Archive for November 2014

I WILL NEVER EAT AGAIN—HA   Leave a comment

Was it only a couple of days ago we spent Thanksgiving Day afternoon at the Isle Casino? Seems like weeks ago!

Allen and Philip picked me up at 1 PM and off we went to the casino. I was very surprised when we got to the buffet restaurant as last year we had to wait almost 2 hours and this year we went right in! Didn’t even have time to lose money before we went it.

You might want to look at the slideshow as you read this–can you do both at the same time?–but I think you will know what I am referring to here as you look at the pictures.

Pictures 1, 2, 4, 10 and 11 are pictures of the buffet, people, food and slot machines. When I was taking picture #3 the chef jumped in front with a big smile so how could I tell him to get out of the way of the food?!

Pictures 5 and 6 are of some of the foods I remember eating: 3 different kinds of pizza, chicken wings, prime ribs, bbq ribs, fried shrimp, pork, rice, seafood salad, more ribs, etc. I didn’t have any of the turkey and trimmings because I had a turkey and trimmings cooking in my crockpot at home for the rest of the week!

Picture 7 is of some of the desserts they have and if you look at picture 8, right side, you will see a plate missing and now if you look at picture 9 on the right you will see the missing plate–it’s a slice of carrot cake sitting in front of me!!! Isn’t that amazing/surprising? Oh yes, there are a few of the other desserts I had plus I forgot to take a picture of the ice cream.

The important picture is number 12–that is the machine I played and penny machine or not I walked out with $7.60, including my meal paid for, ahead for the day!

All in all it was a nice pleasant way to spend Thanksgiving Day. Why don’t you join us next year?

Posted November 29, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING” A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

Walking into The Theory of Everything I knew very little about Stephen Hawking. I knew he was some sort of genius and that he was severely handicap who was incapable of  normal speaking. I had seen him in a walk on in The Big Bang Theory. Two hours and three minutes later I knew a lot more about Hawking and will share only a little with you so that if you know as little as I did you can make the discoveries along the way as I did.

I can tell you the movie is based on Jane Hawking’s memoir, Traveling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen who met him just before he was diagnosed with a motor disorder that would paralyze and effect most of his body except for his brain.  Oh yes, he was given 2 years to die at the age of 21. It is not a spoiler to tell you Mr. Hawking is still alive now at the age of 72. He is a cosmologist who produced a book, A Brief History of Time, that sold 10 million copies.

Though there are some brief science and health related scenes that I couldn’t follow The Theory of Everything is a love story between a man and woman who went through 25 years of marriage with a lot more to face than the challenges that marriage brings.

Starting with the first meeting between Stephen and Jane you have no doubt that this is a true story because of the chemistry and the acting of  Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, both giving award nominating performances. With David Thewlis as Stephen’s tutor and mentor, Charlie Cox as a choirmaster, Maxine Peak as a nurse/speech therapist along with a strong supporting cast as classmates, family and peers there is no faulting the acting.

The screenplay by Anthony McCarten rings true except for one Hollywoodish, sappy line ‘Where there is life, there is hope’ which is the only false note and I was surprised that director James Marsh who makes an intelligent, feeling movie and, with the actors, makes the love story real, allowed that line.  The music for the film by Johann Johansson is very effective in the sense it doesn’t take you out of the movie at any time.

The Theory Of Everything  doesn’t have the star power that A Beautiful Mind had but if you liked that film you will love this one.

An aside: at one point Stephen Hawking asks, ‘What if the secret of the universe had to do with sex?’ and I want to tell him that I found out the answer a long time ago!

Posted November 28, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL   Leave a comment

Thank You

As I approach my 79th birthday I have spent a lot of time this past year thanking people just by thinking of them but as today is Thanksgiving Day I would like to say it aloud.

I want to thank everyone who has touched me life in ways both good and bad because it has taken all of you people to make me the happy, contented man I am today.

Over the years I have lost touch with many not knowing where they have gone or even if they are still alive but alive or dead I remember them.

There are certain people I have met on the Internet from Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Tennessee, North Carolina, New England Spain and England, just to mention a few places, who have come into my life and made it so much better.

There are my ‘old’ friends—don’t worry I remember you as you were/looked the day we met–in New York, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, California and, yes, even here in Florida.

Every year death robs me of friends but I see them as guardian angels ready to slap me on the back of my head when I am about to do something wrong and I keep them busy!

To all of you who read this THANK YOU for being you, THANK YOU for being there for me, THANK YOU for being in my life and helping me to be thankful for my life.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Posted November 27, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“PHANTOM OF THE OPERA”–NEW TOURING COMPANY–REVIEW   Leave a comment

 

In 1991 the Broward Performing Arts Center opened in Fort Lauderdale with the first touring company of Phantom of the Opera and last night, 23 years later, 28 years after it opened in London, 26 years after it opened on Broadway, and still running in both cities, the touring company has returned to the Arts Center in a somewhat reimagined production.

The main changes are in the set designed by Paul Brown, the lighting design by Paul Constable and the choreography by Scott Ambler. The latter is most notable in the Masquerade number with over 30 members of the cast. There are 52 people between the cast and orchestra making this a full production directed by Laurence Connor. The set design is a huge cylindrical wall that moves, turns, opens, closes and, almost magically, grows steps for the Phantom and Christine to walk down so they can go to his living quarters.

With all the changes it would not be a show without the story of the triangle between the Phantom (Cooper Grodin), Raoul (Ben Jacoby) and Christine (Julia Udine). The three leads are younger than in most previous casts which brings another dimension to the musical. Grodin tenor resonates in the title tune and The Music of the Night” while Udine’s crystal clear soprano voice soars Wishing You Were Somehow Herealon
g with her duets with both men. Jacoby makes All I Ask Of You powerful but at the same time not overpowering Udine. The one critical mistake is that there is no chemistry between the three leads which takes away from the love stories.

A standout in the cast is Jacquelynne Fontaine as the opera diva Carlotta. Also giving strong support are Anne Kanengeiser as Madame Giry, Brad Oscar as Monsieur Firmin and Edward Staudenmayer as Monsieur Andre. The rest of the large cast and ensemble are of top caliber.

Oh yes, the chandelier is still there in all its glory

One note: the theatrical smoke and pyrotechnical effects are very heavy and infiltrate the orchestral level of the Center. At one point I was concerned for the musicians and cast because they were so heavy.

Running time: Act 1 An hour and 10 minutes Intermission 25 minutes Act 2 An hour.


 

Posted November 26, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“EVIL DEAD–THE MUSICAL”–TOURING COMPANY REVIEW   Leave a comment

“EVIL DEAD-THE MUSICAL” TOURING COMPANY REVIEW

Horror scenes? Check. Vulgar language? Check. Sexual things? Check. Sexual innuendos? Check. Blood? Check? Violence? Check. Irrational actions? Check. Welcome to the world of movie horror fans, male teenagers, young male adults and their dates.

Evil Dead-The Musical is a take off, pure camp mixed with satire, of the Evil Dead movie franchise with a little Rocky Horror Show salute thrown in with the dance number Do the Necronomicon. The actors not only chew the scenery but swallow it and then spit it up in the form of blood. I am not a fan of the horror genre but I found myself laughing out loud at some really corny jokes and actions, hoping no one I knew saw me–it is that kind of show for older folks. The young ones sit in what is known as the splatter zone and love every bit of blood that gets on them.

The lyrics by George Reinblatt, who also wrote the book, and music by Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris and Reinblatt are more than you would expect and in some cases are enhanced by some excellent choreography by Stacey Renee Maroske with a couple of numbers stopping the show.
Callie Johnson and Ryan McBride playing dual roles seem to be having as much fun as the audience. David Sajewich, in the lead role as Ash, sings, dances, acts, plays broad comedy, cuts off his hand, saws off his girlfriend’s head, handles a shotgun and gets into physical fights not only looks the role but makes everything seem like he does all this in real life naturally. Aiding and abetting the actors mentioned are Julie Baird, Demi Zaino, Creg Sclavi, Ryan Czerwonko, Jessica Kingsdale along with Andrew Di Rosa, as Jake, who almost steals the show with the song Good Old Reliable Jake.

All you have to know is that 5 friends are going to a cabin for the weekend for fun and games and there is only one road going to and from the cabin and they are surrounded by woods. Oh yes there is the evil book, the Necronomicon.

There were, obviously, many fans of the musical in addition to horror movies but even if you aren’t one of the latter don’t worry when and where you laugh because others will be laughing too.

Posted November 24, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1” REVIEW   Leave a comment

Not having read “The Hunger Games” trilogy but having seen the first two movies I feel the last book was made into two parts just to make another billion dollars. You can skip “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1” without missing anything.

It seems the main story behind Part 1 is to make Katniss a ‘product’ to sell the idea of overthrowing President Snow to the remaining citizens of District 13 and making her the face of the revolution. There are two ‘action’ scenes, one being Katniss trying to take down a plane with her bow and arrow and another a rescue mission but the rest is a lot of talk and huge TV screens for the president and the leader of the uprising to give speeches.

Jennifer Lawrence, as always, has an interesting face to watch as it says a lot. Liam Hemsworth is given more screen time while Josh Hutcherson a lot less. Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci and Jeffry Wright do good with what little screen time they get. The standout here is Elizabeth here who has to do a lot when style, glamour and color are not available to her. Philip Seymour Hoffman died during the production and his role is pieced together which instead of honoring the man in his last film role diminishes his effectiv

Posted November 22, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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WHY DO ABUSED WOMEN STAY?   Leave a comment

I am reading Anjelica Houston’s new autobiography “Watch Me” in which she talks about her 17 year affair with Jack Nicholson and how he humiliated her and also about her violent relationship with Ryan O’Neal. It got me thinking about a subject men know very little about though we are hearing more of their being on the receiving end of being battered and I find it very hard to understand how a woman can stay with a man after the first time he humiliates her, hits her, controls her.

Huston, Judy Garland, Lana Turner and Jane Fonda are just a few of the famous women who stayed with demanding, hostile men, some who beat them. Okay Huston and Fonda had strong, famous rich fathers who, supposedly didn’t love them and there are many psychological reasons why women stay in abusive relationships but these women had money, were smart, had careers. While with many female singers like Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day there was drugs involved I would dare to say most women aren’t drug dependent but I don’t know.

In many cases there were/are children involved such as the case of Lana Turner and her abuser Johnny Stampanato who was killed by, some say Lana’s daughter while others say the daughter was a cover up for Lana having killed him.

I am basically talking about famous women of the past but we all know of current cases. They were famous and rich but still didn’t leave. Why not?

Right now there is a case in Florida against Catherine Pileggi for murdering her boyfriend, Ronald Vinci, in 2011 after 20 years of abuse.

I have heard many excuses for a woman staying with an abuser such as no money, fear, lack of self esteem, he is the only one who loves her, they know their abuser and don’t know what will happen if they leave, etc.

Are these reasons valid? How do we show these women there is a better way? That they have to get out? How do we reinforce their esteem to take that first step? How do we save them from getting killed or their men going on to abuse the children?

I am just asking about something I know little about.

Posted November 18, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”–A FILM REVIEW   Leave a comment

On May 16, 2014, I saw and wrote a review of a movie called “Belle” and ended it with “THIS IS A MUST SEE MOVIE AND YOU MUST SEE GUGU MBATHA-RAW!”

And it is still on my list of 5 of the best movies of the about 50 I have seen this year!

Today, 6 months later, I saw “Beyond The Lights” and the bottom line is THIS IS A MUST SEE MOVIE AND YOU MUST SEE GUGU MBATHA-RAW! (Also Nate Parker and Minnie Driver but more about that later.)

Unless you have never seen a show business movie there isn’t a spoiler in this movie as screenwriter Gina Prince-Bythewood has written every cliché into it from the overbearing stage mother. the super star rapper who mistreats the rising star, the record producer who manipulates her and to the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl plot. The differences are that the screenwriter is also the director who really believes in the material and performances that lift it above the clichés. Prince-Bythewood makes this a good old romance movie that we haven’t seen in awhile.

Let’s start with Gugu Mbatha-Raw who takes a role completely opposite that of the one who played Belle in the movie of that name. She is in sexy, almost not there, outfits showing off a great figure, does choreography that show of her sexuality, sings rap and a Nina Simone song, “Blackbird”, that shows off a vocal ability she could make a living at and, yes, her acting. She takes the role of a wounded bird who learns to fly free and makes it fresh and new.

Her costar Nate Parker, as police officer, Kaz, with a police captain father, played by Danny Glover, who is grooming him to enter politics with unlimited potential, shares a chemistry with Mbatha-Raw that lights up the screen. They make a good old fashioned screen couple that makes you root for them all the way, not to mention they are both very sexy looking people.

Minnie Driver as the stage mother, who can be overbearing, does such a fine job she almost steals the picture and keeps you on her side even though you know and can see the damage she has done her daughter.

Colson ‘MGK’ Baker as the super star rapper, with more tattoos than I have ever seen on an actor, along with the rest of the cast such as India Jean-Jacques, Benito Martinez, Aml Ameen and Aisha Hinds, along with others support, the stars with first class performances.

The soundtrack featuring new songs, will also introduce Nina Simone to a new generation though I wished they had her singing a couple of songs.

Though this won’t be among my top 5 pictures to see I will end it with YOU MUST SEE GUGU MBATHA-RAW and see it on the big screen!

Posted November 14, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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“OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES”–A THEATRE REVIEW   Leave a comment


“His girlfriend looks at his tattooed penis and tells him ‘Don’t put words into my mouth.’
“Italian and Jewish mothers are the same only Italian mothers know how to cook.”
“A Hasidic Jews walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder. ‘Where did you get him?’ asks a man. ‘Brooklyn, ‘ says the parrot. ‘They’ve got thousands of them.’

Welcome to “Old Jews Tell Jokes” at the Stage Door Theatre in Margate, Florida. You didn’t laugh at the 3 jokes above? Wait! There are hundreds more. Too many for me to have written more than a few as they come at you one after another. Don’t worry if you don’t laugh at one as there will be 4 or 5 more within the next minute. Some will be belly laughs, some will bring a smile to your face and some will make you uncomfortable laughing but you will laugh.

There are one-liners where you expect to hear a drum go “da-boom’ and some a little more involved but there isn’t a Jew, a non-Jew, a mother, father, daughter, son or any family member that won’t get a few laughs along the way.

There are ‘dirty’ jokes minus the foal language, jokes older than anyone in the audience and jokes that have come from old Jewish comics that now belong to everyone,

Along with the old Jews Gail Byer and Michael H. Small there is middle aged Ben Prayz and younger Jews Ashley Brooke and Adam Chisnall ,all who have good comic timing and play off each other with ease. David Nagy accompanies them on the piano. They deliver the old Borscht Belt jokes as if they were being told and heard for the first time. Putting down a husband or a wife has always been part of the routine and off course there has to be a joke about the young Jewish girl and what she won’t do to the old folks and their ailments, mainly dealing with bodily functions. Also enjoy the film clip of Alan King milking a joke.

In a way “Old Jews Telling Jokes” is a history lesson in comedy, and of comics, with many laughs along the way. Sit back, relax and don’t guess at the punchline aloud!

Leaving you with one of the many self-deprecating jokes: “Why don’t Jewish mothers drink?” They don’t want to dull the pain.”

“Old Jews Telling Jokes” runs at the Stage Door Theatre until January 4, 2015. It runs 1 hour and 45 minutes including a 15 minute intermission. For ticket information call the theatre at 954-344-7765


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5iHLEpqSqo&list=UUAQ3njsOErTpGEZoGbWoaBQ

Hope you could read the intermission slide!

Posted November 11, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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DIAVOLO: ARCHITECTURE IN MOTION   Leave a comment


The complete trademark title of the dance company is Diavolo: Architecture in Motion they certainly are in motion, many times in jaw dropping motion. The dancers are also acrobats and athletes of the highest order. Sometimes watching their feats (and feet) on stage you momentarily wonder how many injuries they suffer during rehearsals and performances.

The 10 dancers in alphabetical order are: Ana Carolina Brotons, Leandro Damasco Jr., Cal T. Chester, Ezra Masse-Mahar, Chelsea Pierce, Jesse Ryan, Connor Senning, Amy Tuley, Rico Velazquez and Chisa Yamaguchi each getting and deserving their time in the spotlight whether alone or in duets or as part of a precision troupe where each is called on to secure the safety of the other.

The evening is made up of 2 dances, the first called Transit Space which uses skateboard ramps for an urban setting of people looking for connections and the second called Trajectoire which consists of an oval platform in constant motion controlled by the dancers. The teamwork in both numbers will make you hold your breath in their solidarity and flawless performances.

Every aspect of the production values aid the dancers in accomplishing showing them at their best and almost unbelievable movements and moments.

The Diavolo Dance Company brings the modern dance of tomorrow to the stage of today and, deservedly, gets a standing ovation from the audience.

The company has scheduled performances all over the United States including West Palm Beach on Friday.

The complete program, including intermission, runs 1 hour and 30 minutes. For more information regarding the  company, and their future schedule, go to http://www.diavolo.org

Posted November 7, 2014 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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