Archive for March 2015

A NIGHT ON THE TOWN!   Leave a comment

Pippin And Marti’s New River Bistro

I am as excited as a kid going to the circus this evening but instead of a circus I am going to the opening night of the touring company of “Pippin” at the Broward Performing Arts Center. Okay the original Broadway production in 1972 was more of a vaudeville while this award winning successful revival takes place, yes, in a circus!

Though the show is based on the real characters of Pippin and his father Charlemagne there is very little accuracy in the musical book by Roger O. Hirson but with the music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the prize winning score of “Wicked”, combined with the book, “Pippin” turns it into a high flying, death defying musical. The revival is referred to as ‘an eye popping jaw dropping extravaganza’ different than anything seen on the musical stage. The story of Pippin searching for fulfillment and the meaning of life is told in breathtaking music, acrobats and dance.

Sam Pins, plays the role of Pippin and the award winning actress Adrienne Barbeau who originated the role of Rizzo in “Grease” and as Carol, Bea Arthur’s daughter in “Maude”, is playing “Berthe” along with many veteran performers.

A musical I haven’t seen before, a circus and, oh yes, we are trying the new restaurant at the Performing Arts Center overlooking the new river called Marti’s which, of course, I will tell you about, tonight should be an exciting one. Keep an eye out for my reviews!

A trailer of the Broadway cast

Sam Pins and touring company montage

Posted March 31, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR!   Leave a comment

Some people look at the calendar and think, “DST”, others “Spring”, quite a few “Easter and/or Passover” while others might have plants on their mind or Spring cleaning but I doubt very few are like me and think “IT IS DOCTOR TIME!”

My outlook about doctors might be different from others because I have a family member who is a doctor and one of my best friends in the 1990s was a doctor. Also I never really paid attention or went to doctors on a routine basis until the weekend of New Year’s Eve 1999/2000 when I had congestive heart failure and all of a sudden I found myself surrounded by specialists of all kinds, 14 bottles of pills and a long list of ailments! Over the past 15 years doctors have not only kept me alive but gave me the opportunity to enjoys these years.

I did find two things annoying about specialists and the first was they were always handing me a prescription and their saying, “See you in 5-6 weeks,” Well I’ve battled the pill bottles down to 11 and, unless I was feeling bad and my body was giving me messages, I decided to see specialists only once a year and my primary every 4 months for blood work. I was sent to the hospital once for internal bleeding and once for ‘overdosing’ on coumindin, a blood thinner, due to the home machine giving wrong readings. Instead of the INR level being between 2.5-3.5 it was up to 50 but the machine didn‘t indicate a rise!

I did have stents put into my legs, an aorta valve replacement, cataract surgery on each eye and a couple of scares over the past 15 years but except going to the dentist twice a year for cleanings I saw my specialists once a year and looking at the calendar I knew it was time to book the following: cardiologist, dermatologist,, podiatrist, vascular surgeon, NET, pulmonary, ophthalmologist, neurologist, urologist and, along with them, my primary for blood work that I could bring copies to them plus the dentist. Over the months of April and May I have 6 Mondays, 6 Tuesdays and 1 Wednesday–all afternoons–going to and from doctors and really not being able to do anything else those days mainly because of transportation problems but I do get a lot of reading done!

I am grateful that all 12 of these doctors are keeping me going to get to the theatre, see movies, try new restaurants but when they say, “See you in 5-6 weeks,” I will smile and just say. “Same time next year,” and start getting ready for Monday, February 29, 2016!

Posted March 30, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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As a rule I don’t post negative blogs but reading today’s paper just blew my mind. Here are a few of the stories that made the news:

“Stepmom charged with murder of  toddler”  His body was covered with bruises, his pancreas ruptured into thirds, his body stuffed into a garbage bag and tucked into a box in the laundry.

“Motives of students who had guns unclear” Two 13 year old students showed up at school with a .357 Magnum revolver, knives, 59 bullets and fireworks. They said they had no intention of harming anyone but themselves.

“Mother arrested after two children found dead in a freezer.”

“Woman in Ohio accused of decapitating her 3 month old daughter with a kitchen knife.”

“Man fatally beat woman, tried to burn her house down with her body inside.”

