’ Allen or he’ll make me walk to Miami to see “Les Miserables” at the Arsht Center on February 26 !

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1) It is hard to believe that I have been blogging for 9 years of which for 8 years, except being in the hospital for an aorta valve replacement for 4 days, I have posted every day. For that you either have to applaud or boo Chuck, who got me started on computers in 1998, and Gene, who pointed the way to blogging in 2003.

2) I noticed on one site I have 11,390 photographs –I suppose it is time to delete at least some of them as they must take up lots of room . (Like I don’t know how a car works but I drive one I have no idea how the Internet works but I use it. How do ‘they’ know to throw out the Queen of Spades when I am playing Hearts? Don’t bother telling me as I wouldn’t understand anyway!)

3) For my review of the picture “Amour”–a must see that Richard and I think will win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film–go to www.broadwayshowbiz.com

4) Barbra Streisand has agreed to do ‘a very special performance’ at the Oscars on Sunday, February 24–everyone is buzzing. Will it be a medley of her film songs? A salute to Marvin Hamlisch? Or? It has been 36 years since she last appeared on the Oscar show.

5) Anyone game enough to explain to me how to use google earth? I tried but couldn’t get anywhere. If you are brave enough just keep in mind you will have to go in baby steps and will, probably, be bombarded with questions by me! LOL

6) Nongay men show higher levels of depression–like we didn’t know that! For complete story go to http://tinyurl.com/adt9td4

7)There is hope for you yet–whether you are 18 or 68 you will change in the next 10 years! For the complete story go to
http://tinyurl.com/a8g6ymk

Posted January 30, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADE SERIES WELCOME TO THE 1990S PART 20 D   Leave a comment

HINDSIGHT IS TWENTY-TWENTY

Time line from diary: “July 17, 1992, filed bankruptcy” “August 26–car appraisal delayed until tomorrow” August 27–car appraisal–met with trustee” “September 4–Bob took me to bankruptcy hearing–I think it is all over though there were questions regarding cash advances, last purchase, etc.” “November 16–got bankruptcy letter–one page saying it was all over and that all my debts were discharged”

I came from a generation that didn’t believe in divorce or not paying all your bills and, yet, both were done quietly. It took a lot of thought about going to court and driving to the lawyer I had many second and third thoughts but I couldn’t see anyway else out without being straddled with debt for the rest of my life. After meeting with the lawyer I felt a great weight off my shoulders as I knew it was the way for me to go. There was no one to blame except myself but the human mind can rationalize and I did that to feel better. The lawyer pointed out that I had paid so much money in interest to the 8 credit card companies that they more than made their money back off of me. I did have the car interior and exterior completely redone–costing me $2500 which I charged on cards in June of ’92 plus bought “The Club”  and new floor mats. I, also, have a note in the diary: “Went on last credit card binge  buying food at extras, more fish for the aquarium–thought of and am declaring bankruptcy– smart move? I don’t know. Will I be able to keep the car? I don’t know!”

It wasn’t until after the bankruptcy was official that I learned so many things I could have done before hand that would have helped me recover a lot faster! My lawyer told me he couldn’t legally tell me those things before though, and he didn’t know this, I took a cash advance on one of the cards in order to pay his legal fee! I needn’t have worried about the car because in Florida they won’t take your home away and, in most cases, you could keep your car. I did learn that I only had to file against some, not all, of my credit cards and out of 8 I still had 2. I started joking that if anyone was going to declare bankruptcy they should talk to me first as I had learned a lot after the fact that could help them. I wasn’t proud of the filing for relief but I did feel better after I got that letter.

Before, during and after the bankruptcy I continued to live the life I lived previously; going out to dinners, seeing play, musicals and concerts, spending money as if I had it. It would take a few more years, and a little more humiliation, before I finally learned that I could only spend what I had, not what I might get or what I could charge–that would be in the future and a lot would change.

In just the first 3 years of the 1990s I was jumping from job to job and looking at the figures now it seems I was out of work 6 months in 1990 and 3 months in 1991 but I did write at the end of 1992 that “I am healthy, at a good weight and out of debt!” The latter would definitely change by the end of the 1990s!

