Sunday, May 19, 2013

Life in a Jar -- The Irena Sendler Project

Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic nurse/social worker who served in the Polish Underground during World War II, and as head of the children's section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization in German-occupied Warsaw.

Aided by a number of other Żegota members, Sendler smuggled about 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, provided them with false identity papers and with housing, managing to save those children during the Holocaust.
Some children were smuggled to priests in parish rectories. She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities. Żegota assured the children that, when the war was over, they would be returned to Jewish relatives.
The Nazis eventually discovered her activities, tortured her, and sentenced her to death, but she managed to evade execution and survive the war. In 1965, Sendler was recognized by the the State of Israel as a Righteous Gentile Among the Nations. She also was awarded Poland's highest honor for her humanitarian wartime efforts.
In 1999, students at a high school in Kansas produced a play based on research into Irena Sendler's life story titled Life in a Jar. It has since been adapted for television as The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler. Her story was largely unknown to the world until the students developed The Irena Sendler Project, producing their performance Life in a Jar
This student-produced drama has now been performed over 285 times all across the United States, Canada and Poland. Sendler's message of love and respect has grown through the performances, over 1,500 media stories, a student-developed website with 30,000,000 hits, a national teaching award in Poland and the United States, and an educational foundation, the Lowell Milken Education Center, to make Sendler’s story known to the world.
The Center is a student and teacher think-tank for celebrating unsung heroes in history with exciting projects. Role models in history are used to demonstrate how one person can change the world. Projects are developed all over the U.S. and around the world.
Here is a link to some of the Center's current exhibits.
The Center has now expanded to Europe. The Lowell Milken Center Europe works with schools in Europe to teach respect and understanding among all people, by developing history projects about unsung heroes whose actions promote these values, regardless of race, religion and creed. These projects are in the form of performances, documentaries, websites and exhibits, or other creative ideas.
The Lowell Milken Center Europe discovers, develops and communicates the stories of unsung heroes who have made a profound and positive difference on the course of history. Through student-driven project-based learning, people throughout the world learn that each of us has the responsibility and the power to take actions that "repair the world" by improving the lives of others.

One can even purchase a book from the Lowell Milken Center about the Irena Sendler Project.

Tikkun Olam/Repairing the World is a strong message of the Center. And consider that it only has to start with one person. Irena Sendler was such a person.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Funny Valentine--Redux!

It's been quite some time since I posted anything in my blog...but I had this idea brewing for a while, so just the other night I decided to act on it.

A year ago, I posted my interview with the wonderful, approachable, and very down-to-earth comedian Wendy Liebman. She is as funny -- if not funnier -- than she was a year ago. Her tweets @WendyLiebman are hilarious and so point-blank, as are her FB updates. She sets up the challenge for witty repartee whenever she posts something. Unfortunately her blog posts have been sporadic at best -- wait! who am I to talk? -- but with each one we glean a little more insight to Wendy, seeing what makes this woman tick.

I thought it would be ideal to approach Wendy again and throw some more questions her way.

No, I won't necessarily make it an annual blog post, but she was kind enough to respond to my request, and I'd like to share my questions and Wendy's answers with you. I kept this "interview" short and sweet.

Thank you, Wendy, and Happy Valentine's Day to you and Jeffrey!


I visited with you a year ago for Valentine's Day. A lot can happen in 365 days. Could you name some highlights and some lowlights that have marked the past year for you.

Highlights include doing my weekly radio show with Terri Nunn on KCSN 88.5 in LA (and on the web!) performing a lot, meeting new comedians that I love (Amir K., Andrew Woodhull, Eliana Horecko), and watching my family thrive creatively!

Lowlights, I lost my father-in-law in March. I lost one of my two dogs in December. 
What are you most proud of at this point in your life?

Well, I’m almost 52 and I just wrote my first play! The actress that I had in mind when I was writing it wants to do it! So, I have to say, today, this is my proudest accomplishment to date!

