Journey to the New

 

Bronze Sculpture by Itzik Asher

20170928_120626.jpgThe sculpture, “Journey to the New,” represents the journey of Russian and Ethiopian Jews from their homelands to Israel.

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This artwork is currently located at Addison Shopping Plaza in Delray Beach, Florida. Previously it had been on display at Palm Beach International Airport and at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

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At its current location this sculpture has garnered some controversy because of the nudity it portrays. Parents from the nearby Morikami Elementary School have complained.

The artwork, however, is natural and quite beautiful.

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MOTHER!

Movie Review

Either this was pretentious crap or it was pure genius. Whatever it was I loved every minute of it. Best viewed as an allegory with plenty of religious references thrown in for good measure. Definitely a horror story based on a Kafkaesque nightmare. Aronofsky is said to have written mother! in a fever dream lasting five days.

Known for such pictures as Black Swan (2010), Noah (2014), and The Wrestler (2008), writer-director Darren Aronofsky brings his apocalyptic vision to the screen. Him, played by Javier Bardem, is a poet who is suffering from writer’s block. His beautiful wife, half his age, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is restoring their Victorian home which was destroyed by a fire. She is the titular character known as “mother!” They are visited by a mysterious couple who show up out of nowhere: “Man” and “Woman,” played respectively by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer. Their two grown children (Brian Gleeson and Domhnall Gleeson) arrive soon after. They are known as “younger brother” and “oldest son.” A murder ensues and the house springs forth a stigmata. Pretty soon we begin to realize something pretty strange is going on here and paradise is not what it seems to be.

Spoiler Alert!

Inspired by Rosemary’s Baby and Luis Bunel’s, Exterminating Angel, I also saw echoes of Stardust Memory and 8 ½, but I may be projecting. The house represents earth, Javier Bardem is God the Creator, and Jennifer Lawrence is Mother Nature. Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve, and The Gleason Brothers are Cain and Abel.

When He breaks through His writer’s block and completes his masterpiece mother gets pregnant and things really get interesting. The house is besieged by the writer’s fans and all hell literally breaks loose.

The acting is uniformly excellent. Javier Bardem plays his character with a smooth detached quality. Jennifer Lawrence carries the film with her close up reaction shots that fill the screen. Michelle Pfeiffer, still beautiful after all this time, plays her character with devilish delight.

This movie has garnered plenty of controversy. When it was shown at Cannes, half the audience stood up and clapped and half the audience stayed in their seats and booed. You either love it or hate it. If you take someone to see this movie one of you is going to love it and one of you is going to hate it, which will make for some good dinner conversation later. This, I think is a mark of a good film, one that makes you want to talk about it and one that stays in your mind long after you’ve seen it.

It’s not for everyone, but I highly recommend this thought provoking film. And to quote Mr. Aronofsky, “This serving is best drunk as a single dose in a shot glass. Knock it back. Salute!”

Asbury Lanes

 

Ladies Invited

TONY’S WAY

Philadelphia Story

Tonys way

There are a million stories in the semi-clad metropolis and this is one.

Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, and in each neighborhood there is a distinctive culture or ethnicity.  Each neighborhood has gradually become more mixed and diversified. In South Philly you have the Italians, in Fishtown the Irish. West Philly and North Philly are predominantly black. In Center City you see the greatest diversity, but it too has its own characteristics. In Kensington, where Tony’s Way is located, it is mainly Spanish, as in Puerto Rican. Tony’s Way is a little Puerto Rican bar nestled below the elevated Blue Line in Kensington.

I lived in several different neighborhoods in Philadelphia. For a while I lived in Fishtown in a little house across from the Palmer Cemetery.  Fishtown is a neighborhood that adjoins Kensington.  I  would sometimes walk over to the Blue Line to take it into town. On the way back home when I arrived at my stop and descended the steps from the “El” I would find Tony’s Way beckoning to me in the darkness. So one night I hustled there inside.

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I stepped inside of the brightly lit cantina and immediately was blasted with the sound of Latin music blaring on the jukebox and uproarious laughter.  The joint was juking and very colorfully decorated with tinsel and streamers and signs of various descriptions. Very festive. The bar was in the center with seating all around. Behind the bar were a pair of barmaids in cut off jeans and tank tops.

