BREAK A LEG

Front of Farrell's (Pat Feenton)No, no, no,  I’m not telling you to go out and break someone’s leg because they said something about you behind your back or maybe they owe you money.  There’s a universal phrase “Break a leg” in theatre used to wish a performer “good luck.”

Journalist, playwright, good friend and writing mentor Pat Fenton will be at Farrell’s this coming Sunday along with actors Jack O’Connell and Honor Molloy. The trio will take us back to Pat’s old Windsor Terrace neighborhood performing a dramatic reading of three scenes from his play “STOOPDREAMER.”

Pat intimates the dreams, trials and travails of just ordinary people trying to find the American dream in post WWII.

Irish-American stories about a lost part of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, that existed around 17th Street and 9th Avenue before Robert Moses drove the Prospect Expressway through the very heart of it in 1953, and divided it forever.

FARRELL’S BAR
215 Prospect Park West
Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn. 11215

Sunday, April 13th. 2 P.M. to 2:45.

Admission is free.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry, like Pat told me, “just pour a pint and pretend you are back in Farrell’s for the reading.”

Yo Pat, Break a Leg brother!

OUT IN THE STREETS

IMG_1585I miss the days of hanging out in the boys schoolyard at Holy Name playing basketball with all my friends and kids I didn’t know, but after a few games of three-on-three, we became life-long buddies. ..Thanks for the competition.

Hey Cubie, make us laugh; you were the best at it. Remember the time when the malted spilled on a certain someone during the summer league? Or how about Danny’s dog whistle?

I see you Timmy Kemp jumping so high through the air that you were talking to the lord.

Forte Bellino, can I get a ride with you down to St. Francis? Miss your conversations. Say hi to “Fonz” for me.

Curtis Walker with your afro and pick dug in the back taking the ball to the rack and scoring in traffic. No one could stop you.

I miss guys like Sean Riley who was one of the toughest SOB’s I hung out with; despite being a tough guy, he had the biggest heart in the neighborhood…Thanks for your protection and your friendship.

I miss the “older” guys who hung out in Farrell’s. They hit you with their wisdom and wit…Thanks for showing the way.

Yo, Hooley, gimme a container to go! What? I’m not 21? So what…

Ok, I’ll go to the bodega on 8th avenue and 15th street for a six-pack. Take it to the park and get drunk.

I miss my basketball coaches at Holy Name…Thanks for teaching me the game and that it’s OK to have passion for something.

CYO – riding the trains to away games. OLPH, OLA, Regina Pacis, St. Finbar…

Danny, thanks for making me develop a left-hand in the fourth grade; I took that lesson and taught my daughter to shoot left handed lay-ups. I didn’t see many kids on her team shooting them left-handed.

I miss the teachers at Holy Name. You taught me my A,B,C’s…Thanks for always being there. I DON’T miss anyone at the school who hit me with the wooden paddle.

Yo Brother Thomas, wish I could sit down and listen to some of your stories.

Imagine if I moved to Greenwood Lake to live with my cousins? Don’t laugh, I actually wanted to at one point in my childhood.

Father Shine, why did you always throw me out of the boys schoolyard late at night? It sucked being at home, the yard was my refuge. When I was there it felt like I was in Madison Square Garden.

Andy Purdy, how about those late nights after the CBS west coast game on TV heading down to PS 154′s and playing ball until 3 AM? No one ever threw us out.

Yo G, let’s hang out down in your basement and listen to records.

I had so much fun in the third grade playing for Georgie Rauthier; he was the best coach any boy could have.

Joe Lee, forget the Yankee games, how about shooting in the yard at 8AM on Saturday mornings?

To all my buddies who rushed the gate with me at 15th street.

Mr. Liquor Store man; I was 16 when you were selling me Wild Irish Rose.

Farrell’s football on Sunday mornings down Farragut Road. Duffer, thanks for the numerous rides to and from.

Officer Doyle, thanks for trying to set us straight. Now can you pay me back for pouring out my beer.

Mrs. Deere, sorry I cursed at you when you yelled at me for crossing the avenue…the light was red. You raised three great kids in Richie, Mickey and Eileen. They were always nice to me.

Tommy Houk, loved playing whiffle ball with you on Howard Place.

Yo Charlie Alberti, how often did you work out? You were great at baseball and basketball. Bet you would have made a great football player too.

Jamie and Timmy Rooney, think we need to choose up a game of stickball. Do kids still do that?

Mary Kay, how about “the last dance?” If not, I’ll take a game of ‘Around the World’ in the yard.

Bobby and Gerard Trapp, I don’t have a ball, can I walk down your steps and use one? I see about six or seven of them. I promise to return it.

Mom I’ll go to the store but please don’t make me use the food stamps.

Dad, oh shit, the bum’s not here. Mom, where is he?

Playing ball down at East 5th with Jackie and Billy Ryan.  Can’t forget my guys Turk, Randy and Guido.

