Just another site

Images of young Girls (albeit made of wood) creep me out.

leave a comment »

The recent exhibition at the National Arts Club struck me as very weird. In a show entitled Alternate Lives, Judith Henry’s photographs of herself with masks of deceased women is fun and a reminder of the many accomplishments of her subjects as well as their emotional tone, as demonstrated by Ms. Henry’s attitude to the mask.

But Morton Barlett (1909-1992) is something else entirely. Described as a ‘quiet man’, Mr. Bartlett, who dropped out of Harvard, spent years shooting mannequins of children.  Well, ok, I shot photos of the naked mannequins heading for the unemployment line when B. Altman’s closed their  shop, but I’m a woman and the wooden ladies were of age.

These curious images, including naked mannequins with obvious genital indents, is too close to PizzaGate and even some the real news on pedophilia for comfort.

His work brings to my mind, Henry Darger, an Outsider Artist, whose drawings also make me uncomfortable. When I asked someone sitting next to me george bartlettat an event there,  if he didn’t see what I was getting at, he responded, “Of all the people I’ve talked to at the Club, you’re the first person to say this.”

Well, I don’t think I’ll be the last.


Grand Gallery
Judith Henry – Me As Her
Morton Bartlett – Family Found

May 1 – June 15




Written by nancykoan

June 1, 2017 at 9:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Fetal-stem cell therapy –does using the “God Cell” mean your Child does Not have to Die?

with one comment


In this week of strong sentiments being voiced for the betterment of all humankind and love at the DNC, I will add another.


I have always been an admirer of innovators in medicine and healing. My father’s brother, Uncle Milty, delivered many of the babies in my hometown. He was a physician who practiced hypnosis which he taught his patients during their pregnancies. They then used it together in the delivery room resulting in relatively pain free births. Ok, some of my classmates still look at little dazed, but they there was no birth trauma.
Then a few years back I had the privilege of working with Dr. Hilary Koprowski, Director for 34 years at The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia. Dr. Koprowski, a Polish immigrant who escaped the Nazis, developed the first oral vaccine against poliomyelitis, the infant paralysis which swept across North America and the British Isles. His discovery helped saved millions of children. Dr. Korowski was also a pianist and composer and together we wrote a satire on the hypocrisies of the medical system which he often found absurd. It was called Club Med-i-cal.
In LA last week, I met another medical ground breaker Dr. William Rader. President Obama in his speech at the DNC, said “he sees doctors coming up with new cures.” I wonder if he were speaking about Dr. Rader.


Dr. Rader has had a long career. In the media, he appeared as a medical expert on ABC’s Good Morning America and for thirteen years was a regular commentator on medical issues on KABC, Los Angeles. He served as chief psychiatrist for the U.S .Navy’s alcoholic treatment program from 1971 to 1973 and developed a treatment approach to addiction that was later adopted as part of the Betty Ford recovery program at the Eisenhower Medical Center in California. He also created highly successful programs for eating disorders and built the first HIV/AIDS treatment center in Latin America. He co-created one segment of the other ground breaker, the television show All In the Family and was married to one of its stars, actress Sally Struthers. To say he is a Renaissance man is perhaps saying too little. For now Dr. Rader has been embarked on the most cutting edge of healing…the stem cell.
Prior to meeting Dr. Rader, I knew little more about stem cell therapy than it is considered the new frontier of treating a disease or a condition. Bone marrow transplant is the most widely used stem-cell therapy although there are other therapies that are derived from the umbilical cord. The controversy that surrounds this therapy has to do with the location of the stem-cell, it being felt by certain ethicists and the religious right that the embryonic or fetal stem cell (which Dr. Rader works with) is touchy. Because it requires a living fetus to donate the cells for research, there has been backlash, despite the facts that it has been proven to heal the untreatable and to prolong life.
Dr. Rader first got into fetal stem-cell work in 1995 when he was invited to Eastern Europe to meet with scientists and doctors who have been making significant strides in fetal stem-cell research. They wanted to speak to a doctor from the West to share their progress reports. He vetted all the doctors and then visited their hospital in the Ukraine to witness their research. The stem cells were not illegal there because abortion is legal and donors are given the choice as to whether they want to donate or destroy the fetal cells.
When Dr. Rader returned to the U.S., he was a changed man. He witnessed so much healing work that he didn’t realize was possible and in 1995 founded Stem Cell of America, an international corporation dedicated to the research and development of the clinical application of fetal stem cells. He currently serves as chairman of the board and chief scientist.


