Just another site

Working Woman is All Our Story

leave a comment »

Some films stay with you.  That could be said for …Working Woman, a new film by director Michal Aviad.

It’s a simple story. A beautiful  Israeli mother of three, Orna, (Liron Ben Shlush of “Next to Her”) is offered a job by a man who used to be her captain in the army. He’s now a big shot in real estate and promises her a lucrative career with advancements. She loves her husband who has just opened a restaurant and realizes the extra money could really help. Plus, she’s ambitious for herself and to prove she can do it.

When the developer Benny (Menashe Noyhen) tries to kiss her after a successful real estate negotiation, she is shocked, scared and disappointed. But he apologies profusely and says it won’t happen again. But it happens without sex, like when he keeps her working late with the prospect of ‘already ordered sushi’ and keeps turning the lights off and on. It is sick and childish, but she is doing so well in bringing in her own business, that she makes herself ignore it.

Her husband, Ofer (Oshri Cohen) is very good at sharing family chores, gets upset when he receives a special business license thanks to Benny’s interference. Something doesn’t smell kosher, but he respects his wife and holds his tongue. They even attend a party at Benny’s palatial home and it is clear to all that Orna and Ofer are tight.

But what happens in Paris can’t stay in Paris. After a celebratory dinner in Paris, selling homes to French Jews, both Benny and Ofra are feeling good about their work and are slightly tipsy, Benny pulls a fast one…the old, can’t get my door open trick…and ugliness takes over. It’s a very well done scene…Ofra struggles but both in shock and awe resigns herself to the drunken abuse because she has little choice.

Back in Israel, her otherwise terrific mother doesn’t want to know and Ofer starts blaming her for allowing it.

Orna is sensitive but fiercely protective of her family and needs a recommendation to get future work.She must garner all her strength and at the same time accept her own complicity in ignoring what she didn’t want to see.

She resolves the problem with great courage handling Benny in front of his wife to get what she needs. He tells her how lucky she was to learn so much with him, and she agrees. But we know what she learned in the loss of innocence is a far greater lesson than selling a condo at the beach.

Whether the director used Harvey Weinstein as a template for Benny, is hard to say…but this is a wonderful film dealing with the strains that women suffer in the workplace especially when one person holds all the power. In Working Woman, the lead takes her power back.

Written by nancykoan

April 3, 2019 at 1:18 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Pinter by Sands by nancy cohen-koan

with one comment

ImageMy first memory of Howard Pinter was sitting next to Sandy Mandel in a London theater and watching her head bounce up and down on her long neck during the Birthday Party. It was the same head that struggled to stay erect in front of the Trevi Fountain and at the opera at the Baths of Caracalla. We were young, it was our first trip to Europe and we hadn’t gotten much rest. And Pinter was probably way too sophisticated for our backpacking sensibilities. A few years later, I was living in London in a flat with a guy who was great friends with the actress Vivian Merchant and was regaled with gruesome stories about her difficult marriage to Pinter. But I still wasn’t tackling his material. In fact, it took me a long time to appreciate his nuanced style and even then I had to get over the fact that  I read  he hated Americans  — for the government’s policies…unfair, considering  how Thatcher’s actions in Grenada, had little effect on my lifelong Anglophilia.

But a few years back I participated in a workshop at Cuny with Harry Burton that dealt with Pinter’s work with actors and my respect and admiration was deepened. And It was revived last night at a one man show at The Irish Rep called a Celebration of Harold Pinter, directed by John Malkovich and starring Julian Sands. Sands  is truly a romantic actor… I loved him in Impromptu and A Room With A View, and have assiduously avoided seeing him in things like Warshlock . My gut feeling is that his comedic skills have yet to be exploited, though in this show, his improvisatory moments are very funny as well as his vulnerability.

