‘The Present’: a small gift inside a big box

How it’s New York: ‘The Present’ with Cate Blanchett runs on Broadway, at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre
How it’s (Irish) Australian: Blanchett hails from Melbourne, Australia; the show comes to us via the the Sydney Theatre Company. Since itis an adaptation of Chekhov’s “Platonov,” his  early (and really, untitled) play, this show is also “Celto-Slav” and Russian.

It helps to read the play first.

That’s an unusual suggestion for me– usually I like to let a work stand by itself. But here, it really helps to know what the set-up is before you go. Even if you just read an act or two.

All of the elements of Anton Chekhov’s later plays are already there in his early work known as “Platonov.” Chekhov didn’t name the play, discovered 20 years after he died himself, and it has been called “Platonov,” “Wild Honey,” and “The Disinherited,” among others; it’s been adapted by Michael Frayn and David Hare; directed with rich theatrical gesture by Jiri Pokorny. Uncut, the play would last about six hours. But it’s all there: ennui. Fading, poor aristocracy. Possibility of a marriage of salvation. Empty trysts. A smart, disillusioned, unfulfilled schoolteacher.

So there’s much to love about “The Present,” an adaptation of that early work by Andrew Upton (Blanchett’s husband), directed by John Crowley. If anyone knew how to put people, hurt, dissatisfied, unpredictable people, in a room together and see what happened, it was Chekhov (Jean-Paul Sartre’s “No Exit” owes him a lot).

Blanchett is completely luminous in her Broadway debut as Anna, a young widow who is celebrating her 40th birthday by inviting several suitors and friends to spend the weekend with her at her country estate.

That little synopsis, though, is more than you might figure out for quite a while, all but the 40th birthday bit, which is announced. (more…)

All the world’s a cell: Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘The Tempest’ at St. Ann’s Warehouse

How it’s New York: Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse is one of the hippest places in the city; it’s known

L-R: Erick Betancourt, Harriet Walter, Sophie Stanton ©Teddy Wolff

especially as an importer of acclaimed and innovative work from overseas. The new building has the most comfortable lobby in town, with chaise loungeand often live music in the bar.
How it’s (Irish) English: The show is the third in the trilogy of Shakespeare plays performed by women, with the conceit that they are all inmates in a prison, and hails from England’s Donmar Warehouse.

Of all Shakespeare plays to set in a prison cell, “The Tempest” makes the most sense. Prospero, a sorcerer and the rightful Duke of Milan, is living on an island from which he cannot escape, after having been usurped by his own brother Antonio. He seizes a chance to cause a shipwreck when Antonio and King Alonso of Naples, complicit in the crime, are nearby, and restore himself and his daughter Miranda to their rightful places. Most prisoners can only depend on clemency.

The Tempest” at St. Ann’s Warehouse is the third in a trilogy from the Donmar Warehouse in London, all directed by Phyllida Lloyd, all featuring actor Harriet Walter, and casts of women performing a play within a play. “Julius Caesar” and “Henry IV” were presented earlier this season.

“The Tempest” is fiercely successful, asking the audience when and how does the punishment fit the crime. In each production, an actor frames the play by introducing the modern-day inmate telling the story. In “The Tempest,” Walter shows that Prospero’s interpretation  is based on the story of Judith Clark, a 67-year-old woman serving 75-to-life in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. Clark drove the getaway car in 1981 for a bank robbery that resulted in the deaths of two

(L to R): Liv Spencer (blond, somewhat outside the frame), Leah Harvey, Harriet Walter, Sheila Atim, Jackie Clune, Sophie Stanton, Martina Laird, Jade Anouka
©Teddy Wolff

police officers.  (Andrew Cuomo has commuted Clark’s sentence this past December, according to press notes, and she will be granted a parole hearing this year).

It’s impossible not to hear her story at the top of the show and ask what justice means- and that was the point of the choice. One of the play’s most indelible moments comes at the end, as prisoners leave, calling “Bye, Hannah!” while Walter sits alone in her cell.

But thematic sincerity doesn’t always make for great theater, and this is great theater. It has everything– terrific performances, surprise, spectacle, insight. If you can nab a ticket (It’s sold out, performances through Feb. 19), even if you’ve seen “The Tempest” before, you need to go.

You’ve never seen it done like this.


