Friday, January 31, 2014

Skating Away

If February plans to be the coldest month in NYC this year, fatten me up and put me in a bear cave until it hits and stays 50 degrees.

I needed cash downtown Tuesday morning. Wickedly windy, I ran to the HSBC near Duane Park north of Chambers. After the bank, I jogged down Warren Street towards Whole Foods. In a crystal clear store window, I saw my reflection running, “I know you!” Then I saw myself in the process of falling. Some knucklehead wet down the sidewalk in front of his double-wide building creating 40 feet of icy death under me. The super genius wanted to clear the remaining dirty snow off. It was 15 degrees out.

First, I did a Dorothy Hamill on the frozen sheet. One leg lifted unintentionally towards the sky while the other turned 90 degrees off the ball of my foot. For this part of my program, I imagined the East German judge gave me a “6″ on his card.

Following the Hamill move, I did a James Brown shuffle, where my arms got involved trying to sustain enough balance not to go down, I resembled a kid imitating a steam engine, “Good & Plenty, Good, & Plenty.” Coming to the end of the ice, I tried to slow by pushing both feet down hard, but this spun me around 180 degrees. Now I couldn’t see where I was going, so I moon-walked the rest of the way, left the ice prepared to fall, covered my head and took all of the impact on my bottom. I’m going to a have shiner on my hinny tomorrow.

This piece appeared in my column in Ask A New Yorker this week.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bady's House Concert is Boss!

Robin Gelfenbien, Robin Bady, Bridget Bartolini & Tom Rigney
Had a fine time in Brooklyn last night at Robin Bady's House Concert.  Thank you, Robin and Tom, for opening your lovely home for us to come and tell some long yarns in a cozy room. It was a pleasure to meet a bunch of new and interesting people and to hear fantastic stories by Robin Gelfenbien, Megan Hicks and Rick Patrick.

Robin, your show is tops, keep it up!

Rick Patrick

Rick, Megan, Robin & Tommy

The gang

Robin Bady

Jon Calvert, Tom, Robin G, Robin B & Bridget Bartolini

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spooky Central Park & Pigeon English

The south Pump Station at Central Park's reservoir can scare the heck out of you, in the best way, in certain weather on certain nights.

At 78th St and First Ave on southwest corner, I overheard a conversation. On the fire escape above, the 6th pigeon said to the 5th pigeon, "Look at Mr. Hot Shit showing off his big friggin wings again."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

You Can Tear a Building Down, but You Can't Erase a Memory

You can tear a building down, but you can't erase a memory. 
Living Colour

Been meaning to put these up for several friends who lived in these buildings on York Avenue and 83rd Street. It made me so sad to see these homes go down in one swoop and vanish 9 years ago in 2005.

A fond memory.

It's 1964, I see Mrs. Hauser with a kerchief wrapped around her head that's full of small curlers. She's leaning out her front window with her arms crossed on a pillow. I caught her as I passed the Bellinger house on the other side of the street and looked up when she called my name. We start a conversation, on my side I slide in a hello to Leo leaning on his stoop watching the girls go by with a sly smile on his face. I shout up a goodbye to Mrs. Hauser after passing Slayton's Cleaners and run across the avenue as the yellow light is about to go red.

My love goes out to the families I remember so well, the Hausers, Carmens, DiVitas and Mulherns.

83rd & York southwest corner

Sunday, January 19, 2014

"I'll Slice it Off!"

I earned my first degree at P.S. 77 on the corner of 85th Street and First Avenue. My education continues this Tuesday at BADYHOUSEStorytellingConcert #6 is here!

Robin Bady hosts storytelling with Siobhan V O'Loughlin, Megan Hicks, Judith Heimeman and me. It's a groove this Tuesday, January 21 @ 7pm.

85 Chester Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218
View Map · Get Directions 
Here's a P.S. 77 memory.

I'm at work on Church Street in the Post Office building, its ten o'clock at night. I'm making art for a friend's birthday card and needed to use the paper cutter. My whole life I've been afraid of that device.

I went to Kindergarten at P.S. 77 on 85th Street and First Avenue. In the spring of 1960, Eisenhower was a lame duck President and the presidential campaign was kicking off.  Because of Kennedy's Catholic thing, there was a buzz in my papal favorable neighborhood about the election. Everybody's parents were taking strong sides; so of course, you did too ~ just repeating whatever you heard. I was for Kennedy, and John Cupo, a five year old, staunch Republican, was for Nixon. John and I had big mouths and we fought over anything. One day, he hit me, I hit him, but the teacher, Mrs. Brown, only saw my punch. She punished me by putting me under her desk in front of the classroom.

I was pretty angry about this and when I heard Cupo laughing at me I started yelling at him from under the desk. This led to little kicks in my ass from Mrs. Brown. She leaned under the desk and told me, "If you ever expect to get out of there, be quiet for the rest of the morning." I said, "OK."
Five minutes later, I heard Cupo and at least two other guys laughing, I assumed at me, and I went a little crazy, yelling, "stupid, fat head, dummy," and other five yr old insults.

By this point, Mrs. Brown was working my ass with her foot like a bass drum. I was immune, Cupo got my goat. I kept it up.

That's when, Mrs. Brown leaned over and said, "Thomas, say one more thing, and I'll put your arm in the paper cutter and slice it off."

Not a word. I'm still scared of paper cutters.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stoops to Nuts Honors A Friend, Kurt Gerstmann

Dr. Kurt Gerstmann
Dr. Kurt Gerstmann's soaring spirit circled the room last night at the City Stories: Stoops to Nuts show at Cornelia Street Cafe. Kurt, a dear friend of the Cafe and Stoops to Nuts, passed away suddenly this past week.

His full life was celebrated with stories by his friends, Barbara Aliprantis, Dean Dacian and me, and the New Year was sounded by four rookie Stoops to Nuts talents, Melissa Caminecci, Annette Estevez, Natasha Gural and Maggie Nuttall. If Kurt was there he would have approached each of the artists after the show, told them how much he enjoyed their performance and given each of them a big hug and made four new storytelling friends. That's who he was. Kurt was scheduled to do the April show and we will have a special video performance of Kurt telling a story at that show or shortly thereafter.

Thank you, Melissa, Annette, Natasha, Maggie, Barbara and Dean for bringing your best last night. Thank you, to our tremendous audience for your engaging support. A wall of folks right back to the entrance door. Thank you, Paul and Matt for your fine service and professional stage management. Thank you, Robin, Angelo and Josh for letting us play in your home.

Last night's show marked the 17th anniversary of storytelling on the second Tuesday of the month at the Cafe. Barbara Aliprantis, a co-founder back in 1997 still leaves her heart and soul on the stage when she performs. I'm a lucky boy to have Barbara as my friend and mentor.

Next month's show on February 11th will showcase the incredibly talented, Sherryl Marshall.

March 11th, mark your calendars, this will be a special show. Admission and your first drink are on me, the line-up is out of this world and I'm giving a lot of stuff away. Life is short, I'm thanking a lot of people for making my world more interesting.

Melissa Caminecci

Cornelia St

Annette Estevez

Natasha Gural

Maggie Nuttall

Dean Dacian

Barbara Aliprantis

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Roscoe Rides the N Train

"Sometimes the company you keep on the Subway is perfect."

I met Roscoe on the N train Thanksgiving day. Roscoe promised to contact his chums and trot down to City Stories: Stoops to Nuts next Tues @ 6pm @ Cornelia Street Cafe.

Our next "City Stories: Stoops to Nuts," show is Tuesday, January 14th @ 6pm @ Cornelia Street Cafe. Our talented artists are Melissa Caminneci, Annette Estevez, Natasha Gural and Maggie Nuttall, with your host, Thomas Pryor. $8 admission includes a free drink.

Time Out Magazine says, "Stoops to Nuts," is a positive experience not to be missed. No they didn't, but they do say it's a cool thing to do.

"Giving Thanks to Mom" a new one published in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Overture to the Sun, Narrows, Bay Ridge

Looking over the Narrows at sunset, reminded me of "Overture to the Sun" from the Clockwork Orange soundtrack. The song sounds beautifully ancient like a renaissance piece but was written for the movie by Terry Tucker. Here are photos from the end of the day that went from 54 to 5 degrees overnight. Wild weather.

Our next "City Stories: Stoops to Nuts," show is Tuesday, January 14th @ 6pm @ Cornelia Street Cafe. Our talented artists are Melissa Caminneci, Annette Estevez, Natasha Gural and Maggie Nuttall, with your host, Thomas Pryor.  $8 admission includes a free drink.

Time Out Magazine says, "Stoops to Nuts," is a positive experience not to be missed. No they didn't, but they do say it's a cool thing to do.

"Giving Thanks to Mom" a new one published in Mr. Beller's Neighborhood.