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West Side Story (the 1961 film) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire:

Last Thursday afternoon, I made the scenic drive up from Somerville, MA to Portsmouth, NH, for yet another viewing of the film West Side Story, at the Cinemagic Stadium 10 Theatre, where they showed this particular film as this month’s part of their Cult Classic events.  Leaving Somerville at around 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon,  I …

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Another one of my versions of The Town:

The Town starts out the exact same way, with Claire, the good-looking bank manager, being forced to open the vault and hand over the money at gunpoint by Doug MacRay and his men while they were wearing skull masks and ninja outfits, the assistant manager gets butt-rifled to death by Jem, Claire is taken hostage, blindfolded, abducted and then let go, she and Doug meet “by chance’ in a laundromat, they begin dating, etc.

In addition to being interested in gardening, Claire also owns a beautiful pet Moluccan cockatoo named Rhumbi, who’s very affectionate, and yet protective of her territory, as well as her owner. Claire has a way of carrying Rhumbi on her shoulder, on a harness, on sunny days, so when Claire and Doug are out on a lunch date one afternoon, at a Pizzeria, Claire has Rhumbi, who is very tame, harnessed, on her shoulder. Doug admires and pats Rhumbi, with no ill affects–Rhumbi the cockatoo has taken to Doug immediately. As in the original story, Claire, at one point, disappears for afew minutes, with Rhumbi, inside, to use the bathroom and freshen up. As in the original story, she comes back and finds “Jem” sitting in her seat, they make brief introductions, but, then, Ohhhhh! disaster strikes! As Jem puts his hand out to pat Rhumbi , he receives a hard bite from the cockatoo–hard enough to take part of his index finger off! Enraged and bleeding, but somewhat disoriented,  Jem doesn’t know what to do, but somebody else eating outside the pizzeria calls an ambulance, puts the avulsed part of Jem’s index finger back in place,  stems the bleeding with a small tourniquet/bandaid, and then wraps Jem’s injured/avulsed finger in a damp cloth to keep it moist. Jem is rushed to the MGH emergency room, where his avulsed finger is re-attached by a surgeon on call. Hours later, Jem arrives from the MGH emergency room, with his injured finger in a bulky bandage, and his arm in a sling.  

Sing-a-Long Viewing of the Film West Side Story:

On Monday, April 14th, I drove out to Amherst, MA from  where I reside, in a city just outside of Boston, for a sing-a-long viewing of the film West Side Story.  Although it took a bit longer to get out to Amherst than I predicted, it was well worth the drive out there, with pretty scenery on the way out there.

Getting there just a little bit before 7:00 p. m., when the movie was due to start, I parked at a meter in the center of town near the common and took the short walk to the Amherst cinema, where the film was to be shown.  The cinema was a pleasant place, with several cinemas, and West Side Story was shown in the biggest one of them.  The theatre was mostly filled up, so I took a seat in the middle of the theatre, where I had a decent view.  The screen was a regular movie theatre screen, which was slightly curved, so that the film didn’t have a totally flat look to it.  

There was a short introduction, and a small costume contest, since afew people came to the West Side Story sing-a-long viewing in costumes.  Afew women were dressed in fancy-ish dresses for the occasion, one guy was dressed in a leather jacket, playing a Jet, and another guy was dressed casually.  The announcer decided that the women in the dresses were the winners of the costume contest, and had afew choices of prizes;  a CD of the West Side Story  movie sound track, a movie poster  for West Side Story, and a DVD version of the movie.  

The film  West Side Story was as great as ever, and, despite the fact that very few people sang along with the songs, there was much exuberance and spirit in the audience.  Everybody was snapping their fingers along with the Jets when the film first opened, right after the aerial shots of NYC’s West Side, and it was really cool.  I, too did a little bit of singing along at times, too, and it was enjoyable to do that.  

Having recently seen HD digitally-restored, remastered, reprinted and cleaned up versions of the film  West Side Story , however, I  was aware of how much more three-dimensional the regular film looked, and, despite some of the noticeable flaws in the film, it was well worth coming to view the movie, and my view of the film was not spoiled very much, if at all.  

One of the things that I noticed in this particular viewing of the film West Side Story were the individual facial expressions on each of the characters, especially the Jets and Sharks.  There seemed to be more sadness, anger, exuberance, and funniness, just generally.  When the Jets harassed and almost raped Anita however, I noticed that the Jets seemed to be smirking insolently and kind of snickering aloud at her while in the process, until they were pulled up short by Doc,  as he came back into the Candy store.