Hey Joe, can I pay you tomorrow for a slice and a coke?

Wanna go to Bonali’s and get a slush?

Gerry Coles, you wanna race? Better yet, let’s have a 100 yard dash on ninth avenue; you vs Charlie Kawas.

Joey Corrar, who you like tonight in the NCAA tournament? “Keep an eye on Valvano…”

Let’s go down to fifth avenue, I wanna buy some records. Forte, I’ll be sure to pick up a racing form for you.

Oh shit, there she goes again, I gotta ask her out. She’ll probably say no.

Let’s go to Lenny’s for a slice. “I can go for a slice, you got wheels?”

Hey Laura Cox, it’s raining, let’s go hang out in your apartment.

Who wants to go over to the city?

Bishop Ford.

Why did we waste all those eggs on Halloween?

Mustaseed in Bay Ridge…I was 17, the lady I danced with was in her 30′s.

You need your sidewalk shoveled?

I forgot to do my homework. Shit, the bell rang, I’m late for school again.

Track practice at 3:30. We have to meet at the 10th avenue entrance of the park.

Sister Joan, hope all is well.

Midwood field, track meet. Edward R. Murrow right across the street.

Mr. Mussa, miss your enthusiasm.

John Jay, not once, not twice, but three times a student!

The Grady Special, Coney Island Avenue.

Miss Monzillo, you were always a great sight in the morning.

When it rained, we had so many leaks in our ceiling. Mom put pots on the floor and when they filled we had to dump them in the tub.

L’Mour with George Brossard…I was 17.

Breakin’ night.

Basketball Digest.

I’ll see you in the NBA.

I hate mom’s new boyfriend.

Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com

IN MY TIME OF DYING

Go ahead, say it, when you read the title of this entry you think of the Led Zeppelin song, right?

“OH MY JESUS, OH MY JESUS, OH MY JESUS!”

I feel like I’m going to die right now.

They have me surrounded. There’s no escape. I’m fast and all but there’s no way out.

There’s about five or six of them.

They’re all bigger than me. I’m 15, they look about 17, maybe 18?

I don’t have a chance.

FUCK!

All I’m doing is walking through the park over by Hippie Hill looking for a spot to crash.  I decided to hit the grass and rest. A few cars are out on Prospect Park South West. I see the 68 bus pulling out on it’s way down Coney Island Avenue.

Sitting down on the grass is a big mistake!

Mom threw me out of the house a few hours ago.  She’s always on my case.

Take the garbage out.

Make your bed.

Brush your teeth.

Eat your dinner.

Get off the phone.

Blah, Blah, Blah…

It’s a school-night, a little before midnight. All my friends have gone home. I have nowhere to go. I was thinking of going over to the boys schoolyard but I’m drunk and have a hard time walking. I also smoked a few joints tonight, so I’m in no shape to go anywhere.

Think I’ll rest my weary bones right here but I’m fucked.

“Give us your money,” one of them says.

I stand still, frozen, staring at him.

“You heard ‘em, cough up your dough, bro!” another says.

“I ain’t got no money,” I reply.

It’s not what they wanna hear.

One kid steps to me and punches me in the face, I go down and hit the ground.

I wish my friends were here right now.

Why can’t Officer Doyle roll up now like he always does when we’re drinking a can of beer out of a brown paper bag.

No one ever said, “Stay out of the park at night,” Why should they? Prospect Park was safe at night. No one fucked with you, especially if you were with your friends. But now I’m alone.

I get up to my knees, I can feel blood dripping down my face.

Looking up another kid walks towards me and looks down at me.

“Give us your money and we’ll leave you alone!”

“I told you, I don’t have any, I’m broke.”

Now it’s his turn as he kicks me in the chest, I fall backwards.

All I can hear is these guys laughing.

“Check his pockets!”

“Yeah, empty this punk’s pockets and get his money!”

I’m on my back looking up and all I see is the dark sky and some stars.

One kid starts to slide his hand in my pocket. I don’t put up a fight. I figure if he goes through them, and finds nothing, he’ll leave me alone.

“This chump is broke!”

“Told ya,” I say as I’m trying to get up. Bad move. The kid pushes me back.

“Let’s kick his ass,” one kid cries out.

All I can hear are voices. I have no idea who’s who.

They begin to take turns punching and kicking me. One time I watched ‘West Side Story’ and now I feel like I’m part of the cast; getting jumped.

A sneaker in my rib cage, a fist on my head, a punch in the face; holy shit,  I’m getting my ass kicked and there’s nothing I can do about it.  I remember someone once said if you ever get jumped by a bunch of kids just roll up into a ball and cover your head.

I try that, it doesn’t seem to work. I wish they would leave me alone. I didn’t do anything to them.

After a ton of blows from these guys they finally stop. I’m on the grass almost certain I’m about to die. I can’t feel any part of my body. I see them walking away and can hear them laughing. At least I’m not blind and can still hear.  They walk towards the road in the park and pass the horse corral.  I can barely make out what they look like. I have no idea where they come from or where they’re going.