Disease scares me so at first I wasn’t eager to talk to Dr. Rader, but after his assistant sent me the film on his work, I was hooked.


In The God Cells, director Eric Merola shows us the patients that have given up all hope of having normalcy and a pain free life. From the sixteen year old girl with who wanted to commit suicide because of the daily pain, to the southern lady with Parkinson’s who has had a complete remission and plays piano like she did as a young woman. These are extraordinary, dare I say, miraculous stories. Even the personal physicians of patients who don’t know much about fetal stem-cell work are flabbergasted at the successful healing their patients have had.


I then looked at his book (Blocked in the U.S.A. by William C. Rader, MD) …one medical success after the next: an Alzheimer patient whose symptoms are reversed and resumes post as dean of a graduate school; a teenager who had untreatable cystic fibrosis, now symptom free; and an MS patient, now symptom free with lesions gone from his brain.
I have suffered migraines and constant pain from something diagnosed as Fibromyalgia that temporarily challenged my otherwise adorable personality. I have friends with Lupus, cancer, MS and auto-immune challenges. I love these people. So it was imperative that I meet this man who’s experienced so many successes and has such hopeful views of our health…not in the future, but now.
At seventy-eight, William Rader is filled with a crackling intellect and an ardent desire to wake the world up to what he believes works. You can’t help but notice his beautiful skin which he claims is from his own stem cell therapy. It is LA, so it’s impossible to know for sure; he looks great. But it’s his passion and devotion to his patients that really stands out. He is firm in his belief that fetal stem-cell therapy can give renewed life to those who have felt doomed by other medical models and longevity to those who believe we can live better and longer. And he doesn’t believe that we must do ten years of trials before using them… he says that he has had success with over 3000 patients and no negative reactions.
Unlike other persecuted visionaries, who spend a great deal of time talking about their lawsuits, Dr. Rader only briefly mentions that he is unpopular with the medical system and that quite a few alternative doctors have been killed. He has had to move his clinic twice due to threats from local politicians and it is now based in Mexico.
Why is it so controversial? One reason is that the pharmaceutical companies have a lot to lose when a future of curative and preventative healthcare is offered at a lower cost.
And there is the abortion issue. The abortions would happen anyway. The women make their own decisions on whether the fetal tissues will be used for medical purposes. And because he says he is able to get enough cells from one fetal stem-cell to help a million patients, it is hardly exploitative.
Because Dr. Rader has seen so much success with his patients, he doesn’t believe he needs to conduct ten years of research in double blind studies. He feels that would effectively be withholding treatment from adults and children who could otherwise be cured, many of whom do not have ten years to wait.
So Dr. Rader is like an outlaw in his own profession. To pioneer and strike out on one’s own, sacrifices are made; risks occur. Knowing this, Dr. Rader volunteered to resign his medical license so that he could pursue this healing modality …. He was not permitted to do so, and now if you look at Wikipedia, it says his license was revoked. This may have been done to disparage his work and his reputation. If I had only looked at what I read online, I may have thought…whack job. But that all changed once I started to look at the overwhelming positive evidence.
I asked him to briefly explain to a laywoman why the fetal stem-cell is considered the God cell.
The stem-cell is the only stem cell where you can get nerve cells from the brain of a fetus which is needed for Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases. For an umbilical cord transplant, for example, they are not going to put a needle into the brain of a newborn to get these neurotical cells, so it’s the only stem cell where you can get pure neuronal cells. Any other stem cells don’t make it.
He says that it is also readily available for expansion (growing more of the cells) so that the material from one fetus can treat thousands of patients.

This is why he can treat a million patients from one fetus.
Its immune privilege is different from other cells. A fetal tissue can be given to anyone without rejection which then allows it to be used for many different diseases. Also there is no matching necessary…you don’t need to match the fetus to the patient which is the most difficult part of the process.
The below procedure is of great interest to patients with neurological disease.
The technique is to inject subcutaneously where it is picked up from the lymphatic system and crosses the blood brain barrier and gets into the brain and spinal cord.
The other shot that is given intravenously is a different cell.

It is of the immune system. It searches the body for any kind of pathology, it stimulates the damaged cell to produce healthy cells and it also turns the damaged cells into normal ones. It decides through its intelligence where to go, prioritizes and then goes to that area and afterwards goes all round the body looking for areas of pathology.
Ok, now I somehow understand the process. And if Dr. Rader’s claims hold up, then standard medical care would truly be revolutionized.

