Category Archives: Edgar Weinstock

The Bad Old Days of Frisco – Edigarghh Part 1

By Edgar Weinstock

During the years between 1970 to 1978 I taught voice majors of The San Francisco Conservatory of Music everything about performing except singing. Often, walking in the halls between classes, I would pass the glamorous petite singer  Pierrette Alarie who was married to the great Canadian tenor Simoneau. Invariably her gracious smile, which had brightened  many stages of Europe was bestowed upon me as I heard a cello sing out softly “Bon jour, Edigarghh.” Had I been a glacier named Edgar, I would have melted enough to fill the streams of  California. Continue reading

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What I Learned Of Love from Patsy Gilbert

By Edgar Weinstock

A quite chubby, preteen, clumsy, girl child in pain taught me more about loving or nourishing a kid than even the grown ups I palled out with. I wasn’t much older than she was. Her name was Patsy Gilbert. She showed me all I needed to know.

All I have to do to become 10 years old again is close my eyes. And so: I once again see across from where I live on East 28th Street in Paterson. YEAH NEW JERSEY SO WHAT? I lived there with the others: Two parents. One or two brothers. A family of true friends named Norton. Sometimes a pet. Always surrounded by yapping or scowling neighbors, some of whom were also good stickball players. By evening, I was always indoors doing homework or imagining what the radio was conjuring or even trying to find a good channel on the XRay box in these, the late 1940s .

So it must be daylight now since I can almost see the Hernandez garage and house, where on the second floor lives the Gilbert family. Papa Gilbert is calm. Black wavy hair. Good build. Nothing showy. Just good shape and movie star handsome as the day is long. His wife must have at one time been really classically to the nth degree pretty. But now she has the worst set of purple circles surrounding her eyes and radiating further out more each month and the sides of her mouth pulling the rest of her down as she sporadically screams to one member of her family or another. Somehow from that wretched mother has come three daughters. The oldest is Anita. A few years older than I. This is more than 60 years ago but still I see as pretty a face as I have ever seen; yeah: combining the best of an uncentered version of Ann Harding plus a calmer version of Ida Lupino and a version of Carole Lombard? Hmpf; whenever she smiled. The only fly on the paper is that I never saw Anita Gilbert smile also with her eyes. Other than that, destroy any real photos of these movie dames the way they actually were at 13 or 14. Remember them in their prime then imagine what the mixture would be if they each dove into it at 13 or 14 years of age and you’ll have a good image of what Anita Gilbert looked like. Continue reading

February 4th

By Edgar Weinstock

Neither my mother nor father had even been graduated from legitimate four year high schools. Yet they each helped me in different ways to begin my own never ending journey as an artist before I was five years old.

I will tell it now as I remember even though I did not know then that words meant anything. Nor did I understand words put properly together could form thoughts. At four years of age I had not any idea what an idea was. Time was lurching on and I was becoming more lost to civilization.

One winter afternoon, my mother was hurrying all over our apartment in Glen Rock, New Jersey. Her English had gotten much better since I was born.  But none of our neighbors my age talked to me except once with the stones they threw as they explained to me it was my people who killed their Christ. I didn’t even have crayons let alone “people.”

Neither of my parents seemed to have much time for me. They worked hard and were often tired. I was often puzzled and could not figure out just what I was always doing wrong. My mother later said, “We are all just lucky we only got mad at you one at a time; never both at once.” By the time I was four, I knew at least enough to stay out of their way when either one was rushing around which was happening early one winter evening in 1945. Continue reading