Kvell

17 Apr 19
Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

Like us on Facebook  The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.  CLICK THE FROG TO JOIN THE FUN! Get the Code […]

17 Apr 19
Lefsetz Letter

Yazhou was in Hong Kong. Maybe you grew up with this technology, but for those of us who grew up in the twentieth century, it’s positively amazing. It’s kind of like asking my mother what it was like before television, I couldn’t fathom it. And now I’ve lived through a revolution myself, a technical revolution, […]

23 Mar 19
Granola Shotgun

When I was six years old my scruples were removed along with my tonsils and adenoids. It was a fashionable surgery in the early 1970s. Consequently I’m a peculiar kind of Philistine with an affinity for the pragmatic aspects of other people’s cultural rituals. I’m amoral and omnivorous. Technically I’m a nominal Catholic, but waaaay […]

18 Mar 19
FUSSYlittleBLOG

Being a parent is hard. There is so much to teach your kids so that one day that might grow up to be respectable members of society. 

Important things like a love and affection for early Talking Heads deep cuts, and the finer point that the name of the band is Talking Heads and not […]

17 Mar 19
A Psychiatrist in Myanmar

17 March 2019 [Above photo: A good ad for Nutrivita! And Myanmar can-do! I always love to watch the “helpers” gawking.] I awoke this morning with the expectation of calling my nephews and sister-in-law in Williamsburg, Virginia. We’ve tried to connect a couple of times but it can be difficult with busy schedules and my […]