“Two men were arrested in pornography charges sharing of up to 50 child files involving boys and girls ages 3 to 11.”

And all that is not the tip of the iceberg. Imagine how many kids are killed, abused, mistreated in one day just in one country.

Yes there are more people in the world today so maybe there are more horrific things going on and there is more media to report all this but why are we cutting back on children’s services, on social workers who can get these kids out of abusive situations?

Why aren’t court orders to keep abusive people away from their victims enforced?

Why don’t parents know that children have an arsenal of weapons?

Why are adults voting to allow students to take guns to school?

When will adults say,  “Enough is enough! We are tired of all of this and we are all going to do something about it!” ? No, I am not talking about vigilantes running wild but individuals taking responsibility when they see one of their own behaving badly and turning them in, getting them away from the victims. When are we going to open both eyes and not say, “I didn’t know anything was wrong,” or “He was such a good boy, “ like that is a valid excuse.

Folks aside from the inhumanity in the above cases what about the potential these children may have had to better our world?

What do we do? What can we do?

Posted March 28, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

“3 HEARTS (3 COEURS)”–A MOVIE REVIEW   2 comments

There are many things wrong with the French film “3 Coeurs”–”3 Hearts”–but it will be memorable to me for two reasons: the first being a horrendous completely wrong ending and a soundtrack that kept me looking for “Jaws” to pop up on the screen!

The story is about a man who falls in love with a woman only to, unbeknowingly, marry her sister. 70 years ago many versions of this was made in Hollywood starring Bette Davis and Mary Astor and/or Olivia DeHaviland as the sisters and either Herbert Marshall or George Brent as the man. A decade or two later it would have starred Susan Hayward! Now we have Charlotte Gainsbough and Chiara Mastroianni–the real life daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni–as the sisters who fall in love, inexplicably, with the bland Benoit Poelvoorde, with neither of the women having chemistry with him.

The director, Benoit Jacquot, who co-wrote the screenplay with Julien Boivent, has many times talked about his admiration for the films of the 40s and 50s and he seems to piece many of them together here with the melodrama but not the believability.  The opening scenes seem to find us in “A Man And A Woman” or “Brief Encounter” territory and along the way there is “Back Street” and “An Affair To Remember” but, getting back to that ending, he does something that hasn’t been done to shock an audience since a certain TV series pulled a fast one in the 1970s. I don’t believe in giving any spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.

It is always great seeing Deneuve in a movie but remembering how she would have easily played one of the female leads in her heyday it is sort of disappointing seeing her playing the mother of the two women in a one note role.

The camera deservedly spend a lot of time on the faces of Gainsbough and Mastroianni but too much time with the inappropriate , annoying, music.

There is no rhyme or reason for the ending of this movie. All I can suggest is that its running time is 1 hour and 48 minutes and you should leave the theatre and/or stop watching it at 1 hour and 40 minutes and make your own ending.

The Trailer

Posted March 27, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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In the Orthodox Jewish religion a woman can’t get a divorce without the husband’s permission and is given a gett in her hand from him that basically says “You are hereby permitted to all men.” This in effect says she is no longer a married woman and returns to the wife all the legal rights  that a husband is responsible for in their marriage. The divorce decree is only obtainable in Israel from a rabbinical court.  In a so called ‘modern’ democratic country it may surprise many that in a marriage a woman has no equality.

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem”, the Israel nominated Oscar contender for Best Foreign Film, is the third, and a stand alone, in a trilogy of this couple. This is a trial with  Vivianne as the only woman, her lawyer, her husband and his lawyer who happens to be his brother and the three rabbi judges.  Over a period of 5 years we follow her fight for that important piece of paper for her to get on with her life.

As the trial progresses, or doesn’t, we learn about the wife Viviane and husband Elisha, their 4 children, their marriage and why she wants a divorce and he won’t give her one. It isn’t until the middle of the movie that her sister and sister-in-law are presented bringing some fireworks to the screen which takes place mainly in a square windowless room with two tables, 4 chairs and the rabbis raised up on a dais, with another table brought in for the witnesses.

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” was written and directed by the sister and brother team Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz with Ronit playing Viviane and Shlomi, her husband Elisha. With the exception of 2 impressive outbursts Ronit holds the screen with her very expressive face while Shlomi has a quiet power as he tries to explain himself. Both Menashe Noy, as her lawyer, and Sasson Gabay, as his, support the two impressively.

“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” tackles an intriguing subject that not many people know about but moves too slowly to be as effective as it could and should be.

Posted March 26, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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There was recently a discussion on facebook about teenagers working part-time before or after school as a way for kids to learn how to deal with the ‘real world’, how to handle money and responsibilities but mainly to stay out of trouble. I don’t know if a job would do all those things plus I believe kids have more homework than their parents or grandparents had plus though I worked I still had time to get in trouble!

My first job was at 12 or 13 when I worked at a summer refreshment stand in Lake Hiawatha where my family had a summer home. I started work at 14 as an usher at the Lyric theatre on 42nd street–saved money (YES! I SAVED MONEY! LOL) and at 16 left home–got a room, paid rent and bills, continued and graduated from high school, went to 1 year of college and then to the Marines.

When I got out of the Marines I worked as a waiter–a job I worked at most of my life and really enjoyed doing. For 10 years I worked for and with Weight Watchers after losing 100+ pounds–another job I loved–and then opened my own business Our Weigh. After that back to being a waiter.

I worked until I was 62 and then retired. The whole time from the age of 14 until 2008 I wrote and sold books, magazine articles, newspaper columns, etc. and though I made some money I needed a second job.

It was interesting what jobs some of the people had as teenagers–what about you? Did you work as a kid? And like me did you still have time to get in trouble?

Do you believe teenagers should work or should they enjoy their brief time as youth?

Posted March 25, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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DELETING MY PAST?   2 comments

After 14-15 years of blogging, on over 12 sites, I every once in awhile think of deleting blogs and I have, occasionally, done just that. I have also ’lost’ blogs from sites that have gone under.

Currently I have close to 20, 000 DIFFERENT blogs on about 6 sites and once again I was thinking of deleting them but then I asked myself, “Why?” I’ve never written anything I’ve been ashamed of–I have basically told my whole life story, warts and all, from coming out to getting kicked out to getting closer to kicking the bucket.

Until I discovered the Internet and blogging I kept a diary from the age of 10. I have books and books of written notes about everything I have done for at least 60 years. There are records of shows and movies I have seen, people I have had sex with, places I had dinner, parties I have thrown or attended, people I have known, friends, acquaintances, books I have had published, columns I have written for newspapers, how the weather was on a certain day, how many people I waited on and how much I made in tips among many various topics.

It is fun to open a book on say June 16, 1965, and see what I was doing, where I was living, who were the people I was sharing my life with.

With the exception of the mid to late 1970s when a group of my diaries were stolen I have an accurate picture of my life and my feelings. I continued that when I started blogging and so I wondered why I would want to, or need to, delete any of my blogs? Yes I want my diaries burned when (IF!) I die because there is some information in them that can still be embarrassing to people, or their family, who are still alive. Now with my blogs I suppose I could transfer them to a doo-hicky (can’ t think of the term!!) and then that can be thrown out just as I now have all my photographs on one of them–yet I still haven’t thrown out the photo albums!–but just thinking of the time transferring the posts would take is daunting.

Besides I still have the thought in back of my mind of collecting some of the blogs and publishing them in a book, or books, of various subjects.

The bottom line? I won’t be deleting any of my blogs–for now.

Posted March 23, 2015 by greatmartin in LIFE

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With only 3 more shows this season: Pippin, Anything Goes and Sister Act, I am already anticipating the 2015-2016 season!
With my 20th Leap Year birthday in 2016 it will be just another way to celebrate. Here is the current line up for the 2015-2016 Broadway touring season at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami and the Broward Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale

Date                                    Show                                             Center

October 6, 2015                  Once                                            BPAC
November 17 , 2015           Disney’s Newsies                        BPAC
December 8, 2015               Kinky Boots                               Arsht
December 15, 2015            Grinch who Stole Christmas     BPAC
December 29, 2015            The Sound Of Music                  Arsht
February 2, 2016                Motown                                       Arsht
February 24, 2016              Phantom of the Opera               Arsht
March 1, 2016                    Kinky Boats                                 BPAC
April 12, 2016                     Dirty Dancing                              BPAC
April 12, 2016                     Cabaret                                         Arsht
May 10, 2016                      Beautiful: Carole King Musical  BPAC

There is the conflict of the Cabaret/Dirty Dancing dates. This is the first season that I remember Miami and Fort Lauderdale sharing the same show in the same season (Kinky Boots) as they usually alternate seasons. And usually either one will add another show as the season gets closer.

