The new Barbara Cook is more “torchy,” and unfortunately “Sondheim-less.” The legendary Broadway soprano’s voice is still crystal clear and her phrasing near perfect in her show at 54 Below in NYC. Almost no one performs a song better than Cook despite the fact that she sang seated in a chair since her painful knees and back limited her from standing on stage. “I can’t walk very well,” she quipped after being helped on stage. “But I don’t feel 85; it’s a number.” This magnificent, courageous and resilient performer doesn’t look her age either. Her face was glowing with her expressive eyes and warm smile. Her strong passion to communicate a song and to go deep in her work is as apparent as ever. Although she can no longer reach the high notes of my longtime Cook favorite, “Ice Cream,” her current selections are ones she does well, and she does reach some high notes albeit in a lower key in the optimistic “Here’s To Life.”
So the Tsarnaeva bombers’ mother had shoplifted $1600 worth of clothing from Lord & Taylor a year before her “alienated” sons decided to integrate into American society by maiming and killing as many innocent people as their nail-studded bombs could reach. Fleeing to Russia rather than face a penalty for her crime, the head-scarved matriarch now denies that her boys did anything wrong and wails about coming to America to begin with. Zubeidat wonders what she was seeking here - protection for her boys and obviously some capitalist clothing - a la Ninotchka with her silk stockings. Not for her the sturdy burlaps of Dagestan or the coarse wools of Chechnya - the lady yearned for the frivolous fare of America’s designer shops and off she went to steal some - Allah be praised.
Tamarlan Tsarnaev and his younger brother Dzhokhar came to the United States when they were boys, refugees from Russia. This country took their family in, gave them asylum, educated them, offered them every opportunity, and, according to the Boston Herald, provided them with taxpayer-funded welfare benefits. Of course we did. Here’s how The Herald reported it:
Germain, a disaffected French teacher, exasperated by his dull students who not only can’t write but seemingly can’t experience anything loftier in their spare time than pizza and t.v. discovers a genuinely talented and sensitive young man in his class. Claude submits a story about his gaining entry to the home of his classmate and friend Rapha who has everything that Claude lacks - a two-parent family, a lovely house and a sensual mother who becomes the lure that beckons Claude to keep coming back and continue his serial tale. Germain shares each episode with his wife, a frustrated gallerista who also becomes intrigued by the inherent voyeurism and sexuality of the boy’s story. This leads to numerous complications as Claude becomes more daring and aggressive in his desire to insinuate himself into the lives of his chosen prey. With each submitted chapter, Germain similarly becomes more addicted to the tale and more reckless in his desire to please the student who has threatened to stop writing.
Immediately after the bombings of the London subway system in July 2005, British law enforcement authorities suspected a second bombing wave was coming. They suspected right. When they moved in to the area where the second wave suspects were thought to be hiding, the terrorists came running out with their hands up. They shouted, “We have rights! We have rights!”
All during shootout number two with Boston bombing suspect number two on Friday night, I was hoping he would not be taken alive. But the worst case scenario prevailed, and now that he has been captured the liberal coddling will begin.
In Thomas Friedman’s op ed on the Boston marathon massacre (Bring On the Next Marathon, NYT 4/17), the boldface caption insists “We’re just not afraid anymore.” Perhaps this is true for a traveling journalist who doesn’t use the subway daily or who isn’t forced to spend all his days in the 9/11 city of New York, but for most thinking people who work and live here, there is a great deal to fear. We live in a porous society where criminals roam free yet politicians complain about the “discriminatory” stop and frisk policies of the police, even though they have successfully reduced crime precisely in the neighborhoods that most affect the complaining minorities and their liberal champions. If you ride the subways, you know how many passengers wear enormous back-packs, large enough to conceal an arsenal of weapons. These are allowed to be carried into movie theaters, playgrounds, parks, sports arenas, shopping centers, department stores and restaurants with no security checks whatsoever. On the national front, immigration policies are more concerned with politically correct equality than with the reality of which groups are fomenting most of the terror around the world today. Our northern and southern borders are infiltrated daily by undocumented people slipping in beyond the government’s surveillance or control.
At the conclusion of World War II, as Gen. Dwight Eisenhower surveyed the evidence of the carnage in Europe, he ordered photos taken and a permanent record made because he predicted that one day there would be those who would try to say it never happened.
And he was right.
Despite the existence of overwhelming documentation and even the first-hand accounts of still living survivors and witnesses, there are those who seek to deny the Holocaust and in so doing, blame the victims and set the stage for a repeat performance.
These things are happening worldwide in ever-increasing numbers.
The Simon Wiesenthal center reports that “Vicious attacks on the memory of the Holocaust from denial, to distortion, to revisionism are erupting in countries around the world.”
They note, for instance, “the senior Egyptian official in charge of appointing editors of all state-run Egyptian newspapers declares, ‘The myth of the Holocaust is an industry that America invented.’”
It also notes that, “led by Iran’s government, Iranian media, schools, books, speeches and religious teachers deny the Holocaust ever happened while threatening to finish Hitler’s genocidal vision against the Jewish state.”
