When I moved to Austin, TX, in 2008, it was exactly what my weary soul needed. I had left a career in Los Angeles as a Hollywood assistant and was seeking solace in a new town — a town I had never even been to but knew would be my salvation.
You see, Los Angeles had taken my love for film — a love that includes forcing horrified friends to watch Last Tango in Paris at the tender age of 16 and being the proud owner of the first DVD release of David Lynch’s Eraserhead and putting photos of a shirtless Marlon Brando from A Streecar Named Desire on my college dorm wall and carrying around a ragged copy of Harpo Marx’s autobiography Harpo Speaks! — and completely squashed it.
Realizing that Hollywood was only marginally full of masters of art and creativity was one of my biggest heartbreaks as I entered adulthood. Instead of being immersed in the excitement and magic of cinema, I worked with producers, agents and lawyers — three types of common players in Hollywood who are often angry, greedy (more…)
Many moons ago, I wrote several articles that went mini-viral about the next hipster cities.
(Side note: Looking back at those articles, I want to barf.)
One of the cities I included on my next hipster city list was Pittsburgh.
Though I had never been to Pittsburgh, I had been seeing many articles about the Rust Belt city’s renaissance. (Barf X 2 that I wrote about a city I had never been to.)
I never would have imagined that five years later I would actually live in Pittsburgh.
So here I am–a Pittsburgher.
I now have a much clearer window into the city, and I can tell you: It’s not the next hipster city.
And maybe that’s a good thing.
Heinz Lofts in former Heinz factory
Pittsburgh is crumbling.
And it’s progressing (slowly).
There is a slew of empty storefronts.
But Google is here.
The air quality is some of the worse in the country.
But the area has made strides since the days when (more…)
Oh hello! Longtime no see, friend.
It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written here, and I’m currently sitting on the couch, bloated after eating an entire pizza, and thinking, “Maybe I should check in, see how everyone is doing and let them know I’m bloated on pizza.”
How are you?
Me? I’m bloated.
But other than that I’m ok.
I mean, my grandmother died this year.
Any of you who have hung in here with me know I thought the world of that ol’ broad.
A good cry sneaks in every day, particularly when I see a Golden Girls-branded anything (Grandma was my Dorothy) or smell garlic. Shit, pretty much EVERYTHING makes me think of her.
Mothballs (the sweaters in her armoire).
Crumpled tissues (she used to stuff them in her sleeves and drop them everywhere).
Shoulder pads (the woman LOVED them).
My beautiful grandmother.
Grief is a very, very strange thing. Sometimes you can joke about (more…)
Like many of you, I was moved by the unmasking of actor and teacher Geoffrey Owens as a Trader Joe’s employee by the Daily Mail.
My emotions were stoked further when I read Owen’s response to this unsolicited revelation.
“There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.” — Geoffrey Owens
In the same People Magazine interview, and numerous interviews Owens has given since, he has asked us not to feel sorry for him. “I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!”
I don’t feel sorry for Owens; like many of you, I feel admiration.
I see a man of integrity who takes pride in being a productive member of society.
I see a man who is an artist and who will do whatever it takes to ensure he can continue to create his art (more…)
My beloved grandmother passed away recently, and my mother and I have been going through old photos. We rediscovered photos my grandfather took while stationed in Africa during WWII. Here are some of my favorites.
*As far as I can tell, these were all taken by my grandfather. I’ve tried to verify the accuracy of the photos as best I can. These photos were snapped with my iPhone, hence the added fuzziness.
This is my grandfather Carl. He was an airplane mechanic in the Army Air Forces during the North African Campaign of WWII. During the war, he had a pet monkey named Jocko, he was stabbed and he contracted malaria. Those were the only things he shared with my mother. He died in 1974, before I was born.
This is him with one of his favorite planes, 1943. (Possibly a B-25?) *I* wonder why it was his favorite…?
Here he is in the beginning of the war with some of his Army mates.
Here’s another. Grandpa is in the lower left corner. 1945.
Army mate working on an A-20. (I think (more…)
While growing up, we didn’t discuss being Jewish. We practiced no religious rituals, and no family member went to temple. A Yiddish swear word or phrase of exasperation often spilled from my grandma’s lips, something she picked up in her youth, or an occasional Jewish dish was prepared for family gatherings, but that was about as tribal as we got.
Our lack of Jewish cultural identity was not decided for us. It was chosen by my Eastern European great-grandmother Sophie, who upon coming to America erased any trace of Jewish identity. As I’ve aged and attempted to connect with my Ashkenazi roots, I’ve had to check my frustration with this woman I had never met. Why did you erase your past? I often ask out loud to her. And why did you decide that your kin would never know the truth?
These questions I’ve searched for in public records, DNA results and photos and documents hidden in my grandmother’s house to little avail. What facts I have been able to dig up often conflict with one another — Was (more…)