Archive for September 2015


Memory can play many tricks on you which is one of the reasons I am glad I kept diaries (and still do).

I don’t know when it started but I started to think that the Saturday night of the Stonewall riot Bernie and I had been at a play on Broadway and when we got home I heard about it on the news and the next day read a blurb about it in the paper. At the time we lived on 33rd Street right off 3rd Avenue. We often would walk down to the Village and we decided to stroll down there and take a look. I don’t remember a thing except that the area seemed all quiet and there were more police than usual.

After writing my review of the “Stonewall” movie I thought I would look up what play we had seen. I have a lot of entries for that month as on June 24 Bernie signed the papers for getting the Weight Watchers franchise for Memphis  and was going down there July 1 and I would meet him there the 4th of July weekend. It was Bernie’s birthday on the 19th and we, Addie, Joan, Monty, Art and Alex, gave him a party. 

I had quit my job as a waiter and was working as a lecturer for WW and on the afternoon of the 28th I had given a lecture to 71 people at the east 79th street office. I don’t have any entries for the two days before and/or the two days after the riot but on September 28th I wrote “I got bombed–wound up in Brooklyn at the Clinton Hill project with Richard.” (A few more comments but all X rated!) 

I wasn’t with Bernie, I didn’t see a play and now 46 years later I remember nothing about that time except getting ready to change my life by moving to Memphis.

I have read comments by people who weren’t there, aren’t old enough to have been there and certainly haven’t seen the movie talking trash about it and, yet, here I am 46 years later who obviously didn’t think it was important enough to make even a PS in my diary about that infamous, important part of Gay history.

Going into the movie I knew it would be a ‘Hollywood’ version but also what the director and writer would research and/or remember.  Some comments made by people about the movie concern the accuracy of what it shows. Do you really think the movies about the Alamo or biographies or the current “Black Mass” or the many ‘based on a true story’ are accurate? Was the recent movie “Selma” the truth or was it embellished? Tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Do you really think all the people who claim to have been there that night were really there or has memory played a trick on them?

Yes I was a member of the Mattachine Society and I subscribed to One magazine–even wrote a couple articles for them–and for at least 12 years was a gay activist and met some of the people shown and/or referred to in the film but I sat in the theatre and learned/saw what essentially happened that evening, a lot I may have forgotten, and I feel the movie represents a defining moment in gay history that all gay people should know and all nongay people could learn from as to why there is Gay Pride and understand why every year Gays march to remember this event.

Agree with me or not that “Stonewall” is a must see movie first see it!

Full disclosure: In all the years I lived in Manhattan and all the bars I went to I never went into the Stonewall because I was a NY snob and only went to the better places–well not quite true but that is what I wanted other people to think and that is for another post! :O)

Posted September 30, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT


While “Stonewall” is not an ‘award winning’ film it is certainly a MUST SEE film for an audience of young LGBT people and people who have heard of Stonewall, don’t know what it is, and knows very little, if anything, about what was a major point of reference in the fight for equal rights and for older LGBT folks who might need a refresher course in their history and who helped them to accept themselves.

If half of the millions of people who claim to have been at the Stonewall bar on that Saturday evening of June 28, 1969, came to see this movie it would be a smash hit but neither will happen because of many prejudices of the nongay people and, now as then, gay people would rather go to a bar than support a film they should be seeing.

Yes “Stonewall” is ’Hollywoodized’ by framing the story around a good and virginal looking, young man who is disowned by his family when caught ‘servicing’ a jock and he leaves to go to New York, somehow winds up in the Village among a group of very diversified Latin, Black, transgender, drag queens and lesbian people who make a living by selling themselves. They ‘lived’ on Christopher street and went to the mob owned Stonewall bar which paid off the police who staged once a month raids. The fact that they arrested kids for not having identification or not wearing the right clothing and they would harass the clientele and, in some cases, beat them with nightsticks left them with no alternative as they couldn’t complain to the police, and so they would come back that night or the next.