He assures me that they use the finest labs and every cell goes through trenchant analysis, three times over before being considered for his work.
As for costs? Not cheap, but according to the film, many patients have been given breaks on the treatment. And when you weigh the cost of the process against illness, death and years of expensive medical procedures that don’t work, it is cost effective.
Nothing gives more weight to a subject than the voices of the healed. His book is filled with testimonies from parents who saw their child with autism, cancer, cerebral palsy and many more ‘untreatable’ diseases healed and grateful. And in the case of Brenda Nigro, wife of Dr. Dennis Nigro, a plastic surgeon whose bout with cancer received renewed health and extra time because of the treatment, “do not falter …the world needs the stem cell miracle.


Blocked in the U.S.A., The Stem Cell Miracle by William C. Rader, MD (Nanog Publishing Inc.)
In The God Cells, Director Eric Merola, (

Written by nancykoan

July 29, 2016 at 5:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

An Antidote for Now: Woody Allen’s Cafe Society

leave a comment »

Martini glass

Martini glass

Woody Allen’s Café Society is about as far away from current global realities as possible and that’s exactly why it’s grand. To be carried into his dream world of early Golden Hollywood Daze mixed with Brooklyn when the Dodgers were still there, is a cocktail that goes down as smoothly as the extra dry martinis served up at Les Tropiques, the swank El Morocco nightclub in the film.

Café Society is manna for the detail starved. Santo Loquasto, the Production Designer, is at his best with stunning, if not always authentic sets. The first Hollywood Hills mansion looks a little too modern for the era and Jesse Eisenberg’s (Bobby Dorfman) motel room, a little too charming for the price. But it is all gorgeous. The lighting palette is varied and delightful…star cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who shot films like Last Tango in Paris and Apocalypse Now, captures the it beautifully.

This is a film where the details really soar. Jeannie Berlin as Bobby’s mother has a vocal pitch that is kvetchy perfect and occasionally brings to mind the young woman who insisted on eating egg salad with her mouth open in The Heartbreak Kid. Ms. Berlin is now older and fully in control of her comedic skills.

If there were doubts that Jessie Eisenberg could carry a comedy, they will be banished with Café Society. His Ben is truthful and sweet, and as a Woody stand-in, neurotic in his own unique way; a way that doesn’t preclude the possibility of becoming a man who will ‘end up’ successful, much the way Mr. Allen has in real life.

The film jogs back and forth between New York and Hollywood, with Bobby’s family providing a wonderful counterpoint to the glamour of life in California.

The acting is all good – Kristen Stewart as the earnest love interest, Steve Carell, as a Hollywood bigwig agent, urbanite Parker Posey, pious sister Sari Lennick, Ben’s father Ken Stott, socialite Blake Lively, and a terribly toupeed Corey Stall as the sexy mafia brother.

Mr. Allen’s story telling is so well plotted that you seem to fly along with the characters’ lives and that even when bad things happen, it doesn’t feel so bad. His generous sprinkling of Yiddish throughout gives the story a slightly folkish quality, especially in the Brooklyn scenes. A young guy going on the road to finding himself, getting mentored, getting love, getting disillusioned and landing on his feet is classic and yet feels fresh because the world presented is fun and colorful.

Does the critique of Hollywood values reflect Mr. Allen’s own distaste for the glitz? Probably to some extent, but the way he lovingly films that world shows bemusement more than contempt, and an acceptance that life is never 100 percent. Is he saying that a nightclub run by hoods is equivalent to a film studio… in both places you can make a killing and get killed. It may be an element, but mostly it’s about dreams of love that never quite work out… ‘that special feeling’ that never goes away, despite all the external changes you may make to forget her or him.

Mr. Allen may not deal with politics as such but he does give the characters a chance to face their own moral compass. Steve Carell dreams of leaving his wife and suffers for the dream. Decisions are not made without thought. The Jewish characters are not all alike…they don’t have the same level of guilt, even in the same family.

The one bone I’d pick is that the story never returns to the escort Candy, (Anna Camp), who Ben orders in his first lonely weeks in LA. Bobby is shocked that she’s late, not so gorgeous, a first timer and a Jew. All of that is funny and great as a metaphor for the prostituting of oneself in show business. Still, this Candy is a warm funny character doing something scary and we never find out her future. Perhaps she represents all the victims of Hollywood dreams.

That we have little real control of our lives is best felt in the nightclub singer’s rendition of Rodger and Harts’ Mountain Greenery. Mr. Allen has lived long enough to personally know that falling in love is beyond our control: In a mountain greenery, Where God paints the scenery, Just two crazy people together.


Café Society is a love story. It is ultimately Mr. Allen’s love for life, despite his protestations.





Written by nancykoan

July 12, 2016 at 3:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Sex Play, Branagh’s Romeo & Juliet

leave a comment »

Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo? How many women throughout the ages have uttered these words with the wish of experiencing perfect love? For fair Juliet, it is a specific desired object for whom she calls out, and we all wait in the dark for HIS response.

Hero Shot (2)
Thursday evening, Kenneth Branagh’s Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet will screen nationwide through Fathom Events, the company that brings filmed live productions of theater, opera and more. The stage show will continue to run in London at the Garrick Theatre until August 16.
Branagh gave us King Henry in 1989 and his talent was off and running. With co-director Rob Ashford, this Romeo and Juliet star Downton Abbey’s Lady Rose and Richard Madden (Game of Thrones) as the star-crossed lovers. Meera Syal plays the Nurse and Sir Derek Jacobi is Mercutio, best friend to Romeo.
I have tried hard not to read the reviews, though two notes could not be avoided… Lily is terrific as a teen-age Juliet and Jacobi’s command of his instrument and long experience performing Shakespeare makes for a not-to-be missed performance.
I had the opportunity to speak to Sir Jacobi moments before he was gearing up for the next performance.
His voice is soft and with perfect elocution. I asked him how he was able to capture a younger Mercutio from his revered age of 77.
He told me a story about George Orwell’s trip to Paris. There, he and his friends meet an older man sitting at the café, with his drink. The group all gets on famously and when the older man leaves, the bartender shares with Orwell, that the man, a regular, was none other than Oscar Wilde. He was just like one of the boys, witty and sharing stories from his own experiences, much like Mercutio’s reflections of his own life, where in his Mab speech, he displays all sides of himself. He sees the fun side of life and makes jokes, usually of a questionable, if not Elizabethan, sexual quality.
Mr., Sir, Jacobi’s, technique is to find his emotional anchoring in a character. He can’t start a role until he’s established this anchor, inside himself. Of course, though anchoring is different with different characters, he insists that there is only one spirit, one imagination that comes through all of his characters.
I had read that he is part of a community that believes William Shakespeare did not write any of the plays. He concurred, and though positive that the “man from Stratford” is not the author we all revere, that no one yet is certain who the real Shakespeare is.

Hero Shot (2)
Not to worry. Romeo and Juliet is a beautiful teaching of love and hate and redemption. I expect to cry for the fiftieth time while seeing this play.

Written by nancykoan

July 6, 2016 at 4:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Long Star Spirits, spirited fun

leave a comment »

From the moment you walk into the Fourth Street Theater to see Crowded Outlet’s LONE STAR SPIRITS, the environment makes you want to have a drink. The set is like a cross between a VFW cellar bar and a general store, run down and short on supplies, inviting in the way that all places which have served their purpose and yet stubbornly hang on, are. You know it has passed its sale by date and you like it even better because it doesn’t care.

lonestarThe characters, too, have been hanging around a bit too long. DREW, (Aaron Roman Weiner), overwhelmed in a Brad Paisley Stetson, tries to carry himself like he’s still playing tightend for the home team. (The reader will forgive if I mix up football positions) His glory days are now all tied up with raising the funds for a monument of him catching the winning play that took the local high school to state championship. Of course, he drinks a lot.

His friend, proprietor WALTER, (Martin LaPlatney), is a voice off-stage for the first five minutes and it is a wonderful voice. Filled with all the color of the locale and the wisdom that comes from selling too much whiskey to dreamers like Drew. Where Drew is short and wired, Walter enters like a long drink of Texas water, eliciting an interrogation from Drew because he is wearing a tie.

Soon JESSICA, (Amelia McClain), a single Gulf War widow with a kid to feed, buys whatever she needs to nullify both her son and her mom who’s babysitting so that she can go out and get drunk with the girls. The angry non-looks she and Drew throw each other are filled with all the mystery of small town life; a place where rumors fly so fast you have to wear a helmet to keep your head on. They are discreet.

MARLEY, (Mikaela Feely-Lehmann), long gone and living in Austin, arrives with her Eastern-born fiancé BEN, (KeiLyn Durrel Jones), in tow to visit Walter her father. They make it known pretty quickly that they have no interest in staying the night, though Ben wants to buy all the ‘authentic” rickety furniture for his online store…until one of the chairs collapses.

Jessica tries to remind Marley of their old high school friendship while Drew keeps flirting, talking about their dating days as often as he mentions the BIG GAME. Pretty soon we discover that Marley and her mom deserted the town and her father long time ago, but now Marley needs dad’s help so that she can move forward in her precisely planned future.

There is an abundance of humor, warmth and wisdom in this small show. Ghosts and guns play their part, but it is its well-drawn and beautifully played characters that make it a go see. Director Wes Grantom does a great job of bumping people into each other at just the right moment and playwright Josh Tobiessen knows how to spin a surprise like a master.

LONE STAR SPIRITS will be performed at the 4th Street Theatre (83 East 4th Street) beginning Friday, June 3rd (through Sunday, June 19th).

Written by nancykoan

June 7, 2016 at 4:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Aaron Weinstein makes Blue Monday Red Hot

leave a comment »

aaron Pangea was a supercontinent that existed during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. It was assembled from bits approximately 300 million years ago, and it began to break apart about 175 million years ago. Now a piece.has landed in Manhattan and though not a new kid to the hood, a relative new idea to New York nightlife

Pangea is becoming the speakeasy of yesteryears today…where great food, meets booze meets amazing talent. They have a cabaret evenings almost every night with luminaries the likes of Eric Comstock, Julie Halston and Mad Jenny and her Society Band.

The tables are intimate, the lighting flattering and the waitstaff incredibly sensitive to the performers, quietly delivering that second bottle of champagne with hardly a sound.

Last night I was privileged to once again see the Wunderkind of Strings Aaron Weinstein .accompanied by the brilliant Tedd Firth on piano. I’ve been watching Mr. Weinstein for years and his drop in your lap dry humor only gets drier…he’s a cross between Howdy Doody and Woody Allen, delivering witty and silly reflections about life, art and of course, music. His patter is only second to his virtuosity. The guy really swings on the fiddle, sneaking his way up to jazz as he dances his way through the American Songbook. He took a sit down break to play the mandolin which he insists he ‘bought at a sale at Whole Foods!’

Tedd Firth plays along beautifully and as everyone in the cabaret world knows, he is tops. When he provides as Mr. Weinstein calls it the percussion, every song is perfectly nuanced. On “I Want to Be Happy”, I actually found my feet and arms moving in glee.  The quieter honoring of Mother Rose’s songs from Gypsy teared me up and I don’t think I was alone. That’s why Pangea’s great cocktails are so helpful.

An added thrill was hearing Michael Musto do a number. I knew he was the great gossip guy but had no idea his pipes were so good. And Vivian Reed, a jazz powerhouse, honored the stage with a song. She’s a master.

I will keep following Mr. Weinstein to see where his humor and good taste next land. And Pangea, thanks for holding on through the downtown shifts. Pangea proves that life is so much more than loud drinking joints and tapas. This piece of land is separate for a reason.

Written by nancykoan

March 29, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Posted in music

Tagged with , ,

The Hundred We Are..3 stages of women

leave a comment »




Having just spent many hours at the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN and taking in so many atrocities of social injustice against my gender, I was hesitant to attend The Hundred We Are, a play about women’s issues written by a man. I shouldn’t have worried. Jonas Hassen Khemiri, a Swedish playwright, has no problem understanding the plight of women’s many life decisions and the regrets that both sexes, but women with historically less opportunity, must feel as they age. In this story, three women play different ages of one, and one speaks as the shadow.

I’ve seen many shows at the Cell Theatre and the Origin group are always inventive. For this play though, the use of projected words and the balcony space, didn’t add much to the story. I wasn’t aware of why the one actress  (Kitty Chen) wasn’t speaking, and though it may have had to do with memorization issues, her acting was so good that I appreciated her pantomime, especially as the voices of the other actors were so strong. They were all terrific; Mirirai Sithole, Caitlin Cisco and especially Orlagh Cassidy, whose range of emotions were full and honest.

I’ve not seen his other works, and though I do admire the intention, the devise of three women playing aspects of one required too much thinking for me to fully contemplate their plight. When she leaves her husband to travel the world, I wanted to know more about why she felt the need to return to a husband who among other deficits, had smelly pants.

The question of whether to live one’s life or worry about the lives of others and even do something for them was particularly timely, having just faced the plight of so many around the world. I imagine that it’s a question we may all ask ourselves as we age

The Origin (George C. Heslin, artistic director) always produces daring political shows. Directed by Erwin Maas, the play runs until April 8.


Written by nancykoan

March 28, 2016 at 1:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized