Category Archives: media

A July Weekend of Streaming Thoughts

My Friends,

  • Churchill and Orwell by Tom Ricks
  • Reckless Endangerment by Grethen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner (And old/new story of the 2008 Financial Debacle)
  • Texas in The New Yorker

What do these three subjects have in common?

My brainball!

These disparate topics indicate (and by the by, something I have always known but kept hidden from friends, family and passersby) that this mind of mine is a gathering place for wool, webs, and much flotsam on the jetsom.

It is also a repository of eclectic interests and sadly, there is no connective tissue.

~~~

First, let us look at the new book Churchill and Orwell by Tom Ricks. I must admit I stared at it on my coffee table for a good two weeks before I picked it up to read.

Talk about no connective tissue… Orwell… Churchill… The author was surely stretching the point by putting them together in one book. And yet, as I read further, it was there.

They were as distinctly different. Churchill was a public school, inherited wealth product and supporter of The Empire. Orwell, on the other hand went to fight along with the communists and Republicans against Franco’s Spain. They both almost got themselves killed. They were politically divided, but brilliant wordsmiths and extraordinary writers; they believed in freedom of expression, both of them willing to put their money where their mouths were.

It was interesting as I read the book, approving of Churchill and then disapproving. And following the same pattern with Orwell. The pages of the book came alive as Rick wrote their stories.

In this day and at this time, I don’t remember reading any modern writers equaling the passion and commitment of these two men. To make a difference and to persuade people to our way of thinking or allow others to persuade us, we might consider doing so not with loud words and name calling, but with arguments, reason and  most of all, WORDS.

Novel idea, isn’t it?

~~~

Reckless Endangerment

OK, in 2010, Michael Lewis wrote what I had thought was the defining book on the 2008 financial debacle, The Big Short. I barely understood the book and I loved the movie but I had to see it twice to only begin to understand how they did it. (They being the financial community…banks, investment houses, and everyone else from Wall Street to Washington to strip mall storefront financial entities.)

In 2011, Gretchen Morgenson – New York Times business reporter – and Joshua Rosner – expert on housing and mortgage – finance issues wrote Reckless Endangerment, a detailed report on the cast, characters and plot of the worst financial crisis of our time.

I am asking you. Have you ever heard of the book? I never heard of the book. I was in a discussion with a friend… all right it was a heated discussion – about the 2008 debacle. Not to worry, we kissed and made up. But in response to our discussion, he sent me this book. Now I love Michael Lewis… great writer, interesting subjects, but Morgenson and Rosner…. they nailed it.

They started at the very beginning – 1995 – and probably even before that. You do not know the heroes and heroines of this saga. Why? Because they were unknown Government watch dogs that took their jobs seriously and had to pay the price for that dedication when they went against the big guys. Their work was buried. The shocking revelation of those who were supposed to be our heroes… Clinton, Barney Frank, and many more, were asleep at the wheel or were looking out a different window. Facts and shocking. Why? Because they got away with it.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find out about where Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubin, and hundreds of others are in the world of finance today. None of them had to pay the price for their collusion and corruption.   Hey, guys, it’s 2017… if not now, when?!?!

~~~

Texas in the New Yorker

The latest New Yorker July 10-17 contained an article by Lawrence Wright titled, America’s Future is Texas. Many things, events, people and Presidents have been frightening me. I have been trying to bring my heart rate and blood pressure to normal levels. So I have devised different plans to hold back on the rhetoric and calm the spirit. As a reader of history I try to understand that nothing that is going on hasn’t already happened at one time or another in the very short history of this country. Different cast, different hair cuts, different inventions, but essentially naysayers, rumor and hate mongers. Bile is bile. That’s the truth of it. From the Old Testament to Twitter, nothing new.

And then I read the article. And I am thrown. So if you decide to read it…. (which I really recommend you do) you will understand why I am back being frightened again.

In 1961, I went to Houston, Texas to perform in a cabaret. Now, I’m a Brooklyn girl. And way back in 1961, I thought everyone thought the way I did. What can I tell you guys… I was young… very young. I had never been to Texas. I checked into the hotel where I was staying in the evening and when I awoke in the morning and looked out of the window of my room there was this big billboard with a huge sign that read, “IMPEACH EARL WARREN”.

At first I thought I must have taken a wrong turn and ended up across the border in some foreign land. Once it was established I actually was in Houston. I silenced my head and got to work rehearsing for the opening that night.

The show seemed to go well. There was an opening night party. I was talking to a very nice Houstonian and before long I just had to share what I saw that morning. I asked her if she saw the sign outside the hotel that said, “IMPEACH EARL WARREN”. She said she had. I asked her if it wasn’t illegal. She asked me why. And I said, it’s almost as if Texas isn’t part of the United States. She took another sip of her bottle from her paper bag and with a big Texas grin said, “It isn’t!”

My friends, that was 1961. It is now 2017. Nothing has changed. I mean nothing.

~~~

I am always telling my friends, “The human condition doesn’t change. History doesn’t repeat itself. People do.”

But secretly I want someone to tell me I am wrong. A leopard can change its spots. A human can change his or her mind.

I am trying to figure this one out!  It isn’t easy!

July Blog Pic

And I can’t afford to lose any more hair.  Any suggestions???!!!!

Love, Sally-Jane

FINDING MY FAMILY ROOTS (grass not hair)

Yes!  I am still recovering.  No!  I am not giving up.

How do I become part of a  grass  roots movement to help effect a positive change?  ‘Tis a conundrum!  Or I should say it was a conundrum.

Two days ago I attended a circle conversation with Annie Leibovitz and Gloria Steinem and a hundred other women, including my own daughter.  Below you will read the takeaway from each of us.

MOTHER’S TAKE:

What is a circle conversation?  Exactly what it sounds like.

People, and in this case, people being mostly women, sat in a circle, in the Women’s Building in NYC, formerly Bayview Correctional Prison for Women.  Gloria Steinem and the NoVo Foundation in collaboration with the Goren Group are establishing this building as a place for women’s rights groups, a performance space, space for service providers for all and the community, workshops to help change and charge your batteries.  The purpose is to create a world free from violence, poverty and injustice.

Is this just another pie in the sky scheme?   I don’t think so.

As we sat in this circle, surrounded by Annie Leibovitz’s  brilliant new Pop-Up Show, WOMEN:  NEW PORTRAITS, all I could think was, what a match –  the venue, the portraits, Annie, Gloria, over one hundred women of every ethnicity and color and class, including some graduates of the prison.

And what were we all seeking?  Solace, yes! But answers, too.  I am never far away from, “Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it”.

Indefatigable Gloria stood for over two hours taking questions and telling so clearly what this circle conversation was for.

She repeated it enough that I think I may have gotten it!  She had no answers for anyone.  How’s that for a new thought.  Instead, she asked us to stop looking up.  Good suggestion.  Because if you look up in NYC, sure as shooting’ someone will run over you (car, bus, bike).  I think what she meant is, the answer isn’t up or out, it’s inside.

If I give it time and consideration, I will know what it is I have to do to make life better.  Remember, in a plane, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first if you are going to help anyone.

She invited us to be part of the problem, but also part of the solution.

Oops, did I forget to tell you what the circle was all about?  She reminded us the circle goes back to our roots… in the cave, in the tent, in a circle, to share our stories… to connect.

My friends, my time with Annie (OMG what a show!) and Gloria and my new best one hundred friends, that’s what I came back with… that is my grass roots.  Being with each other… not texting, not emailing, not calling, but finding the time the place (The Women’s Building is just one example) to meet with each other.  To agree and disagree, yes, but to connect personally.  Shake a hand, a little kiss, a big hug, an arm around my shoulder.  We all need it.  And if you don’t, then come together anyway… someone is bound to cook something good.

Two fabulous women called on all fabulous women (and never forget we are all fabulous!) to do a little world cleaning.  Honestly, if we do it together, it won’t take that long.  Promise!!!

If only I had let her get a word in, it would have been perfect!

Love ~ Sally-Jane

Annie Leibovitz’s “Women: New Portraits” exhibit is showing from November 18 – December 11, 2016, at the Former Bayview Correctional Facility, 550 West 20th Street (between 10th and West Streets), Saturday – Wednesday 10 am – 7 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 8 pm. It is open to the public free of charge, courtesy of the exhibit’s sponsor UBS.

DAUGHTER’S TAKE:

On art and hope and endurance  ~ By Pamela Schwartz

I had the privilege of attending photographer Annie Leibovitz’s opening of her photo exhibit in New York City titled “Women: New Portraits.”  The exhibit is in the prison gymnasium of the former Bayview Correctional Facility, a women’s prison until just 4 years ago, which is now on its way to becoming a Women’s Building of New York City. We shared the space with former inmates who attended as guests. Immediately inspiring.

And there was more: Annie partnered with Gloria Steinem in this 10 city, 3 continent tour, and the opening events include a “talking circle,” or opportunity to have a free-wheeling conversation. This one, occurring just a week after the election, kept returning to the question of where to from here.

The discussion was good. The words from the former inmates were powerful. But what inspires me to write are Gloria’s closing words. I want everyone to hear them.

So I paraphrase liberally:

This difficult moment is actually a reflection of our progress.  Gloria used to be one of 12 women screaming from the back of the room. Now Hillary will win the popular vote by close to 2 million votes. For women (and people of color and LGBTQ), possibilities are now immeasurably (and measurably) greater. That is a whole lot of progress.