Clearly Sands loves Pinter’s poetry and does it proud. When he is Pinter, his voice lowers to a gruffy basso and brings the outspoken man right back to life. Celebration covers many aspects of Pinter’s career, personality, politics and his very committed relationship to author Lady Antonia Fraser.  Sands  is so tight with Pinter that he was asked to read at the funeral ceremony in 2008, after Pinter succumbed to cancer. It is this kind of intimacy, both with the man and the material,  that Mr. Sands brings to this show. Death is ever present in this show and Sands begins with a short poem that is equally cool and warm in its scope. Pinter emotionally takes no prisoners…his  bold, raw style wouldn’t support Broadway, but had its birth in a country where art has been traditionally more supported.  It is such a pleasure to have a better understanding on “the curse of the Pinter pauses” and beats in his writing… I would like a sequel…. Perhaps with even more silence to fully take in everything that he says.  Generously, Mr. Sands mentioned that Rufus Sewell will be playing Pinter in the West End next year.  Hopefully, Mr. Sands will carry on with this show as he has done since 2011.

Written by nancykoan

November 11, 2012 at 5:45 pm


leave a comment »

CHRONICLES OF COVID, episode 20020200525_152940


Clouds have taken on a new importance during this Covid chapter of my life. I look to them to be assured that everything changes, sometimes within a matter of seconds. Shapes that shift from spaceships to Lincoln’s profile are a reminder  that nothing is static, even during virus time. With that I go through my days knowing that even my darkest moods will lift and turn their focus towards something lighter and hopeful.

But before I reach that point, I am compelled to keep my eyes open and look at what’s going on, outside my own personal issues. It would be inhuman to ignore the realities of this country and pretend that things are decent. Black men are being slaughtered by the very people our taxes pay to protect us. Churches are being burned by ‘god-fearing racists. Families of undocumented workers live in daily fear. Anti-Semitism escalates weekly and Nature, our Mother, is fighting for her very existence.

Where are we? Who are we? It would be too facile to put blame for this imbalance only on our so-called leadership… much of this havoc has been brewing well before the ascent of these unloving, non- responsive robots.  We either have been too busy, too distracted or have felt too powerless to stop it.

During the weekly dharma talk yesterday, Peter Coyote spoke to one of the bottom lines…the need to vote the better people into office. And the only way to do this, without the influence of corporations and favor makers, is to push for campaign finance reform. As long as a candidate owes something beyond her moral compass, we are all prisoners to big money, guns and bias.

Why does this country hold so much hate in its collective heart? It’s time we look in the mirror and face this responsibility to be better human beings and heal this amazing country. No amount of money or church or temple going can shift that fact if we are not willing to look deeply into our own eyes, face the truth  and say enough.

After George Floyd’s murder, Christian Cooper’s attack and  UK’s Dominic Cummings’ deceit, it’s hard to find a lighter ending note. But there is one, of course. Friends and good will. Still unwilling to travel by subway, Amy and Skip, artist and poet ferry their way to my neighborhood to share a cookie and and gossip…integral ingredients to a normal social life, one we will hopefully all be participating in soon.


Written by nancykoan

May 28, 2020 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »



Time is so out of whack these days. I can’t recall if it were yesterday or a month ago, I made a spectacular trek out of the neighborhood. I had heard through the grapevine that Clorox wipes were available at a grocery store near Gramercy Park. Leaving my dog at home, I geared up with mask and gloves for the expedition. I had only seen newsreels of how quiet New York was and may have only seen ten people in all on my journey back and forth. Once there, I raced to the back of the store hunting down the precious wipes. Nothing was on the shelf. Bare.  So, it wouldn’t be a complete waste, I bought some exotic food items unavailable at my local bodega and went to the front of the store to inquire as to why they gave me false hope re the wipes. Apparently, I didn’t know the rules, the secret code, or the handshake—the cashier told me I had to ask at the manager’s booth and only one per customer. I was thrilled but felt suddenly like I was in East Berlin getting my monthly ration of kasha.


