Who knew that the woman that sang so passionately and danced so spectacularly would be even more impressive in “real life”?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: West Side Story. These three words magically wrap us in its music and bring back memories of how much we love the original movie, although when we think of Rita Moreno, the amazing actress who gained instant fame from her performance as Anita, we have very different perspectives.
Although it would be well over a decade before Red became a Theater major at Wake Forest University, her love of musicals and theater started when she was growing up on Long Island, New York, about an hour from where “West Side Story” takes place on the Upper West Side of New York City. As she vividly remembers,
It was the bright red album cover that first got my attention, and Daddy used to play it. A LOT. Which made sense, as Leonard Bernstein’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics are fantastic. Of course, when the movie was eventually aired on TV (1972), it was amazing, not only for Jerome Robbin’s incredible choreography but Rita Moreno’s portrayal of Anita. I can’t imagine there ever being a better film version, but that won’t stop me from seeing the just-released Steven Spielberg remake, especially as it again stars Rita Moreno, although in a new role created specifically for her.
Of course, Black mentioned that Moreno’s also one of the executive producers of the Spielberg remake. And then explained how she had almost quit the original movie over offensive lyrics about her native Puerto Rico, but that Sondheim changed them during rehearsal, and how she (unsuccessfully) spoke out against the brownface used to darken actors’ skin,
Moreno’s life story and accomplishments are even more fascinating and inspiring than her performances, and her spirit, perseverance, and unwillingness to accept conventional restraints (not to mention her spunk at the age of almost 90) show you that this is a woman who not only went for it, but made it. Forget high kicks – she kicked ass!
Thanksgiving dinner may be behind us, but we continue to face increased food prices this holiday season. Some of us can still manage, although it may take some adjustments in eating and shopping habits. But for many, it means “food insecurity” (which is more than just being hungry, it’s a consistent lack of food), with more and more people turning to food banks.
So, if you can, and in the spirit of holiday gift-giving, consider donating to your local food bank. It may end up being the best gift of all because helping others is good for you.(Red knows it makes her feel good and puts her in the holiday spirit, while Black “ignores” the emotional aspects and touts the science behind it.)
Food prices. What goes up must come down. Or not.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, like most of us, has been impacted by rising food prices and shortages, while Black knows that understanding “why” that’s happening doesn’t help you put food on the table.
Red doesn’t need the media to tell her about increasing food prices as she sees it every time she looks at the weekly food fliers or goes into a grocery store, but admits she’s been very fortunate as it hasn’t had much impact on what she buys. However, that’s because ever since her financial crisis many years ago, she’s become a much more savvy shopper, relying on grocery store weekly specials and stocking up when things are on sale. (Black explained the business concept of “loss leaders” that get you in the door.) Not to mention, now that her daughters no longer live at home, her grocery shopping has decreased significantly, so her grocery budget has more “breathing room”.
Black will fight the temptation to explain what’s driving up food prices (in stores and restaurants) and is well aware she’s very fortunate that it’s barely changed her shopping habits. Still, she can’t help but be concerned with how rising food prices affect people’s ability to afford nutritious food and basic supplies. Things many of us take for granted. But what she finds the most alarming (and disheartening),
Food banks, who are often the only thing standing between people having food and going hungry, are facing higher than usual demand at the same time they are pressured by food shortages and escalating costs. I could quote you numbers indicating the increase of people being served (many who are first-time food bank recipients) or the percentage increase in costs, but it is not about numbers – it is about people in our communities.
And while Red hadn’t thought about this ripple effect, now that she has, in the spirit of the holidays, we ask everyone,
If you’re able, consider making a donation tomorrow, Giving Tuesday, to your local food bank. Because while you may be able to manage the rising cost of food, millions can’t.
Some things never change, like our Thanksgiving routines. But that’s ok, as Thanksgiving’s about traditions, so it seems only appropriate that we’d like to repeat what we’ve told you before …
We'll keep this simple and to-the-point … Happy Thanksgiving!
Comic strip or reality show: A group of bachelors participates in a foot race, and whoever's caught by the single woman in the race will become her husband.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We may be sisters, but except for growing up with the same parents in the same house in New York, that may be where the similarities end; especially in terms of dating "protocol" as Black never thought twice about asking boys (and later men) out on a date, while Red never gave it any thought, accepting the convention that boys did the asking. (She did make an exception for her senior prom but was shocked when he accepted.)
When it comes to Sadie Hawkins Day, we both agree it's a quirky holiday that makes it "acceptable" for girls to ask out boys, but of course, we have very different perspectives. For Red, it conjures up images of Sadie Hawkins Day dances, although she never went to one and doesn't even remember how she knows about them. While Black's fascinated by how it all began with the cartoonist Al Capp and his popular "Lil' Abner" comic strip and quickly became a pop culture phenomenon.Now, over 80 years later, if you were to analyze Sadie Hawkins Day, you would probably find it outdated and sexist. But why not just laugh at its silly beginnings and enjoy the day. The funny thing is Red still thinks men should ask out women, while Black always believed that every day's Sadie Hawkins Day.