Friday, January 31, 2014

Super Bowl Countdown & PRIVATE DISCLOSURES==>B+


Friday==>Good afternoon to all of my loyal and faithful readers and followers out there in the boondocks, wastelands and hinterlands. Your favorite blogger here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, is in a countdown mode for The Super Bowl and I hope you are too.

It looks like the weather at game-time is gonna be acceptable and no snow is in the forecast.

I have seen two Super Bowls, both down in Tampa, FL, and it is such an exciting experience to be there in person, regardless of who is playing.

For this game I will be pulling for The Broncos because I like Peyton Manning (even though his team screwed-over Timmy Tebow) and because my niece, Donna Parker, lives in Denver and is a avid Bronco fan.

As might be expected, my son Bill III aka The Bill will be pulling for The Seahawks.

It should be an exciting game and I can hardly wait. I will watch it from the warm and cozy confines of PHC and at half time will grill an Allan Brothers steak on my George Foreman grill to go with a baked potato, grilled onions and Texas Toast. This will be washed down with my libation of choice==>Fresca.

GO BRONCOS!!

Moving on to last night’s entertainment event, the Off Broadway show ...

PRIVATE DISCLOSURES, in the mid 1960s gossip columnist Preston Sherwood and his beloved companion, a foul-mouthed parrot named Oedipus, navigate the deadly night of his 40th birthday party==>B+

The 3-person cast, headed by Einar Gunn as Preston Sherwood, is excellent. Gunn looks and acts like a slightly younger version of Nathan Lane. The other two actors, Jamie Heinlein and Robert K. Benson, play multiple roles, easily moving into and out of each character.

The story line is funny but also thought-provoking. In summary, it is yet another==>“the rich and famous are all basically assholes.”

This was the first performance of the show and the audience was filled with obvious friends of the cast, crew and playwright.

It is playing at The Bridge Theatre on West 54th Street, has a running time of only 50 minutes, without intermission, and runs through February 2nd.

Tonight’s entertainment event is another Musicals In Mufti production at The York Theatre ...

8:00==>MUSICALS IN MUFTI: DRAGONS - “A musical fantasy, with book, music, and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, about a knight who rescues a damsel in distress from a dragon and what happens thereafter. (Off Broadway - discounted TDF ticket)

As I said, this is part of the York Theatre’s Musicals in Mufti Series, and, as you now probably know “Mufti” (pronounced MUFF’tee) means “in street clothes, without the usual trappings.” The show is presented script-in-hand, with minimal staging and props.

The show is playing at The York Theatre @ The Citigroup Center on East 54th Street and has remaining performance dates of tonight @ 8:00pm; Saturday @ 2:30pm & 8:00pm; and, Sunday @ 2:30pm & 7:30pm.

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of The York Theatre Company and its Artistic Director, James Morgan, who is also a Florida Gator.

Well, my loyal and faithful readers and followers, it is a balmy 34º, wind chill 28º, so your favorite blogger needs to post this and then do a bit of walking and wandering. Actually, I’m not joking ... I need to get out and about because I am antsy as Hell ... so ...

HAVE A GREAT SUPER BOWL WEEKEND EVERYONE!!

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>3.25 miles (or, 7,114 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>82.08 miles (average 2.74 miles per day)

GO BRONCOS!!

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



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Billi Pod’s Updates; GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY; And, Lots of Other Things and Stuff.



Thursday==>OK, my loyal and faithful readers and followers, your favorite blogger here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World, owes everyone a heartfelt apology for not making a timely posting yesterday. 

He does, however, have a legitimate excuse ... and that is ... the AWESOME tour yesterday, with Marie Taylor, of the GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY out there in that foreign country/outpost known as Brooklyn.

I left the warm and cozy confines of PHC at 11:15am to meet my friend Marie at the subway platform @ Times Square. It was 5:15pm in the late afternoon when I opened the door to PHC. Yeah, it was a full afternoon. I had a show for the evening so I just didn’t have time to post.

So ... why don’t we get started with, first, the tour ...

To refresh your memory ... “GREEN-WOOD is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, throughout which exists one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums. Four seasons of beauty from century-and-a-half-old trees offer a peaceful oasis to visitors, as well as its 560,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors.”

We took the 2 train to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn where we transferred to the R train. We got off at the 25th Street station and had a two block walk to the entrance to the cemetery. It was cold but not too windy, Thank God.

When we arrived at the tour office for our 1:00pm departure time we learned that we would be the only people on the tour. Of course, the thought crossed my mind that they were going to cancel us. Well ... they didn’t.

We met our tour guide, Marge Raymond, and our driver, Anthony, and boarded a van, rather than a trolley.

Interestingly, Marge is a well-known cabaret singer, who is a tour guide because of her obsession (her words) with GREEN-WOOD. She is absolutely charming and has a wealth of knowledge about this place. Check out her website


Marge began with an engrossing overview of the cemetery and off we went.

Folks, it is totally impossible for me to put into words how AMAZING this place is. The 478 acres was covered with light snow and the sun was out. The views are breathtaking and I am trying not to be overly dramatic.

We got out of the van several times to view the burial sites up close. The most emotional ones for me were the memorial for the Revolutionary War Battle of Brooklyn and Leonard Bernstein.











Marge gave a virtually nonstop commentary on what we were seeing and it was both highly informative and very interesting. 

It was around 3:30pm when we got back to the office and our tour ended. We had seen only 1/3, yep, that’s right, only 1/3 of the 478 acres. AWESOME!

Anthony took the picture below. It is, from left to right, Marge, me, Marie.















Frankly, I was in almost emotional overload by this time

Marie and I took a bus over to The Barclay Center subway station were we caught the 2 train back to Manhattan.

At 42nd Street we split and she continued on uptown to her apartment in the Upper Westside.

So==>thank you so much Marie for this adventure. I never would have done it without you. THANK YOU!!!

I plan to return in the spring, that is for certain.

Had my usual fruit and cheese plate and then it was time for my evening’s entertainment event, an Off Broadway show ...

7:30==>DINNER WITH FRIENDS - “Ever since Karen and Gabe played matchmaker with their friends Beth and Tom, the two couples have been inseparable - going to the Vineyard every summer, raising their kids and enjoying countless dinners together. But when one marriage unexpectedly crumbles, the couples' lives begin to veer in opposite directions. Can these four friends move on to the next chapter without moving apart… or have they changed beyond recognition?” (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

This show is extremely well-acted, with excellent staging. The story line is believable and the characters are each interesting in their own way.

Billi Pod’s report card==>A-

Before the show I met up with my friend Kim aka Whoever and we did some much needed catching up. After the show he also gave it an A-.

It is playing at The Laura Pels Theatre on West 46th Street, has a running time of 2:00, with intermission, and runs through April 13th.

When I got back to PHC I have to admit to being pretty emotionally drained. It had been a very interesting day. 

Now ... let’s backtrack a bit because, when I didn’t post yesterday, I didn’t share with you loyal and faithful readers and followers Billi Pod’s report card on ...

THE COMMONS OF PENSACOLA, about Judith who has been divested of her assets and forced to leave her luxurious New York life after her husband’s Wall Street scam became headline news. She now lives in a one bedroom condo in Pensacola, FL==>B

Both Blythe Danner as Judith and Sarah Jessica Parker as her daughter Becca are excellent but the story line leaves a lot to be desired. Frankly, it takes a turn toward the “no-way-would-that-ever-happen” when Becca’s younger boyfriend has sex with Becca’s 16-yr. old profanity-spewing niece.

Having said that ... I am glad I saw the show for Danner and Parker.

It has received very mixed reviews and now I understand why. It is playing at Manhattan Theatre Club on West 55th Street, has a running time of 1:20, without intermission, and runs through February 9th.

Now ... back on track with Billi Pod’s scheduled entertainment event for this evening, an Off Broadway show ... 
7:00==>PRIVATE DISCLOSURES - “On the eve of his 40th birthday, Preston Sherwood, the gossip columnist for the NY Gazetteer, both announces and then denies the completion of his roman a clef: an expose of the sexual shenanigans of the city's high society. No one has read it. No one has seen it. Is it a hoax? Preston and his beloved companion, a foul-mouthed parrot named Oedipus, must navigate the deadly night of his birthday party.” (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

This show is playing at The Bridge Theatre on West 54th Street, has a running time of only 45 minutes, without intermission, and runs through February 2nd.

I have grown to really like this venue. They produce often very cutting-edge stuff so I just couldn’t pass this one up.

OK, my loyal and faithful readers and followers, you are now up-to-date ... so ...

STAY WARM OUT THERE!!

Oh, yesterday was also an excellent walking day despite the freezing weather.

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>5.41 miles (or, 11,836 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>78.83 miles (average 2.72 miles per day)

GO BRONCOS!!

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 28, 2014

Monday==>Strange & Early Report On Tomorrow


Tuesday==>You know you have had a strange day when the highlight is the completion of a long list of otherwise boring and mundane errands and chores.

Well, that was what yesterday turned out to be for your favorite blogger here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World ... so ... whether you like it or not ... here come the details ...

Got all of my errands and chores done, largely due to the warmer weather. Nice! 

The most time consuming was 3 trips to the grocery store across the street including lugging back 4 12-pack cartons of my favorite libation, Fresca.

As I posted yesterday, my entertainment plans for the evening were to catch a movie, either THE AMERICAN HUSTLE or THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, unless something of interest showed up on one of my ticket services.

As the day wore on nothing showed up so my mindset was to head to the movie. Then ... tada ... an Off Broadway show appeared that seemed to be interesting, so I booked it.

8:00==>THE HOUSE OF CONNELLY - “Wayward son Will Connelly, heir to the famous Connelly estate, finds himself unable to live up to the prestige of the legendary Connellys of the past. When Patsy, daughter of the new tenant farmer arrives on the estate, is it love at first sight or does she have her calculating eyes on becoming the new Mrs. Connelly?” (Off Broadway - complimentary ticket)

Folks, this show was so dreadfully terrible that I fled at intermission. You know that I rarely do this, but, the show, which was originally produced 83 years ago, was poorly written and over-run with cliché-ridden southern stereotypes. 

Billi Pod’s report card==>D.

The only thing that saved it from receiving an F was the set and staging.

It is playing at the TBG Theatre on West 36th Street, has a running time of 2:20, with intermission, and runs through February 2nd.

So, there you have it ... Monday was indeed a strange day/evening.

Let’s move on to tonight’s entertainment event, an Off Broadway show ...

7:00==>THE COMMONS OF PENSACOLA - “Judith has been divested of her assets and forced to leave her luxurious New York life after her husband’s Wall Street scam became headline news. When her daughter Becca and Becca’s filmmaker boyfriend pay Judith a visit at the one bedroom condo Judith now occupies in Pensacola, Florida, everyone’s motives are called into question.” (Off Broadway - discounted TDF ticket)

Starring in this family drama are Blythe Danner as Judith and Sarah Jessica Parker as Becca.

It has received very mixed reviews, is playing at The Manhattan Theatre Club on West 55th Street, has a running time of 1:20, without intermission, and runs through February 9th.

Yes, I know the critics have been less than kind, but how could I miss the opportunity to see Danner and Parker, with a discounted ticket? No way.

I will close out this posting with some details about an “adventure” I have scheduled for tomorrow.

As some of you may recall, on December 3, 2013, my new friend Marie Taylor (she and her husband Lenny are my seat mates for one of my NY Philharmonic series) took me up to The Bronx to see The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. This was part of her plan to get me out of the borough of Manhattan.

Well, tomorrow @ 11:45am Marie and I are meeting up at the Times Square subway station and then we will head over to Brooklyn (gasp) for an escorted tour of ... tada ... THE GREEN-WOOD CEMETERY.

Now calm down ... stay with me ... here is some info for you to consider ...

Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood was one of the first rural cemeteries in America.”

“By the early 1860s, it had earned an international reputation for its magnificent beauty and became the prestigious place to be buried, attracting 500,000 visitors a year, second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction. Crowds flocked there to enjoy family outings, carriage rides, and sculpture viewing in the finest of first generation American landscapes. Green-Wood’s popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks.”

“Green-Wood is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, throughout which exists one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums.”

“Four seasons of beauty from century-and-a-half-old trees offer a peaceful oasis to visitors, as well as its 560,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers and inventors.”

This is the tour that we have booked, which runs from 1:00pm to 3:00pm --

“Experience the most magnificent and historic 478 acres in New York City. Join our expert tour guides to hear fascinating stories of Green-Wood’s permanent residents, see breathtaking views of Manhattan, tread where George Washington and his troops fought the Battle of Brooklyn, and much more. Green-Wood offers complimentary hot chocolate on tours all winter!”

“Each tour boasts great views, beautiful monuments throughout, rolling hills, century-old trees and stories of the fascinating persons interred at Green-Wood. Please note: all tours include a visit to Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel and to Battle Hill.”

Yeah, I know ... it’s gonna be a different day, that is for certain. And, of course, it’s also gonna be cold with the forecast high of only 20º, with a 30% chance of snow.

I am sharing this info with you loyal and faithful readers and followers because I will not post tomorrow until after I return from “out there.”

So ... talk with you later ...

STAY WARM EVERYONE!!

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>3.57 miles (or, 7,806 steps)

Total mileage for 2014==>70.29 miles (average 2.60 miles per day)

GO BRONCOS!!

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 27, 2014

CRAVING FOR TRAVEL==>A-


Monday==>I can’t believe it! Where has Winter gone? I mean, really ... why it is up to 39º @ 11:30am here in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World. Oh please Weather Gods On High ... bring back the wind chill and the snow and the subzero temperatures. The least you can do is promise us that it will indeed snow on Super Bowl Sunday ... please ...

Actually, this is great because your favorite blogger has lots of things and stuff to do today in the errands and chores category and he needs to be out and about ... so ... let’s get started with Billi Pod’s report card on last night’s Off Broadway show ...

CRAVING FOR TRAVEL, about Gary and Joanne, rival travel agents and former spouses, who are vying for their industry’s most prestigious honor: the Global Prize==>A-

It is extremely well-performed and very funny. 

The two actors, Michele Ragusa and Thom Sesma, seamlessly move between 30 different characters and touch on an array of ethnic and character stereotypes. The humor is very much in-your-face at times but this is what made the show so enjoyable for me.

So ... if you need a good belly laugh, then this is the show for you.

It is playing at the Playwrights Horizons on West 42nd Street, has a running time of 1:15, without intermission, and runs through February 9th.

Moving on ...

As you know, this is my errands and chores day and at the moment I haven’t an entertainment event scheduled for this evening.

If nothing of interest shows up on my ticket services I will probably catch a movie, either AMERICAN HUSTLE or THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.

OK, my loyal and faithful readers and followers ... got things to do ... so ...

Yesterday’s Pedometer mileage==>1.52 miles (or, 3,338 steps)

Total mileage for the week==>18.05 miles (average 2.58 miles per day)

Total mileage for 2014==>66.72 miles (average 2.57 miles per day)

GO BRONCOS!!

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