Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Amanda In When Angels Wept

In 1958, the fire which roared through the school, Our Lady Of The Angels, in Chicago made national and international headlines. Front pages of newspapers in Canada, Germany, and elsewhere discussed this horrific event which took the lives of ninety-two grade school children and three nuns. The Pope even sent his heart felt condolences to the parish, families, and students. This event caused there to be a change in the laws for fire codes safety. To this day, the cause of the fire has never been determined. As of my writing this post, the fire department in Chicago as well as the police consider this an unsolved case. There was a sixty-one year old man who was suspected, but cleared. There was a ten year old boy who confessed to starting the blaze in the basement of the school, but he later recanted his confession and there was not enough evidence to enter his statement into evidence.

The same building which saw me make my stage play debut as well as that which witness another of my plays showcased as part of a new play festival will now witness the world premiere production of When Angels Wept, a story based on the events of the tragic fire of 1958. I am looking forward to this piece as the playwright has poured over the public records and other material which I am sure includes the various reports, articles, and documentaries which have been published over the decades on this subject. I am especially looking forward to seeing my friend, the beautiful, talented, and amazing Amanda Marcheschi in this production. You too can see what promises to be a very intriguing story while watching the lovely Amanda work her magic on stage.

Performances begin tonight in Chicago at the Prop THTR at 3502 N. Elston Avenue. The show runs until April 7. For more information and to buy your tickets, please visit the following link.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Julie For Check Please

After losing my sight, I discovered AM talk radio. Before losing my sight, the only thing I knew about talk radio was that old people listened to it. As a teen searching for answers about life and my new situation, I turned to talk radio to entertain, educate, and distract me. I soon realized talk radio was splendid. As time went on I knew that upon restoration of my sight and a return to school, I would chase the talk radio dream. I developed an even greater interest in politics thanks to talk radio. What I did not expect was that I would eventually develop a love for sports. When I was sighted, I played sports all the time, but I was not a student of history, players, or statistics. Sports talk radio changed that. I was fortunate to discovered several amazing talkers, hosts, and reporters. Over time, I made contacts in the sports radio industry as I attempted to learn as much as I could prior to beginning the journey as a reporter and host. One of those individuals who was so amazingly kind with her time and insight was the beautiful and talented Julie Swieca Gannon. Whether I was in high school, college, or beyond, she always gave me her time. As the years have gone on, Julie remains a friends to this day. Julie has since departed from Chicago sports talk radio, but she remains an important force in the Chicagoland area. When it comes to food, pastries, and goodies, there is no one more knowledgeable than Julie. That is why Julie should be considered for the role as host for the television show, Check Please. I know I am bias. I know Julie is a friend and someone who has been near and dear to my heart for well over sixteen years. So I will let you, my readers, decide for yourself by visiting the following link where Julie explains why she should be considered for the position on Check Please. I believe you will agree with me. We are not sure if producers or those in charge will take into account the level of interest per hits this video receives, but if they do, let us all join forces together to watch this as often as we can so that those in charge will see that there is interest in Julie and her work.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

John And Julia In The Tempest

Have you ever seen a production of The Tempest? Have you enjoyed the magnificence? If you are in the Chicago area, you will have a thrill watching Accidental Shakespeare's The Tempest. Running now and for the next two weekends. If you have never seen a version of this classic, then you will enjoy making this your initial exposure to the show. What I especially love is that in this version John Amedio plays Antonio while the beautiful and talented, Julia Kessler plays Gonzalo. John and Julia are two long time friends who are also two of the most amazing artists I am lucky to know. Please treat yourself to this work of theater before it is too late.