The expressions on the individual faces of the characters in West Side Story (the film) ranged from exuberance, happiness, cockiness, toughness, anger and being overly optimistic.  The anger was especially noticeable when, during the pre-rumble quintet/ensemble, when the Jets and Sharks were getting ready for their show-down, and threatening to get back at each other, the faces of the warring gangs seemed to be growing dark with fury.  Anita’s disapproval of Maria and Tony’s meeting at the Bridal Shop where both Maria and Anita worked as seamstresses could be seen on her face;  it too, was rather angry and hostile.  

After the rumble, especially after the deaths of Riff, Bernardo, and later, Tony, everybody looked kind of spent, sad and worn out, but I do think that after the deaths of Riff, Bernardo and, ultimately Tony, the fact that several Jets and Sharks  united to carry Tony’s body off, and after Maria’s message of  “You all killed him, and my brother and Riff!  Not with bullets and guns.  With hate!  Well, I can kill too, because I have hate!”

Having said that, I believe that the strong message that Maria gave the Jets and Sharks right when they seemed about to clash (physically) again, was also the catalyst for at least a temporary unity and momentary understanding in tragedy.

Please note:  This thread is also posted at and

Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story (film) Concert at Symphony Hall, here in Boston, MA:

Hi, everybody!

I’m here to say that I attended all three of the performances of the recent Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story (HD film) concert, and the performances were absolutely fabulous! Since I’d always wanted to see the film West Side Story on Valentine’s Day, I finally got my wish! (The BSO/WSS concert performances took place on 2/14/-2/15, at 8:00 p. m., and on Sunday, 2/16, at 3:00 p. m. Friday and Sunday, the weather was okay, but on Saturday night, I braved the Boston area snowstorm, trekked over to the MBTA subway stop nearest to where I live, and took public transportation to the meeting place of 14 other people. We all took a bus over to Symphony Hall together, and had a wonderful evening out, and one couple who’d come with us was kind enough to drive me home afterwards.

On Sunday afternoon (yesterday), I took an absolutely packed MBTA (Mass. Bay Transit Authority) train to the Symphony stop, near Boston Symphony Hall, and met my friends there. We had a fun-packed afternoon, and we went our own separate ways. Even more heartening, one of the two women who attended yesterday afternoon’s performance of the BSO/West Side Story concert called me up this morning specially to thank me for having invited them to come along to the concert with me, and I told her that I was glad that they were both able to make it and come with me, and that it had been a wonderful afternoon.

West Side Story is a fantastic movie to begin with, but having a famous live orchestra play a live rendition of an already-brilliant musical score, while the singing and dialogues in the film were kept intact, brought this great, golden oldie but keeper of a classic film to a whole new level. Through great creativeness via modern technology, a great feat was accomplished; melding a live orchestral rendition to Bernstein’s musical score with the singing and dialogue of a beautifully dynamic movie.

Since I had seats that had me and my friends/classmates looking directly at the center of the stage, I was able to watch the movie while eyeing the orchestra players and the conductor at the same time. The conductor was especially interesting to watch; he seemed totally into what he was conducting, and to enjoy himself, nonetheless. Although looking at it from the back of the orchestral tier of Symphony Hall gave a good viewing, sitting on a balcony of Symphony Hall, especially with a movie such as West Side Story, which, imho, is better viewed from the balcony of any movie theatre, to begin with, presented a view where one could look slightly downward, thus getting a better view of the stage and to not have people’s heads directly in the viewer’s way, enabling the viewer to really take in both the movie and the live orchestra at the same time. (Btw, the film was a HD digitally-restored, cleaned up, remastered and reprinted version of the film West Side Story, so it was even more beautiful!)

The orchestra added its own perks to an already-great and brilliant musical score, and all of the characters seemed to be brought even further up into the heavens, if one gets the drift. Had the screen been at least 2 or 3 feet longer on each end, however, it would’ve added more to an already great restoration of a great movie, and to the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s live rendition of this great movie musical score. It was well worth braving unpredictable public transportation, not to mention the stormy weather on Saturday night, in order to get there. All three performances were pretty much sold out, with the exception of a small minority of people who’d probably bought tickets and couldn’t make it, for whatever reason.

This was an even better performance than at Tanglewood, and it was well worth going to.


• 1961 film, leonard bernstein

A Barbaric Act at the Copenhagen Zoo:

18-month-old Marius, a perfectly healthy Giraffe, was put down by a bolt gun by the manager(s) of the Copenhagen Zoo, ostensibly to prevent inbreeding,  despite campaigns and protests by various Animal Rights activist groups, and other people who wanted the giraffe saved, and there were other zoos in other countries who’d offered to take Marius.  

The Copenhagen Zoo, however, stuck by their decision and put Marius the 18 month old giraffe down, anyhow.  They then cut the giraffe open and then fed his meat to the lions nearby.  There was a big audience, with many young, small children there, too.  

Imho, that was a total disgrace.  The Copenhagen Zoo could’ve sterilized the giraffe in some way or other, or, at least accepted an offer from one of the zoos elsewhere who’d offered to take him.  

Has the world really gone mad, or is it my imagination?  What do you all think?

Heres the link to the awful story:  Read it and weep…or gnash your teeth.…

Here’s a new but informative link on “Obamacare”, by Ralph Nader.

Hi, everybody:

Ralph Nader has a very informative and thoughtful article on the  newly-passed ACA (Affordable Care Act), or “Obamacare” as many people call it.  Imho, it provides an excellent perspective as to why Canada’s Single Payer Healthcare system (although not perfect) is far better than the ACA, or the United States’ Healthcare system, generally.

Here’s the link:…

Any thoughts?  I welcome feedback after posting this link, which you all might find interesting.

Tanglewood Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story (film) Concert:

Hi, everybody !  This past weekend, I went out to Tanglewood,  out in Western Massachusetts, in the Berkshires, where I attended a fabulously spectacular Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side  Story concert, at Tanglewood.  The Boston Symphony orchestra played a fantastic live rendition of the musical score to the film West Side Story, which added a new dimension to an already-great classic movie, of which a beautifully restored, digital, HD, reprinted, cleaned up and remastered version was shown, along with the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s live rendition of the musical score.  Word had it that there were at least 20, 000 people in all at Tanglewood last night.  I did know that this particular concert sold out, big time, despite at least a couple of lawn benches being added on.  

Since I had a ticket for a seat inside the shed at Tanglewood, and had ordered a bag-lunch/dinner to go, way in advance,  everything was great, and I didn’t have to worry about anything.   This fabulous evening, however, on my part, was preceded by sort of a (mis)adventure;  the unexpected break-down of my car, at a service plaza 26 miles from Tanglewood.  At the advice of the guy behind the counter, I called the State Police, after being given their number, and they, in turn gave me the number of a towing company to call, known as Red’s Towing, who I called immediately.  3/4 of an hour later, a young guy driving a flatbed tow truck came to the plaza where I was, after having told them where I was.  The young man who was driving the tow truck asked me where I was going and what I was going to see, so I told him.  Aftter calling afew places and finding them closed, he called a Munro Car repair place not far from the place where I’d stayed last night after the Tanglewood concert, towed my car and gave me a ride to Monro’s, and afterwards, the small inn where I was staying for the night, after the concert.  I got to the concert via taxicab, and had a wonderful time..

It was a great concert, and exuberant crowd, and much applause took place after each WSS number, leading me to believe that there were a great many New Yorkers in this audience.  Boston audiences, btw, enjoy West Side Story just as much as New Yorkers, despite being a bit more reserved, so that’s okay.  

The movie/concert was 2.5 hours long, and ended at about 11:00 that night.  What a way to spend a Saturday night;  seeing one’s favorite movie and hearing a live rendition of the musical score played by a famous Orchestra (i. e. the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to boot!).  Everything was crowded, traffic was high, and, having had to take a taxi to the concert due to my not having a car,  it was all very well that I didn’t have my car that night.  So, I hoofed it partway back to the inn where I was staying for the night, and, believe it or not, when I asked a cop how far it was to where I was staying and answered that I had a least 3-4 miles to go before reaching my  overnight destination, he gave me a ride the rest of the way.  It had been a fabulous night.

Getting back home to Boston the next day was much more ardous;  I called afew towing companies and afew car-rental places.  Unfortunately, no car rental places, especially nearby were open, and none of the Berkshires area towing companies would tow all the way from Lenox, MA, to Boston, MA.  I finally got a towing and a ride back to Boston with the towing guy, after a 4 hour wait, as opposed to a 2.5 hour wait as had been predicted earlier.   It was a very good crowd at the concert, and word had it that there were 20, 000 people there.  Not surprisingly, this concert sold out, big time, despite the addition of afew lawn benches.  I was glad to have been able to attend the special Boston Symphony Orchestra/West Side Story concert out at Tanglewood that I’d so been looking forward to after having bought my ticket and made my room reservation back in late January of this year!

A rather scary link about a long-debunked and tossed out fallacy :

Hey, everybody:

There’s a very nascent, albeit a very dangerous anti-vaccine movement that’s going through the United States right now;  the so-called “link” between vaccines and autism, created by the long discredited Dr. Andrew Wakefield (who lost his license to practice medicine due to the fraudulence of the movement he created, and well he should have!.), and the former nude model, Jenny McCarthy, who clearly knows nothing about anything (including medicine and science), except to tout her figure in public, if one gets the drift.  

What I find rather scary about it is the fact that the anti-Vaccine people, very much like the anti-abortion/anti-choice (supposedly) Pro-Life people, prey upon people’s fears and ignorance,  and, like the Pro-Life people who want abortions outlawed altogether here in the United States, want childhood immunizations/vaccines outlawed, due to their (supposed ) link to autism.  

Truthfully, other more trustworthy people have found that to not be the case.  More and more research has revealed autism  or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), as it’s now called, to be a biologically-based, neurological developmental disorder (not a mental illness!), that takes hold while the person is in utero, during fetal development, well before the person afflicted with it comes into this world.  

My siblings and I were vaccinated against polio, pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria, for example, when we were young kids, and we all turned out fine.  What’s really scary is that the anti-vaccine people wouldn’t mind seeing the United States turn into a real third-world country, where tons of children either end up dying or being permanently disabled by such deadly diseases.  

I had measles and mumps (the diseases themselves), when I was a preteen, before the vaccines came out, was in bed for a week, (I had mumps on both sides at once, which hurt like hell, but I turned out fine), and the measles in 5th grade, both of which I developed an immunity to.  However, even these illnesses are more harmful today than they were, due to changes in the world and the environment, and the fact that so many parents are now refusing to vaccinate their kids because of their fear of autism, which they know nothing about, is really quite scary.

Even level-headed people are jumping on the band-wagon, which is even scarier.  

The following link is here:  Read it and weep…or gnash your teeth.  It’s rather scary, imho.…

Hey, folks! Can you stand another essay about…West Side Story?!?

Here we go:

West Side Story, as everybody knows, is my all time favorite movie, hands down.   In addition to writing reviews and synopses of this great film of my own,  not to mention how much I’ve enjoyed watching it in the movie theatre on  a great big, wide screen, on stage, and on TV,  there’s one point of view of the film West Side Story that I not only agree with, but it resonates with me in every way imaginable,  especially because the person doing this particular review says a ton of stuff about this great classic that I wish that I could say.  

Here it is:…

The above review of West Side Story, imho, is the most beautiful review of a great classic that I’ve ever seen/heard.  What do you all think?

More on the 1960’s:

Last night, I found the full movie of “The 60’s” on youtube and decided to watch all of it.  It took awhile, but I began to recognize it as a movie that i’d seen on TV a number of years before.  Here it is:…

Read it and weep/gnash your teeth!

Hey folks:

Here is another example of what the United States Government, even under the Obama Administration, has wrought in terms of havoc to another country and its people.  Read the following link and weep/gnash your teeth:

Rare Reporting Reveals Afghan Civilians Terrorized by US Drones

by Jacob Chamberlain, Common Dreams

Published on Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently reported that 1 in 4 missiles in Afghan airstrikes are now fired by drone, in addition to the other forms of bombardment that have caused unspeakable harm to Afghan civilians.

The impact of the US drone war on civilians living in the villages below was explored in a report last year by researchers at Stanford and New York University – called Living Under Drones (pdf)-which found that civilians in Pakistan were being “terrorized” by the drones. In addition, the report concluded the program was ultimately “counterproductive” when it came to addressing international law, security, and human rights.

Following the release of that report, Clive Stafford Smith, from the human rights group Reprieve, remarked: “An entire region is being terrorized by the constant threat of death from the skies. Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meetings, or anything that involves gathering in groups.”

Dinner and “Lawrence of Arabia” with a Friend of Mine:

Hi, everybody;

Again…sorry for my prolonged absences.  I’ve been busy with my comissions/projects in silversmithing, but equally important, a friend of mine and I had a wonderful night out.    Because her car totally went on the fritz and she’s still looking for a new one, I picked her up at her house in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, and we went out to eat at a reasonably-priced Thai restaurant in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner area.   I then accompanied her while she walked a sheltie that she walks several times per week, and then we went to the Coolidge Corner Theatre to secure our seats.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre changed to digital projection, and, since I was one of the ones who donated some money to the funding for the theatre, in order to help make the changeover to digital projection possible, I had received an invitation in the mail to a free screening of the digitally-restored and remastered version of the film Lawrence of Arabia, another great old classic that I like a great deal and have seen more than once, although it still doesn’t hold the very special place in my heart regarding movies as West Side Story does.   I RSVP’d by email right away to the person who made this possible, after calling up a long-time good friend, who also wanted to see LOA, and had her put me on the list for bringing myself and my friend.  I immediately was confirmed with an email message back, telling me that I was on the list for two.  

The digitally-restored and remastered version of the film Lawrence of Arabia, like that of West Side  Story, was absolutely pristine and like new, as were both soundtracks to these films.  

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