If you could change ANYTHING about yourself, would you? If so, what would that change entail?

If would have better sleep hygiene. I am not an insomniac, because once I’m asleep I could sleep forever (I’m a sleep pig). But I don’t let myself go to sleep until I have to. What would fixing this entail? Making myself get into bed at a reasonable hour and just lying there until I drifted off. It’s that time in bed, thinking, that I need to deal with. Ah, another 30 years in therapy....
Fill in the blanks:
I love my husband, Jeffrey, because I love the songs he writes -- the music he makes. He can also annoy me because he won’t throw a tube of toothpaste away.
The song whose lyrics I best associate with is Perfect Day.
My mother taught me to be open minded and my father taught me to listen.
I was born in New York State. I lived in Boston. I live in California. I really would love to take time to visit and explore my own home because I’m too tired to travel when I’m not working.
You've just won a large lottery. What's the first thing you do with your winnings? (besides get health insurance)
I would pay off my debt which I incurred when the amount they were paying me for the same gigs was less, and there were fewer gigs. After that I would buy a house. I’ve never owned a house! Then I’d buy presents for all of my friends, which is what I used to do when I had money. And give tons of it to the charity I do an annual benefit for:

You want to play the role of Sheldon's therapist on The Big Bang Theory. Why? Have you done anything to try and make that happen? I’ve been in therapy for more than half of my life. I’ve tweeted this to the showrunner, Bill Prady. And I tell everyone who will listen.
If you wrote your autobiography, what would you name it? (I'm going for "Fifty Strands of Gray") “May I Have Your Attention Please,” “Falling Through The Cracks,” “Pink Socks,” “As Long As I’m Up Here,” or “What to Wear to Therapy.”

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all your readers!

Thanks Pearlie!


**If you click on the highlighted word or phrase, you will link to its reference.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

The Wondrous World of Awe

I was in the company of a wonderful little girl recently. This child, at her young age of four, is still in the wondrous world of awe -- at least to me. To watch her and her siblings interact, to watch her as she plays numerous games of imagination puts a smile on my face. And I am in the wondrous world of awe.

Because I'm no longer so often around very young children, I like to observe and watch them in conversation, at play, as they explore their world.

This little girl was playing with a baby doll in my company. She was embracing it tightly, a smile on the child's lips. I watched as she lulled the doll, and then as she put the dolly up to her chest. I sensed I knew what was coming....

The girl lowered the bodice of her dress and pressed the doll up to her bosom, pretending to breast-feed it. I couldn't help but smile. Said child had a baby born into the family a few months back, and the mother is very comfortable in nursing the baby. This big sister sees that and incorporates it into her play.

I thought this scene was very beautiful in its own way, and it emphasized for me that children learn from what they hear, what they see...

In the Public Eye

Forget the fact that it's been a long time since I last posted...

I realized the other day that in this day and age people have become very public.

Take telephones for instance. Once upon a time there were telephone booths; you'd find one, step inside and close the door, thus blocking off street sounds as you made a phone call, thus allowing for privacy.

These days it's difficult to find a phone booth, and much easier to just slip your cell phone out of your purse or pocket, punch in a few numbers and gab. Doesn't matter where you are: walking along the  street, standing in a crowded subway car, sitting at a table in a restaurant. Base line is that you're out in public and people are able to listen as you freely talk away, as you're not aware of how loud your voice is to others and as you make your position clear on many matters with shouts and exclamations.

When I was a young girl or a teen, I kept a diary. G-d help the person who'd find it. It was hidden among the books in my bedroom, out of view of my siblings and parents. It was private. It was mine.

Back in 2004, I started a blog. Along the way, I picked up  a number of regular readers. I shared some of my innermost thoughts with them and with the blogosphere at large.

I joined Facebook a few years ago. I avidly update my page and also share thoughts with people, whether on my own FB page or in the comments I leave on others' pages.

Why? When did I -- when did WE! -- decide to go so public? Why did we choose to cross that fine line from private to public?

