Archive for June 2014

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greatmartin

It may be a ‘gay’ thing–a stereotype–but I have always loved going to the theatre to see plays and musicals but before that movies were my first love. I don’t know the first movie I ever saw but I remember as a child going to the RKO Pelham, RKO Fordham, The Globe and the Loew’s Paradise. The latter was special as it became a trademark of what was called movie palaces. There was a night sky above the auditorium with moving clouds, stars and the moon. It also had what was called a ‘wonder’ organ that was huge and played between shows.

When I became more mobile and was able to go downtown to Manhattan I found another world. There was the Roxy theatre seating over 5,900 people and years later, when it was torn down, there was an iconic picture in the papers and magazines of Gloria Swanson standing…

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Posted June 30, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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It may be a ‘gay’ thing–a stereotype–but I have always loved going to the theatre to see plays and musicals but before that movies were my first love. I don’t know the first movie I ever saw but I remember as a child going to the RKO Pelham, RKO Fordham, The Globe and the Loew’s Paradise. The latter was special as it became a trademark of what was called movie palaces. There was a night sky above the auditorium with moving clouds, stars and the moon. It also had what was called a ‘wonder’ organ that was huge and played between shows.

When I became more mobile and was able to go downtown to Manhattan I found another world. There was the Roxy theatre seating over 5,900 people and years later, when it was torn down, there was an iconic picture in the papers and magazines of Gloria Swanson standing among the ruins. Many people believed it was the reason behind Steven Sondheim writing the musical “”Follies” with one of my favorite songs “I’m Still Here”.

Probably the most famous theatre in the world is the Radio City Music Hall which has the largest theatre pipe organ, seats 6,000 people, has been used for TV showings of the Tony and Grammy awards but when I was going there they had M-G-M and RKO movies with a spectacular stage show but the most spectacular being their Christmas show which still sells out every year, featuring live animals, recreating the Nativity and then Santa Claus and the Rockettes. The latter are known world wide.

Another theatre I remember is the Paramount which showed movies and famous entertainers. If you got there before 1 PM you only paid 55 cents to see the movie and such stars as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Benny Goodman and his orchestra, Tony Bennett among many others. At the same time there was the Capitol with the same format of a movie and a show where I remember seeing Josephine Baker making a triumphant return to New York after being a major star in Paris for years.

I’ve been to movie theatres all over the world but the one I remember most is the Chinese Grauman’s Theatre in Hollywood. California, which you may know as the theatre on Hollywood Boulevard where actors and actresses leave foot and hand prints. I remember it as seeing one of my all time favorite movies “Love Is A Many Splendored Thing” in the summer of 1955 in my Marine Corps uniform being invited to meet Jennifer Jones and William Holden.

Another unforgettable movie house was in Boonton, New Jersey. You walked in, went up some steps and had to turn around to sit and watch the screen. It was here I fell in love with Doris Day hearing her sing “It’s Magic” in the movie “Romance on the High Seas” in July of 1948!

I don’t recall when I first saw a play on Broadway but I was told I was taken to see the original production of the musical “Oklahoma” in 1943 when I was 7 years old and fell in love with the whole concept of live performances and Alfred Drake who played Curly

(To be continued)

Posted June 30, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“IDA”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


Not wanting to see “Transformers” or “22 Jump Street” or “Think Like A Man too” I was hoping I would see a gem going to The Gateway Theatre and seeing “Ida”.

“Ida” is a Polish film photographed as if it was filmed in 1962 when it takes place. Three stories are intertwined with one being political regarding communism, Catholicism and being a Jew in Poland during WW2, the second regarding a novice about to take her vows and the third story regarding her aunt, who she wasn’t even aware of, who is Jewish as her mother was making the novice a Jew.

Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza) drinks too much, smokes too and has too much random sex due to her past as a zealot communist prosecutor, now a cynical judge, and other happenings, the exact opposite of her niece, Ida, (Agata Trzebuchowska) who wants to learn what happened to her parents during the war and why/how she ended up in a convent, before she takes her final vows.

I wasn’t interested in the political aspect of the film and except for one segment the story of Ida wasn’t that interesting to me as I wanted to learn more about her parents just as I wanted to know more about Wanda, her life before we met her and her family during the war. I wanted the movie to be all about Wanda as I found Agata Kulesza a fascinating actress but it isn’t my film but the director Pawel Pawlikowski who also co-wrote the script with Rebecca Lenkiewwicz.

In all fairness I must say most critics and people (oh come on, do you really think critics are people?) have been raving about the movie but then they liked Dawid Ogrodnil as a sax player in a band and I thought his part was just added on to show,  not prove, a point.