Up the Scots! Celebrate Burns Night

How it’s New York: Thomas Burt is a New York lawyer, and the Iona Sessions take place in Brooklyn.
Robert Burns (1759-1796), portrait by Alexander Naysmith

Robert Burns (1759-1796), portrait by Alexander Naysmith

How it’s (Irish) Scottish: Robert Burns is Scotland’s favorite son, and symbolizes Scottish heritage. See below for Robert Burns songs sung by Jim Malcolm and the late Andy M. Stewart with Silly Wizard (with the late Johnny Cunningham, Phil Cunningham, Martin Hadden and Gordon Jones, filmed in 1988). Just try not crying when Andy M. sings it.

Trust me. You know a few poems by Robert Burns. What do you sing on New Year’s Eve? “Auld Lang Syne.” That was his. “My luv is like a…” if you’re thinking “red, red rose,” you’re right, and that was his, too. “The best laid plans of mice and men…” also his.

The “Bard of Ayrshire,” who wrote in broad Scots in the 18th century, has become over the years the national symbol of Scotland.

The Irish have Bloomsday, which celebrates James Joyce and “Ulysses.”

The Scots have Burns Night, which celebrates Robert Burns (1759-1796) in a formal dinner, complete with recitations, music, and, of course, Haggis.

There are fewer Scots than Irish in NYC, and as lawyer Thomas Burt points out, the Scots have been very good at assimilating. They are harder to spot, but they are here.

“It’s a focal point to remind us who we are, and what we have in common with each other.”

Burt is also secretary of St. Andrew’s Society of the State of New York, founded in 1756, before Burns was even born. He points out that past members include Alexander Hamilton and Andrew Carnegie. The society raises money for two children’s hospitals, provides scholarships for graduate study and more.   There’s also a Scottish Bar Association of New York.

Irish pubs are everywhere, true, but there are some Scottish pubs in NYC and Brooklyn: St. Andrews, 140 West 46th St.,  Caledonia Bar, 1609 Second Ave.,  are a few. More are listed here.

And the wonderful, amazing, BEST THING ON NEW YORK STAGE “The Strange Undoing of Pruedencia Hart,” which comes to the McKittrick Hotel courtesy of the Scottish National Theatre, with script by David Grieg, has just been extended until March 26th. The show, set in a Scottish pub,  includes free drams, Scottish music and a wonderful retelling of a “woman meets the devil” folk tale– in rhyme!  (this is one of the best things I’ve ever seen in the theatre. Review/podcast has been delayed thanks to a cold that lasted pretty much all December and January but believe me when I say you do not want to miss this show).

IONA Burns-3There’s even a Scottish music session: the Iona Session is held on Mondays at Iona,  180 Grand St., in Brooklyn. And they are having a Burns Night celebration, too:

The IONA BURNS NIGHT returns in all it’s shaggy glory next Wednesday 25th January at 9pm. Fiddler Emerald Rae and piper Andrew Forbes will unleash the musical beasts. Poetry, comedy, haggis and cheap adult beverages will flow. JR StraussMax CarmichaelAmy LynnCalum MichaelMatt DiazPamela Jean AgaloosMiguel Coias and Karen Brown in the house. Crying and screaming permitted. Also dancing and laughing.

The Burns Society of the City New York was founded in 1871, and is still going strong. It’s a great resource for anyone wanting to throw their own Burns supper, Burt says. It has a supper, and so does the American Scottish Foundation.

But what is a Burns Night (Burns Nicht) supper, anyway?  It celebrates the poet’s life, and the history of the Scots, and is held around his birthday: Jan. 25.

“It’s a rallying point for a diaspora that is hard pressed to find rallying points,” Burt says. “We assimilate out of existence into the economic and power structure of anywhere we land.”


Overcoming the Competition

How it’s New York: It is catching up Tom Dunne’s old buddies across the pond, and they are fixing to hop across it for a visit!
How it’s Irish: Diddley, innit?

Irish music competitions sound like a nightmare to me, what with all the stories of young wannabe champions passing out and vomiting with the stress, and the bitter disputes over the scoring.  Yet there are good things that come from it. One of these is the camaraderie and friendship between old sparring partners. Two of Tom Dunne’s fellow contestants and subsequent buddies from competitions back in the day, namely Seamus Walshe and Patsy Moloney, have recently made albums which are well worth your attention.

seamus-trad-coverSeamus Walshe plays the box in a very personal style. In the liner notes of one of Seamus’s previous CDs Traditional Irish Music on the Button Accordion  Joe Burke likened his approach to that of an architect (Seamus’ chosen profession).  At the time, I considered that notion fanciful, preferring to just savor the luxurious experience of having that CD on repeat for a leisurely drive across the Canadian Rockies. Now I get the architect thing. There is definite evidence of a stately, elegant and logical form, yet lyrical and emotional touches abound.


