NYMysteries    Aug. 12 – Aug. 18

Writers Digest Conference 2018 was held at the Hilton. It was well organized and the staff were very helpful. I think there are more writers than readers. Estimating how many people were at the conference, I’d say between 800 and 1000. Pitching was amazing. You had one hour, 90 minutes with each agent to sell your story. Waiting to begin was like waiting for your own execution but once in the enormous, well organized room it went smoothly. Lots of good suggestions: Don’t wait in a long line. Find an agent with a short line and talk to her. Make sure you approach an agent who’s interested in your genre. There were signs over each agent’s desk describing his interest. Writers Digest had provided us before hand with a layout of the room, the names and specialties of the agents and their photos. In addition there were excellent discussions about craft, the business of publishing and lots of opportunities to speak to other people. It was an intense, wonderful experience. Well done, Writers Digest!

 

Don Swanson’s Landscape

The Frick Staff Art Show on Frick’s Staff Day was terrific. Two examples are Don Swanson’s Landscape Marbleized paper

Lorenzo De Los Angeles

and Lorenzo De Los Angeles’s Like the gilt-bronze mounts by Jean Godille …paper, mat board, glue, paint sold tissue, crushed glass and acrylic medium.

 

 

Writers Digest Pitch Line in Back of Me
Writers Digest Pitch Line in front of me

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: What do a teacher, a nine-year-old and an eighteen year old have in common? Murder. Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man..

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

NYMysteries Aug. 6 – Aug. 11

It’s been a busy week in hot and humid NYC. 

The annual Frick Staff Education Day was held on Monday.  Emma Capron, the 2016–18 Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow and an authority on Netherlandish art, gave a talk and slide show on The Charterhouse at Bruges: Jan van Eyck, Petrus Christius and Jan Vos. It was a tasty preview of the special exhibition opening on September 18. There were a variety of activities for Staff Education Day: a discussion about the future of the Boucher Room, a demonstration of sun printing and painting faux marble. Shadow profile portraiture was a popular activity in George Washington’s time. This activity ties in with the current Canova’s George Washington exhibit. Participants created their own examples.  There was also bowling. Let us not forget that in the early 20th century no mansion was complete without a bowling alley. The Frick’s is a beauty – all polished wood. The Staff Art Exhibition, Exquisite Corpse, was a knock out.

A friend and I visited the Morgan Library. After a very tasty lunch of cold soup, deviled eggs and delicious pinot grigio, we went to Morgan’s wonderful library on the first floor.

J. P. Morgan’s Library

On Friday I went to the first of three days of the Writers Digest 2018 Conference. Today was  dedicated to query letters. Janet Reid has been educating and terrorizing writers for years. QueryShark.blogspot.com. is where she lays down the law about writing in general and query letters in particular. Her talk was witty, biting and cogent. Paula Munier gave an interesting session on Beginnings: Your first 10 pages. There was lots of talk about pitching i.e. selling your story to an agent in 90 seconds. Tomorrow, I do it. Groan. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: What do a teacher, a nine-year-old and an eighteen year old have in common? Murder. Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man..

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

NYMysteries – July 28 – Aug. 4

July 28 – Aug. 4

Back in NYC after three glorious weeks in Portland, Or. I’ve been making my yearly sojourn for a long time. When I first went to Portland, the temperature was a perfect 72 degrees and no humidity. Since then it’s climbed. This time at least seven of the days were 95 degrees. Nothing like experiencing global warming to know it’s not a figment of the imagination. 

 

 

Portland Zoo Concert:
I said it was crowded.
The Portland Zoo Concert

We went to a Saturday night concert at the Oregon Zoo. It was packed. The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band strummed and sang for about two hours to the delight of the enormous crowd. We were armed with beer, wine, corn dogs and  umbrellas/parasols to ward off the before mentioned global warming. 

Table talk. For years I’ve spotted portable tables with at least six people racing around Portland. It’s the Peddle Club. 

People sit around a table equipped with pedals and peddle their table through Portland while they drink great Portland beer and wine. I’ve been told that it exists in NYC but I’ve never seen it in action.

 

 

 

 

 

The Peddle Club

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: What do a teacher, a nine-year-old and an eighteen year old have in common? Murder. Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man..

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

NYMysteries in Portland,Oregon July 22 – July 27 

At Cinema 21: Don’t Worry. He won’t Get Far On Foot. 

Cinema21 is an old fashioned movie house, small, only one screen, dark.  Director Gus Van Sant latest film tells the story of John Callahan, a man who struggled for decades with alcoholism even after he was paralyzed after a drunk driving accident at the age of 21. Eventually he found sobriety and recovery through humor. His irreverent cartoons made him a celebrity in his hometown of Portland, Ore.. Callahan is played in the film by Joaquin Phoenix. What fun to be in Portland and see a movie set in Portland. Here’s an example of his humor:

priests.gif

Huber’s Cafe has been in operation since 1879. It’s famous for its Spanish coffee. The waiters perform like matadors, dealing with fire, rum, Kahlua and coffee. This is all in the interest of providing a customer with a cup of joe!

