Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Morning 2011




My tree is small, and my apartment cluttered, but there's just as much brightness and love here on Christmas Day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

gary & vicki

eduardo & mike own this beautifully decorated house in noho


Monday, December 19, 2011

book review - The Story of Hollywood



First published in 2006, The Story of Hollywood was the recipient of the National Best Books Award 2007, and was also a Film, TV, Radio IPPY Silver Medal Winner 2007.  Leonard Maltin has given the book his highest recommendation, and Los Angeles magazine calls The Story of Hollywood the best book on the neighborhood to come out this decade.

During the course of his research, Gregory Paul Williams saw so many buildings being destroyed and lost in Hollywood that he soon realized he was mapping out an incredible place that was about to become the stuff of myth rather than reality. This made him not just want to record its history, but get actively involved in its preservation, which led him to serve Hollywood Heritage as the chairman of its Preservation Issues Committee for two years.

Since its publication, Williams has become acknowledged as an expert, spokesman, as well as an advocate about his hometown and its historic architecture.

http://www.storyofhollywood.com/
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


What can I possibly add to the accolades showered upon The Story of Hollywood, An Illustrated History (BL Press LLC), as its paperback hits the streets? As I opened the 405 pp. coffee table book, the first photo that caught my eye was that of Ginger Rogers accepting her Academy Award for Kitty Foyle in 1940. Although a black and white photo, the glamor practically jumped right out at me. I've seen thousands of black and white photos of thousands of celebrities, but most are forgettable. The image of this glamorous lady, as actress/dancer, star, triggered in me a deep-seated feeling, a wish, a dream that had beckoned to me to come to Hollywood in the first place many years ago. Something that I wanted to find, something that I wanted to experience like never before became a quest. Unfortunately I did not grow up in Hollywood, but just to know that glamor did exist and to see it in an old photograph sent my imagination reeling. Even if you do not have great imaginative powers, The Story of Hollywood will bring visions of Hollywood in its heyday to vibrant life. 


Hundreds and hundreds of beautiful photos adorn the pages of The Story of Hollywood from its beginnings to the present. The book is divided into seven fascinating sounding chapter headings: 1. In the Valley of the Cahuengas, 2. A City of Homes, 3. No Dogs, No Movies, 4. Main Street of the Movies, 5. Boulevard of Broken Dreams, 6. Radio Days and 7. Lost Hollywood. Let me tease you with a tiny fact or tidbit of information from each chapter that will give you just a glimmer of an idea of what this spectacular book has to offer.


Just picture it - the not-so-familiar of yesteryear right before your eyes! At the onset you will see a picture of the very first homestead in Hollywood, an adobe near Franklin Avenue and Outpost Drive built by Don Tomas four years into California's statehood in 1854. Behind it are the Santa Monica Hills upon which today rests the famous Hollywood Sign. There's also a look at the very first Joyriders in a jalopy along Hollywood Boulevard in 1909. In Chapter Three-No Dogs, No Movies-we are offered a glimpse of the first Hollywood studios. The original Paramount Studio was on Vine in 1916 and Metro in 1919 was housed at the corner of Cahuenga Boulevard and Romaine St. Did you ever think that studios could start so small? Or did you ever imagine a movie theater so huge? Well, Sid Grauman built Grauman's Egyptian Theater, called a temple of art and one of its very first premieres was Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood in 1922. The poster of Fairbanks towered over Hollywood Boulevard. What fun to see people on the rooftop of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel watching a movie premiere across the street at Grauman's and to see vintage photos of Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman and even little Shirley Temple out on the town. In Radio Days, we are treated to the beginnings of radio programs that originated in Hollywood, like William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man, as well as George Burns and Gracie Allen and John Barrymore among many others. Finally in Lost Hollywood we see the more familiar in the origins of the Metro system RailRoad from Hollywood Boulevard to NoHo (North Hollywood) in the early 1990s.


Did you know that the famous Pig 'n Whistle Restaurant was around in 1929, or that in 1934 Sardi's was in competition with The Brown Derby or that in 1941 since Orson Welles' Citizen Kane was boycotted by William Randolph Hearst to play anywhere, that it ran exclusively at the El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard? Also that Capitol Records built the first circular office tower in 1954 - still a landmark in Hollywood, or that the Emmy Award as we know it was redesigned in Hollywood in 1949? All of these facts have tremendous meaning to trivia buffs who savor show business and the changing face of Hollywood through the years.


