Tag Archives: Woodland Hills

The Passing of The Pocket Puma

CalibannerThere are domestic cats. And there are wild cats.

And there was, and ever will be, Caliban.

IMG_2660Historians tell us that cats were cult animals in ancient Egypt, but it’s believed that cats may have been domesticated as early as the Neotlithic Period (7500 BC). As for wild cats, there are still a handful of savage undomesticated felines in our neighborhood.

An article in the August 14, 2014 edition of The Los Angeles Times, noted that there are still 8 to 10 mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. Our Caliban considered himself among their wild number.

But, in fact, our Caliban was unique. He was a domesticated wild cat — The Pocket Puma: an animal as comfortable in the wild and he was in our den.

10898150_10205732743743608_8290608428212790863_nBorn on the Fourth of July, Caliban came into our lives sixteen and half years ago. For 15 years he lived the adventurous life of a bold indoor-outdoor cat in the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, slaying rabbits, gophers, rats, mice, birds, and lizards – all the while frustrating the murderous designs of the coyote hordes who sought his demise.

And yet, in our home – where he chose to nap, occasionally dine, and accept our petting and adoration – this savage killer was always the cutest and cuddliest of pets.

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Caliban, as usual, joins the party.

I can only imagine what a fleeing rabbit saw in Caliban’s eyes in those last bloody moments before he became yet another trophy to be laid upon our doorstep – but my wife and daughters and I saw only the tame and affectionate boy who became, over the years, our loyal and devoted son.

10882313_10205891866204422_7025027669068949192_nBetween Christmas 2014 and New Year’s 2015, Caliban went to Kitty Valhalla. He passed away in his home, surrounded by his family, and was buried beneath the hills upon which he hunted with unrivaled ferocity and flair.

We’re having a hard time saying goodbye to such a good, good boy. But our very dear friend, Brad Hall, has penned a tribute that says a great deal of what we feel about our dear, sweet, savage Caliban.

SONNET FOR CALIBAN

Escape from death’s dark shadow Caliban,

And hear thy praises sweetly named and sung;

Homage must be giv’n; now, the best I can,

Your song I’ll sing, tho sadness has my tongue.

Courage! Honor! How can a cat have these?

Virtue! Kindness! All yours, and in excess!

Famous your kills, brought home in twos and threes!

Little bloody trophies to your success.

Your philosophy – what you tried to do,

Four footed Adonis, whiskered Ajax,

Live your life beside, but without us too;

Living room and forest both hold your tracks.

In mem’ry your spirit will play some part

But you, oh Caliban! you were all heart.Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 10.53.35 PM

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“The Vic & Paul Show” DVD

“The Vic & Paul Show” experience is now available on DVD, in classic early 1960’s black & white.  The entire show, from musical director Steve Rashid’s elegant and jazzy introduction to the passionate show-closing love tango between Antonin Scalia and Sonia Sotomayor can be yours for just $5.00. (Basically the cost of production and delivery.)

Host your own “Vic & Paul Show” house party this holiday season – or stuff someone’s Christmas stocking with more than an hour of music, merriment, and comic mayhem — written and performed in June 2010 at the Push Lounge in Woodland Hills, California by Paul Barrosse, Victoria Zielinski and Steve Rashid.

TO ORDER YOUR DVD, PLEASE REPLY WITH YOUR NAME, NUMBER OF DVDs, AND MAILING ADDRESS TO THIS POST. (Send your check after you get your DVDs!)

Allow a week or two for delivery.

“The Vic & Paul Show” was captured on camera by Robert “Robby Gandhi” Mendel, Rockin’ Ronny Crawford and Daniel “Yamo” Rashid — edited by Paul Barrosse.

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A Salute to Walter Cronkite

“And that’s the way it is.”

Those of us who are of a certain age remember the days when there were only three TV networks (and those two weird UHF channels) – and network news was the Big Deal every night. In those years, back when the network evening news was an important daily event, Walter Cronkite was the Big Man Behind the Anchor Desk.

Walter Cronkite, the anchorman of CBS Evening News, was the most trusted man in America. Seriously. He really was. And he deserved our trust. After all, it was Walter Cronkite who went to Vietnam and said, essentially, game over: we’re losing and we should get out. (Can you imagine Wolf Blitzer going out on that limb?)

So, what’s happened to TV news since the days of the legendary Walter Cronkite?

Here’s a musical reflection on the gradual ruin of television news from “The Vic & Paul Show”, written and performed by Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski — with musical director Steve Rashid.

The show was directed by Shelly Goldstein and performed in June 2010 at Push Lounge in Woodland Hills, CA.

This is the final installment of clips from “The Vic & Paul Show” available for free on this blog and on YouTube. The entire show will be available very soon on DVD. If you’re interested in getting a copy of the DVD, let me know by e-mail or via comment to this blog entry.

I’ll send you a copy of the whole show for $5.00 – which should just about cover the cost. (It’s the cheapest, coolest, and funniest Christmas gift ever!) You can send me a check when you get the DVD.

And that’s the way it is…

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Mass Media Medea

What would happen if Medea was making the media rounds to promote her sensational new book?

No, not Tyler Perry’s “Madea”…

I’m talking about the infamous ancient Medea: the barbarian demigoddess of Greek mythology.

Medea’s lurid autobiography – a story of adventure, romance, scandal, revenge and murder — would be as big a bestseller today as it was back when the Oracle at Delphi drew bigger ratings than Fox News.