As silly as it may sound these disenfranchised kids, who would sleep 10-12 in a hotel room when one was available if they made enough money hustling, as were many gay people, felt an overwhelming sadness at the death of Judy Garland, who was seen as one of them, 6 days before the riot and many added this as a trigger to what happened that night.

Though Jeremy Irvine is the center of the film as Danny, the boy from Indiana, it is Jonny Beauchamp as Ray/Ramona, a Puerto Rican who had been on the streets since he was 12 and falls in love with Danny which shows us the many sides of this occasional drag queen who does tricks to survive. Among Ray’s friends are Vladimir Alexis as Queen Kong, Caleb Landry Jones as Little Orphan Annie, Alex C. Nachi as Lee the hustler, Joanne Vannicola as a lesbian, whose back story would have made a more interesting film than the Danny story line, and Otoja Abit as Marshe P. Johnson, as a drag queen, who would become very influential in gay activism after the riots, with other possibly true to life characters who participated in the riot.

Karl Glusman and Andrea Frankie as Danny’s parents, Joey King as his younger sister, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Patrick Garrow representing an early gay rights group called The Mattachine Society, that believed wearing suits and ties with women in dresses was what needed to push the fight forward, Vice Squad Deputy Seymour Pine played by Matt Craven, Ron Perlman playing Ed Murphy, who ran the bar for the Mafia and pimped out some of the patrons, are just some of the actors who give excellent support to the film.

The direction by Roland Emmerich does a serviceable job though he includes a few unnecessary scenes in the screenplay written by Jon Robin Baitz along with too many clichés that have the film running a bit over 2 hours though it does hold your interest and the riot scenes elicit many emotions.

This is a much more important and more meaningful film than “Brokeback Mountain” was and I hope it crosses over to the crowd that went to see that movie!


Posted September 29, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT


Anne Hathaway glows in “The Intern” whether she is leading 200+ employees of a company she founded or getting drunk and throwing up into a dumpster or crying when she has been betrayed or any of the many emotions she experiences in this 2 hour movie. On the other hand it is time Robert De Niro gave up broad comedies as he is only repeating every movement and mugging face he has made since “Analyze This”, “Meet The Parents” and “Meet The Frockers”. He has made many comedies throughout his career but for the past decade and a half it seems he wants to be Jerry Lewis!

For a comedy “The Intern” is only mildly amusing with the funniest scene having nothing to do with advancing the plot but a ’breaking and entering’ mission, which was written, and directed, by Nancy Meyers who has had success with previous films dealing with whether a woman can ‘have it all’. Most of the film was made in Brooklyn showing the New York borough as green and sparkling and having an empty parking spot for any in the cast of the film.

The various supporting characters from Anders Holm as Hathaway’s stay at home husband and dad to their very precocious daughter JoJo Kushner to Rene Russo as a love interest for De Niro–whew! No, not Hathaway! Among young employees in Hathaway’s company Peter Vack, Andrew Rannells, Nat Wolff along with Linda Lavin, Zack Pearlman and Christina Holtan and others do what they can with the material given them.

“The Intern” is a pleasant movie but drags in spots and touches on subjects without following through such as Hathaway’s relationship with her mother. 

Oh yes I don’t ever remember seeing so many pillows on beds, decorative or utilitarian, whether in a home or a hotel!


Posted September 25, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

END OF SUMMER 2015 FORT LAUDERDALE   Leave a comment

Summer 2015 started on June 21 at 12:38 PM and here it is ending on September 23 at 04:21 AM and even though it has been a long time since I was in school it still feels as if the summer ‘vacation’ wasn’t long enough!! Autumn is here and our temperatures will fall down to only a high of 86 degrees!!

In any case I took a few pictures to keep the memories of what I saw and they are now in the slideshow.

1) That is the ever blooming geranium in my apartment and 2) the bromide plant outside one of my neighbor’s apartment.

3) We have hibiscus plants, trees and this hibiscus hedge.

4) As always a lizard along the paths–this is Timmy who ’lives’ by the C elevator.

5 & 6) Rainy ‘season’ finally came to South Florida. We get a slow drizzle and then about an hour of a heavy downpour. You learn to get things done before 2 PM when it will start.

