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Remember those words? I sure do, and they’ve come back to haunt me. The expression is so ingrained in pop culture that it’s even a listing in Wikipedia: “a famous catchphrase of the late 1980s based upon a line from a U.S.-based television commercial.” Think Clara Peller’s “Where’s the beef?” but with a broken hip.
“What a riot!” I used to chortle with my pals. And then 30 years passed. You guessed it—I fell down a week ago, when there was still plenty of ice on the ground. And while it turns out nothing was actually broken, it’s no laughing matter. “You have to be extra careful this winter,” my doctor stated, before the first snow fell. “You’re not getting any younger,” he warned, “and those old bones are creaking.” Charmed, I’m sure.
I followed doctor’s orders by wearing cleats on my boots, watching where I walked and taking my time while braving the elements, but… well, sometimes bad things happen to good people, and by “good,” I mean me, regardless of what you may think. More than likely, it’s punishment for returning to the new Resorts World Catskills (RWC, www.rwcatskills.com) and no, I wasn’t planning to gamble (I swear!), but was back to see Slam Allen perform, having had such a swell time at the Doubletop a week earlier.
Although it was a Monday, the place was packed, and once again some amazing musicians joined Slam on stage and blew the roof off the place. But it was the audience that held my attention, as I observed the crowd dining, dancing and having a ball. When 90-year-old Arthur Weisman joined jewelry designer Lori Rae Silvers (www.lorirae.com) on the dance floor, I felt compelled to snap a photo and find out what drew him to the casino that night. “I worked at the Concord for 22 years,” he told me, “and if it were still there, I would be, too! How great is this?” he asked with a sweep of his arm. “It’s just like the old days!”
With my hip throbbing, I prepared to leave early, while promising entertainment director Aaron LaCan (there—I spelled it correctly!) that I would return on Friday to check out another casino hotspot, Bar 360. There, local-boys-make-good Ken and Barry Somerville would be making their RWC debut with the amazing musicians who make up the rest of the band known simply as Somerville, a name that has come to be synonymous (IMHO) with Sullivan County entertainment.
True to form, the guys were fantastic, and the bar, with its hip, cool lounge vibe, was mobbed. While Dharma was inundated with requests for selfies with the patrons, I was nursing my sore bones in a corner, sipping on the requisite ginger ale and smiling wanly, wondering if I had a dollar to drop into a slot machine. While searching my wallet, I spied a note tucked inside as a reminder to check out a piano duo the next day at the Krauss Recital Hall in Narrowsburg, (www.delawrevalleryartsalliance.org), so I hobbled out of the place (after collecting my “winning” slots voucher for $0.04) in order to make sure that I would be well rested for the concert.
The duo, 2Squared (www.2squaredpiano.com) is Nicole Brancato and another local-boy-made-good, Andrew Ranaudo. Ranaudo, who was raised in Cochecton, NY, first performed at the Tusten Theatre in 1999, and was “pleased to return” to his roots with Brancato, with whom he began collaborating during their graduate studies program for piano studies at Hunter College. The program they played included compositions by Alfredo Casella, accompanied by silent newsreel footage from the 1920s that was projected on the walls of the recital hall. Realizing that the flickering film was causing my poor seizure-prone brain to fail, I excused myself with the dog in tow and apologized to program director Bizzy Coy.
“Are you OK?” she asked as stumbled into the vestibule. “Not really,” I weakly responded, “It’s a good bet that I might fall down if I stay in there, and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to get up.” Shaking my head in disbelief, I suddenly realized that I’m falling apart. With apologies all around (especially to Andrew and Nicole!) I might have to skip their program the next time they roll into town. “It’s a young man’s game,” I rasped to Bizzy, “and it’s all downhill from here. I better be careful. Wouldn’t want to break a hip.”