Entries by Peter Cates

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Actor: Charles Durning

by Peter Cates Charles Durning A select number of actors and actresses could enhance mediocre films and television shows with their contributions; in vehicles worthy of their talents, the nominations for Oscars and Emmys came pouring in. Those no longer living (excluding the obvious superstars) would include Max von Sydow, George Sanders, Robert Ryan, Jo […]

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Soprano: Dorothy Maynor; TV Show: Last Man Standing; Poet: Edna St. Vincent Millay

by Peter Cates Dorothy Maynor African-American soprano Dorothy Maynor (1910-1996) sang at the inauguration of Harry S Truman in 1948 and Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953; however, while singing frequently in concert and on radio and recordings, she was never invited to the Metropolitan Opera during her peak years. In 1964, she founded the Harlem […]

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Jazz & Christmas

by Peter Cates Keiko Lee Keiko Lee is a 56-year-old jazz singer, born in South Korea and now living in Japan. She has rightfully achieved fame for her understated performances in concerts and on CDs since 1995. A 2010 CD, Smooth (Sony Music Japan S70614C), contains 10 songs that include Hoagy Carmichael’s The Nearness of […]

REVIEW POTPOURRI: Composer Richard Wagner

by Peter Cates Composer Richard Wagner Composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) was an egomaniac who, as my high school glee club director put it succinctly, knew he was great. His 16-hour Ring of the Niebelungen was premiered at Bayreuth, in Germany, in 1876 and has been produced many times since then. It is a mammoth quartet […]


by Peter Cates Winter poetry As winter’s balmy freeze approaches with increasingly grim ur­gency and inevitability for the next six to seven months, some brief depictions of the ice cold season are offered. Poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) gives a slightly humorous perspective in the following lines from Winter: My Secret: “Today’s a nipping day, a […]

REVIEW POTPOURRI – Poet: Abbie Huston Evans

by Peter Cates Abbie Huston Evans The 1989 anthology Maine Speaks has a poem from the Bristol native Abbie Huston Evans (1882-1983). Before sharing it, I offer the biographical details on her life provided in the above text, as they give a good maximum summation with minimum paragraphs: “As a teenager, Evans moved with her […]

REVIEW POTPOURRI: E. B. White & A Star is Born

by Peter Cates Scott Elledge Scott Elledge’s 1984 E. B. White: A Biography, was published when White was still living (he died in 1985) and is well worth dipping into for those, like myself, intrigued by the man who contributed to the success of the New Yorker magazine, wrote unsurpassed prose and raised ducks and […]