Photo of the day: BOYCOTT BARILLA PASTA ! – Guido Barilla, president of century old pasta purveyors last week became the Anita Bryant of his time “I would never make a spot with a homosexual family,” Guido Barilla said on the Italy radio program La Zanzara (The Mosquito), according to Italian news agency ANSA. “Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.”
That bigoted small minded comment has caused an backlash spreading fear in the company’s accounting department as sales started to drop. At a open minded dinner table no longer will Russian Vodka and Italian Barilla pasta be served. This takes me back to 1977 when the right wing Christian Florida orange juice queen Anita Bryant declared her war on gays.
In 1977,Dade County Florida, passed an ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Bryant led a highly publicized campaign to repeal the ordinance as the leader of a coalition named Save Our Children. The campaign was based on conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of homosexual recruitment of children and child molestation. Bryant said:
“What these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that theirs is an acceptable alternate way of life. I will lead such a crusade to stop it as this country has not seen before.”
The campaign began an organized opposition to gay rights that spread across the nation. Jerry “I have sinned!” Falwell went to Miami to help her. Bryant made the following statements during the campaign: “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children” and “If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters.”She also added that “All America and all the world will hear what the people have said, and with God’s continued help we will prevail in our fight to repeal similar laws throughout the nation.” Well . . . Anita suffered a backlash like none that had been seen before. Her many commercial endorsements ceased one by one. TV show and concert appearances were canceled. She was heckled and booed wherever she went including having a pie thrown in her face.
If you want to stop or hurt someone – you hit them in the pocketbook which is exactly what we did! Secretly sold at the time (1977) in head shops, were rings that had razor blades hidden in their design. So, in the days before store camera surveillance, you went to the orange juice section of the grocery store – and let your ring hand slide over allllll the orange juice cartons. No juice = no $ale. Stores terrified of further vandalism stopped carrying Florida orange juice. In the end, gays won. Anita suffered bankruptcy and divorce after divorce finally being reduced to selling religious sunglasses. Yes, you read that right, they had scripture on the inside stems.
So Mr. Guido Barilla . . . I may not still have my razor blade ring, but – I will gladly poke my finger through the cellophane of all you pasta boxes in the local supermarkets. The tactic was very effective the first time. Ready everyone: POKE!
Photo of the day: WHO WORE IT BEST? – Whilst waiting for Cher to make her en-trance and exit from the David Letterman show, we Cher fans had a little fun with a replica of the now iconic paper wig that Cher wears her new “It’s A Woman’s World” video. Our wig was made by awesome super fan Jamilka Gonzalez. So…who wore it best?
Photo of the day: CHER, THE OLIVE BRANCH AND HANS
– After having written my now very much read criticism of Cher’s entrance and exit from the Letterman show, the article has caused some interesting reactions and or effects. Yes of course I got my haters and then – many agreed with me. It seems the article, via twitter, blog, Facebook, however, got to Cher’s people (!) and an olive branch was extended. My olive branch was being “on the list” with my good friend Janet Novick to attend a private catered listening party for “Closer To The Truth” at the not opened yet Club Tao on West 16th Street. They were still painting the walls as we got there.
West 19th Street
The club is a cross of 80’s feel seating, geisha girl murals painted on exposed brick walls, candles everywhere and quiet elegance. Hors d’oeuvre and champagne were free flowing. Drag queens were on the balcony above to dance to her music while the chosen few mingled below.
Cher’s people, fan club members and friends who had read my article “Cher Distances Herself from Her Fans” insisted that the ‘distant’ Cher is controlled by Ebar, the head of her now over-the-top security team. “Cher is still the loveable Cher we all love, it’s her (relatively) new team!” everyone said. From having now studied the photos of Cher’s arrival at Letterman it is more and more obvious.
Frenzy took over the room when Cher descended slowly down the stairs into the club. Janet and I went to see and noticed she, despite her heels, had gotten a lot taller – it was the damned good impersonator Steven Andrade who happened to love Janet.
HANS VON RITTERN and JANET NOVICK
Janet Novick and Steven Andrade as Cher
Hans – tall Cher – Janet
Steven adores Janet and called Janet ‘a celebrity in her own right’ so Steven/Cher wanted to take Janet and me to meet the real Cher, so she snuck us out of the club and into the underground garage where Cher was just about to arrive. There she was! A surreal moment: me, Janet, ‘tall Cher, the real Cher and a few of her security team, alone – in this underground garage. No I didn’t have my camera because it was all so sudden and the sight of my fancy camera might have whisked Cher away. So there we were the four of us. Hans, Janet, Cher and Cher! Cher laughed and said “You’re taller! I like your outfit, you look good!” Smiled broadly and waved at us and entered the club. What a Cher/Cher moment!! Thank you dear Steven Andrade !
Cher and Club Drag Queens
“I hope you like my album, er…CD!”
