Thanksgiving

Here’s a short play that I wrote for Thanksgiving, featuring Josh Miccio and myself that’s not quite your typical Thanksgiving tale…

Click on the triangle or link above to hear the play as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM and Pacifica stations across the country.

Buster Makes A Break For It

It’s the concluding scenes from Buster Keaton’s The Scarecrow. (The opening scene was here).

Here’s what you need to know: Buster is being chased by the following: an overly friendly dog, his One True Love’s father, and his roommate, a rival for his Love’s affections.

There’s a Happy Ending!

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story

In 2017, Mark Baumer an artist activist with all the energy of a young Jim Carrey, started walking across the United States, barefoot. His aim was to warn of the dangers of climate change, but came up against his own dangers. I spoke with Julie Sokolow, the director of a new documentary called Barefoot about that journey. In interviews and on-the-road footage she paints a portrait of an artist fighting to save the natural world he loved so much while grappling with his own need to find significance in his life.

Click on the triangle or link above to hear the interview as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show over WBAI.org and Pacifica stations across the nation.

Uncle Moses: A 1930s Yiddish Anarchist Film

Here’s a remarkable 4 minute clip from a 1932 film, Uncle Moses, in Yiddish with English subtitles. The plot of the film is quite convoluted, but its depiction of class relations and militant immigrant workers is far more advanced than just about anything you’d see in a theatrical release today.

And is that Edward G. Robinson I thought I saw entering the room at about 3:23?

November Niceties

(Click the image above to go to our Arts Express Newsletter Facebook archive or see FREE subscription information below)

Another great issue of the Arts Express Newsletter!

*Prairie Miller talks with the multi-talented John Leguizamo about his new film Critical Thinking

*Connie Norgren shares some of her new poetry

*Jack Shalom gives his take on the late David Graeber’s book, Bullshit Jobs

*The Laugh Lounge: for all of us who need to have something to laugh about this year

And more!

To get a FREE subscription via email, simply send an email with the word “Subscribe” in the subject line to Artsexpresslist@gmail.com

Letter From Brooklyn

With all the election week brouhaha, I got to thinking about the mail, and then recalling an essay I wrote here a few years ago about letter writing. Here’s a revised version of that essay that I aired for the Arts Express radio program. Click on the triangle or link to hear it as broadcast today on WBAI.org and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Sixth Annual Magic Contest Results!

Oh, man, you really put me in a tough position. The contest challenge as you may remember was this:

What are the two (three is optional) most memorable magical effects you’ve ever seen? Tell us the circumstances, and why you were so impressed by those effects. That’s it. In your entry, see if you can put the reader in your place, and see if you can transmit some of that feeling that you experienced.

Well, you truly wow’ed me this time. I had a terrible time making this decision. I had to choose three winners. It was really, really difficult. Frankly, among the entries I received there were four that particularly stood out, and each of those was deserving of a first-place win. They were each great in their own special way. I was facing a four-way tie, so I really didn’t know what to do. But I remembered what the rules said: in case of a tie, the decision goes to the earliest entry among them. And I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that this would be the fairest way to decide among them. I would decide by looking at when I received each of those four top entries. Based on that, I made my decision.

There was still one problem–the rules provided for only three prizes, yet as I said, there were four entries that were essentially equally excellent. So I decided to award four prizes instead of three.

So with that out of the way, let’s announce the winners!

First prize goes to Ken Muller. He picked The Compleat Magic Vol. IV. edited by Bascomb Jones. Ken told of two heartwarming magical experiences that were particularly memorable for him–one when he was a youth performing magic and Santa Claus ended up surprising him, and another, as an adult, when a pair of sisters down the street, one developmentally delayed, and the other unable to walk, joined forces and together performed a magic trick for Ken and his Dad.

Second Prize goes to Sean-Dylan Riedweg, who wrote about two baffling magic performances he witnessed, the memory of which stayed with him many years. The first was a Times Square street performance of cigarette through jacket–with his own jacket, which hooked him on magic as a a teen. The second was later in life working behind the counter at Tannen’s when he was badly fooled by a visiting David Roth, who performed an unfathomable card trick. Sean-Dylan chose Gerald Deutsch’s Perverse Magic: The First Sixteen Years.