There are many examples of this on the new CD Turas: on the “Long Drop” Seamus shapes the first tune with phrasing and dynamic subtleties; as Eimear Reilly’s fiddle comes in for “Fred Finn’s Reel”, the stricter tempo and the “sit up and beg” figures enhance both the swing and the sadness in the tune; “The Torn Jacket” works as the release with a more straight-ahead approach (albeit with outstanding unison triplets).


The strong windswept melody of “Margaret’s Waltz” is stated with bold accordion and fiddle lines, leading into “Louis’ Waltz”, a staple of New York sessions (also known as “Dermot Grogan’s Favourite”). Here it is given a totally different treatment with the harp, fiddle and accordion creating a dense texture with the fiddle adding harmonic variations. The Poppy Leaf is another commonly recorded tune (twice by Tony DeMarco , and a stunning interpretation by Brian Rooney) which still gets a fresh treatment by Seamus and Grainne Hambly on harp. They take a relaxed pace, resisting the temptation to stuff the high part with notes, and smoothly transition into Charlie Lennon’s Rossinver Braes with its exquisite interplay of box and harp.

Turas means trip or pilgrimage and this album echoes that reflective note.  While it doesn’t have some of the exuberance of Seamus’ previous recordings it is an album of great sensitivity and maturity. It is also noteworthy that he has brought along some famous musical friends for this particular journey, including Alec Finn, Charlie Lennon, Noel Hill and Steve Cooney.


Murray Defeated Dimitrov In R4 Of US Open – Then Why Did The Scot Clutch Her Head?

September 7, 2016 - Andy Murray in action against Kei Nishikori in a men's quarterfinal match during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

Andrew Murray at the US Open (Courtesy of Garrett Elwood/USTA)

How it’s New York: This article covers a Men’s Round 4 (“R4”) at the US Open, which took place in Flushing, Queens.
How it’s Irish: Celtic – Andrew Murray, the No. 2-seeded player representing Great Britain, is Scottish!

At the US Open R4 Monday night, I saw Andrew Murray (Great Britain) get his own back from Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) – who had beat out Murray in the Miami Open this spring.


And Murray took control with his serves, firing off a personal-best, 141-mph serve that had commentator John McEnroe jumping out of his chair. 

…firing off a personal-best, 141-mph serve that had commentator John McEnroe jumping out of his chair.

“I did go up in [racket string] tension a little bit from the last match. Maybe that allowed me to feel like I was able to swing a little bit harder.” (Which also explains why Dimitrov halted the game to have his racket restrung.) Murray added, “I didn’t give him an opportunity, once I was ahead, to let him back in the match.”

September 7, 2016 - Andy Murray in action against Kei Nishikori in a men's quarterfinal match during the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.

Andrew Murray at the US Open (courtesy of Garrett Elwood/USTA)


Kids of All Ages Welcome

How it’s New York: It features an interview with Kevin Crawford, leading light of the Irish Trad scene in New musictonyYork, where he talks about his rambunctious musical beginnings in Birmingham, England.
How it’s Irish: It is the latest in a series on the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School in Digbeth, Birmingham 

Pat Molloy understood kids. He knew how to get them engaged but also ,when they were under too much pressure, to just let them be kids. Some knew the tunes they wanted straight off the bat; others needed a little prompting so he used “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” as an introduction. Of course the idea grew into a jig version, a reel version and a hornpipe version (I’m sure he had barn dance and mazurka versions up his sleeve as well). For those who needed a bit of theatre he also had a party piece of a 4-part manoeuvre before putting the fiddle to the neck (think of a fun version of the military “present arms”). At the other end of the scale he used to also relish the senior student – if I recall correctly his oldest first-time student was 80 years old and full of self-doubt, but still walked out of Hendon Road with a tune.

This spirit is at the core of the Anne and Pat Molloy Summer School, about to run for its 5th year on the weekend of 23rd and 24th, 2016,  a welcoming place for all interested in traditional Irish music, whatever your current level or age.

We have noticed at previous summer schools that those attending or teaching could be split up into different categories: the Little Kids, the Big Kids and the Adults.