In my time of dying, want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do is take my body home

Well, well, well, so I can die easy…

Jesus, gonna make up my dyin’ bed.
Meet me, Jesus, meet me. Meet me in the middle of the air
If my wings should fail me, Lord. Please meet me with another pair

YOU DON’T OWN ME

Thanks to Kenny W. for this article from the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/movies/tracing-urban-change-in-brooklyn-from-kotter-to-girls.html?_r=0

Here’s a small sample:

That Brooklyn was the quintessential Old Neighborhood, a patchwork of ethnic enclaves safe from any Columbus. The old Brooklyn was a place from which ambitious young people — Jewish, Irish, African-American, Italian — set out, not a place they flocked toward. In the mid-20th-century imagination, it is like a small, provincial town that happens to lie just across the East River from the capital of all aspiration. The journey from one side to the other is long and freighted with symbolism, and at times impossible. Ralph and Alice Kramden, in their Bensonhurst walk-up, were a million miles from Park Avenue. Brooklyn is where young Alvy Singer lived with his squabbling family in a house under the noisiest roller coaster in Coney Island; Manhattan was where he found Annie Hall. Brooklyn is where Tony Manero worked his dead-end job, ate his pizza and argued with his parents; Manhattan is where, in the last shot of “Saturday Night Fever,” he will seek freedom, fortune and artistic fulfillment.

FEEL THE BEAT OF MY HEART

The following blog entry is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

On a warm night in June we are hanging out in the boys schoolyard at Holy Name. There’s about twenty of us.

Motherfucker!

There she goes again.

Talking to another jerk.

Twenty-first street boys think they’re so cool. They’re nothing but clowns with their wife beater t-shirts, ba-ba shoes, slicked back hair and tight, Bo Derek Ten jeans.

Look at them trying to play ball in OUR schoolyard; they don’t even know how to dribble the fuckin’ ball.

But why is she over there on the side talking to Mario? She is, Lori, my girlfriend.

He’s got muscles on his muscles. What a muscle head!

I bet Lori’s mad at me from last night?

I was yelling at her on her stoop and her mom came out and told me to go home.

“WHY DON’T YOU GO HOME!” she shouted as I slammed the gate and walked up Windsor Place cursing out loud.

We fight and argue all the time. I’m so mean to her. I don’t know why I say the things I do, deep down I love her and she tells me she loves me.

We break up every couple of months.

I get jealous when I see her talking to other boys.

A few weeks ago I saw this kid chasing her around while we played coco-leavio and when he caught her he gave her a huge bear-hug from behind. I was so pissed that I ran home, grabbed my Louisville slugger and chased him around the avenue.

Back to Mario and Lori who are standing on the sidelines closest to Prospect Avenue while we are playing five-on-five on the middle court. It’s dark in the yard but the street light on Howard Place gives us enough light to see the hoops.

I’m dribbling up and down the court with one eye on my defender and one eye on Lori and Mario. Why is she so interested in him? Wonder if he knows that she’s taken. That if he tries any funny stuff I’m going off on him.  I can’t stop looking at them; matter of fact one of my teammates throws me a pass and it zips right past me and over towards my girlfriend and Mario.

I jog over to retrieve the loose ball.

As it bounces towards them I reach down and Mario kicks it back to the court before I can get my hands on it. Think Lucy and Charlie Brown when he’s about to kick the football.

“ASSHOLE!” I shout.

Mario looks at me.

“Who you callin’ asshole?” he answers.

“You, jerk-off.” I reply.

Lori looks at me, she knows how jealous I get when other boys talk to her.

“Steven, stop it.” she pleads.

“No, fuck that, I ain’t stoppin’ shit!”

Mario takes a step forward.

“You wanna do something tough guy?” he asks.

I look at him, then at Lori.

“Fuck you!” I scream.

“You wanna go?” Mario screams as he pushes me in my pigeon chest. His strength pushes me back a step or two.

Lori jumps in front of Mario and holds him back.

The players on the court and my friends watching on the side come running over.

A couple of Mario’s friends from twenty-first street start yelling.

“YO, COOL OUT!” I hear a tall, fat kid say. He’s dressed just like Mario. Kind of looks like his twin but could play offensive line for the New York Jets.

My friend Jimmy grabs me and pulls me over towards the church wall.

“Yo Red, take it easy man.”

“Fuck that!” I scream.

I look over and watch Mario and his friends walking towards the entrance of the yard on Howard Place.

“YEAH, GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE AND GO BACK TO TWENTY-FIRST STREET!’ I shout as they walk up Howard and hang a right on Prospect Avenue.  Through the fence they scream back at me.

“WE’LL BE BACK,” a kid shouts as they walk up towards ninth avenue.

“YEAH, COME BACK, WE’LL BE RIGHT HERE WAITIN’ FOR YA!” someone shouted.

-Red

Hoops135@hotmail.com