I disagree. Congress is loaded with a mixture of fools and idiots combined with a few cunning bastards. Few true intellects. Bill's presence there would be a refreshing change.
Thank you for posting such a nice tribute to Al. He had been helping us at the Crandell Theatre in Chatham for the past year and we will forever owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Al was truly a one-of-a-kind guy, and I am glad someone is acknowledging his passing. I especially appreciated the pictures! Just wanted to say thank you.
Mary Gail Biebel
I'm sure I speak on behalf of Al's entire family when I say thank you for such a heartfelt piece.
This is a wonderful piece on a wonderfully unique and terrific guy. I will never forgive the Mahaiwe Theater for treating him with such a lack of respect. I believe it took a lot of the air out of Al.
Great tribute to one of the many but one of the few unique characters of GB. Al was a part of entire different era of GB, one of strange stuff but plenty of great memories. On to the next feature film, Al!!!!
Frank ‘The Deli’ T
Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute. I worked with Al at the Mahaiwe many many years ago, during those cold winters with popcorn on the floors, during the wonderful film festivals, and was there to help organize and celebrate the Mahaiwe's 75th. Al was my mentor, my colleague, my friend and, for a little while, my love. My heart is breaking today.
Leslie Haywood Ceanga
This is a heart-breaker. There are so many Al Schwartz stories to be told and shared. How much we all loved that theater no matter how cold and down at heel. Al made us believe it belonged to us when not much else did. Such a loss.
To Captain Al:
We called each "captain" for years, years we shared with each other in a most special way. I remember my dear friend Al as tears come to my eyes. How i loved his wit, his special way of "getting to the point" with me. Calling him a reincarnation of P. T. Barnum, he would laugh but i knew that he knew what i meant. Cold nights at the Mahaiwe were always special. In the upstairs, in his haven, the projection room, we talked about everything. Our conversations, often "lively",were about baseball, the wars of this earth, life's many challenges, and food. He loved good food and drink, children, and just about anything that stirred our interests. My heart pulses as I remember watching him show my son how to throw a baseball the right way... Yes Al was a very good baseball player in his early years and he loved the game. Enjoying sumptuous meals together with my family was always a special treat. Al, you touched me and my family's life in such a profound way. I cannot thank you enough for being who you were on this earth. I and so many others will dearly miss you. This is written with great love to you. Thank you, my dear friend, for sharing your life with me.
I want to thank David Scribner for the fabulous photo that accompanies Mickey's article. Merry's boots, bag and hair perfectly match Gypsy Joynt's facade, and she & Bear are just the pair to make Mickey's point. Bravo!
I think if people were given tickets for not stopping for pedestrians and pedestrians were given tickets for jaywalking, it might help alleviate the problem. I only know of one person who actually got a $100 ticket for jaywalking in GB and that was many years ago. I work on Main St. and cross it several times a day, very carefully.
Kate Kane Naylor
I find it curious that most of us are at times pedestrian and at times (often within minutes) driver, so wouldn't be mutual consideration stand to reason? Or maybe it represents our collective identity crisis?"
Lynnette Lucy Najimy
Sounds as if it has only gotten worse in GB. I was astonished to see in Berkeley, CA, that crosswalks are almost sacred and everyone slows down and stops. I say bring back the crossing guards. They knew what they were doing and with a pair of white gloves could get folks to stop. Stay safe, you pedestrians.
So true. You truly take your life into your own hands every time you attempt to cross the street. And the number of people that GLARE at you for using the cross walk when ITS YOUR TURN to use the street, is really appalling. And people think I'm lazy for driving from one end of the street to the other. Frankly, it's for my own personal safety!
Few Americans know about David Emanuel Hickman. The media jabbers about Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum and neglects David Emanuel Hickman.
After attack in Ramadi, Iraq 2006, U.S. Army photo: SFC David D. Isakson
For all their rhetoric about standing tall and tough and fighting the fight against Islamic extremism, the politicians do their talking surrounded by the trappings of wealth and power. They are the 1%. They are safe. David Emanuel Hickman went out to do their work and died. The Defense Department says he died in Baghdad on November 18, 2011 “of injuries suffered after encountering an improvised explosive device.”