“I love you all”
Inside the surge was on to get close to the real Cher. My problem was, no “professional cameras” allowed. So while everyone was flashing away with their cell phones, I wasn’t allowed take pictures. 😦 You see, my cell phone is a lousy 3G dinosaur age phone with no flash.) There I was close to her and no pics! Watching her up close you could see she was gracious as ever, but always ‘led’ by her walled team. (I did finally sneak the few photos you see here.)
> Here is where I will amend what I have written earlier. It is not totally Cher distancing herself from her fans. She is still as warm an fuzzy as ever and has a steel trap mind, remembering people on the spot that she had not seen in years and tries to reach out to them. > It is her security detail! < They barricaded her everywhere she moved. There was a ‘Believe’ record producer “Mike” who even had a hard time getting to her. We were about 150 privately invited, pre-screened guests and ~still~ the over the top security walled her off. I watched her closely, Cher is still Cher, just as her team of fans insisted, she has just been walled away from us. But – I will still argue, Cher should be a “strong enough” woman to say “I’m going over there, etc” and do so, but since she has put herself in Ebar’s hands, there is nothing we can do and we Cher fans will have to learn to accept her at somewhat of a distance now.
Cher speaks from the heart
Ok – so I’m not “done” with Cher. It is a sad loss of old ‘accessible Cher’, maybe she will get enough complaints, maybe she will eventually stand strong and see the light and look more to her fans at events. Maybe one day when she does the wheel chair tour, the security around her will have changed, Cher will never change inside. Cher now reaches out simply in the ‘new way’, a fast and furious opinionated tweeter. It’s a different age I’ll have to catch up to.
Cher – I forgot to thank Tao?!
“Did I do OK?”
So – to be in the room with her and to see her flawless face and fabulous clothes was a thrill. My thanks to Cher’s circle, John Torello and the fan club for extending the olive branch to me, it did make me think . . . “what would I have done without Cher?!?” 🙂
Photo of the day: I SOLD ONE OF MY PHOTOS TO BE USED AS A GIANT MURAL IN A NYC LOBBY !! – Wow! Pinch me! I got an email several months ago from a design firm that saw this photo of mine on my web site and said it was perfect for their client, it was exactly what they were looking for. I didn’t dare dream or think anything would come of it. Well – it did!
The photo called “West Side Story” is of fire escapes casting their shadows at sunset in the Soho district of New York. While editing the photo, it more and more made me think of the fire escapes used as logos for the classic American musical film “West Side Story.” So as I played with the photo more and more, I reversed it into a negative image and tinted it the exact color of the “West Side Story” film poster and voilà! Obviously it appealed to someone, because it sold for a tidy $um and is going to be a giant mural in a lobby of a building !
1961 original “West Side Story” film poster
Photo of the day: CHER DISTANCES HERSELF FROM HER TRUE FANS! – Cher, Your old time fans, were standing outside the Letterman stage door since 11am in the center right opposite your car! We were put behind security fences, fine. Bomb sniffing dogs checked us out front and back, fine. Your choreographer Dori came out and spoke to us, some of your crew did as well. They knew many of us by name and were very warm and friendly. We waited patiently. YET – when you arrived you did not open your eyes to see your true diehard fans dressed in Cher regalia from head to toe that you should be grateful for. Instead, you let yourself be ‘led’ over to the area in the open street with NO security fence that had not been checked and the greedy ebay hustlers professing their love to you to get autographs (Clue Cher: true fans want a photo, not an Ebayable signature.) Any blind fool could see your fans were totally dissed. But when you arrived in your SUV Escalade and your very rude and nasty security entourage turned what had been a love fest into a stunning snub. I will not be buying your CD or concert ticket. After 50 years of my loyal undying devotion, the nerve has been severed. Three strikes and you’re out. I never ever thought I would say this but – I’m done.
If you can’t take the few seconds it takes to open your eyes and see the true faces of the people that have had your back since the 1960’s standing there, then what you implied is truly true “I don’t have the time.“ Cher, if this is “a woman’s world” then why don’t you be your own woman? You did the EXACT same thing last time you were at Letterman and left your fans that had stood there for as much as 7 hours in the November cold. Same upturned hand gestures, same entourage, same “I’m running late” excuse. ‘Tell the truth’ you are Cher, the most in demand/talked about music artist right now. Whoever is waiting for you, will wait an extra 60 seconds. With your huge crew – you are never ever on time?? There were fans there from Boston who took a day off, from Connecticut and lost a days pay, a fan FROM BELGIUM who flew in to see you, yes Belgium, yet you have turned into the Bette Midler of celebrities, who can’t be bothered to pose 60 seconds for photos for your true fans – or at least even smile! On top of all else, on the day of your CD release no less, you wouldn’t even bother to pose for one decent photo for the press. (The still photo you see of Cher on the internet is of her turning away from the press, a still moment giving the illusion she was cooperative. The press yelled at her: “Cher we need a clean shot!” She would not oblige.) To bite the hand that feeds your 67 year old self is dangerous. Your press and fans are seeing this ugly trend.
Cher – if “I” could turn back time, I would want the non elite, humble, good natured, open eyed, accessible Cher back, not you.
Die hard Cher fans
Cher’s New York appearances on The NBC Morning Today Show and David Letterman left her fans literally out in the cold too. For the Today show, fans camped out overnight 24 hours in advance in the cold to be in front to see her. The Today show people put the overnighters in the third section in the back so you could not see a thing. Who got front row preference? The corporate sponsors and NBC’S lottery winners, not the die-hards who have supported her since the 1960’s and 1970’s. Lady Gaga would not stand for that.
Photo of the day: OOM PAH PAH, GERMANS ARE WUNDERBAR!
– At the turn of the last century one third of the population of New York spoke German, today hardly anyone does anymore and the all German neighborhoods I grew up with are gone. East 86th Street in Manhattan and Ridgewood Queens were my “nachtbarschaften” with all German shops and restaurants. As of the 2000 census 255,536 New Yorkers reported German ancestry but not necessarily German speaking. In the middle of the 19th century, Little Germany
, situated in what is now termed Alphabet City, was the first non-English-speaking urban enclave in the United States.
Nonetheless, the 56th German-American Steuben Parade is ready to march up Fifth Avenue this Saturday, September 21st, at 12 Noon, under what will likely be a clear blue sky and the New York City sun! At last count, parade organizers expect approximately 5,000 marchers to go up Fifth Avenue, most of them in marching bands, dance groups, Trachten, in Karneval costumes or uniform. “Putting the parade line-up together this year was a tremendous joy,” says Steuben Parade General Chairman Lars Halter. “We have 20 groups from Germany in the parade, plus one group each from Switzerland and Canada.” These groups range from the Polizeimusikkorps Basel to members and staff of a kitchen museum near Hannover, who present traditional cooking outfits. Groups include three well-known Karveval dance troups: Blau-Weiss Sarnia from Ontario/Canada, “De Hoppemötzjer” from Cologne and the “Wild Dancers” from the town of Nonnweiler. There will be several Schützenclubs in their traditional uniforms.
The 2013 Steuben Parade marches up Fifth Avenue from 68th to 86th Street, leading into New York City´s largest Oktoberfest, which has been sold out for weeks. Tickets to the Grand Stand can still be bought in our online store, and there are many blocks on Fifth Avenue to enjoy the parade for free.
Also, the Steuben Parade will once again be broadcast live, for the third time in a row. The program can be seen on WNET (Channel 13) on Saturday from 12-2 PM. There will be a repeat of the parade on Sunday at 9 am on WLIW (Channel 21). The parade broadcast will be hosted by legendary supermodel and former Steuben Parade Grand Marshal Carol Alt and renowned newsman and multiple Emmy winner Larry Mendte.
Photo of the day: A PIECE OF THE SKY – BARCLAYS CENTER OCULUS – Built in 2012 to much controversy in downtown Brooklyn, the brand new indoor Barclays sports and concert arena does create a mesmerizing presence to a once decaying area. Built of rusting/”pre-weathered” steel plates made to emulate Brooklyn’s brownstones, it seems to float over the area’s Atlantic Avenue transit hub.
An 117-by-56-foot (36 by 17 m) “Oculus” extends over a 5,660-square-foot (526 m2) section of the plaza outside of the main arena entrance, and contains an irregularly-shaped display screen that loops around on the inside of the structure offering you at times the illusion of a slice of sky.
Photo of the day: KODACHROME – When was the last time you saw this awning over a photo store? !
The reason I love to take my guests on my five hour tour of Brooklyn is because you come to wonderful neighborhoods like Park Slope where you don’t see one god damned chain store for as far as the eye can see! You can still see mom and pop shops like 40 year old PHOTOFACTION on 7th Avenue/corner Carroll Avenue, making you think of Paul Simon’s immortal 1974 lyrics “…don’t take my Kodachrome away.”
You give us those nice bright colors
You give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away!”
(Photos, by the way, are those paper print outs of your pictures on your iPhone. Film is not the grease on your eye glasses it’s a strip or sheet of transparent plastic film base coated on one side with a gelatin emulsion containing microscopically small light-sensitive silver halide crystals. The sizes and other characteristics of the crystals determine the sensitivity, contrast and resolution of the film.)
PHOTOFACTION: 117 7th Ave. Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215 (Between President Street. & Carrol Street.)
Photo of the day: HANS MEETS JUDGE JUDY ON 17 YEAR TV ANNIVERSARY ! ! ! ! – On the day after Judge Judy’s 17th year anniversary of having the longest running and highest rated court show in America, I had the glorious privilege of meeting her honor in person! I have admired her no nonsense moralistic, old values, harsh humorous stance on the law approach to our court system since September 16, 1996 – 17 years, no one can compare.
First and foremost – at 70 years old, she looks better in person than on TV! A soft complexion and looking radiant and youthful as ever, beaming warm smiles, filled with spunk, humor and above all gracious. I think that’s why she has such a loyal following, the ‘court Judy’ is not the ‘in person Judy’, she is an iron judge in a velvet shell.
Where else but NYC’s 92nd Street ‘Y’ can you see Linda Ronstadt and Judge Judy?!
Judge Judy was being interviewed by Katie Couric at the 92nd Street “Y” (YMCA). I arrived 2 hours early and waited by the stage door wearing my “I ♥ Judge Judy”
t-shirt. More than anything I desperately wanted my picture taken with her. At 7:30pm she arrived, wearing an elegant suit, husband Judge Jerry Sheindlin by her side. She immediately saw my shirt and said “Well, I have to go over there!” It was absolutely surreal to see her in person after having seen her on TV, sometimes 4 x’s a day, finally there she was…talking to ME. Another fan took the picture with my arms around Judy, finally the t-shirt and Judy were together after allll these years, my heart was pounding!! We took a few pictures and I asked if I may tell her something important to me, from my heart. She took my hand in hers, held it tightly and with the warmest smile she said “go ahead”. GULP! I said my rehearsed words: “You – are my drop of rain on the desert. There are times when I can’t even bear to watch the TV news anymore for the lack of sensible laws, the lack of logic and morals, the political infighting, it’s the same day after day. But then there’s you. . .the voice of reason, and then everything is bearable again, thank you for that!” She squeezed my hand tightly and I felt like I could fly!
Once inside the sold out event, the interview began and Katie had her prepared questions. The one thing Katie learned quickly, you ask Judge Judy 1 question and she will talk and digress on about 4 or 5 different subjects – the audience loved it. Katie just let Judy go. The judge had the audience in her hands as she spoke freely, of course uncensored and from the heart.
Photos and tape recording were strictly forbidden and enforced, so I took out my old fashioned pencil and paper and took reporter-like notes, I didn’t want to forget what she said, here are some memorable Judy-isms:
– She comes from Ocean Avenue between Avenues ‘S’ and ‘T’ in Brooklyn.
– Her style in the court room comes from Jewish borscht belt humor, she said “Brooklyn humor and attitude cannot be replaced.” That’s how she learned her timing. “Brooklyn timing separates you from ‘Brooklyn not’“.
– Born Judith Blum, her dream was to live and work in Manhattan.
– Her first job in the late 1960’s for L’Oréal cosmetics as a lawyer was the only time she was treated in a sexist manner. Two lawyers were hired to handle customer lawsuits, a man and she. He was given an office, she was given a desk and a pad and pencil and told to call the manufacturers to check up on orders. She said “that didn’t work for me! ‘You don’t put baby in a corner’!” (She actually said that!)
– What attracted her to her first husband? His highly polished shoes. Her second husband? His looks. “We still have a mojo.”
– Her makeup artist Nancy is invaluable to her because she sets the “up” mood for each day on the set.
– Officer Byrd and Judge Judy have worked together since she was on the bench in NYC and are best of friends.
– She now earns $47 million – a year ! She spoke about it at length. “CBS is making a lot of money off me. Furthermore, I can do the show on my own, they can’t do the show without me.” She donates a lot of her income.
– The show’s message: “Do the right thing and the rest happens, take responsibility for your actions.”
– Her take on today’s times in America: She feels things are not getting better, but instead worse, we as a people are just afraid to admit it.
– In 1982 Mayor Ed Koch gave her the first break by appointing her as a judge, first in criminal court, then later as Manhattan’s supervising family court judge in 1986. What did she learn? ‘First impressions are everything.’
– Her advice: follow what you are good at. You define yourself. A woman defines her own worth.
– From all the years on the bench the lesson learned: “Anger is a hard emotion to get rid of.”
At the end of the night, many fans ran to the stage door for an autograph. I thought ‘why not?!’, and waited about 90 minutes. Finally to our shock and surprise the security guard came out and said, ‘There are too many of you to sign autographs at this late hour, but, Judge Judy wants you all to come inside and she will take group pictures with you.” The fans squealed like little children on Christmas eve. Judge Judy was asking to see us! So there we were, late at night, inside the empty 92nd Street ‘Y’, Judge Judy directing ‘fan traffic’ as we got this rare treat of our moment with this generous, gracious spunky gal from Brooklyn – our very own Judge Judy. I can’t stop smiling 🙂
JUDGE JUDY DIRECTS
JUDGE JUDY GROUP PICTURE
JUDY-ISMS: “Do I have ‘stupid’ written over my forehead?” “I’m here because I’m smart, not because I’m young and gorgeous, although I am,” “If you live to be 100, you will never be as smart as I am, sir,” “Clearly you are not wrapped too tight,” “Where did you think you were coming to today, a tea party?!” “I’m speaking!” “If you interrupt again madam, your case is dismissed, and I’m throwing you out. Do we understand each other?” “I’ve been in this business for over 40 years,” “Do I look like I need help from you?” “That’s a lot of who shot John” “This is my playpen!”
Photo of the day: WHERE DO YOUR OLD SCHOOL BUSES GO? – Part of my ‘Tijuana Tuesday’ series. Ever wonder what happens to that clunky old yellow school bus that mom walked you to every morning? That old faithful bright yellow box of a bus that you and your buddies (and enemies) took to school five days a week? The classic part of our Americana landscape? The answer is = MEXICO!