A funny story on me: I went to the original Broadway production of Cabaret with Joel Grey and Jill Hayworth in 1966 with my friend Ronnie and afterwards we went to Downey’s on 8th Avenue for a drink where we proceeded to tell Frank the bartender what an awful show it was! Needless to say it went on to win 8 Tony awards including Best Musical, the movie version was an Oscar winning film and the production we will be seeing here is the very successful revival on Broadway in 2014.

An aside: Looks like my Leap Year celebration will end with “Kinky Boots” so anyone coming to town to celebrate my birthday get tickets for the show!


Posted March 22, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized


The best words to describe “The Divergent Series: Insurgent”, the second in the movie series, is ‘too much of everything’. There are too many special effects, too loud and annoying a soundtrack, too many actors playing one not roles, though doing the most they can with them, too much gratuitous violence uncalled for, too much that doesn’t make sense unless you have seen the first film, not to forget 2-3 scenes too many of the heroine tearing up.

I fell ‘in love’ with Shailene Woodley in “The Fault In Our Stars”. She looked great and did a good job of acting as she does in this film and still has those big, shining, expressive eyes, which director Robert Schwentke fills with tears too often. As an action star and/or love interest she is always worth watching. Ansel Elgort, her lover in “Stars”, is her brother in this film while Theo James has taken over the role of  her boyfriend. In a role, offering the only humor in the movie, Miles Teller, who was excellent in “Whiplash”, continues good work here.

The adults such as villainous Jeanine, played by Kate Winslet, Johanna, the leader of a feel good, what looks like a commune, living group, acted by Octavia Spencer, the parents of Woodley’s character Tris Prior, Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn, along with another Leader played by Daniel Dae Kim and, sure to play a more prominent role in the next series of the film, Naomi Watts as Evelyn. Jai Courtney, an Australian actor I am not familiar with, did an impressive job as Eric.

Schwentke, the director, and screenwriters Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback seem to reach for violence, special effects and Woodley on the verge of crying to bother making a better, more compact movie.

If you haven’t seen the first movie in this series, or read the book, the first half of “The Divergent Series: Insurgent” may be confusing. Come to think of it if you haven’t seen the first film, I didn’t, don’t bother seeing this one.


Posted March 20, 2015 by greatmartin in FILM REVIEWS

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DEPRESSION   3 comments

I started to leave a comment as a response to a friend who was writing about depression and the following paragraph was what I said before I realized that I was writing a post, having more to say, so here I am continuing what I wanted to say.

I have worked very hard most of my life to remain positive whether I have been arrested for being gay or being discharged dishonorably after serving my country and killing kids (probably my age at that time!) in the Korean War, being homeless, losing the love of my life, going bankrupt twice, going through congestive heart failure, etc., etc,–just living life. I do not know about depression except for the month I experienced it.

In July 2008 I went under severe depression not realizing this can happen after an aorta valve replacement. The surgeon didn’t give me any heads up and I was lost. I called my primary doctor in tears telling him I needed held and he got me to a psychiatrist. It took talking to him, medicine, doing all the things I had learned40 years ago to be positive no matter what. I spent 18 days working at getting those feelings back again. I was blogging at that time and most were positive blogs and idiots–that’s what they were–not knowing what I was going through made snide remarks like “He couldn’t really be that positive”–“no one feels that good all the time”–and so on. I worked hard to get out of that depression 24/7 like I worked, and work, to stay positive 24/7

To my friend:  I won’t say I know what you are going through and I won’t say I understand people who chronically have depression but I do know you have to fight it 24/7. You have dealt with it long enough now to know what you have to do– please do it–need help? Go for it! Need the meds? Take them! Need to be alone? Then be alone. Can a person going through depression do things to get out of it? I don’t know but I do know that people suffering from/with depression have to talk about it, have to educate others about what it involves and what it does to them.

Posted March 18, 2015 by greatmartin in Uncategorized

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