The same book publishers, news media and television networks that shamelessly flog the latest tell-all tomes by the famous and fallen would love to put Medea on the talk show circuit.

In recent years, the American public has shown either an increasing appetite for scandal or a short memory or both.

It’s one thing for author Andrew Morton to cash in by writing Monica’s Story, the authorized biography of Monica Lewinsky – but quite another for Monica herself to parade in front of the media like she’d actually accomplished something other than being a Friend of Bill with Benefits.

And while it took lots of chutzpah for a philandering, ethically disgraced politician like New Gingrich to write a book called Rediscovering God in America – the media hacks who interviewed Newt on his book tour (like Fox’s Sean Hannity) rarely, if ever, bothered to mention Newt’s serial adultery or the fact that he was the first Speaker of the House in history to be disciplined for ethical misconduct.

It’s even more ironic when you realize that Newt’s co-author, his third wife Callista Gingrich, was the woman he was having an affair with during the Congressional investigation of Bill Clinton and the Lewinsky scandal. And, how’s this for scandalous symmetry? Callista is 23 years younger than Newt: Monica is 27 years younger than Bill. Betcha Sean Hannity didn’t point that out.

And, like rubber-neckers at the scene of a traffic accident, there’s a segment of the public that just can’t ignore a book like Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour, in which conservative former mega-church pastor Ted Haggard’s wife, Gayle Haggard, explained why she stayed with the holy rolling hypocrite after a 2006 scandal revealed his drug use and “massages” by a male prostitute.

Still, compared to Medea, these scandals are tame and not likely to stay anywhere near as long on the bestseller list. After all, Medea’s story has been a classic in print for more than 2,400 years.

 

The basics of Medea’s tale are headline-making stuff indeed. The daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, Medea was the granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later married the celebrated hero Jason (the guy with Argonauts). After helping Jason win immortal fame by bringing back the Golden Fleece, she settled down with him and they had two kids. Then, things broke bad for Medea.

According to Euripides in his play Medea, Jason dumped Medea for a younger woman, (Just like Newt Gingrich did.) It was William Congreve who wrote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” That would make a good title for Medea’s tell-all book: an account of how she got her revenge on Creon, Glauce and Jason.

How did Medea get her revenge? If you don’t already know, hold on. I’m coming to that…

In recent decades, the character of Medea has been portayed by a trio of the greatest Greek actresses: Maria Callas, Melina Mercouri — and Victoria Zielinski.

In 1970, the opera singer Maria Callas starred in Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini’s film adaptation of Medea. And in the 1978 film A Dream of Passion – the great Melina Mercouri (who was such a Greek national treasure they put her on a postage stamp) played as an actress portraying Medea who seeks out a mother who, like Medea, recently killed her children.

As for Victoria Zielinski, she was one of two exceptional women to address the Medea role in notable Los Angeles area productions in the past year. The three-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening played Medea in UCLA Live’s staging of the classic at the Freud Playhouse last fall. Bening got great reviews. But Victoria got a lot more laughs.

Here’s Victoria playing Medea in “The Vic & Paul Show” this past June at the Push Lounge in Woodland Hills.

The video clip doesn’t quite capture Drew McCoy’s great lighting plot, Emilia Barrosse’s timing on the light cues, or Shelly Goldstein’s dramatic direction — which made the live experience very special. But Victoria’s bravura performance blends Callas, Mercouri and Arianna Huffiington into a Medea to remember…

Which brings us back to the opening question: What would happen if Medea was making the media rounds to promote her sensational new book?

 

Jesse James’ tattoo-laden mistress is actually scarier than Medea.

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Scalia & Sotomayor: A Judicial Tango

In May of 2009, President Obama nominated an unheralded federal appeals court judge named Sonia Sotomayor for an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court, replacing retired Justice David Souter.

Soon, there was the now-obligatory pre-Senate-confirmation-hearing political dustup. The right wing questioned Sotomayor’s objectivity – pointing to the following statement…

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Before long, Sonia Sotomayor was a household name – and despite the “wise Latina” controversy, her nomination was confirmed by the Senate that August by a vote of 68–31.

But how would Sotomayor’s presence on the Supreme Court affect the court’s political balance?

And how would the court’s conservative “white males” deal with this “wise Latina woman” and “the richness of her experiences”?

Most interestingly, how would Justice Antonin Scalia react to the new woman on the bench? Pundits noted that Scalia and Sotomayor are both New Yorkers and lifelong Yankees fans. But would that common ground be all that united them?

Would Sonia help counter Scalia’s ultra-conservative power in the Supreme Court chambers? Or would Scalia draw Sotomayor to the dark side? As my wife Victoria and I began writing “The Vic & Paul” show in January 2010, we knew we had to address this supreme relationship question.

Here, then, is another musical sketch from “The Vic & Paul Show”, performed in June 2010 at Push Lounge in Woodland Hills, California.

Can love bridge the ideological gap between the Left and the Right? We take you now to the dark and shadowy chambers of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia…

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Last Call for Love & Laughter…

Final weekend of The Vic & Paul Show

Saturday night, June 26th is sold out. Tickets are still available for Friday and Sunday. For reservations:http://vicandpaulshow.doattend.com/. Tickets for tonight (Friday night’s show) are not available online — but you can get them at the door. (We’ll get you in somehow!)

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One Last Week to Join the Fun, June 24-27…

Click on image for a quick link to tix.

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