On my recent trip to Tijuana, Mexico I was fascinated by their idea of ‘mass transit’. My coming from one of the biggest metropolises on the planet, New York City, I am used to big modern, (now some electric), sleek air conditioned kneeling buses with big scenic windows. Well not in Tijuana. Meet your old school bus! The old General Motors buses are over hauled, painted bright green and viola – ‘mass transito’ .
The destinations are hand painted onto the interior windows. It is one flat fee the equivalent of approximately $0.75¢. There are frequent official benched bus stops, but the buses pick up passengers wherever someone signals them, and, let you off wherever you wish. They are always full. No one seems to converse much on them, they are always quiet, people just sit politely staring out the windows. Their idea of air conditioning is simple – open windows! And if it is really hot . . . the driver drives with the door wide open!! (Better not stand too close to the front!) Some are decorated with paper cut-outs inside, some hang discarded furniture/lamp fringe in the windows. The most charming of all, at night some of them have red Christmas lights inside of them.
It certainly isn’t what we in our big USA cities are used to, but they are content, busy scurrying back and forth from the market and home on your old yellow/their new green buses. Old school buses never die, they just retire in Mexico!
Mondays on Memory Lane: HAPPY 89th BIRTHDAY LAUREN BACALL ! – On a cold night in May 2000, I waited by the stage door of Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theater in hopes of getting an autograph from one of Hollywood’s lasting screen icons, Bogie’s Baby – Lauren Bacall. Noel Coward’s “Waiting In The Wings” had drawn Bacall to the stage one last time. She still had the sleek smokey elegance, that high society feel, and of course, we were all hoping to hear the infamous smokey voice.
She commanded huge crowds, still after all these years. Rosemary Harris was her co-star but Bacall caused the stir on the sidewalk and stopped traffic.
My absolute goal was to have her sign my Blackglama ‘What Becomes A Legend Most?’ poster. She and her security guards made sure that only your Playbill were being presented to her. No matter how much you begged and pleaded, Playbill only…
At the time she was also doing a voice over for a “Fancy Feast” cat food commercial on TV. Coincidentally the ad also ran in the Playbill and many fans would ask her sign the picture of the cat. She absolutely refused, “that cat is going to haunt me,” she said.
I’ve grown up with Bacall, seduced by her demure coolness on my old black and white TV set in 1944’s “Key Largo” with Humphrey Bogart (‘You know how to whistle, don’t you?’) , seeing her request a rabbit dinner in a Bugs Bunny cartoon and then finally in 1981 on Broadway at the Palace Theatre as Margo Channing in the musical version of ‘All About Eve’, the sensational “Applause.” Who will ever forget her bellowing her opening lines, “Welcome to the theatah!”
In 1987, I lived at 160 Columbia Heights on the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, and Lauren had bought the upstairs penthouse apartment for Jason Robard’s father. I had no idea she owned the upstairs apartment, it was all hush-hush. One night, I had stayed out till the early morning hours at a night club and was coming home at around 6:00 am. I took my 3 little strays onto the elevator and pushed “L” for lobby. The elevator went up, allll the way to the penthouse level. I was so pissed that at this early hour, when my dogs were in need, that we were being hijacked “up”, I decided to refuse to acknowledge the person and kept my eyes closed. As we are going down I hear a knee crack and then all of a sudden, one of the most famous smokey voices on the planet, “oh they’re so cute!“ No one else has that voice, it couldn’t be. I opened my eyes and there was Lauren Bacall playing with my dogs on the elevator floor. “Wuuwhat??” It was totally surreal! After our first ‘meeting’, Bacall and I would often meet in the elevator and she would play with my 3 dogs regularly. I would always try to coax her to come to my apartment to sign some of my Bacall posters, she always politely declined. “One day…” I thought.
Now that time has passed, I have become a NYC tour guide and often pass her famed apartment in the legendary Dakota Apartment building on 72nd Street and Central Park West, each time holding on to the hope that I will one day get her to free willingly sign my poster.
In 2011 she fell and fractured her hip. It is rumored she has made one last film at age 89 to be released in 2013 called “Trouble is my Business”. We may have to settle seeing her for the last time on the big screen, since she has become a recluse and is seldom seen in public, only seldomly seen as she sometimes comes and goes with the other luminaries from her Dakota apartment building.
A plea – to Lauren Bacall and anyone who knows how to somehow get in touch with her, “Please grace my first Blackglama ad with your signature! It will be treasured on my wall forever.” Lauren . . . you listening??
The first ‘Legend’ ad Lauren Bacall, 1968
(I am a passionate collector of the advertising “What Becomes A Legend Most?” campaign and own almost all of the 70+ posters ever done, ending with Tommy Tune in 1994 and Janet Jackson in 2011. Many are signed. But – Bacall was the first in 1968, followed by Garland, Streisand, Dietrich, Cher, Crawford, Davis, Liza, Callas, Stanwyck, all the greats. To think the first legend is still alive, when so many have passed is thrilling to me and my ultimate autograph to receive.)
Photo of the day: REMEMBERING, 9/11 NEVER GETS EASIER – The mood was still very somber ‘the day after’ on September 12. Standing by the side of the south waterfall was this survivor who just simply stood there for hours with his hand touching his loved ones name. One of 2,998 names officially counted. It never gets easier.
Photo of the day: 9/11/2013 SO MANY LOSES / SO MANY GAINS (and…karma is a bitch!) – On this day in New York when we remember the over 3,000 loses of loved ones at The World Trade, a work place I once called home on the 102nd floor, we also last night gained so very much back! A dedicated group of individuals who sought to stop the hemorrhaging of this city, banded together and defeated one of the most corrupt, cold hearted, and scheming politicians since Boss Tweed in 1853, councilwoman Christine Quinn last night.
Donny Moss and 91 year old Natasha
The mighty Quinn: For the past twelve years, Quinn and Bloomberg have systematically destroyed New York City as the city has become a city of the über rich and the very poor, 45+% now live near or at the poverty level. We have lost over 12 hospitals during their term in office, glass luxury apartments replace them. Quinn ruled the city and controlled the zoning laws with her slush funds making the city open season for the greedy real estate developers as zoning law changes have become the norm. South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 is being torn down, neighborhoods like Harlem, Greenwich Village and Soho are loosing their soul. Her tearing down of St. Vincent’s Hospital, it’s church and the 9/11 memorial is the most egregious. As the years passed, she became the most powerful politician only second to Bloomberg, a power that was had by vitriolic temper outbursts and control of the city funds.
How much is that doggie in the window? To show her lack of character, she was against all animal rights activists to the point of refusing to pass a bill that would now make it mandatory to require sprinkler systems in pet shops. Let the puppies and kittens burn, along with the workers.
Daniela and ABQ friends
Karma is a bitch! In 2011, I lost my Gray Line tour guide job of seven years thanks to Quinn. She single handedly destroyed the double decker tour guide industry by pushing through a ‘headset bill’ in order to please a few well heeled residents of Greenwich Village who had complained that tour guides on the open mics were “too loud”. The original bill did not provide for the headsets to be connected to a live tour guide, me. Councilwoman Gail Brewer added the proviso in the bill that a live guide must be giving the tour. Since Twin America the monopoly that owns the double decker tour bus companies City Sights and Gray Line are heavy contributors to her Christine Quinn’s campaign, miraculously the ‘live guide’ proviso was taken out of the bill in the middle of the night. No sound tests were ever done as required. I headed a group called “Keep New York Live” and protested at every TV station and at city hall with the help of my fellow tour guides. On the final day of our fight we had a twelve noon rally planned on the steps of city hall. No press showed up. At 12:15 I called friend and transit reporter Greg Mocker of WPIX11 and asked ‘where you all?’ Greg’s response “well it’s canceled isn’t it? Quinn said it was canceled.” The bill passed with Quinn’s single authority. Over 200 tour guides were no longer ‘allowed’ to come to work or were given insulting low buy out packages. No work, no health care, nothing.
Well Ms. Christine Quinn – karma is a fierce bitch. YOU took MY job away in 2011 and now I have taken YOUR job away in 2013 ! ! !
2011 TOUR GUIDE PROTEST at NBC STUDIOS
The heir to the throne: With an arrogant sense of entitlement as covered in the New York Times, she also had the ’empty chair syndrome.’ At many of the local mayoral forums chairs were set up on stage for all the mayoral candidates, hers – was usually empty. If she did deem to show up, her head never looked up from her blacberry.
NEW YORK TIMES AND PRESS COVERAGE
The cowardly lioness: Donny Moss became the monkey on Christine Quinn’s back, she could not leave her house without Donny trailing her as he held up his signs and calling out the truth about her record. No matter what camera angle she tried, there were either Donny or the ‘ABQ’ people behind her. It came to the point that Quinn would not enter any venue through the front door, she had security sneak in her the back door for fear of bad publicity photos and press. What sort of beginning is it to your term as office when you run and hide from your public? Too yellow, spineless and cowardly to face your constituents.
The awesome DONNY MOSS & DANIELA watching DeBLASSIO’S victory
Rag tag group takes down Quinn – Crazy cat ladies, people who dress up their dogs, horse lovers, gay activists, passionate New Yorkers like the incredible Donny Moss, Arthur Cheliotes, Allie Feldman & Wendy Kelman Neu formed groups “Defeat Christine Quinn” and “NYC Is Not For Sale” respectively which then morphed into the “ABQ – Anybody But Quinn” campaign, unprecedented in New York’s political history. We canvassed subway stations every night, manned phone banks and hounded Quinn wherever she made and appearance, Donny Moss being the most wonderfully persistent of all of us! In that time Quinn went from leading in the polls by wide margins to plummeting weekly. No greater plummet than election night when, as other candidates percentages went up….hers went down from 26% to 18% to an embarrassing 15%.
Brian Gari “cat calls” republican mayoral candidate Catsimatidis
Picture election night: Each candidate had their large expensive venues filled with their high paying donors and political strategists in their expensive suits with the media tripping over them. Yet here we were, in a little bar called Mustang Sally’s on the west side, fifty of us in the back room, in our sweaty t-shirts and jeans, none of us rich, only rich in passion and conviction. It wasn’t the Bloomberg/Romney-like dollars that Quinn had, it wasn’t all the New York newspaper’s endorsements, it wasn’t the political pundits who said she would win, no, it was the people with pet hair on their now iconic red ABQ (Anyone But Quinn) t-shirts that had all the might. It was volunteers like 91 year old Natasha and my 87 year old mother Ursula. We have changed the course of New York’s history. Never underestimate the passion and the anger of the crazy old cat lady!
AUNT MIA AND HANS
DONNY MOSS AND HANS VON RITTERN
87 year old Ursula Von Rittern, defiant voter!
Photo of the day: 87 YEAR OLD MOM DARES TO STRIP AND VOTE IN HER BRA! – Today in election district 29, Sunnyside, Queens my mother walked into the voting station Queen of Angels Center and was stopped at the door for wearing an “ANYBODY BUT QUINN” T-shirt. We were met by a barrage of volunteers and police who said there is to be no “electioneering” inside the voting area. Mom argued she wasn’t saying anything, or handing out any literature, simply expressing her freedom of speech in the shirt she chose to wear.
The angry old white woman who seemed to be the woman in charge said “You’ll have to take it off or leave.” “I thought this was a free country?!” mom angrily argued. “I came here from Nazi Germany where I could not say or do as I pleased, nor vote. Now YOU are going to tell me what to do?! Well, I am not walking all that way home again, then I’ll take it off!” (I had a t-shirt under mine, mom didn’t. The photo here is not from today.) Mom asked me to hold her cane and then to hold her steady. Her hat came off first, then her shoulder bag. She fumbled to look for a place to place her hat and bag.
Uncomfortable curious stares went around the room. Was this woman about to flash the room?! It looked like she would as she asked me to help her lift her shirt over head. As the first signs of an 87 year old woman’s midriff made an appearance, one of the other volunteers ran over and yelled, “Ok, ok, don’t take off your shirt, just lift the bottom part so you can’t see the name Quinn.” (As IF that would sway anyone’s vote at that moment!) So . . . in a very ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ fashion, mom flashed her midsection as she walked slowly across the floor to her voting station to the high five signs from the black volunteers in the rooms, some giving her a hug before she entered the booth. Mom pulled the levers, DeBlassio all the way, turned, pulled the t-shirt down to reveal the name Quinn, exited the booth and defiantly said, “what are you going to do, throw me out?!” and slowly with her cane walked across the room to the cheers and applause of the people inside! (Unfortunately the police made sure I took no pictures.) That’s MY mom! GO MOM !
IN THE 2009 PRIMARY ELECTION – 11% OF NYers VOTED !
IN THE 2009 MAYORAL ELECTION ONLY 26% OF NYers VOTED!
YO HAVE NO RIGHT TO UTTER EVEN A WORD ABOUT POLITICS IF YOU DO NOT VOTE TODAY!
VOTE – OR PUT UP!
V O T E ! V O T E ! V O T E !
ANYBODY BUT QUINN !
(deBlasio happens to be my choice)
Premier issue July 28, 1983
Mondays on Memory Lane: SOUTH STREET SEAPORT, A PROUD VON RITTERN HERITAGE – In 1983 my mother was the private assistant to Clifford Day Mallory of the Mallory’s of Mystic. It is the Mallory family that established Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and has 3 museums named after them there. As a proud New Yorker Mr. Mallory greatly believed in preserving the sea faring heritage in New York’s harbor and helped establish South Street Seaport. Mr. Mallory and my mother Ursula worked with Frank O. Braynard one of the founders of South Street in arranging the design, funding and publicity. They even elicited the help of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. For my mother, working on this project was a matter of great pride in her heritage – my great, great and great grandfathers were sea mrchants, traveling to the far east and Africa to bring back riches to Germany. (My grandmother had the only pineapple anyone had ever seen in 1905 Hamburg, Germany!) Therefore opening day on July 28, 1983 was a proud day for our family and for New York.
It is today, thirty years later, that is a horrible unthinkable day as Pier 17, the steel pavilion that has greeted millions of visitors since opening day, will be torn down thanks to developer greed aided and assisted by our destructive Mayor Bloomberg. A modern sleek glass box soul-less shopping mall will replace it.
He has destroyed more historical districts through zoning variances and under the table deals during Bloomberg’s term in office than with any other mayor in this city’s history. He has done more damage than 911. His crony and ambitious puppet councilwoman Christine Quinn wants to be voted in as Mayoral candidate in our local primary tomorrow.
ANYBODY BUT QUINN – HELP SAVE NEW YORK !