Lúnasa and Karan Casey at the Highline Ballroom

Lunasa 5


How it’s New York: At the Highline Ballroom, NYC, Monday December 14, 2015
How it’s Irish: Irish Trad Super-group Lúnasa with singer Karan Casey

I love it when I get early Christmas presents!!!  Last Monday was a whopper!  Two of my Irish trad favorites on the same stage and they delivered a jovial blinder of a set of tunes and songs to delight an extremely eager New York crowd.

Front man and flute phenom Kevin Crawford, who has been living in New York over the past year, was like the host at a great gathering, floating about the audience, pre-show, and whipping up the anticipation in the crowd.

I was particularly excited to see Karan Casey, my all-time favorite traditional singer, and to hear the collaboration between these innovative musicians!

The evening was filled with Lúnasa‘s trademark jigs and reels flying from the nimble fiddling fingers of Colin Farrell and the deft pipework of Cillian Vallely. They brought a wealth of other styles from the traditional canon, with some original Breton dance tunes penned by Kevin Crawford and some tunes from French guitarist Gilles Le Bigot.  There were jigs and slides a plenty from the likes of Leo Rowsome, Emer Mayock, and one of my favorites, The Stolen Purse by Kevin Burke and Patrick Street.  The driving base of Trevor Hutchinson and the jazzy guitar of Ed Boyd provide a strong backbone with the whirlwind of Kevin Crawford‘s flute bobbing and weaving over everything. (more…)

From Neuve Chappelle to New York – Songs and Poems of World War I

How it’s New York: At The Irish Arts Center in New York City
How it’s Irish: Irish Artists sharing words and music from and about World War I

Neuve Chappelle curtain call

It was fitting that on the night following the centenary of the death of World War I activist and unionizer Joe Hill, The Irish Arts Center presented a lively show of songs, poems and stories from and about the war entitled “From Neuve Chappelle to New York“.

The brainchild of singer/songwriter Declan O’Rourke, with a script by Myles Dungan, the show is a raucous and touching journey through the years of the “Great War”.  The show featured songs both old and new, stories read by actor John Keating and poetry read by renowned Northern Irish poet Paul Muldoon. (more…)

You say Sow-een, I say Sah-wen: The Feast of Samhain, and the Gaelic Roots of Halloween

How it’s New York: Well, hey, who in New York doesn’t like Halloween?
How it’s Irish: Samhain, lots of discussion of interesting foods and activities, and a quick mention of Bram Stoker.

Hween picWell, it’s Oct. 31, so maybe you’re counting the hours until it gets dark so you can head out trick-or-treating. Or maybe you’re planning to sit the evening by the fire with some apples or cider and tell a few ghost stories.

In honor of Halloween, we’re going to take a look at some of the Irish (and English, Scottish, Welsh, Manx, etc.) influences on the day.

The end of October and the start of November coincide with the feast of Samhain, one of the most important feast times in the year for the ancient Celts. Samhain was, and still is for modern observers, a time for gathering in the harvest, heralding the arrival of winter and awaiting the return of summer.

A lot of traditions we associate with Halloween, particularly in the United States, were adapted in part from ancient Celtic traditions and rituals – quite a few of which had been co-opted over the centuries by Christianity – as well as some more recent traditions from around Britain and Ireland.


Podcast #33: Conor Lovett and Mike Farragher

How it’s (New Jersey) New York: The production of “Waiting for Godot” is taking place at the NYU Skirball Center; Mike Farragher lives in New Jerseyrssheadphones1
How it’s (Scottish) Irish: Samuel Beckett was Irish, as are Judy Hegarty Lovett and Conor Lovett of Gare St. Lazare Theatre; Mike Farragher is Irish-American. Featured tune is from Iona Scottish Session, a Scottish session in Brooklyn.

We spoke to Conor Lovett about the Gare St. Lazare production of “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett at the NYU Skirball Center. For our money, Gare St. Lazare are the best interpreters of Beckett in the world. Alice Farrell spoke to Irish-American author Mike Farragher about his new book, “A Devilish Pint.” 

Tune of the week is “Mary Kelly’s,” from the Iona Session CD “Island Wild.” Iona Session are havig a CD release party at Jalopy in Brooklyn on Oct. 30. For more information, visit Ionascottishsession.com (more…)

From the Temple to the Sanctuary

How it’s New York: Carnegie Hall!

