Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Turkey Day

A few years ago I was working on a picture called Choices of the Heart about the life of Margaret Sanger the extraordinary woman who founded Planned Parenthood. She lived in a time when you could go to jail for talking about birth control. And she did.

Her part was played by Dana Delaney.

I was the assistant bad guy and the real heavy was played by Rod Steiger.

We were between shots just hanging out on Queen St, east of Victoria and he was talking about the time he was driving through Switzerland with his wife Clare Bloom. They were on the way to visit Charlie Chaplin and his wife Oona, a friend of Clare's. Chaplin took to Steiger that night and they had a wonderful time.

And I'm sitting there thinking, six degrees of separation. I'm having dinner with a guy who had dinner with Charlie Chaplin.

It was a blustery kind of night, not terribly cold but there was a wind and there we were out on the street sitting on a couple of director's chairs.

And it was American Thanksgiving.

Rod was missing his family and really wanted some turkey.

His driver was there having a smoke and Rod called him over. "Go across the street to that restaurant" he said,
"and give 'em that living legend shit. See if they'll do me a turkey."

No happy ending. The restaurant was duly impressed with the "living legend shit" but didn't have a turkey on hand.

We made do from the craft table.

I didn't make the cover, but at least I got billing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why me?

Old story: a ninety year old woman has the good fortune to be able to live by herself and keep her independence even though she has a few medical problems that limit her mobility. She's also fortunate enough to have a much younger neighbour who does her shopping and runs errands.

Sadly the younger friend dies.

The ninety year old's response? Why does everything happen to me?

My mother has survived the war, cancer and now cataract surgery. However one eye still had a slight problem. This was corrected in the ophthalmologist's office with a ten second laser blast.

None of her friends had this problem with their cataract surgery. They were, according to my mother, all out playing golf within hours. Hours!

Why does everything happen to me?

I'm havin' too much fun on Facebook. No good can come of this.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Earlier this year my mother received an invitation to a camp reunion.

It was for the opening of the Museum at Bergen-Belsen. She didn't go. She'd been there once, she said, that was enough. It was only one of the four camps she survived.

Eight brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents, didn't. They were murdered.

The camp was liberated on April 15 , 1945 by the Black Bull, the British 11th Armoured Division.

photo by Mohammad Hamid

The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.

Walt Whitman

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Couple of Clowns

I’ve known Camilla Gryski on and off for a long time. She is, as Today's Parent says, a woman of many hats: a clown, and not just any party in your face clown, but a theraputic clown at Sick Kids; and she’s authored more than a couple of books. One of her books is called: Cat’s Cradle A Book of String Games. Illustrated by Tom Sankey.

In 1971, I become a
professional, Equity card carrying, actor, appearing nightly at the Global Village Theatre on St. Nicholas (now the home of Noah’s Natural Foods).

The show we did was “The Golden Screw” and I think it had won an OBIE in New York; our director was also its author and had starred in it in New York. Tom Sankey.

(A sidebar: the show is still being produced, here and there, hither and yon.)

I bought this on ebay for 99¢ just a couple of weeks ago.
How could I resist?

Fergus Hambleton and the boys provided the music and Gilda Radner worked in the box office selling tickets.

Next year she auditioned for Godspell by singing Zippadee do dah. That's when she became Gilda Radner.

But that day we were just a bunch of clowns trying to get some laughs and make a buck in show biz.

L-R: Michael, Mary Ann, Me, Vinetta & Gilda on Marcus' shoulders

What a wonderful feeling, wonderful day, plenty of sunshine comin' my way.

Friday, November 2, 2007

desperately seeking

I'm not sure why, but I was pressured into joining Facebook.

Not in the "we'll break your legs" kind of way, but in the subtle, "all the really cool kids are doing it" kind of way. And the "you'll have loads of fun" kind of way.

And since I've always been known as a a fad follower post facto trend setter, here I am.

I've trolled around, for I am a troll, and joined a couple of groups.

And wrote on a wall.

And now what?

I feel like the kid at the party hanging out in the corner, who can't decide between the Cheesies and the cute blond with the short skirt. Tough choice. At least I had a shot with the Cheese Puffs, but I'm still wedged in the corner.

Speaking of which, Barbara's Bakery Cheese Puffs are terrific. Get 'em at your local health food (seriously) emporium or Whole Paycheck.

So back to Facebook. I know it's a social networking site. Gotta love that term. And I know it's mostly kids (that definition changes of course, for me now, it's people under 50.)

And as Chuck Lorre wrote on one of his vanity cards, I seem to be invisible to young women. And rightly so, I suppose.

So what am I doing on Facebook. I dunno, I'll let you now after I network some more.