Saturday, May 12, 2018

Nostalgia -- New Haven

I've always associated Connecticut with my mother's family.  My maternal grandmother was born in Bridgeport.  She also retired there --in Old Lyme -- after the death of her husband.  My aunt Charlotte and uncle Hank lived in Old Saybrook during most of my childhood.  My Aunt Clare has a home in Guilford.  I actually lived in New Haven for a semester when my dad was a visiting professor at Yale. My 2nd cousin, uncle, grandfather, and great grandfather all attended Yale.  My father's former student, Bob Adair, was provost there. 

On 5/11/18 I had an audition in New Haven, so I decided to look up my old neighborhood.  

I remembered it was near a big red bluff.  I didn't remember how very close it was.  This is a view of East Rock, very close to my old house.

I didn't find the house using the bluff, though, I found it by searching for my old school, Worthington Hooker, in google maps. That's what led me there

As I approached the school, I crossed Whitney way.  That immediately rang a bell.  That was the large busy street nearby that I wasn't allowed to cross.

The school looked cheerier and better maintained than I remembered.  It looks like the bricks were recently cleaned and pointed and the windows look new.

I remember thinking it was a large school, but now it looks like it has about 8 classrooms, which seems small to me.  

When I was there, I was in second semester of 4th grade.  This meant that I missed learning Wisconsin geography back home in Wisconsin.  I seem to recall, though, that the math course was slightly more advanced than the one in Wisconsin -- that they were doing long division, which wasn't started until 5th grade back home.

There was a lady working in the garden there.  She said it's now a k-2 school and 4th graders are in an "upper school," whatever that is.

I couldn't remember the name of the street where I lived, but I did remember what the walk was like to get there, so I think I found it.  I think this was it, 165 Cold Spring St.:

It's a corner house.  I didn't remember that part, but it is the same color as it was.  I also remember that one of my schoolmates said it looked like a cuckoo clock because of the double doors out onto the roof over the front porch.  I don't think we ever went out those doors, though, because there was no railing around balcony.

It seemed like a very exciting house when I was a kid, because the whole third floor was a play area, with toys still in it, from the family that normally lived there.  In my home back in Wisconsin, the top floor was an unfinished attic, without a floor -- except for a very small area.  You couldn't really go up there.  It was dark, filthy, and dangerous -- as you could step through the ceiling below.

I guess going up to the third floor seemed like a huge adventure, because I seemingly never explored the neighborhood to discover the huge park only a block away.  More about that later.

I remember thinking that I lived 2 blocks from school, but if I went two blocks away I got to a very long block that I just didn't remember at all, so I think, when I said 2 blocks, I meant that I had to walk a very short distance along Canner St to get to the school.  I was very literal minded. Now I would say it was one block -- really very close.

The house also came with a white parakeet named Julius.  We left our own canary at home.  I don't remember the name of our canary, but I do remember Julius's name.  He was allowed to fly around the house -- or at least he sometimes managed to.  I remember him getting into my dad's hair.  He had quite a personality. Birds have always been my most successful pets. I have one now too.

On the way to my house, I think I noticed a significant house

I think this was Susan Pollack's house.  I wasn't a very social kid. I had a hard time making friends, but I wanted to be friends with her.  I remember thinking that she lived in a very large house indeed.  That made me feel she was important, I guess -- but, as I was driving around the neighborhood, I saw some amazing mansions not far away, across from the park that I apparently wasn't adventurous enough to walk to.

The other thing about Susan Pollack was that she had a microscope.

One afternoon, I managed to get in to see the microscope. I was really excited about finally getting to visit this possible friend. I forgot to call my mom and tell her where I was.  

That turned out to be the afternoon that my grandmother, my mom's mom, had a massive heart attack while visiting my mom.  My mom was frantic to find me and very upset that I hadn't told her where I was -- so my adventure turned into a major disaster.  I never visited Susan again.  This was before the days of cell phones. I would have had to ask Susan's mom if I could call my mom to say where I was and I was too shy to make that request.  

One of my reasons for posting this blog is to try to find Susan.  I wonder if somehow she'll hear about me through this. I've found that blogs sometimes do lead to finding people.

Later, though, the family we were renting from came back and we rented Susan's house.  I was disappointed that the microscope case was still out, but not the microscope.  I guess they were afraid that we would break it.  

Given that I was so fascinated with that microscope, I'm surprised I never got one.  My parents were normally pretty good about getting educational stuff like that for me.  I probably wasn't assertive enough to keep asking for it.  Maybe I would be a biologist or doctor now if I had been more assertive as a kid.

Anyway, now I am adventurous enough to go explore a park and I had a car with me, so I drove around and found a parking lot where you could hike up to the top of "East Rock," the big red bluff that I remembered. 

This was a copper beech, just getting its leaves in, near the parking lot.  

Copper beeches were a big deal to me coming from Wisconsin, because we didn't have them.  My mom said she had investigated getting one for our yard, but was told that Wisconsin was too cold for them. I wonder now, with global warming, whether you could get away with having one there.  They're magnificent trees.

There was actually a road to the top of East Rock, but I was in the mood for a walk

I'm usually in the mood for a walk.  

There were also trails, but I was wearing sandals that were only suitable for a road -- plus I had bare legs, which makes me worry about ticks, so I stayed on the road even though it was longer.  I didn't take one of the water bottles from my car, because I figured there would be a bathroom with water at the top. Also someone told me it would be only 20 minutes to the top. Mistake.

Well, there were chemical toilets at the top, which was some relief, but no water.  Also it was longer than 20 minutes, because I took the long way, and I couldn't walk very fast in those sandals,  They were slightly dressy.  I ended up very thirsty, but fortunately didn't pass out.

It was really a lovely day.  Here are some photos and videos from the top

And still photos

In the photo on the left, you can see the bridge over Mill River, that led to the parking lot where I parked.  Some of this stuff did look familiar, so I'm thinking my parents did take me to this park when I was in 4th grade.  Now, though, given that this was all walking distance from my house, I would have been going up on my own frequently on foot.

At the top was a civil war memorial

It looks like you used to be able to go to the top of this tower, but now it's gated off. Presumably it's too dangerous, or possibly they're afraid of vandalism. I think it may have been open when I was in 4th grade.  The view would be even better from the top of the tower.

So this little trip has turned into a rather long blog -- as if this was important or something.  I guess because New Haven is near Old Saybrook, and when we lived there we saw Uncle Hank, who just died,  and aunt Charlotte, and their children, more often -- it suddenly seems very relevant.  I've been to New Haven for an audition before and not gone to hunt up the old house.

My cousin Kate said she recognized the house.

All in all, it was a very short part of my life, but I reconnected.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

RIP Uncle Hank

My uncle, Hank Folsom, was my mother's younger brother, and the youngest of 4 siblings.  I believe he was 90 when he died 5/8/18, making him also the longest lived of the siblings.  He also has the most descendants of any of the siblings, including, 3 children;  I think 8 grandchildren and I'm not sure how many great grandchildren.

In recent years, he has been the glue that kept the family together -- as he made sure to see everyone as they passed through either of the two homes he frequented, one in Randolph, NH and one in Guilford, CT.

He was a retired Episcopal priest, and graduate of Yale.  He was atypical for an Episcopalian in being Evangelical and Charismatic in his beliefs and practices -- and in being a big game hunter, with a house full of hunting trophies.  He also wrote a book about hunting.  He was also an artist who liked to paint Eastern Orthodox style icons, again not typical for an Episcopalian.  His parish for the longest part of his career was in Old Saybrook, CT

He was a warm, charming, affectionate man and never unpleasant about how he advanced his views, which were contrary to those of many of our family.

His first wife, Peeko, predeceased him.  His second wife, Clare, survives him. I particularly want to thank my aunt, Clare, for the extraordinary care she provided him in his declining years.

My condolences to all family members.

There's a lot more to say -- and I may add to this blog.  That's one of my habits to keep editing blogs.

I chose spring colors because it is spring -- and also because of his strong beliefs in salvation, so that death is only a beginning.



