Tag Archives: Twins

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Around Christmastime, one of my dear friend’s recurring mantras is this:

“Give from the heart. Not from the mart.”

I like it, and it makes sense.

But anybody with children will attest to the fact that this sentiment only goes so far. I mean if Santa left only baked goods or a handmade craft, a palpable sense of betrayal would fairly howl through most households in this country.

I wouldn’t be any good at handcrafting a PlayStation or a Big Wheel. Hell, I had trouble assembling the Big Wheels and other contraptions Santa left for my twins, and invariably there were parts left over…

I remember grappling with a Foosball table one Christmas Eve as I downed beer after beer, in no way fooled by the fantasy that one more drink would make the process any easier. That table was very nearly my undoing, and it was as wobbly as I was.

But I soldiered on, listening to Pope John Paul II on the television as he concluded yet another Midnight Mass.

For better or for worse, I had the damned thing put together. With an air of drunken self-satisfaction, I took a bite out of Santa’s cookie, finished off his milk and went to bed.

I am so glad I am sober now, by the way. Have been for years.

Because my twins have December birthdays and I am not Rockefeller, I would always find myself “jammed up” about how to pull off the two events…

…but credit cards, a bit of squirreled cash and the kindness of loved ones made it possible for my son and daughter to enjoy their holidays; if not in high style, then by all means in a manner that prevented them from feeling pinched.

Despite my promises to myself to be better prepared “next year,” that has yet to happen. But birthdays and Christmases came and went, and everything seemed to work out. Every. Single. Year.

But what if your kids are adults?

My twins just turned 27, and I am lucky that they are both nearby. My son and daughter-in-law live in Myrtle Beach, and my daughter is down from New York, staying with them as she works from home for a time – a decidedly positive byproduct of the COVID-19 nightmare. I’m thrilled she is able to do that.

They are still getting presents, though, but the endgame moving forward is to keep it simple and avoid credit card spending.

I need to keep in mind that as far as gifts are concerned, 27 is not 17 is not 7 – and yet I keep hearkening back to those times, like, will my gifts be enough

But then I snap back to reality with the profound realization that, yes, they will be enough because I am enough. This is where the heart comes in, where spending time together comes in, where love comes in.

That kind of acceptance just became the biggest gift I could possibly give myself.

After years of hemming and hawing; after false starts and heaping helpings of procrastination, my brother and I finally launched our podcast…

Episode 34 – "Fade to Black: Brendan Wright on Theater Closures and the Future of the Big Screen" Yale Brothers Podcast

ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres are closing 300 screens in California, including the iconic Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. The twins discuss this sad news with writer Brendan Wright, a longtime friend who worked for a time at the Dome. They also discuss the trend toward movie streaming, Brendan's time in Hollywood and his comprehensive annual Biggie Awards. Photo: Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times SHOW NOTES: 0:00 "Tired" by Chris Yale 2:04 – Greetings and about the song 2:55 – 300 movie screens are going dark in California 3:11 – Hollywood Reporter – "ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres to Close" 4:35 – Cinerama Dome / "2001: A Space Odyssey" / "Back to the Future" / "Yentl" / Roger E. Mosley / Geodesic Dome 6:07 – Petition to Save the Cinerama Dome 6:20 – Introducing Brendan Wright / Biggie's Place 7:45 – Initial thoughts on theater closings 8:09 – Brendan's time in Hollywood 8:25 – Natick, MA / North Hollywood / In-N-Out Burger 10:05 – Working at the ArcLight / The daily trip to work 11:27 – More about the ArcLight / Cinerama Dome 14:00 Celebrities and industry types 15:11 – Coordinating events / logistics 15:15 – Cinerama Dome versus the Chinese Theatre / "Star Wars" at the Chinese Theatre, 1977 17:46 – "Dreamgirls" / Jennifer Hudson / Eddie Murphy 18:22 – Applause and actually reading the credits – a Hollywood thing 19:43 – Learning from mistakes – what to do next time in Hollywood 20:50 – About Biggie's Place / Biggie Awards versus Academy Awards 22:10 – Origins of the Biggie Awards / "Saving Private Ryan" / "Shakespeare In Love" 23:23 – COVID-19 and movies / Ben Affleck / "The Way Back" / "Tenet" 24:50 – Protecting the Dome 25:55 – The state of the movie industry / Oscar qualification / "Mank" / "The Irishman" 27:26 – ArcLight kettle corn / Reserving seats / high-end food and beer 28:38 – Alamo Drafthouse Austin / "A Star is Born" 30:57 – / Instagram: @bwimages 31:37 – "Judas and the Black Messiah" / "Nomadland" / "Sound of Metal" 32:07 – The problem with streaming / Attention spans / Distraction 34:00 – The dreaded word: Content 35:02 – Padron cigars
  1. Episode 34 – "Fade to Black: Brendan Wright on Theater Closures and the Future of the Big Screen"
  2. Episode 33 – "Airwolf Blitzer"
  3. Episode 32 – "French Twist"
  4. Episode 31 – "Steve Fuji: Machines Breathing"
  5. Episode 30 – "Bob's Your Uncle"

The first time we tried this, embarrassingly enough, was in 2008, when podcasts were still gaining steam and long before they became ubiquitous. Over a period of a years, we made several more stabs at this – and then we just stopped.

Some earlier attempts went up on SoundCloud, sort-of complete but not quite actual episodes. But we had stories to tell…

And we still do. Stories about growing up in Hollywood in the late 1970s and early 1980s – a period when the town was what my brother called “beautifully grungy” – well before a Build-A-Bear Workshop appeared across from the Chinese Theater.

We lived at the foot of the Hollywood Hills at Franklin Avenue and Orange Drive, in an apartment building wedged directly in between the fabled Magic Castle and a 40-unit hotel our father managed called The Magic Hotel. The hotel is now called The Magic Castle Hotel.

At that time, not only the names of the buildings were magic. Our young lives were as magical as could be.

This podcast will be cathartic for us, and I hope the stories of twin boomers coming of age in lotus land will strike a chord with those curious enough to have a listen.

But we’re not just about looking back. Expect to hear original music in each episode and updates on what’s going on with us now in Myrtle Beach.

Still 12