She continued: Trump’s candidacy and now near presidency has given permission to a small but terrifying portion of our population who are haters of immigrants, people of color, gays and lesbians, women, people with disabilities, all who are defined as “other” from those who hate. This scares us a lot.  To help manage the fear, Gloria offered an analogy:

In a domestic abuse situation, the most dangerous time is when the victim is at the threshold of leaving the abuser. The abuser senses the loss of control and lashes out in a desperate attempt to regain it.  For the haters in our midst, we as a nation are leaving them. Our country’s color and cultures have changed and will keep changing. There is fear and resistance in response, which also makes for real danger. We must be extremely vigilant and protective as the change continues.

And to complete the analogy with vigilance in tow: next up is newfound freedom. And safety.

I love that vision for the hope it contains, the endurance it inspires.

Let us cultivate leaders who represent our multi-cultural and multi-gender reality – our freedom embodied – and couple that with the populist message that resonated for millions of Bernie Sanders’ (and Trump) supporters.

Perhaps then we can reach the vast number of voters who seek the change they deserve in a nation they can rightfully call their own.

We are on our way. It is scary and deeply promising all at the same time.

Both of these truths require the same thing: action. And that action is happening every day, everywhere, by millions.

As Gloria also said, protest matters.  As we show up, determined to protect each other and the ideals on which this country was founded, we can actually afford to feel hopeful and optimistic. We are on the path to greater freedom.

Thank you, Annie Leibovitz, for bringing us the visceral power of women.

Thank you, Gloria Steinem, for providing us the living history that strengthens all of our faith and resolve to make the change that lies ahead.

Annie Leibovitz’s “Women: New Portraits” exhibit is showing from November 18 – December 11, 2016, at the Former Bayview Correctional Facility, 550 West 20th Street (between 10th and West Streets), Saturday – Wednesday 10 am – 7 pm; Thursday and Friday 10 am – 8 pm. It is open to the public free of charge, courtesy of the exhibit’s sponsor UBS.

This article will be published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette on December 7, 2016.

Please don’t waste your vote!

dont-waste-voteMy Friends, 

Below is a communication between myself and a dear friend whom I learned was planning to vote for a 3rd party candidate this election.  Trust me, I get it.  Surely, it represents innumerable conversations being had around dinner tables and water coolers around the country.  But, if there is ever a time to speak up and speak out (never an issue for me!) it is NOW.  Please read and share as you see fit!  

ME: It really is no one’s business who votes for whom and I would never presume to have an  opinion on anyone’s choice.  However, this election is DIFFERENT.  

It is no longer a matter of I don’t like either of them.  If you vote third-party or write in, it is a decided vote for Trump.  No matter what, they are the only two in the running for the Presidency.  And if you vote for anyone other than Hillary (I know she is not your favorite person…it doesn’t matter in this election), it becomes a vote for Trump.

And I tell you, if Trump were running on the Democratic ticket,  I would solidly vote for the Republican candidate.  That is how dangerous not voting for Hillary has become.  

Make no mistake.  Our lives and the lives of our children are in the balance.  You cannot hang your children out to dry, which is surely what you would be doing by not making Hillary your choice.  Until we rid ourselves of the Trump Plague, sacrifices must be made.

Please think about this.  I am sure you think you are doing the independent “thing” writing in a candidate.  Personally, I feel you are not.  We all  have to look beyond our noses to see what will happen if we don’t get the vote out for Hillary… it is too close not to understand what will happen.  And then no one’s plans or money will mean anything.

MY FRIEND: I’ve decided to vote for Hillary.  While I can completely appreciate the feelings of protest against both parties – parties that have so cooked the system for their own benefit over the last 30 years to everyone’s detriment – Donald Trump is the worst possible leader of that movement, or any movement for that matter.

That said, speaking of my children and the next generation, I’m not give up my hope and belief that character and integrity matters.  Regrettably, gone are the days – for now I hope – that our leaders represent the best of America.  With this vote, my hope is that we avoid ever having a President Trump or Ted Cruz for that matter and get another chance in 2020 to have a candidate that I truly believe represents the best of America regardless of party.

I hope everyone will take these feelings, as they were received, with great respect as I know we all are individuals, with different viewpoints and beliefs.

ME: I so appreciate your words and thoughts about this unbearable situation.  I could not agree with your more.  When will we have an election that we are voting FOR someone instead of AGAINST someone else?  Maybe in our children’s time.  

We really do have to rid ourselves of this “reality show” of an election.  I think the Romans knew how to throw a circus… gladiators, Christians, lions, and dancing-girls all in one arena… sounds like a Trump show.

Thank you for not telling me to go jump in a lake and mind my own business… the lake part would be easy, but minding my own business has never been an easy one for me.

Love, Sally-Jane

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder…Yeah, Yeah!!!

Hillary
I am depressed.  This morning I spoke to an intelligent and warm hearted woman.  We were discussing the Democratic National Convention.  For me, the only convention that promises “something” for women and children and men who like women and children.

