Archive for April 2013

7 DECADES SERIES NEW SURROUNDINGS 1999 PART 24 C   Leave a comment

I was getting settled in at Gateway, meeting people, investigating the neighbor- hood, swimming in the pool and even started job hunting! Went into the office to meet with Babs, the social worker, and she gave me all sorts of helpful information, such as being eligible for the Lifeline from AT&T , and of the many things Gateway provided if I was eligible and it seemed I was, at least for most. My health insurance was going up and because of overpayment Social Security was taking $17 a month out of my check. (Ironically 14 years later I got a $17 Social Security raise!)

There is a note in my diary about getting stuck in the rain with the top of my convertible down and getting soaked but that was par for the course. I use to joke that the only time I put the top up was when it snowed. Needless to say with the rainy season I had a lot of those incidents. It wasn’t bad when I was driving as the rain went to the backseats but if I had to stop for a light I would get wet. Being an old car the top didn’t go up fast enough and sometimes I would have to ‘help’ it by guiding the bars so, generally, I would just get wet until I got home!

I hadn’t been in Gateway for 2 months when I got a notice my rent would be $7 a month less! I could and did live with that but I still needed a job. I went to a place called Hops on 17th Street, was interviewed and told to come back the next day. It seems I was too experienced for the place, that they wanted high school or college kids and though that was age discrimination I didn’t say anything because I saw that it really wasn’t for me anyway.

It seems I went to dinner with the Crabhouse crowd to Wolfgang Puck’s (closed), the following evening Gino and I went to Tommy Dee’s (closed) and the next night Bob, Jim, Ken and I went to Bobby Rubino’s (closed) to celebrate Bob’s birthday where he got a free meal. I had my yearly physical and passed with flying colors and had to go to the dentist to get a cap re-cemented. I had a note that if I got a job making $600 a month I would do okay, not knowing how that would affect my rent, social security , Lifeline and other things that made my life a little easier such as going for lunch with Gino to The Pier (closed).

Way before blogging I would send out a monthly newsletter to all my friends and now that I had the computer that was made easier. I became very familiar with printing DVDs, images and clip art and basically it was where I was going, what I was doing, reports on books I read, movies and theatre I saw along with restaurant reviews and people I was meeting, new friends I was meeting. One of the new friends was Jerry who had lived at Gateway for awhile and seemed to know everything about everybody. He was the one who told me that there were 40 gay people living here plus 3 different couples and before long I had met most of them!

One evening Gino and I went for dinner at Big Louie’s (open), which was 5 blocks from where I lived, and in the back of my mind I thought this looks like a good place to work. It was compact, with the kitchen very accessible and the place very busy. I asked our server who I should see about getting a job and they told me to come in on Tuesday and see either Sheila or Sergio. I didn’t go back the following week but instead went to the 15th Street Fisheries (open) and put in an application there. It sounded good as they only needed weekend help, they closed reasonably early but they did work the partner system which didn’t thrill me.

It would be a month before I went into Big Louie’s, after eating there a couple of times, and spoke to Sheila. It was a smart move on my part!

Posted April 30, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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7 DECADES SERIES LIFE CHANGES PART 24 B   Leave a comment

I was out of work, using credit cards for necessities and, yes, theatre tickets, eating out—how could I not go see “Naked Boys Singing”? On May 1 I signed a new lease for another year on 23rd Street knowing it was too expensive and not sure if I  would even be able to pay the following month’s rent. Things were going crazy such as my getting a letter from Social Security that I owed them $1,395 . It’s not like I was getting such a big monthly check from them but it seems I messed up between working and not getting a ‘full’ check from them.

On June 16 I got a call from subsidized housing that I could move in the following week. I went to see the apartment at The Gateway apartments which was very small, a studio, and asked if they had anything else available and I was shown a small bedroom apartment which was in a corner and very dark. The lady said I could refuse 2 apartments but if I didn’t take the third I would go back to the bottom of the list. The last apartment she showed me was in the center of a row where it got a lot of light and overlooked grass, trees, yachts, the canal and the million+ homes across the way. I immediately said, “Yes!” I was told to come back on Friday to sign all the rent papers and then I could start moving in. I was in a quandary because I had just signed the new lease at my old place and here I was going to break it. I didn’t know if the landlord would pursue me for the other 11 months but I had to take the Gateway place plus I wanted to.  June 25  I signed the lease and, with Gino’s help, started moving in that day, a  Friday. Without a job, no income, and the rent based on what you made I really got a good deal. (Now 13 years later I still have a good deal!) By the end of the month I was moved in. I did have to leave some things behind like 2 of the 3 seven foot couches that were made to order for me in Memphis as this living room could only handle one. Hanging up book shelves were out of the question so they were left behind though I did take the books, VHS tapes and CDs that stayed in boxes for a long time. Nancy and Doug were in town and, aside from Gino, they were the first ones to see my new place. We went out to Macaroni’s Grill to celebrate.

