Saturday, November 28, 2009

Did You Know?

Are you a STAR WARS fan? Or maybe your significant other is. Or your son. All I know is that pretty every man who's lived in the last three decades has been touched by George Lucas's Ode to Joseph Campbell's HERO'S JOURNEY in one life-altering way or another.

For some, it's like an answer to all questions, like THE GODFATHER is to others. Funny, huh? I mean, I loved STAR WARS and everything, but never totally understood the fanaticism that went along with it.

However, when my son was young, he began watching it like so many others: A LOT! We had pretty much every new version of the series that came out, from video tape to DVD with Special Features. He loved them all.

But somewhere around the time when he was almost 7 or 8, my husband casually mentioned that he had played a part in STAR WARS. He'd done a voice of one of the stand-out minor characters.

I remember my son just staring at his dad blankly, like WHAT???!!! How could you keep this from me??

So we played his part back and, for the first time, my son heard his DAD'S VOICE COMING OUT OF THIS STAR FIGHTER'S MOUTH!

To say it was a happy surprise would be an understatement and thereafter, our son's friends would drift in with disbelief.

Later (much later) we would learn that there are whole websites devoted to this character on the Internet, fan sites, etc... A few years ago, my husband began doing celebrity signings at STAR WARS Thirty Year Anniversary conventions, and Comicon shows, traveling to London and Japan among other amazing places. He's had a lot of fun with it.

This is all to say that if you're interested in that world, or in the world of Hollywood, (My husband's other love) I'm so happy to say that he's started his own BLOG!! It's called Speaking of Hollywood. Please tell your Star Wars fanatics to go say hello and maybe learn something they didn't know about STAR WARS, or the crazy world of Hollywood. Hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


My honey and I are cozying up, baking pies, turkey and the fixings. (The cats? They're just cozying up...) But wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving before the day passes us by and to let you know how thankful I am to have you all in my life. I hope your day is full of love, family and yummy food!

Blessings to you and your family.

xoxo Barbara

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's In The DNA

Ask anyone. We're the theater family. My kids were going to theater long before any of their friends. They, in turn, have dragged their friends into that wonderful fray, and even some family. Our daughter’s sweet sixteen birthday was a “Beauty and The Beast” (the musical) extravaganza!

The first time we met our soon-to-be-son-in-law, we dragged him to his very first musical, "Wicked!", which was premiering in San Francisco (where our daughter lived at the time) before making its run to Broadway. We saw the original cast.

It was awesome. That was a good start. Our future son-in-law left the theater a little dazed by it all, unsure what he'd just gotten himself into. He was a musical virgin no more. Since then, he's even become enthusiastic about going when we drag him along. It's pretty cute.

My husband grew up in a family of actors. His parents were part of the original Pasadena Playhouse, stage actors and film actors, too. So, his transition into that world was almost a foregone conclusion. He became an actor, for many years, then a sit-com writer, finally a talent agent.

One of the [few] perks of this job is HOUSE SEATS, BABY!! That means the cast has a certain amount of tickets they give out [or sell] to family, friends, agents... that are usually somewhere around 6th row center.

We're totally spoiled. Even on Broadway, we can mostly get these choice seats. If we are ever forced to buy from the box office and sit in the balcony [what??], we whine a little bit. Because, we're...ya know, a little dramatic.

It's in the DNA.

Last weekend's "Big River" was an example of this whole [free] house seat thing, with the actor playing Jim hoping to go with my husband's talent agency. A kind of audition. He liked him!

Last weekend, too, we went to the red carpet opening to see this guy!

It’s the Christmas season and what’s that without a little Dr. Seuss? Of course, they don’t let you take pictures inside the theater, but you can see a bit of this monument to Art Deco in the background of this shot. It’s amazing. The Grinch was great. Fun for everyone and the cast, amazing.

But this weekend, we went to see this gem! Mary Poppins!

Oh, that plucky Mary Poppins! It was much of the original cast from both London and Broadway, including Mary herself and Bert, [who happens to be married to one of the other cast members, who is my husband's client!] So we got to schmooze backstage afterward with him. He’s totally British and is digging the California Sunshine! So adorable.

I’ve seen a lot of musicals, but Mary Poppins has to be one of my all-time faves. There’s this moment, when she’s singing this song, “Anything can happen if you let it!” and she sprinkles this sparkly light out over the audience, as if she’s giving us that gift. It was, well, magical.

Now, close your eyes, say those words to yourself three times, imagine some twinkly lights tripping over you. And let some of Mary Poppins magic rub off on you, too.

Because, "Anything can happen, if you let it."

Be kind to yourself, Barbara

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Moment

Have you ever read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn? Or Tom Sawyer, for that matter? That Twain was a genius, of course, doesn't need saying. He had his finger on the ironic pulse of America in the mid-19th century.

A few years ago, a show called "Big River" made it to Broadway. It was a musical, with music by Roger Miller, and the 'book' was nearly lifted directly from the Twain novel, "Huckleberry Finn."

We went to see a small theater production of "Big River" this afternoon in Hollywood. It seemed strange that they would choose this relatively BIG production to do in a small theater and we were curious as to how they'd manage it. Well, it was a terrific, theater-in-the-round experience.

For those who don't remember the story, it's the continuation of the old Tom Sawyer/ Jim story that came before it, but this is Huck's adventure with Jim (as a runaway slave) up the Mississippi River.
Of course slavery is the theme, and even Huck's struggle to be free of civilized convention. But by the end of the show, (this was the final performance of an extended run) half the actors were in tears and so were we.

What was so amazing though was that after the performance, they did a "Sunday talk back" after the show, where audience members can stay and ask the cast questions or comment on the show. There were the usual comments, nothing much too interesting.

And then...

This old black woman raised her hand. She was 87 years old and she said she'd been raised by her grandparents who had been slaves in the 1850-60's and when she was a girl, they would tell her stories about slavery and "those days" on the front porch of their house. You could hear the emotion in her choked voice as she said how much the play had moved her and made her remember all of those days, and stories, and her grandparents. And she thanked the cast for the experience.

We were all tearing up, in awe of this moment. Because I never imagined I'd hear an eye witness (once removed) account of slavery in my lifetime.

How near we are to losing the last surviving hearers. To learn from the source what went so awfully wrong in our country so long ago. 87! And her grandparents grew up as slaves.

The cast unanimously burst into tears at her words. The producer, already emotional, literally sobbed. Later, the young black actresses who'd played slaves, sat beside her and held her hand.

It was a moment I will never forget.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Few Sound Bytes.

Joycee, from Granny Mountain, left this sweet award on my site the other day.

Thank you, so much, Joycee! Or, Joy C. Oh, heck...she's great, whatever name she uses! I love her blog, and her beautiful mountain. Go and take a look at her website and while you're there, say hi from me!

So the rules of this one are to tell you seven things about myself you may not know.

Some of you may recall(okay, painfully recall) my drawn out list of seven things you might not know about me from a few weeks ago, so I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.

1. I read milk cartons. Yes, it's true. I love reading. I'm a little compulsive about it. And when nothing more substantial is around as I eat breakfast, I'll resort to milk cartons, labels, fliers, my husband's hieroglyphics, ...albeit, when I can locate my glasses. (If I can't, I stare at my strawberries sadly and my day is a little less colorful.)

2. I love to bake. I don't mind cooking, but baking...yes, that's my thing. Apple pie is my personal fave. Someday, I'll post about it. Because we sisters are sorta well known for pie. We all learned at the knee of our Mom, who was secretly proud of how people gasped when they tasted it. She would do little happy dances inside.

3. I miss her.

4. I love a good challenge. Just don't tell me I can't do something. Unless you want me to figure out how to do it. Reverse psychology was always my downfall.

5. I've been married thirty (30!) years to the same sweet man. (The one under the sink, cursing.) And yes, I was twelve when we got married. (Just kidding.)

Stop it. Don't do the math. No seriously.