Some trivia I know about my uncle
  • my grandmother was only in labor for 45 minutes during his birth. I referred to this in my YouTube video The Birth of my Second Child because my mom failed to warn me that there was a history of precipitous delivery in my family.
  • he played football in college at Yale
  • his father and grandfather were in secret societies at Yale.  I think they were called Wolf's Head and Skull & Bones, respectively
  • he inherited the family business, because he was the only boy
  • after the business failed, he found he had a gift for ministry, which turned out to be really good for him for the rest of his life
  • he had vacation homes in Randolph, NH and Nova Scotia -- and he later retired to Randolph.
  • he was a great hiker and jogger in his younger years
  • he administered the family tradition of the "oar," which my grandfather got from Yale and was to be handed over to the next person in the family who rowed crew at Yale -- OR who beat Yale at crew.  That turned out to be my first cousin once removed Kristi Stoddard -- a female from Harvard.  My grandfather would have been very surprised to learn this.  
  • I was always struck by his large, muscular calves, a nice family trait.  If we had lived in colonial times, he would not have had to put balloons in his stockings in order to look good in the knickers and stocking fashion that they had back then.
  • he attended Newark Academy, prior to Yale.  I once met a banker at my local bank who knew him there.
  • link to photos I took of his trophy room
  • He actually sort of arranged the marriages of his two older kids, by introducing them to attractive young women in his congregation.  Those marriages worked out very well, which is interesting for people who think arranged marriages are bad.  
  • He was a specialist in trivia about Sherlock Holmes
My cousin posted a photo of him hiking on FB. He was really handsome, obviously.

I'm trying to improve my graphic.  Just a few subtle changes. I'm trying to decide if I'm printing this out on canvas or not -- whether I'm going to give it to someone.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Set photos -- Villain Song shoot 180504

Set Photos
Villain Song shoot 5/4/18

I'm reshooting the music video for my single "Villain Song." My blog about this song is here.

2017 Updates

I'm moving this from my ongoing updates blog, so that that one can focus on current updates

News from 2017

recent performances & other acting

  • 12/30/17 filming music video for Franke's "Bad Tattoo" with Vante Productions. Check out the lyric video here Bad Tattoo lyric video For those of you who know that I object to profanity, they let me not say the profanity when we were filming.  They were very nice about that.
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 12/12/17
  • filming Fine Fixtures Commercial d. Rochelle Scharf 12/7/17
  • National Monolog Slam, Edison NJ 12/2/17 instagram post
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 11/14/17  
  • Cabaret Showdown -- 6th Anniversary link to FB event 11/12/17 
  • Armory Comedy Jam at The Tank 10/24/17 armory jam on instagram
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 10/17/17
  • Musical Improv Jam, Pit Striker Theater, 10/11/17, hosted by Vern
  • Musical Improv Jam with Steve Ling 10/9/17 Triple Crown
  • friends have told me that they spotted me in my background roles on "Wizard of Lies" and last winter's Hallmark Christmas movie.
  • 9/19/17 Magnet Musical Mixer, Magnet Theater, NYC
  • "Crazy person"'on hill team for RMC Charades 8/19/17 1pm Mossy Glen, Randolph, NH, photo of audience
  • audio reel take 2
  • 8/8/17 sang in Magnet Musical Mixer, Magnet Theater, NYC
  • Randolph Foundation Story Slam 8/5/17, Randolph Church, Randolph, NH  I'm looking down at the audience from a church pulpit, in case you're wondering why I'm looking down
  • working on an audio reel
  • "Geezers” Improv 7/15/17 PIT Underground; also rehearsal with Suzanne Hitchman, coach
  • Cabaret Showdown "Get Out the Map" Contestant 7/9/17
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 6/27/17
  • “Spooky Doings” PIT Striker, 6/25/17 5pm photos of this performance
  • "Sleeping Ugly" playing Maleficent; 6/8/17 (Preschool of the Americas); 6/9/17 (Rainbow Preschool); 6/11/17 (El Bario's Artspace, 215 E 99th, NYC) 
  • Spooky Doings:  practice 6/3/17 with Shacottha Fields, coach, performance 8pm, Triple Crown photos of this performance
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 5/30/17
  • Geezer's improv: practice with Andrew Cornelius, coach, Performance:  5/20/17 PIT Loft, 5pm
  • Filming music video for my song "Villain Song," Oddfellows Lodge, Saugerties, NY 5/1/17-5/2/17 d Ben MonkSome stills from the shootRough CutSecond Cut I'm also producing this video, which is an ongoing project
  • "Suddenly Singing" Musical Improv, Triple Crown, 4/11/17, 9 p.m.
  • "Geezer: Musical Improv, PIT Loft, 6pm 4/8/17 link to cast photo
  • 4/2/17 voiceover recording Mom for "Pup Chronicles" d. Lulu Grey
  • uploaded "Villain Song" to CDBaby; link: my cdbaby page link: blog about song release
  • Class shows for Monoscene at Magnet Training Center, 8 p.m. 3/5/17, 3/12/17, 3/19/17
  • Geezer Improv, PIT Striker Theater, 6pm 3/12/17
  • Magnet musical mixer, Magnet Theater 3/7/17
  • Recorded Spanish language voiceover for Lyra in "Rojas and Retribution" d Daniel K√∂enig Porter -- short film 3/4/17; links to soundcloud: lyra-polaris-mizar lyra -- monolog
  • Playing Older Claire in "Creative Block/Bloc et Bocage" d Nicola McEldowney a bilingual short film; links: photos on set ; FB page for film 3/3/17; Article about this film; film wins awards: silver award in Best Drama category at the Mindfield Film Festival, Los Angeles;  spotlight silver award; featured filmmaker from Prindie; semi-finalist in Los Angeles Cinefest
  • Class show for Character 101, UCB Chelsea, 3/5/17 5:45pm
  • Mixtape 2/27/17 Magnet Theater 7:30pm
  • Magnet Musical mixer 2/21/17
  • I'm briefly visible in this short film, Vandal, that was just released 2/17/17 starting around 9:51
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 2/7/17
  • Spooky Doings 2/4/17 1st anniversary performance Triple Crown Ale House; link: performance photos
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 1/24/17
  • Magnet Musical Mixer 1/10/17 (I haven't been writing these down in the past, even though I go fairly often.  I think I'm going to start)
  • Audioplay of "Atlantis Bearer of Fruits" on Youtube (I'm narrator and Ahteanna)
  • Featured in the Witte episode of "Evil Lives Here" Investigation Discovery 1/8/17 10pm; link: excerpt
  • Cabaret Showdown  "Weird Science" 1/8/17 7pm Kraine Theater, NYC; link: photo of me performing

