Monday, December 2, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

my Letter to the Editor

After I retired, I wrote many pieces on education which were published in The New York Sun. This is one of them.

Education By Smoke and Mirrors

After I read "Education By Smoke and Mirrors," I sadly concluded that a discussion of the problems in the New York City schools has "jumped the shark" [Andrew Wolf, Opinion, July 9, 2004].

In Region 9's "Third Grade Summer Success Academy," the teachers were given a manual that has been adapted from the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project 2004.

The Balanced Literacy Program consists of a 95-minute Reading Workshop and a 55-minute Writing Workshop. The components of the program include a read-aloud, independent reading, conferences, shared reading, guided reading, writing minilessons, independent writing, and word work. 

The 2 1/2-hour block is so micromanaged that it includes prepared dialogue for the instruction of the children. When teachers help students choose a "just-right" nonfiction book, they are told what to say in order to model thinking:

"Hmm. Here's a book titled 'My Farm.' I've already read a lot about farms, and I don't want to learn more about farms right now. This is not a just-right book for me. It's not interesting."

Then, "Hmm. Here's a book called spiders. I've always been interested in spiders. Let me try reading a page. (Teacher reads page 10 fluently.) I'm used to reading a book with more words on a page and even some harder words. I think I won't learn enough. This is not a just-right book for me. It's too easy."

The teacher goes through a scripted process and then randomly distributes one nonfiction book to each student. She says, "Take a look at the book I just gave you. Decide if it is a just-right book for you by deciding if it's interesting, and checking a page to see that it's not too easy or too hard - a book you can make sense of while you're reading. Then turn and tell your partner what you were thinking.

At first glance, the lessons in the summer curriculum may be impressive and seem effectively crafted for successful results.

But, experienced traditional teachers would consider this learning model to be a major farce, where education has moved into the surreal world of "The Stepford Wives."

As more time passes, the articles on education seem to have deteriorated into redundant pieces "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." I shake my head in disbelief and I am glad I am retired. 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

at The Jewish Museum

Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix: A Retrospective

I went to this amazing exhibit today.... more to follow. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

at the New York Public Library

an exhibit which is a memorial to JFK

The First Family in Hyannis Port, Mass., in 1960

photo by Elliott Erwitt

Arthur Schlesinger's letter of condolence to Jackie Kennedy after the assassination

Andy Warhol, "Flash-November 22, 1963"

Robert Rauschenberg, XXXIV Drawings for Dante's Inferno, 1964, lithograph

Friday, November 8, 2013

Stolen Identities

I ran into my friend Nate last night and thought he was Al. He pretended TO BE AL. Then, he got off the train and I realized he was Nate.

Isn't Nate and Al a famous deli in LA?

Nate and Al really could be twins separated at birth. One is a retired teacher and the other is a comic!

Maybe they are imagined parts of me?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Glass Menagerie

I saw this play tonight and it certainly deserved all the accolades and excellent reviews it received!

The Glass Menagerie

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Back Views

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Tree of Heaven in the back courtyard behind my apartment building that grew for almost five decades was removed because it was declared unstable and was at risk of falling.

Many of us in this building are sad that the beautiful view we enjoyed for so many years is gone... and now what remains are bleak views of only walls, other windows, and concrete.

My neighbor, Bee Kaye, provided for this blog some absolutely beautiful photos that she took over the years of her view of the tree from her apartment window.

The images in her gorgeous photos show the tree in all seasons. The first photo shows the leafless branches of that tree in late autumn and the next two photos show the tree covered in a few inches of white snow on a bracingly cold winter day.

The next photo shows a rooftop terrace with the remains of the summer furniture covered in snow... and the branches of the tree do not obscure that view.

The next photo shows the tree as it casts a highly defined shadow on a red brick wall.

The tree was the home to several mourning doves, and on many warm mornings I was awakened by their sweet sounds when they flew out of that tree and rested on the fire escape right outside my window.

The last photo shows the tree in all it's green glory... and that is how I will always remember the tree.

All photos in this entry: © Bee Kaye 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

at the Frick

I went to this exhibit today, more details coming soon!

Officer and the Laughing Girl

Mistress and Maid

Girl Interrupted at Her Music

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Monday, November 4, 2013

The End of an Era

Please explain to me why "pruning" the trees means destroying them. All of the branches have been cut off the trees that for years have given me a glorious view. ALL OF THEM. Only tree stumps remain.

UPDATE: I called the company doing this work and it was explained to me that the trees were at risk of falling because the roots were growing under a building. The trees had to be removed. She acknowledged it is a "sad day" for those who enjoyed this view for years.

And for many of us it is indeed... the end of an era.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Way to Go, Dana!

Dana Parish in the New York Post

my interview (at marjorie-digest) with Dana

I have known Dana, and her husband Andrew, for many years. They are the nicest people and Dana is so talented! I could not be happier for her.

This is the photo I took of Dana in the lobby of my apartment building in May of 2009.

Friday, November 1, 2013

International Center of Photography

JFK November 22, 1963: A Bystander's View of History

October 4, 2013–January 19, 2014

Lewis Hine

October 4, 2013–January 19, 2014

at the Hayden Planetarium

Dark Universe coming soon!

at the New-York Historical Society

The year was 1913:

Today, I went to see: The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution

This phenomenal exhibit is not to be missed!

"Works by Duchamp, Matisse, Picasso, C├ęzanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh will be on display in The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution, which revisits the famous 1913 New York Armory Show on its 100th anniversary. In 1913, the International Exhibition of Modern Art came to New York. Organized by a small group of American artists and presented at the Lexington Avenue Armory (and thus nicknamed the Armory Show), it introduced the American public to European avant-garde painting and sculpture. This exhibition is an exploration of how the Armory Show inspired seismic shifts in American culture, politics, and society."

The Artworks

Marcel Duchamp, (French, 1887-1968), Nude Descending a Staircase

Blue Nude, Henri Matisse

After the Bath, Edgar Degas

Algerian Girl, Pierre Auguste Renoir

Morning on Long Island, Oscar Bluemner

The Armory today:

Old Announcements

I had forgotten that when I was appearing in comedy clubs, New York Magazine listed me in "Nightlife."

Memories of "Mishkin's Paradise"

Shortly after I retired, I auditioned for and won the roles of "Rose/Sadie" in Fred Feldman's "Mishkin's Paradise." We performed the play at the Producers' Club in NYC. And the performances were totally sold out.

The Cat's Meow

When I feel like a lost soul in this naked city, I post (again) my old photos dripping with cellulite. These are from 1972.

an Encore

I posted this in August of 2008. I am reposting it now.

Please click on both photocopies to enlarge for easy reading...

from 1998:

I was proactive! I stood in front of the door to prevent a student from running out of the classroom in anger. I spoke softly and gave a calm verbal direction and then I spoke more strongly using firm tones. A student almost knocked me over as he flung open the door to run out of the room. My left hip was side-swiped. Maybe I should have pushed "the panic button."

from 1994:

I had read in the newspapers of teachers who physically intervened and broke up fights and they were charged with assault. So we gave loud verbal directions to "stop fighting." A few teachers were brought up on charges because "yelling is corporal punishment." These were what you might call classic no-win situations.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hide-and-Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew at MoMA

The first time I saw this painting, I was mesmerized. The imagery in the pieces still amaze me. 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, 
And sorry I could not travel both 
And be one traveler, long I stood 
And looked down one as far as I could 
To where it bent in the undergrowth; 

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim, 
Because it was grassy and wanted wear; 
Though as for that the passing there 
Had worn them really about the same, 

And both that morning equally lay 
In leaves no step had trodden black. 
Oh, I kept the first for another day! 
Yet knowing how way leads on to way, 
I doubted if I should ever come back. 

I shall be telling this with a sigh 
Somewhere ages and ages hence: 
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less traveled by, 
And that has made all the difference. 

-- by Robert Frost

Sunday, October 27, 2013

These Rules = Not Going... but I Changed My Mind

I would have gone, but the rules are off putting. Plus, it is at 12 PM! I don't get up before noon on any given day. I should buy the book and then stand on a line for a book signing and then not be allowed to pose for a photo with the author? I don't think so. Who the hell is he? Frankie Avalon? I am no sucker.

Get a load of this:
"Lineup will be outside front entrance. Each customer may purchase up to three books maximum. No posed photography, photos at the table or personalization. Promotional material or memorabilia will not be signed."

Update on 10/29:

So go figure! I went to this event and the line was not very long and the crowd was manageable. 

The table was waiting for the author to begin his book signings. 

And then... the author arrived and sat down. I was able to take a few photos from a distance, but then equipment obscured the view. So, I went home.