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Friday, December 20, 2013

Bus Company Bankruptcy Could Impact 40,000 NYC School Children « CBS New York

Bus Company Bankruptcy Could Impact 40,000 NYC School Children « CBS New York

Atlantic Bus Co. used to provide transportation for my brother when he attended public school. This could not have happened at a worst time. Why is it that special needs kids always get hit the hardest? It seems to come down to money, money, money. How does a school bus company just go bankrupt? Who's minding the store here? Scary!

Bus Company Bankruptcy Could Impact 40,000 NYC School Children « CBS New York

Bus Company Bankruptcy Could Impact 40,000 NYC School Children « CBS New York

Atlantic Bus Co. used to provide transportation for my brother when he attended public school. This could not have happened at a worst time. Why is it that special needs kids always get hit the hardest? It seems to come down to money, money, money. How does a school bus company just go bankrupt? Who's minding the store here? Scary!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Natural Affection Review 9-28-2013


Kathryn Erbe's latest off-Broadway play "Natural Affection" officially opened last Thursday night at the Beckett Theater. I caught a preview last Sunday afternoon, which also was followed by a talkback with the cast and director Jenn Thompson. One comment that Kathryn made really shocked me regarding her portrayal of Sue, the mother of troubled teenager Donnie. Sue was such a difficult role for Kathryn to play that she nearly quit "Natural Affection" before previews began two weeks ago. Whaaa? As the minions would say. :) Sue, as portrayed by Kathryn, is a successful businesswoman living with a younger, less successful boyfriend who must welcome her illegitimate son Donnie, who's coming home for Christmas. She loves both Donnie and her boyfriend Bernie but feels conflicted about Donnie's return after years of living in an orphanage and a recent stay at a "work farm" for juvenile offenders. After Donnie reveals his abuse by a guard at the work farm, Sue caves to his pleas to let him stay with her so he doesn't have to go back to "the cage." Bernie struggles with his own issues, including his resentment of Sue's greater professional success and his own failed ambition, plus the fact that Sue pays all the bills and buys Bernie's clothes. Yet she badgers him to marry her, citing her advancing age and Donnie's imminent arrival. Oh dear! "The world looks so ugly sometimes." Sue's first line in the play "Natural Affection" sets the tone for this dark and disturbing tale of a highly dysfunctional family circa 1962 Chicago. Sue is a tough-as-nails businesswoman nearing 40 with a younger boyfriend and a teenage son coming to spend Christmas with them. Son Donnie has had a rough childhood in and out of an orphanage and reform school, or "work farm" and desperately wants to be reunited with him mom so he won't have to go back to the "cage" and can try to have a regular life in the free world. The tragedy at the core of "Natural Affection" is not only the horrible crime that occurs near the end, but the utter disintegration of this family. Donnie is desperate to be accepted by his mom and Bernie, and weeps like a child after giving Sue a wooden tray he made at the work farm, his first Christmas gift for her. But his unnatural affection for Sue eventually drives them apart, especially after Bernie storms out on Christmas morning after a fight with Sue over his affair with Clare, the tramp next door. After Donnie declares that they are better off without Bernie and that they both can live together as a happy couple "just the two of us" Sue realizes that Donnie is one messed up kid. Her decision to finally reject Donnie and pursue Bernie sets off an explosion of grief, fury and violence on that Christmas day that left me stunned but not surprised. The ugliness of the world seems to have swallowed up everyone, including Donnie, and ithout pity and without mercy. Kathryn spoke about how Sue was so different in temperament from her and how her own issues regarding motherhood and relationships made it difficult to get a handle on Sue. Sue's bossiness and constant harping at Bernie and her treatment of Donnie were so opposite of Kathryn's true nature that she cslled director Jenn Thompson after the final dress rehearsal two weeks ago to tell her "I can't do this. I quit." Jenn assuaged her anxiety over tackling the role of Sue with the advice of approaching this unsympathetic character with "disgust." Once Kathryn understood, she was able to break through Sue's sweet exterior and bring out her bitter, brittle core. And she does so superbly. After last night's performance I inroduced Kathryn to Antje, the author of the blog Lovely Kathryn, and Suzanne "Quietfire" who helped created the binders given to Kathryn, Eric and Vincent in 2010. Antje brought her mom from Germany and Suzanne brought her husband from Canada. It was wonderful to meet my friends in person and for them to meet Kathryn for the first time. :)

