Archive for January 2014








(Only thing missing is carrot cake for dessert!)

This past Christmas Mary (&ILCs) sent me a present of various pastas and 2 jars of sauce–she probably just fainted hearing I didn’t eat it all the day after I received it.

It is no secret that I LOVE food–I love cooking it, shopping for it and eating it! Having been a server I love to go out to restaurants to eat. I plan all and any events around food before during or after. Of all the foods I have there are only 2 I don’t like and they are oyster plant and tofu. Regarding the latter I spent a year preparing every which way and it always tasted like cardboard!

Yes I eat frozen Sara Lee cake and I don’t trust anyone who will let it defrost first. I have nothing good to say about frozen pizza but I eat it! I’ve heard rumors that people allow chocolate to melt in their mouth!! Only crazy people do that, right? I heard people wait for food to cool off before they eat it, is that true? OMG! There are even people who eat 1 M&M or 1 nut at a time! Who is responsible for teaching such ridiculous things?

I know some people (not mentioning names Allen) who won’t eat shrimp if they have their tails on–I’ll eat the tails! That same person won’t eat BBQ ribs because of the bones! And wings? Don’t even think of it!!!

Back in the days when I dated and/or fell in love it was usually with someone who didn’t clean their plate leaving food over—for me! If they said, “I can’t eat another thing,” I would suggest we get married!!! I have never been so full that I couldn’t eat another piece of carrot cake even if I just finished eating a whole cake. Yes I can eat a whole cake and, maybe, some ice cream with it.

Did I mention my weight problems? Let’s not go there–maybe some other time! Now back to my dinner before the pasta and coffee gets cold while the salad and smoothie gets warm.

Posted January 30, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Not being familiar with Vanessa Hudgens her performance blew my mind in “Gimme Shelter”. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out she was a Disney graduate having played in “High School Musical” at the age of 17. Now she is 25 playing a 15 year old pregnant girl without anyone to help.

“Gimme Shelter” opens with a scene of her looking in a mirror chopping her hair off and having a pierced eyelid and lip. She has been abused, moved to ten foster homes because her mother is an addict and prostitute and she doesn’t have any knowledge of who her father is and after having a fight with her mother again she goes off to find him just having his address.

She goes to her father who has a lucrative job on Wall Street, a large home, wife and 2 pure as driven snow children. The wife is not welcoming to her, the children complain she stinks and upon hearing she is pregnant her father wants her to have an abortion.

She runs away and after being sneeringly approached by a pimp she steals his car and winds up in an accident that sends her to the hospital. This is where her life takes a turn as she meets a kindly Man of G-d who steers her to Kathy DiFiore who runs a shelter for teenage mothers and pregnant teenagers.

This being a Hollywood movie you should know where it is heading but it is based, somewhat, on a true story and over the end credits they show pictures of the real people.

Virginia Hudgens plays the lead Apple Bailey, bringing a lot more to the script than the writer-director Ronald Krauss gives her to work with. At some points when he can legitimately tug at the audience’s heart strings he preaches the obvious messages.

James Earl Jones plays the man of the church brings a gravitas that only he can without over doing his voice or mannerisms. Rosario Dawson, with yellow teeth, plays the addictive mother who knows how to handle a razor blade in her mouth while Brendan Fraser acts as a milquetoast, which is strange for an actor who looks and usually is strong, as Apple’s father. Stephanie Szostak plays his wife in an underwritten tough role while Ann Dowd plays the real DiFiore.

The film is a quick moving 1 hour and 40 minutes and has a PG-13 rating for a few brutal scenes of abuse, drug talk and some rough, but apropos, language.

I do know that if I was a writer, producer and/or director I would want Vanessa Hudgens for my next few pictures and this movie is a MUST SEE for her acting, taking a weak story and making it very interesting. By the way when she cleans at a point in the film she is quite the pretty woman!

Posted January 24, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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The wife of Charles Dickens tells his mistress. “You will never know who he loves more: you or his audience,” in “The Invisible Woman”.

Over the last decade or so of his life Dickens, he was 45 and she was 18, had an affair with Nelly and when we first meet Nelly she is a married school teacher, her husband 12 years younger than she is and very little attention is paid to the age differences.

This takes place in the 1850s when men could have mistresses but not flaunt them in public. The men set them up in fairly luxurious apartments an don’t divorce their wives even when the women have children.

We are constantly going back and forth in time as we go along Nelly’s adventure with this famous man whom she has always admired and his writings. Nelly is from a theatrical family and while her mother doesn’t condone the affair she knows her daughter is not that good an actress and infers that she would be better taken care of with Dickens. We watch her confusion as Dickens writes a letter to a newspaper slapping the hands of the gossipers even though he has literally built a wall in his house between and his wife. She learns to accept what the wife had told her and when tragedy hits she grows up and goes on with her life.

This is an English love story so the pace is slower but it also takes time to show off the actors. Ralph Fiennes, who plays Dickens and directed the film, does a better job in the former than the latter. There are one too many dark scenes and shots where you only see a cheek or elbow though some of these shots do glide into better shots in a different place. There is a horse race scene where it starts from a completely silent shot of Nelly that leads to a full blown ending of the race with shouts, horses speeding by and music in the background which is very effective even though the music background track at times is annoying.

Using a script by Abi Morgan, based on a book by Claire Tomalin, the former, with the director, sorts of lets Felicity Jones, as Nelly, down. She is a beautiful woman who is given little time to shine and show what really attracted Dickens to her and is given one too many walks along the seaside!

Kristin Scott Thomas as Kelly’s mother, Perdia Weeks and Felicity Jones as her sisters, Joanna Scanlan as Mrs. Dickens, John Kavanagh as a Reverand who feels Kelly’s confusion, Tom Burke, the younger husband, Tom Hollander as Dickens’ friend, and as his doesn’t care what society thinks mistress, Michelle Fairley and the supporting cast give expected strong English performances.

For a love story it doesn’t affect the audience emotionally as much as listening to Fiennes read Dickens words which make you want to run out and read his books again.

Posted January 21, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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‘COMING OUT’ AT THE AGE OF 12 IN 1948–BRAVE OR STUPID?   Leave a comment




“Wow, you came out in the 40’s. You must be a very brave and self-confident person.
I do know that would of been mostly unheard of. Though I think you must of had a better life than those who didn’t come out, in that you led an authentic life. I know you must of suffered in other ways though. I don’t know many people who would of been that brave.”

I received the above email from a new friend and it immediately set off a chain of thoughts. I have written about my coming out and teen years in my books “The Free Prisoner” and “Letting It All Hang Out” and as years go by—66 years now–I see those days as if it was happening today.

Brave? Or stupid? At 12-13 I really think it was stupid as I didn’t have to come out. I wasn’t ’effeminate’ or ’acted gay’ and I was a good looking kid and girls started to be ’interested’ in me and I know that was the road to deceit–and I did go down that road a couple of times which a few years later I was ashamed of doing and said ’never again’. In many ways that experience helped me understand why a gay man married and had a family–it was (and still is–sadly) a good way to hide.

Heck I wasn’t about to be bullied for either being a Jew (I lived in an Italian Catholic neighborhood—got to celebrate all the holidays!!) or being gay–luckily I lived in New York and was able to step by step discover the gay life in Manhattan and was mentored by many–and to gays today just want you to know we had a very gay life in the 40s and 50s though it was more secret (and in some ways more fun)–I learned in my teens to stand up for myself or my life would be Hell and I had enough problems at home (nothing to do with being gay) that I didn’t want them outside of home.

I did become an activist in my teens in many little ways until I reached 16, ‘divorced’ my family, went to live on my own, get a job, rent a room, pay bills and finish school but at the age of 20—1956–I really started to be active in the very small gay movement back then–never regretted it!

Brave? Possibly. Stupid? Definitely. Regretful? NOT AT ALL!


Posted January 20, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Folks you have to remember this is South Florida where we are known for our heat and humidity so keep that in mind!

Every year we have a ‘cold’ period and right now we are in the middle of it–we had a low of 45 degrees this morning and it is going lower tomorrow morning. I a place where the highs during winter are near 80 it isn’t fun to see 68 degrees as our high.

When the papers have headlines like ‘Brrrr! Chilly temperatures to continue this weekend’ ( you know you are in trouble!

And there are other signs it is winter in Fort Lauderdale:

You don’t have the a/c on or even need it.

I get a chance to wear my 2 sweat shirts–one saying ‘I don’t do mornings’ and the other ‘Give me some chocolate and nobody gets hurt’.  You have to remember the Fort Lauderdale ‘uniform’ is shorts, a short sleeved shirt and flip-flops.

There will always be a picture in the newspaper or on the TV weather report of a fat (they are always fat) French Canadian (sorry–if the shoe fits wear it) sitting on the beach sunbathing without a shirt and saying ‘This is a heat wave compared to where I just came from’)

It is always funny to hear and see people who moved here from New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, etc., wearing  double sweaters, scarves, leather jackets, etc., and talking about how their ‘blood has thinned out living here‘. Heck I take a blood thinner and have lived here more than half my life and I go out in 65 degrees wearing the ‘uniform’–I just wear the sweat shirts because I can without sweating! (Sort of defeating the purpose of the shirt!)

Yes we have 4 seasons down here and hopefully the winter season, at least weather wise, doesn’t last more than 2 weeks.

I understand what a brutal winter it has been in the Northern section of  North America  so far but everything is relative and when it hits 42 in Fort Lauderdale that is COLD!

I am not feeling the sympathy folks!!

Posted January 19, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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                              MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY AND JARED LETO!!!


Chris Pine is following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Afflick in playing Jack Ryan, a character created by the late novelist Tom Clancy, and though he is good looking and has the most beautiful blue eyes since Paul Newman, he doesn’t have the gravitas of the actors mentioned and, hopefully, that will come as he ages. As this is a prequel it sort of throws off all that happened in the other 3 pictures as this takes place in the mid 2000s just before the recession hits.

Pine, as Jack, obviously has the smarts to deal with all the modern technical equipment which seems to be used in so many modern action films. We watch him as he watches the 9/11 attack while attending school which he quits to join the Marines, and being in the hospital from a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, is recruited by a veteran CIA, William Harper, played very efficiently by Kevin Costner.

We next see Jack living with Cathy Muller, played by Keira Knightley, who had nursed him back to health and is now a doctor, who refuses to marry him–but that’s another movie! He is now working as a financial analyst on Wall Street trying to track unknown deposits. Next we see him in Moscow and meet the villain of the movie, Viktor Cheverin, played by Kenneth Branagh, who also directed the film which may explain a few lingering shots on him. He has lost a son, for Russia, is heavy into medications and is hoping to bring down the value of the American dollar and at the same time hold another terrorist attack on Manhattan.

This is an action film and, except for a few ‘love scenes’ between Pine and Knightley, there are many car chases, explosions, long walks along, between and on buildings which all feature glass elevators.

As an action film you can, as I usually do, sit back in the middle of the movie, forget what all the mislaid plans are about, and just enjoy the actors and the action on the film. Do you really have to know why Cathy won’t marry Jack but lives with him fir years? Can you guess what will happen to Viktor? Does it all mean anything except for 105 minutes—yes, a film that doesn’t run overlong for no purpose at all–of being entertained, looking at Pine’s blue eyes, watching old pros like Costner and Branagh and not caring if Knightley says anything as long as she looks great?

This is a fun, spy, action movie that may provide Chris Pine with a second franchise, along with the Star Trek movies, but not something you have to see.

Posted January 18, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Megan Mullally, with Seth Rudetsky and Stephanie Hunt, came to the rescue of a cold spell in Fort Lauderdale bringing the heat of songs and chatter. They kicked off the new WinterStage concert series debuting at the Parker Playhouse.


Seth came out on the set of the show with the piano stage left, a conversation ‘pit’ made up of a table and two comfortable looking white swivel chairs, a table and chandelier drops across the stage used very effectively during the show changing colors and moods. He said the show would be, “…a song, some chat, a song, some chat, a song and some more chat,” which exactly what it was.


Megan Mullally started the show by singing “Broadway Baby” from “Follies” and “Look What Happened To Mabel” from “Mack and Mabel”. During the next 90 minutes she would also sing  Rodgers and Hart’s “You Took Advantage Of Me”, Stephen Sondheim’s “Could I Leave You?” also doing a 3 number set with Stephanie Hunt, with whom she formed the Nancy and Beth band, including “One Mint Julep” and a spiritual.


It was her chats with Rudetsky talking about her auditioning for a Shakespeare play, having to go on for Rosie O’Donnell in “Grease”, her working with Ellen Burstyn and Elaine Stritch in the short lived TV series “The Ellen Burstyn Show”, majoring in English literature at Northwestern University starting off in theatrical studies but not fitting in with the crowd, meeting Carol Channing and being mistaken for O’Donnell, going to the Golden Globes meeting Helen Mirren and not knowing how to react to a ‘Queen” among other stories until she wetted the appetite for tales of playing Karen in 8 years of “Will and Grace” for which she won 2 Emmy’s and 3 Screen Actors Guild awards.


Megan talked about falling in love with Sean Hayes’s blue eyes before he even opened his mouth, she and Sean being the bad kids while Debra Messing and Eric McCormack were the ‘parents’, how the ‘belly bump’ came about, working with Cher and Alec Baldwin along with NOT FRench kissing on television. She then sang a song from a show that never got produced because, supposedly, NBC would not allow her use of the  Karen character, revolving around Karen Walker having the money to put on her own show.


Aside from talking about “Grease” she said a few lines about “Young Frankenstein”, not very flattering, but nothing about the revival of “How To Succeed In Business” nor did she sing any songs from the three shows. For an encore she did a version of Bette Midler’s “Dr. Long John”.


It was a pleasant but not particularly a memorable show!


Seth Rudetsky was more than capable as her pianist and, being her friend for over 20 years, knew just the right questions to ask her to bring out her sense of humor and sometimes the camp her audience loved. It was a good kick off for this new series and Seth will be back with Megan Hilty on February 20th and Patti Lupone on March 13th.



Posted January 17, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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Watching “August: Osage County” several things ran through my head:
1) What a great 1940s,1950s movie this would have made
2) Where is Bette Davis when you need her? She would have acted the role of Violet
     Weston off the screen where Meryl Streep just ’acts’
3) No doubt Tracy Letts, who wrote the 3 hour Pulitzer prize winning play and this
     2 hour and 10 minute screenplay, is the heir to Tennessee Williams, Eugene
     O’Neil and Edward Albee
4) We know it is a 21st century screenplay with all the women throwing around the
      “F” word along with a talk fest shouting out the various names for a woman’s
     Vagina–Warner Brothers would never allowed that.

“August: Osage County” is about a family and their secrets–which many can be guessed–with an all star cast. We start by meeting Beverly Weston (Sam Shepard) who admits he is an alcoholic and he tells us that his wife Violet (Meryl Streep) ‘takes pills’. He is interviewing Johanna (Misty Upham) as a full time home and caretaker. He quotes T.S. Eliot saying “Life is very long.”

We meet their 3 children, the oldest being Barbara (Julia Roberts) who is separated from her husband Bill (Ewan McGregor) and their vegan, pot smoking teenage daughter Jean (Abigail Breslin). The middle daughter Ivy (Julianne Nicholson) is the only one who remained home and has a secret of her own while the youngest one, Karen (Juliette Lewis) has brought her fiancée Steve (Dermot Mulroney) home. There is Violet’s sister, Nattie Fae (Margo Martindale), her husband, Charlie (Chris Cooper) and their  adult son Little Charles (Benedict Cumberbatch).

With a professional cast like this it takes a lot to be a standout but Julia Roberts is and in her scenes with Streep not only holds her own but bests her a few times. Chris Cooper has a stunning monologue while Martindale makes a confession that could be laughable but makes very believable. Cumberbatch underplays his role to effect while Mulroney seems to be a fish out of water as a ‘player’ from Miami in Oklahoma would be while Lewis doesn’t fit in as a member of this family.

Letts, compressing his 3 hour play, can’t seem to make the story anything but a soap opera with star turns for all the cast. John Wells, the director, opened the stage play to include many outdoor scenes but the major action takes place in the house. There are no intermissions as there are in plays so about 10 minutes of ‘artistic’ shots could have and should have been cut.

Both Streep and Roberts have been up for many awards, winning a few, and in all probability will be nominated for Oscars as Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Both have very stiff competition and I doubt either will win but the latetr certainly deserves to win.

“August: Osage County” is a throw back to films of old but I think it would have been better if shorter and a ‘quieter’ actress (or Bette Davis) playing the role of Violet.

Posted January 10, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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HERE’S TO 2014—THE GOOD AND THE BAD!!!   Leave a comment


2014, like any other year in life, started off both good and bad but I think the good far outweighs the bad!!! From dinner at the Dubliner Pub to seeing “The Wizard of Oz”, seeing that old Ford in front of my doctor’s office to going out for lunch today, plus the usual Thursday shopping at the Dollar Tree and Winn-Dixie. Also today was Pantry Day and that place always amazes me. We got fried turkey rolls, baked ham, Dal with chaunk—I have no idea what that is but I’ll let you know!–in addition to banana nut muffins among canned goods.  The best part of the Pantry are the lovely women who work there!

Going to see “August: Osage County” tomorrow and next week in the first of 3 winter concerts with Seth Rudetsky  on Thursday. this one starring Megan Mullaly who played Karen on “Will & Grace”  and starred in 3 Broadway shows. I have never heard her sing and am looking forward to their interplay.

Along with all the good there is that bad. On Monday I go for pre-op work at my primary doctor as Wednesday I have an appointment at 8 AM  (UGH! That means I have to get up at 6 AM!) for an out patient procedure. I don’t quite understand what is going to happen but he will go through my groin to scrape plaque off my veins to ease my walking. That will take about 30 minutes but I will have to stay in the office for 3-4 hours for him to check on healing. My main concern–okay so I am crazy!–was whether I could go to the theatre the next night and he said no problem. And yes, I would have canceled the procedure to the following week!

February we will be seeing the touring companies of the Broadway shows “Memphis” and  “Once” . We saw the former last year in Miami and enjoyed it. I have seen the movie “Once” which got rave reviews but I was not a fan. The Broadway version won 8 Tony Awards, including ‘Best Musical’ and a Grammy for ‘Best Musical Theatre Album so I look forward to seeing this version! Oh heck I just love going to the theatre!

All in all the year is starting off good–I am not asking for much except, even with the medical problems I had last year, I just want 2014 to be as good as 2013.

It is a wonderful life folks!

Posted January 9, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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CATCHING UP WITH 2013 PART 2   Leave a comment


We left the Quarterdeck and headed to I-95 not knowing what to expect but there was very little traffic and we zipped along. Getting off the interstate and going onto Biscayne Boulevard once again we were surprised at lack of traffic. There were 4-5 police cars near and around the Adrienne Arsht Center while usually there are only two. I mention this because of what we saw later!

The parking set up at the Center is such that the further away the parking lot the cheaper the price. They range from $8 for a lot two short blocks away and $25 for valet parking.

We got to the corner to cross the street and for the first time I can remember there wasn’t a policeman directing traffic. Granted both car and foot traffic, though steady, was as busy as usual.

We got into the Center which was all bright and “Christmassy” and standing there were the two people (picture 1) who make it possible for me to get great seats at Broadway touring shows. Charlotte is the PR for Bank of America and Charlie is the PA. You couldn’t meet two nicer people. Pictures 2, 3, 6 and 7 were the curtain calls (which I had permission to take as long as I didn’t use a flash!) In the future picture taking is going to be a problem in theatre because you see more and more people taking pictures–even during the show!–due to cell phone cameras.

We had a few minutes before the doors open so we sat around and dished the people! LOL IT is bad enough guys don’t wear jackets  anymore to the theatre but shorts and flip-flops?!?!? And some of the women weren’t any better with short shorts. The best dressed person we saw was a 10 (?) year old kid wearing a tie!

On the back of every seat in the auditorium was an invitation to come see the ‘snow’ fall in the lobby during intermission and attached to the card was a “Happy New Year” necklace. (See picture 4)

I have already reviewed the show, which you can read, and posted it here last week. It had a 7 PM start which was probably because of the New Year’s Eve parties people would be going to so we got out around 9:40. Walking to the parking lot we noticed a complete absence of police or police cars which I have never seen that happen before!

Once again we were surprised by the lack of traffic–that is until we hit the Hollywood exits where it was a bit heavier but when we got off at Broward Boulevard we almost hit a standstill. Obviously a lot of people were heading down to the Riverfront for the celebration, the ball dropping and the fireworks!

It was about 10:30 when Allen dropped me off at my place. I went upstairs, took off my clothes, got into my bathrobe and slippers, sat in my lounge chair with a small snack put on the TV and watched the ball drop in Times Square. Hey that’s what old folks do!!!

It was 2014 and I silently wished those I care about a great year and wished myself, in spite of a few medical problems, a year at least as good as 2013 because it wasa good year for me–I got up every morning!

Now on to 2014

Posted January 7, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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