Tuesday, December 27, 2016



This month marks the eighth anniversary of this blog. I'm looking forward to providing more content in the new year. I have in mind several books, old and new, that I want to review. Keep checking this space. In the meantime, happy holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Zsa Zsa Gabor Slapped A Cop

Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor, who recently died at the age of 99, several years ago slapped a police officer during a traffic stop in Beverly Hills, California. If she had been a black woman, the outcome would have been fatal.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016



Last night I began reading When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by San Francisco gay activist Cleve Jones. So far so good.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

No Black Press Quoted About August Wilson's "Fences"

In the Sunday New York Times (December 4,2016) there was a large pull out section advertising Denzel Washington's new film Fences, based on August Wilson's play, that is due for release on Christmas Day. The section carried blurbs by film critics from the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and other publications. But none from an African-American publication. This omission tells me that Paramount Pictures doesn't think that the black press matters even on a project about the black experience by a black playwright and a black director (Denzel Washington).

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Re-Creating The Pearl Harbor Attack On The Radio

Yesterday was Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the 75th anniversary of the Japanese air attack that pushed the United States into the second world war.

On Pearl Harbor Day in 1965 or 1966, I was in my teens and living in Southern California. I recall that a local radio station, whose call letters I don't remember, did a re-creation of the broadcast day in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

This re-creation included actual programs, news bulletins, and probably commercials, from that time. This brought the event to life for me, a person not alive when the attack happened. I remember being riveted to the radio.

I wish some enterprising radio station would do something similar during future Pearl Harbor Remembrance Days.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Gay Activist Cleve Jones's Memoir

I'm looking forward to reading (and reviewing?) When We Rise: My Life in the Movement by Cleve Jones, the San Francisco gay rights activist and founder of the AIDS quilt project. (I'm rarely on Facebook, so the last time I checked, he and I were still Facebook friends.)

 I learned about the book after hearing him being interviewed on public radio's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. I  heard him again today on another public radio show, Here and Now.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016



Tomorrow is World AIDS Day 2016.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


World AIDS Day 2016 is Thursday, December 1st.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November, National Blog Posting Month

The two things I learned via a discarded copy of the Chief/Civil Service Leader, a weekly newspaper (November 18, 2016): (1) November is National Blog Posting Month and (2) the Social Security
Administration has a blog called Social Security Matters.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Concentration Camps For People With AIDS?

The following brief transcript is from a tape recording I made off the radio of an interview that New York talk show host Barry Gray did with Dr. Stephen Caiazza, on WMCA, in June 1989. Dr. Caiazza (pronounced ky-ay-zah) specialized in caring for people with AIDS and died in 1990 of complications from the disease himself at the age of 46.

Barry Gray: "We are coming close to what someone suggested to me a couple of years ago. I thought he was just kidding. He said we're going to wind up where everybody with AIDS is going to be behind barbed wire in a concentration camp."

Dr. Stephen Caiazza: "Fortunately--unfortunately, I think, the numbers are so astonishingly high that will never happen. The jails in the city of New York are already running at a hundred and four percent of capacity. And that's for convicted felons.

"Where are we going to put these concentration camps? In your backyard?"

Barry Gray: "In Gracie Mansion [the New York mayor's official residence]."

We've come a long way from the days when it was suggested that people with AIDS be tattooed to easily identify them or be put in concentration camps.

Today such sentiments would be considered ridiculous, barbaric, and inhuman.

However, we should keep in mind that in Donald Trump's America anything is possible.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

My Presidential To-Do List

On the editorial page of the New York Times (November 8, 2016), readers were asked "to list three things the new president should do in the first 100 days in office," in 150 words or less.

Here is my presidential to-do list:

1. Nominate a Supreme Court justice so the court can get back to being fully functional with nine justices.

2. Improve the nation's transportation and infrastructure systems.

3. Promote programs that encourage the use of renewable energy sources like wind and solar and thereby minimize the effects of climate change.

Thursday, November 10, 2016



Happy Veterans Day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Working The Polls In Upper Manhattan

Yesterday I worked as a New York City Board of Elections poll worker for 17 and a half hours. We started one hour before the polls opened at 6 am and finished an hour and a half after the polls closed at 9 pm. The polling site where I was assigned, in a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, was non-stop busy. Fortunately we had two one-hour breaks.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016



Happy Halloween, everyone!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Visiting The "Gay Gotham" Exhibit

I recently visited the "Gay Gotham" exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. I viewed the exhibit, which was on two separate floors, three times this week. I'm looking forward to doing a blog post on it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Recipe For A Trump Sandwich

This message was handwritten on a sidewalk sandwich board located outside Amigos, a Mexican cuisine restaurant on Broadway, near 113th Street, in Manhattan:

"Trump Sandwich--White Bread, Full of Baloney, w/ Russian Dressing and a  Small Pickle. Plus No Tax Included."

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Monday, October 3, 2016

New York's Gay Art World

I'm looking forward to seeing the Museum of the City of New York's upcoming exhibit, "Gay Gotham: Art and Underground Culture in New York." It opens on October 7th and explores gay and lesbian influence on New York's art scene over the past few decades. It closes on February 26, 2017. I hope to do a report on it for this blog.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016



Goodbye to Summer. You will be missed.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016



New content is coming soon. Your patience is appreciated.



Saturday, August 20, 2016

Saturday, August 13, 2016



I'm taking a break from the blog but will return with new content soon.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Thursday, July 28, 2016



Continue enjoying the summer months despite the heatwave!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Monday, July 18, 2016



Enjoy the summer months!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

Saturday, June 25, 2016



Happy Pride Month!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Moment Of Silence For Gay Terror Victims

No doubt there will be a moment of silence during this year's Pride March in New York City to honor the dead and the injured in yesterday's terror attack at Pulse, the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Saturday, June 4, 2016



RIP Muhammad Ali/Cassius Clay, heavyweight boxing champion (1942-2016).

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016



I hope everyone enjoys their Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016



New content coming soon!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New York's Museum Mile Festival

I'm looking forward to the annual Museum Mile Festival when all the museums along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan are free (for one day), from 6 pm until 9 pm.

On that day, Fifth Avenue, between 82nd and 106th Streets, is closed to traffic, making the street pedestrian-friendly.

 This year will mark my 9th year attending the festival, which takes place on Tuesday, June 14, rain or shine.

 I usually start my tour at the Museum of the City of New York and end at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my favorite museum. If there is enough time left, I visit one of the other museums, like the Jewish Museum. Unfortunately, there is only so much that can be seen in three hours.

 As I walked down Fifth Avenue during past festivals, I encountered many pleasant sights and sounds: outdoor musicians, food vendors, magicians, adults and children writing messages on the street in colored chalk.

I hope this year's festival will bring with it good weather. One year it rained, preventing any outdoor activity which is part of the fun of attending the festival.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016



I recently came upon a copy of a 1963 children's picture book called Rich Cat, Poor Cat by Bernard Waber. It's socio-economic theme is as relevant today as it was then. More about this book later. I hope it is still in print.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Wednesday, April 13, 2016



April is National Poetry Month.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A Cigarette Smoker's Plea

I recently found three unopened packs of cigarettes on top of a newspaper vending box  at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 105th Street, in Manhattan. Attached to one of the boxes was a blue Post-em with the handwritten message that said "Help Me Quit!"  I'm not a smoker, but I removed the packs from on top of the box so no kid would find them.

Saturday, March 26, 2016



Hooray, spring has finally arrived!

Yesterday evening I visited the New-York Historical Society on Central Park West one hour before closing. It was "Pay-What-You-Wish" Friday. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and I plan to come back. I especially liked the "Silicon City" exhibit.

Friday, March 25, 2016



Spike Lee's Malcolm X Biopic

For more than a year, Spike Lee's $35 million, three-hour epic movie on Malcolm X has spawned one controversy after another.

At the heart of the turmoil are three issues that trouble many in the African-American community, including black cultural nationalists and intellectuals who worry about the commercialization of Malcolm's name and likeness; Lee's film style, which some are afraid will "trash" the slain leader, and Lee's personal vision of what Malcolm stood for.

Since Malcolm X's assassination in February 1965, he has grown into a larger-than-life figure within the African-American community. Thus, many blacks already uneasy about Hollywood's history of stereotyping blacks and Lee's reputation for creating what one critic described as "cardboard Negroes" have rushed to the barricades to protect the image of one of the most revered heroes in black America.

Hollywood recognized the commercial potential of the Malcolm X story long before Spike Lee came on the scene. It was in 1967 when producer Marvin Worth bought the screen rights to The Autobiography of Malcolm X (co-written with Alex Haley, who later wrote Roots).

Worth, now Lee's co-producer on the film, commissioned James (The Fire Next Time) Baldwin to write the script, which was eventually published as One Day When I Was Lost, a complex retelling of the autobiography, using voice overs while shifting back and forth in time.

Other writers who labored on the project without success over the next two decades include Arnold Perl, who completed the Baldwin script, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights David Mamet and Charles Fuller. (Lee rewrote the Baldwin-Perl script.)

Norman Jewison, who was to direct the Fuller script, backed out in 1990 because he said, Malcolm--whose personality consisted of many layers and whose outlook on the world changed several times--was "an enigma" to him. Jewison knew Lee wanted to direct the picture and encouraged him to do so.

