New York Mysteries June 25 – June 30

We used to call it the Gay Day Parade. Now, it’s the NYC Pride March or the LGBT Pride March. And it’s political. The Trump administration has made us aware of how dangerous democracy is. Judson Memorial Church was placed at the beginning of the parade. It’s a blessing. The nearer you are to the head of the parade, the shorter amount of time you wait to get lined up and march, skip, or run down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich Village. The parade passes the Stonewall Inn where Gays stood up to the 1969 police riots. Some of the participants in the present day parade were Lesbians have a Right to Abortions, Immigration rights, Gays Against Guns. Gays Against Guns passed out their pride hymnal, topical lyrics set to familiar music. MAR-A-LAGO is sung to “Oklahoma” : “Mar-! a-Lago! Where the lies are thicker than the steak! And the weekend set will not say yet, if there’s any law you want to break!“
It was a wonderful day.

Judson Memorial Church marching in the LGBT Pride March

 

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 three people 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.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

NewYork Mysteries May 21 – May 27

After a tasty Dominican supper, we went to the very baroque Church of St. Michael’s on West 99th Street to attend Amor Artis chorus and orchestra perform Handel in Italy. Handel worked in Italy from 1706-1710. Among the cantatas, mezzo-soprano Sarah Nelson Craft enchanted us with Armida Abbandonata.

Sarah Nelson Craft and Ryan James Brandau performing Handel in Italy

 

 

 

#WhiteLoveListens Potlucks are meals sponsored by Judson Memorial Church members to discuss how to make racial justice work. I joined a Brooklyn group of people all white, mostly elderly. We each talked about being raised in a white environment. To quote the expression, you don’t know what you don’t know. The evening provided a launching pad for further thinking, for getting out of the box.

 

“Welcome to one of the few places in NYC where cell phones and people are silent, food and drinks are for after the movie and everyone has a wonderful time.” This message is flashed on the MOMA screen before the movies that attract packed audiences. Mr. Cary Grant is a wonderful collection of the suave one’s various charming movies. Since he and Alfred Hitchcock are among my most admired movie pros, I paid one dollar to see “North by Northwest.” It’s such fun living in NYC and going to a 1959 movie that features 1950s Manhattan: Cary Grant strolling into the Plaza where in real-life he had a suite; Eva Marie Saint in couture chosen in Berdorfs for her by Hitchcock; the aerial shot of the UN; the Bernard Herrmann music.

NewYork Mysteries May 14 – May 21

“My belief in God tells me that the most important thing you can do for another human being is help them in their time of need.” Dr. Willie Parker, a Southern Christian abortion provider, was quoted in a recent Esquire article. Dr. Parker flies in to Alabama to work at the Pink House, the only abortion center left in Alabama. Dr. Parker will be speaking at Judson Memorial Church during the Sunday service. I chose to be part of the security team – The part of me that finds everything funny was in high gear – who can resist carrying a walkie-talkie and wearing a security vest? The humor stops there. Whether or not abortion doctors should be required to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of complications is the latest obstruction to Choice. Texas is considering a similar law. With a population of twenty-seven million people, it has just six abortion clinics. It is already law in North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah and looms over Alabama, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

I attended a performance of Jinah Parker’s SHE. It’s a choreoplay about sexual violence against women and girls. It’s ninety minutes of dance and revelation, creation mixed with real-life stories. During the Q & A post production, men and women discussed men’s ignorance about how to treat women.

Congratulations to the 111 Graduating Class of Ramallah Friends School. The Society of Friends founded the school around 1901 to provide education for Palestinian girls. It has been co-ed for many years. In spite of the military occupation, many of the graduates will be attending college in Canada, the U. S. the U. K. and the Euro zone.
Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, 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 three people 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?

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

NYMysteries April 29 – May 6

It was a busy Saturday. The Stuyvesant Town Flea Market, put on hold since 9/11, was held on a glorious spring day. The Oval, which is the center of the Stuyvesant complex, was packed with stalls, anything and everything Stuy Town residents wanted to get rid of, families and dogs. In the late afternoon I went to Judson Memorial Church for the wedding of the century. Two men, beloved by the congregation, were being united. One of the grooms’ fathers made a profound remark: Marriage does not give you license to change your partner. In marriage, you support your partner.

 

Fresh flowers for sale at the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market

 

M & M at their wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Frick concert season ended with a wonderful display of piano brilliance by the Spanish pianist, Javier Perianes. He treated us to Schubert and Debussy. The two last pieces by Albania and de Falla were spectacular.