Posted January 29, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES WELCOME TO THE 1990S PART 20 C   Leave a comment

I’ve spoken about my food addiction, alcohol addiction, smoking addiction and my Jai Alai addiction. I’ve mentioned briefly about my sex addiction–hey I have to keep that for the hard cover X rated version–and I believe I referred to the drug incident.  Short version–at 16 my doctor gave me diet pills–I lost 7 pounds the first week so I figured if I doubled the pills I would lose double the weight–didn’t happen–I landed in the hospital 3 weeks later classified as a drug addict! For whatever reason I didn’t get hooked on drugs after that incident though over the years I ‘tried’ something now and then.

Of all my problems–and I don’t know if it is an addiction and if it is what kind it is!–money has always been my biggest problem. When I had it I had to spend it, when I didn’t have it I had to spend it and in most cases I would spend it before I got it. I was raised by a mother who constantly said we would end up in ‘the poor house’ while my father always went first class. Yes, I was the guy with a beer pocket and champagne tastes.  With no matter what I did I managed to pay my taxes and in the 1970s I was paying the highest tax rate but I had so much money I could go first class and still get that check off.

In April, 1990, I was fired from Holiday Inn. I am not sure of the exact figures but I did get the money from the HI IRA which I think was about $3,000. I had about $2,000 in my checking account. By the end of June I had $500 in that checking account after not working 3-4 months, going to Disneyworld,  going to see touring companies of “A Chorus Line”, had a dental problem which I paid with cash and I was still eating out. I was okay with my credit cards.

I had started a new book, had an article published in “Florida Living” and sold a story to an anthology that would be published in 1995 called “My First Time”. A columnist, Gary Stein, now an editor at the Sun-Sentinel, in September, 1990, wrote a column about servers, tips and tipping, in response to my “Letter To The Editor”. In October I started work at a deli called “Corky’s” which was a hard job as most delis are with those serving ‘buckets’ of pickles and Cole slaw. I wasn’t making great money but at least I was meeting my expenses and still had a few dollars in the bank. My only New Year’s resolution for 1991 was to ‘cut down on spending and save money’. I was doing okay weight wise after a little set back so at least that wasn’t a problem.

Going through my diaries I see remarks such as, “Paid bills for month–so far so good”, “got new top on car”, “Got first chapter of my new book “The Gay Pariahs” sold to The Advocate”, “sent out “Looks of Love” and “…And the Oscar goes to…” to the National Writers Club”, “bought tickets to see “A Chorus Line” at the new Broward Performing Arts Center after buying tickets for “Phantom of the Opera” which officially opens the Center”, so all in all things seemed to be going smoothly.

And then I went to work on March 4, 1991 and Corky’s had closed! Even with that life went on as I knew it with a few gestures from friends. Gary and Tim (who I can’t recall) took me to dinner at Catfish Dewey’s for my unbirthday and Shirley and Donnie, Michael’s mother and aunt, took me out to the Olive Garden, also for my unbirthday. Mike, his sister Nancy, aunt Donnie, mother Shirley and I went to Wings ‘n Things. On March 20 I went back to work at Wag’s and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was writing a new book called, “The Whole Man” and the Wag’s crew and I started going out for dinner once a week at ‘better’ places. FB Bob, James, Joe, Herman and I went to see “Jerome Robbins’Broadway” and the next night we went to the Park Cafe and the Ann White Theatre.

The first note I see as trouble was June 28, 1991, “I am counting pennies. Cancelled American Express card and Showtime and I am not happy at Wag’s”. Knowing better, that one should have a job before quitting a current job, I quit Wag’s July 22, 1991. It would be a year later that I would go to a lawyer to get started on declaring bankruptcy.

It was this July 30 that our friend John, a married fireman, died of AIDS. The next month I got the worst job I ever had as a server and that was at Sizzler’s Steak House. An aside–it seems I had had sex with the manager of Sizzler’s many months before–that was the only bright side of that job, not that it helped. The following day the car top was ripped and the following week I was assigned to open a new Sizzler’s and I have a note in my diary, “I HAVE TO GET A NEW JOB!!!!” 

