New York Mysteries Oct. 15 – Oct. 21

 

Ai Weiwei‘s public-art project about immigration and cultural exchange has been installed in the Washington Square Arch. Weiwei’s film, Human Flow, is at the Anglelica and an asteroid is named after him.

 

 

Installation Notice of Ai Weiwei’s Structure

Ai Weiwei’s Washington Square Arch Structure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had lunch at Serendipity, that 50s institution devoted to making you five pounds fatter. In the long awaited Graphic Lessons there’s a similar restaurant so, of course, I had to check it out. Lines of the young and their mothers gathered outside the restaurant. We were allowed to enter at 11 a.m. It’s filled with touristy items: mugs, t-shirts, fake Tiffany lamps. The menu is gigantic, even by NYC standards. I expected the service to be sluggish and the food to be tired. I was wrong. The service was excellent. The avocado and shrimp salad although a little heavy on the mayonnaise dressing was delicious. Like the menu, it was enormous and could have fed three other people. Serendipity has come up with a solution to bullying: the blue sundae.

 

Serendipity’s Bullying Cure

 

 

Serendipity

On October 15, I joined Judson Memorial Church. My induction ceremony was very Judson: warm-hearted and sincere. I spoke these thoughts during the ceremony:
Judson gives me a spiritual home and gives me hope. What I’ve received from the various religions I’ve been a part of: Catholicism: a sense of universality, an admiration for Italian and French church architecture, from the Episcopalians: prayers based on King James Bible, from the Society of Friends: examples of civic responsibility such as their early condemnation of slavery, the school they founded in Ramallah for Palestinian children and they do not say the Pledge of Allegiance. From the UCC/Judson: wonderful music and bearing witness plus Judson friends who have read the Oz Series, the Anne of Green Gables series and the works of Anthony Trollope.
I write police procedurals and volunteer at one of the NYC museums. I was born in NYC, lived in Rome for eight years and spend part of the summer in Portland, Oregon playing with the Judson west crowd.

Some reasons for loving Judson:

Guess Who

Celebrating a Birthday

Dr. Willie Parker spoke about a moral argument for CHOICE

 

New York Mysteries Sept. 15— Sept. 23

 

On my way to Judson Memorial Church, I passed a performing artist circling the Washington Square Monument.

 

Washington Square Performing Artist

 

John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson are intelligent, articulate and charming in Columbus, Director Kogonada’s debut film set in Columbus. Indiana. The visually stunning city is packed with architectural gems designed by Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Eero Saarinen.
Troubles with parents and a love of architecture draw the two main characters together. Imagine, no guns, no violence.

Originally it was called a retreat but now it’s referred to as the Judson Weekend. It’s at least forty years old. I know this because a gay couple who met at the retreat/weekend forty years ago celebrated their years together this past weekend. No one could tell me how long it’s been in existence. The Episcopal Camp and Conference Center is well run and in a woodsy location with a lake near Ivoryton, Connecticut. At one time, more than forty years ago, Ivoryton had a thriving summer playhouse. Ever hear of Katherine Hepburn? She lived in nearby Fenwich Point and got her start at the playhouse. Ever hear of Marlon Brando? Shortly after completing the movie, Julius Caesar, he starred in Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Wally Cox, TV’s Mr. Peepers, was also in the production. I was trying to impress some Mellennials at the Weekend by dropping famous names from the Ivoryton Playhouse past: Talullah Bankhead, Ethel Waters, Jim Hutton, Marlon Brando, Steve Cochran, Mary Astor. the only one they’d ever heard of was M. B.

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.

New York Mysteries Sept. 9— Sept. 15

Judson Memorial Church sponsored an evening with Valeria Luiselli and Nate Weida. The evening began with Weida’s thigh slapping banjo music, followed by Luiselli’s talk. She was accompanied by Juan Carlos Ruiz. Luiselli read from Tell Me How it Ends, discussed the plight of many refugees and then had a Q & A.
Why did you come here? is a theme that runs through Tell Me How it Ends. The 119 page essay discusses children’s immigration journey to the U. S. The prize is permanent citizenship. The opposite is deportation. Luiselli demonstrates how words stigmatize. Which do you prefer being labelled: illegal immigrant or undocumented refugee? Listening to this articulate woman under the cloud of DACA being ended gave the evening an added urgency.

 

Valeria Luiselli, author of Tell Me How It Ends

Tell Me How It Ends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nate Weida

Since Netflix will not carry Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the English series after Sept. 30, I’ve been binge watching. It’s been a parade of the U. K.’s finest actors: Ronald Pickup, Eileen Atkins, Anna Massey, Geoffrey Palmer. The list is endless. I think Agatha Christie’s mysteries are intricate puzzles. Her plotting, as all writers know, is superb. When she drifts into thriller territory she’s less successful. But what a body of work: Halloween Story, Murder on the Orient Express, The Clocks. David Suchet fits into the eccentric Poirot part perfectly.

 

 

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.

 

 

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

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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?