7) Along with Timmy the lizard every year we get visited by a bird who spends the summer on top of our building–he will be flying off soon.

8) Almost didn’t see this one!

9) This is a pepper plant that I started to grow from seeds of a green pepper I bought at the Farmer’s Market!

10)  Plants right outside my door on the walkway–they may ‘disappear’ soon as we have new owners of the complex and they have rules for everything including rules! I’ll write about them some day!

11) A new Queen Crepe Myrtle branch growing at the bottom of its trunk.

12 & 13) Walking along the canal to Karen Bay–always changing.

14) A plant on the side street in full bloom.

15) Another sign that summer is over–every Saturday our Resident Association got bagels from Einstein Brothers and we would get them free–every kind of bagel you could think of and some you never heard of or tried!

16) And at the end of the Summer of 2015 this Gateway ‘critter’ is thriving!!


Posted September 23, 2015 by greatmartin in SEASONS


The rainy ‘season’ in South Florida usually starts mid-May, late June but this year (global warming?) it did hit until this past week and it hit hard. Some areas got 3 inches of rain another area had a tornado and even with a light drizzle the property at Gateway doesn’t take to rain easily and when it pours watch out!

Most of the land in this section of Florida is/was built on coral so it doesn’t take long to become saturated and overspill wherever it goes. It was pouring so hard this morning that I was going to change my plans for the day if it was still going so strong around Noon but by then the sun came out anf it was sunny for 3 hours before the lightening and thunder started and the rains once again came!

In the ‘old days’ it would rain in the early morning, clear up for the tourists to hit the beach and then around 4 PM the rain would start again to give those same tourists to go back to their hotel room, shower and take a nap with the rain stopping, the sun coming out, the humidity rising and time to go out for dinner. Now that pattern has changed as it can rain anytime and sometimes all day–global warming?

Be sure not to miss the last picture–it is the latest in rainwear–from the Dollar Tree store with that famous (in his own mind) model!!

PS Rainy/wet streets/sidewalks are NOT for filp-flops!


C&P and put in URL It is worth it if only for the last photo!–

Posted September 21, 2015 by greatmartin in WEATHER


Johnny Depp, the actor, is back! In “Black Mass”, whether fixing a friend with an icy stare from his blue eyes, to the pure joy he shows giving his young son ‘life’ lessons while silently quieting his girlfriend or choking another woman with his bear hands to strangling an informer with a rope, this is Depp becoming the psychopath James ‘Whitey’ Bulgar, not a caricature or using camp but being the man. He becomes mesmerizing just brushing his hand along the cheek of his friend’s wife frightening her or laughing as he tells another friend he was just pulling his leg but leaves the question if he was. 

Johnny Depp is the center of the movie and is the reason to see it. The large supporting cast including Dakota Johnson as his girlfriend, who disappears from the picture bringing up an unanswered question, Julianne Nicholson as the friend’s wife and Juno Temple as a prostitute along with Jesse Plemons, Rory Cochrane, Kevin Bacon, Steve Flemmi, Corey Stoll, David Harbour, W.Earl Brown, Scott Anderson, Bill Camp and Peter Sarsgaard as various thugs, FBI agents, policeman, prosecutors all give strong support.

I had problems with two actors in the film, the first being Joel Edgerton, an Australian actor, who seems to have watched every Hollywood gang film and attempts to blend Brando and DeNiro making his character confusing and distracting every time when he is on screen and he is in most of the film. The other was with Benedict Cumberbatch, not his acting as he always turns in good performances, but with his casting. I know to leave logic at the door when I go to the movies but no way, in any universe, could Cumberbatch and Depp be brothers. They don’t look alike, don’t talk alike, don’t have any similar mannerisms. True Benedict’s character went to college and law school while Johnny’s spent those years in the penitentiary. The former became a State senator and then president of the University of Massachusetts while the latter starting selling dope to teenagers and became the kingpin of the South Boston’s underground, in many ways with the help of the FBI! I suppose they could have been brothers but I just couldn’t buy it.

Director Scott Cooper does a pedestrian job as do the screenwriters Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth while none bringing anything new or different to the genre. The movie is slow moving and too long at 122 minutes.

The bottom line is that “Black Mass” is a must see film to see Johnny Depp back on track as a fine actor bringing everything he can to a role.


Posted September 18, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT


There is so much talent among our community residents and it shows up in many ways whether it be in growing a garden, nursing a plant, painting pictures, modeling various forms out of wood and even at pot luck dinners!

I have already posted slideshows of Irene and Bill’s gardens and some of John’s artwork. This slide show is an example of just some of Chuck’s work. Whether it be a birthday, a get well or just a happy card he is there sharing his work. From pop up cards to a postal cards he is working away.

For many years he has done the artwork for the “Celebration of Friends” gala and he work is all over San Francisco and Las Vegas from his younger days.

Below are just a few examples of how I have benefited from his artistry.

1. A sign for our country store.

2-10. From taking the Harvey Milk stamp and making a series of cards to popup cards covering all occasions he is an artist at work.

11-15. I opened my door the other day and there was this ice cooler all decorated, his not even knowing that I would have to get a cooler for the Oscar party I am throwing on February 28, 2015, in our community room as just one of the ’specials’ celebrating my 20th Leap Year birthday on February 29th.

The slideshow is a little bit long but even then you will miss a lot of the detailed work he puts into his efforts!

Thanks Chuck for sharing your life and your work with me.


Posted September 14, 2015 by greatmartin in ARTIST



I really don’t like being hard on a brand new restaurant that isn’t even finished but from what I experienced I don’t think I will go back.

The shopping plaza that the new Buenos Aires Café has opened in has recently been renovated and this particular storefront is a little hard to find especially since they haven’t any signs outside. They do have outside seating which sort of helped us find the door.

We were greeted immediately by the server Alexa who did a good job, except for one slight mistake, with a positive attitude and a bubbly personality but not overdoing it. The Café is pleasantly decorated with a green theme and an interesting ceiling.

The placemat is the menu and after looking it over Allen and I decided to split two dishes. We ordered the salmon ($15) served on a bed of spinach top of a thick slice of broiled tomato and the spinach ravioli ($14) with a creamy mushroom sauce. He had a 8.5 oz bottle of diet coke ($2.50) and I had ($2). We told Alexa that we were going to share and she immediately put a clean plate in front of each of us.

The salmon was cooked a bit too long though it did have a good taste while the ravioli  was the better of the two dishes. Planned or not the salmon was served first and the ravioli after. This is where Alexa made that slight mistake by not bringing us fresh plates so we had to split the ravioli on the already used fish plates along with using the same utensils. I did suggest, because the sauce was excellent, serving some bread with the pasta and Alexa immediately said she would relay that to the chef.

My biggest disappointment with the Buenos Aires Café was that the portions were small enough that I, or Allen, could have eaten both dishes and still have left hungry. Most of my experiences in Buenos Aires cafes in Argentina, and other Argentina restaurants in our area, didn’t leave me feeling I had a snack instead of a lunch. I sort of rationalized that maybe they were buying into the whole ‘healthy living’ stores they are surrounded by.

The check, with tax and tip, came to $33.50 We had a groupon so saved $13 BUT I just now noticed looking at the check that a gratuity was put on the check which I wouldn’t even think of looking for at the Buenos Aires Café. At the bottom of the check it says “We are happy to add a gratuity to your bill. Kindly select from above” where they give 4 choices. We were never asked to select a tip, we were never told it was put on the check. Yes, that was/is MY fault but be careful.

The bottom line is that the lunch cost us $47 and, consequently, my fault or not, won’t go back.

Buenos Aires Café slideshow

Posted September 12, 2015 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS

“GRANDMA”–A MOVIE REVIEW   Leave a comment

“Grandma” is a movie for every woman, grandmother, mother, daughter, any man who has been involved with the aforementioned, and definitely any fan of Lily Tomlin. She has been a force of nature from her early days in “Laugh-In” from 1970-1973 to winning a Grammy for her comedy album in 1972  to an Oscar nomination for her film debut in 1974 in “Nashville” and winning a Tony Award in 1985 for the brilliant one woman show her partner of 42 years, Jane Wagner, wrote for her “The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe” up to and including a 2015 Emmy nomination for outstanding lead actress in a TV comedy for “Grace and Frankie”. If there is any justice in the movie business Tomlin should have an Oscar nomination for her role in “Grandma”.

Though her role of Elle is a tour de force for Lily Tomlin she has a strong supporting cast especially Sam Elliot in a scene that is the highlight of the film. Judy Greer, her girlfriend of 4 months, “Just a footnote”, Elle tells her breaking up with her, Julia Garner as Sage , Elle’s granddaughter, Marcia Gay Harden  as Elle’s daughter, and Sage’s boyfriend, Nat Wolff, who is responsible for Sage’s pregnancy which puts the story into motion. Laverne Cox as a tattoo artist friend of Elle’s, Elizabeth Pena as the owner of a small book store not to forget John Cho as the owner of a coffee shop all have what are basically cameos but each impresses as being chosen for their scenes by the director and screenwriter, Paul Weitz, who wanted the best from each actor and got it.

Is Lily Tomlin Elle or is Elle Lily Tomlin? From the public persona of the entertainer we all know, it is hard to decipher if they are separate or combined into one. We see Tomlin’s highly skilled comic talents and in her scene with Sam Elliot plus an earlier scene where she grieves for her lover of 38 years, who died a year and a half before the movie starts, we feel the emotional range she can and does show as an actress or is it Lily Tomlin, the woman we think we know?  

“Grandma” is a short film, about 80 minutes including the end credits, that shows Lily Tomlin as an actress who can turn on a dime going from sarcasm to laugh out loud jokes to putting a tear in our eye with, seemingly, little effort. It touches on pregnancy, abortion, independent women, loneliness, growing/being old and what that entails, fleeting fame, how we can hurt people unknowingly, how we hurt each other mostly in short but effective scenes. One scene alone with Elle taking a shower, brushing her teeth, is more than worth the price of admission. 

Grandma Trailer

Posted September 11, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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Have you ever sat through a movie asking yourself, “Why am I watching this?” Has an 86 minute movie seemed like 6 hours without any of the embellishments of being an epic film? I know the answer to the first question as I always hope the movie will redeem itself before it is over. “Mistress America” doesn’t do that!

With a screenplay by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig that seems to use every word they know and saying nothing plus being directed by Baumback and starring Gerwig this seems to be a hate letter to New York. It shows New Yorkers as aimless, not knowing anything, being full of hot air, ideas that don’t go anywhere unless stolen and even the crazies aren’t individuals.

The story is simple, with a ridiculous setup, of 18 year old Tracy (Lola Kirke) seeking out her 30 year old sister-to-be Brooke (Greta Gerwig)–the former’s mother is going to marry the latter’s father–having come to New York to attend college to become a writer after finding out it wasn’t the way she thought it would be and is lonely. (If you think that is a long sentence you will go bonkers hearing some of the talk in the movie!)

Brooke is the do it all girl from running a spin class to being an interior decorator  and many jobs in-between. Her latest project is to open “Mom’s” a combination restaurant, hair salon, convenience store, cooking classes, exercise center and more, basically being a community center, and a home away from home.

Naïve Tracy is  taken over by city-wise Brooke who never really finishes a project and is jealous of those who do like all those around her.  Tracy wants to be a writer so you should know where this is going, if it ever gets there. 

The only one who made an impression on me from this (too large) cast was Lola Kirke who comes across more grounded than the others, seems more natural and is the only one with an arc that shows growth. Considering that Gerwig is a co-writer of the film it is surprising how negative, destructive and lethal the women are towards each other. Though she is a beautiful woman most of the lines either she or Baumbach put in Brooke’s mouth make her an ugly person.

“Mistress America” is all over the place, neither here nor there, and really doesn’t say anything with all its rapid, spit it out, get it said helter-skelter lines.

“Mistress America” Movie Trailer

Posted September 9, 2015 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

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