Archive for November 2018

Cold or warm Mother Nature is here   2 comments

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It can be cold–60 degree high today!–but inside or outside we are always surrounded by nature–I love it!
Photos 1,2 and 12 is my Christmas, Hannakuh, Easter, Passover, Leap Year, Thanksgiving Cactus–never know when it will bloom plus never know what colors it will bloom in!
3, 7 and 10  My forever growing Geraniums that I have had for over 10 years
#4  My pepper plant that flowers but don’t produce peppers which I started from seeds from a pepper I bought for a salad
#9  One of the many “Cuban” plants that I have that I started with a twig from one that was outside the apartments. I am glad I did because the new owners took away all the Cuban plants we had around the properties. (I call them a Cuban plant but am not sure of their name.)
5 & 6  Penta plants
11  You can see the beach hotel and condos from my east window with the trees and clouds and sky provided by Mother Nature.
8  Even cold weather doesn’t keep Squeaky the squirrel from his daily rounds.
And now back to our normal weather starting tomorrow up to the 70s and 80s.

Posted November 28, 2018 by greatmartin in MOTHER NATURE, Uncategorized

I love ONE cold day a year   2 comments

It is 2 PM and 60 degrees in Fort Lauderdale–it will be 80 degrees by Friday–and I get to wear my ONE warm shirt!!
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Posted November 28, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

“Widows”—a movie review   1 comment

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I became a fan of Viola Davis’s in 2008 when she stole her scenes from Meryl Streep in “Doubt” and I am fascinated by what she can do with her face in the “How To Get Away With Murder” television series and I never miss an episode. Though I haven’t seen any of the “Fast and Furious” films in which she has starred I have always felt some empathy for Michelle Rodriguez and her many run-ins with the law. I have heard a lot, both pro and con, about Cynthia Erivo regarding her star-making role on stage in the musicalized version “The Color Purple” but this is the first time I have seen her. Talking about the first time, I don’t ever recall seeing Elizabeth Debick before but once you do you won’t forget her and it would be a spoiler if I said anything more about that introduction!
The “Widows” is about women taking charge in basically what would be a men’s genre, a heist film. Director Steve McQueen, mainly known for “12 Years A Slave”, directs, and co-wrote the script with Gillian Flynn, author of “Gone Girl”, keeping the pace quick with some outstanding camera work.
There are many twists and turns and at points, just a bit too much regarding sex, race, politics and social issues along with too much unnecessary violence but the film is easy to follow except near the end, which I’ll get back to in a minute.  No matter where the film goes the women always hold your interest which makes this a better than average heist film.
I do have a couple of questions about the ending but discussing them here would give away some major points and give away some of the surprises so after you have seen the film let’s talk!
The film could have been tightened up a bit regarding its over 2 hour playing time just by cutting out Robert Duvall’s storyline, not that he isn’t good but it really doesn’t add anything to the film, the storyline or the heist but does add to the Chicago politics of the time.
Be prepared for some laughs, certainly a jump out of your seat once or twice and definitely a jolt at some of the violence but “Widows” entertains plus allows the audience to watch some fine acting by the actresses. I am not ignoring the men but it is hard talking about their roles without giving spoilers except to say, maybe, that Liam  Neeson is Davis’s husband or that Colin Farrell is Duvall’s son, etc.
Just watching Viola Davis’s face is worth the admission alone!

Posted November 27, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, Uncategorized

3 Restaurants–as if I need an excuse!   2 comments

3 restaurants gilberts quarterdeck and lesters


Hooray for holidays!!! An excuse to eat out not that I need one, just need money!! :O)

  1. Quarterdeck

Simply the best Jambalaya in town!! Also have had their burgers, ribs and no complaints but for the 20 years I have been coming here the Jambalaya is my first choice. You can choose to have it served on pasta, rice or dirty rice–I always choose the latter!

The staff is attentive and always have a smile.

I am sort of concerned about their upcoming move—only a couple of blocks west of the present location but the building is, obviously, ‘modern’ and won’t have that South Florida/Key West feeling on the outside or the ambiance of Old Florida inside. Oh yes, when I have nothing else to worry about I hope they will take the fish tank to the new place!! (Hey you worry what you want to worry about and I’ll worry about what I want to worry about! LOL)

Did I mention I love their Jambalaya???

  1. Glibert’s 17th Street Grill

Gilbert’s, while not a full dining sit down restaurant, as you place your order at the counter when you enter, pay, fill your own soda glass, get a number and then sit down to have your food served. They do take a few steps beyond casual dining by giving real glasses, have the servers (?), bus people (?), floor staff (?)–I wonder what they do call them–bring you a set of real silverware, refill your sodas, ask what kind of condiments you would like and bring them to you though the ketchup, mustard, etc., are in disposable cups, not bottles.

  1. Lester’s Diner

I have been eating at Lester’s since 1979 but it has been 2 years since I was there last. It no longer fits the definition of a diner though it looks like one. A diner is a restaurant built like a railroad car and though it has the shape of a dining car it was redone a few years ago and is now way too shiny to have anything to do with railroads.

Two years ago I remarked about the sticker shock of the prices going up. What happened to ‘cheap eats, home cooking and lots of it’ that diners were known for?

In any case, I had the Cheddar cheese omelet with hash browns done on both sides. The omelet was one of the biggest ones I had ever had with a load of cheese inside and on top while the hash browns were well done as I asked.

And all I can say is “Look at that carrot cake!”


Who wants/needs 4 seasons?!   1 comment

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From the beginning of November to the last week we have Al, our mailman, in regulation shorts, maintenance guys having fun, a sunset, folks in the community room relaxing and owners of million dollar homes and yachts looking at us!
Life is good!

Posted November 25, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

“Green Book”—movie review   1 comment

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I was very hesitant about going to see “Green Book” starting with it being directed by Peter Farrelly who was known for such ‘low’ films as “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary” which dealt with obscene language and scenes though big hits. It also sounded to me like a takeoff of “Driving Miss Daisy” only with a white driver and a black passenger which would probably be ‘Hollywoodized” and “the Odd Couple” thrown in as the arc of the movie and it is..
I went only because I am a long time fan of Viggo Mortensen and was impressed with Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight”. I expected to see a so-so film with good performances and we certainly saw the latter but it won me over showing the Carnegie Hall apartments, though I never did see one like Ali had. Also the scenes supposedly filmed in the Bronx was not a Bronx I was raised in but all of a sudden I was laughing and then being touched and going through layers of emotions.
Yes Viggo Mortensen as Tony Vallelonga and Mahershala Ali as Dr. Don Shirley are cliches in many scenes but they are both such good actors you believe what they are saying and doing not to forget the touch of family that Linda Cardellini as Tony’s wife brings to an Italian Bronx thug who does love his wife and 2 sons, along with other family members.
Based on a true story I must admit I had never heard of Dr. Don Shirley but his story of being a black entertainer who is going to travel through the south in 1962 it is reasonable that he would hire a Tony ‘type’ to be his chauffer and, in a sense, protector. A lot of cliches are nothing more than stereotypes and much what we see and hear of Shirley and Vallelonga sound and seem familiar which is sad because we aren’t surprised.
“Green Book” is being sold as ‘a true story of a friendship’ and it is just that with many laughs and tears supplied by two brilliant actors who bring more to the script than the script brings to them. There are a couple of scenes that took me by surprise which if talked about would mean spoilers and should be discovered on their own but one question I would love if anyone knows if  Mahershala does his own piano playing or is it Hollywood magic?
Both “Green Book” and “The Hate U Give” are two of the best films I have seen this autumn and though both deal with race they are completely different and also have leading performances that should get nominations, if not actual wins, for their performances.

“The King and I”–touring company review   Leave a comment

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When a show is perfect all you can do is praise every part of the production and this Broadway revival of 2015, now at the Broward Performing Arts Center, is perfect.

Rodgers and Hammerstein have written many award-winning musicals but their music (Rodgers) and lyrics (Hammerstein) for “The King and I” are one of their best without one single less than memorable song from “I Whistle A Happy Tune”, “We Kiss In A Shadow”, “Hello Young Lovers”, “A Puzzlement”, “Something Wonderful” to the moment of emotion that brings everything together in “Shall We Dance” and that Is only part of the score. Imagine being moved by children marching on stage as you will be during “March of the Siamese Children”.

The book, written by Hammerstein, based on the novel Anna and The King of Siam by Margaret Landon, is strong dealing with race, gender, sex, love, and politics among other subjects with both humor and drama.

The choreography by Christopher Gattelli, based on the original work of Jerome Robbins, melds with the restaging by Shelley Butler of the 2015 revival by Bartlett Sher becoming one. The sets by Michael Yeargan, with one exception which isn’t noticeable if you didn’t see this in Miami in 2017, along with the costumes by Catherine Zuber add to each scene.

The most important assets to “The King and I” are the performers of music and with Angela Baumgardner as Anna and Pedro Kaawaloa as the King both making their national tour debuts in the roles it is like discovering gold on the stage of the Broward Performing Arts Center with both singing, acting and dancing without a flaw. Just hearing her sing “Hello Young Lovers” will bring tears to your eyes in the reprise while you will be laughing at her rendition of “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?”. Kaawaloa had the audience in the palm of his hand singing “A Puzzlement” and in his heart as he dances with Anna to “Shall We Dance?”.

As hard as it is to stand out as a singer with this group Paulina Yeung as Tuptim singing “We Kiss in a Shadow” and “I Have Dreamed” whether with Dongwoo Kang as Lun Tha, her secret lover, or a solo has a soaring pure voice that will make you melt. Deanna Choi as the King’s head wife, Lady Thiang, singing “Something Wonderful” will make you swear that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote it just for her to sing.

The ensemble ranging from the young Royal Children who are the definition of cute to the King’s heir apparent plus the Royal Wives along with Hayden Bercy as Anna’s son and others playing adult roles are just right.

There can’t be enough praise for the 16 involved in “The Small House Of Uncle Thomas” ballet while the same can be said of the orchestra under the direction of Conductor David Aaron Brown.

This touring company of “The King and I” is a must-see of this season and will be playing at Broward Center for the Performing Arts until December 2.

Playing time is 2 hours and 50 minutes with a 20-minute intermission and started at exactly 8 PM.

Posted November 22, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW

“Hello Dolly”–touring company review   1 comment

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With lines such as ‘spreading money around like manure so young things can grow’ and songs like the title tune plus “Before the Parade Passes By” from its original opening on Broadway in 1964 starring Carol Channing to its recent sold-out revival starring Bette Midler the only question people are asking is whether Betty Buckley is up to carrying on the legend of Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly” and, folks, she makes the role her own!

Whether Ms. Buckley is singing out loud and clear to the last row in the balcony or bringing a tear to your and in the next moment making you laugh out loud as her song says, “It’s so nice to have you back where you belong”!

The next question is about the others on stage and the complete production itself which can be answered easily with that if you never see “Hello Dolly” again you know you have seen it on stage giving you all the show has to give.

Jerry Herman, writer of music and lyrics to such shows as “Mame”, “La Cage aux Folles” among others, gives his all to “Hello Dolly” and it is a classic of Broadway musical history. You have a feeling that Thornton Wilder, who wrote the original play “The Matchmaker” which the show is based on, wouldn’t have a single complaint with Michael Stewart who wrote the book for the musical.

Jerry Zaks, who directed the revival, kept the high standard of the Broadway show for the touring company. Warren Carlyle choreographed the musical basing it on Gower Champion’s original work but not imitating it. The costumes by Santo Loquasto add sparkle and color to somewhat drab settings.

For the supporting cast Lewis J. Stadlien is an excellent comic foil for Buckley while Jess LeProtto is a first-rate comic as the clerk Barnaby and even better dancer. Nic Rouleau, as Cornelius, who takes Barnaby on an adventure to New York so both can have their first kiss though he is 16 years older than the latter has the charm of innocence and a beautiful voice that makes “It Only Take A Moment” as fresh and as feeling as it was 54 years ago. Analisa Leaming though a widow and certainly more experienced than Cornelius conveys an innocence on par with him and when she joins him singing about that moment everyone believes in love again. Leaming has a sweet, beautiful memorable voice, especially when singing “Ribbons Down My Back”.

The rest of the cast deliver the goods but it is in their singing, dancing and strutting to “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” that you realize how much they add to an already winning show.

With a cast of 33 and an orchestra of 17 musicians conducted by Robert Billig the show is a must see and Betty Buckley brings emotions to Dolly Levi that makes the audience love her and give her the ovations she deserves.

“Hello Dolly” is only playing until Sunday so treat yourself to a memorable Thanksgiving by getting to the Arsht Center before it leaves.

“Hello Dolly” runs 2 hours and 30 minutes including a 15 minute intermission.

Posted November 21, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW

1 Year, 4 Months, 2 Weeks–Who’s counting?   Leave a comment

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On Saturday, February 29, 2020, I will be celebrating my 21st Leap Year birthday sitting down with invited guests, exactly where I don’t know for sure.
Might seem a little too early to start preparations but it isn’t. Actually, I started March 1, 2016 and since then I have been going to restaurants to pick out THE one for 2020. After 2 years and 9 months I decided on Nabu. Now rememebr, or if you don’t know, February is ‘high’ season for tourists in Fort Lauderdale plus add a Saturday night.
I spoke to the manager about reserving a certain section of the restaurant and, when he asked for the date and I told him, he laughed and said that he doesn’t have a calendar for that year yet!
Now you have to understand that approximately 2,000 restaurants open and close in Broward County so when I asked, with a smile, if they would still be open he answered that they would but he had no idea what the prices would be.
Next it gets to starting a guest list, working on the invitation cards, ordering the special cake, deciding on a back-up restaurant just in case, check prices and recommendations of hotels for guests from out of State and/or country. See what is happening in the city between Thursday, February 27 and March 4 such as theatre–in 2016 we went to see “Kinky Boots”—and what other restaurants I want the out-of-towners to go to and what has been new since my 20th birthday.
Oh, and yes, I have to get started on my birthday gift list–I try to do everything for my guests!
Aside from the pictures above–taken this past Thursday eating lunch at Nabu–here is an example of their menu.

NABU American Fusion Buffet & Sushi

Enjoy our wide variety of fusion food, including sushi, sashimi.

Posted November 18, 2018 by greatmartin in LIFE EVENTS, Uncategorized

“Boy Erased”–movie review   1 comment

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This past summer there was a film about a young lesbian sent to a Christian ‘conversion camp’ “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and in my review I wrote: “Before the film started there was a preview of a coming movie called “Boy Erased” about the son of a Baptist preacher who is forced to participate in a church-supported conversion starring Lucan Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe and Cherry Jones. I am hoping this is what I wanted “Miseducation” to be and wasn’t.” Unfortunately “Boy Erased” fails in the same way that “Miseducation” did in not going deeper into what happens at these ‘conversion’ camps except in a fleeting way.
It certainly goes further into the child and his parents with the father being a preacher and the mother and ‘obedient’ Christian wife. With the father played by Russell Crowe and the mother played by Nicole Kidman, each having their moments, the relationship with their son hits many an emotional note.
Lucas Hedges, as the son, gets every nuance of a boy who doesn’t know himself, who goes to a place where people are trying to make him something he isn’t. We meet him just before he is sent off to the camp and because the movie is not told in a linear fashion it takes time to find out he was sexually assaulted and his father finding out about that is what starts his going to the camp. Hedges goes through the complete arc of a boy becoming a man accepting himself as he is and expecting others to and if they won’t not being in his life.
A cameo by Cherry Jones got applause from the mainly gay audience. Talking about that audience it was one of the biggest crowds I have seen at a matinee without it being a holiday show and most of the after talk in the lobby was about the recent spate of movies being non-linear and photographed so darkly. Also, Joel Edgerton who directed and wrote the screenplay based on the memoir by Gerrard Conley plays one of the camp’s therapists carrying on the latest fad of one person doing too many jobs on a film.
The last half hour of “Boy Erased” is worth sitting through the first slow-moving emotionally divorced hour and a half. What positive thing many writers and directors are doing is adding additional information at the end of based on a true story film and this does supply the audience with a lot of information about the results of these camps, what has happened to the people involved and, in this case, how much Russell Crowe looks like the boy’s real father!
I am still waiting for a movie to really look at the gay conversion therapy camps, what they do, the physical and emotional abuse they put the children through and all the money they make.

Movie trailer

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