The Wedding Plan is, as the LA Times put it, “not your mother’s rom-com, even if it may start out that way.

“Michal (Noa Koler) is a 32-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman in Jerusalem whose fiancé, Gidi (Erez Drigues), announces that he doesn’t love her. Crushed, yet bound and determined to get married anyway, the lonely Michal decides to keep her planned wedding date (22 days away, on the eighth night of Hanukkah); pay up with Shimi (Amos Tamam), the bemused and dashing owner of the banquet hall she’s already reserved; send out invitations, and put her faith in God that a suitable groom will appear in time.”

I note that on Rotten Tomatoes, the critics are 84% positive, but only 65% the general public enjoyed it. I suspect that the audience expected that it would be funny in a more familiar and obvious manner, the way a movie such as The Wedding Planner (2001), the film with Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, presumably was supposed to be. (I’ve seen only bits and pieces of that one.)

I will admit that The Wedding Plan really started getting interesting as we get closer to the established betrothal date, especially after she meets cute/odd with Yos (Oz Zehavi), the international pop star who couldn’t possibly be interested in her, could he?

Michal has an interesting group of cohorts, including her mother (Irit Sheleg), who is not so secretly mortified by this public embarrassment, her not-happily married sister, and her friend/partner in a mobile petting zoo business.

As you can see from the trailer, the film is in Hebrew with English subtitles. Of course, I saw it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, during its last week of its run. I was uncharacteristically alone, since my wife was resting after her foot surgery.

If nothing else, it’s an interesting meditation on faith. If you don’t expect to be falling out of your seats with laughter, you may enjoy it.

My wife and I have a daughter, as you probably know. My two sisters each have a daughter. All the females in my little tribe are gathered here together, after my mother’s funeral in Charlotte, NC in February 2011.

As it turns out, my wife’s two younger brothers both have children. One brother has twin daughters, the other a solo daughter, all born in the same year.

When the Daughter was born, one of my very long-time friends heard I had had a child, she mistakenly heard we had a son. Corrected, she was greatly relieved. “Thank God!” she exclaimed.

Maybe it’s because she knows I’ve always gotten along with girls and women, in the main, far more than I have boys and men. I would have one or two male friends, but a lot of female friends by comparison.

I’m not sure why, though. Maybe it’s the testosterone-laden braggadocio that the male of the species engaged in that I found irritating/exhausting.

This is interesting: Dads pay more attention to baby girls than boys, study says. “Fathers of daughters spent about 60% more time attentively responding to their child, compared to those with sons. They also spent about five times as much time singing and whistling with girls and spoke more openly about emotions, including sadness.”

The study notes: “The research could not establish the extent to which innate preferences of girls and boys might be prompting different treatment from their parent. However, the authors concluded that it was likely that social biases were playing at least some role.”

And the song that started running through my mind – there’s always a song, isn’t there? – is a lengthy piece called Soliloquy, from the musical Carousel by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, and made famous by Frank Sinatra (LISTEN).

The protagonist ASSUMED that he would have a son – “My boy, Bill” – until the thought:
What if he is a girl?
What would I do with her?
What could I do for her?
A bum with no money
You can have fun with a son
But you got to be a father to a girl

Hmm, I DO have fun with the Daughter. I guess, in my heart of hearts, I was glad that we had a girl.

ABC Wednesday, Round 21

When I was at BB King’s Blues Club in NYC this past week, I noticed that Dick Gregory was scheduled to do two shows with Paul Mooney on November 2. Yes, he was still active up to the end of his life. The club’s description is a good place to start:

“An activist, philosopher, anti-drug crusader, comedian, author, actor, recording artist, and nutritionist, Dick Gregory was on the front line in the ’60s during the Civil Rights era. Today he continues to be a ‘drum major for justice and equality.’

“Born in 1932 in St. Louis, MO, his social satire has drastically changed the way white Americans perceive African Americans. After beginning to perform comedy in the mid-’50s while serving in the army, Gregory first entered the national comedy scene in 1961, when Chicago’s Playboy Club (as a direct request from publisher Hugh Hefner) booked him as a replacement for white comedian, ‘Professor’ Irwin Corey. His tenure as a replacement for Corey was so successful – at one performance he won over an audience that included Southern white convention goers – that the Playboy Club offered him a contract extension from several weeks to three years.”

Dustbury shares the fried chicken joke.

“By 1962 Gregory had become a nationally known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums.”

Though Mark Evanier knew Gregory from his LPs, I was more familiar with him from his books, especially From the Back of the Bus, my father’s paperback copy, which I devoured.

Early on, he became a civil rights activist, working with Malcolm and Martin, among others.

I have mentioned on these pages, most recently on 20160603, that Dick Gregory ran for President in 1968, and that my parents, especially my father, were inclined to vote for this black man for President. I couldn’t yet vote, but I lobbied strongly for Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, stating that Richard Nixon, the Republican, was too dangerous. What they did in the privacy of the voting booth, I’ll never know, but I STILL have the campaign button.

“Although Gregory’s steadfast commitment has limited his opportunities to perform, he’s still found ways to share his powerful and often comedic message with audiences across the country. In 1996, he took the stage stage with his critically acclaimed one-man show, Dick Gregory Live! The reviews of the show compared him to the greatest stand-ups in the history of Broadway…

“Although Gregory announced in 2001 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, he was able to battle the cancer into remission with a regimen of diet, vitamins, and exercise… The new millennium has found Gregory continuing to write, perform, and shape public opinion. ‘I’ve lived long enough to need two autobiographies, which is fine with me,’ he laughs. ‘I’m looking forward to writing the third and fourth volumes as well.”

Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84, and the world is diminished by that fact.

For ABC Wednesday

Lynn Mabry, Sheila E., the niece Rebecca Jade in Philadelphia. We saw them Aug 18 in NYC!


Hymn: A New Poem by Sherman Alexie. The author addresses the hatred currently plaguing the United States

Children of Catholic priests live with secrets and sorrow

Salt Lake County Mayor posed as a homeless person

How we talk about ‘ethnic’ food matters

Why top chefs are starting to give dishwashers their due

The Symptoms of Dying

Questions for Me About Dying By Cory Taylor

Etiquette and the Cancer Patient

Female Lawyers Can Talk, Too

Actually, I was biologically designed to be an engineer

The Many Lives of Pauli Murray, an architect of the civil-rights struggle—and the women’s movement

For ‘Little Mermaid’ star, a rude awakening in Middle America

A study of the 1947 short Don’t Be a Sucker suggests old attitudes about fascism in America have never gone away

Mark Mishler: WE WHO WILL DEFEAT WHITE SUPREMACY

With teamwork and hustle, Toledo Blade dominated after Charlottesville attack

Robert E. Lee was against erecting Confederate memorials

Is there a Confederate general in my lineage?

Yorkshire Pudding of the UK wrote: “My initial definition of ‘trumpish’ is “egotistical, arrogant and boorish, having the capacity to swat away all criticism and blunder ahead in the unsophisticated manner of the 45th President of the USA”

HOW DONALD TRUMP AND ROY COHN’S RUTHLESS SYMBIOSIS CHANGED AMERICA

He’s A Racist In Public, And ‘In Private.’

He has a fake Civil War monument at his golf course and Lies About His Reaction To Charlottesville

The Real Story Behind All Those Confederate Statues

Silence is complicity; ‘support’ is collaboration

John Oliver: North Korea

Scott Pruitt Is Turning the EPA into the KGB

Border wall at National Butterfly Center violates property rights and worse

David Letterman Reflects on Harvey Pekar

The World’s First Robot Lawyer

Upstate New York is waiting for the next eclipse: April 6 2024

The Moral History of Air Conditioning

How (not) to memorise mathematics

The Meaning of ‘Mamihlapinatapai’

Yes, Your Manuscript Was Due 30 Years Ago

A Social Media-Fueled Bestseller List, of Poetry

Notes from a Baby-Names Obsessive

Albany’s Nipper the dog history

Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend

The day Captain Kangaroo visited Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Will Disney stop publishing Marvel comic books?

TV’s Original SPIDER-MAN Breaks His Silence

Woman Sues Cap’n Crunch Because ‘Crunchberries’ Are Not Fruit

Now I Know: A Penny (or 2,500) For Your Misdeeds and The Man Who Liked Himself So Much, He Went to Jail and The Balloon Expedition to the North Pole That Was a Bust and LEGO’s Grayscale Color War

MUSIC

Sheila E. Stands Up for Freedom in ‘Funky National Anthem: Message 2 America’

Pachelbel’s Canon in D, scrolling score

Rubber Soul

Back Alley Oproar

i got music, part iii: i like my hands (and will not cut them off)

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

By today’s standards, or even by the criteria of rock benefit concerts later that decade, George Harrison had no idea what he was doing as a benefit organizer. The Concert for Bangladesh, initiated after the former East Pakistan suffered from massacres and famine, happened because the former Beatle saw the effect the tragedy had on his friend and teacher Ravi Shankar, a Bengali.

Harrison was able to line up Ringo Starr. Would there be a Beatles reunion, the press wondered? Er, no. The mysterious Klaus Voorman, who designed the Revolver cover, and played bass on John’s Live Peace in Toronto, was on board. But John wanted Yoko there too and that was the end of that. The only place the Beatles would all be together would be on the charts.

Longtime session musician Leon Russell was hot off Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. A drug-addled Eric Clapton was such an uncertainty that George had Peter Frampton show up at the rehearsals, just in case. Keyboardist Billy Preston, drummer Jim Keltner, the band Badfinger, and some of Russell’s cohorts completed the band. Both Harrison, who never had to be the front man before, and Bob Dylan, who had been out of the spotlight for some time, were nervous.

August 1 was the only available date at Madison Square Garden for the Bangladesh concert before Disney on Parade took over. Two shows at 2:30 and 8 pm. “There were no plans to broadcast the show live on radio or to record for TV.” Of the three cameras used to capture the show, “what survives is largely thanks to the camera that was in the pits.”

Meanwhile, Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles was signing up artists with seemingly little concern for their immediate commercial viability. Randy Newman, Lowell George of Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder. Asylum Records, under David Geffen, was signing Jackson Browne and an unnamed group that would become The Eagles.

There were lots of accidental meetings of troubadours. Graham Parsons finds Emmylou Harris. Kris Kristofferson and Paul Anka meet on a plane, see each other’s gigs, and this led to the signing of Steve Goodman and John Prine. Jerry Jeff Walker hears an Anna McGarrigle song and pitches it to Linda Ronstadt; it was Heart Like a Wheel.

It was a magic, synchronistic time.

Listen to:

What is Life – George Harrison here or here

Willin’ – Little Feat here or here

City of New Orleans – Steve Goodman here or here

Hello In There – John Prine here or here

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers here or here

Heart Like A Wheel – Kate and Anna McGarrigle here or here

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