Although few, if  any black activists would disagree with Jewison's belief that the film needed to be made, there was uncertainty about Lee being the perfect candidate to depict Malcolm Little's transformation from a small-time hoodlum to Malcolm X, the charismatic leader of the black masses.

In an open letter to Spike Lee, a group of  activists calling themselves the United Front to Preserve the Legacy of Malcolm X and the Cultural Revolution expressed their "distress about how he planned to capture Malcolm on film." Using his previous films as the basis for their concern, writer-professor Amiri Baraka and his cohorts fear that Malcolm X would be a "caricature of black people's lives."

While one critic sees Lee's work as a mixture of realism and cartoon, with breaks in the action for a dance, a comedy scene, or an on-camera rant by one of the characters, Lee views his work as a way to develop a new use of cinema.

"I always felt it was a waste of time doin' the same [expletive] again and again." He wants his detractors to keep in mind that Malcolm X is "not a PBS documentary. This is a Hollywood movie. It's educational--and it's entertainment at the same time."

When Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones during the black arts movement in the 1960s) called Malcolm X "Mr. Lee's exploitation film," without having seen the finished product, other black writers and activists saw his attitude as a fit of jealousy. Baraka is "no longer getting the kind of attention he used to get," says Village Voice writer Greg Tate, and "he can't stand it. He seems to hate any young person who is successful."

Noted writer Ishmael Reed also sides with Lee's determination to tell Malcolm's story his way: "If Baraka doesn't like Spike's films, he should make his own."

Another of the activists' concerns is the commercialization of Malcolm. All across America, young and old alike are sporting Malcolm X baseball caps, T-shirts, and jackets.

Writer Yusef Salaam, a Harlem activist, sees the Malcolm X merchandise as an attempt by Lee and others "to cosmetize Malcolm's image and revolutionary example," thereby making him more acceptable to the black middle class and white America.

Thulani Davis, who wrote the libretto for X, an opera based on Malcolm's life, sees it as an "inevitable" phenomenon. "If you have an impact on the culture, you're going to be processed and marketed."

For Davis, the main consideration is that a black artist has control of the film. That goal was uppermost in Lee's mind when he became interested in bringing Malcolm to the big screen.In 1987, he wrote in his journal: "It would be a monster [big success] if Denzel Washington and I could have control over the project."

Although Lee does not want to shoulder all of the blame for the proliferation of Malcolm wear and other items (he was the first to wear the X cap), he does see the trend as "the first step" toward re-educating black youth.

At a time when many young blacks equate getting good grades and speaking standard English as "acting white," the film, explains Lee will show Malcolm "striving to better himself, to educate himself, to talk correctly, to stop swearing, and to stop other people from swearing."

Lee says his film shows "the total evolution of what made [Malcolm];we see the three or four different people he was along the way. People tend to have one view of Malcolm," referring to Malcolm's eye-for-an-eye, hate-whitey stance just before he journeyed to Mecca, the spirtitual center of Islam in Saudi Arabia, after which he embraced the idea of international brotherhood and racial harmony.

"But he had many different voices over his life; he turned completely around several times in his life,"Lee says . The film, which Lee calls "an act of love" from a longtime admirer, lets the audience decide which of the Malcolms they side with.

Denzel Washington, who portrays Malcolm and was picked for the role when Norman Jewison signed on as director, echoes Lee: "Some who knew Malcolm want to put him on a pedestal. We want kids to see how Malcolm was able to turn his life around, to see that Malcolm's solutions changed as he changed."

Lee says that the film and the Malcolm X legacy are "more than about wearing a hat" with an X on it, it is about addressing all of the problems that "have taken over the people--AIDS, crack, cigarettes, alcohol."

If Spike Lee is truly one of the most influential people in show business (he is on Entertainment Weekly's Power 101 list this year), perhaps Malcolm X will guide us toward becoming a kinder, gentler, more tolerant, and just society a lot sooner.

This article was originally written for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and was published in November 1992.

Monday, March 21, 2016

New Yorker Front Cover Celebrates Black Achievement

One of the most beautiful and frameworthy magazine covers I've ever seen was the one for the February 22, 2016 issue of The New Yorker by African-American artist Kadir Nelson. It is titled "Schomburg Center, Harlem, New York" and was obviously published in commemoration of Black History Month.

The illustration is a collage consisting of images of such black icons as James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, Malcolm X, and Duke Ellington (sitting at a white piano). In the lower right hand corner are the ivy-covered building that formerly housed the Schomburg Center and the library's newest building that faces Lenox Avenue and abuts the old location.

I can't think of a better tribute to Black History Month and the role Harlem has played ( and continues to play) in the cultural life of America and the world.

A heartfelt thanks to The New Yorker  for publishing and Kadir Nelson for creating such an awesome and memorable cover.

