In Tune with June!

Here’s my claim to fame. Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker and author, lives in the same New York City apartment house as my grandson Zach, his wonderful wife, and their marvelous baby. Ha! When I asked about the celebrity, Moore received top praise (that’s more than the critics gave him). Moore has been described as “the person who, almost by virtue of his temperament, is a true outsider and holds up a mirror to the powers that govern our world.” It’s also been said that the problem with being an outsider is that you can sometimes confuse truth-telling with self-indulgence. He’s a natural raconteur and makes no apologies for his subjective documentary style. He’s criticized topics such as globalization, large corporations, assault weapons ownership, U.S. presidents, the Iraq war, the American health care system, and capitalization. This willfully disheveled 63-year-old, with his rumpled baseball cap, is known for a biting, sarcastic, politics of outrage. Moore feels that one person can make a difference even by small individual actions. Currently his one-man show, “The Terms of My Surrender,” is described by him this way: “This is not a kumbaya piece of theater. I’m not looking for everyone to hold hands.” Well, I would like to simply shake his hands. Oh, yes, Michael Moore, who doesn’t sit still for even one minute, is currently preparing a new non-fiction TV series. I don’t know if Moore knows the work of my favorite author Robert Frost, but here goes: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

My astute granddaughter, Melissa, was surprised and amused when she learned that I enjoyed the comedy drama television series “Younger.” I can’t understand why. The series premiered about two years ago on TVLand and is now ending its fourth season. Basically forty-year-old single woman, Liza (Sutton Foster), is forced to figure a way to support herself and her daughter. Wanting a job in publishing proved difficult for a woman her age so she passes herself off as a twenty-six-year-old. Her character is at times witty and Sutton Foster’s charisma helps elevate “Younger” above previous sitcoms. Even though there are stereotypical aspects on both sides of the age gap it’s fun to watch. There are some silly industry details included in the relationship between an educated 40-year-old mother and the 26-year-old college dropout. There are insights into the culture of the moment. It didn’t come as a surprise to learn that Darren Star is the creator of “Younger.” His previous exploration of age and sexuality and identity were featured in “Sex and the City.” (I’ve enjoyed that series too.) In “Younger,” the male lead, Josh, is a 26-year-old tattoo artist (yikes!) who, at the beginning, thinks that he and Liza are about the same age. It was fun to follow the story as he learned and then not care about their age gap. I found myself wishing that “Younger” was a feature length sitcom. The half hour left me wanting more and the final episode came as a surprise. In case there are re-runs, I won’t reveal more. “Younger” has been favorably accepted and renewed for a fifth season. So, Melissa, you and I are not the only ones who approve of “Younger” and are glad that there’s a program with no car chases, no gangsters, no excessive drug usage. “Younger” is simply a comedy drama that personally relaxes me and I am anticipating its fifth season.

I’m looking forward to October 19th. My sweet friend has tickets to the 28th Annual Cabaret Convention sponsored by the Mabel Mercer Foundation. The lady was a cabaret singer (1900-1984). She was a featured performer whose shows were frequently attended by many other talents including Frank Sinatra who made no secret of his emulating her phrasing and story-telling technique. The Convention we’re going to is titled “Too Marvelous for Words/Star Dust– the Music of Hoagy Carmichael.” It’s being held at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Sitting in that gorgeous room both sonically and visually helps greatly to tailor the sound quality for individual performers. There are four nights featuring the very top cabaret performers. The Cabaret Convention is enjoying twenty-eight years presenting four magical nights from October 16 to 19 including the music of George Gershwin, the golden age of cabaret, and the one I’m attending. It’s always great entertainment and fun to be lucky to go the Cabaret Convention.

One of my favorite places to eat breakfast is the Original Pancake House in Edgewater simply because their poached eggs are perfect on a toasted multi-grain bread and their buckwheat pancakes are yummy. Well, on my last visit we were seated alongside a very nice couple who were enjoying, too, when the gentleman accidentally knocked over a filled glass of water leaving my friend with wet trousers. He was very apologetic and the clothing and the floor were quickly dried up. The couple left before us with a smile. The man was very tall, muscular and handsome and offered another “I’m so sorry.” When I heard his unusual voice I asked “Do you sing?” He looked amused and I didn’t understand why. Finishing our eventful breakfast, we asked for the check and were told that our neighbor had paid our bill. Unfortunately they were gone before we were able to thank them. Our waitress informed us that he was a celebrity, extremely well-known, a rapper-songwriter, broadcaster. Unknowingly, I had asked him if he was a singer! For those in the know he was Joe Budden, a member of the American hip-hop supergroup “Slaughterhouse” alongside fellow rappers, a solo recording artist and broadcaster. It’s all news to me since I never saw or heard a rapper. I don’t even know what one sounds like but I suspect that, if I heard them, I would need sonic filters for my ears. However, I did find Joe Budden’s name confusing because I kept thinking about former vice-president Joe Biden. Quite a difference, n’est-ce pas?

You can e-mail June Sturz at