Latest Videos « CBS New York

Latest Videos « CBS New York

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kathryn Erbe acts up a storm in Nikolai and the Others 5-11-2013


u As I predicted, I found the Saturday matinee of "Nikolai and the Others" to be a much more enjoyable, and memorable, experience than the Wednesday matinee. Except for the difficult commute from Brooklyn, due to track work on the J line, which included 4 trains and a shuttle bus to make it to Lincoln Center in time for the 2 PM curtain. Whew! We also had a flash flood alert for later in the afternoon, as we had last Wednesday afternoon, and the rain sure did come pouring down after the Saturday matinee ended at 4:35 PM. Well, Kathryn made me a promise last Wednesday and I was sure that she'd keep it. So I waited in front of the stage door near the entrance to the Lincoln Center Theater, where the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater is located, safely indoors with my new smart phone and high hopes.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Nikolai and the Others Matinee 5-8-2013


Although I had already planned to see "Nikolai and the Others" this Saturday, I decided to catch today's matinee at the Mitzi E. Newhouse theater. Despite the pouring rain outside and a couple of fellow attendees who annoyed the shit out of me during the performance, I still managed to enjoyed Kathryn's portrayal of Natasha Nabokov. The play has gotten mixed reviews and I did find it very talky and dull at times, except when Kathryn was onstage. John Glover, Blair Brown, Haviland Morris, Stephen Kunken and Anthony Cochrane were among the outstanding cast in a play with little dashes of humor and ballet but no major conflict to drive the story. The playwright Richard Nelson intended to create "a world where the creating of art...lives side by side...with all other essential and necessary functions of human life." Well,I hope my second viewing of the play this Saturday will be more pleasant and that I'll have a different perspective on Nelson's work. As long as nobody falls asleep and snores near me or distracts me by whispering during the play or complaining about the view from their seat. I moved to a different empty seat in my row to escape these morons to no avail. Oy!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Alberto Acevedo's Team for the 3K Walk-YAI Network 6-1-2013


http://support.yai.org/site/TR/Events/CPC2013?team_id=18810&pg=team&fr_id=1160 We're going to Central Park again this Saturday, June 1 for our annual fundraising event for the YAI Network. Please join us for the 3K Walk in person or online by visiting our team page at the above link. Thank you all for your past support for autism awareness and for programs and services for our lived ones with developmental disabilities. Especially now, with recent budget cuts that has drastically reduced our funding for very needed services that have hurt our families, your involvement and support are more important than ever. Thank you! Blanca Acevedo, Team Captain http://support.yai.org/site/TR/Events/CPC2013?team_id=18810&pg=team&fr_id=1160

Monday, January 21, 2013

Clive-First Saturday Matinee 1-19-2013


Photo by Blanca Acevedo Be warned-this review contains some major spoilers!
Photo by Blanca Acevedo I saw the first matinee of Clive today at the Acorn Theater on West 42nd Street, just blocks from Times Square. In this fast-moving and most unusual play, Vincent dominates the stage, overshadowing the other actors, including Ethan Hawke, who plays the lead role of Clive. The play begins with Vincent's character, Doc, appearing from behind a red door, centerstage, then reaching from behind the door to tap out notes on a xylophone built into the door as he announces "Satan is real." All the seven doors onstage were designed as unique sound sculptures by Gaines with musical instruments and song lyrics built into the design. These scuptures will produce sounds unique to each performance of Clive, thereby creating an original musical score each night. The guitars used by Clive and Doc and the piano onstage all have various lines written on the surfaces. The set is beautifully designed with walls made of silvery beer cases with brand names like Durst and beer cans framed by a curtain made of the tops of beer cans. It's quite a feast for the eyes!
Lobby of the Acorn Theater-photo by Blanca Acevedo Ethan soon appears and announces the beginning of the play, and also reveals that he will play the role of Clive because "I'm dead." Indeed, we are led through various outrageous and sometimes tawdry vignettes in the life of Clive and his buddies, bimbos and best friend Doc, leading up to Clive's tragic end in a rather strange circumstance. Let's just say it involves ice fishing. "A rat lies in the gutter dying...so what?" Ethan brings the rock star swagger to his role of Clive, brandishing his guitar for several musical numbers and even reciting lines written on the guitar, admonishing Joanne, his friend's teenaged girlfriend, to "clean up and go home" after a night of debauchery, punctuating his insult with the boast "I fucked you well." In the first of several tragedies that haunt Clive, Joanne drowns herself after losing her virginity to him and suffering his rejection. But Clive just can't help himself, and soon impregnates and abandons Sophia, who's adored by a devoted Doc, but loves Clive.
Photo by Blanca Acevedo Doc is a striking figure onstage, dressed in country western garb and howling at the audience at times, even barking like a bulldog at Clive's behest, but Doc is no court jester. Vincent brings his own larger than life swagger to the role of Doc, who's boisterous and charming with a pronounced southern drawl and thirst for booze, babes and blow to match his towering frame. Doc and Clive share an unexpectedly homoerotic moment as both are seated on the stage and Clive jumps onto Doc's lap. As they embrace, I could swear they were about to kiss, but they do not. Hot damn! Zoe Kazan, who was hilarious in "A Behanding in Spokane" with Christopher Walken, Anthony Mackie and Sam Rockwell in 2010, plays Joanne the blond, Sophia the brunette and the nameless redhead who falls for Doc, only to be ravished by Clive in the bushes after Doc's boast that she "fucked me like a squirrel fucks another squirrel." ??? Imagine how funny that line sounds when spoken by George Geronimo Gerkie, sans the wig and hat, and you'll get a sense of the strange humor that permeates Clive. Speaking of the little red-haired girl, she gets a few playful spanks on the butt from Doc, who's all hands with her in their brief time together onstage. Charlie Brown never had it so good! As for nudity, Doc's bald head and Clive's shirtless staggering about the stage will have to suffice. Sorry, Vixens.:(
Photo by Blanca Acevedo Aside from Vincent and Ethan, the rest of the cast play multiple roles throughout the 1 1/2 hour production, from pals of Clive to junkies, prostitutes to priests, and a group of fishermen who taunt a dying Clive while snorting drugs from his prone body. Music is performed by the actors in fragmented segments throughout the play, so I wouldn't call this a concert or musical. Vincent and Ethan perform a country-flavored duet with their twin guitars, but they chant the words rather than actually sing them. Clive also performs by a piano decorated with lines such as "First the man takes a drink, then the drink takes...." and "Mama tried." Shades of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat here and on the guitars, as well. Clive's guitar sports various lines of dialogue and the legend "Be Nice To Me Sweetheart This is My Room" and the name "Elephant." Doc's guitar is named "Elephant My Ass" and bears a legend around the body of his guitar similar to Clive's.
Photo by Blanca Acevedo Major Spoiler!!!! Don't read this if you don't want to know what happens to Doc near the end of the play. Otherwise, read on..... As we know by now, Vincent has played many villains and anti-heroes on screen and on TV, and they usually die onscreen. Well, sorry to say that Doc meets his end after a bitterly drunken fight with Clive, sparked by jealousy and resentment over past wrongs (remember Doc's redheaded girlfriend?) Doc, who once snorted dope with Clive off their guitars, explodes with rage, demanding to know "Are you the only girlfriend I'm allowed to have?" A barroom brawl turns deadly as Clive, switchblade in hand, turns Doc into a ghost bathed in red light. Doc later appears with angel's wings, one wing bearing the words "Doc is dead" and the other "RIP." Clive's downfall is a foregone conclusion-"A rat lies in the gutter dying...so what?" Sex, drugs, rock and roll, larceny, rape, murder, etc........Are people nothing but hedonistic animals? Is love even possible in such a godless world? Who cares? I think Doc would have, definitely.
Photos courtesy of The New Group website