The mix up of time also produces strange improprieties. Buying an actual ticket, I watched a live comedy benefit fora local candidate. One of the comedians performed from inside a parked car; apparently the car being the only privacy available to her. Cool. She could have been on a space shuttle the way her hair seemed to float around her head. Usually on a zoom, you see thumbnails of the other participants but on this one, the zoom meister kept revealing the audience on a rotating basis, probably looking for smiley faces to help nurture the comedians along.  It was fun seeing people in their smelly t shirts dribbling food down their fronts while seemingly enjoying the stand-up comics. I, for one, donned my usual lampshade disguise so as not to be recognized. I can’t fake laughter. The rotation, however, worked well giving us all a sense of community, that was until a latecomer showed up, naked in a bathtub, apparently enjoying watching and being watched. Ah, decency out the window.

I have had two therapy sessions during these early months. Since I wasn’t able to find the Mayor’s Office of Loneliness on line, I thought it best to speak to a pro on occasion just to stay on top of the burgeoning madness. I liked the woman a great deal, though I was concerned at her concern over my PayPal account. At this juncture, I require speaking to someone without money issues, as they are one of my major roadblocks. Still, it was good to know that everything I’m feeling is normal and that the stretch of unknown time ahead of me is being felt by one and all. I mean I know its spring because it’s so green and the mice are spending more time outside my apartment. But other than that, I have little sense of time except when the 7 pm bells ring out for the essential workers.

I wish I still menstruated. Women are blessed with a natural internal calendar and depending on one’s regularity, can count on misery every 28 days with pre-bloating a week before. The chocolate stash empties out and you know where you are. Can any old sun dial top that?



Written by nancykoan

May 26, 2020 at 12:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Chronicles of Covid, episode 622 (memorial day)


Some days I wake up so crabby that even my dog stays away (till she needs feeding). This day started out in such a manner. i don’t know if it’s a follow up from nightmares, but I believe they do affect the rest of my waking dream state. I had read that astrologically this was a period of reviewing past relationships, live and dead, and that they will come in different ways.

I seem to be stuck on one ex in particular and it always leaves me feeling empty, guilty and full of remorse. In last night’s dream, I found myself moving from an abode. It was very specific what with unscrewing little door plates and keeping the hardware, wrapping up glass figurines, and other similar minutiae. While  packing up one small box, I found a tiny ring and said to my friend to give to my ex when she would next see him. Her advice was sharp and quick. “No, don’t.” As if I might need it for someone else? The abruptness of her response woke me up and all over again I felt a sense of missing in action… my heart primarily.

The Sunday morning news show did little to life my spirits.  I hope that all those enjoying this holiday weekend aren’t being too careless. It’s understandable that folks want to run and play but this urgent need to go to shopping malls eludes me. At this point, I, like every dog I ‘ve ever lived with, would just be happy enough to go for a ride in a car with my head hanging out the rolled down window.

Nostalgia naturally is playing a big role in this moment. My sister and I are most comfortable when speaking about our childhood days and she reminds me of toys we loved. There was one tin comic book rack that I mused about and she insisted it had been hers first. How many times do you have to remind an older sibling that everything was theirs  first by order of birth. Still, I had inherited it and now it is long gone. With that theme we moved on to Winky Dink. I recalled the little star fellow and the kit that came with the brand. It was some type of film that you could put right on the television screen and draw on. How fun. Except that once I remembering drawing with heavy crayons, having forgotten to put up the Winky Dink screen first. It must have been really hard for my mother to wash off.


In honor of Memorial Day Weekend, I went on e-bay and found a slightly battered Winky Dink and bid on it. This is madness, of course, but if I win, I’ll send it to my sister on her next birthday. That is, after trying it on a flat  screen television. I want to see how Stephen Colbert looks with a bright Winky star on his head.

So along with fallen soldiers, today I am mourning the people who died from Covid 19.  My wonderful pharmacist Ali with the heart of gold and Bill Wolf, a friend, film critic and teacher. Good-bye little Winky Dinks… you were  and are loved.