A waiter at Huber’s Cafe making Spanish coffee

 

 

 

Working on the Spanish coffee at Huber’s Cafe
Huber’s Cafe’s beautiful ceiling

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: What do a teacher, a nine-year-old and an eighteen year old have in common? Murder. Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man..

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

NYMysteries in Portland,Oregon –  July 15 – July 21

 

Sleep walking in Portland. a few days ago I went to a birthday party, had a great time, and drank a little too much beer and wine. Back at the Inn at Northrup Station I fell into a deep sleep. At 3 a. m. I found myself  in the Inn’s corridor. The click of the door’s lock had awakened me. I’d sleepwalked. With nothing on but a modest nightgown I went to the front desk, way down the corridor. The night clerk, a millennial with a goofy hairdo, behaved with aplomb. Is he used to older women arriving at his counter in nightgowns at three in the morning? He gave me a swipe card and I went back to my room.

This year’s Inn at the Northrup Station’s corridor carpet.
David Edward’s Longevity scroll at the Oregon Historical Society
The Inn at Northrup Station’s last year’s corridor carpet. Which do you prefer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Portland Museum’s Car Show. A Stout Scarab
The Portland Art Museum’s car show. The Aeromobile

 The sign at the Oregon Historical Society stated that Japanese calligraphy is an art form. Chinese characters are imported to Japan and still used today. I went to the Historical Society’s beautiful,  small exhibit.  David Edwards was represented by two scrolls, entitled longevity. He belongs to the Meito Shodo-Kai Calligraphy Association.(Shodo)

We went to the Portland Art Museum Car Show: The Shape of Speed, Streamlined Automobiles and Motorcycles 1930-1942. Nineteen cars, many one offs, were on display.  The 1936 Stout Scarab was $5000 in 1936 but didn’t attract buyers.  The Aeromobile speaks for itself.

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: What do a teacher, a nine-year-old and an eighteen year old have in common? Murder. Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man..

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

NYMysteries in Portland,Oregon July 8 – July 14

 

The Inn at Northrup Station
The Inn at Northrup Station
The Inn at Northrup Station

On my first day, dear friends and I met for a tradition that’s lasted about twenty years. We had evening dirty martinis at the Bensen. 

I’m staying at my favorite hotel in the whole world, The Inn at Northrup Station. Did Fred Flintone and Salvadore Dali design it? It’s filled with 1950s colors. Ever hear of chartreuse? Ever hear of pink? There are odd, endearing objects that might have fallen out of a surreal painting. 

I spent early Sunday morning at the Portland Japanese Garden It’s quiet and  in full bloom. The iridescent Koi, goldfish to you, light up the stream. Some live to seventy years old.

From the serene and elegant we went to The Shape of Speed, the bustling and elegant car show at the Portland Art Museum. It features 19 vintage cars from the 1930s and 1940s. The red Chrysler Thunderbolt is mine.

Happy Hour is a Portland tradition. We met at Bartini, a gorgeous bar for nibbles and, you guessed it, dirty martinis. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: What do a teacher, a nine-year-old and an eighteen year old have in common? Murder. Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a  dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man..

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

NYMysteries June 24 -June 30

Pride Sunday. In the late seventies, when it was called the Gay Day Parade, my boyfriend and I would arrive at a gay friend’s apartment on Hudson, drink champagne at ten a.m. and smoke perfectly rolled cigarettes. I was titillated by the largely homosexual crowd expressing surprise that I was gay. Then we strolled up Fifth Avenue, slightly stoned. It was a leisurely walk, hardly a march.

 

 

For this Pride Sunday, The Judson Memorial Church’s staff created  evocative and heart breaking posters of the past LGBT community.

 

 

 

Saint James Baldwin
Saint Christine Jorgensen
Saint Alan Turing
St. Harry Hay

A friend and I go to the movies in hopes we’ll break the spell of choosing long, boring movies. The three most recent stinkers: The King, Phantom Thread, Gone Girl. 

The King, at IFC, ropes you in because it’s supposedly about Elvis Presley. Actually it’s a self serving vehicle about the director, Eugene Jarecki, who informs us that he’s anti-Trump and supports Black Lives Matter. What does this have to do with E. P.? Jarecki criticizes Presley for not participating in civil rights marches. Presley was a musical genius. That’s it. He might have been a dope but who cares? Speaking of vehicles, Jarecki has the usual tired celebrities such as Alec Baldwin ride around in Presley’s Rolls Royce.  Avoid. 

Paul Taylor Anderson’s Phantom Thread is so boring. Daniel Day-Lewis walks on water for some. In this long affected movie he treads on cloth. If you suffer from insomnia, this is the flick for you.

We saw David Fincher’s Gone Girl in a glorious Amsterdam art nouveau movie theater, Pathé Tuschinski. I’m a fan of Gillian Flynn’s flinty, non-flinching descriptions of everyday life and of her sense of humor. None of which is present in the film adaptation. And to put the nail in the coffin Ben Affleck wanders through the plot in his usual sleepwalker’s stance. 

