Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Night I Fell In Love With Mel Brooks

On November 29, 1970, Dad and I watched the Giants beat the Redskins in the afternoon.  Later that night he talked me into watching the David Susskind Show with him.  I only did so, already suffering father overload, because David Steinberg was a guest.

The show's theme, "How to Be A Jewish Son," the panel also included George Segal and Mel Brooks who I vaguely knew. I was 16 and as soon as Brooks opened his mouth I lost my sense of place and laughed my ass off for 90 minutes. It's brilliant.

The original "The Producers" from 1968 is my favorite movie. Mel Brooks is the funniest man on earth.

Thank you, Dad. Your taste in several areas was impeccable.

If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at  Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. Thank you!  (125 five-star Amazon reviews out of 125 posted)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Two Of Us"

"Two of Us" riding nowhere,
spending someone's hard earned pay.
You and me Sunday driving,
not arriving,
on our way back home.

Friday, April 14, 2017

"Gang Way!"

You know you’re old when you remember being stuck inside a discarded locked refrigerator.

In 1963, the thrown-out fridge with an intact door and functional handle was on the sidewalk in front of the Sullivan McNamara house on 83rd Street. We wanted to see how many kids could get in there and still lock it. After we took the metal trays out, four guys did fit inside when everyone pulled their stomachs in. You only played this game with close friends.

Everyone understood this was fun only if the door reopened quickly. We knew that a few years back on 80th Street, kids were locked in a fridge and when the guys on the outside tried to open it, the door handle broke off and the kids were trapped (Parents like to repeat horror stories). A Con Ed worker was watching the action from his hole in the street. He grabbed a sledge hammer and gave the side of the refrigerator a few good whacks. The door popped open, the kids got out but spent the rest of the day with the shakes.

Old refrigerators provided hours of pleasure, but new ones did too, or at least the boxes they came in did. The fridge box was huge, taller than any kid and made of sturdy heavy-duty cardboard. There were three games.

When the box was intact, a guy would get in and the guys on the outside would rattle the box and knock it over a few times, then each guy would take a turn getting in and slammed around. It was preferable not to go last, since you probably pissed someone off for playing too rough and they were looking to get even. This game would eventually knock out the bottom of the box.

When the bottom fell out, the box became a tank. We turned it on its side, and as many kids as possible would crawl in it and we’d begin to roll down the street, screaming, “Gang way! Gang way! Coming Through!” No one could see what was in front of them. Most of the time, people cleared the sidewalk and gave us room. We rolled over my brother Rory once, but he had on double winter clothes and hardly felt a thing. After a few trips up and down the block the tank would blow a gasket and tear.

We no longer had a cylinder, just a long wide strip of cardboard that was perfect for a sliding pond down the longer stoops in the neighborhood. The closest tall stoops were on the east side of York Avenue between 85th Street and 86th Street. We dragged the box over to one of those babies and played until the box blew its last breath.

If you like my work check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." Available at Logos Book Store or online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

art by Joe Dettmore

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

J Geils, Thank You For The Music & The Joy

My favorite J Geils memory: In 1979, my friends and I struck gold. A group of us played rugby for St. John’s, we were good friends with one of John Scher’s bouncers at the summer Doctor Pepper concerts in Central Park’ skating rink space. Tony rucked for the Long Island Rugby Club. The deal: we met Tony at the VIP gate and as each of us shook his hand; he palmed the five dollar bill we each gave him. This was simultaneous with the entrance of the general admission crowd giving us access to the third row in the orchestra right behind the press and special guests. Unfortunately, this routine was cut short when Tony relocated in fall 1980. But for two years we had boss seats for all concerts.

J Geils was our band. They played Central Park the summer of 79. When we vamooshed a cocktail hour inside an apartment before the parents came home, “I’m Looking For A Love,” was our go out song from the Lp “The Morning After.” Important element for beginning a solid evening.

It rained weakly for an hour before the J Geils show. Since it was a sprinkle they let us in at the normal time. In the third row, we used our shirts to dry the rain off the seats. As I turned to sit down over the Plaza Hotel I saw a breath taking cloud racing towards us and a minute later it dumped buckets of rain. So intense, I laughed and let it run over me. A stream from my head to my chest to my lap to my feet. My Converse sneakers were squeaking, my tee-shirt and shorts were attached to me like suction cups. After a “It’s never going to stop,” ten minutes suddenly the sun burst through and pushed the cloud away. It was over but there was three inches of water under our seats. Canceled I thought.” We sat there waiting for them to tell us to leave.

Two minutes later, Peter Wolf came out on stage looked us over and the less than half filled place and started laughing then the band joined him. He looked down at us and directed us to do the canoe, as his arms went back and forth like he was traveling upstream without a paddle but thought he had one. So we did the same thing, Stephen Jo Bladd banged the drums and the band rammed into “Ain’t Nothing But A House Party.” They played for two hours and forty minutes. We did The Canoe. Life is good.  J Geils, R.I.P.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Stoops to Nuts April Fools Return to Ryan's Daughter

Milo Noven
Thank you, Walter, Jim, Mick, and everybody else at Ryans Daughter for letting us go crazy cuckoo nuts Saturday night at Thomas Pryor's April Fools Stoops to Nuts Soiree.

Thank you, to my fine storytelling friends, Tricia Alexandro,  Joe Dettmore & JP Connolly, for coming on board the nut train.

My heart and gratitude are yours for bringing your best. Thank you, to our Stoops to Nuts audience. We work hard for you. You deserve it.

Here are more photographs from our show Saturday night at Ryan's Daughter.

JP Connolly

Joe Dettmore

Tricia Alexandro

Our Town Photo Contest Winner ~ 3.31.17

If you enjoy my work, check out my memoir, "I Hate the Dallas Cowboys - tales of a scrappy New York boyhood." It's available at  Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Avenue, or buy it online at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble or other booksellers. If you do read it, please leave a few honest words about the book on Amazon and B&N. Thank you!  (124 five-star Amazon reviews out of 124 posted)

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Tonight @ 7pm @ Ryan's Daughter City Boy's Stoops To Nuts

Tricia Alexandro, courtesy of The New York Times
TONIGHT @ April 1st @ 7PM ~ Ryans Daughter presents Thomas Pryor's April Fools Stoops to Nuts Soiree. Pryor's guest storytellers: Tricia Alexandro, a wonderful actor and talented writer. Ms Alexandro was praised in The New York Times for her work in “The Unrepeatable Moment,” by John Yearly ; Joe Dettmore (Creative Director of The Daily Show, actor, storyteller & and master craftsman): and J.P. Connolly (An infamous Rose Hill yarn spinner who's stories always lead you back to Fordham rugby or The Irish Riviera (Rockaway Beach). Pryor promises a swell time with new Yorkville tales from his "City Boy" solo show with ancient B&W photos and silly movies.
Joe Dettmore

Pryor’s passion is preserving the history of Yorkville and the Upper East Side through storytelling, writing and photography. His solo show about the neighborhood, “City Boy,” premiered at Cornelia Street Cafe and was featured here at Ryan’s Daughter. Copies of his memoir and his acclaimed 2012 photographic portfolio, "River to River ~ New York Scenes from a Bicycle," will be available for purchase.  Ryans Daughter @ 350 East 85th Street (performance space is on the 2nd floor) - between First and Second Avenues. Take the #4, #5 or #6 subway to 86th Street. Or the Q/Second Avenue subway to 86th Street.