25 May 2010

A little "Tales of Hoffmann" Anyone?

Cecilia and classmate at the NBHS Gifted Showcase singing an excerpt from the Offenbach opera. And to think my younger daughter/videographer makes fun of MY camera work!?! You might be better off listening with your eyes closed: less likely to get seasick.

To quote the duet "Live and Let Live" from Cole Porter's Can-Can:

I like Offenbach / I do not

So what! / So what?

So what!

18 May 2010

The truth about my Vietnam War Era service

Given what has recently been revealed about Connecticut senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal's Vietnam War experience, I figure it was about time to come clean about my own. Despite what some may have written about my extensive and valorous stint as a soldier, I now must admit that, having been too young to cook or shave (much less enlist), I spent most of the war in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a Catholic elementary school.

Boy, it feels good to get that off my chest.

17 May 2010

I have been a parent for 14+ years...

...and, if you add separately the second daughter, a total of 24+ years, and today I went to my very first sports competition that actually involved one of them, "The Hershey Track Competition" in New Britain.

Representing her elementary school, the younger daughter ran the girls' 200m. She didn't win, but she ran a fine race (steady and not petering out like some). The fact that she is just coming to the end of her 10th year and she was racing against 11- and 12-year-olds, some of whom seemed to have legs that reached up to her shoulders (!), didn't deter her.

I'm very proud of her and fairly certain that, if I had driven my car that far that quickly, I would've been tired.

Ava Gardner: Touches of Venus (Entasis Press) Amazon.com Sales Rank

5/17/10 301,778

It's May 17th, and your Cincinnati Reds...

...are sitting atop the standings of the Central Division of the National League.

Man, the summer's looking up!

14 May 2010

I'm saddened by the cancellation of one of the great television series...

Law and Order (and I mean the original one not spin-offs like SUV, CI, etc...) by NBC.

However, given that, in the midst of our watching the most recent new episode this past Monday evening, both my wife and I commented on the number of actors they were re-using from the past (and NOT in recurrent roles).

We turned to each other and asked: "Are there really that few working actors in NYC that the producers need to re-use the guy from Perfect Strangers yet again?" Perhaps those working on the series are simply tired.

Looking back, the questions arise:

Were they always great shows? No.

Did some casts work much better than others? Yes.

Will I miss new episodes nonetheless? Definitely.

Well, we'll always have re-runs!

PS: If the original idea was to have a show that could be syndicated in two half-hour blocks (the first 30 minutes on the police investgation and then the next 30 minutes on the prosecution of the suspects), the show really should have been called "Order and Law."

13 May 2010

Matt Monro's daughter, Michele Monro, will be interviewed...

on "Frank, Gil, and Friends" on Tuesday, 1 June, at 8 am, to talk about the American release of The Singer's Singer: The Life and Music of Matt Monro!
Now, how about a little song...

09 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day, All You Moms!

The best Mom song EVER!

Dean Martin singing the Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen composition "Any Man Who Loves His Mother," from Robin and the Seven Hoods.

05 May 2010

Softball Game #3

Score: a 13-3 loss (but fewest runs given up and most runs scored!)

I was on base twice, with a hit and a fielder's choice (most at basts in a game!)...final batting average .250!

Complete game loss, but with one strikeout!

Hit by a rocket line drive right back at me injuring me in the left shoulder region (and on the palm of my right hand trying to protect myself...I'm quite excited because it now looks like I have a pec (granted, only one, and a black and blue one at that, but a pec nonetheless)!


It was the final game because the two cancellations (see earlier post) won't be made up. Sad, though, we were just starting to come together as a team.

Cue: John Fogarty's "Centerfield"!

"Frank Sinatra" night on "American Idol"

I must admit that I only saw the last part of the last singer's performance, followed by the judges' critiques of it, and the little end-of-show summary clips of the other songs...


If indeed the last guy was the best of the night, it must have been one helluva long hour.

At his best, Sinatra sang simply, while letting the words tell the story of the song, and that approach is just not the Idol way. (I understand that is what Harry Connick was telling them; I don't think anyone was listening.)

It's great that Nancy and Tina are keeping their father's name out there, but somebody's gotta to tell these singers, to quote T.S. Eliot's Prufrock:

"That is not what I meant at all./That is not it, at all"

And not to seem too shallow, but, if you're going to wear a necktie in a performance, especially for ONE bloody song, don't loosen it. And tuck in your shirt! (That goes double for you too, Michael Buble.)

03 May 2010

WFCS Intramural Softball

Game I: pitched two innings (called in as a reliever aftter first inning); 0-1 batting; lost 19-2

Game II: called on account of lightning (before game had begun)

Game III: Rained out

Game IV: Played left field; caught one fly-out; ran after several more; 0-1 batting; lost 20-0

"Ava Gardner: Touches of Venus" is now available!

My third book, Ava Gardner: Touches of Venus, has just been published by Entasis Press in Washington DC. The website is http://www.entasispress.com/.

The book is an anthology of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and song lyrics, each of which treats Ms. Gardner in some direct (or indirect) way. It is, in concept, a sequel to my 2008 volume Sinatra: But Buddy I'm a Kind of Poem, which looks at the many different Sinatras that poets and songwriters have created over the years. And, while Sinatra, not surprisingly, also makes appearances in this volume, the focus always remains on Ava and her compelling mix of talent, strength, beauty, insecurity, and, yes, excess.

Some selections see the actress as a symbol of beauty or tenacity, others as a marker of times past and glories gone, and others as an unattainable dream or a keen reflection of the strong women in their own lives. In selection after selection, the power of Ava's work in film also rings out: Mogambo, Pandora..., On the Beach, Show Boat, Night of the Iguana, and The Barefoot Contessa, etc., a body of work that resonates still.

The authors whose works are included are quite varied: from the very well known (Margaret Atwood, Robert Graves, Allen Gurganus, Suzanne Vega, and Ava's own Mario Cabre) to those perhaps known primarily in poetry circles (Michael S. Harper, Virgil Suarez, Peg Boyers, Kirpal Singh, and Pere Gimferrer), from Ava's contemporaries to those from almost every generation since.

Reflecting Ava's own cosmopolitanism, the anthology also boasts authors not just from North America, but from all around the world: Spain, France, England, New Zealand, Greece, India, and the Philippines.

I'm pretty sure there's no other book on Ms. Gardner like this: It celebrates not just who she was, but the meanings the world has made of her -- not to mention the fascination her life, her films, and her spirit still hold for us all.

As Lee Server, the author of the internationally best-selling biography Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing of Ava, writes about the collection:

For nearly a hundred years she has inspired and inflamed her idolators, from matador to billionaire, guttersnipe paparazzo to head-in-the-clouds poet. Professor G.’s unique anthology—a rich mix of hymn, recollection, random invocation—is a divine tribute to the Goddess of sex, glamour, and passion.