In Tune With June! By June Sturz

Sometimes I refer to television as “the boob tube.” Shame on me! Actually, it’s simply a matter of finding the better programs. I lucked out. I found one with riveting performance and trenchant writing – the HBO series “In Treatment.” It’s the show’s second season. I watched every episode in the first and I hoped there would be a second. Happily, I’ve not been disappointed.
“In Treatment” this season doesn’t pick up exactly where the first left off. The psychotherapist, Dr. Paul Weston, is played by the deeply appealing Gabriel Byrne. Interestingly, he’s a therapist who is in trouble himself. He’s involved in a malpractice suit, marital discord and childhood grievances. This season has a quartet of new patients: an unfulfilled litigator, an anxious chief executive, an overweight teenager, and an overachiever with a serious medical problem. Dr. Weston, himself, turns to his friend and one-time mentor, Gina, played by Dianne Wiest. I probably shouldn’t comment, but I do have to say she looks better this season (she must have gone on a diet – meow!).
“In Treatment” has well-wrought dialogue and nimble, powerful action. Even though it’s just two people sitting around and talking, the riveting performances and incisive writing made this complex television series worth your time.
It occurred to me that it would be impossible for someone who hasn’t been in therapy to write this show. I’m surprised that I enjoy it because I don’t find pleasure in other people’s psychic pain. In fact, I have trouble falling asleep after watching “In Treatment.” If you can tape it, I recommend watching it early in the day. It’s no soothing bedtime story.
What? A “musical pharmacologist!” That’s new to me, and I suspect that you never heard of it, too. A growing body of research suggests that music is good for our health. I’ll drink to that (water, of course). Not a fan of pill-popping, I’d be a happy camper to learn that music can take the place of medicine. Imagine this: Medication in the form of music, dispensed as a prescription.
I know that music has always been good for me – in fact, probably better that any medication. Certainly, music has no serious side effects, except calming ones. Which brings me to a radio program – yes, radio (that’s the thing that has no screens to watch like television, cell phones, even G.P.S. devices). Also, you can multi-task while listening to the radio. Well, every Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., I tune into NPR (that’s National Public Radio), 93.9 FM to hear an eclectic mix of American popular standards, classical, rock and roll, jazz, and, along with the music, good talk with host Jonathan Schwartz.
In one of my other lives, I met Jonathan Schwartz when he was singing in a cabaret called Michael’s Pub (no longer exists, unfortunately). At that time, he appeared to be aspiring to emulate Frank Sinatra – whom we idolized along with the rest of the world. Now a writer and radio personality, he has three passions: music, Sinatra and baseball. Mr. Schwartz grew up surrounded by entertainers. He father, songwriter Arthur Schwartz, contributed several wonderful tunes to the American songbook, including “That’s Entertainment” and “Dancing in the Dark.” On his Saturday and Sunday programs, he generally winds down the weekend with a unique take of the cultural life of New York City, both as observer and participant.
I enjoy his on-air anecdotal stories, frequently feathering his interactions with Frank Sinatra and other famous people. The man is a virtual walking encyclopedia of everything Sinatra – and that’s OK. So, if your weekend can use an uplift (and we surely need uplifts galore these days), I prescribe (as a musical pharmacologist!!) 93.9 FM between noon and 4 p.m. You can, if you want to, sing and/or even dance to the music on the radio.
P.S. – If you are in need of a live musical fix and you don’t want to travel, check out The Networking Café on Broadway in Bayonne. I was lucky to catch a most enjoyable evening of music performed by Beeman, Bannon and Parrott. According to David at The Networking Café, the trio appears there about three times a year.
Perhaps it’s cliché, but I really do love New York (don’t get me wrong, I also love Bayonne, but for different reasons). Manhattan is gorgeous (not all, but many sections), incredible, an awe-inspiring city. As an example, there’s a pretty building at 18 W. Houston St. that houses an art house famous for showing controversial, artistic or just plain weird films, plus lots of classic ones, too.
The Angelica is so much more than a multiple – screen movie theater. With its art house – like atmosphere, there’s a café for discussion and socializing before and after the movie. It opened in 1989 and continues to offer a dynamic and sophisticated atmosphere, a great place to meet friends. In this downtown, two-story movie house, cinema aficionados flock together to see a date movie, a gal pal movie, a parent’s movie – it’s for anyone who wants to have his spirits uplifted. And there’s a plus: the café offers old-fashioned milkshakes, teas from Japan and delicious scones.
Some might say that my glasses are always rosy – and, to quote Seinfeld, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
If you were asked to guess the number of museums in New York City, it would not be easy. My research shows about 80. One of my favorites is the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan along Museum Mile at 91st Street and Fifth Avenue. The Cooper-Hewitt features a series called “Selects” devoted to showing its permanent collection, an amazingly rich collection of decorative art and design objects. It’s the only museum in the national devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design with a perspective on its impact on daily life. The museum is housed in the Andrew Carnegie Mansion with its 64 rooms (cozy!). And what I like best – a large, private stately garden. It’s a beautiful, restful oasis in the very busy city.
The Cooper-Hewitt, a branch of the Smithsonian, provides an out-of-the-ordinary experience with its main focus on collecting and exhibiting design objects, including textiles, wall coverings, architectural drawings and furniture. I like seeing a jacquard-loomed portrait of Lincoln and other presidents, too. The building received landmark status in 1974. There’s striking Old World elegance and the intimacy of a family home.
Bring your family and I think you’ll want to go again. There’s too much to absorb, for just one visit.

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