Written by nancykoan

May 24, 2020 at 9:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »



There are many wonderful things to enjoy during this pandemic. Stretch waist bands for one. I have never worn one style of pants as often in my life. These K Mart, side striped step in pants have proved a god send, what with too little exercise, IBS and fluid retention from late night taco chips. It’s so easy to go right from sleepwear to day wear and sometimes it’s one in the same.

Darling, the young woman I share my life with, had an appointment at the vet today. We went out and as. soon as she made her daily contribution to the sidewalk (yes, I scooped), she refused to walk another step. She has a sixth sense, this little schnoodle How did she know? Did she read my email? I carried her over to the vet’s office where she shook like a leaf until she was taken in, blood tested and brought out again. She was so relieved that the ordeal was over that she ran jauntily up the street where for a reward, I stopped and bought her chicken bone broth. For me, the cheap stuff is ok, but for her, organic bone broth without sodium.

Dogs are funny during Covid. They know things are strange and they try and conform accordingly, but when they catch a whiff of a passing dog, they can’t help but want to get socially undistanced. So, it’s up to the parent to fathom the expression in the eyes of the other dog’s masked owner. Do they think it’s safe? Are they too frightened to engage?  If the other human is indifferent or more likely on the mobile, I let the dogs decide.  Their dance doesn’t take very long as many New York dogs are fixed.

After zooming a writing class from Sundance and a talk back with activist filmmaker Fisher Stevens through the Woodstock Film Festival site, it was time to manage a pre- fabbed food kit that would invariably be too salty. But how do you suck the salt out of food in a microwave? Adding a potato doesn’t help.

Several glasses of budget filtered water later, it felt like time to make a call. One of the great things about Covid is that heroes are not in short supply. At seven we bang for the essential workers, but one of the news shows turned me on to someone I just had to meet. Pat ‘Mother Blues’ Cohen (no relation) was found in North Carolina singing the most incredible blues outside of the senior home where her brother was sequestered. This incredible woman traveled an hour by car to provide entertainment through the windows to these folks who are truly isolated and especially for her baby brother.

I found her number through a service that helps older blues singers and there we were, talking about her career, life as a card dealer in Atlantic City, singing on Bourbon Street before surviving Katrina and now giving pleasure to a smaller but equally thrilled audience. I guessed she was a Taurus when she talked about her fascination with studying online catalogs and dreaming of the ideal home where she could house all her treasures. I also have way too much stuff in a small space and study Wayfair likes it’s the Torah.


photo courtesy of Music Maker Relief Foundation

I wrote a song for a film I hope to finish someday that I’d love to hear her sing. She’s got the chops so who knows what might happen when life goes back to something more recognizable than this moment. I’m keeping this hero’s number just in case.

Written by nancykoan

May 23, 2020 at 1:34 am

Posted in Uncategorized

CHRONICLES of COVID, episode 367

with 2 comments

Chronicles of Covid, episode 367CHRONICLES OF COVID Episode 367


Clearly my goal of doing one of these revelatory reports every day during isolation has gone asunder, what with the more pressing obligation of avoiding noticing my weight gain while at the same time, making sure I have plenty of Panda’s Australian licorice (both noir and strawberry) in stock.

So why do I feel compelled to write today? I’m certainly not bored, what with not one, but two zoom classes on how to perform Shakespeare for your dog. I’ve also mastered the art of making Rice Crispies soak up the milk really fast so that the white stuff doesn’t spill out of the bowl while eating in bed (did I mention that it’s so quiet you can actually hear the snap, crackle and pop?) And best … I even made it through a birthday without the usual fanfare of insisting my friends show up for what I often think of as the Last Supper.  I’m learning to become my best friend.

All in all, a successful week or whatever we call this stretch of endless days. I’m feeling so good about myself that I defended Donald Trump’s refusal to wear a mask. Clearly, he does not want to create more tan lines on his face and we all know how hard it is to get Maybelline’s Sunkiss Glow off a N95.

