Thursday, January 31, 2013

WEST-EASTERN DIVAN ORCHESTRA==>TERRIFIC!!


Thursday==>I am happy to report to you loyal and faithful readers and followers that last night’s All-Beethoven concert by the WEST-EASTERN DIVAN ORCHESTRA @ Carnegie Hall was TERRIFIC, as I had anticipated.

This highly talented orchestra of young Mid-Eastern performers, lead by their conductor and founder Daniel Barenbolm, played Beethoven’s Symphonies 1, 5, and 8 to the roaring approval of a full-house audience.

Folks, the energy, enthusiasm and talent permeating from the stage was palatable, and I am not being overly dramatic, it really was.

As might be expected, Symphony No. 5 ... “da-da-da-dum” ... “da-da-da-dum” ... received the greatest round of applause, with a standing ovation, as it concluded the evening’s concert.

My discounted seat was in the upper balcony but I knew this in advance. It wasn’t a problem because, as I have reported on numerous occasions, the acoustics at Carnegie Hall are awesome. I would have preferred a slightly better sight-line but that didn’t detract one bit from my enjoyment of the concert as a whole.

Yes, Billi Pod left the concert with a smile on his face.

Tonight’s entertainment event is concert number two of the series and it will be Beethoven’s Symphonies 3 “Eroica” (one of my favorites) and 4

Really looking forward to it. I will be in the same balcony seat for the entire series.

Moving on ...

I am happy to report that the New York Times gave Tuesday’s NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC “Symphonic Sondheim” concert a rave review.

Moving on some more ... 

There is a lot of local coverage of the unfolding A-Rod drama, as might be expected.

“ALEX IS GOING ... GOING ... Hip woes, drug probes likely mean Yankee exit.”
front page of sports section of The Daily News. 

Of real interest is the story in The News which quotes “un-named” sources within Yankee management to the effect that regardless of what happens with the new allegations of use of performance-enhancing drugs, A-Rod is unlikely to ever wear pinstripes again.

According to numerous “sources,” the hip surgery will likely derail his playing career to such an extent that he will either reach a settlement regarding the remaining years of his mega-inflated contract or just outright retire.

Oh the drama ... stay tuned ... 

Oh ...  and yes ... Marty ... per your request(s) ... I will continue to make timely reports on the local sports scene for you and my other loyal and faithful readers and followers out there in the hinterlands, wastelands and boondocks. You are soooooooooo very welcum ...

Decent weather yesterday meant a good walking day too ... so ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>5.52 miles (or, 12,066 steps)

Total mileage since 7/1/12==>1,100.72 miles

GO GATORS AND GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday Was An AWESOME Day!!


Yes, my loyal and faithful readers and followers, yesterday was an AWESOME day beginning with late lunch at the Ethiopian restaurant Meske on West 47th Street, with Dian Crystal and her posse. In the photograph it is, left to right: Lorraine Barsa, Billi Pod, Julie Miller, Marty Kosarik and Dian Crystal aka My Lady.

Dian and her posse, except me, had been to a taping of The View, whatever that is.

The food was excellent, as usual, and, as directed by My Lady, we all ordered the same thing, The Vegetarian Combination Platter, shown in this picture. When lunch was over we split. 

Dian and her posse went searching for some Godiva Chocolate and I came back to PHC to finish up yesterday’s posting.

Dian and Marty were scheduled for a show at 7:00pm at a theater on my block, so I had invited them to kill some time with me in the warm and cozy confines of PHC, which they did after completing their successful quest for sweets and stuff.

We spent about 3 hours, talking, joking and basically having fun together. Well, by basically I mean everyone except Marty, who, as you can see from this pic, was apparently bored out of his skull. 

Oh well ... you can’t win them all as “they” say ... 

At around 6:15pm we split and I headed up to Lincoln Center for my evening’s entertainment event, which was ...

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ Avery Fisher Hall - “Symphonic Sondheim”==>sublimely beautiful.

The orchestra, conducted by Paul Gemignani, gave six spine-tingling renditions of scores written by Sondheim, the best being, IMHO, the Suite from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

The host for the evening was the actor Nathan Lane who introduced each number with comments that were both informative and often very humorous.

When the final number was completed the sold-out audience erupted into thunderous applause. Then Lane pointed to the first tier box area where Sondheim was seated and the audience gave this musical legend a roaring standing ovation. It was very emotional.

I was a little surprised he didn’t come on stage, but he didn’t.

It was a totally enjoyable time and I am so glad I decided, almost a year ago, to purchase a ticket for this “extra” event.