    completed courses

    • Musical Theater with Jeffrey Saver 9/18/17- 12/20/17 
    • 12/12/17 Mary Tierney Theater Workshop; Theater for the New City
    • several drop-in dance classes with James T. Lane of "Chicago." He's amazing. I'm not.
    • Stage Combat with Joe DiNozzi, Producer's Club 5/11/17
    • Improv 412 UCB, NYC with Frank Garcia-Hejl 3/22/17-4/19/17
    • Monoscene Magnet Theater 1/8/2017-3/19/2017 with Michael Lutton
    • Character 101 UCB 1/7/2017- 3/5/2017 with Chrissy Shakelford
    • volunteering as a coaching subject in Armando Diaz's improv Coaching class 1/20/17- 2/18/17

    law related courses

    • NYIPLA fall one day program 11/16/17 link to program
    • CLE on venue in Patent law with ENYIPLA 11/8/17 photo with other representatives of
    • "Understanding the Protectable IP of Jewelry and Fashion," NYIPLA 10/24/17 programme
    • "Ethics Considerations in Intellectual Property Practice," IIPS 9/27/17
    • JPPCLE 4/27/17, Crowne Plaza Times Square, NYC
    • "Insights from Practitioners in the Nation's Busiest Patent Courts" sponsored by 1/11/17

    Broadway shows I saw

    • Miss Saigon
    • Chicago
    • A Doll's House, Part II
    • Sunset Boulevard
    • Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812
    • Shuffle Along (or was that 2016?)
    I also saw "Inherit the Wind" at the Weathervane in NH
    I also had a subscription to the NY Philharmonic

    travel pix

    link to my ongoing updates blog

    earlier updates

    2016 updates
    2015 updates
    2014 updates

    Monday, May 7, 2018

    Spooky Doings 5/5/18

    I performed with "Spooky Doings" at The Triple Crown on 5/6/18.  I did both improv and a monologue. Here are some photos of me on stage.  As usual, click to enlarge.