So, with renewed spirit I took a walk. My mask was one of my looser ones; having stretched out the ear elastic I had to bobby pin it to my hood. Luckily, in my neighborhood most people wear their pajamas on the street until about 330 pm, so I wasn’t the least embarrassed.

It was windy on the east river and when I got far enough away from other potential disease carriers, I lifted the side of my mask and let some of that good New York air into my nasal fortress. Ah it was nice.

I noticed one fellow in the baseball field doing an exercise with two long strands of black rubber. He shook it endlessly until it looked like a dancing infinity symbol and I was impressed with his strength, despite having skinny white arms.

Taking a rest, I sat on a bench for 20 minutes unfriending people I disagreed with on Facebook and then decided to meditate before I’d have no friends left. The British voice on the meditation told me to appreciate this time by slowly looking at the sky and noticing everything slowly. An opportunity was being afforded all of us to see things anew. With those thoughts I started back home when I spotted a tiny rose bush. I bent down, adjusted my mask and breathed in the little pink bud. To my delight, it smelled like a real flower. I don’t know when I smelled such an aroma last other than at Bed Bath and Beyond. This was how flowers always used to smell before they were harvested by the slave trade. Just to be certain I wasn’t hallucinating; I took another whiff and and then tightened up my mask. I really needed that rose scent.



My lesson for the day was twofold. Always try to remember to look up at the sky and just as important, brush the teeth before going out for a walk with a mask. The exhales can be quite rough, but only your best friend will tell you the truth.

Written by nancykoan

May 20, 2020 at 6:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Chronicles of Covid, Episode 42

leave a comment »

20200424_140918Chronicles of Covid, Episode. 42

Day 135, feels like 2030

Blue today, blue Friday. Grey morning riding on the heels of nightmares. Most of my dreams involve dead friends. Are they trying to tell me something? I’m wondering if it has something to do with forgiveness…forgive myself for not having lived enough in the world on offer for so long, now that the offerings are so different, so internal. Even dreaming about old ex-friends who are still alive and with Whom, if I were a forgiving type, I would call and say “what was that fight about anyway?”

I had a thrill yesterday. Being poetry month, the radio was giving prompts for a poem. I dashed one off to the tune of “after this is over, what is the first thing you would want to hear?” A producer emailed me that she liked mine so with Shakespeare on my shoulder, I imagined the red carpet of my radio poetry debut and all the joys that would follow. What if they read it aloud? It was really meant for my therapist.

I didn’t hear the live radio as I must have been foraging for balsamic vinegar… but email said I had made the LIST. Alas, too late to start a poetry career  and besides, I had tried it once with the Unbearables, a rough and tumble group of lovable refugees from the normative. Mike Golden died this year, he had inched me in to the group. I’m glad he’s missing this messy time… he never ever would have worn a mask unless he was in the getaway car.

Earth Day came and I hugged my dog who was peeing next to a tree. No pee. Then she went up to a guy sitting on a bench  reading with a muffin and looked like she would pee on his long leg. He was such a gentlemen. He suggested that he had often been mistaken for a tree and wasn’t bothered in the least. Now that’s what I call humanity and nature in synch.

Note to self: Please  don’t forgive the US neglect of the Native Americans, esp. the Navajo Nation at this time/don’t  forgive the jerks trying to abolish abortion rights as non-essential/ and don’t forgive the potential damage to the working poor with the re-opening of American life

Written by nancykoan

April 25, 2020 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized


leave a comment »

Chronicles of Covid. #37

Day 37, feels like 400



I’ve demoted my bras to the bottom drawer.

Swing hi, swing lo.

The mascara’s run dry,

Say good bye, say good bye.

The tooth paste must stay,

but the hair, what can I say?

I’ve grown accustomed to this look,

Locked in but free, to be to be to be.

A version of Me!

Written by nancykoan

April 13, 2020 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized