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Archive for February, 2011


chair-foldingIt was cold this morning, and raining hard, as I walked along Shattuck Ave. to get breakfast.  I passed a man whom I see almost every morning, at the restaurant.  He is a large man, tall and well-built.  He shambles — walks in an ungainly, lurching manner — and he slurs his words when he speaks.  I know from my friends, the two brothers who run this restaurant, that this man used to be an athlete — a weightlifter, I believe — and very articulate.  Then, in his 20s, he had a stroke.  Now, every weekday at least, he makes his way to this restaurant, where they serve him breakfast and give him a cup of hot coffee.  He takes the coffee, along with a folding chair that they keep for him, across the street, where he sells Street Spirit, a newspaper that focuses on the concerns of the homeless.  As I hurried past him this morning, I was feeling terribly cold, and couldn’t wait to get inside the warm restaurant; sitting on his folding chair, out on the sidewalk, he was both cold and wet — and no one was buying his paper.

A short time later, while I was eating, he came back inside the restaurant to return the folding chair; he was done for the day.  Outside, it was really pouring.  “Why did you come in today?” asked one of the owners, who was concerned to see this man soaked through and shivering.

“It’s my job,” the man said.  “I came in because this is my job.”

At It Again

awgftjHad a lovely time last night at the opening performance of my run of Andy Warhol: Good for the Jews? at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley.  (The run — tix and info here — goes through Feb. 27.)  Monologues are what I do, and there is an extent to which I don’t feel fully myself (professionally speaking) when I’m not performing onstage.  Entering the world of a story takes me into a kind of altered state: time is compressed, and for a couple of hours I’m not as incredibly scattered as I feel most of the time.  Plus, I get free coffee at the theater!

The postshow talkback, with my friend Rabbi Menachem Creditor and my new friends Rabbi Dorothy Richman (who came out in favor of Zeus, kind of!) and Maggid Jhos Singer, was an extraordinary experience for me — and, I think, for the audience.  Once I figure out how to post audio here, I’ll try to add a recording of the conversation.  (For a listing of the remaining talkbacks, click here.)