09 Mar 19
Daily News
Maxie the Taxi Sedaka and his wife, Eleanor, were barely making ends meet on his salary as a Brooklyn cab driver when their son’s second-grade teacher, Evelyn Glance, suggested they get him piano lessons. For a 6-year-old, Neil was showing an incredible musical aptitude in choral class, and could very well be a child prodigy. If so, they should buy him a piano. Maxie the Taxi gulped. How much did pianos cost? He was already working long shifts driving a cab to support his family, maybe he could add a few more hours. He had earned his endearing nickname from friends and steady customers for being a stand up guy, and now, looking out his Brighton Beach apartment window at his son playing stickball in the street below, Maxie thought yeah, he could put in a few more hours behind the steering wheel. Anything for his kid. Neil Sedaka live at the Royal Albert Hall. (Photo from Neil Sedaka Music) Eleanor said forget it. He was already working hard enough. She’d get a sales clerk job at Abraham & Straus department store while Neil was at school. She checked around and found they could buy a second hand upright for around $500. The day the piano was delivered officially ended Neil Sedaka’s stickball career. Those gifted fingers of his were too valuable to risk getting injured playing ball with a broom handle and pink Spaldeen. Everyday, for six hours, Neil sat at that piano and honed his skills. He missed stickball, but he loved music, and he was good. Very good. Every few weeks, Maxie would tell his son to take a break. The Dodgers were home, let’s go out to Ebbets Field and see Jackie Robinson play. They’d sit in the bleachers for 60 cents a ticket and scream themselves hoarse for the Bums to win. Neil’s second grade teacher was right. He was a prodigy. The Juilliard School of Music offered him a scholarship, and famed concert pianist Arthur Rubinstein named him the best high school pianist in New York City. Everybody who heard Neil play agreed. Maxie the Taxi and Eleanor’s kid was destined for Carnegie Hall. Nobody bothered to ask Neil where he saw himself destined for. Like just about every teenager in America in the 50’s, he’d rush home from school at 3:30 p.m., turn on American Bandstand, and see rock ‘n’ roll, not Rachmaninoff, in his future. He’d sing along with whomever Dick Clark had as guest performers that day, and found not only his fingers were gifted, but his voice was pretty darn good, too. “Little did I think that a couple of years later, I would be on with Dick Clark, who gave me my start,” Sedaka said this week on the eve of his 80th birthday and as a rare concert date approaches on Saturday, April 6, at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. “I was so scared to sing at the beginning. All my training was as a concert pianist. My mother was a little leery about rock ‘n’ roll, but she said, ‘this is what you chose to do, so go do it,’ and she pushed me out on the stage. Fortunately, I had the goods.” “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Oh, Carol,” “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” “Calendar Girl,” and so many other Top 10 hits followed. “After a couple of royalty checks, my mother was very pleased I chose rock ‘n’ roll,” Sedaka said, laughing. “I bought her a mink coat and a house.” But, almost as soon as it began, it ended when the Beatles arrived in 1963, and Sedaka’s career began to flag. “I was out of work,” he candidly said. “I figured if the Beatles came to New York, I’d go to England where the English were still very faithful to original rock and roll. I lived there for three years. “Elton John was a big fan and was just starting Rocket Records. He said I’m going to make you a star again, and his company produced my album ‘Laughter in the Rain’ in America, which went to number one.” He still loves doing concerts, but limits them to eight a year. Ironically, now he spends most of his time composing classical music – “a side most people don’t know about me,” he said. But it’s still “Calendar Girl” paying the bills. “I love the adrenaline rush I get from an audience,” Sedaka said. “They’ve grown up with my songs, and it’s a wonderful feeling to share them, and know that ‘Calendar Girl’ will outlive me.” Maxie the Taxi ultimately gave up his cab and became his son’s road manager, and his mom his number one fan. “She was always in the audience wherever I performed – the ultimate kvell (proud parent),” Sedaka said, laughing. “My father was a great guy, but my mother ruled the roost.” Dennis McCarthy’s column runs on Sunday. He can be reached at dmccarthynews@gmail.com.
09 Mar 19
SCNG
Maxie the Taxi Sedaka and his wife, Eleanor, were barely making ends meet on his salary as a Brooklyn cab driver when their son’s second-grade teacher, Evelyn Glance, suggested they get him piano lessons. For a 6-year-old, Neil was showing an incredible musical aptitude in choral class, and could very well be a child prodigy. If so, they should buy him a piano. Maxie the Taxi gulped. How much did pianos cost? He was already working long shifts driving a cab to support his family, maybe he could add a few more hours. He had earned his endearing nickname from friends and steady customers for being a stand up guy, and now, looking out his Brighton Beach apartment window at his son playing stickball in the street below, Maxie thought yeah, he could put in a few more hours behind the steering wheel. Anything for his kid. Neil Sedaka live at the Royal Albert Hall. (Photo from Neil Sedaka Music) Eleanor said forget it. He was already working hard enough. She’d get a sales clerk job at Abraham & Straus department store while Neil was at school. She checked around and found they could buy a second hand upright for around $500. The day the piano was delivered officially ended Neil Sedaka’s stickball career. Those gifted fingers of his were too valuable to risk getting injured playing ball with a broom handle and pink Spaldeen. Everyday, for six hours, Neil sat at that piano and honed his skills. He missed stickball, but he loved music, and he was good. Very good. Every few weeks, Maxie would tell his son to take a break. The Dodgers were home, let’s go out to Ebbets Field and see Jackie Robinson play. They’d sit in the bleachers for 60 cents a ticket and scream themselves hoarse for the Bums to win. Neil’s second grade teacher was right. He was a prodigy. The Juilliard School of Music offered him a scholarship, and famed concert pianist Arthur Rubinstein named him the best high school pianist in New York City. Everybody who heard Neil play agreed. Maxie the Taxi and Eleanor’s kid was destined for Carnegie Hall. Nobody bothered to ask Neil where he saw himself destined for. Like just about every teenager in America in the 50’s, he’d rush home from school at 3:30 p.m., turn on American Bandstand, and see rock ‘n’ roll, not Rachmaninoff, in his future. He’d sing along with whomever Dick Clark had as guest performers that day, and found not only his fingers were gifted, but his voice was pretty darn good, too. “Little did I think that a couple of years later, I would be on with Dick Clark, who gave me my start,” Sedaka said this week on the eve of his 80th birthday and as a rare concert date approaches on Saturday, April 6, at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. “I was so scared to sing at the beginning. All my training was as a concert pianist. My mother was a little leery about rock ‘n’ roll, but she said, ‘this is what you chose to do, so go do it,’ and she pushed me out on the stage. Fortunately, I had the goods.” “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do,” “Oh, Carol,” “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen,” “Calendar Girl,” and so many other Top 10 hits followed. “After a couple of royalty checks, my mother was very pleased I chose rock ‘n’ roll,” Sedaka said, laughing. “I bought her a mink coat and a house.” But, almost as soon as it began, it ended when the Beatles arrived in 1963, and Sedaka’s career began to flag. “I was out of work,” he candidly said. “I figured if the Beatles came to New York, I’d go to England where the English were still very faithful to original rock and roll. I lived there for three years. “Elton John was a big fan and was just starting Rocket Records. He said I’m going to make you a star again, and his company produced my album ‘Laughter in the Rain’ in America, which went to number one.” He still loves doing concerts, but limits them to eight a year. Ironically, now he spends most of his time composing classical music – “a side most people don’t know about me,” he said. But it’s still “Calendar Girl” paying the bills. “I love the adrenaline rush I get from an audience,” Sedaka said. “They’ve grown up with my songs, and it’s a wonderful feeling to share them, and know that ‘Calendar Girl’ will outlive me.” Maxie the Taxi ultimately gave up his cab and became his son’s road manager, and his mom his number one fan. “She was always in the audience wherever I performed – the ultimate kvell (proud parent),” Sedaka said, laughing. “My father was a great guy, but my mother ruled the roost.” Dennis McCarthy’s column runs on Sunday. He can be reached at dmccarthynews@gmail.com.
07 Feb 19
LONDON PLAYWRIGHTS' BLOG

JW3 are pleased to present the third installation of JW3’s new seasonal scratch night Kvell* Your Darlings. On Sunday 27 October 2019, 3 writers, theatre-makers or companies will perform 15-20 minutes of new material in a studio space at JW3. The performances will be followed by an informal chance for the artists to kibbitz* with the […]

03 Feb 19
Wise Madness

I woke up this morning with a very sore shoulder and I’m typing this through the pain. That is how much I love My Gentle Readers. But I’m not crazy, I’m taking acetaminophen; I’ll be right back after a word from our sponsor. It doesn’t work that fast but I feel better, placebo effect. I’m […]

29 Jan 19
The Hilltopper

This past weekend, I sat in C-Shop with a group of my friends eating dinner as a comedian hired by CAB took the stage. We had completely forgotten there would be a performance but decided to stay a little while to hear his act. He interacted with the crowd and played a game where he […]

24 Jan 19

I have my little pet theories. One of them is that every single big news story has a Jewish angle somewhere. Some you may have to look really hard for and some are obvious, but anything that is making the news involves Jews. I must admit I was beginning to feel a little shaky about […]