The Army Times called Hickman “the last American fighter killed in combat” in Iraq. To our ever-lasting shame, Hickman will be remembered by his family and friends in North Carolina and by those who watched him playing outside linebacker for Northeast Guilford High School, but will never be known by the American people. There will be no parade past Wall Street for David Emanuel Hickman nor for Marine Pvt. Jonathan Lee Gifford, our first casualty.
As 2011 comes to a close, it’s fair to say Occupy has occupied the land.
Graphic Image: Alexandra Clotfelter
Far from the opening and closing bells of Wall Street, and its powerful bull, here in the southern Berkshires, Occupy Berkshires demonstrates each Sunday (excepting this Sunday) from 1 PM to 2:45 PM in front of Great Barrington’s Town Hall on Main Street. It then holds its General Assembly at 3 PM at the Quaker Meeting House on 280 Main Road (Route 23 towards Monterey.) There are similar groups in Pittsfield and North Adams.
It’s easy to get rhetorical about the extent and impact of Occupy but a recent study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) found occupy movements in 143 small towns and cities in California alone.
“Big cities got the movement early. The spatial depth of the movement to small towns is not well-known,” said Christopher Chase-Dunn, a distinguished professor of sociology who is known internationally for his research of social movements.
People in medium and small-sized towns are occupying space, organizing events, and lending their voices to the movement in their own towns, graduate student Michaela Curran-Strange added. “They are focusing on local issues as well as national and regional ones.”
I’ve been very sad lately, having lost another dear friend to cancer, Dr. Paul Epstein, Pablo to me, Rufus to his family. Paul was one of the world’s leading experts on the ever-increasing effects of the climate crisis on disease. Pablo was a constant, continuing inspiration to me. He was energetic, sympathetic, and so very quick to smile and laugh. As cranky and curmudgeonly as I am, Paul was happy and gracious.
Dr, Paul Epstein
I met him in New York a long time ago and watched him study and become a doctor and marry my friend, Andy. He practiced medicine, wrote, taught, and organized. He worked for the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard Medical School. I am sure his kindness to patients and students, to friends and family, and the great work he’s done lives on.
(This column, without illustrations, appeared in the Berkshire Record on Thursday, December 1, 2011. This morning my very conservative friend Anthony told me I should start packing. This time I went too far; I’d probably be deported. We argue and joke all the time about politics. He jokes about retiring to a small imaginary village in Sicily where he and his lovely wife and his new-found donkey don’t have to deal with spam, the e-mail version not the lunch meat. He thinks this column might get me to Sicily before he gets there.)
Nobody asked me, but I have a suggestion for the Occupy Movement. Be audacious. Dare to dream big. I see that Michael Moore has his ideas: increasing taxes on the rich, limiting corporate contributions, a single-payer health plan. All good ideas that I support. But still too small.
I say that because the Arctic is melting; and Antarctica is next. Because it’s too late for little changes. You can argue that these reforms will greatly change the lives of many. But Nature is telling us loud and clear: the time is now. Actually, the time was decades ago, but we humans are so very slow to learn.
I’ve been a dissident for a very long time so I may not have enough audacity left. But the folks who Occupied the Verizon building using their nifty video projector, flashing the slogans of the movement on valuable New York City corporate real estate, well, they know audacious. The young folks with their cellphones, all live streaming video of police misconduct, they have audacity.
Remember the mythic and mystical friendly neighborhood policeman. He is alive and well in the form of Retired Police Captain Ray Lewis of the Philadelphia Police Department. Captain Lewis was recently arrested as part of activities at Occupy Wall Street. Here is what he told the very hardworking streaming videographer, Tim Pool, of wearetheother99:
And then there’s the inside look at the creative projectionists of the OccupyTheVerizonBuilding. I was able to watch some of this live on New York City television as it was happening:
And then for those of you who once took English or taught English, here’s how the brave English faculty at UC Davis responded to the immoral and anti-collegial acts of the Administration. This is what was posted on their webpage:
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“A Red Family: Junius, Gladys & Barbara Scales” by Mickey Friedman
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