The month of July was spent buying things, like new drapes, for my new apartment and I, also, bought a new computer. It was the first time Gino got a full size door for me to use as a computer table and not only do I still have that door which I now keep plants on but I also have another door as my current table! Gino did most of the hanging up of pictures while I did the ‘hard work’ of donating a load of books to the library they had on the premises. Along with the library they had a beauty/barber shop, laundry rooms, a huge pool, a community room where they held special events and had continuous activities not to mention the breezeway where they held barque’s plus a place for people to sit around and throw the bull—and old people can do that!–plus have some appetizers and a few drinks at sunset.

I knew one gay guy who lived in the complex and he told me that out of 300 residents he knew of at least 40 were gay which made me feel comfortable. One of the first couples I met were two guys who at that point were together 56 years. At about the same time my ex Bill called to tell me that he and his lover, Richard, were coming into town and we agreed that he would call me and we would get together for lunch. A lot was going on that month with the move because it meant calling AT&T to get phone installed which is never fun, plus getting my driver’s license changed, putting in forms at the post office, all the many annoying things that moving entails but I was getting it done a little at a time.

Bill, Richard and I went to lunch at Mango’s(open) on Los Olas–from my diary on Monday, July 26, 1999, “Richard surprised me in that he was a lot younger than Bill–or me!–but was a very nice guy. Bill paid the tab and I left the tip–I wasn’t uncomfortable and except for our past I didn’t feel anything for Bill anymore–I don’t know if I will ever be seeing him again but it felt like a closure in my life.” Also in my diary for that week is the following, “Fred who I met on line came over–he remembered me from 32 years ago and being at my place on West 75th Street in New York! He, Gino, Manny and I went to see “Edge of 17″, then to Lone Star Steakhouse (closed) for dinner.”

In addition to my other notes I have a statement about going up to Boca Raton for a reading of my play which didn’t go over too well which didn’t surprise me. Once again I wrote “I have to get a job!”  but because my rent was so low I didn’t have to panic but that would happen soon. Meanwhile I lived in a great new place and I still had credit cards!

Posted April 29, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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AND HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?   Leave a comment

For those who may not know—where have you been?–at the beginning of March I bought packets of flower and veggie seeds at the Dollar Tree store–4 packets for a $1 and here we are on the 28th of April.

The marigolds are growing like crazy and in the rear on the left is a miniature sunflower–the rectangle flower pot in front of that are the beets but so far nothing has happened and I am not sure about pulling a couple of the leaves up– same things with the turnips which are in the round bowl in the center. Anybody have any idea as to when beets or turnips are ‘ready’? In any case I’ll give them a couple of more weeks and then pull a few out of both.

Meanwhile would anybody like some marigolds???

Posted April 28, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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WHO IS THIS MAN’BOY? BOY/MAN? ANYONE KNOW?   Leave a comment

 

This is going to be a strange post because I am writing something I am not sure of or believe. Was my life as I know it or did I block a whole section out? Is she wrong? Does she think I am my brother though that doesn’t seem reasonable?
 
In any case I have a page on facebook but don’t go there too often as I feel it is more for younger people. In any case I was contacted by—oh let’s call her Mary Lou though I don’t think she would object to my using her real name. She had contacted me saying she knew me and mentioned a few things that made it plausible. A couple of days ago she sent me the picture–top right (1951-1952??) and said it was me when we were 15 or 16 but I know I was FAT when I was16. I wrote her back that I wasn’t sure if it was me and what was on the jacket. She replied to me that it said “New Mexico Lobos”. I was confused as my brother did go to the University of New Mexico but I don’t recall his ever giving me a jacket nor do I ever remember wearing such a jacket. More than that I know when I was 15-16 I was going into Manhattan, to thetheatre, cruising, going to gay bars and the baths and my immediate thought “Would I be able to get in those places where/when you had to be 18? Did I look like I could ‘pass’ in that picture?”
 
I asked Mary Lou if she could give me more information and she sent me the following:
 
“I met you through Susan Schwartz, and then we all ran around together… I guess it’s called “hanging out” now! There were the Playboys…a social club that I’m sure you belonged to…Vinnie Reda (now a congressman in Rockland County, New York (with a checkered record) Nicky DeAntonio, Gerry Sansiper, Bernie Artz…all went to Columbus High…You and I dated (?) movies, etc. and always argued about Frankie Laine and Doris Day…I loved him, and you hated him…you loved Doris Day and called her Dodo. But you gifted me with Frankie Laine albums. Anything else that I can fill you in on?”
 
