Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Neighborhood Lore

My friend, Jon Calvert & I put on an Old Neighborhood Story, Song & Picture Show: Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts, two weeks ago with our talented friends, Myles Goldin, Saara Dutton & Amanda Thorpe.

The genesis for Yorkville: Stoops to Nuts was the thousand of hours I spent watching Sandy Becker, Chuck McCann, and Zacherly. From two years old through my early teens, these three nut jobs made me laugh, made me happy. Probably most responsible for forming my creative personality.

They invited you into their neighborhood, their house, their living room and told you stories, told you jokes, sang songs, taught things, gave kids prizes, played cartoons, tied songs to sketches with people and puppets. Behind, the silliness, they stressed the value of old places, people, games, songs, dances, language. They reinforced what my family taught me, and they showed me around the old neighborhood. My best days as a kid were when my family played together and forgot they were adults. You saw it in their eyes.

It's natural to invite you to my block, to tell you a story, sing you a song, show you pictures and give you a gift for valuing and storing your memories.

Hambone was a loony disk jockey. He wore a pith helmet with a decorative plume, a drum major's uniform, and a pair of binocular glasses. The Big Professor, introduced to Pomp and Circumstance, answered questions and gave away Golden Book Encyclopedias for the best questions. K. Lastima was a dishevelled, Spanish-speaking kid's-show host in a Panama hat. He played trivia with the kids.

Zacherly was the host of Chiller Theatre and one of the first FM disc jockeys in New York on WNEW. Chuck McCann was out of his mind and matched Sandy Becker with his own characters, tales, songs, puppets, film & history trivia, movie clips, cartoons and pictures.

Neighborhood lore was embedded in these shows, and from there it flew straight into my heart.

1 comment:

Nigel's Contact said...

My grandpa was in a play in the East Side Settlement House on 76th St. It was called THE NEW KID. Does anyone know where I can get the lyrics so I can surprise him?


Jennifer Anchor