It's interesting to realize and recognize that some people lay themselves completely bare on their blogs -- from family issues, to mental health issues, to work issues -- or on their FB accounts. Have we all become public storytellers and voyeurs of a sort?

Are we in essence trying to reach out to others -- strangers, often -- in this technological, modern way? We don't talk, we type. We don't write; we type. We don't hide; we expose.

Talk amongst yourselves....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Breaking Down Barriers

Now you might think that this blog post title has to do with physical barriers: it doesn't. Not that they don't exist. 'Cause they do.

But this catch phrase has been part of my life and my consciousness for SO MANY YEARS!

I am a person who likes to break down barriers.

I respect authority, I respect formality, but it doesn't mean I have to like doing so.

I am not "Aunt Pearl" -- I am Pearl. I am not Mrs. Saban -- I am Pearl. I like to breed a sense of familiarity and comfort when people are around me and I am around people, so I allow them to call me by my first name -- if the situation allows for it.

When I worked in-house as a copy editor for so many years, I dealt with NYC-based editors; yes, I could send them queries via emails or typed letters, sent via inter-office mail, but I often preferred to speak to them on the phone. If I could at least put a voice to a name, it would have to do because of the distance. I was never sent to our NY offices, but editors often visited us in Toronto, and so I would finally get to put the name to the voice to the face....simply because I had broken down some barriers in order to make some more-than-minimal human contact.

I knew the editors were busy but I tried to make conversation with them at times and let things turn to a personal nature, if even for a few short minutes, and whether I asked about the weather or vacation plans or what these editors were writing for their own enjoyment, I took pleasure in knowing that I had broken down some barriers.

Over the years I had plenty of regular contact with some of the editors -- enough so that once when one of them came to Toronto for a three day conference, I invited her to a girls' night at my house, along with some of my girlfriends. Instead of this editor sitting alone in a hotel room and eating dinner in a hotel restaurant, she could sit among my ensemble of wacky and wonderful friends for a few hours, have a home-cooked meal, and just be herself. Yes, she came, and even though she was probably several years older than me, not married, and living a different life than mine, she was comfortable with us and we were comfortable with her -- and I know that she greatly appreciated the friendliness and hospitality she was shown that evening in my and my friends' company.

It pleased me what a little friendliness could do and how far it could go.

These days you don't find me much in blogland; I much prefer Facebook, and over my three-plus years of giving myself over to that wicked, time-sucking medium, I have broken down other barriers. I have become Facebook friends with celebrities, comedians among them. I still put "Facebook" in front of "friend" in their cases because I'm realistic. We're not friends, but with several, I do more than just write a comment about their status update, I often write them an off-line message. There is one such celebrity with whom I did so, and as a result, I created some poetry, inspired by some of his artwork and stories, and he created some poetry, based on my inspiration. How thrilled I was to learn that his creative mind was inspired by my offline "conversations"!

To know that my words and comments -- whether online or offline -- are leaving some kind of impression on a FB friend gives me great joy. To get a thumbs' up or a response directly related to my comment gives me double joy.

I will still refer to some of these people as Facebook friends, but I know for a fact that one of them has referred to me simply as "friend".  I have seen her use it in print, I have heard her use it on Internet radio.

And then I smile because I know...that I have managed to break down barriers. It's all about jumping on a bandwagon, becoming a back-seat passenger for a while, and then slowly inching to the front-seat passenger seat, alongside the driver ... helping to navigate or just be a friendly companion.

To be a reader on FB is one thing; to be an active participant is another. It is thrilling to think that over on the other side of the country there are celebrity types who read my words and smile, just as I do with theirs. To think that one can have an ongoing personal type of rapport with someone who not all that long ago was a familiar, well-liked but distant person whose path you'd hope to cross but couldn't imagine having the chance to do so. ..

As was once a familiar expression: "Who'd have thunk it?"

