Monday, October 26, 2015

What Has Four Legs and Chases Cats?

"Mrs. Katz and her attorney."

Hear more old-school jokes from a lady whose family probably had tea with some of the people who invented them, in my memoir and now stageplay The Accidental Caregiver: How I Met, Loved, and Lost Legendary Holocaust Refugee Maria Altmann.

I'm in rehearsals next week for my short play Pentonville, which will be going up at the Manhattan Repertory Theater on November 11 at 9pm, and November 13 at 9pm. I'm pretty proud of this little piece so I hope to see you there!

Have a great week, Everyone.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Hell or High Water

I made a pact with myself I'd keep up this series every Monday, come hell or high water, so here I am. This morning - as far as I can tell - I'm not in hell and the water is at a manageable level, so admittedly I have not been truly put to the test yet.

It's been a crazy last week so I haven't really had time to write a post one can sink teeth into, so I'm just going rogue this morning with a State of the Union: My new play Pentonville was accepted into the Manhattan Repertory Theater 10-Minute-Play Festival, and we had a brilliant casting session yesterday in which we found some real gems we hope will say "yes" to my casting director's email this morning that says: "we want you." I've always been obsessed with taking real-life historical figures and tossing them into modern-day culture, so we're all very excited about this play and possibly expanding it into a full-length down the road. I'm also producing a non-fiction TV show for the History Channel, as well as organizing an evening of short plays I hope will develop into a series - a revolving door, as it were, of writers from all different walks of life. If you're a playwright, actor, director, producer, etc, please get in touch, as I'm looking for creative doers who can help realize this vision.

New York continues to bring love, collaboration, and promise. Even if on some days that means just not getting into an argument with a stingy hotdog vendor. See you next week.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rest in Peace, Ruth Altmann...

A very dear person in my life died Sunday morning.

When I was caring for Maria Altmann in 2010 I told her I wanted to visit New York to see her Aunt Adele immortalized in the Gold Portrait. Her eyes, as they always did for even the slightest sliver of good news, widened with zeal: "I want you to stay with my cousin Ruth." She got right on her old wall phone from the 1970's that somehow still worked perfectly, and five minutes later I had a place to stay smack dab in the middle of Manhattan where the lights are bright and it all seems right.

Ruth was 92 at the time, and we had an incredible weekend of tea, food shopping, and museum-ing. After that visit, every time I would come to New York I would stay with Ruth, and we would go on our little walks to Bryant Park and talk about everything from her father-in-law Bernhard Altmann of Bernhard Altmann Cashmere Sweaters, to her biological father Arnold Karplus, to her monthly travels to the Hamptons to paint. Both Maria and Ruth fled Austria in 1938, just days after the Anschluss. Maria eventually landed in Los Angeles, Ruth in New York.

On Sunday, October 11, at 97 years old, Ruth Rogers-Altmann passed peacefully, fitting for a lady who spent her whole life bringing peace to others... through her elegant congeniality and her uniquely vibrant paintings.

I'm so fortunate to have known you, Ruth, and will never forget our times together in the greatest city on earth. All my love. -G

Monday, October 5, 2015

Live Long and Proper

Is there a proper and an improper way to live?

Yes, I propose, and I'll go so far as to say that there is one overarching wrong way to live and one overarching right way to live. Before I tell you what they are let’s hear what some average humans have to say about the subject:

Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it… to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

George Bernard Shaw: “Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.”

William Shakespeare: “This life… is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Oscar Wilde: “Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.”

Albert Einstein: “There are two ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other as though everything is a miracle.”

Johann Wolfgang Goethe: “As soon as you trust yourself you will know how to live.”

Helen Keller: “Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”

Lao Tzu: “Don't resist… let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Socrates: “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

The way I see it none of the above can make any sense unless you live your life in total surrender to the need to live in the known. Those who convince themselves that around every corner they are in complete knowledge of what lies in front of them, and that they have it all under control, are precisely the ones who never do.

Those who admit uncertainty—and in their uncertainty fervently and relentlessly seek certainty—are the ones who are living properly.

As Alan Watts puts it: “In giving away the control, you’ve got it.”