Wista Concert

August 14, 2018

Cote St-Luc Senior Men’s Club


The West Island Theatre Association (WISTA) is a non-profit community theatre company founded in 2006 that allows individuals between the ages of 17 and 29 to interact and perform in the wonderful world of musical theatre. Their main goal is to keep alive the passions of an energetic combination of singers, dancers, technicians and musicians by giving them a space to grow and develop their skills.


I had the pleasure of seeing them perform tonight and can only find words of praise. The group consisted of 13 females and 3 male singers and dancers. At a certain point I was thinking that it would be unfair to compare any one performer over another. To make it even more difficult we didn’t have a program to identify any soloist. Then, a female vocalist took centre stage and was covered by the rest of the cast providing harmony and background vocals, while she sang Stephen Sondheim’s “Everything’s Coming up Roses”. At that point I decided if every other performer was an A plus, this one was an A plus plus. After that the bar was raised higher and higher as each performer was featured. I Could Have Danced All Night from the musical My Fair Lady was beautifully sung and again I wish I had a program so I could compliment the artist by name. After that it was no contest as the lyrics of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the gifted voices of the performers brought the audience to their feet. The aria from Phantom of the Opera was performed as a duet, him prompting her to sing higher and her reaching notes worthy of any Broadway stage. The entire ensemble performed Bring Him Home from Les Miserables. An unbelievable evening’s entertainment and I welcome my next opportunity to see them perform.

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Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Perhaps the most poignant song emerging out of the mass exodus from Europe was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. The lyrics were written by Yip Harburg. He was the youngest of four children born to Russian Jewish immigrants. His real name was Isidore Hochberg and he grew up in a Yiddish speaking, Orthodox Jewish home in New York. The music was written by Harold Arlen, a cantor’s son. His real name was Hyman Arluck and his parents were from Lithuania.

Together, Hochberg and Arluck wrote “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, which was voted the 20th century’s number one song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

In writing it, the two men reached deep into their immigrant Jewish consciousness – framed by the pogroms of the past and the Holocaust about to happen – and wrote an unforgettable melody set to near prophetic words.
Read the lyrics in their Jewish context and suddenly the words are no longer about wizards and Oz, but about Jewish survival:


Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?


The Jews of Europe could not fly. They could not escape beyond the rainbow. Harburg was almost prescient when he talked about wanting to fly like a bluebird away from the “chimney tops”. In the post-Auschwitz era, chimney tops have taken on a whole different meaning than the one they had at the beginning of 1939.

Pink’s mom is Judith Kugel. She’s Jewish of Lithuanian background. As Pink was belting the Harburg/Arlen song from the stage at the Academy Awards, I wasn’t thinking about the movie. I was thinking about Europe’s lost Jews and the immigrants to America.

I was then struck by the irony that for two thousand years the land that the Jews heard of “once in a lullaby” was not America, but Israel. The remarkable thing would be that less than ten years after “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was first published, the exile was over and the State of Israel was reborn.

Perhaps the “dreams that you dare to dream really do come true “

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Elio Pizza

Elio Pizzeria Restaurant – Cuisine Italienne Rosemont …


Elio Pizzeria – Rosemont-Petite-Patrie Restaurant, (514) 276-5341, 351, rue Bellechasse, Montréal


It’s been around forever and has always been known for quality Italian food at reasonable prices. About a year ago, give or take, they renovated and became even more of a pleasurable dining experience. The menu has an amazing array of dishes and combos and the portions are generous. In fact, few people leave there without a “doggy bag”. We were no exception. Both of us ordered  Pizzaghetti combos. ($17) I had two cheese and anchovies as topping for my pizza, and Shirley had vegetarian (mushroom, olive, etc.) We both had spaghetti with meat sauce. The pizza is among the best in the city and can be had with traditional or thin crust. The dining area is comfortable and nicely air conditioned for these hot days and there is also the option of eating al fresco on the patio. The staff is super friendly especially Fil who not only served us well but also tolerated my sense of humor.

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The more things change the more they stay the same.

The family of renowned piano teacher Daisy Peterson Sweeney is upset Montreal is reneging on a promise to name a street for her.

The city has now changed course, and plans to honour her with a tiny park at the corner of Guy and Paxton Sts. in the Southwest borough.

Celine Peterson, Peterson Sweeney’s niece, is not impressed.

“It really isn’t a park. That’s a very generous word for it. It looks like a dog run, this very small patch of grass,” she said. “It just shows you how the City of Montreal continues to treat their women and people of colour. That seems to be a pattern in terms of these prominent people with a very diverse background just being disregarded.”

The city said it promises to upgrade the park, which currently is named Guy-Paxton St. – after the intersection – and is used mostly by dog walkers. It also has two compost bins on site.

Mayor Valerie Plante said she doesn’t want to rename streets and parks.

“Streets already have names and to me this is not a political decision, it’s about (how) you don’t unname a street to rename a street. This is a very serious process,” she said.


What she really is saying is that you don’t rename a street unless it has an English name as in Dorchester, University, and had we not fought with a grass roots opposition, they would have renamed Park Avenue. They also had no problem renaming DeVimy Park.

Valerie Plante won the election only because the public had enough of Coderre. Anything seemed to be a better option. But this won’t win her a re-election. Not if we are lucky.

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Dentists be ashamed

Dentists in the province of Quebec should be ashamed for threats to pull out of the health system because they aren’t being paid enough by the tax payers. Who are they hurting? Only children and welfare recipients. Unlike medical doctors, dentists are given a license to steal. The sky is the limit and they can gouge the wealthy for implants and other surgical procedures. It’s the fact that they will be making a smaller percentage than they would like to for treating the patients of the health care system that has them threatening to close the door on those that need help but have not got the means to pay. In other professions services are sometimes provided pro bono, but apparently dentists are not satisfied with 6 figure incomes. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed. Don’t expect public support. Our support goes with the needy not the greedy.