I stepped up the the bar and ordered a shot of tequila and a Corona. That was what everybody else was drinking. I had a couple of rounds then stepped back into the night and walked home.

Since Tony’s Way was right on my way as I walked back and fourth from the El, I started to become a regular. I would go over in the afternoons sometimes and on the weekends. One day I was in there having a beer and a shot when Tony walks over to me and introduces himself.

He gave me a broad smile and stretched out his hand which I took. He had a strong grip.

“I’m Tony,” he said. “This is my place. Welcome. If you ever find you have a problem here, you see that large fellow sitting over there in the corner? That’s Ricardo. He’s my cousin. And do you see that other fellow standing over there? That’s Edwardo. He’s my other cousin. You just call one of them over and he will help you.”

He smiled again and patted me on the back and strolled off to greet the other customers. That was how it was at Tony’s Way.

One Friday night I walked over for a little entertainment and to see if there might be some Puerto Rican girls just dying to meet me.

There was line to get in.  So I queued up and waited my turn to be let in. As I was waiting I noticed there were a couple of bouncers at the front door. They were frisking people, as in patting them down for weapons, before they were allowed in. Now this wasn’t too unusual for Philadelphia so I didn’t think too much of it at first. When It came my turn they just waved me in.

So I entered the establishment and walked around the bar to the other side so I could keep an eve on the door.  I ordered my usual: A shot of Jose Cuervo and a bottle of Corona with a lime wedge.

I got to noticing the way the bouncers were frisking the patrons. A guy would step up to the door and they would  frisk him and then they would wave him on in. A couple of girls would step up up and they would get waved through. A guy come in gets frisked. The girls get waved through.

As I’m watching this it slowly begins to dawn on me, hey! Wait a minute, I didn’t get frisked. What’s up with that? They must not have thought I was dangerous enough to frisk.  Now in Philly, it’s not enough to look tough. You got to look dangerous too. So this was beginning to bother me a bit and I was feeling a little slighted if not insulted.

I turned to my fellow barfly sitting next to me and relayed my tale of woe to him. He said, relax, they probably just know you.

Ohhhhh! Yeah! I never thought of that! Well, I felt a whole lot better then and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

I moved away from Philly a short while after that incident. First to Trenton then back home to Kentucky. It’s been about 10 years since I had been to Tony’s Way, but I always had fond memories.

Recently I had the opportunity to travel back to Philadelphia on business, and while there I wanted to visit some of my old neighborhoods and stomping grounds

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The first thing I noticed was the sign was down So I was’t sure if it was still Tony’s Way or not. I stepped into the bar from the bright sunlight and waited a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the light. I sat down on a bar stool and ordered a shot and a beer. I looked around and things looked pretty much the same. It was early afternoon so not too many people were in there. My eyes came to rest on a familiar character who was sitting across the bar from me reading a newspaper.

I  finished my drink and walked around the bar and approached the man reading the paper.

“You’re Tony aren’t you? I don’t know if you remember me or not but a few years ago when I lived in Philly I used to come in here. You were always very nice to me. I’m in town for a short visit and I just wanted to come by and say hello.”

“Yeah, I remember you,” he said. “Your hair was a little longer then. What happened to you?”

“I moved away.”

“Where did you move to?”

“To Kentucky.”

“To Kentucky?” He started laughing, Why’d you move to Kentucky?”

I explained I had family there and that was my home state, but he couldn’t get over the fact that I moved to Kentucky.

“Hey Angelina!. Come over here.” He waved the barmaid over. “This guy used to come here all the time, but he moved to Kentucky.”

“Kentucky?!!!”  Then she started to laugh.

She moved away from us and took another customer’s order who had just sat at the bar. And she told them what Tony had said and they laughed.  Then the people sitting next to them started laughing and shouted,  “Kentucky!” when they laughed. And pretty soon the whole establishment was laughing and shouting Kentucky! And no one was laughing more than Tony and me. But after a few minutes the laughter eventually died down, but it did not die down entirely for a long time for always at this table or that  a new area of laughter would begin.

I drank free that day.  Of course I suffered the next day from a hangover.  But it was definitely the best day of my trip.