Looking at my diary now I can see how I started to go downhill, such as cashing Visa and Master Card checks that I was getting in the mail. I was working at a job I really disliked but of all the events that happened in the first 3 years of the 1990s it was facing the fact that I was losing a real good friend to that scrounge AIDS that started some major problems in my life.

Posted January 28, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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SUNDAY IN FORT LAUDERDALE–PART 17   Leave a comment

One of the joys of living in Gateway is just to walk around and watch how Mother Nature comes in all shapes, sizes and colors.  We have Hibiscus bushes, plants and trees in every color of the rainbow and then you turn a corner and there is a banana tree or a spray of orchids or a white Bird of Paradise tree. Whether the sun is out or it is raining or a moonlight night you will find over 50 species of flowers in bloom not to forget avocado,lemon, lime or orange trees standing next to one of the hundred Queen Crepe Myrtle trees dispersed all over the property. Oh, by the way, this is South Florida so you know we have all kinds of palm trees.

Come on down to the Gateway Residence in Fort Lauderdale and talk a walk among some of Mother Nature’s greatest art works topped off with a sky that never ends.

Posted January 27, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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BaCiGeLaTi ITALIAN CAFE–FT. LAUDERDALE–REVIEW   Leave a comment

I had read an article about this place  in yesterday’s paper and though I go to the Gateway Theatre a lot I have never noticed it as at one time a Quiznos had been in the location and not many businesses had succeeded in this part of the shopping plaza. On the way to the Home Depot we decided to stop in here and if anyone can make it at this location BaCiGelati can.
The young lady who greeted us had a nice smile and immediately welcomed us.  There were about 10 different flavors of gelato and while I had a small cup ($3.50) of chocolate  and Allen had a medium cup ($4.50) of one scoop of mixed berries and one scoop of hazelnut. The reason I had a small cup was that there were cannolis  on top of the shelf and I can never say no especially when they are made fresh. I had one ($3.50) and so did Allen.
The gelatos were excellent while the cannolis were a little dry and not as sweet as they should be.
BaCiGelati is furnished with tables and chairs in pastel colors of blue and pink on the left side and   white sofa with a large mirror framed in white over it on the right side.
It certainly is a lot better than the Gelato Station in Wilton Manors that we had tried the day before.
For their complete menu go to  http://www.BaciGelati.com and be sure to stop in for a bite or at least a gelato!

Posted January 26, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“QUARTET”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Dustin Hoffman is making his directorial debut at the age of 75 with “Quartet” written by Ronald Harwood based on his play and also has “The Dresser” and “The Pianist” to his credits. Hoffman at 76 and Harwood at 79 know what they are dealing when it comes to being old and both have an obvious love for actors and larger than life personalities.

Hoffman doesn’t make any major mistakes at his maiden effort but does make beginning director mistakes like having two too many ‘artistic scenery’ shots though he certainly has the scenery, with the film shot in and around Hedsor House & park in Taplow, England. The house is used as Beecham House for retired singers and musicians mainly from the world of classical music. It just doesn’t ring true that the magnificent house and grounds can be saved for another year financially by a concert given for a small group of people.

Can the House be saved? Will Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), once the darling of the opera houses who has given up singing, sing with Reginald Paget (Tom Courtenay), Wilf Bond (Billy Connolly) and Cissy Robson (Pauline Collins) the act 3 quartet from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” that once brought the opera world to their feet with Reginald getting 9 curtain calls and, as Jean reminds him, she got 12 curtain calls? Will Reginald and Jean who were briefly married many years ago rekindle their love? Will Wilf, with the ever present twinkle in his eye, and Cissy, with her addled brain, make you smile all through the picture? If you don’t know the answers to these questions you don’t know movies or the world of make believe.

Ronald Harwood, in his screenplay, hits all the ‘old people’ cliches while Dustin Hoffman lets the professional oldsters/actors do their thing without many, if any, challenges to what they could have brought to a deeper story. It’s hard to say what audience Hoffman wants to attract, maybe hoping for the crowds that went to “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” or watch “Downton Abbey” but this movie won’t last long in theatres and probably would have done better as a PBS Masterpiece showing even with a five minute scene discussing the difference between opera, rap and hip-hop–which doesn’t go anywhere.