Third prize goes to Danny Doyle. As a young boy, he was amazed by Doug Henning on TV, and then later as a brash young teen who thought he knew everything about magic, gets seriously schooled at Schulien’s by Heba Haba Al. He chose Harry Lorayne’s Classic Collection, Volume 4

And, finally, fourth prize goes to Steven Paul Carlson who tells of two times when he seriously fooled himself! He chose Reputation Makers.

Thanks very much to all of you who participated. Sometime next week, I’ll be sending out the pdf of all the entries to anyone who sent in an entry.

Ready To Rumble

Finally! I’ve been looking for this clip for years. Phil Hartman in one of my favorite fake advertisement parodies from Saturday Night Live, the commercial for the new breakfast cereal, Colon Blow.

More at Saturday Night Live

Mr. Postman

A great song originally done by The Marvelettes and covered by no less than The Beatles, but I love this version done by some young women from Rosa Parks High School in Paterson, New Jersey. I wish I knew their names, as they are all very talented singers.

Thanks to YouTuber oneilthomas97

Our Sixth Anniversary! Some Posts To Remember

I like to do a Favorites of the Year post on our blog’s birthday, so here are some of the interviews or written pieces which we enjoyed most over the past year that you may have missed, or may like to view again:

It’s The Thought That Counts: Simon Aronson, An Appreciation

“I Would Want To Drink Their Blood”: Welcome To Hell World, Luke O’Neil

Holiday Greetings, Magic Friends 2019

“How I Became A Socialist”: Jack London

What’s Important

“I Am Spartacus”: Kirk Douglas

The Great Debate

Shakespeare In A Divided America

The Fire This Time

The Deep End: Radical Writers of The 30s

Nora Brown, Old-time Banjo: “You Need To Connect”

“I Owe So Much To Those I Don’t Love”: Wisława Szymborska

“Being Adventurous Means Going To Places You Don’t Know Exist! “

The Bird Way

The Social Media Trap: The Social Dilemma

Halloween Tale: Revolt Of The Worms!

Connie Norgren: Poems In A Time Of Crisis

I was happy to voice these poems of poet Connie Norgren on the Arts Express program. Click on the triangle to hear the poems as broadcast today on WBAI NY and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

High Anxiety

Monday morning, while waiting for our Insect Overlords to choose our leaders, the rest of us chumps remain in a state of High Anxiety.

Kudos to Mr. Brooks for the perfect Sinatra phrasing and Nelson Riddle-like arrangement.

Thanks to Youtuber OST&Covers&so and Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch for reminding me about this song.

Breakfast With Buster

From The Scarecrow, made in 1920, it’s Buster Keaton who lives in a house “where all the rooms are in one room.” Keaton multi-tasks and makes multi-use of every square inch of space. New York City apartment dwellers, take note.

Click on the image to play.

Thanks to YouTuber iconauta

If You Call A Sheep’s Tail A Leg, It’s Still A Leg

(Click to enlarge)

Fruits and vegetables looking suspiciously like deli meats.

Which recalls the old Abe Lincoln aphorism:

“Question: If you call a sheep’s tail a leg, how many legs does a sheep have?

Answer: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Gerritsen Avenue

Brooklyn, New York

Halloween Tale: Revolt Of The Worms!

For Halloween, something special, an homage to the old-time 1940s suspense radio series Lights Out. I wrote and produced a modern update of the Lights Out episode called “Revolt of The Worms” for the Arts Express radio program, broadcast today over WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

“We caution you. This story is definitely not for the timid soul. So we tell you, calmly and very sincerely, if you frighten easily, turn off your radio now. And now if you haven’t already done so, turn off your… lights now… and listen to… Revolt of the Worms.”

Starring Mary Murphy, Josh Miccio and Reggie Johnson.

To listen, click on the triangle or image to play.