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04/06: Aunt Clara

Category: Rotter and Friends | Posted by: Team
Happy Monday FRIENDS.

I have always been intrigued by the life and legacy of my aunt Clara. A mother hen to the arts department of the New York Times since 1945, Clara was the right hand woman and best friend of renowned drama critic Brooks Atkinson. Clara passed away when I was too young (of course) but even then I knew she was a special lady and a superb New Yorker to boot. Perhaps work and family overcame most of the breath during her life, but her wit and drive seemed to prove inspiring for all the starry stage legends around her. I'll never forget traveling to her tiny "mouse house" apt in a run down building in Queens-the smells of the hallway, the vintage glass jars filled with homeade orange juice, TONS of newspaper clippings, and about 150 plastic D'Agostino's bags hangin' out everywhere. However, nothing harps back to my brain more than the sight above the rickity velvet green and gold couch where a special piece was hung and tilted slightly off kilter-the HIRSCHFELD painting.
Al/Clara
Legendary Broadway caricaturist Al Hirschfeld had done a portrait of lady Clara as a retirement gift, which was signed by the entire luminary journalist pipe-in-mouth arts staff at The Times along with some other stars of the arts and the stage. My aunt is depicted with octopus hands feverishly delivering calls and tasks against a typewriter. You can't get more old school New York City than this drawing-I love it so and had to share.

Clara and the boys: Brooks Atkinson + Italian crooner Etzio Pinza
clara and brooks
Clara and Times staff at SARDIES for her retirement (Muppets Take Manhattan anyone?)
clara at sardies
wall clara
Thanks to cousin Marty for this who is the lucky owner of the work, where it proudly hangs on his walls and ensures the spirit of a media legend. Time to have a coffee, bagel, and read old Woody Allen interviews from the 70's....

Big smiles.

xx

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