Archive for February 2018

“The Color Purple”–a Broadway touring musical review   Leave a comment

In the 1930 Black women were in the lowest position of the human chain with violence, poverty, rape and incest just part of what they endured. In 1982 Alice Walker wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Color Purple” which told the story of Celie, a poor, uneducated, ‘ugly’, 14-year-old who is raped by her father and has two children who are taken away. She has a younger sister, Nettie, who is on the verge of going through what Celie has and the latter makes her go away to save her.

In 1985 Steven Spielberg made a successful movie of the book starring Whoopie Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey.

In 2005 a Broadway production presented by Oprah Winfrey opened and had a 3 year successful run to be revived in a stripped down version by the Menier Chocolate Factory Productions in an even more successful run from 2015 to 2017.

Last night at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami the touring company of the latter production opened to a full and very appreciative audience with stellar performances by Adrianna Hicks as Celie, Carla R. Stewart as Shug Avery, Carrie Compere as Sofia, J. Daughtry as Harpo, Gavin Gregory as Mister, Erica Durham as Squeak and N’Jameh Camara as Nettie along with a first-rate ensemble of 14 men and women in various roles with Angela Birchett a standout!

The book of the musical is written by award-winning playwright Marsha Mason and the cast of outstanding singers present the Grammy award-winning music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray with a few show-stopping numbers.

Though the story is a somber one and very much a part of today’s women fighting to help other women it is not as harrowing as the movie or as disturbing as the novel is the musical does find joy in many of the songs and humor as the women turn the tables on the men. 

All the cast had impressive voices and most had a chance to show them off singularly in such such songs as “I’m Here” (Adrianna Hicks), “Celie’s Curse” (Gavin Gregory), “Push da Button” (Carla R. Stewart) or in various group numbers like “Mysterious Ways”, “Miss Celie’s Pants”, “Uh Oh!” and the title tune.

“The Color Purple” touring company will make you want to buy/download the book and the album while possibly make you look at the movie but get down to the Arsht Center where it is playing until Sunday.

“The Color Purple runs 2 hours and 15 minutes with a 20-minute intermission.

Posted February 28, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

“My” Tree   Leave a comment

WILMA TREE 4 Collage

In February 2004 the month and year of my 15th Leap Year birthday I moved into this apartment and immediately fell in love with this huge beautiful tree behind my building. That first year I watched seed pods grow, fill up, come apart and disperse. Every day, around 4-5 PM a flock of wild green and red parrots stopped by for about a half hour. That first year I saw a pair of bluebirds and a pair of woodpeckers build their nests, hatch their babies and one day they were all gone.

It was a beautiful sight seeing that tree every morning with my cup of coffee and newspaper helping me start off another day. Whether it was raining, sunny, dark, sunset, sunrise that tree was almost a part of my apartment.

And then Hurricane Wilma came in October 2005 and shredded the tree. I watched it for 4 years to grow back to its former beauty and even fuller than before and for the past 7 years this tree has watched me through a lot. Strange, as only Mother Nature would know, the parrots stopped coming to the tree and though I have seen other birds ‘visit’ I haven’t seen any build nests.

In the past year I have spoken about all the trees that have been taken down on the Gateway property but I was in complete shock when I saw what the hired lawn maintenance company did last week as they ‘trimmed’ the tree. It was a complete hack job and worse than what Hurricane Wilma did.

I hope they let it grow back to its former beauty!

Wilma Tree collage 2

Posted February 22, 2018 by greatmartin in MOTHER NATURE, Uncategorized

“1945”—movie review   Leave a comment

A father (Ivan Angelus) and son (Marcell Nagy), Jews, dressed in black jackets and trousers, black hats and white shirts with the son also wearing a black tie get off a train in a small Hungary town. With them are 2 heavy crates which might hold perfumes and cosmetics or worse. Hiring a man with a horse and flatbed to carry the crates they walk slowly along it going into town, giving the trainmaster (Istvan Znamenak) time enough to announce “Jew have arrived” and the word is spread with whispers and speculation why they have come back.

