Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Archive for November, 2012

Photo of the day: YMCANDY MAN

YMCANDY MAN: Young man, there’s no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town
there’s no need to be unhappy.
But I can take a rainbow,
wrap it in a sigh,
soak it in the sun and make a groovy lemon pie.
I’m the Candy Man, the Candy Man!
I mix it all with dough and make the world taste good.
Young man, there’s a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough.
You can bake there, and I’m sure you will find,
many ways to have a good time.
It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A.

Photo of the day: JESUS IS KING AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER

JESUS IS KING AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER: I am born and raised in this city. Walking past construction sites is a part of the fabric of life here. At first you gaze down into the big hole, then as the months pass, you start to gaze up as the construction rises in front of you.  First the beams rise to the sky, then followed by the mortar and brick Рnowadays that step is mostly skipped in favor of quickly just putting up sheets of glass.
Wooden walls or chain link fences keep us safely separated from the site. The temporary ‘wall’ surrounding the site becomes a form of city art. Posters advertising the latest show, cable TV shows, spiritualists, party, politician or artist. They get torn, sometimes artfully so or get glued or stapled over, layer by layer, a sort of record of time. That is usually collaged with a colorful array of graffiti, some of it the usual street gang type (kING63) or profound messages or rather naughty ones. But never have I looked up and have seen the graffiti on the building itself – and on top of that – a religious message.
At the World Trade Center construction site, along Church Street, as building #3 rises, look high up at the buildings cement core and you first think the spray paint markings in safety day glow orange would naturally be some sort of construction markings of distance or height. The answer is no. If you look closely, it is a message declaring “Jesus is King.”
I have never, ever seen a construction site graffitied by it’s workers much less religious graffiti. I am equally astounded it is allowed by the site – apparently so . . . Merry (early) Christmas ūüôā

Photo of the day: ‘ONE OF US’ WAS MURDERED IN SUNNYSIDE

Councilman Jimmy Van Brammer speaks to the gatherered community honoring Lou as bereaved family members listen on.

SUNNYSIDE MURDER: Lou Rispoli and his partner of 31 years Danyal Lawson were married at Queens Borough Hall on July 24, 2011, the first day that same-sex marriages became legal in New York State. On Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 2:05 A.M. he told his partner he was going out to get some milk. At approximately 2:15 A.M., at the corner of 42nd Street & 43rd Ave. Louis Rispoli was assaulted by 3 male white suspects in their early 20’s who brutally bashed his head in with an unknown blunt object . . . five days later Louis died of his injuries.¬† The suspects fled in a grey sports car and have not been caught.
On Saturday November 16, at 4:00 P.M., my mother and I along with our councilman Jimmy Van Brammer and several hundred residents of Woodside and Sunnyside, Queens gathered and marched to protest the senseless violence and to pay tribute to this beloved member of our community. Danyal’s and Louis’ family members were all present to see this outpouring of concern and love.
Crimestoppers will pay up to $22,000 for information leading to the arrest & indictment and the NYPD will pay $10,000 for the arrest & conviction of the persons responsible for this crime. Please call Crimestoppers at 1(800)577-TIPS.
DANYAL WALKING HOME WITH HIS LOVED ONES AFTER THE RALLY

DANYAL WALKING HOME WITH HIS LOVED ONES AFTER THE RALLY


Photo of the day: I ‚ô• NY AC/DC THE BEATLES DUB STREET LED ZEPPELIN GRATEFUL DEAD FUCK

 I ♥ NY AC/DC THE BEATLES DUB STREET LED ZEPPELIN GRATEFUL DEAD FUCK YOU FOO FIGHTERS COCA COLA YOU SUCK AVOID HANGOVERS STAY DRUNK PINK FLOYD THE WALL WOLVERINE BAD PULP FICTION RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS ASK ME ABOUT MY ABILITY TO ANNOY COMPLETE STRANGERS WE CAN DO IT = $1.00 each.