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Itzhak Movie Review






Reviewed by: Sol Boxenbaum
Director: Alison Chernick
Cast: Itzhak Perlman, Toby Perlman, Alan Alda, Amnon Weisntein, Stefan Valcuha, Billy Joel, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zukerman, Evgeny Kissin, the Klezmatics
Currently showing at Odeon Cinema

Cavendish Mall Montreal



In this age of blockbuster movie releases about Superheroes. impossible missions, heists, etc. how refreshing to find a documentary about one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman. All of the characters in this film are real. The only “actor” in the film is Alan Alda who appears as himself, an actual friend of Itzhak.

Through brilliant editing we are taken back and forth in times that take us from the child to the current day Itzhak, from Israel to New York City, from the Ed Sullivan Show to the Lincoln Center with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and to Yankee stadium where he performs the National Anthem in front of tens of thousands of baseball fans.

Perlman is a charmer and so is his wife, Toby. She appears at his side and chats with the audience about cooking, about her husband of course, and how they met and she fell in instant love with him. Eventually we get to meet his children and his grand children. We see him as a student at Julliard and later a teacher at the same institution.

Throughout the film we are treated to parts from the output of  Tchaikowski, Bruch, Vivaldi,Strauss, Mendelsohn, Mozart,Bach, Schubert and others. We get to hear a performance of the theme from Schindler’s List, and finally for contrast, a Klesmer number. Regrettably then,  the credits begin to roll. Nobody seemed to be in a rush to leave their seat. Do not miss this film. It has all the ingredients required to be nominated for an Oscar for best documentary. 


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Au Vieux Duluth

Au Vieux Duluth

1997 boul. Marcel-Laurin

Ville St. Laurent, PQ.


I tried this place a few months ago for the first time when they ran a promotion on television. What made me go back there three times since that first visit? Perhaps it was the easy parking. Maybe it was the welcoming greeting when we walked through the door. It may have been the general ambiance and the fact that even if there was a birthday party or two being celebrated, you could still have a conversation with the others at your table without having to raise your voice. Actually we go back often because the menu is varied so that not everyone has to want chicken brochette (the best in Montreal) they also have fish, steak, and so much more. Currently, for a limited time, they are serving a medley of shrimp dishes that will have you pondering which one to order. They are all so good. We have been back with friends and everybody has enjoyed what they ordered. My personal favourite is the Dory covered with garlic butter and accompanied by a salad, rice, and roast potatoes. The prices are extremely moderate and you can bring your own wine. The desserts are unbelievable featuring Greek yogurt with honey and berries, cheese cake with berries, and apple crisp with honey. The desserts are so good that we actually returned to Au Vieux Duluth for dessert and coffee after dining out elsewhere. Reservations are not compulsory but I recommend you do reserve if you are groups of six or more.

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Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Cote Saint-Luc Dramatic Society

May 30 to June 17 2018

Harold Greenspon Auditorium


Due to being out of the country or being out of the province for my partner and me among other previous commitments, we didn’t get to see this show until closing night. Fortunately, my revue was not necessary to fill the auditorium for every performance of its three week run. The word of mouth was phenomenal with praise for the cast that drew standing ovations. I have nothing but praise for the entire cast and production team, but I would be remiss if I didn’t single out Jeanne Motulsky and Nicole Arrage whose beautiful voices draw you into the story from the opening notes, and Sam Boucher in the lead role shows promise of a great future in theatre. Kudos as well for the band under the direction of Nick Burgess, choreography by Alexia Gourd, and directing by Anisa Cameron. Andrew Lloyd Webber would be proud of you. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Mitch Kujavsky, you have succeeded in your effort to bring world class entertainment to Cote Saint-Luc. As they say in Jerusalem, “Next year in Cote Saint Luc.”

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Mad Monk Cafe Johnny Cash

On Friday night in the basement of a church on the corner of Madison Ave. and Monkland Street in NDG, a crowd began to assemble just before 7:00 P.M. and by 8:00 P.M. the room was filled to capacity. The reason, A Deacon George concert at the Mad Monk Café.

Deacon George and Carole Pellatt owned the night on Friday at the Mad Monk Café. The two guitar players played off each other and performed song after song in a tribute to Johnny Cash. They alternated between Cash’s oldies and his songs in his later years. They featured songs by Nick Lowe, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Sheryll Crowe, John D. Loudermilk, and one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs, Bird On A Wire. The audience was treated to exceptional guitar harmony and in between, a running narrative on the life of Johnny Cash provided by Deacon George and a continuous video on the screen. Hats off to the wonderful men and women who do all the work setting up this event.  Placement of tables and chairs, preparation and serving beverages and homemade cakes, and generally making everyone feel comfortable and welcome. Mad Monk Café has been the best kept secret for seventeen seasons. But it won’t be a secret for much longer.

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Journey To Broadway

The Lyric Theatre Singers

Journey To Broadway

14/15/16 June 2018

DB Clarke Theatre


No surprise that Bob Bachelor and Cathy Burns have once again delivered an outstanding musical evening which culminated with a well deserved standing ovation and numerous curtain calls. The 38 voices blend beautifully while the choreography and the staging flow effortlessly throughout the performance. It is difficult to name any single performer when there were so many great moments, but one that stands out is that of Will Fech in the Titanic medley. In fact, the Titanic Medley was beautifully choreographed and staged and is one of the highlights of the show. Another personal favorite of mine was the Cell Block Tango from the musical, Chicago. The entire cast deserve kudos for making the journey to Broadway such a pleasurable one. Continuing to June 16 and not to be missed.

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