Directed by Ferenc Torok, who also wrote the screenplay with Gabor T. Szanto, we meet the villagers, many who have something to fear from the Jews and what they helped do to them.

We meet Istvan Szentes, owner of a prosperous drugstore, shaving in the morning getting ready for the marriage of his son, Bence Tasnadi, to Dora Sztarenki, who at one time was engaged to Tamas Szabo Kimmel who had gone off to war to come back to find out that she preferred the security that Tasnadi can offer but still will have sex with Kimmel. Szentes’s wife, Eszter Nagy-Kalozy, is addicted to drugs and seems the most afraid of what the Jews can do to her and her life.

In a black and white film running 91 minutes Angelus and Nagy say very little, and except for walking, do very little, but their presence disturbs everyone in the town, including the town drunk Jozsef Szarvas and the town clerk Peter Rudolf.

“1945” is a different, sort of ‘strange’ film, yet at heart seems like an old Western though no guns and no good guys in white hats.

I usually complain about films being too long but “1945” could have used another 10-15 minutes for explanations even though it still seemed to move slow at times.


Movie trailer

It’s the real thing–NOT!   Leave a comment

mashed caulifower potatoes collage Collage

When I opened the freezer door at the Winn-Dixie at first I started laughing, then I looked at the price and gasped but, most of all, my mind went back to March 1967.

I’ve told the whole story and have referred to them many times but it was that month and that year that I joined Weight Watchers and I distinctly remember leaving with the program I was to follow and a couple of recipes to see me through the first week. I would use one of them for ten years. The other recipe, baking mushrooms until they were crunchy like peanuts just didn’t fool me!

The recipe I made a lot of came under the category of ‘free’ vegetables meaning you could eat as much as you wanted of them and I did! You take a head or a box of frozen or even two of either, or more, and boil them until they are soft enough to be mashed up. You then could add imitation butter flavoring, salt, pepper, dehydrated onion flakes (onion themselves were not ‘free’), garlic powder or any other variations with free items, spices, herbs and extracts or flavorings. You then put it in a baking pan and bake until the top is brown.

That my friend is Weight Watcher’s ‘mashed potatoes’ and here, 51 years later, Bird’s Eye is making ‘original mashed cauliflower’ but it cost a lot more than the dish I made two weeks ago. Yes, I still make some of the old WW recipes.

 WW cookbook

And I still have the original cookbook I bought in 1967!

Posted February 20, 2018 by greatmartin in FOOD, Uncategorized

Mold War Part 3 & 4   Leave a comment

Sunday 3B

Friday morning one of the guys came up to work on the bathroom. In short time the commode was in the hallway, the shower curtain rod and the medicine cabinet was down but the sink remained.

By 6 PM it was like a new bathroom but there was something wrong with the ‘donut’ the commode is on which he said he could fix temporarily and would come back tomorrow to set it right. Tomorrow? Saturday? Meanwhile, the shower rod hasn’t been put up again and he added he would do that also tomorrow. He did put up an attractive new light fixture and he said he called in for a brand new medicine cabinet that should be here by Monday.

Sunday Feb 11 2018 collage part 3A

He never showed, or called, on Saturday so now I was in limbo regarding both the kitchen and bathroom while the living room was just piled up with ‘stuff’ and waiting for Monday to come and see what happens.

Bathroon lights and showerhead collage

What I don’t understand, that though all this has to be done, why it was being done before the new roof was put on? Also, will the mold come back?

Posted February 19, 2018 by greatmartin in HOME, Uncategorized

“Black Panther”–movie review   Leave a comment

After recently seeing “Logan”, “Wonder Woman” and “The Ant-Man” I thought I should rethink the sci-fi movie genre after years of avoiding them and then today I did just that by going to see “Black Panther” and realized that I had been right from the beginning.

The movie, from opening to closing, is special effects whether between the actors or in the background or car chases, battle sequences, even in hand to hand combats. Talking about things like fights and car chases, why have one of each when you can have two? Also, let’s have two villains instead of one plus instead of an all-white cast with one, maybe two faces of color, here we have an all-black cast with two white faces.

