OREGON TRAIL by Rinker Buck Will Make You Want to Get a Covered Wagon

Rinker Buck, the fabulous author of OREGON TRAIL.

Rinker Buck, the fabulous author of OREGON TRAIL.

Ever wanted to not just read about a chapter in history but actually go out there and live it?

Rinker Buck and his brother Nicholas did exactly that!  When Rinker chanced upon the information that the Oregon Trail still exists in most places along its famous route beginning in Missouri, an idea was born.  Rinker decided he’d get a covered wagon, some mules to pull it, recreating the transportation methods circa 1840 – and go west!

The greatest migration of people ever happened between in the mid-1840’s and about 1900 as legions of them relocated across the plains along the Oregon Trail.

This book is fun, enjoyable, filled with riveting backstories…and makes me wish the brothers Buck had taken me with them!  Here they are in their covered wagon.

BRAVO for writing this, Rinker Buck!  If you do this again, have you got room for one more?

Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon?  Where can I sign up?

Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon? Where can I sign up?

Opening Soon on Broadway: ALLEGIANCE, George Takei’s Musical About His Family

ALLEGIANCE, a new musical opening soon on Broadway.

ALLEGIANCE, a new musical opening soon on Broadway.

The Broadway show I am most interested in seeing this season is the musical ALLEGIANCE.

The show stars George Takei of Star Trek fame as his own father and is about one of the most shameful periods in American history: the internment of the Japanese during World War II.  Of the thousands Japanese that were sent away to camps on suspicion of being “enemy agents” working for the Emperor, seventy percent (70%) were, in actuality, American-born.  George Takei was one of them.

The show’s website is here: http://allegiancemusical.com/

Twitter link for the show is here: http://twitter.com/allegiancebway

The Facebook page is here: http://www.facebook.com/AllegianceToBroadway?fref=ts

Performances will begin on October 6th at the Longacre Theater.

Love & Mercy: The Movie About Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys

LOVE & MERCY: a movie about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

LOVE & MERCY: a fascinating movie about Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys.

Over the weekend I finally got the chance to see LOVE & MERCY, the movie about Brian Wilson, the musical genius who gave the world the music of The Beach Boys.

Prior to seeing the movie, while I had heard rumblings that Brian Wilson was “reclusive” and had had some kind of “emotional difficulties,” I didn’t follow the story all that closely or know too many of the details.  The movie covers what happened and it packs a wallop.

John Cusack does a fine job as the troubled Wilson, but the performance to watch is the one by Elizabeth Banks as “Melinda Ledbetter.”  The movie is largely shown from her perspective as a chance encounter with him while working in car sales leads to the start of their relationship.  The more Melinda Ledbetter finds out about what’s happening with Brian, which is a horror not of his own devising, the more outraged she gets…

As always, I won’t add any “spoilers,” but I will say this: Melinda Ledbetter is a hero.  The world needs more women like her.  If you’d like to find out why, by all means, see this movie!

Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lioWzrpCtGQ

Paul Dano and John Cusack play Brian Wilson at different ages; Elizabeth Banks plays the wonderful Melinda Ledbetter.

Paul Dano and John Cusack play Brian Wilson at different ages; Elizabeth Banks plays the wonderful Melinda Ledbetter.

 

 

 

My Kind of Music: Lester Lanin & His Orchestra!

The Lester Lanin Band.  Those were the days!

The Lester Lanin Band. Those were the days!

Want to hear the kind of music I was raised on back in the early 1960’s?  The rest of the world may have been rocking and rolling, but at the Quinn house, we had a lot of fun with records like this one. Here’s my family’s favorite bandleader, Lester Lanin & His Orchestra, leading his band in a medley beginning with the Cole Porter standard, “De-Lovely.”  “The Charleston” is on this video, too, and more.

Lanin, born in Philadelphia, was the child of Russian immigrants.  His band became so popular after he was hired to play for heiress Barbara Hutton in 1930 that their popularity rose to the point he was asked to play for royalty.  I always love to hear a nice, positive, good old American success story, and Lester Lanin’s definitely qualifies.

So here’s a little sampling of his fine music for you to enjoy.   I always loved these numbers, all of which my family had on records.  My earliest memories all involve the music of the one, the only, Lester Lanin:

 

BRAVA, Patti LuPone, for Confiscating a Cell Phone at Your Show

Patti LuPone is starring in SHOW OF DAYS at Lincoln Center, and did the right thing - again - re: a rude audience member. BRAVO!

Patti LuPone is starring in SHOWS FOR DAYS at Lincoln Center, and did the right thing – again – re: a rude audience member. BRAVO!

I think Patti LuPone is fantastic!  She’s one of my favorite actresses, but it goes beyond that.  She’s also a rare and honest person who doesn’t sit down and take any guff from anybody, including rude and obnoxious members of theatrical audiences.

Miss LuPone is currently starring in SHOWS FOR DAYS at  Lincoln Center Theater.  She went ballistic at an audience member at GYPSY a few years ago for taking photographs.  LuPone is not known for her tolerance of those pesky audience members who ruin the ambience of live theater by texting on their telephones, checking their status updates, or taking photographs of the performance – and nor should she have to be.  Those who behave like that in the theater are nothing less than a flat-out pestilence to the rest of us!

I am often floored, when I go to a Broadway show, at how many telephones in the audience are lit before the curtain rises.  Just floored.  Once, from the vantage point of a balcony, I counted over fifty lit phones, pre-overture.  When the announcement is made for people to turn those phones off and retain from taking pictures, since that’s a copyright violation and illegal, most do, but not all.  At a show in the famous Palace Theater a few years ago, I sat in a box behind some people who were illegally, and brazenly, filming the entire first act.  Texting goes on throughout, evidenced by annoying little patches of light glowing in the audience darkness.

Intermission at these theaters is an unbelievable sight to see.  The lights go up, and the phones come out – all over the theater!  The Ladies Room lines, which are usually over fifty women strong, are a study in willful isolation, where the majority of the gals await their moment on the porcelain thrones while texting, status updating, and making or answering “traditional” telephone calls.

Obviously there are times when a call or text must be made, but it always strikes me as very strange that so many of these people can not even, literally, go to the bathroom without whipping their phones out and sending little messages.  What kind of “business” can be so pressing that the phones have to be activated during the too-few minutes between acts?  Is it not even possible for these phone-atics to refrain from using the things long enough to go to the can?

So it is with great pride and pleasure that I share the news of Patti LuPone’s latest response to an annoying telephone nut: at her show the other night, Patti strode over to the offender in question, snatched the bloomin’ phone right out of her over-active hand, and walked away with it.  Yes!

Hallelujah, and BRAVA, Patti!   Well done!  I’m so with you on this!

May this be the start of a trend.  If every actor and actress in the professional theater would vow to stand up and do something about these pain-in-the-butt audience members it would make for a much more enjoyable experience for all those of us – and we’re legion – who go to these shows to see the performances and watch the stars who stand before us, onstage, in the glow of spotlights…not the phone lights.

The phone Patti so beautifully confiscated was returned to the offender at the end of the show, unfortunately.  Patti didn’t steal it, she just got rid of it for awhile.  Good!  No doubt the Texting Wonder will be using it again, to disrupt some other performance soon, maybe even one at a theater near you.

Patti LuPone should get an award for her stance, and her fearlessness in taking action.  Bravissimo!  You go, girl!

On with the show!

Here’s some more on the subject from Broadwayworld.com and The New York Times:

http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Audience-Rudeness-Continues-Patti-LuPone-Snatches-Cell-Phone-During-SHOWS-FOR-DAYS-Performance-20150709#

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/theater/hold-the-phone-its-patti-lupone.html?_r=0

 

RIP, Sir Nicholas Winton

The man who rescued so many children from the Nazis, Sir Nicholas Wynton, died on July 1, 2015.

The man who rescued so many children from the Nazis, Sir Nicholas Winton, died on July 1, 2015.

Sir Nicholas Winton, the incredible man who took it upon himself to save 667 Czech children from the Nazis, passed away on July 1st at the age of 105.  His was definitely a life well lived, and a lesson to the rest of us for what we have the potential to do and become.

Here he is, surprised to find himself in an audience filled with some of the people he rescued:

I only wish that the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to him this year, before he passed away.  If any man deserved it, he did.

There’s a terrific movie about his life called Nicky’s Family, available here from Menemsha Films.  If you want to uplift yourself, by all means, see it:

http://www.menemshafilms.com/nickys-family

RIP, Sir Nicholas!

 

Documents Surface About Bill Cosby Drugging Women

The Reign of Terror is Over!  Documents surface about Cosby's rape of women!

The Reign of Terror is Over! Documents surface about Cosby’s rape of women!

It’s a day of validation for the 49 women who have been saying for months that they were drugged and raped by Bill Cosby.  A legal document – from 2005 – surfaced in which he admitted scoring quaaludes in order to drug and rape at least one of them.

I can hardly believe this maniac got away with raping so many ladies, and for so long, but he did.  Thank goodness the document has surfaced, so that now – hopefully – he will be brought to justice.

Not only that, but all of those poor women who found themselves in the midst of the nightmare this man generated can get some closure.