Jefe's House

Tag: virginia

My Dinner With Morris

by on Oct.06, 2017, under On the Road

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Morris with Adam Markham at the Wall Street Tavern.

I spent Labor Day weekend 2017, which also happened to mark my 50th birthday, in my hometown of Roanoke in southwestern Virginia, from which I’d bolted some 30 years previous at the age of 19 to put myself through college in New York City.

One nostalgic evening during my visit home last month, I Ubered downtown to see my old friend Adam playing classic rock covers on electric guitar at a joint called the Wall Street Tavern. He was outdoors under a covered patio. I sat squarely in front of him, alone at a table for two as the old song goes, sipping a Dewar’s and soda.

A homeless man approached and stood on the sidewalk trying to get my attention. (continue reading…)

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A Hindu-Appalachian Christmas in the City of Brotherly Love

by on Dec.23, 2015, under Pophood, Shaheb Cafe, The Sixth Boro

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A Shaheb’s Guide to India

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How a simple father-son craft project became a global, epic diorama

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Five years ago this month my wife Bidisha and I got married a full Hindu wedding in India. Four years ago our son was born.

This past Thanksgiving while carving the turkey at our Philadelphia home I got to the bone that my granny from rural southwestern Virginia used to save and make into a turkey bone Santa sled decoration at Christmastime every so often. It’s a morbid Appalachian thing, you wouldn’t understand. In a fit of nostalgia I decided I’d give it a whirl and introduce my young son to a part of his cultural history.

To make sure I was really remembering correctly I Googled “turkey bone sled” and one of the first things that came up was someone’s Pinterest page about turkey bone sleds with the header, “My granny made these.” Yep, I was on the right track.

The schematic.

The schematic.

My son and I often do multi-stage, multi-day art projects so I told him we were going to embark on this “small” project. I’m thinking the whole thing will be five or six inches long with a couple of ceremonial reindeer pulling it but he insists that it be the full 9 reindeer, and that there be a full moon, and a Pleiades star cluster (the Seven Sisters), Aldebaran (the brightest star in the constellation Taurus and one of the bull’s eyes), a small pine tree like the one we have in a planter outside our house, and our street sign, and snow on the ground, and hovering in the sky above Santa there should be Kartik. Without missing a beat I told him fine but that he’d need to design it on paper first so we’d know exactly what we were making and not leave anything out.

Kartik? That would be the Hindu god Kartik, less famous brother of Ganesh. Kartik is the Pete Best of major goddess Durga’s children. I later learned it’s impossible to find an altar figurine of just Kartik alone, so I convinced him instead to  CONT’D at medium.com>>

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1st Grade, East Salem Elementary School, Southwestern Virginia, 1973

by on Oct.25, 2010, under The Press

Little Orphant Annie

by James Whitcomb Riley (1885)

 

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 INSCRIBED WITH ALL FAITH AND AFFECTION 
To all the little children: — The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones — Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

    ITTLE Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
    An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,
    An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,
    An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;
    An’ all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
    We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
    A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
    An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
    Ef you
    Don’t
    Watch
    Out!
     
    Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,–
    An’ when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
    His Mammy heerd him holler, an’ his Daddy heerd him bawl,
    An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wuzn’t there at all!
    An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,
    An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’-wheres, I guess;
    But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an’ roundabout:–
    An’ the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
    Ef you
    Don’t
    Watch
    Out!
     
    An’ one time a little girl ‘ud allus laugh an’ grin,
    An’ make fun of ever’ one, an’ all her blood-an’-kin;
    An’ wunst, when they was “company,” an’ ole folks wuz there,
    She mocked ‘em an’ shocked ‘em, an’ said she didn’t care!
    An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,
    They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,
    An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what she’s about!
    An’ the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
    Ef you
    Don’t
    Watch
    Out!
     
    An’ little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
    An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!
    An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,
    An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,–
    You better mind yer parunts, an’ yer teachurs fond an’ dear,
    An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
    An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,
    Er the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
    Ef you
    Don’t
    Watch
    Out!

[images via donaldtyson.com and xenophilius.wordpress.com]

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Medicine, Man Now on Kindle, Too

by on Oct.20, 2010, under Theatre

“Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.”
~Clarence Darrow

As with Tesla’s Letters, I’m happy to report that Medicine, Man is now available on Kindle and that a free excerpt is also available via the new Kindle web browser app which lets you buy and read Kindle books without needing to own a real Kindle.  Great idea from amazon.  An excerpt of the play was also published in the ep;phany literary journal in 2003, which you can also read for free.

A word to the wise  — do not buy a hard copy of this script on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com from the scammers trying to resell it for tens or hundreds of dollars.  Be sure you’re buying a hard copy directly from barnesandnoble.com for $6.75, or the Kindle version for $7.13, or a hard copy directly from amazon.com for $7.50,  or the amazon.co.uk Kindle version for a similar amount in Euros.

In case you’re not familiar with the play, after the success of the Mill Mountain Theatre’s regional premiere of Tesla’s Letters in my hometown of Roanoke, Virginia in 2001 (after its world premiere Off Broadway in 1999), artistic director Jere Lee Hodgin asked me what I was working on next.  I shared with him a two- (continue reading…)

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Tesla’s Letters Now on Kindle

by on Oct.18, 2010, under Theatre

The cool kids in the programming department at amazon.com have come up with a unique way for authors whose works are available on the Kindle to share their opening pages, so here’s an excerpt from Tesla’s Letters.  You don’t need to own a Kindle to view it.  This new app for reading Kindle-formatted books right in your browser without owning a Kindle is, understandably, a marketing tool to get you to want to buy a real Kindle and download the whole book. And that’s okay.  It’s only a Kindle, and they’re cool.

A word to the wise — *do not* buy a hard copy of Tesla’s Letters from one of the resellers on amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com listing it for exhorbitant amounts like $43.00, $100, etc.  There are some unscrupulous jackasses operating through those websites trying to rip you off.  You can buy this script directly from Samuel French or download the Kindle version from amazon.com for just $7.50, and at a similar price in Euros from amazon.co.uk.  Enjoy.

If you’re not familiar with the play, it’s a semiautobiographical wartime drama set in the late 1990s Balkans with unfortunately (continue reading…)

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