25 July 2017

Nine Random Thoughts from an Aortic Valve Replacement Recovery

9. While Hartford Hospital is not a great place to get a good night's sleep, the surgery performed by Dr. Robert Hagberg and the care by the staff on the cardiac wing and ICU was phenomenal. (AND I recommend the all-you-can-eat sugar-free popsicles.)

8. Medical people really care about bowel movements.

7. When watching Rex Harrison in The Agony and the Ecstasy, I kept expecting him to break into one of those patter My Fair Lady-like songs, "Why Can't a Soldier be More Like a Pope?"

6.  To protect the incision on my chest, for a time I developed the habit of hunching my shoulders, which made me look like I was about to launch into some Bob Fosse choreography. (I wasn't.)

5. Better classic film voice: Ronald Colman or James Mason?
(I LOVE James Mason, but after Lost Horizon, The Prisoner of Zenda, A Tale of Two Cities, and especially Lucky Partners -- with GINGER ROGERS!--, I gotta go with Colman!)

4. Unlike Ms. Winehouse, I'm looking forward to rehab!

3. Felt a bit of the 18th-century aristocrat when I developed a little gout in my right foot. (Didn't like the intense pain at all, but admittedly, if shamefully, enjoyed the aristocrat-iness.)

2. Must finally admit I too attended that Russia meeting with everyone else last summer, but I wasn't collusional at all --- just a little Glasnost-y

1. With my new bovine tissue valve, I'm ready to run with the bulls. Not ahead of the bulls, WITH THE BULLS!

04 July 2017

Top 7 Things I Hope My Cardiac Surgeon Does...

...before, during, and after my aortic valve replacement surgery (Nota bene: a surgery to replace the worn-out valve that, in 2001, replaced the bad valve I was born with):

7. Learn, if he hasn't already, Nick Lowe's "My Heart Hurts;"

6. Enter operating room to Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey's version of Irving Berlin's "Be Careful, It's My Heart:"
                           Be careful; it's my heart.
                           It's not my watch you're holding;
                           it's my heart.
                           It's not the note I sent you
                           that you quickly burned.
                           It's not the book I lent you
                           that you never returned

5. Marvel at the Nathaniel-Hawthorne-fan-boy scarlet A tattooed upon my chest;

4. Remind everyone in the operating room it's "Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey;"

3. Well, THIS:

2. Stop suddenly mid-point in the operation and ask the others sotto voce, "Shhhhhhh. Does anyone else hear strings zinging?";

And the #1 thing I hope my cardiac surgeon does:

Upon finishing the operation, dramatically drop the scalpel, throw his hands up, turn quickly, and exit the room without a word.

07 June 2017

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Lost Discography

Yes, 50 years ago, the great "It was Twenty Years Ago...": Live in London was released, but what about the other Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band albums, on which all those great songs were originally released?

We did some digging, and here's the complete list:

1) The eponymous debut album:
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1947) with the band's first hits (and perennial fan favorites):
"Good Morning" (6 weeks on the charts, reaching #2)
"When I'm Sixty-Four" (10 weeks, reaching #1)

The Daily Mail raved, "Wake up, World, post-war Britain is singing the future now!"

2) SPLHCB II (1948)
The sophomore slump personified. No one listened; no one cared.

But the band rebounds (and knows it)!

3) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is Getting Better (1950)
"Getting Better" (8 weeks on the charts, reaching #3)

4) Nine Wholes (1951)
"Fixing a Hole" (5 weeks on the charts, reaching #5)

5) Friends, Lovers, Countrymen... (1954)
Their greatest album, according to conventional wisdom.
"With a Little Help from My Friends" (25 weeks on the charts, reaching #1)
"Lovely Rita" (15 weeks, reaching #1)
"She's Leaving Home" (10 weeks, reaching #5)

On heels of widely successful Friends, Lovers, Countryman... European Tour, frontman (and titular Sergeant) Billy Shears leaves to pursue a film career in the US. After a series of suits and countersuits, the band retains name, undergoes significant changes in personnel, and embarks on various experiments in their sound.

6. Passage to India (1958), also known as "That sitar album."
"Within You, Without You," (2 weeks on the charts, reaching #97)

7. One Word: Plasticene (1961)***
"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" (4 weeks on the charts, reaching #52)

Billy Shears reunites with the original lineup for:

8. Home Again (1965)
"For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" (10 weeks on the charts, reaching #7)

The success of the reunion album sparks a new interest and the famous live album:

9. "It was Twenty Years Ago...": Live in London (1967)

What should have been not just a retrospective but a new beginning ends tragically with Billy's mysterious disappearance in a plane over the English Channel.  The band would never reunite.

***American screenwriter Buck Henry, a huge fan of the band since Friend, Lovers, Countrymen..., would make a punning allusion (which most American filmgoers missed) to this album in Mike Nichols' 1967 The Graduate.

22 August 2016

The London Sinatra(s): A CCSU travel class (Dec 2016-Jan 2017)

London in Literature and Song

Webpage:  http://web.ccsu.edu/cie/courseAbroad/?course=40
“London in Literature and Song” provides an opportunity for English and non-majors alike to travel to London in order to become fully immersed in a culture that has produced art that ranges from the high modernist discourse of T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf to the songs and films of Frank Sinatra. Professor Pozorski’s English 458 course will fulfill upper-level literature requirements for English majors and minors. The course will feature close readings of six modern British texts related to World War I and will consider the ways in which the city of London serves as an important backdrop for this history. Professor Gigliotti’s English 213, for general education literature credit, will examine the effects of the musical and film work of three quintessentially American artists, Frank Sinatra, daughter Nancy, and ex-wife Ava Gardner in London, the center of Old World tradition that, in the 1960s (thanks to the Beatles), quickly became THE center of a new youth culture.

Pozorski’s class will focus on the centrality of World War I to the literary landscape of 20th century British literature. Due to its traumatic nature, the events of World War I have captured the global literary imagination in canonical texts that seem to perpetually revisit the scene of violence, partly in an attempt to explain the Great War’s causes and effects. Literature set in London is an exemplary case of this perpetual return to the scene: whether treating the effects of war directly (as in T.S. Eliot’s poetry, Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and Sigmund Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle) or somewhat less directly (in the more contemporary texts such as Ian McEwan’s Saturday and Mark Haddon’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime), the shattering effects of World War I nonetheless seem to underwrite canonical literature of London published between 1920 and 2005.

Meanwhile Gigliotti’s class will offer a study of, as it were, the American Rat Pack-er in London. While Frank Sinatra’s long career is linked mostly with a variety of American cities ranging from Hoboken and the Big Apple to Chicago and Vegas, Sinatra’s artistic presence was worldwide. And, despite the singer’s primary association with his mining of the Great American Songbook, he rarely met a great song he didn’t try to tackle. ENG 213: The London Sinatra(s) will examine – through the lenses of British scholars Karen McNally (film) and Chris Rojek (sociology) – Sinatra’s artistic production in London itself, including his 1962 collaboration with British composer/arranger Robert Farnon, Frank Sinatra Sings Great Songs from Great Britain; the 1967 thriller The Naked Runner; and the 1970 charity concert at Royal Festival Hall. The class will also examine his daughter’s 1966 Nancy in London album and his expatriate ex-wife Ava Gardner’s 1970 film The Devil’s Widow, based on the traditional Scottish border ballad “Tam Lin.” Additionally, Playing Sinatra, by British playwright Bernard Kops, will offer a dispassionate look at isolated London siblings obsessed with the singer.

Through visiting cultural icons of the city (the Tate Gallery, British Library, British Museum, et al.), touring London’s musical heritage, as well as attending such theatrical events as Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Mousetrap, The School of Rock, and Guys and Dolls, this program will provide students with the opportunity to become immersed in London’s culture, as well as the literature and music it produced.

Program Costs
The cost of the travel program includes round-trip airport transfers in the U.S. and abroad, economy-class international airfare, multiple-occupancy accommodations, some meals, ground transportation, theater tickets and most entrance fees. All personal expenses (i.e., most meals, medical, souvenirs, laundry, telephone, etc.) are at additional cost. CCSU reserves the right to make changes to the program itinerary at any time, with or without notice.

12/26/16 — 01/04/17
Registration Deadline
ENG 213: The London Sinatra(s)

Eng 110, or permission of instructor.
$2,695 per person, based on multiple occupancy
To be announced
Program Director(s)
Dr. Gil Gigliotti, English, (860) 832-2759; gigliotti@ccsu.edu

13 May 2016

Dear Connecticut Drivers....

...while I appreciate that, on any given day, you may be in no rush at all or perhaps feeling impatient or maybe even experiencing a wave of generosity toward your fellows, it does not change the order in which cars at a four-way stop are supposed to proceed.

And, you know what?  Your generosity or sloth or impetuosity (not to mention your damn cell-phone use) only complicates the process for the rest of us.

Look up the rules, if you don't already know them.

Then FOLLOW them.


That guy who arrived at the intersection after everyone else.

29 March 2016

"Shanghai Express" (1932) @CCSU

Friday, 8 April 2016

Torp Theatre, Davidson Hall
2:30 PM

Free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the CCSU Alumni Association

27 March 2016

"Sinatra Night" at The Ritz Crystal Room, Torrington, CT

Ritz Crystal Room at Remember When
111 Main Street
Torrington, CT

Saturday June 18th , 2016     7:00 pm to 10:00 pm
An evening of dinner and dancing that celebrates Ol' Blue Eyes with Sinatra expert Gil Gigliotti.  Gil has published 3 Sinatra-related books, has taught several classes on Sinatra at Central Connecticut State University, has lectured frequently about Frank, and has hosted a weekly Sinatra radio show, "Frank, Gil,  and Friends " on WFCS 107.7 FM New Britain since December, 1993.

$39.99 Per Person plus tax & gratutity
Includes 3 Course Dinner and show
Limited seating - Reserve your seats!!


served with our house Parmesan garlic bread House organic garden greens topped with our Edamame

Entrees:  Choose one
Glazed Asian Salmon:  Garlic, Sesame seeds with our house glaze and topped with grilled pineappple

Lobster Ravioli:  with a sherry lobster cream sauce, basil aioli and fresh grated parmesan cheese served with vegetables

Rigatoni Bolognese:  Ground Veal and pork give this sauce its magic! A house favorite with fresh grated Parmesan

French Onion Chicken:  Boneless breasts topped with caramelized onion, melted cheddar and drizzled with apple cider reduction.

Jumbo Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms:  Tomato , goat cheese, basil aioli and topped with fresh grated Parmesan (vegetarian)

Grilled 12oz Choice Rib eye steak:  (add $10.00 pp)  with carmamelized onion, drizzled with balsamic reduction, served with horseradish sauce

Desserts:  Choose one
Cannoli :  Chocolate covered shells filled with fresh filling

Chocolate Tart:  Sinfully rich chocoate topped with fresh whipped cream and raspberry reduction
(gluten Free)

 Mini Cream Puffs:  topped with hot fudge and fresh whipped cream

Grilled Apple Strudel:  a touch of caramel sauce and topped with fresh whipped cream