Yaakov Sullivan


Nov 25

I will not be posting much from now on. I will be working at the wine shop only on Monday evenings. Still
dealing with ongoing side effects of the pancreatic cancer. The battle continues.
As you may or may not know, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer as well, back in 2016, I think. I had surgery but the cancer had metastasized to my right hip. Once a month, I have been receiving hormone shots into my belly. Knock out that testosterone, dont you know. He-man that I was, the epitome of trumpian masculinity (god forfend) I found the treatments did not enlarge my breasts, nor raise the timbre of my sonorous voice. All went well, no signs of the enemy awakening in that hip. Bit recently, that malignant entity slumbering in the hip seems to have awakened.
For about a week or two now, I have been experiencing pain in the leg bone just beneath the hip joint. Often when I get up from sitting or when I lie down, the pain is greatest, causing a limp when I walk. This may be arthritis, but it is of concern. So, there I am in battle on another front. I feel like one of those Ill fated Ulstermen ( my near Irish Republican ancestors are turning in their graves) who fell while marching toward the Somme ( a wonderful play: Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Toward the Somme). I have an upcoming appt with My urologists here and in the city, so we will see what is going on with the hip and hopefully will not result in my becoming a gimp. Nor that the prostate cancer has learned how to work around the hormone treatment. Nothing is permanent when treating malignant cancer, so every day waking and slumbering is a blessing.

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, despite its fall from grace by those who cry for its abolition. I focus on the amiable relationship between the Native Americans and the Quakers, short lived as it was. Be that as it may, I will arise early to prepare the feast for my small group of friends joining me at table. Watch the parade and hope the Hugh balloons can float since strong winds are predicted. My house will be filled with wonderful aromas and the preparation, cooking and serving will be a powerful point of focus. I will be happy being in the room where I was always the greatest lover- the kitchen. I think of that poem Angela Peckinpaugh wrote about that when she described me in her poem: A Tangerine. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Nov 19

Today, in his plethora of inane tweets, this current Occupant in the WH mocked Lt. Colonel Vindman for wearing his military uniform to this mornings impeachment hearings. Think of that for a moment. This from a man who was a draft dodger, mocking a Purple Heart recipient. To think millions of this persons blind supports chalk it up to nothing more than an individual personality trait rather than a serious personality disorder. To think so many find his sophomoric, base language, slander and vulgarity to be refreshing.

Thank God for JSBach. His music brings me enormous pleasure. Just heard his #1 Partita. Many think he is a brilliant technician but less so As a composer who can move on an emotional level. My ear and my soul disagree

Nov 10

One of the most rewarding experiences in my life, unmentioned in the posting below, has been my life in the theatre.
From the time I was a child, the theatre intrigued me, a magical world where you could in habit a character on stage. Never an athlete, the stage was my playing field, one where I felt comfortable and capable.

My father and grandfather loved public speaking. I would listen to them, their sonorous speech at events and from church. As a kid, I was active with Porter Players at the Milwaukee Jewish Center. Peformances in high school and later at university. Then in Israel I was active in English theatre, Haifa English Theatre and then the Jerusalem Drama Workshop which did Commecia del Arte, me playing the Le her Pantelone. We learned how to work with and revere masks.

in the late seventies I went to London to audition at RADA on Gower St. It was intensely competitive. Out of 21 being auditioned we were down to three, of which I was one. I did Tom from Glass Menagerie. I was called back for an interview and asked why I wanted to study in London and leave Israel. I was already quite a bit older than most of those being auditioned. After that third stage, I was not called back. Crestfallen, I had no time to audition at the other drama schools sine upon leaving Israel, I had to commit to returning to do my army service (6 months as a new immigrant rather than the usual 3yrs.) so return I did. My teacher with the Jerusalem Drama recommended I audition for the acting program T Tel Aviv University. So I did even though, at that point my Hebrew skills were not as strong as was needed. I was accepted on the condition that my Hebrew would improve and within a yr perform in Hebrew. My first role was as one of the doctors in Molieres Monsieur Pourcegnac. I was at TAU for 4 yrs from which I received my BFA (though with two incomplete in my non acting classes.

i returned to Milwaukee as my father developed health issues. There I became active in a new theatre company, Clavis Theatre, which did some damn good heater. I worked with other companies in Milwaukee and Chicago, then two seasons with Utah Shakespeare Theatre. In 1997, I moved to NYC where I continued through my agent to work there. My last production was off Bway production oh The Great Society In 2013.

Working in theatre can be one of the best experiences in life, the common purpose, the ensemble work, the discoveries in working with your partners, the director, the Corp desprit that can develope, the intense high you feel when it is good and you can feel the connection with the audience. Often life long friendships form. Theatre has given me some of the best yrs of my life. I thank all of you out there with whom I shared some great work on the boards, great laughs and moving, alive moments of creativity.

Nov 10

I am going to be 73 in January. My years have been filled with experiences in many different cities and countries. I have experienced a religious transformation, a calling in my life, perhaps the most astounding act of will made in all my decades. I profoundly regret some decisions I have made in my life; there are others for which I am eternally grateful, but all of them have gone into making me the persona I am today for better or worse.

Though I am single, having no significant other in my life ( my beloved friend Scott came close but he was taken from this life on March 1, 2018) In this case, memories must suffice. But I have been blest, over the decades, with an incalculable gift, the gift of friendship. Delicate as poppies facing a spring rain, enduring as wheat in a North Dakota field, these friends have enriched my life by their presence. They have been my shield. We share memories together, whether in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, Montreal, Jerusalem, Paris, Ireland, New York, New Orleans, or Newburgh.