©Jim McGuire
©Jim McGuire

How it’s Irish: John Joe Kelly was on stage with his bodhran

“Welcome to this temple of music” were the first words spoken on stage, after an opening set, at Carnegie Hall by Zakir Hussain at his Pulse of the World: Celtic Connections performance, Saturday March 28, 2015. Those words aptly set the tone for the next solid two hours of music played in celebration of the musical chops represented on stage.
In deference to the coy young musician who happened to be sitting by my side during the performance, I shall write this review without using the words “fusion,” “journey’,”or “quest.” That established, Hussain introduced the concert by speaking of how where he was from in India, the temple was the focal center point of every village, and from there, music graced the festivals, parades, traditions, ceremonies and daily life. Hussain spoke of how he remembered hearing, as a child, a different sound from a group of musicians from an area that had been settled, decades earlier, by soldiers from the colonizing British Empire.

After their military duties being done for the day, some of the visiting soldiers must have pulled out instruments and played, either on their own with their melodies and rhythms being overheard by the locals, or with some local musicians joining in… and way back then, pre-tv, internet, globalization… tunes were shared and probably friendships formed, and the seeds of this concert were planted.
A classical tabla virtuoso, Zakir Hussain has long been drawn to meet and play with musicians of other traditions. In 2011, tabla master Hussain was invited to bring four other Indian musicians to Scotland, funded by an arts council grant, to join with musicians of Celtic traditions.

‘After a few days of rehearsing, sharing ideas, and discovering common ground in their respective genres, they kicked off Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival with an opening concert that was deemed by many to be one of the most successful in recent years.’ *(quoted from program) (more…)

Her Majesty is majestic in “The Audience”

How it’s New York: New York actors have taken some of the roles that were originally done in London, and of course, it’s a Broadway play, with a hot elizabethallticket.
How it’s English/Irish/Scottish: It’s the Queen of England. And she drinks a hot whiskey! (she calls it a hot lemon). And a lovely scene takes place in Balmoral, Scotland.

A lot of English accents were heard online for people waiting to get in to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre to see Helen Mirren play Queen Elizabeth II in Peter Gordon’s play, “The Audience.” No wonder: it’s a play about the meaning and future of the British monarchy, and it was a big success in London (that’s how it has quotes on the boards even before it’s opened here).

Americans don’t care as much about that going in, nor do we know without reference to the program (and  larger handy stock-card with Prime Minister names on it inserted) who is who. But we do care about great acting, and in Mirren, you get lots of that.

The conceit of the play is to trace the queen having a private audience with 12 different PMs, as they’re called. It’s really to the play’s credit that it skips around in time and doesn’t pose an obvious linear question. Instead, we start in 1995, then flash back to before her coronation, and then basically skip around.

elizabethscotlandYet the play never seems to ramble. There’s an urgency about it and a beauty, too. This queen is regal, yet still a person, lovable and occasionally mischievous. Mirren’s sly smiles at a little teasing witticism are irresistible.

Mirren pulls off a tour-de-force  (she won an Olivier Award for Best Actress for the role in England, and an

Think being a princess is fun? Think again.

Academy Award for the role in “The Queen”).   

The play is adapted from the movie “The Queen,” also written by Morgan– but it’s somehow more powerful as a play. Having the sets described rather than shown, by the Queen’s Equerry (Geoffrey Beevers) forces us to enter into this world. It’s a world with more at stake in the end than what seems to American eyes an obsolete symbol. Monarchy by the end of the play is shown to be something more, something that embodies a national spirit, when governments come and go. Stephen Daldry’s direction is clear, forceful, and fun. He brings us into the world of the play at once by having the Equerry explain its conceit. Two Beefeaters stay onstage during intermission. It’s tempting, just as it is at Buckingham Palace, to try to make them laugh.


She Lives Life to the Fullest – My InterReview with Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock, The Face of Lanvin

How it’s New York: Jacquie Murdock is a native New Yorker

Face of Lanvin 2012

How it’s (Irish) Scottish: She’s Scottish

Yahoo is currently featuring an article called “Awe-Inspiring Women of 2014.” But my choice is Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock, featured in the documentary Advanced Style, and a Face of Lanvin 2012. In two generous interviews, Murdock impressed me as being one of the most dynamic and courageous women I have ever known.