Do stay for the credits when Hoffman shows the veterans of the opera and classical music field who are in the picture side by side with photos when they were on stage in their youth.Image

Posted January 25, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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ODDS, ENDS, BITS & PIECES   Leave a comment

1) GreatMartin (me) very seldom will write a political blog though he has, stupidly, made comments on people’s blogs and got raked over the coals for it–mainly when I asked for facts. With that said I must state that I was extremely proud of Hillary Clinton when she faced the anti-Obama, Republicans are afraid she may run for President (and win) in 2016–she was honest, straight forward, said how she felt, accepted the blame as much as McCain (whatever happened to this man? The past few years he has gone over the edge) wanted to blame her boss she told him, and the rest, that the buck stopped at her desk–she was honest with her feelings about the 4 dead Americans. Most important was her question regarding “What difference did it make whether it was a video or guys walking down the street…?” I really don’t think she will run for President but she did a super job as First Lady, NY Senator and Secretary of State. Thanks for your service Hillary!

2) I saw “Wicked” two years ago and will be seeing it again next Thursday!

3) Is it just me or do the new TV smoking ads turn you off as much as they do me to the point I turn them off–which is no way to get someone to stop smoking!

4) Doctor called me yesterday to tell me I have gout and that I would have to give up steaks and other red meats–my response? HA! I am now taking ANOTHER pill! UGH!

5) Regarding the picture on top–Allen and I went to the Courtyard for lunch again this week but Kimberly had the day off. We had Lee as our server and he did a good job. Allen had the Turkey club and I had the Roast Beef and  Swiss on rye sandwich both being good–looks like the  Courtyard is a winner! After we went to Double Dippers which had opened as Gelato Station–no more gelato just all kind of Hershey’s ice cream so we were forced ( like the guy behind the counter twisted our arms!) to have ice cream.

6) Tomorrow we are goping to The Gateway Theatre to see “Quartet”. Look for my review tomorrow night.

7) After going to the Post Office, CVS, Winn-Dixie, The Dollar Tree and The Home Depot we went all over looking for a place for Allen to get keys made–it was almost impossible!!! I didn’t realize getting a duplicate made today was so difficult!

8) Now I am waiting to find out whether we won the Lotto and/or Powerball Saturday night–don’t worry when we do I will still be blogging on Sunday!

Posted January 24, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“AGATHA CHRISTIE’S THE BBC MURDERS”–THEATRE RE VIEW   Leave a comment

 

 

Zev Buffman, the super producer who brought Elizabeth Taylor to the stage in “The Little Foxes, among many other productions, outdid himself last night by providing an English rain for the audience members as they left the Parker Playhouse after seeing his latest production “Agatha Christie’s The BBC Murders” . It hadn’t rained in Fort Lauderdale all week so it makes you wonder if the man made a special deal with The Man!

 

“Agatha Christie’s The BBC Murders” performs 4 one act plays written by Ms. Christie for the BBC between 1937 and 1947. Each play lasts between 30-35 minutes hosted by Ms. Christie (played by Melinda Peterson) who tells a little about her life as she introduces each section.

 

Mr. Buffman has assembled a cast of 14, most Equity actors, from Indiana to Australia, each playing 3-4 different roles most succeeding with a few minor missteps here and there. Each play takes place in a radio studio as performed back in the day with actors holding, and sometimes reading from, their scripts, though many costumes and back wall projections along with entrances and exits that I am sure didn’t take place when originally read on the BBC.

 

Each play has its Edgar Allan Poe twist and, admittedly, your reviewer isn’t very good at figuring out mysteries, is not exactly foreseen.  Of the 4 one act plays the most familiar will probably be “Three Blind Mice” which would later become the stage play “The Mousetrap” which in turn became the world’s longest running play ever.  “Yellow Iris” not only introduces us to Inspector Hercule Poirot (Phil Proctor) but also to 3 songs, set in the period times and reminiscent to Cole Porter tunes, by Rupert Holmes and Robert Marsanyl, the former the first person to win Tony Awards for both best book and best score of a musical for his creation of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” which is currently enjoying a successful revival on Broadway.