It pays to be friendly and have no airs about you, it pays to know when to listen and when to speak, it pays to have an honest interest in what is happening in people's lives -- along with sometimes displaying just the "right" measure of chutzpah.

I have extended my hand to many people in this life, I have extended an ear, as well. To break down barriers, one has to see, one has to listen, and one has to hear what the other person is saying. Reception works both ways...

It just occurred  to me that maybe the title of this post should be amended to BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS AND....BUILDING BRIDGES.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tinker, Tailor*, Music Man, Dad

On February 14, I posted my blog interview featuring the wonderful and very affable comedian Wendy Liebman.

On March 6, I saw a comment on Wendy's FB page that made me wonder what was I jumped over to Wendy's husband, Jeffrey Sherman's FB page, and then I knew: Jeffrey's father, Wendy's father-in-law had passed away.

I did not know the man as a man; I knew the man through his music. Robert Sherman was one half of the Sherman brothers, who worked for the Disney studio for many years, and wrote the music and lyrics to a plethora of memorable family films, among them: Mary Poppins, Bedknobs & Broomsticks, Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, Charlotte's Web, The Aristocats, Winnie the Pooh.
When we go to the movies, especially when we're kids, we don't care to read the credits. We might hear a catchy tune from the movie's soundtrack and sing it again and again or learn to play it on an instrument. It is rare that we wonder about who wrote it.

But when one stops to think of just how many memorable, classic songs these Sherman brothers wrote in their lifetime, and how many of those songs have stayed with us throughout our lives, it is quite mind-boggling. Their music has lasted for two and three generations of families and will last for many more.

The earliest film I recall seeing at a movie theater was Mary Poppins. I saw it as a young four-year-old with my grandfather, who died a short time later, and I associate the movie with him. We owned the song album, and I'd play it on our stereo Hi-Fi over and over throughout the years, moved by the lighthearted tunes of "Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious" (did I even spell that right? I can sing it, but am not sure of the spelling without looking it up) and "Step in Time", and equally moved by the sadder "Feed the Birds". 

And who would have known that "You're Sixteen" -- familiar to many of us as recorded by Ringo Starr -- was a Sherman brothers tune? A catchy tune then; an equally catchy tune now.

Jeffrey and his cousin, Greg Sherman (Richard Sherman's son), produced and directed a wonderful documentary about their dads a few years back. The Boys is a gift really -- a gift to the senior Sherman brothers, a gift to the junior Sherman brothers, and a gift to the world at large, taking us behind the scenes of this very talented, yet complicated musical duo.

Since Robert Sherman passed away, I've been following closely the comments and messages on Wendy's blog and FB page as well as on her husband's FB page. In his time of sorrow, Jeffrey Sherman has opened his arms and his heart  and his FB page to so many friends, family members and strangers who have wanted to comfort him, while clearly wanting to comfort themselves with this great loss.

People have posted their own stories and memories associated with the Sherman brothers' music, and Jeffrey has bared his soul as well, taking his readers into the well-worn and well-loved pages of his life with his father, of his father's life as a Disney songwriter, of the interesting people whose paths crossed his father's over the years. The stories are endless; the photos keep coming, as well.

Robert Sherman told his tales through song lyrics and music; in his recent FB entries Jeffrey tells his tales through his simple, but astutely warm and loving descriptions.

His is a story about one's love for a father, one's admiration for a father, one's acceptance of a musical legacy as passed down through three generations.

*The name "Sherman" is Yiddish for "tailor", from "sher," meaning scissors. Robert Sherman, along with his brother, and their musical father -- Al Sherman, a Tin Pan Alley songwriter/entertainer -- before him, were a "cut above the rest." Their music, like a tailor's fine fabric, created a backdrop for beauty, creativity,  whimsy, and awareness of the world around them.

Robert's son, Jeffrey, creative in his own right via his music, his producing, writing for and directing television shows and films, and clearly his personal writing, was one well-loved son. And Robert, may he rest in peace, was one well-loved father, music man and "tailor"!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Yes, last night were the Academy Awards, and I'm usually home in front of the TV, looking and listening to everything on the screen on the very special night. From the gowns and tuxedos to the speeches to the facial and body expressions as the camera pans and singles out audience members, I am captivated.

Alas, last night I had to be downtown for my daughter -- who was attending a concert with a friend -- so my husband and I chose to see a movie while she enjoyed her music. We chose HUGO, the Martin Scorsese film that had already racked up a number of honors in other award shows.

Going into the film, all I knew was that it was award worthy. I did not know the story. I did not know who the actors would be. I knew nothing about the film, in other words.

And you know what? Sometimes that's a very good thing. No expectations hover around you.

We went in knowing nothing, but we came out very enlightened and moved by this delightful, well-crafted film.

Bravo, Mr. Scorsese, on a job well done!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Pain of Writing Poetry

I don't like to "work" at being creative. I don't want to have to chase down creativity, or wave frantically to get its one would do in trying to flag down a bull.

I like my creativity to slowly edge into my thoughts, motion to me and let me know that it's there, waiting in the side wings for my pen to lift to paper or my fingers to lift to the keyboard.

I want my creativity to be part of me. Accessible when I want it to be. Nearby for safekeeping.

Part of the natural order of things.

But sometimes poetry doesn't work that way. It can have a mind of its own, playing stubborn, and not wanting me to access it so readily.

Today was one of those days. I wanted to write a poem, but it didn't come to me in a flash. So it became like a homework assignment: I had the topic, I had to do research, and I had to flesh out my ideas. It took time; it took effort.

Ideas and words were set down on screen, then the backspace and delete keys were hit time and time again. Type. Enter. Type. Enter. Type. Delete. Delete. Delete. Change font. Create a mood. Create a visual display of wordthoughts.

And in the end the poem was strong. Had meaning. Said what it should.

I worked on it, just as it worked on me.


(I can't share the poem with you just yet, as I wrote it to submit to a literary journal for April, hoping it'll be accepted and published. If that's the case, I should be able to share it with you thereafter.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Funny Valentine: Wendy Liebman

Valentine's Day is reserved for love and romance; it's a time to recognize that being with the one you love is a gift.  As Stephen Stills penned, "Love the one you're with..."

Chocolate, champagne and wine, strawberries and whipped cream, candlelight dinners, sentimental or funny cards, Cupid, and hearts are associated with this special day. Rogers and Hart embodied the thought of love in their wonderful and timeless song, "My Funny Valentine".

To celebrate this special day, I would like to share my funny valentine with you --  no, not my husband, not my kids, not even my beloved pooch, Max. I'd like to introduce you to comedienne Wendy Liebman, literally a funny valentine.

Wendy is one of those gals whose served-straight-up humor lights up a room; although self-deprecating, her humor targets those everyday things that we might gloss over and not really appreciate...until she draws our attention to them.

"I've gone on so many blind dates I should have gotten a free dog."

"I was a secretary before doing stand up, and we did not have computers! Can you imagine your job without ... solitaire?”

"My love life is like a fairy tale -- Grimm."

" I got my first bikini. It's a 3-piece: A top, a bottom and a blindfold for you."

"I don't come from money, I come from coupons. Always got hand-me-downs and second-hand smoke."

Wendy Liebman grew up in Roslyn, NY, the younger of two girls. Post high-school she went to I.O.U.[Wendy's name for it], better known as Wellesley College, where she graduated with a degree in psychology.

In 1984, she began performing stand-up comedy in the Boston area. She was hooked, and she was popular. So popular in fact, that eventually -- in 1996 to be exact -- Wendy was awarded the American Comedy Award for Female Stand-up Comedian of the Year. Wow, what a coup!

Wendy has appeared on countless TV talk shows, doing her thing and keeping her fans wanting more.
She most definitely appreciates her fans -- she is connected to them with appearances on stages, large and small; on podcasts; with guest appearances on TV and radio shows; on Twitter; on Facebook; and on her blog Laughing My Ass Off With Wendy.

I was familiar with Wendy's humor, but I've been able to get to know her a bit better via her Facebook page, which I discovered in the fall of 2010. Her wacky worldviews keep showing up in her status updates, and then all hell breaks loose -- her readers and friends try to top her status with comments and reflections of their own. It's like open mic night, and the jokes just keep coming. Wendy entertains us this way, and according to her comment  -- "I LOVE THIS THREAD!" -- which often appears,  I believe we're entertaining Wendy as well.

Her blog is another facet to her personality; with it, Wendy exposes us to health of body, health of mind and ways to achieve these -- whether by talking about herself, or introducing us to other people whose interesting lives we might strive to emulate.

Wendy is clearly well-liked by all who know her; she is sympathetic, she is empathetic, she is honest, she is entertaining, she is a cheerleader for people and for causes...the type of person one would be honored to call a "friend."

I contacted Wendy and asked if she'd be willing to be "my funny valentine" on February 14th, to be interviewed and featured on my blog. She happily agreed to answer my "no-rhyme-no-reason" questions...

PEARL: Wendy, Valentine’s Day is a day set aside for love and romance. Do you and your husband, Jeffrey, mark it as a special day, and if so, how might you celebrate it? -- no need for X-rated descriptions.  Or, do you feel that, like the song lyrics to “My Funny Valentine” “...Each day is Valentine’s Day...”?
WENDY: I usually work on Valentine's Day, out of town, away from Jeffrey. So we celebrate whenever I'm home! In the past he has sent me roses which were brought up to me on stage...awwwww...romantic! (BUT WHERE'S MY F*CKING CHOCOLATE?!)
I once dated a really cheap guy.  This Valentine's Day he gave me a Whitman Sample.
BUT THIS YEAR I WILL BE HOME ON FEBRUARY 14th! So, we'll probably have a candlelight dinner. Cause I look better in the dark. Also because he won't be able to see what he's eating.
By the way, you know how couples have a song? My parents' song is My Funny Valentine. So I grew up hearing and singing that song. (Jeffrey and I have 3 songs: Help, Love the One You're With, and 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.)

 PEARL : I discovered and listened to a podcast interview with you that was featured on The Mental Illness Happy Hour. As the featured guest on that episode, you talked about anorexia, anxiety, therapists, among other things. It was quite an in-depth interview, and I sat there with my jaw hanging open at times. But I also thought, “Good for Wendy. She tells it like it is, and maybe in doing so, she can help some other people at the same time.” I now wonder if you had any afterthoughts of having revealed too much of your personal life and some of the emotional and mental hurdles that you’ve had to overcome. Or is such an interview therapeutic in its own way?
WENDY: The interview was in Paul Gilmartin's house, and I was sort of unaware of the microphone. I guess I was candid! The thing I regret talking about only because it's so painful, and here I'm highlighting it again, is that I wish I were a better stepmom.

PEARL:  Describe a typical day in the life of Wendy Liebman -- when you’re not on the road…or sleeping.
WENDY:  Oy. Really? Never typical. I eat and sleep like a krazy person.
Okay. I wake up at 6:50 am (which is coincidentally the time I was born) to wake my 16 year old for school. Then I go back to sleep for a bunch of hours. Errands, chores, social media, Starbucks, walk the dogs a couple of times, the dentist. Talk to my manager, a family member, and my bff on the phone. Take a nap. Eat. Repeat. Dinner with family, watch the news and Jeopardy, then maybe a sitcom (Big Bang Theory) or a reality show (American Idol). Fold laundry. Stay up until 2 or 3 watching Chopped or The Nanny and playing Words with Friends.
 [A Note from Pearl: Wendy reconsidered a typical day in her life and contacted me with this amendment.]
I thought of a funnier typical day:   I wake up, read my facebook and twitter timelines, and then it's dinner.