I had to meet a friend for drinks at Bemelmans Bar after seeing Always at the Carlyle. Sitting in the twilight of Bemelman’s wall paintings, listening to someone slinging Cole Porter and sipping champagne is certainly the way to spend the cocktail hour. 

 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

June 18 – June 23

By the time you read this, it will be too late. There’s a Tapas Bar on Clinton Street where we had delicious tiny dishes for an early supper before NYC ’s Secrets and Lies at Caveat. The Iranian owner has sold Tapas. Let us hope the new owner has was much culinary skill and style. We then went down, down down to Caveat. What a great nightclub. This evening event consisted of  five women conning us with incredible or credible stories about NYC. Four were truthful. One was a lie. The place was packed. Is Manhattan thirsty for nerdy fun? I think so.

Three day s later, after dinner at Gigino’s we went to Highlights in Jazz. We were saying good bye to Jack Kleinsinger’s longest running jazz series in NYC, as Kleinsinger is so fond of reminding us. We had decided that the series was old and dusty. This evening proved the series still has lots of life. It was a tribute to the guitarist, Russell Malone. He was joined by the drummer, Lewis Nash, Gene Bertoncini, the guitarist, and other stellar musicians. A lovely evening. 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie. 

Mary Jo Robertiello

http://www.nymysteries.com

New York Mysteries June 10- June 16

Global Entry: Trusted Traveler Program

Have you arrived at Kennedy tired and tipsy from your flight and then wended your way with ten million others  through customs? Wait no more! Maybe.

Online I filled in a long Global Entry: Trusted Traveler Program form and paid $100. A few weeks later, I was instructed to report to the U. S. Custom House at Bowling Green at 3 p.m. sharp. If you’re late, you are advised you’ll have to go through the whole process again. The government’s office is housed in the Museum of the American Indian, a mammoth building perched at the southern tip of Manhattan. You check into the building as if you were in an airport. Well, it is a government program. You go to the third floor and read a sign that says, Sit Here. You sit on a cushioned bench outside a door with a U. S. government agency printed on the door. It has nothing to do with you. Within 15 minutes, an official appears and asks you your name and takes your passport and drivers license. You are taken to the fourth floor where you sit some more. After a few minutes you are called to an open bank where an official asks you your birthdate and email. That’s the interview. You’re told you’ll receive Your Global Entry membership card within 10-15 business days. You’re also given written instructions about how to access your membership. It’s loaded with admonitions about what not to do. See you in line.

The Boys in the Band

A friend and I had dinner at Joe Allen’s. Over some good grub and wine, we traded accounts of NYC in the seventies. We then went to the Booth Theater to see Boys in the Band. More memory lane. I went to the Booth years ago. Beatrice Lillie, anyone? The old darling, the Booth, shows its age. It was built in 1913 and reeks of memories. So does the 1968  production. Imagine. Pre-Aids. Boys in the Band was written by a Catholic, southern gay man, Mart Crowley. His dialogue is terrific: witty, biting and harkens back to the time when gays were tormented about being gay and being found out.  Is there any recording of the audiences response back then? Now, we all know, it’s cool to appreciate all things gay so the audience laughed knowingly and was silently respectful during the tear jerking moments.  Loved the production and the wit.

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook?

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

NYMYSTERIES MAY 2 – JUNE 8

 

Off to Yonkers. We decided to go to Untermyer Park and Garden and ignore rain threats. It paid off. We had a delightful sun filled stroll around the forty plus acres. To the west is the Hudson and the Palisades. The fragrant gardens are being restored. We visited the mysteriously named Persian Garden which is filled with copies of Greek statues and columns. Around us, restoration work was being done on the 1899 structure. So quiet, so green: a perfect antidote for the NYC bustle. 

Untermyer Park and Garden
Untermyer Park and Garden

I confess. I saw Always at the Carlyle. I can claim I’m a native New Yorker and the Carlyle is part of my DNA. The real reason I went to the restored Quad was to see all the celebrities in the documentary who can afford $10,000- $20,000 a night.

 

 

 

 

 

Studio 5 Celebrating Bernstein and Robbins

Boo-hoo. We attended our final Studio 5 presentation. It was dedicated to Leonard Bernstein. Bernstein, as everyone knows, would have been one hundred this year. We were treated to music and dance created by Bernstein and Jerome Robbins. 

 

 

 

A friend and I planned our visit to the Cloisters’ Heavenly Bodies so that we’d arrive early and escape before the crowds arrived. After going through several cloisters, halls, and rooms to look at and drool over the fabulous and enormous exhibit which is part of the Fashion and the Catholic Imagination at the Metropolitan and the Cloisters, we felt peckish and went to New Leaf, a charming restaurant in the park.

It’s been a week filled with gardens and views of the Hudson.  

 

Now: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination at the Cloisters

 

 

Then: Tomb of a Lady and probably a saint. The Cloisters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned a murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His

partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.