Murdock, a former dancer with the Apollo Theater, had always known who she was. After church in 1930’s Harlem, her cultured, middle-class family (Her father was a restauranteur.) attended salons at inspiring hosts’ beautiful homes that were filled with wonderful music and conversation. One day, at the age of 5, this youngest of three daughters announced to her family that she wanted to be a ballet dancer. This would not be exceptional by today’s standards but back then, it wasn’t an considered an acceptable occupation for a well-brought-up young lady – or a lucrative career choice. So her parents – Scottish, Jamaican-born Edward Templeton Campbell and his Jamaican wife, Izilda Fyffe Campbell (childhood sweethearts who grew up and married in Jamaica, lived in Cuba, then emigrated the United States in the 1930s) – gave her piano lessons. This did little to deter Murdock’s ambitions, for she was born to stand out.

06_ADVANCED STYLE_Photo Credit to Ari Seth Cohen

I was always a fashionista

Then her mother sent 8-year old Murdock for sewing lessons. Tall, with the looks and posture of a dancer, she became her mother’s seamstress’ model. She was finally in the spotlight. (Murdock allows that she might be related to Naomi Campbell. “I was always a fashionista,” she assured me.)

Her dancing was never far behind, though. This was the time of Cafe Society, and Murdock performed at famed NYC ballrooms when she was 15: the Renaissance, the Savoy, the Audubon. But she “grew up at the Apollo.” Frankie Manning and Norma Miller were

She grew up at the Apollo

looking for tall girls who could dance, and Murdock began to dance there when she was 17. When she turned 20, she found that she couldn’t get a show, so Murdock took a typing job at Universal Films – the first black woman to get a job there. Then she joined Eubie Blake’s show, “Black-Skinned Models.” She was 25, and she took off!


Urbane Legends – Review of the Documentary “Advanced Style”

How it’s New York: because Simon Doonan lives here,

l. to r.: Dell Cohen, Rapoport, Murdock, Carpati, Salomon, Royce-Smithkin, Plioplyte, Ari Seth Cohen, and Doonan

the movie had a NYC premiere, the women live here…
but I’m getting ahead of myself.
How it’s Irish: because Doonan is a son of Reading, Berkshire, England, with Belfast, Ireland relations.

I was physically threatened on the subway over the holidays by a young woman in her 20s or 30s. She began with a particularly disgusting diatribe, and capped the performance off by calling me an “old, ugly b*tch.” Then she offered to do me bodily harm “if only I wasn’t so old.”

Considering I am solidly middle-aged, a New Yorker, and literally a black belt in kung fu – and had just been admired for my sexy elegance at a party – her attempts to shock and intimidate just made me laugh. And I know she’d been “playing to the audience” on the train, but I must have scored some points by laughing because she got very upset and looked ready to cry. All this because she shoved herself ahead of me in line, and I had the temerity to call her on it.

Why do some people view boomers (people born within the 30 or so years after World War II) as stupid, unattractive, unwanted, unnecessary, and unloved? Now don’t tell me that this only happens among ignorant, callous people. This practice is unfortunately widespread: at eldercare facilities, government offices, in fashion, etc. And it’s a lot sneakier than that loud-mouthed idiot on the train: ageism is very much alive in business, too, despite some very strict laws. Such weird prejudice makes people over 50 (Yes, I did say 50! Did you flinch…?)

Yes, I did say 50! Did you flinch…?

the perfect targets for any predator who feels compelled to emotionally – or physically – beat them up if the perp’s own ego is flagging or s/he needs to get ahead.

05_ADVANCED STYLE_Photo Credit to Ari Seth Cohen

Tziporah Salamon


What is one antidote to this pandemic? Thankfully, the type of people featured in an amazing blog. Advanced Style  that became a movie, and then a book and tour. These people really live well with enviable courage and gusto. What young daredevils are these? Ha!

What young daredevils are these? Ha!

I refer to Advanced Style, a work of love, respect, and sociology by Ari Seth Cohen, about women and men over 50 who live life on their own terms. Inspired by his revered grandmother and her friends in his San Diego neighborhood, Cohen developed his own unique personal style. He came to NYC in 2008, and was thrilled and captivated by the mature women he saw. He began approaching them and asking to take their photographs – no mean feat of persuasion and courage on both sides in this City. But his sincerity and charm won them over. Cohen photographed scores of active, vital women and men ages 50+ and then, with Lina Plioplyte (a filmmaker he met in a coffee shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn), developed a blog appropriately named Advanced Style. That blog still runs: Cohen and Plioplyte snagged an interview and photo op with Carol Channing for a recent entry.