Overlooked NYC: Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel

What do Fatty Arbuckle, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Irving Berlin, Joan Crawford, Mario Cuomo, Judy Garland, John Lennon, Jackie Kennedy Onasis, Igor Stravinsky, Mae West, The Notorious B.I.G, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ayn Rand all have in common? A funeral service at the Frank Campbell Funeral Chapel on the corner of Madison and 81st Street – just two blocks from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum. As far as funerals go, this appears to be the last place to be seen.

Still Angry with Philip Seymour Hoffman

I get that Philip Seymour Hoffman had an addiction. I get that he was a sensitive person who ate himself up with his intensity and devotion to his work.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman in "Owning Mahoney"

Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Owning Mahoney”

And I get that there is a black hole staring back at all of us. 20140131_222323

And I know that there are few, if any, who can match, Hoffman’s talent, his roles in Happiness, Magnolia, Doubt and on stage as Willy Loman.

"Death of a Salesman"

“Death of a Salesman”

But I’m still pissed off at the guy. His death makes me lousy. Not sad. Mad.

Hoffman in "Happiness"
Hoffman in “Happiness”

His energy is gone, fucking gone. I can’t forgive him. Not yet.

And I expect it to be a while before that changes, considering that I’ve yet to forgive Jerry Garcia for his dumb-ass death…18 years back..Jerry Garcia

Singin’ in the Rain: Innocence in Technicolor

We went to see Singin’ in the Rain this morning at Film Forum and found the theatre packed with film-buff kids and parents alike – including Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman. We asked if this was a special event, a benefit perhaps, but it was just a screening for which we had just squeezed in. We settled into our second-row seats and cricked our necks for the opening short, a 1935 cartoon by Max Fleischer,  Dancing on the Moon.Dancing on the MoonI wondered what it was that made a 1952 musical such a draw in 2013. The song and dance is certainly something to marvel at – even if I wasn’t that fond of musicals – especially Donald O’Connor’s Make ’em Laugh and Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds’ amorous You Were Meant For Mesinging4It is also a surprisingly thoughtful film, a tongue-in-cheek expose of the artifice of the stars and executives of the Hollywood system – ironically mirroring the behind-the-scenes story of Singin’ in the Rain itself. singing2But most of all, the essence of the experience is in the underlying theme of integrity, celebrated in such wide-eyed innocence, where Hollywood stars drink milk at 1:30 in the morning, friends are always loyal and the worst of crimes is singing (and dancing) in the rain. singing1And, yes, it is hard to find things like this these days. I guess that’s what sells out a theater on a cold Sunday morning in 2013, especially to such a hip crowd.