For more information and to get your tickets, please log on to the following site to see a performance of the piece of which critics are raving.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Registered For Fourth Marathon

There seemed to have been such a mad dash rush to sign up for the 2013 Chicago Marathon that the registration site experienced difficulties and registration has been suspend until Thursday. I tried a couple times, but received a notice that the site was unavailable. I did get in once, but issues with my screen reader gave me some problems. I misspelled my own e-mail address and when I attempted to correct it, my registration ended as I was kicked off the system. Thankfully, my friend Khitam called and asked if I needed help registering. She had completed her registration and was now in the process of offering help to others. She tried a couple times before being allowed to go through the process. By the end, she received a notice on her screen confirming that I had registered! I received the confirmation e-mails and I am grateful to her for ensuring I am in the field for the fourth consecutive year. I use to think people who ran marathons were crazy for doing that to their bodies. Here I am about to run my fourth one. There will be more to write in the coming days and months as I finalize my race day guides as well as begin the journey towards the start line in what will hopefully be another personal record and my third straight Boston Marathon qualifying time in the blind/visually impaired runner category.

I hope my friends who attempted to register today will be able to get in when it opens on Thursday. Many of my friends have already reported they are in and for that I am thrilled. Big shout to Jen Pfaff who has guided me each other the last two years at this race as she and her friend, Bridget will push each other to the limit in attempting to break their personal records at this distance. As more of my pals get signed up or have a cause to promote, you can be sure I will mention them here. I can not wait to get started. Many more road races, triathlons, and maybe duathlons between now and then, but I am so pumped!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Caroline Guides In NYC

Five years ago I met the talented Caroline Gaynor when I did my first ever triathlon in New York. A month later I saw her again in Chicago at a prerace dinner and she laughed while stating, "Oh Israel, it's good to see you have teeth and you're smiling." Apparently, in New York, Caroline tried to speak to me, but I was so scared about the pending swim in the Hudson river that I did not speak much nor smile. Since I was not racing Chicago, I was in much better spirits. One year later, Caroline became the first woman in history to guide a blind person through an Ironman Triathlon. Prior to Caroline doing so, the only ones to do so were men. She has done it several more times and will once again take on the challenge in a few months. Go Caroline!!

For now, here is a short video of Caroline guiding a blind athlete and friend in last year's New York city Triathlon. I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

People I Love On Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!! I hope yours has been splendid.

On this day, I wish to take time to highlight a few people I love. These are the people who shape me on a daily basis. These are people who have changed my life or have brought meaning into it since they arrive in some form or another.

I love that ever since I wanted to take part in road races and triathlons, Matt Miller and C Different Foundation have been there. In fact, it was five years ago tonight that I flew to Fort Lauderdale to run in my first ever half marathon event.

The wonderful individuals who have volunteered to guide me over the years. There have been so many I can not possibly list them all. I will highlight a few. In the first ever 5K event I ran, my long time friend, Angela Scheffler, volunteered to run with me. From there the list of amazing athletes kept growing until it lead me to such tremendous people as; Andrew Murray, Todd Smith, Brendan Hermes, Clark Bishop, Ross O'Dowd, and Michael Crissie. A special place is reserved in my heart for the talented Ironman triathlete Kimberly Shah and elite marathoner, Jennifer Pfaff.

I love that the main reason I have been improving and developing as an athlete has been pro triathlete, model, and actress, Jenna Parker. I am so blessed to have the most amazing spectacular coach in the world guiding me through my preparations. It is an even greater thrill and honor to call the talented, amazing, and beautiful Jenna a friend.

The way these talented individuals give of themselves to help me inspires me. I am also inspired by tremendous people like Caroline Gaynor who is a gifted triathlete and cyclist. In recent years, Caroline has become a top notch guide for blind athletes even becoming the first woman in history to guide a blind person through an Ironman. she has done so several times and will do so even more in the near future. I am inspired by my friend, Nina, who completed her first marathon at Chicago last October. Her race report on her blog was one of the most emotionally charged recaps I have ever read. Nina's moment with her mom just a few hundred meters from the finish line is something that as I think about it now to write this line, I am in tears. I love that princess Megan reached out and became my friend. She has been a wonderful friend while brining two additional princesses into my life. Sarah and Jennifer. I am so lucky! Greatness is Melissa Stockwell. The first woman wounded in the Iraq War three weeks after her arrival, Melissa has gone on to be the current three time defending National Champion for Paratriathlon in the category of above the knee amputee. Add to that, Melissa is also the current three time defending world champion for Paratriathlon.

I love that I have friends like Marrielle, Brendan, Michelle, and Jenna who read my screenplay and give me feedback. I love that they believe in me and my ability. I love that there is someone I respect like the talented author, Jen Knox, who encourages and supports me when attempting my hand at writing Flash Fiction. I have been writing a few stories recently. I only wish I would have done so sooner. thank you Jen for opening up another door of possibility and opportunity for me.

When I write characters in screenplays and plays, I have an idea of who I wish to play them or who I would wish to direct these pieces. I love that among the talented directors with whom I would entrust my work are Emily Lotspeich and Jacque Lueken. Another fabulous director, actress, and instructor is the lovely Laura Sturm who has taught me to break down my emotional walls as an actor. This has come in handy when attempting to write emotionally charged scenes which I hope will evoke responses from my readers and viewers. I am lucky to know four of the most beautiful, talented, and amazing actresses, models, and artists such as Kate Bergeron, Julia Kessler, Laura Shatkus, and Amanda Marcheschi. Four women who I always think about when I write scripts hoping one day I will be privileged enough to see them bring my work to life.

There are so many people I love. I have taken time to highlight a few of them in this post. They are near and dear to my heart. Of course, they are not the only ones. I am lucky to know and be friends with some of the most amazing people in the world. Because of them, every day is Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Angela And No Safari At Quenchers Saloon

When I was in high school, I met one of the most intelligent, beautiful, amazing women in the world. Yes, she was only in junior high at the time, but it was obvious what a tremendous person she was and what a spectacular person she would become as well. Over the years, she has remained one of the most important most significant friends in my life. She stands by me through down times and through major flying high times. She is my friend, Angela. Every person deserves to have an Angela in his or her life. I believe, if you are blessed, then you already do have one such person like that in your life. In fact, one of the most important individuals in my life is energy alignment healer, intuitive, and educator, Dr. Therese Rowley. Angela was the one who introduced me to Therese. First, Angela taught me about what therese does. Second, she insisted I meet Therese. Last, she did not rest until I and therese became friends. Therese is one who knows how special Angela is for me and to me. Therese often tells me how my friendship, bond, and connection with Angela is in perfect order with what the universe wants. You too can meet Angela. You can do so tonight. If you are in the Chicagoland area, the place to be after 8p.m. is Quenchers Saloon on the north side of the city as Phantom Note presents a night of drink specials and great music. One of those bands playing at this event is No Safari for which Angie is the drummer. Check her out doing what she does best on the drums, enjoy a wonderful time, and learn why I love her to death as well as why I will continuing doing so until I die.

Quenchers Saloon, 2410 N. Western Ave Chicago, Il 60647 - 8p.m. doors open. No Safari will take the stage about 10:30p.m.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Jay Marvin's Death Dance And Punk Blood

When I was in high school, someone said I should listen to late nights on WLS-AM in Chicago. There was a young fresh voice on the air which I would enjoy. His name was Jay Marvin. I listened. I thought that he was not my cup of tea. He was ridiculous prank calling WGN Radio's Extension 720 program, saying dumb things, then hanging up. Of course, he was doing this while on the air. Aside from that, I thought he was okay. The person who first told me about Jay insisted that if I gave him a chance, he would win me over. The person said Jay champions the little guy. Jay attempts to be the voice of those who do not have one. He does great work to bring awareness to mental health issues in the world. I kept listening and in very short order, I had become a fan of his show. In fact, I loved it. He in fact did take calls from people with mental health issues who screamed out for help. Unlike others, Jay listened. He tried to help these callers both on and off the air. Wanting to establish myself in radio, I reached out to Mr. Marvin and he actually took the time to call me back, answer my questions, and sounded genuinely interested in my life and story. Eventually, he left Chicago and moved around the country. I was not able to find him until I was in college hosting a radio talk show where I would do my best to interview various media members about the latest stories or the media's role in information gathering or entertainment providing. I have been lucky enough to become friends with Jay over the years. Besides being a wonderful talk show personality, he writes and paints. In fact, you can buy two of his books at the following sites. Please take the time to read about Jay Marvin as well as his books. You will be entertained and moved by his words.

You can buy Death Dance at:

You can buy Punk Blood at: