Running for Your Life: Jazz Palace, NYC !

They’re off! The lives of Benny, Pearl, and Napoleon et al, are in the minds of thousands, with book launches in Chicago, and most recently, in Brooklyn. At the party of the year, the cocktails – Al Capone and the Plot Twist – were delicious, thanks to my multi-talented daughter Kate and actor and friend Michael Early, the Audio Book reader of The Jazz Palace, did a dramatic performance of the place they called The Stroll.

People streamed to the party at the Community Bookstore on Seventh Avenue, some sipping wine at the back or in the garden, listening to live jazz, and others in the front where the cocktails were poured. Next in Manhattan, the Center for Fiction on Tuesday, April 28, Oh, and you don’t have to make a beeline to the next event. See what all the excitement is about. Read the book of the season: The Jazz Palace

Next: Running for Your Life: Steady Does It

Running for Your Life: If-the-Greats-Were-With-Us Thursday

Then, of course, there is Goya. Who better to lay bare the essence of our current times? Critic T.J. Clark tells us about a show of the Album D drawings by the great Spanish artist (1746-1828) now at London’s Courthauld until May 25: Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album.

Clark writes:

  • “There seem to be difficult things in the world, like old age and human cruelty and petty malice and the ugliness of lust, to which I (Goya) am drawn, and which I can’t put down – can’t get used to.”


  • “I couldn’t put a name to the quality of Goya’s laughter, or decide how much I wanted to join in.”


  • “The wordlessness of Goya’s pages – the way his images annihilate their scribbled captions, and never stop saying ‘De esto nada sabe’ (‘Nothing is known of this”) – seems intrinsic.”


  • “This is old man’s art – Goya was in his seventies, as profoundly deaf as his contemporary Beethoven, when he did Album D – and in old age acceptance and abhorrence often keep company.”

A lifetime is too short to stand before these drawings and wonder of them as Clark does in the April 9 edition of the London Review of Books.

To quote Matthea Harvey’s title of her beautiful book of visual poetics, “If the Tabloids Are True, What Are You?” There is a reason this work by the incomparable Goya is something you can’t put down. You can’t get used to.

Next: Running for Your Life: Jazz Palace, NYC !

Running for Your Life: “It Follows”

I don’t really go for horror movies all that much. But there’s a lot to like in “It Follows” by David R. Mitchell, now at your local Bijou.

A friend and one of my favorite movie critics, Michael Wood, has this to say, “[It] offers an extraordinary mixture of over and under-statement, with almost nothing in between.”

There is a scene that crystallizes its message for me: When the girlfriend hero asks her boyfriend to play the game in which a person reveals his secret desire: who he would like to change places with. He chooses a coddled toddler.

These are teens with outsized fears before adulthood scrapes the life (the sex?) out of them. Could it be even teens see so much of their life has passed them by? If only we could do it over. But we can’t. “It Follows,” that we can’t. Mitchell is definitely on to something here.

Next: Running for Your Life: If-the-Greats-Were-With-Us Thursday

Running for Your Life: Running Season?

I do understand the idea of running season. That for five months of cold weather a person who considers herself fit turns away from lacing up her Nikes and instead goes to the pool and does laps, or takes a class. Zumba.

What’s at issue is the underlying premise. That running as a pursuit, as a pleasure, isn’t what we are talking about. Rather the premise is that it’s a necessary evil. As in, what’s necessary to reduce weight, or to keep weight off, to forestall memory loss, to keep looking young.

For me, though, running isn’t confined to a season. Thus the title, Running for Your Life. And not only due to my condition that I’ve written about here: My deep vein thrombosis.

Last Sunday (April 12) at 8:30 a.m. I had the simplest of accidents. I tripped over my dog, and with my hands full, stumbled forward, and landed with considerable force on my chin. One of the funniest words in the English language: Faceplant. A nasty gash opened, requiring five stitches to close. Because I am a “bleeder,” due to taking blood thinners, a doctor watched me carefully for any signs that I was having head trauma, as in intracranial hemorrhaging.

Thankfully, I wasn’t. Part of my reasoning? Because I'm careful with my medication. And I run. I keep myself in shape. All seasons. (I don’t swim and find running is the lone pursuit that works for me.) It keeps the swelling of a damaged DVT leg in check. So I run. Not just in running season. But every other day for as long as I can.

Next: Running for Your Life: “It Follows”

Running for Your Life: Hockey Hockey Hockey Hockey

It’s that time of year. What my pal Coach Tully and I call the best time of year, the last two weeks of April, the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs !

My team, the Penguins, limped in, and any reasonable observer would say their odds of getting past the first round and the powerfully built Rangers, the best team in the league, are pretty much nil. Indeed, these guys should harvest my Penguins in a sweep, like park rangers on a church group without a permit.

But wait a minute. The Penguins have a Sutter. Brandon Sutter. The only starting Sutter among the 16 teams in the tournament.

For the uninitiated, the Sutter family is hockey gold. His father Brent won the Cup twice with the New York Islanders. (The family from Viking, Alberta, counts six Cups as players, two as head coach [Darryl of the LA Kings]). And Brandon played hockey gold in the final game of the year, scoring both goals for the Penguins in a 2-0 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.

The odds are long. But we got Sutter gold. (Even Uncle Darryl’s Kings are in the show.) Let the games begin !

Running for Your Life: Running Season?