As with other sci-fi movies this runs around 20 minutes too long but this, in a way, distinguishes itself by having 2or 3 more storylines, even going for Shakespearean plots here and there of kings and queens, family treachery and rivalry.  All in all, at certain times it gets convoluted and you just have to shake your head and skip on to the next special effect.

Chadwick Boseman does a fine job as the Black Panther but Winston Duke who challenges Boseman and is another Black Panther at times, except for the shifting color of his costume, makes a good rival. The two scene stealers are Andy Serkis as an over the top villain and Letitia Wright as Boseman’s sister who can cracks jokes that are hilarious, that make you laugh out loud and can walk into any James Bond film as Q and steal that movie from Bond.

Also in the cast are Angela Bassett,  Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuyya, Lupita Nyong’o and Sterling K. Brown. It was directed by Ryan Coogler, who also wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, with a lo0t of help- from the editors Michael P. Shawver and Debbie Berman.

Along with Letitia Wright the musical score by Ludwig Goransson are the two outstanding features of the movie.

“Black Panther” will obviously appeal to the millions of sci-fi fans and Marvel comic followers and by the same token not appeal to the rest, like me!


Movie Trailer

Toast Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale–Review   Leave a comment

Toast Restaurant Feb 15 2018 collage

In spite of what some people may think I really dislike writing negative reviews of restaurants but I worked in the field 38 years and have eaten out since I was a kid plus having seen, literally, thousands of restaurants go out of business it is not an easy business to succeed in though many think it is.
I worked in this plaza on the diagonal corner in a small Italian restaurant over 20 years ago and no longer exists which was then followed by a very popular restaurant that featured a chef who was on a TV cooking contest and then closed. In the current location where the Toast restaurant opened was another restaurant though I never went there.
So many people refer to Toast as a diner but it is as much as a diner as Peter Pan is which isn’t my definition of one.
In any case, I only have two positive things to say about my first experience at Toast and that consists of all the ladies working there do their best, and succeed, working as a team and making the customers feel welcome. (There was a man ‘working’ there and I wasn’t sure if the owner or a manager but didn’t do anything and when I tried to catch his eye to correct something he never looked or acknowledged me.) The second positive thing was the open atmosphere with the restaurant having many large windows making the room bright and inviting.
Okay, let’s get to the food. Allen and I split a housemade Spanakopita (family spinach pie recipe baked in a flaky phyllo dough $5.95) which, and I agree this is a pretty out complaint, was too flaky ‘flying’ all over the place including table, clothes, and seats. Allen had the ham and cheese club ($11.95), which he complained, with a smile, was too big but he ate it all.
I ordered a Cheddar Cheeseburger ($9.95) but it came without the cheese and was more medium than medium rare as I ordered. (This was when I tried to catch the owner/manager’s (?) eye but without success.) When the waitress came over she immediately corrected the mistake. The burger tasted like it had been under the heat lamp for too long a time. The sweet potato fries were definitely overcooked as were the 5-6 regular French fries that must have been in the fryer that wasn’t cleaned out when the sweet potatoes were put in it.
Allen had a diet cola ($2.45) and I had coffee ($2.45) and the server made sure his glass and my cup were always full which in itself was an accomplishment because the coffee was served in the smallest cup I have ever seen in a restaurant except for a demitasse or cappuccino.
I never did get her name as she wasn’t wearing a name tag and there wasn’t any name on the check receipt (except ‘Server #: 1’). Though normally I would have asked her name I failed to.
By the way let’s not even get into the old cash register type they were using.
As we were leaving the new sign for the restaurant was being put up. I hope it is not a waste of time and money.

Mold War Part 2   Leave a comment

Mold 2 bathroom collage part 1 (2)

The kitchen was stripped down, and in the living room and with the plastic zippered door getting in and out of the kitchen was almost impossible but then there wasn’t any reason to go into the kitchen!

My immediate problems are 1) my meds are in the kitchen wrapped up in the old cabinets 2) I have nothing to cook meals in 3) without a sink where the heck would I wash plates, pots, utensils, etc? The bathroom sink is not large and the water will probably be cut off. 4) The only appliance that I could think of for cooking was the microwave but it is wrapped up in the kitchen and there was no way that I could get it through that plastic door even if I could unwrap the plastic around the microwave!

I went out the back door and came up the front to get into the kitchen, unwrapped some of the plastic and was able to get my 14 meds! Went out the front door, down the 3 flights of steps, went around the back and walked up the 3 flights of steps and turned my thoughts to food. I don’t know why I ever kept it but when Maria sent me a new microwave which fit on the kitchen shelf I had put the old one in the bottom of the linen closet. It was still there and I didn’t know if it would work so I plugged it in and it was ready to go.

Okay, problems solved.

I’ve lived in worse I suppose!

Posted February 15, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE, LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“A Fantastic Woman”–a movie review   Leave a comment

“A FANTASTIC WOMAN is the story of Marina, a waitress and singer, and Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic.” So goes the synopsis for this movie nothing mentioning that she is transgender which is the reason for/of the movie.

Sixty years ago it would have been Orlando’s mistress and twenty years ago his male lover, today it is his transgender partner. When Orlando unexpectedly dies, just like the mistress and gay lover in past years and still sometimes today, if they aren’t married, the family comes and takes away everything the couple had from the car to the apartment and even the dog. The most hurtful is not being allowed to attend the funeral or say goodbye.

The mistress, the gay lover and Marina had/have to face the indignities that all might face such as being called names, accused of murdering the lover, being abused by him or, with the latter two, being beaten up and possibly killed for being gay or transgender but Marina has the extra humiliation of having to strip for an excruciating body exam under the eyes of a female detective and a male doctor.

Maybe I have been around too long and have read too many books, seen too many films and movies where the mistress and/or gay man has been shunned or I have personally seen what happens to a gay couple when one dies and I don’t see the transgender person being any more degraded, though yes, today they are the target of hate and being misunderstood.

The director Sebastian Lelio, who also wrote the screenplay with Gonzalo Maza, doesn’t seem to involve the audience in what should be an emotionally touching story except in two scenes, with one being the strip search, which definitely shows how people can mistreat other people and the one scene that shows Marina for being the strong person she is.

Marina is played by transgender actress Daniela Vega who seems to be hindered by the director. There are certain moments when she shows vulnerability and/or strength but not enough of them. As difficult as it is for someone in that position one doesn’t feel empathy for her character. People who are new to what transgender and/or gay live through and what hostilities they face may find this movie interesting.

“A Fantastic Woman” is nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Film but I don’t recommend seeing it.

Movie trailer

Mold War Part 1   Leave a comment

Mold 2 bathroom collage part 1 (1)

Hurricane Irma hit land on September 10 blowing out 2 of my windows and taking off the outside of the roof on top of my building, mainly on my side. I didn’t give two thoughts about any of it as the windows were quickly replaced and I didn’t feel or see anything wrong with my ceilings except for a few bubbles in the larger room and that was always happening.

About a month later, in the middle of a rainy night, I got up to go to the bathroom and stepped into a puddle of water near the commode. I quickly took out a couple of old sheets and threw them on the floor to absorb the water and went back to sleep.

The next day, hanging the sheets up to dry, I thought something may be wrong with the commode and reported it to the office. Nothing came of it but I learned to put those sheets on the floor anytime it rained.

I, also, noted something strange but really didn’t think much of it. A few pictures I had hung up on the bathroom walls were getting a funny ‘design’ on them and taking one down noticed that the back of the frame was wet. Also, there were brownish spots appearing here and there while the walls and ceiling were getting a ‘bubble wrap’ effect.

It was obvious, even to me, that when it rained water was coming down between the walls. I didn’t notice anything in the kitchen and the new cabinets that had been put up in May were okay. I did become aware of some black spots near the baseboards in the bathroom and I thought it just might be due to the water that accumulated on the floor during rainstorms.

I spoke to the head of maintenance who told me they were getting permits to put up a new roof and that meanwhile he would get someone to clean the walls, which he did almost immediately.

By January the whole picture changed quickly!

Posted February 13, 2018 by greatmartin in HOME, Uncategorized

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