Though a short movie for these days, only an hour and twenty minutes, the director lingered too long, too often, on many meaningless scenes such as cars on roads.

Posted June 27, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“JERSEY BOYS”—MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment


“Jersey Boys”, the musical, has been playing on Broadway and around the world for over 9 years. Within the past two years it has played in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale to sell out crowds and today it has come out as a musical directed by Clint Eastward who is known as an actor, a man with a musical ear and has had fame as a director. If you can make it through the first hour or, even better, skip the first hour you will be rewarded with the second hour. Where the Broadway musical was a musical first, featuring the songs of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, in the film the music doesn’t take the spotlight until the credits. Up to that point we are shown bits and pieces of songs, their TV appearances, a couple of songs as the background for scenes.

The story is of a group of guys (or in the case of the Supremes and other female groups) from the 50s and 60s who come from the neighborhood, have ‘overnight’ success after paying their dues and then fall apart going their own way and one steps out into the spotlight having fame as a soloist. Tommy is the one who gets the group together, gambles, shorts the IRS, gets himself, and the rest of the group involved with the mob and though they never discuss it he breaks one of the three New Jersey ‘rules’, by hitting on Frankie’s girlfriend.

We follow the Four Seasons with each member of the group, taking all the credit, telling you how they were responsible for their huge success of the act and, by combining, all the stories the audience gets a look behind the scenes of four guys from Jersey, their beginning and end.

Frankie Valli is played by John Lloyd Young, who starred in the role and won a Tony for his performance, does a good job in the singing department but doesn’t have the gravitas that the role needs on film. It could also be that Mr. Valli as an associate producer of the movie may have influenced the writers, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, who also wrote the Broadway show, to be ‘too good to be true’.  Bob Gaudio, also an associate producer, played by Erich Bergen, and who wrote many of the hits for both the 4 Seasons and Valli and a solo performer, is the only one not born in the ‘hood and, it seems, the only virgin in the group!

While the film seems to focus on Valli, more than the other guys, it is Vincent Piazza as Tommy DeVito, who makes the biggest impact. Michael Lomenda as Nick Massi, who played the role on tour in Fort Lauderdale, has one telling scene that he puts over with feeling.

There are 3 other major roles one being Christopher Walken as a ‘Godfather’ type, who surprisingly is disappointing, Joseph Russo as real life Joe Pesci who does a good job and an outstanding Mike Doyle as gay record producer Bob Crewe who sends the boys on their path to stardom. The actresses are delegated to roles as wives, girlfriends and/or daughters, none really given the scenes to make them an important part of the film.

The film takes us from the beginning of the group until they are inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and finally it becomes an all out musical.

“Jersey Boys” is a film for fans of Frankie Valli, The 4 Seasons and do-wop music who should make for a good return on the production.

Posted June 20, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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I LOVE TO EAT…   Leave a comment


(ALLEN)

OUT!

I was a professional server (in those days it was waiters and waitresses) for 38 years staring in an Italian restaurant (Piccolo’s on Miami Beach) and ending in an Italian restaurant (Big Louie’s in Fort Lauderdale) working in coffee and bagel shops, delis (the hardest job) to 5 star restaurants (4 Seasons in New York) and everything and anything in-between. I loved being a waiter but more than that I loved eating out and being waited on.

As a past server I usually over tip and though I am not really critical I do look for certain things to be done and if they aren’t the least I will leave is a 15% tip–oh yes, including tip and tax as I thought doing otherwise was cheap–but that’s another blog.

Though I am inclined to like Italian food I also love trying new restaurants and foods I haven’t had before. I usually eat out on Thursdays and Fridays, the former the ‘better’ restaurants and the latter the, well let’s just say ‘cheap’ restaurants, usually fast food, but there really isn’t a ‘cheap’ restaurant that I know. Eating out is costly so I depend on groupons or going to restaurant web sites and getting ‘buy 1 get 1 free’ coupons.

To give you an idea–and I have reviewed most of them here–I have eaten at the following places, just to name a few, in the past couple of months:

Café Vico (Italian), Gyroville (Greek), Brazilian Restaurant, (a buffet), Subway (fast food subs), Michael’s Café (American), Tarpon Bend (American), Italio (Italian), Sea Deck (beach tourist restaurant),  Sunrise Tequila (Mexican), Dubliner (Irish), Public House (American), Pomp dale’s (NY deli), Quarterdeck (American), Smokey Bones (BBQ), Tropical Smoothie (smoothies and wraps) and The Tropical Café (Cuban).

