Sunday, July 30, 2023
Saturday, July 29, 2023
|Tim with the Village|
People on his
short-lived 1980 variety series
Tim, Joe and Harvey tried to recapture the magic of Carol's show but it was missing. Tim's Mr. Tudball without Carol's Mrs. Wiggins became tiresome. Even though Harvey was there for some of the show, the Old Man bit was also repetitive. There was some funny material such as the recurring audience-participation sketches where real-life members of the studio audience would participate in a scene reading cue cards with Tim (probably the best segment in the series). The Don Creighton Dancers were a troupe of kids performing as if they were adults which was kind of fun. Jack Riley (best known as the neurotic Mr. Carlton on The Bob Newhart Show) was an effective regular for a while, but was removed after May of 1980. Here's a rundown of Tim Conway Show episodes featuring Carol, Harvey and Vicki (available on YouTube).
Friday, July 28, 2023
Sunday, July 23, 2023
Bought at the Strand for $10 and read mostly on an 10-hour flight from Istanbul to Frankfurt to JFK. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize which was a motivator for me to read it. That and its brevity (I was looking for an absorbing read during a vacation.) Amusing and detailed, this novel follows a gay white male about to turn 50, taking stock of his life as he travels around the world on a series of opportune writing assignments and left-handed invitations from friends of friends, all to avoid the wedding of his ex. Arthur Less is endearing and charming. It's hard to dislike him but it's equally hard to muster any sympathy for him. Ironically, his latest novel has been rejected by his long-time publisher for those very reasons--the protagonist has first-world problems. I mean how many of us would kill to have Less's kind of life--a nice house in San Francisco, a first marriage to a world famous poet, and a trip around the world, gratis! So Greer is making fun of himself. When Less turns his novel into a comedy, that supposedly unblocks him creatively and emotionally. The writing is funny and strong with wonderful descriptions of the various locales in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The opening chapter is particularly funny with its comedy of errors as Less prepares to interview a famous sci-fi author (probably modeled on Games of Thrones' George R.R. Martin) who is suffering from food poisoning. Funny and fast and eventually I warmed up to Less but I didn't feel badly for him.
Friday, July 21, 2023
|David Hyde Pierce will|
star in Here We Are,
the last Sondheim musical
coming to Off-B'way this fall.
Credit: Joan Marcus
Stephen Sondheim, will begin previews at the Shed's Griffin Theater on Sept. 28 with an opening set for Oct. 22. Derived from two Luis Bunuel classic films, The Exterminating Angel and The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, the show features a book by David Ives (All in the Timing) and direction by two-time Tony winner Joe Mantello. The all-star cast includes Obie winner Francois Battiste (The Good Negro, A Raisin in the Sun), Drama Desk winner Tracie Bennett (End of the Rainbow), Drama Desk and Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale (The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Boardwalk Empire, Will and Grace), Michaela Diamond (Parade), Amber Gray (Hadestown), Ja Hin (M. Butterfly), Tony winner Rachel Bay Jones (Dear Evan Hansen, Pippin), Tony and Drama Desk winner Denis O'Hare (Take Me Out, Sweet Charity), Drama Desk winner Steven Pasquale (Reasons to Be Pretty, The Bridges of Madison County), Tony and Emmy winner David Hyde Pierce (Curtains, Frasier), and Tony nominee Jeremy Shamos (Clybourne Park).
|The cast of How to Dance in Ohio.|
Credit: Curtis Brown
formal dance. The show premiered at Syracuse Stage in 2022 and features music by Jacob Yandura and book and lyrics by Rebekah Greer Melocik, who are also making their Broadway debuts. Director Sammi Cannold is also a first-timer for the Main Stem.
Thursday, July 20, 2023
|The elegant lobby of the Intercontinental|
Hotel in Istanbul
Grand Bazaar we had been to on our last visit. It was remarkable for its colorful displays and non-aggressive salesmen. Then we took our cruise on the bosphorus with Mehmet providing commentary. At one point, I had a picture taken as we approached a bridge to show we were between Europe and Asia.
Wednesday, July 19, 2023
Sat., July 15--Kavala
|Kavala's idea of public transportation.|
At least it was free.
Sunday, July 16, 2023
Thurs. July 13--Izmir, Turkey
|The clock tower in |
the main square of Izmir, Turkey
Friday, July 14, 2023
Mon. July 10--Crete
|Our guide Karen at the Phaestos Palace site|
We were too tired to do anything after the four-hour tour including the long drive back to the boat. After lunch and lounging on the pool deck, I played Team Trivia, scoring 12 out of 15 (I correctly guessed that Elizabeth Taylor had been married 8 times to 7 different husbands). Then high tea on the Horizons deck. The string quartet played unusual selections like "Three Little Maids from School" from The Mikado and The Beatles' Yellow Submarine as I sipped Earl Grey and munched little salami sandwiches and sweet pastries, just like at Harrod's.
|The view of the parthenon from|
our hotel in Athens
After our flight from JFK to Zurich to Athens, we checked into our hotel at the Greek capital, the Great Bretaigne (overlooking the Acropolis and the Parthenon) and had dinner at a local restaurant (very good). The flight was SwissAir--watched the first episode of Season 2 of The White Lotus (what's all the fuss about with the entire cast nominated for Emmys?) and Season 5 of The Handmaid's Tale (I'd lost interest after the first four seasons, but thought I would catch up.)
Saturday, July 8, 2023
Wednesday, July 5, 2023
Guest Star: Howie Mandel
|Carol and Howie Mandel in|
Myna and the Messenger
Tuesday, July 4, 2023
Found for free in the basement bookcase of a neighbor (residents put their unwanted books down there.) Another one of the 100 books the BBC says I should read before I die. Coming almost right after The Five People You Meet in Heaven, this provided a more palatable version of the afterlife for me than the previous Hallmark Card version written by Mitch Albom. Alice Sebold's best-seller imagines a 14-year-old girl looking down on her family, friends and her murderer after she is raped and killed. There's less sugary sentimentality here, plus the Pennsylvania locale is familiar to me having grown up in Norristown (though I can't remember any cornfields.) The format is that of a police thriller, but it's more about our relationship with the dead and how they live inside us as long as we remember them. That's Sebold's metaphor for heaven. The murdered girl lives in an idealized version of her hometown and the high school she never got to attend. She watches her family on Earth as they adjust (or fail to adjust) to her absence. Their complex stories form the backbone if you will and the metaphysical speculation is thankfully kept to a minimum. The police thriller aspect, is not stereotypical with a false Hollywood TV ending. With all its spiritualism and visits from the dead, The Lonely Bones is more realistic than The Five People You Meet in Heaven. The subsidiary characters are as finely drawn as the dead girl and her family, especially the alcoholic, but supportive grandmother. I liked the neighbor mother, Mrs. Singh, and her Dunhill cigarettes.