Posts Tagged ‘David Bowie’

Letter From New York 01 18 2016 Hotel California to present day travails….

January 19, 2016

Minnesota Los Angeles Fred Pinkard Rocky II Ron Bernstein Adagio Nik Buian The Eagles Glenn Frey  Hotel California Paul Krich David Bowie Donald Trump British Parliament about Trump Martin Luther King Day JFK RFK Nazis Genocide

In the long ago and far away, I left Minnesota and ended up in Los Angeles.  Volunteering at a theater as an usher, I met Fred Pinkard, an African American actor who guest starred in television shows and was in Rocky II; never famous but almost always working. 

I needed work and he put me together with Ron Bernstein who owned Adagio, a little “Cafe California” kind of restaurant down the street from Paramount.  As a favor to Fred, Ron hired me.  I was not good.  I was actually going to be fired.  I could feel it. 

Staying up half the night one night, I kept thinking about it and worked out a system.  The next day everyone on the staff gathered round me at the end of my shift and asked:  what happened?  I had worked out a system.  I went from being the worst to the best.  

Late at night after all the customers had left, Nik Buian, the manager and I, would crank up the music system and pull out all the bottles of wine that had been left behind with something in them.  We’d drink them, talk about life and fold napkins for the next day, sometimes to four in the morning.

We’d listen to The Eagles non-stop.  They were his favorite and I can never hear “Hotel California” without thinking of those nights with Nik, folding napkins, learning about wines and sharing good times with a good friend.

Eagles founder Glenn Frey died today at 67.  Not much older than I am. 

I am surrounded by mortality this week.  Wednesday I will be giving a eulogy for my friend Paul, much of it written but in need of a bit of burnishing.  My friend Paul, David Bowie, Glenn Frey and I now find I am at the time of my life when friends are beginning to go and it is sobering.

Life is sobering.  As I am sitting in my dining room the world is full of all kinds of travails. I know that and am frustrated because I can do so little to change any of it.

This morning I had a conversation with an old work friend who confessed to me how scared he is about this coming election.  No one appeals to him; they all frighten him and he will vote based on which one frightens him less.

This is not good. It seems worse than the choice between the lesser of two evils.

Extraordinarily there was a debate in Parliament today about whether to ban Donald Trump from the UK because of “hate speech.”  Now it is the purview of the Home Secretary to ban someone from the UK but it was an extraordinary opportunity for the Brits to weigh in on the American election process.  One member of Parliament described Trump as “an idiot.”

He is far from that.  He is manipulative, decisive and pandering.  He is bringing out the worst of us.  He reminds me of the crass politicians of ancient Rome and that’s not good.

What is good is that today is Martin Luther King Day and we are remembering an extraordinary man who changed the fabric of American life. He taught black Americans to move beyond their fears and called to white Americans to be the best they could be.  When he died I was but a boy and already reeling from the death of JFK.  His death and that of RFK mangled my mind, probably for the rest of my life.  I still reverberate with all those deaths from the ’60’s when I was young and realizing the world for the first time, making my first realizations of what life was about and what life seemed to be about in those days was killing.

And it hasn’t changed.  We have not had many high profile murders as those but we have fallen into the grinding news of killings on a daily basis all over the world, killing that is disgusting, motivated by twisted religious beliefs as the Nazis twisted people into genocide.

Letter From New York 01 12 2016 No mean spirits allowed…

January 12, 2016

It’s late afternoon, Tuesday the 16th, and I am in the Acela Lounge waiting for my train north.  I could grab an earlier one but it is probable if I wait for the 5:47, I will see one or two friends I haven’t seen for a while.

Before opening the laptop and letting my fingers tap the keyboard, I was reading about the death of David Bowie at 69.  He did not much share the news of his health and the announcement of his death did not reveal the kind of cancer which felled him nor the place where he died.

I was told not long ago that he had a place up in the Hudson Valley.  The now ex-wife of my friend Paul Krich, Lorraine, was a good friend of Iman, now Bowie’s widow and she was visiting them one night when I was there for dinner.  She was quiet and shy and was with their daughter.  She and her daughter retired early, smilingly and charmingly.

Bowie has been prolific in the last months of his life, co-writing a play titled “Lazarus” along with a music video of the same name.  Now he is dead, they can be seen as his communicating to the world his time was short.

Time is short for all of us.  It’s a blip of time we inhabit this planet, no matter how old we get. 

Making the most of his blip of time, media mogul Rupert Murdoch has announced his engagement to the ex-wife of Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, the former supermodel.  This is her second marriage, his fourth.  She is 59; he is 84.  Between them they have ten children.

In Istanbul, not far from the Hagia Sofia, a sixth century Orthodox church now a museum, a young Syrian blew himself up, killing at least ten, mostly Germans, and wounding more.  The Turks believe it is IS and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has decried the event.

Putin has hinted today that if Assad ever feels the need to leave Damascus, he might well find welcome in Moscow.  If he made that choice, it would lessen the complications for a Syrian peace.

Humanitarian workers who have reached the town of Madaya have found “barely moving skeletons.”  It is the worst they have seen in the five year Syrian wars and the image causes me to think of the photos taken of Jews as the camps were liberated from the Germans.

The political circus continues.  ANOTHER Republican debate is upon us with Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina now relegated to the “undercard” debate.  Rand Paul says no way and he is off to do more campaigning in person than appearing in the second tier debate.  Paul could be smart or desperate.  Remains to be seen…

Bernie Sanders has a lead over Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and has just moved slightly ahead of her in Iowa.  Chelsea has been sent out to campaign.

Though it will probably offend my conservative friends, the NY Times today did a scathing piece on Ted Cruz accusing him of exploiting evangelicals and actually espousing actions that are cruel, painful, and harmful — ones that certainly aren’t very Christian.

As Solicitor General of Texas, he went to the Supreme Court to keep a man in jail who had stolen a calculator from Walmart.  Because of a judicial mistake, the man got sixteen  years instead of two.  When the mistake was discovered, Cruz went into overdrive to keep him in jail the full sixteen.  Eventually the poor man was freed after six.  All over a calculator?  Cruz seems petty and mean and mean spirited all the way round.

Not feeling specially mean spirited and with suspicions friends would be on the train, I went down to Penn Spirits and purchased a bottle of a nice Sauvignon Blanc and a small bottle of sake.  And I got several cups.

Now the train is moving. My friends are here.  Soon we will open the bottle and enjoy good spirited company.  Here’s NOT to you, Mr. Cruz!