Wow! What a beautiful coffee table book that makes a great addition to anyone's home library, a perfect gift just in time for the holidays. I will use it as a reference and will treasure it always!
http://www.storyofhollywood.com/

Jeffrey Cornell Produces CD Everything Christmas


Originally from Oshkosh, WI, Jeffrey Cornell took tap lessons as a kid. He moved to LA at the age of 19 to begin a dance career, and ended up dancing in films, TV specials, Las Vegas, and Nightclub acts. He was in the first national tour of 42nd Street, opening New Year's Eve in Chicago, 1983. He transferred into the Broadway company of the popular show in May of '84.
Jeff wrote his first Christmas song ("Christmas Wishes") for his company Christmas party in 1985. The song was sung on stage at the Majestic Theater by his dear friend Beth Leavel (who also transferred in from the National tour.) When he moved back to LA in the summer of '86, he started writing more.
Through the years, the Christmas songs have been sung in nightclub acts, churches, concerts, and stage shows.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _



What turns a Christmas song into a classic? Firstly, the music & lyrics become instantly recognizable. Secondly, it triggers in the listener an image or memory of real happiness. Third, it immediately makes him want to sing along. Actor/dancer Jeffrey Cornell's Everything Christmas, his personal collection of original compositions through the years has a few such future  classics... like listening to the score of a Broadway show, there's a big, dramatic pulsating orchestral sound...and, the lyrics are uplifting, infusing you with peace, heart and love, feelings that only Christmas can generate.

The album's wonderful music arranger is Kirk Hunter and features the vocal talents of both seasoned and up and coming performers like David Burnham, Michelle Duffy, Derek Klena, Daniel Tatar, Pat Whiteman among others.

Highlights include: the dramatic spirituality of "Christmas Angels" performed so solidly by Michelle Duffy, "The Christmas Light" sung by Tom Lowe, "It's Truly Christmas Day" essayed by Julie Garnye, the warmly happy "Somewhere Beyond the Snow" sung with boyish charm by Derek Klena, the beautiful "Christmas Grace" conveyed warmly by David Burnham, "I'm Counting on Christmas" with vocals by Katy Tang, and Cornell's very first composition "Christmas Wishes" with Daniel Tatar.

It's truly special when a new album of original Christmas songs hits the airwaves, especially one in which it is obvious from the getgo that the composer truly loves the season. Every note and lyric reflect just that, as Cornwell shares abundantly his own personal hope and joy that are Christmas.
http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dianebrownanddavidburnha

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Friendly Christmas Brunch

telling Father Christmas my Christmas Wish
(L to R: Stan Mazin, Father Christmas, Bix Barnaba, moi, Gary Warmee at the SmokeHouse Holiday Sunday Brunch)
Dig Santa's cool slippers! You could fit Rudolph and Comet in them!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christmas Roses

What was Mary's wish for Christmas? 

Out of the corner of her eye all she could see was this huge pot. She turned her head. No, it was a vase full of the reddest roses she had ever seen. She opened her eyes wide. "Oh my", she sighed, "He remembered. He remembered what I said." As she looked down at her feet and tried to move them, they would not budge. "What about my arms?" she thought. "Yes, success. I can move them!" She turned on her left side in an attempt to lift the vase from the side table. She ached so much. It was difficult but she reached out her arms, touched the vase and...over it went crashing to the floor, causing every rose to be thoroughly drenched with water. "Oh, no!" she screamed, "It's happened again. I've ruined Christmas!"
Coming December 2011!

Monday, October 24, 2011

book review: Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne

Book review:  Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy
 by Don Grigware
John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne is an English vocalist, whose musical career has spanned over 40 years. Osbourne rose to prominence as lead singer of the pioneering English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, whose radically different, intentionally dark, harder sound helped spawn the heavy metal genre. In his subsequent solo career Osbourne achieved a multi-platinum status in addition to the one he had earned with Black Sabbath. It was during his Sabbath days that, due to their dark style of music, Osbourne became known as the "Prince of Darkness". In the early 2000s, Osbourne's career expanded to a new medium when he became a star in his own TV reality show, The Osbournes, alongside wife/manager Sharonand two of their three children, Kelly and Jack. As of December 2010, Osbourne has sold over 100 million albums worldwide both as a solo artist and a member of Black Sabbath.
Osbourne published a humorous autobiography in October 2009, titled I Am Ozzy. Osbourne says ghost writer Chris Ayres told the singer he then had enough material for a second book. Therefore, on the heels of the New York Times bestselling I Am Ozzy comes a sequel entitled Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy, Advice from Rock’s Ultimate Survivor. Ozzy’s alcohol/drug habit for the past four decades caused him to have his DNA scientifically mapped last year to see if it could be explained how he has managed to survive for such a long time under the influence. Obviously, the advice Osbourne gives to readers is good common sense, and not to be taken seriously. In fact, there is a disclaimer at the book’s beginning stating, Dr. O’s memory of events between 1968 and the present are not entirely reliable.
The book is divided into twelve chapters labeled Hazardous Contents. Each chapter heading is quite funny, such as Pruning, described as Cleanliness is next to Ozzyness or Surgery with the subtitle If You Want Something Done…Do It Yourself. Family is called the other F word, so with titles such as these, the reader knows he is in for lots of belly laughs. Any research in the book has been supplied by co-author Chris Ayres, such as actual quizzes that appear throughout and factually-based tables of medical tips and suggestions.
To give you just a tease of what to expect, many of the patients have asked questions such as the following:
Should I really drink eight glasses of water a day?
Ozzy’s answer?
I tried drinking eight glasses of water a day for a while, and my bladder felt like a red-hot fucking cannon ball. I need to pee a lot as it is…I might as well just live in the can. The practical advice is: get your daily supply of water from eating fruits and vegetables. Above and beyond that, drink as much as you need to prevent yourself from being thirsty.  Plenty of common sense here!
In another question someone tells that they sent an e-mail about hating their job to a friend and accidentally copied their boss.
What should I do?
Ozzy’s advice?
Look for a new job.
There are amazingly frank questions about sex, dating and everything else under the sun. Osbourne answers them all with tongue-in-cheek candor. There are some amazing medical miscellany like gargling with piss and even what exactly to stock in your medicine cabinet such as: for hangovers? four bottles of brandy; for constipation? two sticks of dynamite. A bit extreme you say…over-the-top? Yes, of course, but, folks, this is Ozzy Osbourne and he gives his fans exactly what they expect: a bottle of Ozzy Osbourne wrapped up in a whole lot of zaniness As he himself says: the only advice I am qualified to give would have you end up dead or in jail.
Outrageously funny stuff! Buy it!

Available in bookstores from Grand Central Publishing/October, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Don!


It was a grand old time as Don Grigware celebrated his 65th birthday with friends at Yang Chow's Restaurant on Topanga Canyon. Guests included: Sandra Cusimono, Bix Barnaba, Sharon Michaels, Audrey Sperling, Renee Gorsey and her new beau Allen, Vicki Pacifico (with Don), Gary Warmee and Stan Mazin. We had fun, fun, fun and the cake pictured is from Porto's Bakery. Yummy, yummy! Guess who took the rest of it home???

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

First Friend

Did you comprehend love at age 12? You were taught to love your mother and father...I mean... beyond that... When you made a new friend, was there ever something special between you that you couldn't describe? Did those feelings confuse you? My new friend Gerry made me feel that way in grade 7 at John J. Lynch Jr. High School. I couldn't wait to see him every day, to talk to him, to walk home from school with him, and eventually hang around with him on Saturdays, but I knew that my feeling for him ran deeper. I didn't understand it. What to say? What to do other than keep it locked inside of me? If I had been asked to put my feelings into words, I would have been speechless. And what about his feelings? Did he feel the same way about me or was I wanting more than he could ever possibly give me?
Check back soon for this new fact-based story.
FIRST FRIEND

Thursday, May 19, 2011

San Diego Safari Park in Escondido

video
See the gorillas in their habitat! I have always been fascinated by gorillas, monkeys...the entire ape family. May do a story real soon about one man's love for this very special wild beast. As I looked at the gorillas at Safari Park across the ravine, and as they gave me literally their backsides, I realized how comical and engaging they are. Would love to get to know them better. Remember Gorillas in the Mist? It's my favorite Sigourney Weaver film of all time.

And see the giraffes, who, according to the guide, "grow like weeds." Those poor creatures must develop terrible arthritis as they get older. How do they keep their long, long necks and heads so erect? And we complain!!

video

The Zoological Society of San Diego owns the land for Safari Park, and the animals, many of whom are endangered species, live in natural habitats with truckloads of food delivered daily. Giraffes, rhinos, antelope, deer, flamengos, ostriches, gazelles, Sumarian asses, sheep, elephants, gorillas, meerkats, lions, cheetahs, and other wild beasts are there for the eye to see eating, playing, and reproducing. What natural beauty! There's also a balloon ride and carousel for the kids to ride. No horses, please, but only replicas of wild beasts to ride on this merry-go-round!
Those are Ostrich eggs to the right of the bird, which she keeps safe from mountain predators.


Zebras together. The tram ride offers a 25 minute turn around Safari Park, but you must walk to see the gorillas and other beasts. It's worth it! Take the kids and spend a day in this beautiful sanctuary.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

If Only I Looked Like This ...

LOOK

look
around
look
outside
look
within.

look
above                      
look
below
look
ahead.

look
at others
look
at yourself
look
to your heart.
-dg

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Shows with Icons

I recently attended a show at the new Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge, a great hi-tech, state-of-the-art building that the San Fernando Valley has been eagerly anticipating for many years. Yes, there's Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, but that's quite a ways out. So bravo to this new venue and its proximity to Valley residents.
I saw An Evening with Shirley MacLaine at this venue on May 6, and as much as I adore MacLaine, I couldn't help but realize that the woman could sit and read the phone book and she would have fans hanging on every word she said. She looks great at 77, still has a wonderful sense of humor and is as down-to-earth as all get out. Nothing has changed about her. Thank God, for we need intelligent spokespeople like her and Jane Fonda, who are first and foremost accessible to us and then go out there and struggle tirelessly to make the world a better place.
There were many slides and film clips of MacLaine's personal as well as movie/television career and a few choice comments about old Hollywood and its legendary stars like Elizabeth Taylor or Bette Davis or Clint Eastwood, and of course some metaphysical talk as well as Democrat/Republican remarks involving the lady's politics. But it didn't matter because Shirley MacLaine is a true icon and is pleasurable to listen to. It's as if we were sitting in her living room, sharing her life with her, and everyone had a good time. The two+ hour show included questions from the crowd which were innumerable and which MacLaine had to put a lid on after about 40 minutes. Otherwise, we would have been there all night. I love how she credits her success to her discipline as a dancer, that it made her go forward and always sustained her. I especially loved her comparison of life to the theatre and how we are the costumers, make-up artists, hairdressers, actors, directors and producers of our daily lives, and how it is our responsibility to give it our all. Brava!

