So, no women members allowed – unless you're saving our club from bankruptcy!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When it comes to women's rights and equality, golf probably isn't what you'd immediately think of unless you're a woman golfer and have had "experiences" with "men only" clubs (we both have) …
Before becoming a mom, Red was an avid golfer for decades. She had learned to play from our parents on local public courses when she was barely a teenager and had a natural talent and love for the game. Consistent with her being a straight-A student, she spent lots of time practicing and became a better-than-average golfer. Fast forward to post-college, when Red moved back home and worked for a non-profit photography museum in New York City. The job paid little, but she had four weeks of vacation, so off she went, by herself, to Scotland on a golf adventure,
I planned for the trip for almost a year and went from one great course to another. From St. Andrews to Turnberry to Royal Dornoch, although I was a woman traveling alone, I always was made to feel welcome. At Gleneagles, the foursome was made up of me and three men traveling together from New Jersey, one of whom made it quite clear to me that he was a member at Pine Valley Golf Club and how I'd never be able to play the course. I can still remember looking at him saying how I'd never even heard of it and then proceeded to hit my tee shot onto the green on a long par 3. At the time, I didn't think any more of it until I got home and mentioned it to my Dad, who then proceeded to tell me all about Pine Valley.
Black, on the other hand, was also introduced to golf by our parents but had little interest in it until she graduated business school and quickly realized the importance of "business golf". For her, golf had a specific purpose, and she became an extremely competitive player, rarely playing for the "fun" of it,
Living in Houston and working in the "good 'ole boy" oil and industry, it was not long before I was made aware of Lochinvar, one of the most exclusive private clubs in Houston. And men only. Of course, knowing that golf is a mind game, I was prepared for men in my foursome to nonchalantly mention the club thinking it would bother me. And then one day, I got roped into playing a women's tournament and decided to rattle the competition by using a golf bag from Lochinvar with the club's name written in such large bold letters you could not miss it. From that day on, I used it all the time.
Oh, and what about Helen Crump Street being the first women member at Pine Valley? When Axios first announced Pine Valley finally allowing women members, Black wanted to know more and learned that the club almost went into bankruptcy in the early 1920s but was saved by the founder's sister, who was then given a lifetime membership. But that was a century ago … with no other women members allowed … until now.
Happy Meals. Lasik surgery. A Supreme Court justice. Any idea what these three things have in common?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as a week-long event, Red, the straight-A student and lover of history, is a bit embarrassed that she didn't know about it, but the theater major in her realizes they're under-represented (and misrepresented) in the movies. When we talked about the comparison of "In The Heights" to "West Side Story," Black wasn't only focused on the business aspects but also how it reflects the times, and now is interested in the many contributions (including patents) made by Latinx, and the need for inclusion and diversity.
P.S. – We were both curious why the month-long celebration begins mid-month (September 15) and discovered it's in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries.
Can something be "new" if it's made with "old" ingredients?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black's fascinated by the business and marketing aspects of food mash-ups (especially the multi-generational angle), while Red's excited that her beloved Dunkin' has collaborated with Post Cereals and there's now Dunkin' cereal (and both of us love the tag line, "Now you can have your coffee and eat it, too!). Funny thing is that we've all probably been doing our own "mash-ups" for years (ok, maybe not Black).
As the song says, "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air on Broadway" … and now it's all coming back!
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although we live in Texas, we're originally from New York, and as different as we are, one thing we have in common is a love of Broadway, so we're excited about the re-opening of Broadway, even if for very different reasons.
For Red, the re-opening of Broadway's a return to better times, and even if she doesn't get to New York soon, it reminds her of falling in love with the theater – from Shakespeare to musicals, dramas to comedies – and why she majored in it at college. Yet her introduction to Broadway, which was less than 30 miles from where we grew up on Long Island, started thousands of miles away in London. At the time, Black was attending (not sure "studying" would be an accurate description) London Business School for the final semester of her M.B.A., and as Red's 16th birthday gift had her visit for a few weeks.
On one of Red's first nights in London, Black took her to the West End to see "The Crucifer of Blood" at the Haymarket (its "proper" name is the Theatre Royal Haymarket and to this day remains Red's favorite theater) starring Keith Michell. Red had avidly watched him years prior as he portrayed Henry VIII in the Masterpiece Theater series, and that night, she watched him play Sherlock Holmes on stage and,
I can remember it as if it was yesterday. Watching a live performance was magical and inspiring, and I felt like it brought all of us in the audience together. There's something very powerful about the theater "experience", and although there'll be various safety precautions, I'm excited Broadway's coming back. And I'd love to see Six, the acclaimed British musical about the six wives of Henry VIII, which was hours from its first-night opening when theaters closed.
Black remembers the first Broadway show she ever saw, Finian's Rainbow, when she was about 10-years-old. She hated it because she thought the storyline was far-fetched, and people didn't just break out in song for no apparent reason. (Obviously, she's always been pragmatic.)
Years later, Black was pursuing her M.B.A. at New York University, took an accounting class from one of the Shubert Organization founders, and was introduced to the business side of theater and immediately took an active interest. First in the history of what made Broadway, Broadway, and then she started going to the Broadway "hits" to understand what the market wanted. Looking at how Broadway continually seemed to reinvent itself to survive (there's a soon-to-be-released documentary, "On Broadway"), although it will face daunting financial odds.
And now that reinvention will include the recently signed "New Deal" where the theater industry itself (theater owners, producers, creatives, casting directors, even union leaders) has committed to reforms that will ensure equity, diversity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging. Of course, Black can't help but point out the elephant in the room (or is it the elephant on stage?),
Broadway has long been known as "The Great White Way," and although it was because of all the electric white lights on the theatre marquees and billboards, there is a "politically incorrect" connotation to that phrase. However, the Broadway that closed in March 2020 will be very different when it reopens … and hopefully will be the beginning of a strong season and a bright future.