Enjoyed the play, ‘Ink’

inkWe went to see “Ink” over the weekend at the Samuel J. Friedman theater in NYC.

It was closing, night, but hopefully it will come back. Ink is about The Sun, the British newspaper and the play stars Bertie Carvel and Johnny Lee Miller. Bertie plays Rupert Murdoch, who purchased The Sun in 1969 and changed the whole format of news and newspapers with Johnny playing Larry Lamb, the editor.

I really enjoyed it. There is a bit of musical in it and I enjoyed the part where the whole newspaper-making process is described and shown on stage.

Stalking the Summer House

summerhouse

I see Carl and Kyle and that looks like Amanda next to Kyle and Paige next to her.

Every year when I’m in The Hamptons I look for the filming of Summer House, a tv show I watch. When I watch the show they seem to always be at bars and restaurants we go to so I’m always checking around for them. I left The Hamptons today & there they are at a restaurant some of my cousins are at tonight.

My cousin Matt took this picture at the restaurant. So I may go back and stalk then next week. But since I’m in the city, guess I’ll go stalk the Real Housewives for the time being. Ramotional.

Naked and afraid

iphoneNaked and afraid, that’s how I felt when I lost my cell phone. I didn’t actually lose it, I left it in my cousin’s car. The problem is I didn’t have her contact info. No one has a home phone anymore and I didn’t have her address or cell phone number.

This past holiday, we all went to another cousin’s house in The Hamptons for a few days for July 4th. A few of us drove back to the city after a couple of days. One cousin dropped me off at the train station to take the number 7 train back to Grand Central Terminal. As soon as I got out of the car, I realized I had left my phone on the seat, but I turned around and they were gone, already heading home. I panicked.

I started to think, how will I reach anyone? I do remember my aunt and uncle’s home phone number, but they were in the Hamptons, not at their house. Luckily I found a pay phone that worked and I called information, but nothing came up, they could not find anyone’s numbers. So there’s a lesson, keep a couple of contact numbers in writing somewhere where you can access them easily. Or memorize them – like the old days!

As I rode the subway back to the city, I thought of calling my father back in Miami and having him contact one of my relatives and then have them call me at the hotel, but then it dawned on me that I could contact my cousins through Facebook messenger. And that’s what I did. So for all the problems with Facebook these days, that was a life saver.

I arranged to meet one of my cousins tomorrow at his office and I’ll get my phone.

I know it seems like a first world problem, but everything is in that phone. I need it for work, my office number rings through to that and also I need it for Uber, for Apple Pay, for Google Maps, for living! Cell phones, Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft – they control our lives these days. I did write this blog post on my computer back at the hotel, but still, I needed my phone.

I wanted to Uber to my cousins’ house to get the phone last night, but how could I get Uber when I was stranded in a street in Queens? They dropped me off in a neighborhood I was not really familiar with because the usual place was too hard to get to due to the fireworks and all the people. Normally, they would drive me into the city, but again, due to the crowds it was not a good idea to drive in last night.

Think for a moment, if you did not have access to your cell phone today and you were dropped off somewhere that you were not familiar with, where it’s impossible to get a working pay phone, where you can’t just ask a stranger to use their cell phone. But even if you had access to a borrowed phone or a  pay phone, how would you call someone when all their contact info was lost? Other than your parents, whose number do you have memorized? I bet you don’t know your own brothers’s phone number by memory.

You could possibly sign into an email account through someone else’s cell phone, and contact people that way, or through Facebook messenger, which is what I did on my computer when I got back to the hotel. But life is quite difficult without our own cell phones these days. It’s something to think about. Where would I get people’s contact info, a working pay phone, a paper map, a GPS if needed or even access to Uber, without my cell phone if I am just lost (and afraid) in a strange area, on a strange street?

Even waving down a cab last night would get me nowhere since I don’t know any of my relatives and friends addresses even though I’ve been to their houses 100 times. I do know my aunt and uncle’s house phone number (not their cell phone numbers) and street address because they have had that house phone number and lived in that house for so many years, but they were in the Hamptons, not at their house in Queens so that info did me no good. I needed the contact info of people who were nearby and in town and that I didn’t have.

One more thing – the NY subway system is transitioning to a system where you would use your cell phone to access the subway. They will do away with Metrocards totally in a few years, so without my cell phone, I could not get through the turnstiles and get onto a train.

But anyway, all’s well that ends well. I’ll be back part of the world by noon today once I go to a cousin’s office to pick up my life, I mean my phone.

Oh, and the ironic part is that if I had just gotten on the train last night, came back to my hotel and went to bed, it would be like it was 20 years ago. The whole thing about not having the phone and trying to locate people to get my phone back was all entwined in the phone. In other words, what if I didn’t have a phone. What if I didn’t leave it in the car, what if I just came back to the city and went to bed and woke up today and went on with my life. Without a phone?  I mean if I just lived my life without the phone, and didn’t let it control me. then I wouldn’t have been in such a panic last night.

Beach life

beach5

At the Bay side on Key Biscayne

Went to the beach today. According to my car, it was 105 degrees! You know for about 25 years, I went to the beach almost daily. When I was growing up, it never got past the mid 80s. Never.

I stopped by Key Biscayne today, which is/was one of my usual spots, along with Miami Beach. Usually I would go alone on weekdays and with my friends on weekends. Sometimes for an hour, sometimes for eight hours. Sometimes I would meet my friends and we would walk or run on the boardwalk on South Beach and then go drinking at Mac’s Club Deuce or places like that. Other times I would go to Crandon on Key Biscayne alone; sometimes Matheson Hammock. I have an alligator story about Matheson hammock that I’ll tell you some time.

There was a period where I would go to Key Biscayne alone and I made myself stay on the beach until I came up with two or three comic strip ideas, then I could go home.

I would stay until it got dark many times, then come home, shower, change and go to happy hour with my friends. Most of my life I lived as if I was on vacation or retired. I didn’t work many hours in a day, most days I worked an hour or two in the morning and was free the rest of the day. So many days I was done with work by 10 am. I want to go back to living like that again. Sometimes, when I stopped going daily, I would still go for maybe an hour once in awhile. I would grab lunch somewhere and sit at at picnic table at the shore and have lunch.

I now live near the beach, it’s a quick drive. Back then I had to drive sometimes long distances, but I would make that trek daily. Summer and winter. All times of the year.

stmoritz

There was a period where I would go to 16th and Collins, right on the beach in front of the St. Moritz Hotel, the Loews Hotel is part of The St. Mortiz now and 16th Street is closed and part of the Loews property. The Loews wasn’t built then and 16th Street was open, so you could park there. It was so derelict that you would put money in any one of the parking meters and it would fall out at the bottom. It was just a regular street like the South Beach side streets are today. A street that ended at the edge of the sand/beach, on either side there were parking spaces and meter. Broken meters. My car got broken into there one time. It usually was only me at that beach and a few older people from the Charles Hotel which was nearby.

This old postcard above is how I remember the St. Moritz from the back, the beach side. It was desolate at the time, closed in the mid-80s. I don’t remember the pool, but I guess it was empty and covered. For some reason I just remember the hotel. I guess it was so far back from the shore that that is all I would see, the tall hotel. If you look at this second photo below, that is the same color blue I would see. This smaller image is from the front. I would park my car to the left of the front, which was 16th Street. Today it is closed and part of the Loews Hotel.

stmoritz2

My best friend Franco talked about buying the St. Moritz. It was just a dream of his. When I would lay at the beach at the shore but facing up at that hotel, I would notice that the two top windows had tinfoil on them, so I would imagine laying on the beach, looking up and seeing the tinfoil sparkle in the sun. That was Franco opening and closing the jalousies so that he could get my attention – sort of like a Bat signal, we didn’t have cell phones back then. That was my cue to come in from the beach to work my shift at the front desk. This of course all in my head, Franco never bought the hotel and I would just imagine it as I lay on the sand. If you look at the larger photo above, the one on the postcard, you can see the two top center windows I was speaking about.

One time as I was leaving the beach, I was in my car, and a traffic cop came up to me and said, “Do you want to be in a movie? If you do, drive naturally when the light changes.” They were filming the opening credits on Collins Avenue to the movie, “Making Mr. Right.” The movie came out in 1987, so this may have been one of my hey day years, 1986.

There really was no traffic in South Beach, which I don’t think was even called South Beach at that time, so they could just film a movie without really disturbing anything. It was the same with Miami Vice at the time. They would just shoot the show right there, mere feet from you. Even car chases on Ocean Drive were just a few feet away, I’m not sure how they got away with it.

One time they were filming at the Hare Krishna hotel, just off the boardwalk. I walked over with my friend jak and we were watching. I was leaning on a director’s chair watching, and my friend jak says, to me, “Isn’t that Karen Black?” I asked, “Where?” He said, “You’re leaning on her chair!” And it was Karen Black. It was that small of a town and homespun at that time period. Whenever I see the rerun of that episode I think of the Karen Black incident. It was an episode called, “Victims of Circumstance.”

If you look at the opening credits of Making Mr. Right you’ll see that car scene, that very day I was asked to be part of the traffic in the opening. I didn’t make the cut, but you can see that moment in time. The whole movie takes place during that period, so I like to watch it sometimes just for that. Speaking of credits, on the Miami Vice shot, it was the closing credits they were filming that time. At the very end, the Hare Krishnas come out from behind a wall as Crockett and Tubbs walk by them. When the last image is shown on tv, they literally froze the scene at the moment the Krishnas were coming out from behind the wall. The directors/producers whomever, screwed them out of their moment in the sun!

Crandon and Key Biscayne, was another world. It was like being on a tropical island. It was never busy during weekdays and the water was gin clear. There was hundreds, possibly thousands of palm trees. Key Biscayne or parts of it were a coconut plantation around the turn of the century, so it was paradise. I used to break open coconuts and rub the coconut milk on my body. Sometimes when I’m watching the tv shows Survivor or Naked and Afraid, it reminds me so much of that time and period.

South Beach, which wasn’t South Beach yet, was run down and old, just the way I loved it. We all knew each other before all the New Yorkers and party people came and overtook it in the 90s. Back in the 80s it was a small village, rundown and all ours, no tourists or wanna bes.

I was at a party once at the Versace mansion only it was not a mansion, it was a rundown apartment building. It was long before Gianni Versaci, there was an open courtyard surrounded by apartments where people lived. As you entered, there was a wrought iron spiral staircase where the big wooden door is now. There were no gates and no big door at the entrance, you would just enter the courtyard and go to the apartment you lived in.

I can go on and on, we had the run of Miami Beach, we were all over the place, we went to every dive bar on every side street, we hung out at the beach, Flamingo Park and everywhere in between. Lincoln Road was desolate then. You wouldn’t go there after dark, but during the day we hung out there. So many memories, I’m not sure why they are all flooding back now, but I’ll tell you more next time.

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‘Ink,’ the play

ink

We’re going to see “Ink” on Broadway in a couple of weeks. It’s a play about Rupert Murdock and the Sun newspaper. I’m not a fan of Rupert, but am a huge fan of newspapers, so looking forward to it.

I also am a Fan of Johnny Lee Miller who stars with Bertie Carvel, who plays Murdock, Johnny Lee plays Larry Lamb, the editor of the Sun. Johnny of course plays Sherlock Holmes in the excellent tv show Elementary.

From Ink’s website: “It’s 1969 London. The brash young Rupert Murdoch purchases a struggling paper, The Sun, and sets out to make it a must-read smash which will destroy—and ultimately horrify—the competition. He brings on rogue editor Larry Lamb who in turn recruits an unlikely team of underdog reporters. Together, they will go to any lengths for success and the race for the most ink is on!”

Italy dreaming

florence

I have a Sunday routine – I get up early, go to the gym, get breakfast, come home and watch CBS Sunday Morning. It’s always a great way to start a Sunday, the stories are always great.

This past Sunday (today, if you are reading this when I posted it, the whole show took place in Italy. Jane Pauley was based in Florence and there were stories from all over the country. So beautiful. You can watch the whole episode here, free.

I’ve always dreamed of spending long periods of time in Italy, you know, like maybe a whole summer or so. I’m usually in a rut – a travel rut, I go to the same places over and over again – this summer will be New York City again.

Something interesting that was mentioned in Sunday’s show, and something I had heard in the past is that if you are of Italian descent and have ancestors who came to the United States from Italy, like I do, you can become a citizen of Italy – have a dual citizenship between the US and Italy. That’s amazing to me. This also gives you some sort of citizenship as part of Europe according to the program, so that’s even more amazing.

It’s sort of full circle – my grandparents came to the US for a better life and I would consider going back to Italy for a better life.

In 2011, The Jersey Shore group, yes, that group, Snookie, et al, spent time in Florence. I started watching the show back then for the scenery. No seriously.  Here’s a NY Times article on the Jersey Shore people going to Italy.

I like so many areas – Milan, Florence, Naples, it’s hard to decide. I guess I should at least plan my trip before deciding where to live, right?

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Dominoes are part of a large new concrete landscape

dominoes14

Photo courtesy Droga

Artist Bo Droga and his volunteer crew have been creating a large row of dominoes along US1, under the Metrorail tracks in Coral Gables, FL. The large columns in the area at the University of Miami along Ponce de Leon Boulevard have been turned from drab cement to black and white domino pieces. Droga’s work is inspired by many things, usually by his immediate surrounding and the local material at hand. “The common thread within my artwork is the simplicity in form, and use of everyday material,” he says.

The volunteers helping him on the dominoes project are all moms, all volunteers and all French.

The “Miami Dominoes” installation will eventually include 46 of the columns when completed, as of now, there are still a few more being worked on. They are up to 18 feet high.

Droga is Australian, who came to Miami by way of Paris. After all these years, he is the one who had the eye to see something that was staring us all in the face all these years.

I must admit when they were building Metrorail in the early 1980s, I would see the pylons/columns which we called “Stonehenge South” at the time and thought they would make great surfaces for advertising. Thank God that never became the case.

The crew uses large metal forms to create the round domino dots. The area will eventually be part of the long Underline project and Droga envisions outdoor tables and people sitting around in the area playing dominoes – a sort of sister to Domino Park that is in Little Havana.

Dorga originally had the domino idea for a project in Australia, but it never got off the ground due to permitting issues and when he moved here and saw the Metrorail pylons, he knew exactly what to do.The Miami-Dade County transportation and public works department helped him get permitted and he was off.

One thing that the local community has noticed – the dominoes are a “double six” set, where in Miami, “double nines” is popular. Droga knows that, but feels that the sixes make for a better look and art installation.

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