How a Bogle, St. Mary and their Mysterious Human Operative Saved the Day
Yesterday morning I hop off the train from Philly at NY Penn and head toward the A train to zoom down to NYU to teach when I realize my wallet is gone. Had I been pickpocketed or had it fallen out in my train seat? Argh! I make a mad dash back but then realize in the packed rush hour station that I have absolutely no clue which of the 21 tracks we’ve just come up from onto the main floor. Who pays attention to what track number they came in on? Besides, all of the escalators leading down to the platforms are still set to “up” so I have no immediate way down to any newly arrived train.
I run and find a uniformed employee hanging around a back corridor who tells me I have to check with customer service, on the far end of the building, naturally, and that they can tell me exactly which track my train had come in on. By that time my train and my wallet would be long gone anyway but I have no choice.
So I sprint through a million wrong turns and find the customer service office. They’re helpful but can only tell me they’re “pretty sure” my train would have arrived on track 1. I run down to track 1 and a train (my train?) is still sitting there but — Murphy’s Law — it’s locked. Coincidentally a motorman comes along at that time and unlocks the train. I hop on, explain my situation and he tells me to have a blast and look all I want because the train isn’t leaving anytime soon. I walk through the entire train to be safe, looking in the seats, under the seats, in the aisles, nothing. I have to face the fact that my wallet is gone. (continue reading…)
A Jewish-Hindu connection
Jeffrey Stanley, 7/23/13
Talk about a crazy commute. After a spiritual encounter, a stranger and I spent the next 90 minutes discussing the nature of the universe.
Not so long ago after nearly 25 years as a hidebound New Yorker I moved to Philadelphia for my wife Pia’s career needs, inadvertently becoming part of a popular regional migration known to urban statisticians as the 6th borough phenomenon. She’s Indian-American and we’re raising our child in a bilingual home. I’m a writer and professor. She’s a scientist by day and an Indian classical dance professional by night. Religiously we are at best agnostic but culturally we are Hindus, and will identify ourselves as such when pressed, like on the hospital intake form the first time we took our baby in for a routine doctor’s visit.
This identification sits well with me. Despite growing up Nazarene in the Bible Belt I had long ago developed an affinity for Hindu philosophy—ever since I’d come across a used copy of the Bhagavad Gita at a flea market in high school and realized how similar it was to the New Testament. I still remember the perplexed look on my Sunday school teacher’s face the morning I brought the Gita to church. I had marked the sections that reminded me of Christ’s words in the Sermon on the Mount with an orange highlighter and asked him why Hindus were all going to Hell and we Christians weren’t. Suffice it say I quit going to church not long after that. Christianity just wasn’t speaking to me. When I met my wife-to-be years later while canoeing in Brooklyn’s fetid Gowanus Canal I fell in easily with her cultural worldview. We were a match made in moksha.
Imagine my surprise when, on a recent Friday afternoon while returning to Philly on a crowded New Jersey Transit train out of Manhattan’s Penn Station I came face to face with the power of YHWH. (continue reading…)
All this time I thought it was Downtown Abbie and that it was a docudrama about Abbie Hoffman’s early years on the Lower East Side. Suffice it to say the season 1 DVD was a big letdown for me.
Can’t wait to see Vincent D’Onofrio‘s directorial debut, the horror musical DON’T GO IN THE WOODS with screenplay by my good friend Joe Vinciguerra and music by the one and only Sam Bisbee. ABC news clip here.
[images via facebook and zimbo.com]
In 2001 I abandoned a long and serious relationship largely over my career aspirations in the arts and lack of desire to move to Westchester and have a child anytime soon, and left the sanity of my Brooklyn home to crash on the couch of my uncle Joey in the Chelsea neighborhoo of Manhattan. Two years into being single again I often quipped to friends that I was going to write a one-man show called This is a Date? I Thought You Were Gay, the title a reference to the tragic punchline I received at the end of the first date I went on after ending a seven-year relationship.
I admit that to the untrained newcomer to Manhattan I might have appeared that way — I was in my 30s, childless, living in Chelsea, and a playwright. The date had been with a beautiful blond religion professor from Pennsylvania, and it had gone down in the great timeline of my petty existence as The Date From Hell. Everybody is destined for one. There, that was mine. Dating could only get better from there on out.
Well, I don’t know what’s worse than Hell among the world’s religions, but whatever that place is called, it’s the place from whence my two-headed demon dog of a night out emerged. The prelude to my courtship Armageddon had begun two weeks before.
A casting director friend was in town from LA and had a gathering at a Hell’s Kitchen watering hole known for its theatrical clientele and its dark history as a former Irish mafia hangout in which a gangster once rolled a freshly severed human head down the bar. This particular gathering would no doubt be full of bloodthirsty networkers not at all shy about serving as their own publicists, myself among them. We’re in show biz. It’s part of the job in this racket filled with desperate freelancers. Within 30 seconds of my being seated next to an attractive, intelligent-looking, cheerful woman sipping a glass of white wine, she had introduced herself and, without my prompting, she had immediately launched into the reason for her giddiness. “I’m a director and my first movie’s about to be released!” She was trying to impress me and I’ll admit it worked. I was impressed. She explained that it was a movie about the garment industry, a field in which she had worked in the past. She was writing what she knew. I liked that.
I also liked the fact that she had a head on her shoulders and she was hot. I explained that for the past few years my focus had been on playwriting because I was having some success there, but that I’d gone to film school, dammit. I wanted to make a movie, too. One of my screenplays had been optioned by a small but successful indy production company in New York, and funding was being sought. I eagerly shared all of this with her, and in a flurry we chattered our bios happily away at each other; where we’d gone to film school, what brought us to this particular gathering, whether we were LA types or committed NY types. She put herself firmly in the LA camp. I was NYC through and through but had enjoyed my short stays in LA to pitch my wares at the studios. The more we talked, the physically closer we got, frequently leaning into one another. I bought her a drink. Neither of us moved from our spots for the next two hours.
Now, in a situation like this, a fine line quickly develops between networking and flirting, between genuine attraction and a desire to get ahead. I knew my attraction was genuine. I was getting that butterfly feeling in my stomach, a good (continue reading…)