 

Out of her mouth came, “Isn’t it a shame.  If Hillary were attractive people would vote for her.”

Hillary not attractive???  That must make me Godzilla’s twin.  I knew for sure the age of plastic celebrity had truly arrived.

If you are a woman and you want to be elected President, you have to have a TV show where you belittle and fire people or you have to be surgically enhanced to look “attractive”.

I don’t see the multitudes carrying on about a man with a little extra weight, a balding pate, wrinkles, tired eyes, socks that don’t match, jackets that don’t button anymore.

And as long as I am on the subject of trying to be someone other than who you are, what is it with the media who insist that a woman be all things to all people.

The commentators took Hillary over the coals because her speech didn’t knock it out of the park, was the phrase they used.

It reminded me of some stories about Abraham Lincoln.   According to reports, his voice was high and nasal and boring to listen to.  With the media on his case, aren’t we grateful print was the sole media of the day, he never would have been elected President.

We only has his printed words to know what kind of man he was as President.

We live in an age of presentation.  It’s as if we were all chefs arranging platters of food to please and make it appetizing.

Never mind what it tastes like or if it is healthy.  If it looks good it must be good.  This was how Lucretia Borgia took care of all those husbands.

I think people cannot handle real reality.  Look at the women leaders around the world.No!  Don’t look.!  LISTEN!

And women…stop it!  Stop asking a woman to wear the mask of acceptability not from what she says and what she stands for but for what she LOOKS like.

And furthermore…

Beauty and being beautiful and wanting to be beautiful this is not new. I am reading Claire Harmon’s biography of Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte characterizes herself as an homely, plain girl.  All the Bronte girls wrote about being plain women.

Agnes Grey, the title character of Anne Bronte’s book, “triumphs over the tyranny of being judged on appearances but the problem lingers in the reader’s mind long after the happy ending has been arranged.  Although Agnes knows that it is foolish to wish for beauty, “nevertheless she can’t help wishing she had some, if only to avoid the isolation or, worse, “instinctive dislike” that unbeautiful women constantly encounter”.

Enter Hillary Clinton?  You have to be kidding…

The Big Short of a Long Story

mobamaMy dear peoples of all colors, sex and whatever other differences you want to announce , if you heard Michelle Obama’s DNC  speech last night, July 25th, then you heard the plea for help…I was going to say cry for help, but that lady didn’t cry last night…oh, no, she shone, she pulled you right out of whatever discomfort zone this election has brought you to…come on my honies, get up, get out, put your heart, body and soul out there  for Hillary.

We know what women can do…we really do…prove it.  I don’t mean to offend.  I think.   Think about it this way.  Way back when, women were instrumental in the failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment.  With this election, it’s make-up time.  And I am not talking powder and lipstick.  So ring those door bells, knock on those doors and bring her home.  All right, so the home is the White House.  If we ladies have the babies, clean the house, go to work, we can do it just as well in a White House as a house of any other color.

Sally-Jane-Whats-Her-Name

NYPostIf I could tell you the stories of how I had to sell myself and my work, “Sally-Jane- What’s-Her-Name” would probably be waitressing today.  If you don’t make it big and you are passionate about your work, it comes with the territory of getting it out there any which way you can.

I do not relish my bad reviews. Depending on who wrote them, after attempting to remove the salt from my wounds, I take them and look for any value they may offer. No one can be harder on ourselves than we are on ourselves and those whose words I can value are few and far between.

That said, in order to sell myself I have taken those bad reviews and by hook and crook pieced together a somewhat satisfying one, particularly if it is a paper or piece of  media that has some clout.  Then, I get on my sneakers (my heels are in my bag) and pound the pavements trying to get those mysterious people that can help move me from one level to the next and from one project to another.  I have the dubious honor of being both writer, producer, director and actor – oi vey! – what was I thinking?

I find myself going up one mountain only  to find another mountain and so on and so on and so on ad infinitum.  This is what I have had to do because I love to write, to sing, to act.  My former husband said to me once, “Aren’t you ever going to be satisfied .”  I thought long and hard about that one and replied, “No!”  And “No!” is a complete sentence.  No explanations necessary if you know what the no means to you. I may moan and groan about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but I wouldn’t change the journey

Ten Minutes With Sally-Jane Heit in Berkshire Magazine

SJH

photo by Sabine Vollmer Von Falken

Ten Minutes With Sally-Jane Heit – comedic performer reminisces about turning 80                             by Anastasia Stanmeyer

She really caught the essence of SJ.  And in just one sitting.  Only one wrinkle.  The 80 in the title now makes it impossible for me to play ingenues.  Gone are the days of playing 21 year old… just between us when I was 21 I was playing crones. Not too many ingenues with the voice of a basso.

XO ~ SJ