 

Delice & Sarrason on Christopher Street is a hot vegan restaurant. I thought I’d stepped into Alice in Wonderland. Remember the mad hatter’s tea party? Everyone at the table was on the same wave length except Alice. That’s how I felt at Delice and Sarrason. People were licking their young, beautiful lips over coq au vin, beef bourguignon, coquilles St. Jacques BUT the coq, beef and coquilles were made with vegetable fibers, tapioca and potato. If vegans don’t eat meat why do they name their non-meat dishes steak frites (three types of mushrooms)? In the 1940’s Ruth McKenny and her sister Eileen, Ohio girls, came to NYC and lived in the same area as Delice & Sarrason. The musical Wonderful Town was based on McKenny’s New Yorker stories and many of the scenes take place in their dump of an apartment on Christopher.

Highlights in Jazz ended its season with The Joe Bushkin Centennial. His son-in-law, Bob Merrill, was master of ceremonies. We were treated to performances by Nicki Parrott and Spike Winner.

 

 

BMCC: Performing Arts Center
Joe Bushkin’s Centenniel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, 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 three people 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?

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York City Blog — March 12 – March 18

Look what Clover Vail did to Judson’s Sunday bulletin:

 

State of the Union

 

 

 

 

 

 
The weather caused me to cancel a few engagements so I indulged in one of my favorite pastimes: concentrating on people’s good and bad points.
The firing of U. S. Attorney Preet Bharara: Of course, he’s an immigrant. What a bum, right? He has the nerve to prosecute people regardless of their political affiliations. If Attorney Bharara isn’t deported, there are rumors he might run for the office of N. Y. State governor. Imagine, N. Y. state with an honorable governor.

St. Patrick’s Day was low key. Nothing interesting. It’s become so inclusive. On youtube, Ireland’s Taoiseach Enda Kenny talked about immigration. As he explained, in his honeyed accent, how much it meant to the Irish and all other

St. Patrick’s Day

people, I couldn’t help noticing how constipated the guy with the cotton candy hairdo looked.

 

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, 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: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — January 15 – January 21

Roman Food? Lead the way. A friend and I met at Rock Center Cafe to enjoy an evening of Roman specialties. Sorry, Chef. Even better than the food is the view of the ice skating rink.

The Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink

.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We walked a few blocks from Judson Memorial Church to see a recent installation of a group show by abstract artists. Clover Vail has her work on display in a street-level window of a New York University building.

Clover Vail’s Abstract Art

 

What did you do on Inauguration Day? We escaped to Brooklyn and had a late lunch at Peter Lugars.

 

 

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, 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: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — January 6 – January 14

I had cataract surgery on my left eye last Friday. I arrived at Eye & Ear on 14th Street at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am, waded through various bureaucratic procedures including a generous check made out to the hospital, had various post-op instructions from kind nurses, i.e. don’t rub you eye, don’t get water in your eye, remember to put in the eye drops. The pre-op scene was very NYC. What did the staff and I, in a dreamy drug induced slumber, talk about? NYC rents. The procedure itself was painless and speedy. While the doctor did whatever eye doctors do, I saw technicolor images à la Star Wars. Afterwards, I feasted on coffee and a blueberry muffin. Don’t you find post-op snacks are always delicious? When I told the volunteer that it was the best coffee I’d ever tasted a bewildered spread across her face. Cataract surgery is the mani-pedi of the medical world. Hallelujah!
The Rev. Micah Bucey is in charge of the thriving arts program at Judson Memorial Church, Three of the four monthly Wednesdays are dedicated to different theatrical voices. Judson’s Dead Darlings is on second Wednesdays. Amanda Duarte, the founder and moderator of Dead Darlings has an engaging tough gal swagger reminiscent of Bette Midler. Dead Darlings refers to rejected, abandoned and/or unfinished work presented by the vibrant writing scene. It’s presented in Judson’s Meeting Room, the place where Sunday services are held. It’s thrilling to see a Christian sanctuary put on its party hat. Drinks and snacks are available, the lighting is upbeat and the whole occasion has a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. This past Wednesday a writer described the adventures he had while writing his first to be published but greatly cut piece in the New York Times; a writer from The Beast read her tale of woe and a gay writer read his reaction to the recent election. Dead Darlings is on YouTube.

 

Amanda Duarte

Judson Memorial Church in party mode

The almost last word: Back to Martin Scorsese’s Silence. I was describing this deeply Catholic film to a lapsed Protestant friend. I complained about the three 17th century Portuguese priests looking and sounding like – guess what – Hollywood actors. The friend described the movie as Boys Town or The Bells of St. Mary’s goes to Japan.

COMING SOON:

Graphic Lessons: Recent widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, 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: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: something’s eating at him: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case?

Graphic Lessons: Nine year old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people 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?

New York City Blog — Oct. 11 – 15

Friday night a friend and I knew why we love NYC. We attended The Music of Gerry Mulligan at Julliard. The jazz pianist, Bill Charlap, was the conductor. In addition to leading the Julliard Jazz Orchestra, Charlap played several of his favorite Mulligan pieces. As if this

Juilliard Jazz

Juilliard Jazz

weren’t enough, he also gave succinct summaries of Mulligan’s musical development. Line for Lyons was a tribute to Mulligan’s pianoless quartet that played at the west coast club, The Haig. .Everyone who’s interested in jazz knows that Mulligan played the baritone saxophone. I had not realized what a fine composer he was. Thanks to Julliard, now I do. The audience in the Peter Sharp Theatre was a mix of family (“My grandson is the drummer,” a very proud grandfather told me.), fellow students who shouted encouragement whenever their musician pal was cited by Charlan and the rest of us jazz lovers.

It’s great fun being a two hour docent at Judson Memorial Church during Open House New York. People are in awe seeing the LaFarge stained glass windows. They soak up the Judson history and nod approvingly when told that Judson welcomes all, whether you believe in a religion or not is your business as is your sexual orientation. Some know about Judson’s rich theatrical and dance history. Because we don’t have pews, many are surprised it’s an active church. It is wonderful to stand in a church you know well and have other people, in their delight, remind you of how luck you are to be a member of such a special space.

LaFarge Staingassed window at Judson Memorial Church

LaFarge’s stain glassed windows at Judson Memorial Church

New York City Blog – June 26- July 1

On Sunday I probably attended more church services than the Pope.

First, breakfast with two wonderful buddies at Cafe Reggio on MacDougal. Early morning is a throwback in time on MacDougal. The usually crowded street is empty except for a few early risers and the sanitation trucks that squirt mysterious substances that smell very New York. Cafe Reggio is a dark, small den with 1920s metal chairs and heavy furniture. It’s the perfect place to meet for delicious strong coffee and gossip. A few blocks away, Judson Memorial Church geared up for Pride Day. An inspired minister told about his father, also a minister, waiting for the younger man to declare his sexual orientation. When the younger man did, his father said, “We’ve been waiting for you.” Some father, eh??

 

Judson Memorial Church Gay Pride

Judson Memorial Church
Gay Pride

In the afternoon I scooted to Brooklyn’s Baptist Emmanuel Church for Jazz Vespers. The vast church was filled with the big sound of Gordon Chambers, the vocalist and composer. Chambers glided his way through My Funny Valentine, and Bob Marley’s Redemption. He introduced Deah Harriott, the vocalist and organist. Ms. Harriott like Mr. Chambers is Jamaican. They were backed by a wonderful band. Among others were Trevor Allen on bass, Chris Rob on piano. One of the high points was Gordon Chambers and Deah Harriott romping and singing up and down the aisles of Emmanuel Baptist Church. The place burst with sound. The day ended with a delicious supper at Olea on Lafayette.

New York City Blog – May 21 – May 28

Catering at the Frick spring party

Catering at the Frick spring party

Champagne? Tom Collins? White wine? Lemonade? Since red wine stains, the Frick serves only transparent liquids. The Frick Collection had its annual spring garden party. Sitting in the garden court, we waited for the few sprinkles of rain to stop and spent the time gobbling the caterer’s passing parade of lovely, tiny, bite size hors d’oeuvres, We then perched on a low wall in the garden that overlooks Fifth Avenue and studied the crowd’s finery.

On Saturday I went to 59th Street and 10th Avenue to the Left Forum. Isn’t there a sweet irony that a left organization would host a two day conference at John Jay College of Criminal Justice? I was at the Gotham Greens table having volunteered to answer questions about our organization. Many times I had to turn to more knowledgeable colleagues for the answer. For instance, in how many states can Greens vote the Green ticket? Answer: twenty. What did Ralph Nader call the Democrats and Republicans? Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Good one, Ralph.

Judson Memorial Church sponsored a showing of Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll. It’s a documentary that explores Cambodia from its days as a French protectorate to modern times. Its history is shown through the evolving musical tastes of the Cambodians: from the 1950s the French influence of Charles Trenet and Edith Piaf, during the sixties the English invasion. Plus, American rock and roll. The Cambodians had a vivid music scene that came to a screeching halt when Pol Pot took over the government and decreed that all foreign influence was suspect. There were harrowing interviews with people who lied about being entertainers to save their lives and their families. The USA’s involvement in Vietnam and withdrawal from Cambodia was also shown. It’s a long, intense film. It took the director John Pirozzi and LinDa Saphan, the associate producer, ten years to make it.

 

LinDa Saphan, associate producer of CAMBODIA'S LOST ROCK AND ROLL

LinDa Saphan, associate producer of CAMBODIA’S LOST ROCK AND ROLL

An annual spring ritual is going to the New York City Ballet’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. Tuesday night’s performance was wonderful. Balanchine + Mendelssohn + Tiler Peck. Does it get any better? Ms. Peck seems a worthy successor to the great Wendy Whalen.

Feldenkrais and gesellschaft were the two words spelled correctly that resulted in a tie at the Scripps annual spelling bee. Feldenkrais has something to do with movement and gesellschaft has something to do with society.