       PEARL: You are the sidekick for a new radio show which airs on KCSN 88.5 on Saturday nights in Los Angeles: Unbound with Terri Nunn. Can you give me the backstory of how that gig came to be, and tell me a bit about the show and your new vocation as an on-air personality.
WENDY: This is so amazing, and thank you for promoting it, Pearl!
Jeffrey met Terri's brother, Elliot at a musical theater showcase. Jeffrey couldn't find a seat, and Elliot said, "Sit here!" They talked before the showcase started and Jeffrey told Elliot that his father and uncle had written the music for Mary Poppins. Elliot pulled out his phone and showed Jeffrey a picture of a little girl, surrounded by Mary Poppins paraphernalia. He said, "That's my sister! When she was little." Well his sister is Terri Nunn :) Jeffrey had actually met her once briefly and had been a huge fan of hers and her band Berlin. [A note from Pearl:  Nunn's greatest success with Berlin was the top-selling single "Take My Breath Away", the love theme from the film  Top Gun which reached the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.] It was just one of those WEIRD COINCIDENCES that happen to me ALL THE TIME!
So we all became friends. And when Terri had a podcast with Gaye Ann Bruno, she asked me to be a guest. Then a guest host. And we had a great rapport. She thinks I'm a nut. Anyway, when she got the call from Sky Daniels at KCSN, she said she wanted to have a sidekick and ran me by him and he was so cool and said yes!  
It has been a thrill so far!

      PEARL: You will be turning 51 later this month [A Note from Pearl: Don't forget to wish Wendy a happy birthday on February 27th]. Your 50th birthday was a big production in every sense of the word…and the best present of all, I guess, was the release of your SHOWTIME one-hour special, “Taller on TV.” How in the world can you ever hope to top that fabulous 50th birthday celebration that you shared with long-time friends and family members…and that has now also had a vast viewing audience?
WENDY: I will never top that!
And Jeffrey gave me the sweetest gift in the world: He produced and sold the show!
I guess it's all downhill from here. (Isn't that easier? Though I'm scared of heights. So I better take it slowly and I better not look down.)
When I'm 51 I'll sell Taller on TV as a DVD. We're looking into doing it similarly to how Louis CK just sold his -- over the internet for five dollars.
Cheap and easy.

       PEARL: I’ve noticed through the years that comedian Richard Lewis likes to wear black a lot. I’ve noticed in your TV appearances that you also like to wear black much of the time. If I were to come by and inspect the contents of your walk-in closet, would I see any colorful outfits? What is your favorite color?
  WENDY: It has taken me 27 years to figure out what to wear on stage, Pearl, and now I have it and it's like my uniform. I wear it almost every show. Black corduroy leggings by HUE, flat boot-shoes by Brighton, a long white soft cotton T-shirt, and a blue or black velvety pea-coat, both from Target.
In my closet you'll find monochromatic clothing (does that mean solid colors, cause that's what you'll find), mostly black, white, and lavender.
I never know what to wear. I didn't even know if I should wear white to my wedding, because I've always been such a sl...oppy eater.

      PEARL:  You’re definitely one of those “Women Who Write”: comedy material, blog posts, FB posts, the answers to interview questions…and you wrote and published a wonderful essay in the anthology Make Mine a Double: Why Women Like Us Like to Drink (Or Not). Is there more public writing on your personal agenda, Wendy?

WENDY: Thanks Pearl!

I wrote an article for LA Magazine about my breasts. (

I wrote a book called SWEAR ON LILY that I published at Office Depot. (But seriously) I plan on selling it myself on Kindle or however else. It's a collection of my philosophies and humor. Basically, I started writing it years before facebook and twitter and I was actually updating my status without knowing it, writing tidbits every day.

Yes, and you mentioned my blog,
And as always, I write a lot of checks.   They're not very good. Mostly fiction.

