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  • What It Was Like

    A Novel of Love and Consequence

    "It's really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They're right. I did some extremely foolish things; I'm the first to say it. And they've left me in jail and alone."

    So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged,
    and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.

    More

    "Once I started reading I had to finish the book as fast as I could." 
    - Stan Chervin, screenwriter. Academy Award nominee for Moneyball

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Peter Seth's Occasional Blog
  • "The Very Best People"

    photo 5

    Donald Trump and I have one thing in common: we both like to associate with “the very best people.”

    But lately, I’ve been having better luck than Donald.

    Here’s a list of some of Trump’s “very best people” and what’s happened to them in the first year of his presidency:

    Reince Priebus -- White House chief of staff (resigned)
    Rob Porter -- White House staff secretary (resigned)
    David Sorenson – White House speechwriter (resigned)
    Tom Price -- Secretary of Health and Human Services (resigned)
    Stephen Bannon -- Chief strategist (mutually agreed departure)
    Mike Flynn -- National security advisor (resigned and indicted)
    Sean Spicer -- White House press secretary, White House director of communications (resigned)
    Brenda Fitzgerald -- Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (resigned)
    Taylor Weyeneth -- White House liaison to Office of National Drug Control Policy (resigned)
    Carl Higbie -- Corporation for National and Community Service chief of external affairs (resigned)
    Omarosa Manigault Newman -- Assistant; Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison (resigned)
    Keith Schiller -- Director of Oval Office Operations (resigned)
    Sebastian Gorka -- National security aide (unclear)
    Andrew McCabe -- FBI deputy director (resigned)
    Carl Icahn -- Special adviser to the president on regulatory reform (resigned)
    White House Manufacturing Advisory Council (dissolved)
    White House Economic Advisory Council (dissolved)
    Anthony Scaramucci -- Director of communications (fired)
    Derek Harvey -- National Security Council Middle East advisor (fired)
    Michael Short -- Assistant press secretary (resigned)
    Walter Shaub -- Director of the Office of Government Ethics (resigned)
    Mike Dubke -- Director of communications (resigned)
    K.T. McFarland -- Deputy national security advisor (reassigned)
    James B. Comey Jr. -- FBI director (fired)
    Angella Reid -- White House chief usher (fired)
    Katie Walsh -- Deputy White House chief of staff (resigned)
    Craig Deare --National Security Council senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs (fired)
    Travis Kalanick -- Advisory council (resigned)
    Sally Yates -- Acting attorney general (fired)
    Rachel Brand -- Associate attorney general (resigned)
    All members of Trump’s Arts and Humanities Council -- Paula Boggs, Chuck Close, Richard Cohen, Fred Goldring, Howard L. Gottlieb, Vicki Kennedy, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anne Luzzatto, Thom Mayne, Kalpen Modi, Eric Ortner, Ken Solomon, Caroline Taylor, Jill Cooper Udall, Andrew Weinstein, John Lloyd Young (resigned)

    And this is only a partial list … with many more to come, for sure. Trump’s staff is a joke, but so is he. Who would want to work for this man???

    And so, with this disaster unfolding everyday in Washington, I try to combat negativity and sadness by surrounding myself with my idea of the “very best people.”

    I’ve been spending a lot of time with these people –

    LEONARD BERNSTEIN

    A few weeks ago, the Tiny Goddess and I saw CANDIDE at the Los Angeles Opera, which I preceded and followed with a huge binge of Bernstein listening. When I grew up in the Fifties, Bernstein was “Mr. Music” in New York. He was already a double-legend, from Broadway and the New York Philharmonic. He was our “Lenny.”

    I split my listening between the original Broadway cast album that I grew up on (with Barbara Cook and Robert Rounseville) and Bernstein’s complete, approved concert version (with June Anderson and Jerry Hadley.) Both are delightful. The original has an unsurpassed freshness, but the concert version has all the music.

    The LA Opera CANDIDE was OK. The music was spectacular (conducted by our treasured musical director James Conlon, a New York boy himself—Irish, from Douglaston in Queens, like John McEnroe), the book was problematical as it has been since the show was written in 1956 by Lillian Hellman. All future books-tinkers—Hugh Wheeler, John Caird, etc. – haven’t the solved the problem of a story that galumphs from one episode to another and then just ends with an unearned “revelation.”

    But, oh that music!!! Listen to this –

    Bernstein conducting the Overture to CANDIDE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=422-yb8TXj8

    Kristen Chenoweth’s remarkable “Glitter and Be Gay”— lyrics by Dorothy Parker
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnJIMSy-o4k

    Quartet at the End of Act I
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQHAZrKBBqE

    “Make Our Garden Grow” – conducted by Bernstein himself, with Jerry Hadley and June Anderson

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgXMxhMhYm4

    I remember how excited my parents were when they saw the original production of WEST SIDE STORY, and I remember sitting in front of the TV watching Lenny’s “Young People’s Concerts.” He was charismatic, enthusiastic, and brilliant. Like Gershwin before him, he embodied the musical soul of New York City.

    I still think that WEST SIDE STORY is some of the greatest music ever written by an American composer.

    Bernstein conducting the Symphonic Dances from WEST SIDE STORY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srb2EyvTSGw&t=7s

    Reri Grist sings “SOMEWHERE” from the original WEST SIDE STORY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80-DtChQ39U

    and for good measure

    Tony Bennett and Bill Evans – “SOME OTHER TIME” from ON THE TOWN
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql6tDJacCRY

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Lunch With Louie

Watch my award-winning short film Lunch With Louie

Currently I'm

Reading...

everyday THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ... a nice long biography of ELIZABETH I  ... the new New Yorker and the new New York Review of Books

Listening to...

Deezer! ... Howard Stern and Thom Hartmann always ... lots of COSI, lots of KEITH JARRETT ...  ... too much Pandora (lots of Chopin) ... and tons of Van the Man ... and Sturgill Simpson and Emmylou Harris and Gillian Welch!

Watching...

As much news as I can stomach ... Rick Steves' Europe and SEINFELD (comfort watching) ... Turner Classic Movies ... and the struggles of the Lakers and Clippers