Today I took Allen out for his birthday and we went to a new place The Oaki Steakhouse (Asian Cuisine) and the sort of place I hate because I couldn’t find a thing wrong!!!! I will post a review over the weekend.

Looking ahead we will be going to a new restaurant on/near the beach at Lauderhill-on the-Sea which specializes in sea food.

One of the joys of living in Fort Lauderdale are the restaurants, a lot of family restaurants, from every country in the world and I know the Martians will open their first restaurant here!

Come on down and we will go out for a bite to eat–your choice!

Posted June 19, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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SOMETHING THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT GETTING OLD!   Leave a comment

Monday  June  16  Pulmonary doctor  Tuesday June 17 Vascular Surgeon
Monday  June 23  Primary doctor        Tuesday  June 24  NET doctor
Tuesday July 1 Podiatrist

And get busy on Monday to get appointments with: Dermatologist, Cardiologist, Urologist, Ophthalmologist, Dentist and Neurologist.  Mmmm–did I forget someone?

You keep on hearing about old people being sick and moaning and groaning about their illnesses, doctors, medicines, etc., and, of course, you pooh-pooh it.  Mark my words kids you will being doing the same thing once you hit the 60s if not before.

You are looking forward to being retired or having life a little easier and how do you spend your time? Going to doctors, waiting in doctors offices, going to pharmacies, going home, becomes all parts of your life plus X-rays, cat scans, ultra sounds and, yes, hospitals. Let’s not even get into insurance and bills!

My primary doctor just shakes his head and tells me that I am paying for all the years I smoked too much, drank too much, had too much sex (HUH????), ate too many of the wrong foods. My response? Okay I am paying the price but I had 60+ good years!

One thing I did learn, and will pass along, is that I don’t pay attention to “See you in 6 weeks” or “See you in 4 months”–as long as I am doing okay once a year is enough for checkups unless I have an ongoing  problem like I am with my legs (read the various pass posts). I am astute enough to know when my body isn’t acting right and then will call to make an appointment.

I would strongly suggest that you get very involved with your own health care–questions ALL the medicines they prescribe. At one point I was taking 18 medicines and there was no need for it. Check with pharmacists about medicines you are taking. Don’t hesitate going for second opinions and don’t hesitate ’firing’ doctors. I have fired 3 in the past few months in one case where a doctor kept me waiting for 2 hours ’due to an emergency’. Yes emergencies do happen but this was the 3rd time it happened and doctors do overbook just like  airlines and hotels do! Another doctor gave 10 minutes, and only 10 minutes to a patient, whether you needed more or not. The third was just a case of my not feeling comfortable with the doctor and since it is my health involved I want/need a doctor I can talk to about anything I want/need to about anything.

Okay you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s and maybe in your 50s and you just know you won’t be like the old folks you know now–sorry, kids, you are the old folks of tomorrow–get to know about your body, your health and have a calendar to mark your never ending appointments! At the same time be glad there is help to keep you going!

Posted June 14, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS”—A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

At a point, when watching “The Fault In Our Stars”, you forget you are watching actors and just know that Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgott are Hazel Grace and Augustus (Gus) Waters, teenagers who are falling in love, Hazel Grace reluctantly and Augustus all gung ho. That both have cancer, hers in the metastatic stage and his in remission, is handled lightly though it is a major theme as to what happens. Watching Gus and Hazel Grace fall in love just brings smiles to your face as she fights it and knows it is inevitable.

As her parents Laura Dern and Sam Trammell are supportive, caring and, knowing they have a strong daughter, don’t baby her. Gus’s best friend Isaac, played by Nat Wolff, who also has cancer, brings black humor that relieves a few heavy moments.

About midway in the movie the production moves to Amsterdam and it will certainly bring many more tourists as they want to follow where Gus and Hazel Grace have a romantic dinner or cruise along the canals the lovers travel plus visit the Anne Frank house and memorial, not to mention the hotel—oh, oh that would be a spoiler!!!

The only part of the film where the director, Josh Boone, and screenplay writers, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber based on the book by John Green, go astray is when it comes to the story line, acted by William DaFoe as an author and Lotte Verbeek as his assistant, which also adds a false note to the ending.

I had expected a tear jerker—come on–teens with cancer–from beginning to end but Woodley and Elgort don’t let you dwell on that with Elgort’s exuberance for life and Woodley as natural an actress that puts her up there with Jennifer Lawrence.

There was a twist near the end that surprised me but we get to meet another couple of real parents in David Whalen and Milica Govich.

“The Fault In Our Stars” is a beautiful love story that will bring tears to your eyes but not the depression you would expect in a story about teens with cancer.

Posted June 13, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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