Archive for February 2015



“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is a one act musical comedy with music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin that opened on Broadway in 2005. It was nominated for 6 Tony Awards winning 2, 3 Drama Desk Awards and won 7 awards when it originally played off-Broadway.

It is a simple story of 6 middle school kids vying to be the champion of the spelling bee, all with different backgrounds and anxieties, 3 adults, Jesus Christ (yes, you read that right) and 3-4 audience members who are called up to compete and many of the cast playing various roles.

There are two versions: one an adult only for people 16 and over which is called Adult Night At The Bee and basically “R” rated.

Would you be able to spell capybara? Acouchi? Titup? Syzygy? Weltanschauung? Palaestra? Do you know what they mean? Can you use them in a sentence?

There are over 20 songs dealing with all kinds of teenage subjects such as sex, sexual, mental and physical abuse, love, competition, being told you are dumb, etc.

I will be seeing it tonight so look for my review.

I Love You song


Posted February 28, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MUSICAL THEATRE

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For a guy who doesn’t celebrate his birthday during non-Leap Years I am very busy NOT celebrating it!

February 24 “Motown The Musical” Dinner at the Quarterdeck

February 26 Lunch at Café Vico (to discuss my birthday dinner for Monday, February 29, 2016 when I will be 20!)

February 27 Movie and dinner

February 28 Dinner in the Abdo Room at the Broward Performing Arts Center followed by seeing “The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee”

Just imagine if I did celebrate my birthday every year!

PS If you would like to come to the big celebration next year email me at if I don’t already have your email–a lot planned for that week!

Posted February 26, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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We mainly went for lunch here due to getting a groupon. I have eaten at this chain before but never go out of my way to come here though I really have no complaints but, by the same token, there is nothing outstanding to bring me back.

We were greeted immediately when we entered, was seated right away and very quickly were brought the drinks we ordered and a basket of bread.

Allen had the Chicharrones de Pollo ($13.95) consisting of garlic chicken chunks sautéed in olive oil, garlic, spices, bell peppers and onions and on a separate plate white rice, black beans and plantains. I had the Ropa Vieja ($11.95) consisting of thinly shredded beef cooked in a tomato based sauce and marinated in garlic, bell peppers, onions and bay leaves also with white rice, black beans and plantains on a separate dish. I had an American coffee ($3.50) while Allen stayed with water.

Our groupon was for $30 worth of food and our check came to $29.05. We were sort of ‘forced’ to order a flan as the waiter said his boss told him we had to hit that $30 mark. I didn’t care if the house kept the 95 cents or the waiter got it but, no, we had to order something so we split a flan for $3.75. Our check came to $3.15 (minus the $18 already paid for the groupon) plus a $10 tip costing about $15 each for lunch which is an average price in Fort Lauderdale.

The food was tasty and served hot, the service was good, the dining room pleasant and yet…

Posted February 25, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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In 1959 Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and started Hitsville U.S.A. which lead to what the whole world would know as the Motown sound. The hits and careers kept on coming introducing  all of us to Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight,etc., just part of a never ending list.

Tonight I am going to the opening of the First National tour of the Broadway musical “Motown The Musical” at the Broward Performing Arts Center here in Fort Lauderdale. Imagine listening to 60 songs, songs that touched most of our lives, in a show written by the founder Berry Gordy. Whether it is a glimpse of  the 4 Tops, the Jackson 5 or a full out the Commodores, I know many memories of my past will come back unless I just forget all that, sit back relax and just listen to good music because that is what Motown brought us.

Have a favorite tune by one of the many artists who made up the Motown sound? Let me know and I will let you know if it is in the show.

Posted February 24, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE REVIEW

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I forget who wrote it but there was a post recently about eating pizza and it took me back to 1956!

I had just hitchhiked from Hollywood, California, to Miami Beach, Florida–it was a different world then! My aunt managed an apartment building on Washington Avenue just below 5th street and she also worked as a waitress at an Italian restaurant across the street. She got me set up in an apartment, let me enjoy a week as a tourist going to the beach, movies, bars, etc., and then walked into my apartment to tell me my vacation was over that it was time to get to work.

She took me shopping to get  black trousers, socks and shoes and a white shirt. At first she put me to work as a waiter teaching me how to carry 5-6 plates at a time and have fun while I was working. After a week the boss came up to me and asked me if I would like to learn how to make pizza and I jumped at the chance.

The pizza making room had a large oven to bake the pies in, a counter to make the pizza and a tray of all the toppings–life was simple then as you didn’t have all the ‘fancy’ toppings you have now. The room faced the street and had a big window in front that would allow people to see you making the pizza. I thought I would hop in and start flipping, twirling and tossing the pizza crust to rousing applause. It didn’t happen that way!

The first week I had to learn how to make the dough from scratch in a huge mixer using a large scoop for the ingredients. Then I had to practice stretching the dough into a circle making sure the outside was higher and thicker than the inside and how to repair a hole in the center if I made one–and I did that first week!  I learned about scooping the sauce–also home made–spreading it around with the back of the scoop and then measuring the cheese with my eye and spreading a certain amount evenly over the sauce. After that is was putting the toppings on, again just using a certain amount though with things like pepperoni it could be weighed on a small scale. After a week of flipping the soon to be pizza crust in the air, learning how to almost reach the ceiling and then have it land right on my fingertips and all in all, as the boss said, putting on a show, I was ready for the front window. (By the way back then we didn’t wear gloves putting the mushrooms, onions, salami, etc., on the pies and, as far as we know, no one got sick!)

I loved that job, the attention I got, the applause after I finished getting the pie ready and then putting it in the oven with a big flat ‘shovel’ not moving the pie but removing the shovel without tearing the crust or messing up the toppings.

At that time in South Florida most of Miami Beach closed down from Memorial Day to the week before Thanksgiving because of the heat, humidity and lack of tourists so I found myself out of a job but did work as a bellhop at the Sea Isle until November when I got a job as a waiter at Piccolo’s, one of the best restaurant jobs I ever had, but that’s another story!
Because of the training at the other restaurant I was able to help the cook here make the garlic rolls and once in awhile toss up a pizza–but it was back in te kitchen not where the public could see you.

To this day I can toss a mean pizza!

Posted February 23, 2015 by greatmartin in RESTAURANTS

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There is no getting around it–Lady Gaga stole the Oscar show singing “The Sound Of Music’ Tribute.

Like many of my generation when she first started appearing she seemed more of a joke than a serious musician but about a year ago I heard her sing some jazz and I was impressed enough to look into her background. She has had musical, singing and songwriting training, writing her first song at the age of 14. She has written songs for and/or with Elton John and Cher. Her collaborations with Tony Bennett have almost reached classic status.

Take away wearing the meat gown or other attention getting outfits, the distracting tattoos and her public persona and Lady Gaga stands as an accomplished musician.

Having won 6 Grammy awards, 13 MTV Video awards, setting over a dozen Guinness World records, starting her Born This Way Foundation plus her advocating for the Gay Community Lady Gaga can now count achieving what very few entertainers can do–stealing the spotlight from all at the 87th Academy Awards.


Posted February 23, 2015 by greatmartin in ACADEMY AWARDS

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Now that the cold spell of the past week has passed and we are back in the higher 70s, lower 80s,  I don’t care what any one says–I survived it! LOL

We broke or equaled low temperature records in South Florida. I know a lot of you have no empathy and/or sympathy for us but what about the poor tourist who is from your town and is spending $600? Oh right, ‘At least it is warmer here than there.’

For the record on both Thursday and Friday I didn’t even think of shorts, flip-flops and a short sleeve shirt.

The first thing I did on Thursday was to light 2 chocolate aroma candles and then the ’runway show’ started. What to wear? I tried on an old London Fog all weather coat that I haven’t worn since I left Memphis–in 1979! Okay it still fits comfortably which is a good thing to know! Then I tried on a cashmere sports coat that I last wore in New York in 1985. Then there was my suede jacket that I usually pull out once a year or, of course, my chocolate sweat shirt.

On Thursday I wore a shirt under a long sleeved heavy blue shirt while on Friday it was a shirt and that sweat shirt. You know it was cold–for us. And both days trousers, socks and shoes!

Okay to my freezing friends in Memphis, in North Carolina, New York, Philadelphia, etc., I will not talk about the cold the rest of this month!

Posted February 22, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE, WEATHER

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