Author Archives: ragingtraveler

About ragingtraveler

Hello there! Welcome to this crazy little blog of mine. The title is a reference to the famous Dylan Thomas poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night" (but rage against the dying of the light, etc. -- I drank a shot of Jameson's whisky in his honor at the White Horse pub in New York City a while back, a place where it is said he drank 18 shots of Jameson and died that night at 39; but that's another story.) And as Thomas declares in the poem, and if you are anything like me, you will not give up. You will not fade away. You will not go gentle into that good night. You will rage against the dying of of the light. You want to explore everything this life has to offer before we are dragged off, kicking and screaming, to that next Great Adventure. So let's see what this adventure is all about, shall we? Hey, along with my wife Virginia and our faithful dog, Wyatt Earp Clark (don't ask; it is supposed to be 'ironic'), we just moved to Portugal! For a year. Call it a gap year for geezers; an experiment in grey; an are-you-crazy-or-what-senior-meltdown -- call it whatever you like, but this is our way of stepping out of our comfort zone, not settling in for life's last stand. Call it brave or foolish (or a little of both), we are committed to taking a peek around every corner we can. While we still can. Care to join us? Welcome aboard, matey!

Stalking The Centre For The Unknown

This place has fired my curiosity ever since we moved here. It’s instantly recognizable looking out from the train to Lisbon. What the hell are they doing in there? Unknown what? Artificial Intelligence? Extra dimensional travel? Galactic Alien Relocation Center? What’s going on? Turns out the Champalimaud Foundation (named after a wealthy Portuguese benefactor) is a world renown cancer research facility. I’m glad they’re doing good work there, but I’m a wee bit disappointed they didn’t quite fan the flame of my wild imaginings.

My curiosity built to the breaking point after I recently wrote a short science fiction play and entered it into a contest (The Future of Art). The  intriguing theme of the contest is Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Conflict: How will AI change the nature of human endeavor? Sounded like a challenge to me so I answered it by lobbing a Molotov cocktail into the discussion.  Hey, it’s what I do sometimes.  A filmmaker pal thinks we should shoot it as a movie here.

Here is the animated view of the facility a full three years before it was built. Looks amazingly like the final product in real life.

Pretty cool, yes? Just another day in one of the world’s oldest cities that also happens to have it’s eyes sharply focused on the future.

If you are interested, let me know and I’ll email you a copy of the play; it’s a pretty quick read. And my take on the theme has to do with AI, self-aware robots and NDE’s (Near Death Experiences). Yeah, it’s that far out there, but as in a lot of sci-fi…is it?

 


Alfama: The Oldest District In Lisbon

An ancient neighborhood (‘bairro’ in Portuguese) beginning on top of a spectacular hill. The Alfama district winds down to the Rio Tejo in a labyrinthine series of narrow streets, alley ways and storefronts that are the epitome of the word ‘quaint.’ We took some visiting friends there and got a soulful glance into this eternally fascinating city.


New York Minuet

What is a minuet? It’s a dance, a social dance. And that’s what the entire eight day excursion was in the wilds of New York City and its even wilder environs. It was one continuous dance.

We stayed in the Bronx, the more up-and-coming area known as South Bronx, or Sobro. Still, even though I was the OWD (only white dude), I got the same feeling I often get when we travel: we are the foreigners, the minority. And sometimes that’s not a bad thing. We never felt threatened, in danger, nor did we get robbed, beaten, stabbed or killed — not killed even once! Though on a couple of occasions I did get extra looks, smiles mostly.  The area where my daughter and granddaughter live (‘Sup Brooke Ave!) is not yet used to seeing many white people of a certain age. Their neighborhood is mostly a mixture of Hispanic, i.e., Dominican Republic, Central and South Americans and blacks; not only African Americans but from all other African countries. On the street and especially in the subways, you hear the music of languages that originate from every culture on earth.

I was thrilled and honored to be a part of the 4th Annual Schreiber Shorts play festival (check it out here, if you have a moment). I felt like a famous playwright for a night and even got to schmooze the after-show reception with my granddaughter, Aisha Carpenter (an acting student at the T. Schreiber Theatre and Studio) by my side.

cowboy-cutCOWBOY CUT

Corruption, Greed, & Deception on an Arizona Ranch
By Nelson Clark
Directed by Ann Cooley
With: Bill Barry, Ivan Sandomire, Tai Thompson

For me, the whole time was an exercise in gratitude; every minute I tried to appreciate exactly how lucky a creature I am.

aisha-and-big-b

Going to New York is always big, brash and busy, and we loved our visit…but honestly? Despite all the energy, the vibrancy and never-ending noise,  traffic, subway congestion and even the snow falling gently down and covering the freshly heaved vomit on the sidewalk, it was a relief to return to Portugal. We love our girls and wish them all the success and fulfillment the city can help them achieve. But it sure was nice to get back, after a long and exuberant dance, and relax on the veranda with Wyatt Earp Clark.  The three of us sit close and look out over a magnificent vista where we watch the big winter waves crash on the beach at Pria da Poça. It was a good trip.


Guess Whose Play Is Going To Be Produced Off-Broadway?

This year’s lineup of 10-minute shorts explores the idea of CHALLENGES with plays that reflect various creative interpretations of the theme. Out of nearly 1,000 submissions from around the world, 10 short plays were selected for this year’s production!

10 Playwrights.

Bob Canning
Eugenie Carabatsos
Nelson Clark
Alex Dremann
Jim Gordon
Peter Kennedy
Dan McGeehan
Rosemary Frisino Toohey
Michael Weems
Nathan Yungerberg
10 Directors.

Raquel Alamazan
Janet Bentley
Page Clements
Ann Cooley
Ivette Dumeng
Crystal Edn
Joan Kane
Clarissa Marie Lignon
Gregg Pica
Jake Turner

That’s right, me, your humble Raging Traveler. Yes, the one whose picture is second from the end. Yes, the same guy who looks like he’s about to plant a big French kiss in the ear of the last fellow in line (he’s so handsome!). Seriously, it is a serious honor to be part of this group. I’ve been in communication with the director and she has a great cast; they’re having fun rehearsing the piece and bringing out the humor in what is a fairly dark story.  The festival is having a three week run from January 25 through February 11. So if you are in NYC…come see it! Very exciting as you might imagine.

So, as I jump through hoops to try and tie all this to a travel blog, Virginia and I will be traveling to New York City for the opening night festivities.  So much will be packed into nine days, including staying with daughter, Layla Angulo, and her daughter, our granddaughter, Aisha Carpenter, who just so happens to turn (my God you’re old, this blog should be called Raging Geezer) 19 the day before the opening!

Not only that, but…Aisha is an acting student at the very theatre and studio where my play is being performed (Hey, grampa kinda looks cool now, oui? What do you mean, non?).

Not only that, but…she will be acting in a one-woman show I wrote (sort of, be honest) for her later this year.

Not only that, but…there will be lots of interesting places, people and experiences to report on once we return, and each and every one of them I will share with all of you.

Before I go, let me leave you with one more bit of pride from my heart — as if I haven’t been Mr. Braggadocio until now. (Geez, isn’t this guy done yet? These toe nails aren’t going to clip themselves.)

Aisha just finished performing at one of Manhattan’s premier supper clubs, Feinstein’s/54 Below. And she simply, well, see for yourself.

Ah, yes, you are correct. I am one lucky so-and-so. Cheers and ciao for now.


Hello and Goodbye Times Three

A new camera and its new tricks to play with. Old friends and good times in this country where we continue to find ourselves enchanted; every, single, day.


When Power Meets Time

A place of dark secrets amid swirling rumors. We snuck inside and roamed through an enchanting nightmare from the not-so-distant past.


Óbidos

A Portuguese castle born in antiquity, its high life lived in the Middle Ages, in its latest incarnation reinvented as a tourist attraction. History meets Disneyland? It is a beautiful relic, on a wondrous site, a marvel of engineering.

But I’m still not sure what to make of it.

Little alleyways, thrillingly dangerous ramparts, quaint shops and eateries mixed with kitsch and crowded lanes of tourists bused in from all over the world.

How does one decide what it all means? We’ll just have to go back for more visits.  If for nothing else but to sip ginjinha (the local tasty sour cherry liqueur) and look out again from the high castle walls to the farms and green countryside stretching out in the distance below.

 

 


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