That’s right: for something completely different, I’ve been an emotional basket case recently. I suppose I could blame it on the weather, but that seems rather contrived. Spring sprang …
That’s right: for something completely different, I’ve been an emotional basket case recently. I suppose I could blame it on the weather, but that seems rather contrived. Spring sprang seemingly overnight a few days ago, and while I felt emotional about it, it was a good, happy, joyous feeling, so there’s that.
Last week, I mentioned that the 11th annual Thunder 102 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon was approaching and it did, I participated and it was emotional on many levels, as always. The goal of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to eradicate childhood cancer. The amazing folks at Bold Gold Media Group always put their collective best foot forward, alongside the beyond-dedicated staff from St. Jude, to see that dream come to fruition. I’m happy to play even a tiny part in the process every year, and while I was running around the county like a headless chicken, I kept tuning in to check on the status of the fundraiser.
While making my way to Hurleyville, NY to hear musical duo Fisher and Kean entertain art lovers at Gallery 222 on Main Street, I heard the final tally. Once again, I was impressed by the generous community we live in and their commitment to being a part of the solution. All told, the 24 hours of on-air donations flooding in stirred a roller coaster of emotion—I pulled off the road and shed a few manly tears—as more than $60,000 was raised. “That ain’t chicken feed,” as Barbara Fox would say.
While at the gallery doing my best to sell a few pieces, (yes, it’s shameless self-promotion—my exhibit runs through May), I became a bit verklempt (that’s Yiddish for “emotional”) when I saw New York State Sen. (R) Mike Martucci stroll in alongside Assemblywoman (D) Aileen Gunther with Sullivan Catskills Visitors Association president and CEO Roberta Byron-Lockwood hot on their heels. They were in the house to check out my photos, followed by a pit stop across the street in the newly opened Tango Café.
I was honestly humbled that they all took time out of their hectic schedules to pop in to see the exhibit. While everyone acknowledged my existence, it was clearly an excuse to see the dog. Yes, they said nice things about the canvases, and there was a bit of blah, blah, blah, but suffice it to say that Roberta brought a gift for the Wonder Dog and I got bupkes—that’s Yiddish for “absolutely nothing.”
My reason for a trip to Hurleyville was twofold, since I had reservations that same evening for a performance of John Patrick Shanley’s one-act play, “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.” It was a collaboration between HPAC and the newly formed River Rep Theatre Company, something I’ve been anxious to look into. Shanley’s play, which he wrote long before his disturbing Broadway production of “Doubt” won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005, is described in the program as “a heartbreaking and poignant love story about two damaged outcasts who discover redemption and release in a Bronx dive bar.”
Shanley was raised in the Bronx and his early life (he also wrote “Moonstruck”) clearly inspired his gritty, powerful writing. As for the show, there was a bucketload of emotion spilling across the stage that evening, and while the program’s description might intrigue the reader, I found the material highly unsettling, dark, violent and distressing. Undoubtedly that’s intentional on the part of the playwright, director and actors involved, but they are emotions that I could currently live without.
Brought to life by the riveting Charlie McElveen (as Danny) the story unfolds between him and the somewhat less captivating (IMHO) Sadie Isseks (as Roberta). Stylishly directed with great fervor (that’s French for emotion) by River Rep’s artistic director Christopher Peditto, the play made me squirm, and left me feeling numb and unhappy. Sigh.
In order to lift my spirits and feel less glum, I made my way, Wonder Dog at my side, to the new home of the Delaware Valley Opera in Lake Huntington, NY, to hear mezzo-soprano Janice Meyerson sing a veritable potpourri of musical selections. All were based on a vast range of emotions. Meyerson was accompanied by gifted pianist William Lewis, and her glorious voice soared with pieces written by Samuel Barber, Gian-Carlo Menotti and Gustav Mahler, to name but a few.
The place was packed and the audience rose to their feet on more than one occasion to applaud Janice. She has performed all over the world in exotic locales such as Berlin, Frankfurt and Buenos Aires. Meyerson entertained the audience with anecdotes and historical references in between beautifully sung numbers, and I felt better when I left than when I walked in, so I second that emotion.
Fun Fact: “I Second That Emotion” is a 1967 song written by Smokey Robinson and Al Cleveland. First charting as a hit for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles on the Tamla/Motown label in 1967, “I Second That Emotion” was later a hit single for the group duet Diana Ross & the Supremes and The Temptations, also on the Motown label.
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