September 9, 2013: The last day of South Street Seaport’s Pier 17
Photo of the day: ENJOYING THE LAST DAY OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT’S PIER 17 – Due to the destructive re-zoning laws that have blanketed New York, today is the last day to enjoy the rustic building that was built to blend in with the charm of what once was South Street Seaport. The gabled roofs, the cast iron railings designed with industrial wire, the rustic red paint on the wavy (mirroring the ocean) sheet metal walls, the wooden decks from which you can promenade along, the weathered gray wooden deck chairs that silently sit awaiting for you to put your feet up and relax and watch the world go by.
Perhaps you’ll eat your Nathan’s fries and hot dog while strolling around the three decks, or go the Beekman Bear Garden Beach Club to watch the sunset on the North Side of the pier. Today will be the last sunset from Pier 17. The last hot dog from the food court, the last souvenir bought by the myriad of shops and the last beer at sunset.
You can thank our despicable greedy Mayor Bloomberg and his councilwoman Christine Quinn who re-zoned the South Street Seaport area and have given the greedy callous go-ahead to have it all torn down in favor of a glass box mall.
ANYBODY BUT QUINN FOR MAYOR !
Photo of the day: MILLION YOUTH MARCH FOR TRAYVON MARTIN SEPT. 7 HARLEM –
Sept. 7 is the 15th anniversary of the Million Youth March. This year, the march is being held in Harlem in front of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on the corner of Adam Clayton Powell St. and 125th Street. The National Black Family Convention is also being held from Sept. 5-8 in Harlem. This year’s march will honor the memory of Trayvon Martin.
South Street Seaport 2013
Photo of the day: THE DESTRUCTION OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT – The ever changing skyline of Manhattan is about to change again, the beloved South Street Seaport also known as Pier 17, thanks to the ever greedy Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is about to be torn down at the end of September. FINAL DAY OPEN IS THIS MONDAY SEPT. 9th.
What will replace it? A big soulless glass box (mall) with a red letter sign atop of it “South Street Seaport”. You wouldn’t need big lit red letters screaming “Seaport” to remind people of where you are if you have removed any vestige of our once great seaport’s history. One of our old sailing ships the Peking will soon cease to exist for lack of funds to repair it, that will leave us with on single solitary ship in what once was the greatest and busiest harbor in the world. Our Mayor Bloomberg and his cohort councilwoman Christine Quinn should be tarred and feathered and drummed out of New York for destroying our seaport’s heritage.
Anyone But Quinn for mayor!
HANS VON RITTERN 10,000 HITS 9-3-13 at 12:00PM
10,000 VIEWS ON MY WEB SITE! I
t happened at precisely 12:00 noon today
THANK YOU, THANK YOU ONE AND ALL !
Heath Ledger as The Joker, Batman 2008
Photo of the day: THE HIDDEN ART TREASURES OF TIJUANA, MEXICO – (Part of my new ‘Tijuana Tuesday’ series). Most tourists know Tijuana, Mexico for it’s allure of inexpensive souvenirs, leather goods, bountiful food & drink, the colorful streets and the bargain ready store keepers. Most tourists arrive after the stores officially open at 10 am, which, since it’s Mexico…means 10:30, 10:45, 11:00 in the land of ‘mañana’. Other tourists choose to arrive at sundown just for a night of drinking and partying. But what happens if you arrive early in the morning instead?
Last week on my visit to Tijuana, I decided to visit the main shopping thoroughfare Revolution Avenue (or Avenida Revolución) early, taking advantage of my body clock being three hours ahead on New York time to photograph the colorful buildings. Believe me, they don’t ‘do mornings’ – I was practically the only one on the main street. But, being so early reveals a hidden treasure most tourists don’t get to see – the wonderful murals painted on the steel gates of the closed store fronts! Just as New York’s Harlem 125th Street has painted murals of African history and heritage done by 85 year old artist Franco the Great only to be seen before the stores open at 10am and lift and hide the gates.
The same wonderful hidden treasures are revealed here in Tijuana in the early morning hours too. The art styles on the steel gates range from pop culture references, traditional Mexican folk lore to street graffiti. As I wondered down the sunny avenue in wonderment at all the wonderful colors, old architecture and design, I didn’t even realize I was photographing a recurring theme of the steel gates so I didn’t get to photograph them all, but these are some that just fascinated me. There is such beauty in the rustic old buildings, you never really see their old age, rust or need of care. The imaginative designs, the vintage signs, the brightly colored walls, the charming old cast iron gates and the swaying palm trees create a colorful illusion of charming perfection. How wonderful to see no chain stores and glaring modern electronic billboards, instead just “art”, however you interpret “art” to be – it is all around you. Then as 10:30-ish rolls around, you start to hear the clankering of the metal gates, one by one, being lifted up as the stores keepers prepare their shops for the day, only to reveal more colorful treasures inside!
“Tijuana makes me happy.”
Photo of the day: HAPPY LABOR DAY! – from your local Tijuana hooker !
Photo of the day: BULL FIGHTS SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 1, TIJUANA, MEXICO – I passed by the soccer stadium in Tijuana, and these fliers were being handed out. Luckily I wasn’t there to see this. As famous as bullfights are, it would horrify me to witness 21,000 people in Estadio Caliente cheering the death of an animal.