The Big Con in Films

Last week I took a look at the theatrics of a classic con game, three card monte. This week, I take a look at some of the most interesting films that have been made about con artists–and there are a lot of them. I managed to con myself into watching or re-watching hours of such movies this week, and if I don’t mention one of your favorites, rest assured this is not a definitive list by any means, just the ones I caught this week. I’ll rate them from one to five stars just for fun.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the review as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.

When The Ship Comes In

Monday morning, Peter, Paul, and the always rarin’-to-sing Mary Travers with a Dylan favorite. Their level of musicianship and commitment to a song was just wonderful. Mary Travers’ parents were journalists and union organizers for the Newspaper Guild.

I once had the pleasure of driving Mary in my cab! It was sometime in the late seventies and she was going to visit her daughter in Manhattan. She was quite a down to earth person.

Click on the video to play.

Thanks to YouTuber Superannuated Lp Records

The Sun Is Burning

I thought I knew the whole Simon and Garfunkel catalogue, but somehow I just found this song, which is from their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM. The song was written by Ian Campbell.

Thanks to YouTuber Big Chuck Lyric Video

Suzanne

Monday morning, we give thanks that we were born into the time of Judy Collins singing Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” as perfect a match between singer and song as there will ever be. Here she is at Tanglewood in 1968.

Thanks to YouTuber Flickering Songs

Arts Express Satire And Humor Fundraiser

Yesterday, locally on WBAI FM NYC radio, we were charged with running a fundraising program, so we put together a satire and humor special featuring some of our favorite pieces we wrote for Arts Express over the year. Feel free to skip over the pitching…

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the broadcast as aired last night.

Heads Up

Comedians Burns and Schreiber at the Lost and Found.

My favorite joke here is the Earl Scheib one. For those who don’t remember, Earl Scheib was a national automotive chain that claimed to paint your car any color you liked for $29.95

Thanks to YouTuber dino4ever

Angola Do You Hear Us?

 What does it take for a writer/actress to perform a play she’s written about prisons, at a prison? And in particular, at one of the most notorious prisons in the country, Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary, America’s largest prison-plantation. A new documentary about that performance and its aftermath, titled Angola Do You Hear Us?, has been shortlisted for the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. I was happy to speak with the director of the film, Cinque Northern, and the playwright/performer, Liza Jessie Peterson.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the interview as broadcast on the Arts Express radio program today, aired on WBAI -FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

The film is streaming on Paramount +

Shakespeare Without Tears: Twelfth Night’s Fools For Love

Here in the US, January 6th has taken on a particular political meaning, but for most of the world, it’s the celebration of the twelfth night of Christmas, partridges in pear trees and all that. It’s a traditional time of partying and celebration, and Shakespeare titled what I believe is his best comedy, Twelfth Night. But it might be have been better called, Love Makes Idiots and Fools of Everyone!

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the rest of the story as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program, heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

You Got This!

Recently here in NYC our mayor authorized a Public Service Announcement which featured a perky young woman telling us what to do in case a nuclear bomb fell. After listing what to do, she applauds us by saying, “You got this!” Well we were kind of horrified by it, so we here at Arts Express thought it might be fun to write our own version of that PSA.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our version of the PSA as broadcast last week on the Arts Express radio show, heard on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

The Mrs. Doubtfire Restaurant Scene–As Performed By Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde

The wild comedic imagination of Eleanor Morton takes the gender switching theme from the Robin Williams film, Mrs. Doubtfire, and transplants it into Robert Louis Stevenson’s horror story. A really brilliant turn by Ms. Morton.

More at Eleanor Morton

Our End-Of-Year Arts Express Thank You Poem

Twas the end of December and feeling like hell
Covid and flu, do these things ring a bell?
Pre-emptions and scrambling to get the work done
The rain and the snow and the where-is-the-sun?

Inspiration was meager, the cupboard was bare
There was nothing to say, I had nothing to share
I was feeling the blues, and I have to confess
I was stuck for a piece for the next Arts Express...

Find out how it turns out in our year-end Arts Express thank-you poem, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen!

Tilting At Windmills

Richard Kiley in his greatest Broadway role, as Miguel Cervantes/Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, book by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh, and lyrics by Joe Darion.

Wikipedia tempts us with the information that the original lyricist was to be W. H. Auden, but his lyrics were considered too satirical and biting towards the bourgeois audience and so was replaced.

What I would give to see those discarded lyrics!

Thanks to YouTuber The Ed Sullivan Show

The Mystery of Holly Plus

Was your correspondent deepfaked by a deepfake? And who owns your voice anyway?

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear “The Mystery of Holly Plus” as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show, heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Let’s Fall In Love: Ella Fitzgerald

The Great Ella with a terrific song by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. Not to be confused with Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It, Lets Fall in Love.”

Accompanied by the Billy May Orchestra, from the Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Song Book.

Thanks to YouTuber JazzBreakTV

“Shakespeare Without Tears”: Hamlet and the All-Seeing Surveillance State

Welcome to our inaugural Arts Express episode of our “Shakespeare Without Tears” series, making Shakespeare accessible and relevant for the 21st century. We start off with an episode based on an a post I wrote here some time ago.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the episode as broadcast today on the Arts Express program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

And for our New York City listeners, we’re happy to tell you that we are now on at a new time, Wednesdays at 9PM.

The Home Shopping Weapons Network

Making shopping decisions can be tough, but this holiday we’ve come to the rescue! Take a listen to our latest Arts Express Playhouse sketch, written and produced by your correspondent, and featuring the brilliant talent and skill of Mary Murphy and Lucy McMichael.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the piece as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show on WBAI-FM NY and Pacifica affiliates across the country

The Eighth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest: Holiday Giveaway

Well, we’re kind of late this year, but we’re trying something completely different: A holiday giveaway.

Look, frankly, the contest each year is mainly an excuse for me to giveaway some magic books from my bed in order to make some room so that I can sleep. So I thought this time I’d just cut out the middleman, skip the contest, and just give them away.

Well there is one hitch. These are very good books, believe me. It’s just that at this point something has to give. So here’s what I’ll do. I have generated a list of random whole numbers between 1 and 10,000. Email me a whole number between 1 and 10,000 at jshalom@worldshare.net Put the word “Contest” in the subject line. Make sure to include your shipping address. Do this before a week from now. Deadline is Saturday, December 3, 11:59 PM Pacific Time. That’s it. (Sorry, but due to shipping costs, this is only open to folks who live in the Continental US, but everyone else is welcome.) Please follow all the bolded directions, or I cannot accept your entry. Whoever is closest to the first number on my random list gets first prize; whoever is closest to the second number gets second prize, and so on. There will be 10 prizes given out.

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of magic books I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag, and so on, down to 10th prize gets 10th choice. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to have.

Looking forward to hearing from you!