In its attempt to prime the Iranian people for its plan to commit genocide in their name, that government “uses Holocaust denial as part of its… propaganda assault on Israel, labeling the Jewish people as serial liars and criminals, and depicting the Jewish State as a cancer,” the center notes.
And, unfortunately, this is not limited to the Arab world, unless you consider the parts of Europe being overtaken by Islamists as part of the Arab world, as the Islamists surely do.
The center reports that the UK’s Sunday London Times editors “published a cartoon on Holocaust Memorial Day depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu building a wall cemented with the blood and bodies of Palestinian men, women and children,” and in Lithuania, “authorities are whitewashing their own nation’s Nazi collaborators while claiming Nazi crimes should be commemorated along with the victims of communism among whom were those who aided and abetted Nazi Germany.”
An extremist parliamentarian in a far-right Hungarian political party calls for the government to create a list of Jews in that country who pose threats to national security, “eerily reminiscent of Nazi policies during the 1940s,” center officials point out.
And this stuff isn’t contained only to Europe and the Arab world. Just this week, the Associated Press reported on a New York high school English teacher who was suspended after school officials learned she had assigned her students a project to make persuasive arguments proving Jews are evil. The idea, the story says, is that the students were to research Nazi propaganda and “assume their teacher was a Nazi government official who had to be convinced of their loyalty.”
The assignment was brought to administrators’ attention by one student’s parent, the story says, adding that some students refused to write the assignment.
Like the case earlier this year in which a Manhattan teacher caused controversy by assigning fourth-graders math homework involving scenarios about killing and whipping slaves, this teacher’s assignment, which told students they “must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich,” just can’t be what it sounds like, it seems to me.
How stupid would a public school teacher have to be to out themselves as so hopeless a racist/anti-Semite as these assignments would imply, especially if they really were. Such people tend to sneak their poison into their lessons more stealthily than this. But, maybe the sensitivity training the latter case provoked will help. It couldn’t hurt. That kind of stuff can turn into the kind of stuff being experienced in much of the rest of the world, if left unchecked.
It’s a family affair at the Café Carlyle where John Pizzarelli’s quartet, which includes his younger brother Martin on bass, share the stage with their legendary dad, Bucky Pizzarelli, 87, on guitar. The show really is about the exemplary father-son relationship. But there were three generations of Pizzarellis at the show including John’s wife, Jessica Molaskey, who frequently performs with the quartet and Bucky’s granddaughter who called the chords out for him.
There was a time, before the sixties, when the function of a university was to act in loco parentis, offering guidance, direction and discipline to students seeking to benefit from older, wiser minds. After that decade’s watershed capitulation of authority by administrators and faculty empowered to know better, nothing has been quite the same. The latest kerfuffle to illustrate this abandonment of reason is the one currently unfolding at Cardozo Law School. The editors of the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution have chosen Jimmy Carter as the recipient of their International Advocate of Peace Award. This has angered many people, especially alumni, since Cardozo is a part of Yeshiva University, a school singularly dedicated to the support and well-being of Israel. Jimmy Carter, a long-time beneficiary of Saudi Arabia’s payroll, has been unsurprisingly and selectively critical of Israel, characterizing its policies towards Palestinians as apartheid.
Brothers Larry, Rudy and Steve Gatlin brought their rich country harmony to 54 Below in NYC for a single powerful performance Saturday evening thanks to the silver fox of cabaret, Jamie De Roy, who introduced them to the stylish venue. The Gatlin Brothers with their own guitars were backed up by Steve Smith on guitar and Shannon Ford on drums. Larry spoke the truth when he joked, “Only 80 minutes–it’s impossible to sing all the wonderful songs I’ve written.”
The relationship between God and politics may be an age old question, but when I first met David Kuo in 2008 our conversation was not the usual small talk. At the time, Kuo, author and former White House official, talked passionately about his controversial best-seller, “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.”
Lee Roy Reams, 70, is truly an-fashioned song and dance man. He put on a terrific one night show that flowed well at 54 Below, the former famed Studio 54 in NYC earlier this week performing selections from some of his Broadway shows including Hello, Dolly, 42nd Street, Sweet Charity and La Cage Aux Folles. Reams’ opening with an uptune, “Lullaby of Broadway,” was strong and set the pace for an entertaining evening. His musical numbers were interspersed with amusing and candid Broadway anecdotes.
There are two big problems with Robert Redford’s new film about the 60’s Weathermen who became fugitives from justice. The first is the casting of himself as someone just three decades removed from that period of time; sadly, Redford has aged quickly and badly and looks every minute of his actual late 70’s which would have made him a student activist in his mid 40’s. Even Brendan Gleeson, never a matinee idol, would have been a more logical choice for the main character of Nick Sloan, a man with an assumed identity, a career as a lawyer in Albany and a pressing responsibility as a recent widower who is now the sole parent of an 11 year old daughter. Since there are far too many close-ups of the strawberry-blonde septuagenarian, we can’t escape the essential hole in the story - how to believe that grandpa was just a young idealist (or radical ideologue) only thirty years before.