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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sam Bisbee Concert at Joe's Pub 2-24-2012

We had fun last Friday night at Joe's Pub in the East Village, despite the rainy weather. Lucy and I left work at 4:30 PM and stopped by the chic Puerto Rican restaurant Sazon on Reade Street for a delicious seafood dinner. I had to smile when we were waiting at the bar for our table and "Law And Order" was playing on the TV screen. I got to watch part of an episode with Detectives Briscoe and Curtis before we were seated just after 5 PM. Along with the colorful decor and lively Latin music, Lucy enjoyed her cazuela (seafood stew) and I enjoyed some shrimp in white wine sauce with maduros (sweet plantains.) Muy sabrosos!

After dinner we took the No. 5 train at Chambers Street to Astor Place and headed to the Public Theater on Lafayette Street, which is still undergoing extensive renovations. This time, we entered Joe's Pub through the new entrance inside the lobby instead of the outdoor entrance, which is now closed. We took our seats at the new counter directly in front of the stage, which gave us a great view of the stage and the band. All seats at Joe's Pub are now reserved, and you can choose a table or a counter seat when you order your tickets. There's still a two drink minimum at the counter seats and a $20.00 minimum for food and drink at the tables. A new menu offers sandwiches, pasta and soup, and ice cream for dessert. The drink menu offers various beers, wines and mixed drinks, as well as soda. Lucy and I stuck to Diet Coke and Coke with a twist of lime, respectively.

We met two fellow VDO fans at the table behind us who attended last year's Sam Bisbee concert also. Sam and his six piece band took the stage just after 7:30 PM and rocked the house with a nearly 90 minute set including all the songs from Sam's new EP "Broken Ladder." We were delighted with the surprise appearance of Sam's brother John Bisbee, who literally climbed over our counter to the stage to play harmonica on "Do It All Over" with guest vocalist Laura Cantrell. No George Geronimo Gerkie appearance, alas, but I hope he'll drop by later this year. GGG probably forgot to show up again, or maybe he was hanging out with his best girl Pippi.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Best New York City Food Trucks: NY Food Truck Lunch: Souvlaki & Greek Fries From Souvlaki GR « CBS New York

The Best New York City Food Trucks: NY Food Truck Lunch: Souvlaki & Greek Fries From Souvlaki GR « CBS New York

Happy Valentine's Day, my friends

Today is the feast day of St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. Nowadays, although Valentine's Day is overly commercialized, as are Christmas and Easter, even us singletons can celebrate this day with close family and friends. Right now, my heart is heavy with the recent losses of our fellow vixen Debra Jacobs and my old family friend Josephine Belle last weekend. Whitney Houston's shocking death last Saturday also looms large, with her music and vĂ­deos in constant rotation on TV and radio and news coverage, etc. They come in threes, so they say. God bless Jo, Debra and Whitney. Peace be with their families and with loved ones who are in mourning. I also remember a former co-worker, Velma Valentine, who passed away ten years ago this month and whose funeral I attended in Harlem on, you guessed it, Valentine's Day. Having to deal with the loss of someone dear during this time meant to celebrate love is sobering, isn't it, not to mention strange and painful.

On a brighter note, today is the birthday of Vincent's son Luka, who turns four years old. How time flies! I hope the D'Onofrio family has an extremely awesome b-day celebration for the little guy, who will no doubt be a big guy like his daddy someday. On a more personal note, my grand nephews Julian and Nicholas Hall will turn 3 and 6 years old in March. Their mommy is my older brother's daughter Amanda Acevedo-Hall, who just became my Facebook friend.:) Mandy recently turned 29 in November and is a registered nurse and a married mother of three boys. Her son Nicholas has autism, and so does my kid brother Alberto, as you already know. Alberto has been a busy bee lately, making hearts and cards to give to his friends and teachers at school today. Next thing he'll work on will be making shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day. We'll be seeing green around here for the next month, starting tomorrow. That's my boy. :)

I just want to tell all of you that I love you. I love my family and friends and my hometown and my country. I love God and all his good works and need to value everything and everyone I love all the more now. God bless us all.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Second Look at "Yosemite" on 2-5-2012

Last Sunday afternoon I took in another matinee performance of Daniel Talbott's play "Yosemite" at the Rattlestick Playwright s Theater on Waverly Place. I wanted to let the play sink in after having seen the Jan. 22 preview before seeing it again. As I told Kate afterwards, all the performances, including hers, seemed much more natural and the play had found its rhythm since the previews and she readily agreed. I was also able to absorb more of the dialogue this time and complimented Kate on her heartfelt speech near the end of "Yosemite" about Julie's love for her late husband and their courtship. When she described her husband's hands as "long...beautiful" and broad shoulders, I could actually visualize Vincent as the husband, which I mentioned in my previously posted review of "Yosemite." Julie is the least sympathetic character in the play up until this moment, when she breaks down in front of her children and confesses her failings after that shocking fight with her eldest son Jake, who accuses her of abandoning her family after their father's untimely death-"You're guilty!" I was relieved that Jake's rant against his sister Ruby was slightly toned down in that he didn't throw the R-word at her as had occurred in the preview. Jake does claim that a teacher he disliked thought he was "retarded" and later muses about getting a job in another town and sending Ruby and Jer to live with Grandma so they could excape their miserable existence living in a dilapidated trailer on welfare, eating bad food and wearing ugly donated clothes.

Early on in the play, Ruby's nervousness while holding baby Nathan is palpable as she and Jer sit on the log while Jake is busy digging the hole in the winter earth that must be deep enough to conceal the remains of this unloved and neglected child from Julie's second marriage to ne'er do well second hubby Mike, whom Jake despises but Ruby calls "nice." Jer spends most of his time snapping twigs and silently observing his older siblings bicker and reminisce about their childhood in Mendicino where they "grew things" and raised chickens and goats. Julie also shares her girlhood memories as the first paper girl for her local newspaper and is rebuffed when she tries to hug Ruby. Later Julie lashes out at her children for being "ungrateful" that she used to make "fucking pancakes and apple butter" and accuses Jake of wanting to bury her in the hole with Nathan. After their brief but spectacularly profane row, Julie rambles on about the "haunted" forest being full of dead babies and women and the Native American custom of "feeding the trees" with their dead, a foreshadowing of her off-stage suicide while Jake, Ruby and Jer are dreaming of a brighter future away from their chronically depressed mom.

I had the chance to talk with Kate again after the matinee and was pleased to also meet Erika Hampson again. While we were talking outside on Waverly Place, who should happen to walk by but actor Josh Hamilton, who played Justin Reid on LO:CI episode "On Fire" during Season 5. He and Kate greeted each other and chatted briefly about the Superbowl and Kate invited Josh to see her play, but "not on Wednesday." Don't know why she told him that, because the second "Yosemite " talkback with playwright Daniel Talbott and the cast was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, Feb. 8 after that evening's performance. I received an invitation to attend via e-mail from the theater, but didn't go because of the bad weather. I will attend the February 26 performance, which will be the last Sunday matinee.

Update: Rattlestick Playwrights Theater recently posted the news on their Facebook page that "Yosemite" has been extended throught March 3, 2012. Woo hoo!

After Josh Hamilton left, I continued to chat with Kate and Erika about "Yosemite" and "Robot and Frank," which recently debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Several other fans asked Kate about "Yosemite" and whether her character, Julie, actually did commit suicide off-stage and she confirmed it. We also talked about baby Nathan and how he really died, and Kate also confirmed that he was neglected by his parents and probably died as a result. I asked Kate how she and the other actors could keep up the level of emotional intensity needed during the play, particularly during the fight scene. She said "Oh, it's only one hour and twenty minutes, so it's not so bad." Modest, much? :)

My last question to Kate before leaving was about her plans after "Yosemite" ends its run. She said she didn't know what was next, but that "hopefully, more plays." I told her that NBC should give her a call and invite her to appear on "Blue Tilt" with Vincent. I was surprised to hear that she and Vincent hadn't spoken recently but I think she should be back on TV. I also think Kate could carry a network or cable TV series. If KyRa Sedgwick, Mary McCormack and Callie Thorne, among others, can do it, why not Kathryn Erbe? I might even start a Facebook page about this topic. What do you think?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Vincent D'Onofrio Directorial Debut

.: Reelblog :.: "Robot and Frank" premieres at Sundance

.: Reelblog :.: "Robot and Frank" premieres at Sundance

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Robot and Frank" premieres at Sundance

"Robot and Frank", co-produced by Sam Bisbee and Erika Hampson ("Don't Go in the Woods", "The New Tenants"), will screen at the Sundance Film Festival.

Frank Langella

CAST: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Saarsgard

Produced by:
Lance Acord .... producer
Jeremy Bailer .... executive producer
Jackie Kelman Bisbee .... producer
Sam Bisbee .... producer
Theodora Dunlap .... associate producer
Erika Hampson .... co-producer
Galt Niederhoffer .... producer
Cody Ryder .... co-producer

Directed by: Jake Schreier

Set sometime in the future, Robot & Frank is a delightful dramatic comedy, a buddy picture, and, for good measure, a heist film. Curmudgeonly old Frank lives by himself. His routine involves daily visits to his local library, where he has a twinkle in his eye for the librarian. His grown children are concerned about their father’s well-being and buy him a caretaker robot. Initially resistant to the idea, Frank soon appreciates the benefits of robotic support—like nutritious meals and a clean house—and eventually begins to treat his robot like a true companion. With his robot’s assistance, Frank’s passion for his old, unlawful profession is reignited, for better or worse.

Frank Langella makes acting—and acting with a robot, no less—look effortless, and his relationship with the machine is filled with poignant exchanges and amusing adventures. First-time director Jake Schreier creates a lush world with futuristic flourishes and tells a beautiful story about family and the implications of humankind’s ever-changing relationship with technology.

Film Guide and Screening Times.

"Robot and Frank" also screens this week at Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn as part of Sundance Film Festival USA but tickets are sold out!