 PEARL: You're booked to go onstage at a comedy club in a few hours. How are you preparing for the gig?
WENDY: Shower, blow hair, straighten hair, curl hair, put product in hair, make up, dress, get to club, straighten green room, drink a Coke (not diet), watch the comics on stage before me.

PEARL: The Internet and computer are down; your phone isn't working. Are you suffering from FB/Twitter withdrawal symptoms? : )
WENDY: Yes! This is basically what it's like when I'm on a plane. I might actually read, play the piano, do a crossword puzzle, watch TV, walk the dogs, or SLEEP!

PEARL: Fill in the blanks, Wendy. 

What I like best about being a comedian is when people know I'm a comedian they seem lighter around me. But if I couldn't be a comedian, I think I would like to be a notary public (or in advertising, or a kindergarten teacher).


I've LOVED answering your questions. Happy Valentine's Day to you and your readers!

Wendy, thank you so much for making the effort and taking the time to answer my questions. You are a very funny, yet deep individual who, in looking at yourself and the world around you, and sharing yourself and your observations in different ways, is able to make us laugh.

In the words of the Sherman Brothers [Wendy's father-in-law and uncle-in-law], "...We love to laugh/ Loud and long and clear/ We love to laugh / So ev'rybody can hear / The more you laugh / The more you fill with glee / And the more the glee / The more we're a merrier we!"
Happy Valentine’s Day, Wendy -- and Jeffrey.

And to my readers, and those friends and fans of Wendy Liebman who've linked to this blog post, I hope you've enjoyed my Valentine's Day gift to you!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Breakdown of a Breakup

Terry Radigan is singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, whose career spans over twenty years. You've probably heard her work before, whether you realized it or not. Her songs have been recorded by musical giants such as Faith Hill, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, and Trisha Yearwood, among others.

Growing up in Brooklyn, Terry emerged onto the music scene at a relatively young age; at age 23, she entered and won a music songwriting contest at The Bitter End, a landmark NYC club. In the late eighties, she joined a band  -- Grace Pool -- to replace Shawn Colvin, and things took off from there. The alternative/folk quartet released two albums to critical acclaim.

Terry's debut solo album, Radigan, was released in 2000. She had recorded the album in the attic of  her Nashville,Tennessee home, and is featured playing banjo, madolin, autoharp, guitar and piano. It was positively reviewed by several sources, including Rolling Stone, Billboard, and People.

Her latest album, THE BREAKDOWN OF A BREAKUP, came after the unexpected breakup of a twenty-year relationship. With this album, Terry tackles the pain and emotional upheaval of this breakup, examining it through her songs with titles such as: "Mistake"; "Love Wouldn't Lie to Me"; "The Truth"; "Not Giving Up on Love".

Denial. Anger. Sadness. The ability to be empowered and move on. Each of these stages of  the breakup of a relationship is dealt with by Terry on her new album in a variety of song styles: pop, rock, country, alternative. Songwriting helps her heal from the tumultous breakup, and Terry's soulful, often raspy voice is backed by powerful guitars, powerful horns bringing to mind the vocal stylings of Shawn Colvin, Aimee Mann, Pink Martini, Carole King.

For a sampling of her sound and the songs on this latest release, you can link here or here.

To gain an understanding of Terry's thoughts and feelings throughout this difficult time period, you can see how they translated into the lyrics of her songs.

I have a real fondness for the track "Mistake" -- it is reminiscent of a Klezmer tune with a playful feel to the music --  and the lyrics are in-your-face blunt.

The album’s purpose isn’t just to recount the pain of a relationship that has soured or been severed, but also to show that there is life after love. As Terry comments in the album’s liner notes, “It's not so much the story of the relationship itself as it is the roller coaster of emotions that follow in the aftermath…It was a bit like being put through a washing machine - with an extended spin cycle. Wrung out but cleansed and ready to go..."

Terry's album, being released on her own label, Catherine the Great Records, will be available on all digital download sources, such as iTunes, and Amazon. Ironically, this exploration of love and loss is slated for release on February 14th, the most romantic day of the year.