 

In addition to“Yellow Iris” and “Three Blind Mice” there are “Personal Call” and “Butter in a Lordly Dish” which brings special mention of Tony Brewer and Lauren Allison who are the Foley Artists, the two people who provide all the sound effects for the 4 radio plays, including a man walking around on winter skis!

 

The question is if Mr. Buffman has a deal to have that British rain surround the Parker Playhouse area after each performance of “Agatha Christie’s The BBC Murders”?!

Posted January 23, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES WELCOME TO THE 1990S PART 20 B   Leave a comment

“May 5, 1990–would like to go to Jai Alai tonight–did-netted $38.85that was the start of my Jai Alai escapades especially after one night when I netted $1,094! The last time I was to Jai Alai was for my birthday February 29, 2004 with Chuck, Gino, Robert and James. I don’t think in 8 years of blogging that I ever mentioned gambling–at least as a problem!

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By the time I went into Transactional Analysis therapy I knew that of all the problems I had one was the lack of moderation in my life. I certainly smoked too much–3 packs a day–I was drinking too much–I was either 100% on my diet or binging–I don’t know if you can have sex too much but I was definitely having a lot more than would be called  normal or moderate. It wasn’t until Dr. Cassius put a name on it that I realized, yes, I was an addictive personality and gambling was another addiction to/for me.

Yes I played the lottery once in awhile but I wouldn’t call myself a gambler. The last time I remember really gambling was when I got out of the Marines and hitchhiking from California to Miami Beach and the first ride I got was to Las Vegas. Within a half hour I lost everything I had on me which really wasn’t that much but it hurt to the point that I said I would never gamble again and I didn’t until that May 5, 1990.  The first time I had been to Jai Alai was in Miami many years ago when I went with my father and 3 of his salesmen. I remember how embarrassed I was when, as we were leaving, he told each of the guys that whoever won had to give me 10% of what they won. Trust me, I was not loved that night!

I played 5 different sets of trifecta numbers boxed plus 2 different win/place/show tickets. I was playing about $500 up front as I would buy all the tickets for the 13 or 14 games (depends which night I went) when I arrived-even when I was out of work!

Now please understand that I was not addicted to gambling–HA! It is the way the mind rationalizes things. Like when I was an alcoholic I didn’t think I was one because: 1) I didn’t drink in the morning  2) I didn’t drink alone 3) Most days I didn’t have a drink–and I can give you a dozen more reasons but if you read about my problems with alcohol and, finally, getting sober forever (well at least the past 31, almost 32, years.)

It was the same with Jai Alai–I didn’t go every day–maybe once a week–I didn’t go crazy (like betting $500 a night when I was out of work!!!) Oh I checked the papers every day to see if I would have won or lost the night before IF I had gone. Going through my diary I see “Took $800 to Jai Alai, lost $335”, “I went to Jai Alai–netted $38.85”, “Went to Jai Alai and netted $48.25”, “Went to KJai Alai and won $12.25” “Went to Jai Alai and won $1,094.30 netting $475.80” and so it went. Of course the bottom line is that at the end I lost money over the next 10 years whether I went once a week or once every two months or whatever–I wasn’t a gambling addict!

After I stopped going to Jai Alai the casinos started opening in the Fort Lauderdale area and I can honestly say that I have gone maybe 20 times in 8 years, mostly to the Isles for their buffet and with Robert when he came down from New York to the Hard Rock casino and he gambled enough to get free tickets to shows. My gambling limit is $20–on the penny or nickle slots! I hate losing!!

Was I addicted to Jai Alai? To gambling? Is my lotto/powerball/fantasy5 /mega money/Play4  playing EVERY week since it started an addiction? Am I afraid if I don’t buy tickets my numbers will come out? Can I afford to play the numbers every day and every week? Do I give up something else to buy the tickets? Yes, yes, yes, yes, no (well maybe) and yes.

I think I will skip over the sex addiction and leave it for the hard cover edition!

Posted January 22, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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