Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Category: Entertainment

Announcing the 12th Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert

We’ve all had a tough year.  Society is falling apart.  Social media has become a leading cause of our misery.  Russia is spreading fake news.  Our President spends most of his time picking fights on Twitter.   We mistrust each other, and are angry with the world.

We need some joy.  And fast.      Yay for the 12th Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.

This year’s concert will take place on Sunday, December 17, 2017 right here online.  But we’re doing things differently this year.   Before all the videos are published online on this space, there will be a ONE TIME CONCERT done in real time (well sorta), broadcast on Facebook Live directly from under the world-famous Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center.    How is that going to work?  Well, I’m going to brave the freezing cold and stand under the tree with my iPhone and introduce the pre-recorded videos one-by-one live on the official 12th Annual Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert Facebook page.   So if you are in the New York area on December 17 from 8-10, come on down to the tree and you can be a special guest!

It is time to hear YOU PERFORM!   YOU are the CONCERT.  That gives you about two and half weeks to work your magic.

Interested?  Sign up in the comment to perform.    Or contact me directly via email or Facebook.  You don’t necessarily need a traditional blog to participate, but at least have an online presence in Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Snapchat.   Be part of this long-running tradition!

Concert FAQ:

1.  Create a video (or audio) file of you performing a holiday song.  If you need technical help, ask me.

2.  You must be performing in the audio or video.   Don’t cheat and have your cute kids doing all the work.

3.  You can sing, play an instrument, recite poetry, dance the Nutcracker, or write a symphony.

4.  Once completed, post the video on a place like YouTube and send me the link. Or just send me the file via Dropbox or email, and I will post it on YouTube.   Try to get me all files and links by Thursday, December 14, 2017!  That gives you plenty of time to be creative.

5.  If you are too afraid to sing a song, send me a holiday photo to decorate the concert page.  It could be of your tree, menorah, or plain ol’ winter solstice if you are a heathen.

6.  The comment section is the sign-up sheet.    By signing up, we can see who is performing what, so we can avoid having ten versions of “Jingle Bells.”

7.  Most importantly — don’t be intimidated if you can’t sing.    We like to laugh at you.

Join us in the longest-running holiday concert online — The Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, in it’s twelfth year!

Tickets are free.   But if you would like to donate to a worthy cause in honor of the concert, this year we have chosen to be supporters of RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.

But be sure to join the Facebook page if you want to see the show live.  

Here are the past blockbuster concerts —

2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012 2013  2014  2015  2016

Skating by Vince Guaraldi performed by Angela Reiner Downing of Fluid Pudding

Announcing the Eighth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert!

Christmahanukwanzaakah ConcertNOW ON December 21st, 2013.

There will be no sponsors. There will be no causes.

There will be no mentions of number of Twitter followers or academic degrees.

There will just be singing.

And the celebration of this 21st Century village, this online world, where diverse individuals from around the globe have access to one another almost 24/7, and where friendships have no barriers.

It is time for the announcement of the Eighth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, all new, all exciting for 2013!

The online concert this year will take place on December 17, 2013, one month from today, right here on this blog.

It is time to hear YOU PERFORM!   YOU are the CONCERT.

Sign up in the comments today.

Concert FAQ:

1.  Create an audio file or a video file of you performing a holiday song.  If you need technical help, ask me.

2.  You must be performing in the audio or video.   Don’t cheat and have your cute kids doing all the work.

3.  You can sing, play an instrument, recite poetry, dance the Nutcracker, or create music on your iPhone.

4.  Once completed, you have the choice of posting it on your blog or YouTube and sending me the link, or emailing me the complete multimedia file.   Try to get me everything by Sunday, December 15, 2013, two days before the concert!  That gives you plenty of time to be creative.

5.  If you don’t want to sing a song, send me a holiday photo for concert decoration.  It could be of your tree, menorah, or plain ol’ winter solstice if you are a heathen.

6.  The comment section is the sign-up sheet.    By signing up, we can see who is performing what, so we can avoid having ten versions of “Frosty the Snowman.”

7.  Most importantly — don’t be intimidated if you can’t sing.    We like to laugh at you.

8.  Here are the past blockbuster concerts —

2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011  2012

Join us in the longest-running holiday concert online — The Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert, now in it’s eighth season!

Good luck!   You have a month.

