Monday, August 31, 2009

GOOD News Only

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Never Stop Wishing Upon Your Star

"The 'Real' Herbie J Pilato Show"

One of my main life objectives, for my entire life, was to have "The Herbie J Pilato Show." I now realize that, for my entire life, that's exactly what I have already had - for countless "episodes." In "reality," I've lived it every day. And I'm looking forward to endless more "seasons" ahead. What's more, I thank each of you for your wonderful "special guest-star" appearances. In full-blown color, of course. Bless you all forever.

Herbie J

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"The Girl Who Silenced The World For Five Minutes"

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finding The Love We Crave

I believe we did not come into this world to be alone. But in seeking relationships, we must be willing to understand that, not only may we be hurt, but there is also the possibility that we will hurt others. And yet, too, we cannot let this stop us from seeking and finding the love we crave - and ultimately require - to live fully in this world. Even if we die trying. At least we will go out with a to speak.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When My Mom Cooked Pasta For "The Who," Catered For Brian Wilson & More

I'm reminiscing more than ever during this visit back to Rochester...recalling things like the night The Who came over my house in the middle of the night in the early '70s when they didn't like the food at the Flagship Hotel - and how my Mom made them pasta. Or the night my Mom and Aunt Anna personally catered for Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys at the War Memorial in the summer of '78. Man - the 60s and 70s just blew right through Erie Street ("Bewitched" included).

Please Help The Hallmark Channel

Hello Everyone -

Looks like The Hallmark Channel (see newspaper article below, followed by original link) is facing some challenges. THC is one of the few networks that offers family-oriented programming, so let's show some support by either sending out good vibes,- and/or sending out any subtantial support possible (in the way of good press, positive blogging, special phone calls to contacts, etc.).

We need to insure that this "hallmark" Channel sticks around.

Hollywood needs it.




August 24, 2009 --

Although Hallmark Channel is known for uplifting family fare, its own story could have a less happy ending.

Crown Media Holdings, the cable network's parent, is undergoing a painful process of restructuring its balance sheet at the same time the channel is attempting to revamp its family-oriented programming.

Just last week Crown cut 15 jobs, or 8 percent of its work force, and a proposed plan to trim its debt load is meeting resistance from some bondholders.

The stakes are huge: Hallmark is one of the last remaining independent cable networks, but its ability to compete against larger rivals is hampered because of that financial load and because it can't leverage a large number of channels to extract better deals from cable and satellite operators. Crown's cable properties consist only of the flagship Hallmark Channel and its smaller sibling, Hallmark Movie Channel.

But Crown, which is 70 percent-owned by greeting card giant Hallmark, is struggling. Hallmark, the parent company, loaned Crown $1.1 billion, and Crown isn't likely to pay that back.

As such, Hallmark has proposed slashing Crown's debt in half in exchange for additional equity totaling $550 million.

That move has angered Crown's minority shareholders, and spurred independent Crown board members to hire Morgan Stanley to advise them on the Hallmark offer. A recommendation from Morgan Stanley is expected early next month.

Although a source familiar with the matter said there have been no settlement talks with Hallmark, it appears unlikely that the parent company would force Crown into bankruptcy because of the embarrassment of forcing its own channel out of business.

However, it appears unlikely a white knight waits in the wings.

A few years ago, Crown attempted to pretty itself up for a sale when it hired media veteran Henry Schleiff as CEO. Crown enlisted Citigroup to oversee an auction, but things barely got off the ground because of the company's debt load.

Schleiff has since left the company, and Bill Abbott, once the channel's head of ad sales, was named CEO.

Under Abbott, the channel has attempted to shake up its staff and shift its programming.

One strategy involves creating a clearer distinction between the flagship channel, which is carried in 88 million homes, and the movie-channel offshoot, which is available in 30 million households. The plan is to gradually move most of the Hallmark movies to the smaller channel while the main channel sticks with a mixture of movies, classic TV shows and holiday specials.

"It's an evolution not a revolution," Abbott explained to The Post.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Find Your Power "Chord"

I am so very grateful to understand the healing power of great music, as evidenced when this song helped me to rebuild and recreate my life at a time when I thought there were no second chances. Instead, I discovered endless opportunities. Sending blessings and Light to "Whatever You're Doing" via the link below.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Seven Dollars Changed My Mother's Life

This is a revised edition of one of my more popular posts from the last few years, originally titled, "Mom and the 28 Quarters."

A few people were asking about it, so I thought it was time to share what I embrace as one of my fondest memories of my Mom - and one of the more inspiring life lessons she left me with as part of her vast legacy of Love. So here we go:

"As many of you may know, my Dad died of lung cancer on April 6th, 1995. I was his primary caregiver for 18 months before then and, as anyone who's lost a loved-one in such a way knows, it's a life-changing experience - on many levels.

At any rate, after my Dad passed into spirit, it wasn a rough road for my Mom, emotionally. They were very close, and she was very dependent on him. She didn't drive, etc. So I tried my best to do what I could for her, even once attempting to move her to LA with me (to disastrous results).

Then, there were her memory issues.

However, for as long as I can remember, she always prayed for everyone - especially children. In fact, whenever she saw a child, she took out her rosary beads and said a prayer, right there, at that moment, wherever she was, asking the accompanying parent if it was okay for her to bless their child.

"Of course," they would say.

Then, every Monday-Friday, my Mom went to the Senior Center in Irondequoit, New York, which cost her about $6.00 a day - a price that includes lunch and service for the van (that picked her up and took her home). Thirty bucks a week for a senior's regular activities? Not bad at all.

At this simple-treasured Center, she also playes cards, attended parties and picnics, and played bingo. She especially loved the bingo. A whole lot, in fact.

I never realized how much really.

Until, one day, when I started giving her "extra" quarters with which to play the game. Not a lot of quarters. Just seven dollars worth. Not ten. Not nine.

But seven.

Every other day, I'd walk into her apartment, and interrupt her daily viewing of Seinfeld or The Golden Girls, walk over to her, kiss her, and ask her to open up her hand.

At that moment, I would pour out the seven dollars in quarters, 28 in all.

As I did this each time, her reaction was one of astonishment. She looked as if she had won the lottery or the mega-jackpot in Vegas.

"Oh, Herbie J," she'd say with so much joy, "...what a great son you are! I have to pay you back! I have to pay you back!!"

"Mom," I would reply, "You just go have fun at the Center."

And she did, all the more...with that mere extra seven dollars of quarters.

Not a million. Not a thousand. Not a hundred. Not even ten.

Just seven.


Friday, August 14, 2009

In Pursuit of Your "Truest" Love

In pursuit of your true love, or in revaluating the love you have now, I strongly recommend and urge you to ask yourself these questions:

Is this person in whom you're interested - or presently in love with - kind? Gentle? Sweet-natured? Are they be able to love you for who you are and not for what you could do for them? Are they the type of person who stands by in your darkest hour? Or are they the extreme edition of the fair-weather friend? Are they loyal? Do they remain at your side when you need them the most? Do they let you be "needy?" Do you they respect whatever good Higher Power is running the Universe? Are they prejudiced against others of a different heritage? Do they care about the world? Other countries? Other cultures? Do they believe that their culture is the best culture? Or do they understand that we are all equal in the eyes of God - as we are all children of the same God?

Are they the type of person who is with you only when you're rich, and then they "divorce" you when you're poor? What kind of "tipper" are they? Are they cheap? Are they clean or hygenically-challenged? Are they selfish? Self-absorbed? Are they concerned for others? Do they ask people, "So how are you today?"

These are only some of the questions to ask in your search for true LOVE.

And I'm sure you are able to think of a few of your own...and please feel free to add them to the commentary for this post.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Tribute to Harold Leaf

Harold Leaf, the father of my good friend and cousin David Leaf, passed away last week.

David is my cousin, by marriage - to my cousin Eva.

I say this only to clarify why I have not referred to Harold as my Uncle Harold.

But he may as well have been. He was as down-to-earth and approachable as any "real" uncle I have ever known. And he never had to be.

A successful business man, a world traveler and cultured from the word "go," Harold could have easily waxed arrogance - particularly because he also was blessed with an artistic ability to create beautiful images on once-blank canvases. Instead, he was charming - while his very life became a stunning mosaic in and of itself.

Because of his many gifts, Harold could have easily been flip. Instead, he tripped you up with his kind and gentle manner. He went out of his way to make sure you never felt that you were in his way.

I first met Harold, his wife Bernice and their other sons, Bobby and Ricky, when, years ago, along with Eva and David, we all went for an ice cream - following an elegant dinner. The dinner was optimum. But the ice cream afterwards was what I recall the most. In recent days, going for an ice cream has become a lost unapreciated simple treasure.

But not so on that short trek to the ice cream parlor with Harold and company. He was well-aware of the power that stems from such an ordinary event - with regard to bringing, holding and/or casting together a family or group of friends.

The Greek Isles, Egypt, Italy, France...those were all wonderful adventures for Harold. And he was sure to capture them, at one point or another, in many of his artistic creations.

But somehow he never painted a trip to Carvels, or Haagan Daz, or Dairy Queen. Somehow, such a simple treasure escaped his observent, painted perspective. Somehow, he knew that painting a run to the ice cream store was not nearly as much fun as visiting one.

Europe, he knew, would always be there - as would be the Great Pyramid.

But chocolate, chocolate chip? Surely, it would all be gone one day. There was not time to paint the latest visit. There was only time to visit the vanilla forest again and again.

The painted forest of banana splits and waffled sugar cones as a feast for the eyes was far outweighed by the melted morsels that were moleculed together for a real-life dessert.

We should all eat so well, and live so long as to never paint about the simple treasures. Instead, we should live Harold lived them - with that down-to-Earth demeanor - that assuredly cleared his untethered path to Heaven.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Rochester Visit

I'm heading back to Rochester on Sunday for ten days or so.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"Kindness Trumps Talent"

Years ago, I directed a musical for the Rochester Association of Performing Artists (a.k.a. RAPA), and spent weeks auditioning many actors, singers and dancers of all ages.

A diverse amount of extremely talented performers gave it their all during the auditions, but of course I could only narrow it down to a chosen few who would win the various lead and supporting roles.

But it soon became clear who would round out the cast.

I was impressed with the excessive talent of some, but more impressed with the extreme kindness of others. Some of those with the most talent, unfortunately, did not have the best personalities - nor the kindest of demeanors. And some of those with less talent - and in some cases, no talent at all, appeared to be less egotistical and potentially the easiest with whom to work.

So, I was faced with a dilemma:

Hire the most talented who were also the most egostical and difficult personalities?


Cast the least talented who were the gentlest of souls?

Ultimately, it ended up being a good mix. I cast those who were talented AND kind, and I also cast some who were not talented, but yet kind. Either way, I did not cast any of egotistical and somewhat mean-spirited - but extremely talented performers. They would have to at some point try again later for another production of mine, or somewhere else in town.

Years after that, when I started teaching acting at Rochester, New York's Historic German House, I came across a similar experience. There were many fine actors who enrolled for my classes, and in doing so, they had to audition. I was a tough teacher, and expected a great deal from each of them. However, many who attended those classes went on to great things, in and out of the entertainment field.

In any case, there was this one particular student who stood out. But not for the reasons that one might expect.

He was an awkward sort. He was very tall and very thin, and not very coordinataed or particularly talented. But this actor had heart - and passion - and determination. And he was one of the kindest souls I had ever met. I knew that when he auditioned for my class, and I experienced that throught the entire semester.

And once the course began, and each time he stepped in front of the class to work on a scene, either by himself or with another student, his talent did not shine, but his kind heart and determination to do his best lit up the room. What's more, I was so proud of my other students whenever he did one of this scenes.

Not one of them snickered or laughed at his performance. They supported him 100% - which not only was one of the rules in my class, but it was something that each of them CHOSE to do on their own.

I could never bring myself to tell this particular student that he might not have "what it takes" to make a success of acting, becuse acting was just too important to him. He loved it so much. He loved to perform. "I don't want to do anything else," he would tell me again and again.

So, I kept him in my class - but not because I wanted his money - but because I enjoyed his good heart. He was an inpsiration to my students - and he was an inspiration to me.

And I never charged him a dime. His passion and determination for acting - and his kind heart and gentle spirit - trumped his lack of theatrical talent. And he taught me more about life - than I could have ever taught him about acting.