Saturday, March 19, 2016



Keep watching for new content on this blog. There will be interviews, reviews, and essays posted over the next few months.

Monday, March 14, 2016



If Donald Trump makes it to the White House next year, within a year or two, Congress would move to impeach him for doing something unconstitutional.

Friday, March 11, 2016



There is a remake of  the 1977 Roots miniseries scheduled for cable TV in May of this year.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Harlem Church's Foreclosure Auction Postponed

The sign outside Harlem's homophobic ATLAH Church had this gloating message: "WE KICKED THE SODOMITES ASS ONCE AGAIN YES WE HAVE NO FORECLOSURE WE HAVE NO FORECLOSURE TODAY."

A judge postponed the February 24 foreclosure auction until April 21, according to the Gay City News. So the church is not out of the woods yet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Two LGBT Groups Interested In Acquiring Harlem Church

According to an article in  the Gay City News ("Sending a Message to the Hate Pastor of Harlem," February 18-March 2, 2016), homophobic pastor James David Manning's  Harlem-based ATLAH Church "has unpaid debts in excess of $1 million, including water and sewage charges owed to the city, in addition to overdue taxes and other liabilities."

The church is now in foreclosure and will be auctioned on February 24. The Ali Forney Center, an organization catering to homeless LGBT youth and the Rivers of Living Water Ministry, an LGBT church, are both interested in acquiring the property at the auction and have raised funds toward that goal.

Gay City News noted that Pastor Manning claimed that his church is tax-exempt, however he was unable to provide proof. "That particular status," reported GCN, "is reserved only for churches that use their space exclusively for public worship--Manning has mentioned that his church provides additional services as well, outside of prayer."

The ATLAH Church's messages of hate are so troubling that the church next door, Greater Bethel AME Church, has posted a sign above the door that says, "THIS CHURCH IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE CHURCH ON THE CORNER. WE SUPPORT PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA."

Pastor Manning is right when he said that payback is a bitch.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Book For Foodies

I recently found a hardcover book entitled Holiday Book of Food and Drink (Hermitage House, 1952), a collection of articles that were originally published in Holiday magazine in the 1940s and 1950s. While browsing through the book's 22 chapters, I found articles on such food items as coffee, pasta, beer, cheeses, and ice cream. A few of the contributors to this anthology are familiar names to me--Budd Schulberg, Roger Angell, and Elizabeth Janeway.

The book contains a few recipes, food history, and food facts. Although I'm sure some of the information is outdated that shouldn't be a huge barrier to enjoying what the writers have to say or make it insignificant from an historical standpoint.

I'm looking forward to reading the book from cover to cover and writing a review of it for this blog.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Goals Of The Minority Task Force On AIDS, 1988

The following is an excerpt from a lengthy interview I did  in 1988 with the late Craig G. Harris, who was the executive director of the Minority Task Force on AIDS. At the time the organization was located on St. Nicholas Avenue at 115th Street in Harlem.The interview took place in his office. The sound quality of the tape was not very good due to outside noise from a barking dog and a jackhammer. Here is what I was able to transcribe:

Craig G. Harris: "We are outgrowing our space and  that's a very good feeling. What that indicates is that we are going to increase staff. We'll soon be adding clerical staff, support staff. Up until this point, support staff has been volunteers. We're in the process of seeking alternative space in Central Harlem. We'll be expanding the Wednesday night dinner program. We'll be doing a lot of staff development that entails professional training for the entire staff including myself. We're going to assist the churches in functioning as communications links and support systems."

Note: MTFA's former space, located in a low-income co-op building, is now a venue for parties and other community events.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Saturday, January 9, 2016

There Are Many Gay Lifestyles

People should stop using the term "gay lifestyle" because like their heterosexual counterparts, gays and lesbians do not live cookie-cutter lives.

Lifestyle is about socio-economics, not sexuality. The many lifestyles of gays and lesbians of means are vastly different from the many lifestyles of gays and lesbians who are not so financially blessed.

People who use the term"gay lifestyle" do so as a way to deride and demonize a beleaguered, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multiracial community.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

R.I.P. Natalie Cole

I own two CDs by the recently deceased Natalie Cole (1950-2015). My favorite of the two is Ask a Woman Who Knows (Verve). This CD would be among my desert island discs, those recordings I would want to bring with me if I was stranded on a desert island.

It is one of the few CDs I own that I would play from beginning to end because all 13 tracks are gems. The songs I particularly like are "So Many Stars," "The Music That Makes Me Dance," "Soon," "Tell Me All About It,"and "My Baby Just Cares for Me," which is on the final track. Her performance of this particular song is a real showstopper.

Now she has joined her father, Nat King Cole, in Heaven to perform eternal duets.