Tuesday, November 30, 2010

#4 - This is why I came here...

Two things happened this weekend that represent why I came to this Mecca. Perhaps if I put it down in words, some of my motivation for this upheaval to my life will be apparent.
Some of you know that I have a beloved cousin in LA who is "in the business". Well, Stuart Gordon got his start doing theater in Wisconsin (where he met his bride of a gazillion years Caroline, but I digress) and then moved to Chicago, where he started The Organic Theater, and I did some time working where ever non-acting help was needed. That struggling troop of players birthed many names from TV and film that you would recognize, but the man of the moment I want to tell you about is Andre De Shields. He was a formidable force on the stage those 30 years ago, and nothing has diminished his skills. He sings, dances and can act the skin off a lemon...but there were no lemons on that stage Sunday. I went to an off off (probably another off) Broadway theater down in the lower East Side (remember Henry Street from Funny Girl, that part of the tenements) to see Knock Me A Kiss. This is a play about W.E.B. DuBois. Andre plays the Black icon who tries to further the cause of "the Negro" by arranging his daughter's marriage to a more suitable man of letters than the jazzman she loves. Well, drama abounds. I have been looking forward to seeing Andre perform on stage for years. The tingling magic of sitting up close in a tiny theater, feeling the vibrations of talent that exuded from actors inhabiting their characters, is why I came here. It is fun seeing a musical or a show that has great press on Broadway, but seeing actors do their thing close up...that's breathtaking.
After the show, we talked about the old days; of counting the evening's take and divvying  it up amongst the players in a circle on the floor, old friends from the Chicago days and of changing clothes back stage (I have seen lots of famous actors "butt nekked"). Even a seasoned actor, like Andre De Shields respects the roots that must be developed, so that they can stand on today's stage. It was a wonderful day.
The next day, Monday, being the day most actors have off, they rest by singing at night in concerts or fund raisers. Last night was filled with at least 3 events I would have liked to have gone to, but I chose to go to Broadway Speaks Out's "A Very Mary Holiday". Marty Gould Cummings (a very funny and glam fellow) was the host to so many great singers and to Laura Benanti (just one of the most beautiful and talented actresses EVER), who got an award for her good works for issues of equality. No room now to go into the talent I saw, but the focus for me was going with a friend, the very interesting and connected Elisa Schneider (who is very funny and smart about theater people), schmoozing with people I was meeting for the first time, and laughing (and trying new concoctions from the bar). The event made lots of $$$, and I got to watch the theater people work the room, networking and air kissing. The sociology of the charity party is worth a full semester of credit at any good acting school. It was a fascinating evening. I will go to lots of these Mondays. They are magic too, because all the participants are gifted and happy to perform for fun.
A long but necessary post. Thanks for staying with me....tonight maybe the Rockefeller Center's Tree lighting and Brief Encounters with Susan. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

#3 - Macy's Parade, Finally!

I finally got to go to the Macy's Parade. I will not say out loud how long I have been waiting to say those words. Everything about the event lived up to expectation, from the crowds, the floats/balloons, the weather, spirit and good vibes of the people, the bands and screams of excitement of the kids (and adults), the horses!, to the good spirited police officers guarding and blocking the streets.
I couldn't sleep all night with the anticipation. I laid out a plan to select the best spot...all that was for nothing, because there were throngs everywhere I turned.  Being one of the short people did not help at all! I did find a perfect vantage place near 36th and Broadway. Near Harold Square. The people were fun and we kibitzed the entire 2 hours. There was one annoying woman who had no concept of "personal space", but in the spirit of the day, I didn't behave poorly (but I wanted to).
When Snoopy came around the corner of the building, I cried copious tears of joy, which were only stopped by the necessity of taking pictures. I always cry at parades. Spidyman and KungFuPanda were really cool. The celebrity that got the biggest roar was Gladys Knight, with Joan Rivers a close second, but she couldn't smile through all the Botox.
I will put on a pic of Spidy and will do a gallery later of all the best shots.
Have a Happy thanksgiving. I know I have a lot to be thankful for, believe me, I do.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

#2 - A Brief Overview (The Powder Blue Palace)

I am a very lucky person. Through the good thinking of my friend Nancy, I was introduced to a friend of a friend, who just happened to have a place in NYC, that she never went to, but for which she still had to pay a "monthly maintenance". I, being a kind and generous person, volunteered to assume that fee for a year (with an option to renew for another, next October), and we all are very happy.
This wonderful apartment is a one bed-room, in a 30 story building, 2 blocks off Union Square and right on bus and subway lines that reach out everywhere. Perfect location, nice door men, maintenance people who fix broken anything, and a view of the Empire State Building that could stop your heart every time you look out the window.
There is only one negative...it's powder blue! Well, everything is powder blue: the walls, the ceiling, the carpet, the sheets and towels, well not the dishes, they are floral. Now, I know you are saying to yourself, "What a silly thing to even mention. This is not the practical and easy going Bettie I know and love.", but you don't know that I hate powder blue. This comes from the 9 years I was forced to wear that abominable color in my school uniform EVERY DAY. I have loathed that color since forever.
Will I let that deeply ingrained prejudice ruin my stay here? NO FRAKING WAY. I'm not here to look at walls, anyway. I'm here to go to the theater, meet people and have adventures. I keep the shades open and let the city flood in with that stunning view. Huge rain clouds sail by the skyline. Gorgeous sunsets pour into this place, and it is magical how I don't see the blue any more. I only see out, and that's what I'll write about next. Until then....

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Please forgive the delay in starting this blog, but I have been distracted....by NYC. There has been much exploring, poking around the neighborhood and hanging around in Times Square.
I am setting up this blog with absolutely no confidence in my computer skills, but as my friend Kathy says, if it stays in your mind, it is not happening. So here I am, fumbling around, making changes and fiddling with photos and colors. This will eventually be the place to check in with me and read of my adventures and thoughts. Well, only I care about my thoughts, but I do know how to embellish an adventure.
Please join in the fun....