Happy Birthday, La Lupe

Tomorrow, December 23, would have been La Lupe’s 73 birthday.  She died in ’92, only 53 years old.

La Lupe was probably the greatest salsera of her time.  Born in Cuba, she lived in The Bronx and was the first Latin singer to sell out Madison Square Garden.  La Lupe’s career reaching dizzying heights.  She lived hard and her world ended in tragedy, basically crippled, and destitute and wheelchair bound.  

So why write about an old time Cuban junkie that no one knows about anymore?  La Lupe was a Real New Yorker.  She did not suffer fools, and mouthed off to Fidel and got her butt kicked out of Cuba.  She came to The Bronx with nothing and used her talent to get to the very TOP of her profession.

And she was an A-R-T-I-S-T.  If you like Janis Joplin, give a listen to La Lupe.  “Puro Teatro” and “Que Te Pedi” for starters.  Use Spotify, or Calcify, or Mystify, or whatever methodology you choose.  Then listen to Janis’ “Maybe.”

What’s that?  You don’t speak Spanish?  No matter: Listen to the pain in her voice.  Feel the raw emotion.  She lived life and could sing from experience. 

Feliz cumpleanos, baby. Tu es la mejor!



Could you please play just ONE of her records — I know your audience would dig it.  Her ballads are just heartbreaking.  “Puro Teatro” runs under three minutes.  Please, pretty please, play just one from La Lupe to celebrate a MAJOR talent from our Bronx.

People With Guns Kill People


Mayor Mike Bloomberg is leading the charge on gun violence and new gun laws.  He is putting President Obama’s feet to the fire.  He is uniting the country’s mayors in his quest.  Clyde Haberman’s story in today’s issue of The New York Times spells it out.  All good. 

That said, I agree with David Brooks who, on the PBS News Hour recently, said Bloomberg is the wrong point person on national gun control.  I rarely agree with Brooks but this time he’s got it right.  The message is correct but the messenger is perceived as what he is: eastern, urbane, big-city, Jewish, and therefore “out of touch” with Gun Lover Nation. 

I recommend recruitment of an (ideally) Republican, high-profile, white male, preferably an avid sportsman.  He should then lead a team of acolytes, composed of current and ex-athletes, and stars of filmed and recorded entertainment.  Get some Country/Western singers, a former QB, an action adventure movie hero to help spread the word.  We need people who have a high approval rating, from the people who need to be convinced, in order to turn the tide.

Bloomberg has it right, but he’s a “New Yorker” to many in the country and, as we Real New Yorkers know, NYC is not considered a “real” part of the U.S. by many — it’s considered a strange, wicked aberration.

The Triumph of Renee Katz

Here’s a story  http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/not-silenced-33-years-after-her-own-subway-nightmare/ from a Real New Yorker, ABOUT a Real New Yorker. Remember these things:
— it’s the Triborough Bridge, not the “RFK”
— you don’t put pineapple slices on pizza
— blueberries don’t belong in bagels
— paying retail is for saps
— Anything can happen to anyone, at any time
— New York is a big, rough, tough city and even though crime is way down, you have to lock your doors, keep your head up, and try not to look like the next victim.
— People like Renee Katz are what NYC is all about: keep pushing, keep giving, slurp down life and never stop going forward.

Hey, Long Time No See

Yeah, it’s been awhile.  Let’s see, where do I start: went to the Middle East, had a swell summer, had a back explosion on September 7, did innumerable tests, got my back operated on, learned to properly use a cane, kept working all the while, survived Hurricane Sandy, lived through the Presidential election cycle, wrote three stories (To Bake Bourekas…Crackers…Lower East Side Sunday) and started a fourth, commenced planning for a new non-fiction work, solidified relations with current clients and laid groundwork for two others, completed online holiday shopping in record time, paid final quarterly estimated taxes EARLY, had the great opportunity to do two readings (Freddy’s and KGB Bar) with dearest family and friends in presence AND got the chance to see my darling wife onstage acting in TWO events.  And got goosebumps listening to the recent exploits of my 25-year old son as he navigates life in the 21st Century. And re-united with old friends AND made so many new friends here in the Boogie Down AND really started to dig-in regarding my understanding of the Bible.

And, oh yes, work proceeds apace for publication of HOME FRONT: A COLLECTION, in March of 2013, with a super cover (see art below) by uber-photographer William A. Loeb.

So yeah: overall, life’s been, by turns, challenging, painful, scary, rewarding and fun.

And that’s the way it should be for The Real New Yorker, n’est-ce pas mon petites?