Through most of my life, good health accompanied me along the path. I was on the end of the seesaw where I asked others, usually older as my parents, how can I help? Then about four yrs ago I was stricken with prostate cancer. I had surgery and all was well until a phone call informing me that this bitch Hecate had settled in my hip where she has been temporarily vanquished due to hormonal injections. Then the day after Thanksgiving I was informed that I had inoperable pancreatic cancer. I began a chemo regimen, then a special form of intense radiation at Memorial Sloan Kettering. On Sept. 23rd, I was declared in remission. Victory! Ah, yes, but never, ever take your eyes off that harpie Hecate, for though she is dormant, at any hour she/he/it may awaken and go on the attack for which vigilance is required.

Clothes either fall to my ankles or envelope me like a voluminous burnous of the casbah. I have lost 45lbs and when others comment on my thinness, my being svelte again as I was at 30, I simply tell them: cancer becomes me. Believe me, it works like nothing else. You should try it. Perhaps unkind, but I cant resist. That black, Irish humor, I guess.

And now, as I approach 73, what remains? First, as John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost ( forgive my not giving the exact reference): good, the more communicated, more abundant grows. An essential Torah value. May I embody it in my relationships with others. Immerse myself more into Jewish life and learning, Listen to more Bach and Beethoven. Attend more concerts, here and at Carnegie Hall. Have a cocktail at the cabaret in the Carlyle and hear someone I love, as I did the yr Scott gave me a present of hearing Ute Lemper sing there. See more stately trees, go out with James and Mary in their boat off the North Fork of LI, visit my dear friends Susannah and Guillaume in Paris, visit Milwaukee in the summer and prepare a meal for my friends there, look out over Lake Michigan, so inextricably bound up with my roots, visit my family in Denver with whom I share decades of family memories. Relish a crepe in Madison made by Liz, the friend who brought me to Paris because she knew I would fall in love with that city of light. Enjoy once again a G&T loaded with fresh lime or a masterfully made Manhattan, or a Bees Knees. ( remember that caper Chrisabelle and Ruth and how Scott saved the day?)

God keep me from self pity or asking the unanswerable why me. Anger may flair at times when impediments confront me along the road, but let it vent and then return to where a smile is the anedote. Let me live until I can live no more, until I can say I am fine and now I am not. At that point, I will know I am in good hands of my true Beloved, who brought me into this world with purpose and Who will call me to enter into the Great Mystery of Eternal Life. But, oh Lord, give me yet a few more southerly days, as Rilke called them in his poem Autumn Day. Baruch HaShem, Deo gratias.

Nov 7

This past Sunday, my synagogue held a blessing of the animals ceremony, which was called a Bark Mitzvah. My feline Thomas stayed home due to my work schedule. Most of the animals were canines, which would have put him into a feline frenzy. He preferred to stay home curled up on his favorite chair cushion next to the radiator. All thanks to the Creator who has blest our lives with the companionship of these wonderful, sometimes mysterious, creatures.

Nov 5

My heart goes out to the Mormon colony in Mexico whigh has experienced such a tragic loss today, nine innocent good women and children caught up so brutally in such a maelstrom of wanton violence at the hands of muderous brutes. May their community and their faith in God help see them through this time of inexplicable horror.

Nov 4

Cold, colder. Snow predicted for Friday. Riding Margaret Schwinn is becoming increasingly difficult. Time to put her away for winter. Then it will be walking between home and the wine shop. Ugh!! I have a rule that no heat shall be turned on before November. Sweaters have to do. But we are in Nov. now, so the thermostat shall be set at 70 and Thomas and I will snuggle. The time approaches when the late Obie Yadgar, the broadcaster on Milwaukees former classical music station WFMR used to say: Time for a samovar and read a good Russian novel. Or something like that.

Nov 4

A plot, yet another, was uncovered today, to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo, CO By a 27yr old Nazi who wanted to kill Jews. It begins to feel like Germany 1932, not 1938, but 1932. The 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht approaches.
This sharp rise in incidents of open racist and anti Semitic violence is connected to the political and social environment laid out by trump; his thoughtless, brainless tweets, his debasement of language which is red meat to ill educated louts, to those in this country who really do feel he is making America great again. His pandering to our basest instincts, his demeaning his opponents, his imperious sense of self worth, that he is above the law, his baseless attacks against the press. All this brings out the racists and anti semites in our society. It gives them a sense of tacit support. As Goebbels knew the power of the radio in every German home, trump and his sycophants know the power of propaganda over social media. Say the lie over and over and over and over and over again and the Ill informed come to believe the lie. Like Goebbels. And so it started there and look what is happening here. Whether he is impeached or not, there will be blood to come. Be assured of that and that will be his legacy, his contribution to American history.

Oct 31

Whats going on. Cancer can get spooky sometimes. Maybe its just the aura of Halloween. But it can play games with the appetite. A couple of weeks ago, it was malted milks. I was crazed for a Malt. Would walk miles, pay any price for a thick, rich black and white, fully integrated, malt.
Today, its gefilte fish. I had to have it. For those of you who are not acquainted with this Ashkenazi delicacy, it is similar to the French quenelles. I prepared some today. After it is cooked, you chill it and then slice it cold and eat it with horseradish. I couldnt wait to tear into it, get that first piece. It took great restraint on my part not to have a second, then third piece.My craving of the week. What next? Perhaps enchiladas.

Last edited by Godsil.   Page last modified on June 29, 2020

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