Friday, March 25, 2011

In Honor of Diva Dona

My guest blogger Dona Eduardo Gregorio is receiving much attention these days. Visit her:
The Chronicles of Columnist Diva Dona. Go to latest reviews blog and you will find her link listed to the right.
She's quite the little international flirt!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Retro Birthday Parties in Black and White

Here's the party below in black and white. Might make an interesting TV screenplay!

Birthday Parties

I think I'll write a novel and title it Me and Stan's Friends. What an assortment of characters! I love them all!!

Hoorah for Seniors!!!


Who had the unmitigated gall to remark that seniors are dispensable?
“They’re too old to understand or appreciate what’s out there” is a frequent complaint from those obviously out of touch with reality. The government makes budget cuts, denying them benefits, because they consider them at the far edge of the productive work force. This is hardly true, as seniors give back more to society than anyone else.  Entertainers, painters, writers, chefs and other artists just get better with age. It is difficult to imagine any field where a senior would not fit in successfully. OK, they may not be able to build a bridge or run a marathon, but most professional careers that require depth of expression and wisdom will be blessed to boast of senior participation.
Let’s look at the world of entertainment and celebrity seniors. Grandma Moses, Anna Mary Robertson was a self-taught painter and did not become famous until her late 80s. Imagine Christmas books without her beautiful outdoor wintry scenes! Tony Bennett, who sings better than ever in his 80s, puts out a CD that becomes an instant best-seller and does a TV special that soars in the Nielsen ratings. What about actress/author Shirley MacLaine? In her 70s she still makes films and is acting at the top of her form in a plethora of feisty character roles. In In Her Shoes, her sparkling performance as the grandmother stole the movie right from under Cameron Diaz’ and Toni Collette’s noses. And what about Cloris Leachman, who attempted dancing in her 80s on TV’s Dancing with the Stars? Let's not forget Betty White, still beautiful at almost 90. She's knocking 'em dead in Hot in Cleveland, where she now gets to spout out gutsy one-liners like Golden Girl Sophia! If she’s not a model for seniors to live up to, I don’t know who is!
The list of senior contributions to our society goes on and on. Lesser known seniors are also getting a lot of attention in the media. My 75 year-old neighbor was recently commended for rescuing his granddaughter’s kitten. He did not call the fire department, but got a ladder, climbed up the tree to the branch where the kitty was cowering, grabbed hold of it and then backed down slowly with the precious furry creature in tow. He’s a hero, not only in his grandchild’s eyes, but with the entire town. He accomplished more in that one act than a dozen men half his age. My 96 year-old grandmother did the unthinkable. She went bowling for the first time in her life and helped win a major tournament for the members of her senior residence. What a sport!
Seniors do not deserve the bad rap they are getting. Their enthusiasm for life, and just plain stamina and courage in tackling the obstacles of the everyday world put them up on a pedestal for everyone to admire. Oh...and in the love department? - they've still got the stuff!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Don Visits Firehouse 61

(photo credit: Angela George) Sandra Cusimono, moi and Stan Mazin at the Whitefire to see Firehouse, Pedro Antonio Garcia's play about the horrors of racism.
The topical issues of a play are always inspiring. I think I should continue with an old idea of writing a fictionalized version of my great-grandfather working for the railroad in New England. Adventure, intrigue...who knows where that could lead?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Short play

In the Blink of an Eye
 A Play in Two Scenes
by Don Grigware
 September, 2010




Scene 1
Dinner with the Jenkins Family
(The time is October, 1958. The place is the kitchen table at suppertime around 6 in the evening. The Jenkins are a middle-class family living in the suburb of any typical American city. Dad is a businessman; mom a housewife. Their children: Tony is 13; Marsha 17. Mom is dressed as nicely as dad; the two kids are neatly groomed.  
(before lights come up, a radio is heard in the background with the latest news:
WKRC Top News Headline at 5:00 pm
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration officially opened for business today. President Eisenhower has emphasized that NASA’s development is to preserve  the role of the United States as a leader in aeronautical and space science and technology and to encourage peaceful activities within and outside the atmosphere.
On the local front, Holyoke Junior/Senior High School, in accordance with the President’s wishes, introduces the most accelerated academic program to date for college-bound students, including intensified courses in math, science and foreign language.)

Mom
Richard, how was your day?
Dad
The usual. Carstairs signed on the dotted line. A car loan. Oh, Mrs. Carstairs asked to be remembered to you.
Mom
How sweet! How is Mary?
Dad
What do you mean dear?
Mom
Well… if memory serves me correctly she had surgery about a year ago. I haven’t seen her at a single church social in…over a year.


Dad
She looks great! Looks… in the pink!
Mom
Did you ask her how she was feeling?
Dad
I forgot about her operation, but Bud mentioned a long time ago that she was doing fine.
                                                                  
                                                                  Mom
Well, I’m so glad she’s finally getting out again. I don’t know how I’d do in that situation.
Dad
Whatever do you mean dear? You’re the most resourceful person I know.
Mom
Not when it comes to health. Health is the number one worry, and we can never be sure of what will go wrong. (pleased with herself)
More mashed potatoes, dear, or meat loaf. You’ve hardly touched your meat.
(pause) Marsha, you’re not eating your potatoes. Tony, vegetables – you need them! Clean plates, or no dessert and I’ve made everybody’s favorite. It’ll go to waste. Tony, did you do your French homework?
Tony
French, yuck! I mean, oui, oui, ma mere.
Mom
                Tres bien. Marsha, how’s algebra going? Did you do ok on the test today?
Marsha
It was sooooo hard. I think I passed though.


Tony
She failed!
Dad
How do you know that, Tony?
Tony
‘Coz, whenever a test is hard, she flunks it, especially algebra.
Marsha
I do not, shrimp.
Tony
Do too!
Marsha
Do not!

Tony
                                           Do too! (sticks his tongue out)

Marsha
At least I don’t put frogs in teachers’ desks when they’re not looking!
Tony
Frogs? You take that back, sewer face!
Mom
Enough is enough, children! I feel like a teacher disciplining her class.
Tony, down the hatch with that milk. Calcium for the marrow of your bones.
          Tony, are you listening to me? Milk? Good. Now apologize to Marsha, and
           Marsha you do likewise to Tony. Marsha, potatoes!!
Marsha
(eats reluctantly) Sorry, shrimp, I mean little brother!
Tony
(looks at Mom) OK, sorry, sorry!
Dad
That’s better! Now, Tony, what’s this about putting a frog in teachers’ desks?
Tony
I didn’t, dad. I swear! Robert Van Dorn told Marsha about Eddie doing that to Miss Blume, and Marsha didn’t believe that Eddie would do that, so she blamed me!
Dad
Marsha?
Marsha
Eddie is a straight A student, dad. He’s as quiet as a church mouse. You know that!
Dad
                            But how do you explain Tony being responsible?

Marsha
I guessed because I saw Tony with that frog in the hall just before it happened in Miss Blume’s class second period.

Mom
Tony, where did you get a frog?
Tony
I held it for Troy while he visited the nurse. It was on the floor, the box, I mean and the frog jumped out before the bell rang. It hopped over to Miss Blume’s desk and into an open drawer. When she saw the box on the floor next to my desk labeled Hermie, she blamed me.
Dad
I want you to apologize to Miss Blume. Did she give you any punishment?
Tony
Yes, a detention tomorrow, but I already explained that the frog was Troy’s…
Dad
But did you apologize?
Tony
No, I guess I didn’t. There wasn’t enough time.
Mom
You have to make time. You are responsible for what happened. You should never have taken the frog from Troy in the first place. I want you to apologize to Miss Blume first thing tomorrow.

Tony
                                                              Yes, mom.
Mom
Well, it seems that my children had quite a day. Marsha, what makes you think you passed the test?
Marsha
I don’t know. Wishful thinking. I studied a lot last night.
Mom
Did you? Every time I looked in your room, you were on the phone talking.
Marsha
I was studying with Katie over the phone. She helped me with the equations we had for homework. That’s what the test covered.


Mom
OK, well…we’ll see. Let me know about your grade tomorrow. If you didn’t pass, you really need to talk with Miss Grey. After failing last week, you can’t afford another D or F in math.
Marsha
What’s so important about math anyway? I’m never going to use it. It’s a big waste of time.
Dad
It’s not. It’s good mind training.
Mom
Listen to your father. He ought to know. His work at the bank involves math on a daily basis.
Marsha
Yes, but I’m going to be a hairdresser. How will math help me there?

Tony
                                           Adding up your tips. (laughs)
Marsha
                                                    (laughs too) I’ll buy that!
Tony
Mom, may I be excused? I promised Troy I’d bring Hermie over to him.
Mom
You mean that creature is in my house. Where, where is that frog?
Tony
Don’t worry, mom. He’s in the box on the floor in my room.
Mom
Why didn’t Troy take him from you at school?
Tony
He was sick. The nurse sent him home and his father came and got him before I even had a chance to talk with him. He called and asked if I could bring him over tonight.
Mom
(looks at dad) Dear?
Dad
Dear, let me talk to Tony for a minute. Tony, let’s go to your room.
Tony
                                     (looking terrified)   But dad?
Mom
No buts. Respect your dad.
                                                                  Tony
Yes, mom. (they exit)
(from the bedroom we hear a couple of paddles and Tony yelling. “I’m sorry, dad. Please, stop! I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” Mom and Marsha eat silently. Marsha appears frightened by what she hears.)
(long pause)
Mom
Well, Marsha, do you want to help me clear the table and get the dessert?
Marsha
OK.
(dad returns)
Dad
Tony called Troy. He’ll be over to get Hermie in about an hour. Seems he was never sick at all. Tony made that up. He’s grounded. He can’t leave his room until morning.
(pause)
What’s for dessert?
Mom
You’ll see. It’s a surprise.
(phone rings)
Mom
Hello, Jenkins residence.
Oh…hello, Miss Grey. Yes, oh no, that’s alright. We’re almost finished eating supper.
She what? (Marsha looks scared, gets pie from the sideboard and starts to put out plates, etc on the table) I can’t believe it! I just can’t believe that Marsha would do such a thing! Well, of course, why don’t you come right over…we’re about to have dessert. You’re welcome to join us. Yes, that would be fine. See you in a while.
(mother faces father and Marsha)
That was Miss Grey, in case you didn’t hear. She told me that Marsha, I just can’t believe my ears, she told me you cheated on today’s test. You copied off Katie’s paper right in front of her.
Marsha
                                              I didn’t, mom. I swear, I didn’t.
Mom
So Miss Grey is a liar? Is that what you’re saying?
Marsha
(crying) No, but I can’t believe she’s coming over here. Please call and ask her not to come. I’m so embarrassed.
Dad
Marsha!
                                                                  Marsha
                                    Why does she have to come over here tonight?
Mom
Because she felt it is too important to put off. You do want to graduate, don’t you?
 Why don’t you go to your room and do your homework. I’ll call you when she arrives.
Marsha
Oh, mom! I feel so ashamed.
Mom
 Explain that to Miss Grey. I think you should be happy that you have teachers who care that much about you. Miss Grey really cares about your welfare!
Marsha
But, I really didn’t cheat intentionally. I just looked over at Katie’s paper a couple of times, and Miss Grey jumped to conclusions.
Mom
Then why did you and Katie have the identical score?
Marsha
It’s not English;
it’s math, mom.
Dad
Marsha, that’s not a sign of respect. Go to your room this instant!
Mom
I’ll call you when Miss Grey gets here.
Marsha
Whatever you say. You always win.
(Marsha exits crying)
(dad gets up as if to follow Marsha, but mom stops him.)
Mom
Darling, don’t! Let her be!  (pause) I hope she likes blueberry pie.
Dad
Who? Marsha?
Mom
No, Miss Grey. I’ve invited her for dessert. I hope she likes blueberry pie.
Dad
If you made it, I’m sure she will
(Mom and dad look at each other)
Mom
What a day!
                                                                    Dad
Yes, indeed, everything was going fine up until tonight. Kids! Why don’t they behave more like we used to?
Mom
Were we really that innocent and blameless?
Dad
  Yes, but more importantly we had total respect for our elders.
Mom
I don’t like being too strict…. I wish life were simpler! I really wish I knew the answer.
(mom and dad look at each other and shake their heads)
Dad
And what if she didn’t cheat?! Maybe her glances at Katie’s paper were as she said…just glances.
Mom
I trust Miss Grey. She’s a conscientious teacher. She knows cheating when she sees it. We have to support her. Offer her a little dessert, treat her nicely, and she’ll be in our camp. Fair exchange, if I do say so myself.

Dad
You’re right, Ann. You’re always right.
Mom
We can’t let Marsha get away with this.
Dad
Not with anything, for that matter. (he firmly hits the table with his fist. Mom goes behind him, puts her hands on his shoulders to show she agrees.)
( lights fade.)


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ __ _ _ 


 (Background music in the dark during brief changes: “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys, “Kids” from Bye, Bye Birdie, and “We Are Family”.)




Scene 2
Breakfast at the Gelders
(The time is April, 2012. About 7:00 am. The Gelders are a typically dysfunctional family – mom, dad and two children: Bruce: 13 and Maribell: 17. Dad is well groomed; mom, in jog suit; kids are very sloppily dressed; Bruce has tattoo on arm and two earrings; Maribell has a nose ring and wears tight spandex pants. Mom is a career woman.)
(no one on stage; alarm rings off)
(mom enters from jogging, takes off her headband and ipod and looks around: gets some juice from the fridge as dad enters with his laptop; no dialogue ensues as the two go about their business, each deeply engrossed in his own world.) (mom plays voice mail messages: we hear: You have one new message 6:45 am:  Louise! Oh my God, turn on the news. Did you hear what happened to Obama? I’m horrified!  Do you think  dance class will be cancelled this morning? Call me asap! beep)
Mom
(dancing around)
One, two, three, four…one, two, three, four…
(bumps into dad)
Sorry!
                                                                  Dad
(on cell) Christ!? What now?!
I’ll be there in about 20. No! You can’t mean it! She what?! Fuck! What an asshole!
Bruce
(entering, headset on)
Anything nourishing in this Goddamn place?

Mom
Have a poptart!


Bruce
Hey, Missy, don’t pack me a lunch! I’m eating out today! I need some greenstuff.

Mom
Here’s a twenty. Enjoy!
Bruce
Fuckin’ twenty dollars! That won’t even keep me in soda for the day! I need at least a fifty.
Mom
(digs in purse and hands him another bill)
That’s all I have!
Bruce
(unappreciative, giving her the finger)
Don’t do me any favors!
(enter Maribell)
Maribell
I’m not hungry, but I’ll have a latte. (snickers)
Mom
Go to Starbuck’s. I’m not a restaurant. When is your counseling appointment?
Maribell
How the hell should I know?
Mom
I told your counselor I’d be there, but I can’t remember if it’s 9:30 or 10:30.


Maribell
So get there at 9:30, and if you’re wrong, wait an hour! What’s the big fuckin’ deal?
Mom
I do have a life you know.
                                                               Maribell
Yeah? Like what?
Mom
I have a big contract to draw up this week and am needed at the office. 9:30 or 10:30?
Maribell
I think it’s 10:30. I’ll call you as soon as I get to school.
Mom
Fine!
Dad
Do you think we could talk for a minute?
Bruce
What???
Maribell
Talk? About what? Your enlarged prostate?
Dad
Is that meant to be funny?

Mom
( she screams at the top of her lungs)
SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dad
(all is quiet)
Thanks for the attention! I wanted to let everyone know that I’m leaving tonight.
                                                                  Mom
What?!
Dad
I didn’t have a moment over the last couple of weeks to tell you. I’m leaving for a while.
Bruce
You mean…for good!?
Dad
At least for a while. I’m moving in with Catherine.
Mom
She’s a tramp! She’s half your age! You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into!
(she sits, weeping)
Dad
Look, your mom and I have not been happy, and it’s affecting all of us. I’ll still see you guys on the weekends.
Maribell
Who’ll give us our allowance?
Dad
Your mother is still here; she’s
 not leaving.
Maribell
She’s a tight ass! She gives us zilch.

Bruce
Yeah! She can’t even cook. I don’t blame you for leaving!

Dad
Look, I’m sorry, I will send you guys your allowance on the Sunday of each week, and let me know if you need any more. You can reach me on my cell anytime after 5 pm.
Maribell
That sounds fair. I like Catherine personally. She used to be my best friend. When she quit smoking, she got weird and turned against me. Became a real snake in the grass! I think she should’ve kept on smoking; it kept her loose and free.
Bruce
I think she’s a slut. But she puts out, and I’m sure that makes you happy!
Dad
Look kids, I appreciate your good wishes, but I have to go.
(looks at mom, thinks about going to her, but changes mind and exits.)
Mom
(regains a little bit of her sanity)
This has been coming on for a while, kids. I’m actually not surprised.
He’ll be a good father to you; he always has been.
Bruce
Whatever! He’s always thought of himself first. We’ve been a second priority.
Maribell
Yeah, but a bigger allowance is a pretty good promise. Let’s hold him to it.
Mom
As far as I’m concerned…

Bruce
As far as you’re concerned, you pick up the pieces and find yourself a stud. You’ll live, Louise! Get over it!


Maribell
I can introduce you to one of Bobby’s friends. You should go younger, Louise. You’re still somewhat appealing.
Mom
Somewhat, huh? Thanks, kids. (in jest) I’m happy for your support.
Bruce
Yeah, but don’t count on it. Our needs come first.
Mom
So what else is new? When did I ever come first?
Maribell
(picks up bag of rolls and starts tearing bread)
And what’s with all this bread? (to mother) No wonder your thighs are hefty. Why do we always have so much bread around here?
Bruce
(starts tearing bread apart too)
Yeah, it’s a waste. Maybe we should feed the birds.
(laughs)
(Maribell and Bruce start throwing pieces of bread at each other like two kids, as Louise picks up her cell and dials her best friend, Carrie)
Mom
Hello, Carrie. It’s Louise. Great! Stan just walked out and I’ve got two reckless infants talking back and throwing bread around the kitchen. It’s a wonderful life!!!
Bruce
Who’s the bitch talking to?

Maribell
Probably one of her idiot friends. That Carrie is the worst. She’s such a whore. How many husbands has she had, Louise? Eight?

Mom
(doing her best to ignore their voices)
Carrie, do you want some company for a while?
No, I mean for a couple of months. The kids? They can take care of themselves. They’re doing alright without me. They never listen to anything I say anyway.
Bruce
Hey, Louise, aren’t you driving us to school this morning?
Mom
Can’t you see, I’m busy. You can walk. It’s a beautiful day.
Bruce
I don’t want to walk. My feet hurt from running in PE yesterday.
Maribell
(Opening her laptop and starts to work)
Shit, I just forgot, I have an essay due.
Mom
Carrie, I have an incoming call, can I call you back. Thanks.
Hello. Yes, this is Mrs. Gelders. Myra Frank, yes, how are you? Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
(Bruce perks up and looks worried)
What? Genie? … (pause) … She’s what? Oh, that can’t be. That’s impossible. … Oh, I see. Yes, I suppose we can. I don’t think my husband will be able to, but Bruce and I will be there. Yes, Mrs. Frank, at  … (Frank obviously hung up) 7.
(hangs up)( she faces Bruce)
Mrs. Frank says that Genie is pregnant.

                                                                   Bruce
So, why look at me? She screws around with just about the whole town. Why am I all of a sudden guilty?
Mom
Because you are her boyfriend. You have been going out with her for the past year and a half. Did you know she was pregnant?
Bruce
How would I know?
Mom
Mrs. Frank says that Genie told you yesterday. You haven’t said a word to me about it. (looks at Maribell)
Did her sister Mary say anything to you?
Maribell
Yeah, she said something, but I stay out of other people’s business. So what if Bruce knocked her up? That’s life!
Mom
You knew about this and you didn’t tell me?
Maribell
 Yeah, so what! They had fun.

Mom
You are underage. (looking at Bruce) You are 13. I warned you about going steady and about the consequences. And you young lady are way out of line.


Bruce
It’s not my fault. I tell you I’m not to blame. It was one of her other studs. And I wouldn’t trust what Mary says. You should see what she and Maribell do in the girls room between breaks at school. They go into a stall and get naked and go down on each other.

Maribell
Perve! What, have you been spying on me in the girls room? That’s a riot, Bruce, and I’m trying to stick up for you here.
And you, Louise, how am I out of line in your book? Just because I say what I feel? You got pregnant with me, so you and dad had to get married. And you were underage too!
Mom
That was a completely different time and a different set of circumstances.
Maribell
How? Can’t you accept the fact that you’re guilty too? If we act like this, you caused it. We’re just trying to be like you. (laughs)
Bruce
Yeah, bitch! (laughs too)
Mom
This is just great. (sits down) My husband walks out and leaves me to pick up the pieces as usual.

Bruce
What pieces? (kicks bread aside on floor) Is that what I mean to you? I’m nothing but a piece? Of … shit? Is that how you see me?
(picks up carving knife)
You’ve never loved me. You’ve always looked out for yourself and protected yourself but you’ve never cared about me.
(grabs mom around the throat with knife)

Maribell
Bruce, stop! She’s guilty, but let’s not go the length, not yet at least! Put down that knife! You’re having a bad day, that’s all! Put it down!
Mom
Listen to your sister! Put down the knife and let’s talk about this sensibly.

Bruce
Your sense of what’s right and mine don’t mix. They never have.
Mom
Put down the knife, Bruce! I’ll give you my entire savings account, but don’t do this to me!
Bruce
(in an agitated state, thinks for a moment, throws down the knife and sits down crying)
I hate you. I hate my life… and it’s all your fault.
Mom
Stop talking like that! What’s wrong with you? You made a mistake. We’ll talk to the Franks tonight and somehow make things work.
Bruce
I’m not talking to anyone. I’m clearing out of here. I want that money!
Maribell
 Genie will have an abortion. No one will know. Don’t go to extremes!
Bruce
I don’t care if the entire world knows. I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m a victim here, not a perpetrator. And so are you, Em!
(starts to leave)

Mom
Bruce, sit down! I have to get you the money, remember?
Bruce
OK, call the bank first!
Mom
(pulls revolver from her purse)
You’re going to listen to ME first!
Bruce
You’ve got to be kidding? Where in the hell did you get that? Mommy’s got a pistol?
What a laugh!
Mom
It’s no joke. Your dad bought it for me for protection.
Bruce
You’ll never use it.
Mom
I will do what I have to. (with the authority of a sheriff) Now, sit down!
Bruce
(sitting reluctantly)
OK, I’m sitting down. Happy? Put that gun away.
Maribell
Yes, mom, please put the gun away. We don’t deserve this kind of treatment.
Mom
And I do, I suppose?! I want the two of you to listen to me and listen good. Clean up your mess! I am your mother and I want every goddamn piece of bread off this floor. Get down and pick up your mess!

Bruce
(laughing)
You’re kidding, right?
Mom
Do I look like I’m kidding? (cocks revolver)
Now, pick up those GD crumbs!
(Bruce bends over as if to pick up the bread, then suddenly bolts for the door)
(Mom shoots him in the back, he falls, Maribell screaming)
Now, Maribell, get down and pick up those crumbs! You haven’t been the most obedient little bitch in the world and so you can make up for it now. Get down there!
Maribell
Why are you doing this to us?
Mom
To you? It’s always from your angle. Think about someone else for a change.
(Maribell grabs mom’s leg and attempts to trip her, they fight for the pistol, the gun goes off and Maribell falls bleeding, but she’s still alive)
Maribell
Help me, mommy! Help me! Please help me!
(Mom sits down confused, drops the gun and just stares around at what has happened. Her reactions are without remorse. She goes to the phone in an attempt to make an emergency call and changes her mind. She picks up her headset from the table, puts it on and jogs out the door. Maribell draws her final breath.)
Lights.
THE END



In the Blink of an Eye
  should have a total of
4 actors

1 playing both Richard Jenkins and Stan Gelders (dads)
1 playing both Ann Jenkins and Louise Gelders (moms)
*1 playing both Tony Jenkins and Bruce Gelders (sons)
 *1 playing both Marsha Jenkins and Maribell Gelders (daughters)
    *Young adult actors play children.

One quick costume and hair change in between scenes.
In Scene One, Mom should have big stylish wig and be well groomed like June Cleaver/Harriet Nelson/Donna Reed