When I got back to PHC around 10:15pm I was almost overwhelmed at what an AWESOME day/evening it had been. I am sooooooooooo lucky/blessed.

Tonight’s entertainment event for Billi Pod is more classical music ...

8:00==>WEST-EASTERN DIVAN ORCHESTRA @ Carnegie Hall - The program is: Beethoven’s Symphonies 1, 5, and 8. (full price ticket)

This is the first of four All-Beethoven concerts by this orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenbolm, that brings together young musicians from Israel, Palestine and various Arab countries in the Middle East. The group was named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's collection of poems entitled “West-Eastern Divan.”

I have tickets for all four of the concerts - Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.

Now ... in response to a pleading text from Marty ... I will now move on to a bit of sports ...

The Alex Rodriguez drama continues to haunt the Yankee Nation. These are the headlines in today’s papers ...

“GO A-WAY. Dirty doc’s files point to Rodriguez’s drug use.” front page of The Daily News

“TOXIC WASTE. Yanks will have hard time cleaning up A-Rod’s roid mess.” back page of The Daily News

“VOID RAGE. Yanks want out of final $114M in contract after report links A-Rod to HGH.” back page of The NY Post

"Rodriguez Linked Anew To Prohibited Drugs. A newspaper reports that a Florida clinic supplied performance enhancers.” front page of sports section of The NY Times

Of course A-Rod denies any wrongdoing, but ... he has retained the high-profile Miami attorney Roy Black ... jus sayin ...

You are so welcome Marty!!

On this happy note I will post this and then head out for some outdoor walking and wandering. Yes ... it is 46º at 11:30am and it is expected to get up to 57º by mid-afternoon.

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>4.83 miles (or, 10,572 steps)

Total mileage since 7/1/12==>1,095.20 miles

GO GATORS AND GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MISALLIANCE==>A


Tuesday==>OMFG my loyal and faithful readers and followers ... a heat wave has hit The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. Yes ... it is now 48º @ 11:00am and the high’s are predicted to be in the low-50s. Time for shorts, Tees and flip-flops, without a doubt.

Got some interesting things to do soon ... so ... let’s get this posting started (it may have to be posted later in the afternoon) with Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s entertainment event ...

MISALLIANCE by George Bernard Shaw, the examination of unsuitable combinations==>A

This was performed at The Players Club, a private club in Gramercy Park, and it was a staged reading, with an excellent cast. This was my first time at this landmarked venue.

The show gets off to a rather slow start but Act II is laugh-out-loud funny as Shaw skewers the English upper-class/nobility. It was a very enjoyable and entertaining event.

I saw it with my theater buddy Marty Kosarik and he also gives the performance an A.

When the show was over we decided that we would catch a bite at (fill in the blank, Marty) a restaurant on 9th Street in The East Village, so out we went. It was cold but tolerable. But, when we got to the restaurant, it had already closed. Bummer.

But ... no problemo ... Marty had another place in mind as a backup and that was a Ukrainian restaurant, Veselka, also on 9th Street. It is open 24/7.

Marty had Borscht and a large Varenyky (Pierogi) plate and I had Kielbasa with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. It was excellent.

It was a little after midnight when I got back to PHC, ending a very enjoyable evening's entertainment.

It was great being with you Marty!!

This afternoon I will meet up with my theater-buddy Dian Crystal and her posse, which will include Marty Kosarik and, in her words, “two virgins,” for a late lunch at our favorite Fallopian restaurant, Meske, located on West 47th Street in my Hell’s Kitchen ‘hood.

They will be coming from a taping of “The View,” a show Billi Pod has never seen and probably never will ... and ...

Oh ... sorry Marty ... I keep making the same mistake ... sorry my loyal and faithful readers and followers, what Billi Pod meant to say was ... “our favorite Ethiopian restaurant” ... sorry ... my bad.

Anyway ... tonight I have something very special ...

7:30==>NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ Avery Fisher Hall - Symphonic Sondheim. “Hosted by award-winning performer Nathan Lane, the orchestra will present symphonic suites from ‘Sunday in the Park with George,’ ‘Pacific Overtures,’ ‘Passion,’ ‘Sweeney Todd,’ and others.” (full price ticket).

Yeah ... I am really looking forward to this concert and my seat is in the same location as one of my season subscriptions.

OK, now it is time to post this and then get ready to meet Dian and her posse ... so ...  

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>4.74 miles (or, 10,370 steps)

Total mileage since 7/1/12==>1,090.37 miles

GO GATORS AND GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Another “Dark Comedy” Bites Billi Pod On The Ass


Monday==>it is lightly snowing and 32º @ 9:30am this morning here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. A nice way to begin the week. NOT!!

So ... let’s get this Monday morning posting started with Billi Pod’s report card on yesterday’s so-called “entertainment” event ...

THE FUTURE IS NOT WHAT IT WAS, the dark comedy where society's moral compasses have been broken==>C-

It was 2:10, with an intermission, of: two unlikeable stoners/alcoholics, too dark, too long and not funny. 

All of the characters, with the exception of a brief appearance by a door-to-door missionary, were unpleasant and unbelievable caricatures of the perceived 30-something misfit lifestyle in NYC.

BTW. Where does the money come from to fund a two bedroom Manhattan apartment and partying, boozing and drugging every night? Jus' askin' ...

Another so-called “dark comedy” got Billi Pod yet again. When will he learn?

Yep ... make no mistake about it ... I should have fled at intermission, but I didn’t.

And this brings me to Billi Pod’s entertainment event for this evening ...

7:00==>MISALLIANCE by George Bernard Shaw - “Shaw examines a variety of unsuitable combinations. The social and the political collide with the romantic and the practical.” (Off Broadway)

I booked this show on a head’s up from my theater buddy Dian Crystal, only to later learn she didn’t book it because she doesn’t like the venue, The Player’s Club in Gramercy Park. Thanks, My Lady.

Oh well ...

My schedule for the remainder of the week is totally awesome, with 5 concerts at either Avery Fisher Hall or Carnegie Hall.

Bring It On!!

A special THANK YOU from me and my alter-ego Billi Pod to all of our loyal and faithful readers and followers who took the time to respond to yesterday’s posting about reaching our 1,079 mile Birthday Walk Challenge, 86 days ahead of the projected April 23, 2013 date. We really appreciate all of the emails, texts, messages and posts. THANKS!!

As you know, Monday is Billi Pod’s usual errands and stuff day, so he will post this and begin doing things and stuff ... so ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>3.07 miles (or, 6,710 steps)

Total mileage since 7/1/12==>1,085.63 miles

GO GATORS AND GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Billi Pod Did It==>1,079 Miles


 1,079 MILES==>at 2:55pm yesterday in front of The First Baptist Church located at West 79th & Broadway I recorded the 3.61st mile and in so doing, reached my 1,079 Mile Birthday Challenge, 86 days ahead of schedule.

I had left the warm and cozy confines of PHC to brave the elements because I didn’t want to reach this momentous occasion on some skanky subway platform or in The Port Authority Bus Terminal etc. etc. I planned to walk a bit in the PA and then, with about a mile to go, I would catch the uptown 1 train and get off at the 79th Street station.

I would then walk inside the station until I had less than a 1/4 mile to go, then I would go outside, brave the bitter cold, and find an interesting place to clock in the 3.61st mile. Well, my loyal and faithful readers and followers ... sometimes things don’t work out just as you plan them ...

Before I left PHC I checked the MTA app to make certain that there were no weekend service disruptions on the 1 train and none were reported. But ... as I was on the train leaving the 59th Street station the conductor announced that the train would begin running express meaning it would skip the 79th Street station. Damn ... I would have to get off at 72nd Street and walk up to 79th, in the freezing cold. Luckily I had dressed warmly.

When we reached 72nd Street the platform was jam-packed with hordes of frustrated passengers so that pretty much precluded me from clocking any meaningful mileage in the station. So, I headed up the steps and into the cold. It was still in the teens and the wind was howling. It was very unpleasant.

 Yeah, I know ... I could have headed back to 42nd Street and The Port Authority or whatever ... but you loyal and faithful readers and followers know what happens when Billi Pod sets his mind on accomplishing something in a particular manner ... f**k the alternatives ...

OK ... a few more details ... what happened was that I got to 79th Street, shivering, and there I noticed a large church, The First Baptist Church, at the intersection of 79th and Broadway. YES ... that’s where Billi Pod would record the final mileage. I spent about 30 minutes walking around the area, carefully checking the mileage on my trusty WeightWatchers Pedometer.

Then ... at 2:55pm ... I made it. I looked around but I couldn’t spot any TV cameras and/or reporters ... Oh well ... I guess Mayor Mike hadn’t read yesterday’s blog ...

Took some pictures and then quickly headed to the downtown subway station to make it back to the warm and cozy confines of PHC. I was freezing.

It felt really good during the trip back. Yes, I had walked 1,079 miles from July 1, 2012 to January 26, 2013, or a daily average of 5.14 miles per day. I made my goal 86 days ahead of my projected April 23, 2013 schedule and ... gasp ... I had recorded ... gasp ...

2,359,773 steps==>AWESOME!!

What happens next I know you are all asking your inner selves? Well ... selves ... I do have a couple of plans and I will reveal them to you loyal and faithful readers and followers next week, so stay tuned.

Moving on ...

Oh ... I guess I forget to say==>1,079 miles from a 78yr old guy ain’t bad, is it?

Now ... moving on ...

Last night’s BESPOKE MUSICALS @ The York Theatre, the program that pairs teams of emerging writers with students from Marymount College for 4 short musicals==>A+.

Folks, this was a totally enjoyable experience. The house was full and the energy and enthusiasm was evident on stage and in the audience. 

Excellent writing with an awesomely talented group of young performers.

The underlying theme for this event is that the writer’s audition the performers and once they are selected, the writer’s then prepare a show to fit and showcase the talents and strengths of the chosen actors. 

Jim Morgan, The Artistic Director of The York Theatre, and his awesome staff, are to be congratulated for initiating this truly unique program.

I left the theater with a huge smile on my face.

Today’s entertainment event is ...

2:00==>THE FUTURE IS NOT WHAT IT WAS - “A dark comedy set in a world not unlike our own, where society's moral compasses have been broken, the church has lost all currency, and no one seems to have any answers.” (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

Yes, my loyal and faithful readers and followers ... there is that dreaded phrase ... “a dark comedy.” When will I ever learn?????

Time to post this and then get ready to head downtown for my show in TriBeCa.

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>6.17 miles (or, 13,488 steps)

Total mileage since 7/1/12==>1,082.56 miles

GO GATORS AND GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

1,079 Miles==>About To Do It!!


Saturday==>on this frigid day in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, with temperatures in the upper teens, Bill Norris aka Billi Pod will reach his 1,079 mile 79th Birthday Walking Challenge. When it does occur it will be 86 days ahead of schedule and calculates at a daily average of 5.14 miles per day. AWESOME!!

For those of you new to this blog, what I am talking about is a challenge I made to myself back on July 1, 2012 that I would walk a total of 1,079 miles (79 birthday miles plus 1,000 extra miles) between July 1, 2012 and my 79th birthday on April 23, 2013. To accomplish this in the 296 days I would have to average 3.65 miles per day.

All of this was meticulously recorded on the state-of-the-art WeightWatcher Pedometer given to me on June 15th by my theater-buddy Dian Crystal, and on this blog and FaceBook, on a daily basis.

Well, my loyal and faithful readers and followers, it is about to happen. I walked 5.44 miles on Friday, so all I need is 3.61 miles today. 

After I post this I will dress warmly, of course, and then head out, first for just a bit of walking in The Port Authority Bus Terminal, then I will take the 1 train uptown to 79th Street (you get the significance, I hope) and Broadway where I will carefully walk and wander in the residual ice and snow until I reach the magic number==>3.61 miles for the 1,079 mile total. So ... stay tuned ...

PRETTY DAMN AWESOME ISN’T IT!!

Moving on ...

I am happy to report that last night’s AMERICAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA concert at Carnegie Hall was totally enjoyable, especially the final number, Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.

Man, I continue to be sooooooooooo lucky about my comp. seat assignments. For last night’s concert, with virtually a full-house, my seat was in the orchestra section, row F, house right. AWESOME!!

Just before I was to leave the warm and cozy confines of PHC for the concert it began to snow but that was no real problem getting to Carnegie Hall. But, when the concert was over @ 10:15pm the snow had accumulated and the sidewalks and streets were icy and slushy. My usual subway line was not operating due to “scheduled track work” so that made the trip back a little more outside in the elements than usual. Trust me, I walked very very carefully.

There is still a little accumulation as I am working on this posting at 10:30am.

Tonight’s entertainment event is something a bit different ... 

8:00==>BESPOKE MUSICALS @ The York Theatre - “This new program pairs teams of emerging writers, chosen by The York Theatre Company, with students from musical theatre college training programs.” (Off Broadway - full price ticket)

The first collaboration will be with Marymount College and will feature 4 short musicals: “The Counselor;” “The End of the World;” “Serious Music;” and, “The Colonel Cluster Contest.” The shows are all in one way or another inspired by the online phenomenon, Craigslist.

Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?

OK, folks, it is now time to DO IT!!

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>5.44 miles (or, 11,898 steps)

Total mileage since 7/1/12==>1,075.39 miles

Mileage remaining until 4/23/13==>3.61 miles

GO GATORS AND GO YANKEES!!

Billi Pod
“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”