I’ve written two fan letters in my life. The second one was to Tom Volk, the director of Maria by Callas. Believe me, after you see this movie you too will write Mr. Volk a fan letter. He’s captured perfectly the feelings of the times and culture when Diva Callas reigned. Bel Canto was her singing arena: Donizetti, Bellini (Norma, anyone?) She also sang in the operas of Puccini, Bizet, Rossini, Verdi. Her voice makes me cry. I can hear it in an upscale shop, on the radio, anywhere. The reaction is always the same.
A friend and I went to the Paris Theatre on Fifth Avenue and 58th Street to see Maria by Callas. It couldn’t have been a more appropriate venue. It’s an immaculate movie house that reeks of a bygone NYC fifties flavor. I don’t think anyone under fifty is admitted. Before the mercifully short coming attractions and the featured movie begins, you are treated to the crooning of Dean Martin (Volare) or Edith Piaf (Non, je ne regrette rien).
For years I have known a great artist. His name is Frank Galuszka. He works and lives on the west coast. We met in Rome. He had just completed a Fulbright in Romania. I bought his big nude painting for five hundred bucks, a lot of money at the time, and had to badger him for years to sign it. He did, finally, with a magic marker. Yesterday I received two catalogs of his recent work: VOTIVE: The Art of Frank Galuszka. He continues to paint like a master.
Here are two other of Frank’s paintings.
Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, 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 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.
Graphic Lessons: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the 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?