Okay I remember Susan Schwartz whose parents had a home in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey, where my folks also had a home. She was a red head and fun. There was talk about her parents being communists but remember this was in the late 40s, early 50s when all Jews were thought to be communists! I never heard of or belonged to (or did I?) The Playboys. I certainly remembered Vinnie Reda who was very important in my life at that time but I don’t know if he would even recognize my name! Yes, Nicky was also a familiar name. How do you tell someone that you don’t remember dating them, especially at that age? Yes I went to Columbus High  and no doubt I loved Doris Day–I saw her for the first time in her first movie “Romance on the High Seas” and wore out my copy of her recording “It’s Magic”–I also kept scrapbooks of her for most ofmy teen years. Regarding Frankie Laine I really did like him but so did my brother so how could I like him? Hey he also liked Yma Sumac and I wouldn’t say I did, too!
 
I asked Mary Lou to send me anything she could remember and I’m waiting. Meanwhile I completely don’t see ‘me’ in that picture though there is a slight reresemblance to  my Marine picture. Was I thin in my mid-teens? I don’t think so! Did I block out my ‘straight’ life? There is very little of it in anything I have written including “The Free Prisoner” which was about my childhood in the Bronx and my coming out, not even in the 7 Decades series I have been writing the past year.
 
Mary Lou gave me a few links to pages about Vinnie where I learned he is now a Republican commissioner in the Northeast and, for some irony, it is the same county where my brother was very active in the Democrat party and helped get many elected. There is also some stories about Vinnie’s honest y but I won’t go there .
 
Something tells me to leave things as I remember them and not go digging in the past about people who, supposedly, spent time with me. I’ll see what else she comes up with and decide then whether to continuee on!
 
What do you think? Is that me? Why would I block out what seems a big part of my life? Was I playing the ‘game’ so many teens play in their coming out process? Was I really two people–the activist living a life of hedonism and the other dating, going to high school, belonging to a ‘social’ club? The former is so clear to me while the latter doesn’t register at all. I remember running from school to go to the movies or catching the IRT to go downtown and seeing the second act of so many legendary shows and performers. I spent weekends in bars, jazz clubs, the Village and/or at the Everod Baths and can describebe each as to how decorated, laid out and clientele.
 

The odd thing is that when I came back to the Bronx, after living in Florida upon discharge from the Marines, I found out that my mother had thrown out all my diaries from my teenage years—and my Doris Day scrapbooks!!! I have only bits and pieces, mainly a few photographs, from my teen years so unless I get proof I can only imagine what this is all about!

Posted April 27, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“THE BIG WEDDING”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Is giving “The Big Wedding” faint praise such as it was better than expected a positive or negative? Is saying that parts are better than the whole damning it? In any case can anyone explain how Katherine Heigl and Amanda Seyfried keep on getting lead roles in big films?

 

“The Big Wedding” takes on so many stories that all get lost. This is a movie for people who think old folks having sex is funny and Robert De Niro getting punched by everyone and anyone will just crack you up. We have De Niro, divorced from Diane Keaton with whom he had 2 children and an adopted child, living with Susan Sarandon for 8 years and, oh yes, Keaton and Sarandon were best friends when they met De Niro and now since their adopted child, Ben Barnes, is getting married to Seyfried and his natural mother is coming from Columbia, and she being a devout Catholic, Keaton and De Niro have to make believe they are still married. Whew! Did you get that because we are just starting. Seyfried’s mother, Christine Ebersole, has a ‘thing’ for Sarandon and Keaton, not to mention plastic surgery, whileher father, David Rasche, is bankrupt and in trouble with Wall Street.

 

Barnes and Heigl’s brother, Topher Grace, is a 29 year old doctor who is a virgin while Barnes sister, Ana Ayora,  comes to the wedding with her mother, and in their first scene together Ana dives into the lake for a nude swim making sure Topher sees her first and then he wonders, for not too long, if it would be incestuous for them to have sex. Was it mentioned that Heigl and her husband have just separated when the movie opens? Barnes and Ayora’s mother, Patricia Rae, who doesn’t speak English, has a life of her own that comes out of nowhere. Wait! Almost forgot Robin Williams, the priest, who doesn’t have any kind of sex, as far as the script goes.

 

Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton comes through unscathed and even add to the picture, the former with her red hair and looking good while the latter still has that impish Annie Hall look. De Niro comes through with a very effective scene late in the movie and, obviously worked out for the bedroom scene. Ben Barnes is very impressive in looks and what little chance he gets to acts as is Topher Grace.

 

The screenplay, and direction, by Justin Zackham is a mess though the locations in Connecticut are beautiful. The movie is Rated “R” for good reason and if you are the type who smirks at sex scenes, or language, this is your film.

 

Posted April 26, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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WHY I LOVE THE DOLLAR TREE STORY & HAVE FUN THERE!!   Leave a comment

One of the many reasons I love Thursdays is because I know I will be going to the Dollar Tree Store. Now it’s not only for the 1 pound of wrapped cheeses I can get, or the frozen bags of all kinds of vegetables and/or fruits plus spices, extracts, frames, candles and many other every day things but for the not every day things of which the two above are good examples.

Pictures 1-3: They are vases that lay flat until you fill them with water and then they become sturdy vases–in the third picture I put a spatula after putting water in one of the flattened vases (see picture 2 with the vase on right lying flat and the left with water.) Though made out of plastic they will last forever! They also come with ‘water’ beads that I have talked about before and I put those in my potted plants.

Pictures 4-6: I have had these ‘finger’ peelers for a couple of years now. They are so easy to use and they work beautifully–see picture #3 of a cucumber I peeled Wednesday–they fit right over the finger and come in all colors. When I first got them I peeled anything in sight!!!

I have 6 different watches with varied colored straps that are still running after 2 years–every Spring I buy packets of flower and vegetable seeds (see results this coming Sunday) and bags of soil plus pots and saucers–every holiday we decorate the individual apartments and the building for pennies and all year round, whether using various pictures or ornaments, I can change the look of the apartment. I have gotten all red kitchen utensils to match the oven mittens, sponges, napkins, towels, apple corer/slicer or anything else that you can put in a kitchen that is red.

If you don’t have a Dollar Tree Store in your area just go to their web page and take a look–by the way very few have the frozen food or refrigerator sections like the one near me where they have packs of burgers, tacos, chicken, ice cream, chocolates of all kinds, eggs, milk, juices, etc.

Posted April 25, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“42”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

   
(ABOVE IS THE COMMENT BOARD AT GATEWAY)

Full disclosures: 1) I am not a baseball fan  2) I am not a Harrison Ford fan  3) I am not a ‘Hollywood biography’ fan and 4) because of the latter, I take ‘based on a true story’ with more than a grain of salt. Okay, now that I got that out of the way let me say GO SEE “42”!

 

More than a baseball story this is about love between a man and woman, two men with tremendous courage  and how one man can make a difference. This is a story of  Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman, in a breakout role) who became the first major league black baseball player. It is about a man, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) who picked Robinson to do just that and backed him all the way just as his wife, Rachel Robinson, (Nicole Beharie) did.

 

Thanks to the screenwriter and director, Brian Helgeland, you are taken on a roller coaster ride of sweet moments, comedy and anger while cringing at some of the true language many whites used against blacks and why Robinson was the man Rickey picked because he knew the former had the guts not to fight back. He shows, in only one scene, how it ate at him. Besides the language Robinson was hit by baseballs, had his foot stomped on by an opposing player and wasn’t wanted by most of the other players on his team.

 

Harrison Ford shows he is more than just a ‘pretty face’ or action star. He disappears into the role of the Brooklyn Dodgers general manager completely and shouldn’t be forgotten at award time. Boseman and Beharie have great chemistry between them and the former, as the baseball player, shows how he drove the other teams pitchers and catchers crazy as he ‘danced’ in between bases either by stealing them or catching the others so off guard they dropped the ball or threw it wrong. More important Boseman shows the intelligence of the man inside the player and what he faced.

 

There is a big supporting cast without a weak link. One of the funniest scenes in a movie in a long time, which could have gone awry, is when pitcher Ralph Branca (Hamish Linklater) wants to know why Robinson won’t shower with the rest of the team and it dawns on him that what he is saying could be taken the wrong way. Christopher Meloni effective, as Leo Durocher, is out of the film too soon. Lucas Black as shortstop Pee Wee Reese as the first player to embrace Robinson on the field touches you just as the language and taunts yelled at Robinson in public by the manager Ben Chapman (Alan Tudyk) of another team will make you gasp and/or cringe. T. R. Knight is strong as Rickey’s assistant as is Andre Holland as Wendell Smith the first black sportswriter to be accepted in theSportswritersAssociation. John C. McGinley is Red Barber who is a legend, even today, as a radio announcer for the Dodgers.

 

“42” takes place during 1945 to 1947. I was about 10 years old and don’t really remember all of this though I did root for the Yankees against the Dodgers.  This is a film that should be seen by all generations and especially the kids of today. Whether Jackie Robinson was as completely as ‘good’ a man as writer/director Helgeland makes him to be or the too pretty film isn’t as gritty in appearance as it should be one must realize that this is a ‘Hollywood biography’ but it will get you cheering and some will even applaud as the closing credits show what happened to most of the people pictured.

 

THIS IS A MUST SEE FILM!

Posted April 24, 2013 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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