Good Humor

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If you’re reading this on Thursday, we’re probably already on our way to Cedars-Sinai, where Sophia is having a second surgery for the DCIS they found in her breast.  

We heard that laughter is good for healing, so tonight, we went to the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach to see Jay Leno perform.  I found the comedian much more entertaining — and real — in person than he seems on the Tonight Show.

Two weeks ago, before Sophia’s last surgery, the surgeon at Cedars-Sinai asked Sophia to write the word “Yes” on the right side of her chest, so everyone would be on the same page (or boob) during the surgery, and so no one would get sued.  

During the comedy show, Sophia had an idea.  When we first entered the club, the bouncer had stamped the back of our hands to show that we paid.   On the way out, Sophia asked him to stamp her again, but this time — in a very special place.   The bouncer seemed quite bewildered by the request, but Sophia was charmingly persistent, and so he went back to the office to retrieve the stamp.  I think the staff at Cedars should get a kick out of it.   

 At least they won’t forget which boob to work on.

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Wish Sophia good luck… and quick healing…

Barbra Streisand Ain’t No Cheap Date

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According to the BBC:

Barbra Streisand’s concert in Rome next month should be cancelled because of excessively high ticket prices, consumer groups in Italy have said.

The Adusbef and Codacons groups urged the city and the Italian Olympic Committee to deny Streisand use of the Stadio Flaminio on 15 June.

Prices, ranging from 150 euros (£100) to more than 900 euros (£600), were “absurd and shameful”, the groups said.

Streisand’s Rome concert will kick off her European tour.

The consumer groups said that the use of the stadium for such an “immoral deal” is “shameful for a civilized country.”

Of course — now on sale — Italian designed Rene Caovilla Beaded Slingbacks —  only $1,250 at Bergdorf Goodman! 

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Where’s our consumer groups?

(And I’m sure Barbra owns a pair)

(And my second gay post in a week!  At least it wasn’t about ABBA)

(Elsewhere — my latest post on Poetry Thursday — a somewhat uncomfortable piece about anger)

(In other music news, Sophia Lansky votes for Blake twenty times, calling American Idol a farce and starting a conspiracy theory that the producers picked a final song they knew that Jordin could sing well and Blake would suck at)

(And that was the best song in a nationwide American Idol contest?  My song about latkes at the Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert concert was better)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthThe Buddy System

One Book, One Album, One Movie for that Deserted Island

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And you?

I’m also on Poetry Thursday today.

Larry King and the Baby Photos

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LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, for the first time on TV, we see the photos of probably the most famous baby in the world today. And we meet the editor who spent hours with this baby’s famous parents. What was that like? What were they like?

It’s all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Good evening. We’re here with our special guest — Neil Kramer, the features editor of Citizen of the Month. He’s in Los Angeles, having spent an enormous amount of time admiring, observing, and photographing Su Lin, the new baby panda cub at the San Diego Zoo, as well as spending time with her well-known parents, Bai Yum and Gao Gao. How did you get this unique opportunity?

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NEIL KRAMER, EDITOR OF CITIZEN OF THE MONTH: It’s incredible isn’t it? I had been in touch with the giant panda parents for quite a while and finally they called me and said I should come down to the zoo. I spend hours there and I had unprecedented access to their home. I was able to go in every room. No door was closed to me. It was unbelievable that Bai Yun and Gao Gao let me into their private life like that. It was absolutely something that I was so excited to be a part of.

KING: Did you expect to be at the panda exhibit all day?

KRAMER: No actually. I expected to only spend an hour or two, and then, you know, the shoot just kept getting more and more interesting and we all were having such a great time.

KING: The photo you used on your blog looks like an emotional shot for Bai Yun and Gao Gao, any particular reason the way it was shot that way and why you picked that for the main photo?

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KRAMER: Yes. That’s a fabulous story. I was at the favorite spot of the family, which is called Panda Village. The sun was setting. The baby panda was looking straight at the camera. Bai Yun and Gao Gao were looking down at the baby and I shot that picture. And, at that moment, everyone became a little bit emotional because we knew we had it. That was definitely going to be the blog photo. There was no question about it.

KING: The grandmother I understand got emotional, huh?

KRAMER: Yes. Gao Gao’s mother was looking at her granddaughter and her future daughter-in-law to be and she started to cry. And then all of us started to get really emotional. And, Gao Gao was fighting back the tears. We talked about that moment later and he said he just — it was all so much and the beauty of the place. It was incredible.

KING: Feeding the baby that giant piece of bamboo was that photo — set up?

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KRAMER: No, the baby was hungry, and the sun was starting to set and she just felt like doing that and it was a great moment.

KING: Gao Gao said this to you about fatherhood. “My whole life I always wanted to be a father.” Was that evident in the way he was?

KRAMER: Absolutely. I was so happy to see this family all so happy together, hanging out together, so comfortable with each other. They just are happy. They’re smiling all the time. They love to tell stories. They’re a very warm and open family.

KING: What was it like for you the first time you saw Sui Lin?

KRAMER: Well, I walked up and I saw this beautiful woman holding this adorable baby and then Gao Gao standing next to — and they’re all waving at me and they’re so excited that I was there. And the baby looked exactly to me like Gao Gao. And I just couldn’t wait to hold the baby, which I did.

KING: I love this photo. Of mother and daughter.

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KRAMER: That is a beautiful shot. You can see how happy they all are and the baby… as you can see lifting her head. She’s gorgeous.

KING: Is that baby as happy as she appears?

KRAMER: That baby is smiling and cooing and giggling. It’s a really happy baby, yes, it is.

KING: A quote from Bai Yun, “The moment the doctor handed me Su Lin, I was just ready. The feeling is indescribable. All I can say is the moment I looked in her eyes I felt like Mom.”

KRAMER: Yes.

KING: What kind of mom is she?

KRAMER: Bai Yun is an incredible mother just the way she holds that baby and looks at — that baby looks at her. They have such a connection. She’s very hands on. They have very little help, you know. Actually, they’re very — they’re a very normal family. I mean what you read in the zoo promotional materials and then when you see them it’s just there’s no connection. It’s just this great, happy family. I can’t — I can’t stress enough how normal the whole thing seemed and I know I was with the biggest attraction in the San Diego zoo. But I keep coming back to the fact that, you know, when they’re holding their baby they’re like every parent in the world, you know, doting parents.

KING: Is Bai Yun a Buddhist or is she becoming one to please Gao Gao?

KRAMER: I really don’t know that, Larry.

KING: Did you discuss that at all?

KRAMER: I did not discuss that at all, no.

KING: Was that a condition of the blog post or not?

KRAMER: Oh, no. There were no conditions at all, no, no, no.

KING: Neil Kramer, you pulled off a coup.

KRAMER: Yes, to see a baby like that… born… from a mother… and loved by parents… it’s so special nowadays to see that… so unique and amazing…

KING: Thanks, Neil.

KRAMER: Thank you, Larry.

(based on CNN transcript of Larry King and Vanity Fair editor Jane Sarkin “discussing” the Suri Cruise photos in Vanity Fair)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Love Songs

Ummm… Like…

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I thought my radio debut went pretty well.  The host laughed a couple of times.  But my Lethal Schlepin’ joke, so popular on line, fell flat because of my bad timing.  I was a little nervous, mostly because I had no idea what I was supposed to talk about.  Afterwards, my biggest criticism came from Sophia and it was less about the content, then it was about my speech.  She absolutely HATES when I go “ummm…like…,” thinking it’s just one notch above ape-language in the world of communication.  Combined with my fast-talking, Noo Yawk accent, I’m probably not going to get a career in radio anytime soon.

But I probably should work on that “ummm…like…” speech.  Any suggestions?  Maybe there’s some sort of “My Fair Lady”-type elocution class at UCLA? 

“The rain in spain falls mainly on Erica Kane.”

I woke up early to listen to the beginning of the online broadcast to get a sense of David Burd’s Washington Post Radio show.  4 AM in LA!  I broke out in a sweat when I heard him say, “Later we’re going to speak to Neil Kramer in LA about why he chose Mel Gibson as his Citizen of the Month.”

Huh?  I never said that!  Is he calling me thinking I am a supporter of Mel Gibson?  Of course, I immediately woke Sophia up, who was not very happy (we were at a wedding last night until late). 

“I need to come up with some line to explain why Mel Gibson is my Citizen of the Month!” I spouted.

Sophia threw the alarm clock at me, but, as always, came through at the last moment with a great opening line.

I tried to download the online broadcast, but I screwed up.  I only captured the first minute.  I wrote to the show to see if they can send me a copy of my spot.  Let’s see if they actually will…

You can hear that little piece of my interview about Mel Gibson here. (link)

All and all, I did pretty good, but I think I should stick to ummm… like… writing.

 

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthAnd the Winner is… Boules!

On the Radio

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On Sunday morning at 10:45 AM (EST), Neilochka can be heard on the radio! 

Yes, I can’t understand it either! 

I will be a guest on the David Burd Show on Washington Post Radio (107.7 FM and 1500 AM).  (link)  You can hear in on-line, too.  They want me to talk about my piece on Mel Gibson. 

I’m hoping people can understand my heavy New York accent.  Also, I am much better at writing than at ad-libbing.  Will they let me sing a song?  Don’t think so.  Anyone who gives me a dynamite one-liner to use, will earn the Crush Of The Day spot on Monday.

Mel Gibson Requests Meeting with Neilochka!

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In a move that has taken Hollywood by surprise, Mel Gibson has requested a meeting with a Los Angeles-based blogger, Neil Kramer, the writer of the popular blog, “Citizen of the Month.”

In a public statement, Mr. Gibson stated:

“I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith. I’m not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.”

As a leader in the Jewish blogger community, Neilochka was at first stunned by this request.

“I’m not exactly sure what to say to him. I mean if he’s not a bigot, what’s really the point of meeting with Jews like me? I guess we can always talk about how much I liked “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior””

Neilochka’s big concern was that if they meet at a restaurant, which of the two of them was actually going to pick up the tab.

“I already have a reputation on my blog for being a bit of a cheapskate, even using half-price coupons at ‘Chicago for Ribs’ with Sophia . I certainly don’t want him to think of this as a ‘Jewish’ thing.”

This would not be the first time Neilochka had some interaction with the famed movie star.

“When I was at USC Film School, I used to do script analysis over at Icon Productions, his film company. I once passed Mr. Gibson in the hall at the movie studio, but we never had an opportunity to talk or trade ethnic slurs.”

Neilochka suggested that the two former co-workers meet at Canter’s Jewish Deli in Los Angeles for their historic meeting.

“I think once he tastes their excellent corned beef sandwich, Mel’s whole attitude towards Jews will change for the better.”

After Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rants were recently made public, Neilochka was adamant that Hollywood should blacklist the actor because he’s an anti-Semite and a plain nasty person. However, on hearing about the upcoming meeting with Mr. Gibson, Neilochka’s resolve seemed to waver.

“I still find Mel Gibson a disgusting person. But just in case we hit it off, I’m bringing a copy of an old script to show him. It’s a buddy action/road movie about this gruff New York cop and this crazy rabbi who’s running from the mob. I call it… “Lethal Shlepin’.”

Mel Gibson Arrested for DUI

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INT.  LOST HILLS SHERIFF’S STATION – LOS ANGELES – NIGHT

Mel Gibson, still drunk off his ass, is sitting in his cell, mumbling to himself about the f**king Jews.  Suddenly Danny Glover comes bursting in through the door.

Mel:  “Danny, what the f**k?”

Danny:  “Partners forever, my Lethal Weapon friend.  Let’s get out of here.  I rigged the place.  It’s gonna blow.”

Mel and Danny jump out the window and the entire jail explodes. 

Mel:  “Thanks, Danny.”

Danny:  “We have to get out of here… and fast.  The Sheriff’s Department can’t cover-up your anti-Semitic rants forever.”

Mel:    “F**k those Jew-loving cops.  I would OWN Malibu if that Yenta Barbra Streisand didn’t already own it.  Let’s go over to Nobu in Malibu for some sake and sushi.”

Danny:  “Maybe we should hide out in my place until things calm down.”

Mel:  Yeah, we can pick up some ebony hookers.  Sugar tits, here comes the Passion of the Dick!”

Danny shakes his head sadly.

Danny:  “I’m getting too old for this shit!”

Mel:  No, you’re not, Danny.  You’re one motherf***ing good black dude!  As long as you’re not a fag.  You’re not one of those that take it up the arse, are you?”

Danny:  Why do I always have to be the responsible, by-the-book buddy and you always the crazy loose cannon?

Mel:  “It’s those f**king Jew screenwriters!”

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from police report

The story on TMZ.com.

Update:  Mel apologizes.  The “I was drunk” excuse.  Jeez, funny, but when I get drunk, which is very very rare, I sing dirty songs, but I never blurt out ethnic slurs!

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