6. I'm a dog person.
I'm a cat person.
I'm a dog person.
I'm a cat person.

Okay, I'm hopelessly in love with both. I can't pass a dog on the street without talking to it. (Often to the chagrin of impatient owners who just want to keep walking.) I may have to get another one, soon. My cats will just have to deal.

7. I love Taylor Swift and I don't care who knows it. I love her imperfect voice and her originality. (And her SNL monologue.) She's representing for all of us girls on the fringe. And despite our age differences, sometimes, I still feel like she does...just a little outside the curve.

And most days, I'm okay with that.

So, thanks again, Joycee! I enjoyed this. And since I just passed this along a little while ago, I'm only gonna pass it on to a couple of new friends I'd love to know more about. Kelly Lish at Love is My Religion. And Sherry Byrum at Byrum Art.

photo credits:
Sisyphys cartoon © 2002 The New Yorker Collection from
milk carton:
dog and cat:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We're Missing What?

Home Repair Code: 1192-79333 al (a) Except as provided in this section and in Sections 1193,1194, and 1195, evidence of a(any)minor home repair taking less than two full weekend days, fourteen trips to home repair store (including returns of parts that are missing parts, wrong parts, forgotten parts, or any combination, thereof...) is unsubtantiated and dismmisable as a fluke, or otherwise, as Divine Intervention. Proof of such, unless videotaped, is inadmissable as evidence in Homeowner sanity hearing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Long, Long Time Ago

This is what happens when you clean out drawers. You find pictures like this, lurking at the back.

Yes, that's me behind that beach towel. You might be asking yourself, what I'm doing hiding behind that swath of terrycloth. I'm trying to breathe. You see, I'm standing at the edge of a volcano. In Hawaii. 30 years ago. On my honeymoon. My DH took this one. "That's right, honey. Just a little further back. No, one more step."

Just kidding. He didn't really want me to fall into that sulfer-laden, magma pocket of fascination. He just usually doesn't take the shots. See the fish eye lens? You don't see those around much anymore.

The reason these photos (and more) were hanging around in a drawer, half-forgotten, is because they were slides. Slides I always intended to turn into wall art someday. But just never got around to it until now. Because I always loved the shots I took that trip. I used an old Yashika reflex film camera. And while they're not, like, totally great shots, I just loved this one. That bird was actually sitting on that horse's rump seconds before I snapped this. Symbiosis. Or loneliness. I could never be sure which.

Finally, I'll leave you with this one. Taken just after an afternoon rainstorm.

I'm picturing myself back there right now.

Be kind to yourself, xo Barbara

Sunday, November 1, 2009


While I was in Texas, we bundled up for my first ever air show at Alliance Air Field in Fort Worth. Instead of paying $$$ to park in the muddy field outside the airport and lose a little bit of our hearing, we parked at the side of the access road (Texas Style--Try to imagine getting away with that in LA...)with the rest of the watchers. The show was across the way, in the airfield, but we had great seats.

There were stunt pilots doing death-defying loop-d-loops, Waldo Pepper Outside Loops and stalls until they disappeared at the horizon and you thought they were moments from crashing, only to pull up and zoom skyward again. But here's how my pictures of those crazy stunts turned out.

See the smoke? Now, imagine you can actually make out the plane where that little black dot is. Yeah. You had to be there.

But then, the Blue Angels appeared. These guys are the elite fliers/goodwill ambassadors for the Navy and Marine Corps.

I kept pointing my camera at the blue, Texas sky, zooming in on the jets that were flying overhead. Even here, the shot's not so good, but you can get the feeling of the speed and proximity of the jets, tearing across the sky like maniacs.

These two were solo pilots that did that Top Gun, parallel, over/under move. But it was too far away to catch. Besides, I was too busy gasping to catch it.

They kept zooming over our heads, rumbling over the fields with a heart-stopping sound, literally inches apart.

If you click on the picture their Delta Wedge actually becomes visible.

Finally, after many misfires, I got this shot.

Their wingtips are literally inches apart. You can almost see the pilots in this shot. I kept thinking about their mothers, holding their collective breaths as their sons and/or daughters threaded the needles of time and space.

All I can say is, "Wow."

And, next time an airshow comes near, I'm going.