Photo of the day: THIRTEEN DOWN WAS A BITCH

THIRTEEN DOWN WAS A BITCH: Part of her morning routine is to secure a warm sunny chair and table early in Bryant Park, to settle in her belongings and to do her crossword puzzles. She is one of the regular homeless faces I recognize in the park. One never knows what brings you to such a point and what story lurks behind that sleepy face next to you. She being an avid cross word puzzler makes me curious what her past was -secretary, business executive, wife, teacher, accountant, clerk – I wonder?
Bryant Park is situated right behind the huge public library here in Manhattan filled daily with avid readers. The advantage is they discard their daily newspapers in the nearby trash bins. So her morning routine begins – find a spot, find the daily papers, find the crossword puzzles, tear them out of the paper and then start with #1 across.¬† Being homeless, you never are assured to find the next days paper to find out if you’ve solved them all correctly or not, but it whiles away the hours.
#1 across was the easiest, it always is, likewise for #1 down. #2 across follows easily.
#7 across required some thought. #11 down she wasn’t sure of the spelling.
Solving #22 down made the others fall into place. #39 across could be one of two names. But . . . #13 down – was a bitch, so, she decides to take a nap.

Photo of the day: MIDNIGHT CHESS MOVES

MIDNIGHT MOVES: Where else but in New York can you find a place to play a friendly game of chess – at 2 a.m.?
The Village Chess Shop has been at the same location since 1972. In the heart of Greenwich Village, just one block below Washington Square Park. It was the first place created where chess players could come and play, as well as a place to shop. “The Chess Shop” has hundreds of chess sets from all over the world displayed. Many a tourist has come in smiling, saying how wonderful that such a “museum of chess” exists.

“The Chess Shop” is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year! Your move . . .

Village Chess Shop 230 Thompson Street New York City, NY 10012


Photo of the day: A TREE IS COMING TO ROCKEFELLER CENTER!

A CHRISTMAS TREE IS COMING!: Today Rockefeller Center will erect the annual New York City Christmas tree. Not your ordinary tree. This Norway Blue Spruce is from our neighboring state New Jersey and weighs 10 tons. It will stand a 80 feet (24 meters) in height, 50 feet wide (15 meters).
If you have ever complained about putting up the lights on your tree – you have nothing to complain about. This tree will take 40,000 LED lights winding over 6 miles of wire! The world famous Swarovski company will supply the crystal star atop the tree. The official lighting ceremony draws thousands of people including a gaggle of celebrities and will take place Wednesday, November 28th. Tis the season . . .

Photo of the day: “WANNA SMOKE SOME WEED?”

“YOU WANNA SMOKE SOME WEED?”: It was yet another afternoon in¬†Bryant park with her daycare giver. The same bench, the same people walking by with their same lunch, the birds are hungry as usual. It’s just another ordinary day. Then Thelma read the election results reporting marijuana had been legalized – that finally broke the monotony of the day! “You wanna smoke some weed?” she asked. Her nurse, (let’s call her Louise) explained it was only legal in certain states like Washington and Colorado. That was Thelma’s buzz kill to what might have been a really fine afternoon, “damn!”.

Theater review: “THE ANARCHIST” by David Mamet starring Patti Lupone, Debra Winger

REVIEW: “THE ANARCHIST” the new David Mamet¬†play with Patti Lupone¬†and Debra Winger, is a one note work set in a female penitentiary. The two-woman drama involves Cathy/Patti Lupone, a longtime inmate with ties to a violent political organization, who pleads/argues and more precisely ‘debates’ for parole from the warden, Ann/Debra Winger.

The dress rehearsal performance was a privilege to attend with Mamet introducing the play. We settled in for the short 75 minute play. Half way through I stopped trying to figure out “what else there is to it” and realized there is nothing else to look for. It is an over intellectualized argument/debate on Cathy/Patti’s behalf as to why she should be paroled, espousing social theories, semantics, theology, grammar and finding religion.

One argument to be made is Cathy/Patti is so frightening because she is so superior in intellect that she really is going to win her parole on sheer intellect, knowledge of religion and¬†human history,¬†quoting philosophers and twisting Ann’s/Debra’s words. The answer is no. It is just a one¬†note opinion on Mamet’s part ‘do the crime, do the time.’ No character layers are peeled back, nothing is revealed in either character, it is simply a flat plot you know will end one way or the other and half way through, it seems obvious Cathy/Patti’s place is assured in prison. (Spoiler alert: Cathy/Patti slips up in the end and seals her fate.) Yes it is revealed Cathy/Patti is a lesbian but when Ann/Debra¬† ‘reveals’ the fact, it is just simply another mundane listing of the facts. There should have been sexual tension played up between the two women, this big pink elephant in the room and it wasn’t delved into at all and leaving you not caring. I couldn’t figure out whether it is miscast or that it¬†is just badly directed since it just comes off as a listing of beliefs and a reciting of lines (Patti was the only one to ask for a “line”). It leaves you yearning for those great black/white prison films like ‘Caged’ or ‘Prison Heat’.

When Cathy/Patti declares she has found religion and tries to win/debate her freedom with religion – there is no zealot’s passion you would expect from let’s say an Aimee Semple¬†McPherson. Maybe that’s why she’s supposed to be so¬†scary – no the lines and dialog are flat and drone on. Patti just looks and seems ‘too comfortable’ – as if it was a sunny afternoon’s discussion in their sunny parlor. Her body language is nonchalant, almost bored. No desperacy, no passion, no gleefulness, no evil eye. Perhaps that was the point – I sadly think not, so again miscast or misdirected?

Debra¬†Winger’s voice is the stronger voice and carries over the theater better than Patti’s voice¬†(“the Patti mumble” was present). Winger looks absolutely terrific sporting a fit and trim figure.

The nitpicky¬†details: Patti’s “prison” outfit looks like it came from Loehmans. What is it?? It’s certainly not a prison outfit, we were wondering if they were her street clothes, but this was¬†a dress rehearsal, so guess not.¬†That leads me to the next problem –¬†no one could figure out the time period they are trying to evoke. The details don’t match up. Winger’s vs. Lupone’s clothes. The (lack of) hairstyles. The furniture and set are not consistent.

What annoyed me the most was something Winger did. She has a manuscript that Cathy/Patti has written. Winger also has a note pad of notes and various files. She refers to them constantly throughout the play to quote Cathy/Patti and put her in her place or to argue a point. Now…if you have 35 years of notes – Winger ‘magically’ found the quote every time she looked at any of the papers. She never had to thumb through them, turn the pages or search for a file – it was ridiculous. She simply just looked at these items without any sign of searching –¬†bingo = there was the quote! It drove me nuts.

‚ÄúThe Anarchist‚Ä̬† can be summarized in the misleading advertising in the red and black harsh graphics. Patti looks pissed and angry as all hell in the photo outside the Golden Theater and it is just simply a great contrast as to what you will find inside.

“THE ANARCHIST” at the Golden Theater, 252 West 45th Street/Broadway. New York City.

Hans Von Rittern (A Patti Lupone fan since “Evita.”)

Nov. 21, 2012: I am told Patti Lupone is now wearing a grey (aged) wig in the show.

December 2, 2012 POSTSCRIPT: I have been redeemed by Ben Brantley in The New York Times in his review! “And so the debate begins. Wearing horn rims and a navy pantsuit, Ann has the severe air of a bureaucratic don who has done her research. She is armed with annotated manuscripts and files. (Amazing, isn‚Äôt it, how people in plays can always instantly find the exact passage they‚Äôre looking to quote?) She is fully prepared to spar with Cathy ‚ÄĒ the product of a rich family and illustrious schools ‚ÄĒ on semantic distinctions between ‚Äúconscience‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúconsciousness,‚ÄĚ in English versus French.”¬†¬† Hmmmm where have I read that before <grin>.

A summary of all the reviews, unanimously negative: http://www.didhelikeit.com/shows/the-anarchist.html

THE ANARCHIST WILL CLOSE DUE TO BAD NOTICES DECEMBER 16.


Photo of the day: PRESIDENTIAL PAPERS

PRESIDENTIAL PAPERS: It is estimated that between the two major candidates, over $6 billion, 700 million dollars ($6,700,000,000.) was spent on the 2012 presidential campaign. Endless TV ads, mail flyers, robo calls, hats, stickers, t-shirts, posters, pins and pickets. Republicans broke all financial spending records and democrats broke all donation records.

Then there is this guy, Jeff Boss. He spent just a few thousand dollars printing a lot of posters with eye-catching phrases, but the middle-aged man wasn‚Äôt creating street art, nor putting up outdoor ads. He also ran for president. You may have seen his ‚Äúcampaign‚ÄĚ here in Manhattan.¬† The stark white posters with bold black lettering featured slogans such as:

“DID THE NSA KILL JFK, RFK, MLK, ETC?”

“NO ONE KNOW JEFF BOSS BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T WANT THE TRUTH TOLD.”

“JEFF BOSS WITNESSED THE NSA ARRANGE THE 9/11 ATTACK, I HAVE PROOF!”

Boss scattered them around Manhattan, focusing his efforts on highly trafficked areas on 42nd Street near Times Square where these ads were posted on a construction site wall. He didn’t win. But what he does have is the right to free speech and because of that – we are though still left wondering . . . ‘who the heck is Jeff Boss?!’

God bless America.

(NSA = National Security Administration)