By the way, all of these blurbs are old. Even though they're written in the present tense ... that was when they were new. Now they're not. YMMV.
In Sarah Jane news, our fave rave New York City Stage Manager has a long-run gig
over at Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging.
Not exactly a household name in most
houses, but Bentley Meeker is a household name among the NYC gliteratti: They've done the
fancy ball weddings for Eddie Murphy, Billy Joel, Mayor Giuliani and Catherine Zeta Jones,
plus the premiere events for TV shows like Sex & the City and for
corporate sponsors from Avon to Maybach.
Very fancy. Meanwhile, rev up your browser
and cruise on over to the new SJALLISON.COM WEBSITE!
Pretty fun, eh? Right now, it's mostly a brochure (and a tiny one at that), but it's hers, it's about her, and it's
Yet Another Piece of Her Overall Marketing Package. (Hehe!) I'm tickled pink!
Tracy is teaching special education again this year, but she has moved to the Big Island
Ka'u High and Pahala Elementary School is a small rural school, which includes every grade
from kindergarten through 12th, and has a total student population of about 500.
This is the second oldest school in Hawaii, originally founded (in 1881)
for the children of sugar plantation workers. It's located in the town of Pahala on the
sparsely-populated southeastern slopes of Hawaii's Mauna Loa. About 25 miles north is
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park--where Kilauea has been erupting continuously since 1983. To the
south are the famous black-sand and green-sand beaches, and the
windswept rocks at South Point (the southernmost point of land in the United States).
Tracy lives in a small community that was built adjacent to the Discovery Harbour golf course
south of Na'alehu--about 12 miles from school. OK, "golf course" sounds like a gated community
with a bunch of people driving around on golf carts, but that ain't it at all. The road to her
house is a one-lane dirt road which doesn't have room for two cars to pass each other.
Want to see a nice little writeup about the school?
The local newspaper did a profile that's available ...
Finally, I'm not gonna let it go unmentioned that Gram Allison (Dorothy) taught Special Education
and would be positively thrilled at what Tracy is doing now. Also, we recently learned that
Great-Grandmother Allison (George's mother) was also a teacher, before she married Walter
and settled down at the farm in Latah, Washington. Where did she teach? About 100 years ago,
in or around 1907, the young Miss Poole taught in Hawaii. Pretty cool.
George Poole Allison (2/18/14 to 4/8/08),
a retired aerospace engineer and avid sailor, died Thursday at Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson. He was 94. He was born in Tekoa, Wash., and with his sister Mattie grew up on the family farm where they grew wheat, barley and lentils.
In 1931, he graduated in a class of just nine students at Latah High School in Latah, Wash., and spent four years at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. where he graduated in 1936 with a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering.
Fresh out of school, Mr. Allison took a job in what was then the latest new technology in communications--broadcast radio--where he broke into the business working for the KHQ-KGA radio station in Spokane, Wash. In 1941, he took a promotion to become the Chief Engineer for KGVO in Missoula, Mont., where he met Dorothy Burgess--one of the station's announcers--and they were married the next year. The couple moved to Washington DC during World War II, where he was a member of the United States Signal Corps. In 1945, he moved to Baltimore to work for Bendix, and the two settled in Towson.
Their son, Burgess, was born in 1951 and the family moved to Denver in 1955. Their daughter Sarah Jane was born in 1956, and the family returned to the east coast--first to Falls Church, Va., in 1958, then returning to Lutherville in 1960. While Mr. Allison worked in aerospace, Mrs. Allison taught special education at Kenwood High School and later became supervisor of special education programs for Baltimore County schools. After both of the children moved on to college and away from home, the couple found a place on the water in Essex. Dorothy passed away in 1995, and George decided to move into the Pickersgill Retirement Community, back in Towson, in June of 2000.
YIKES! Hurricane Isabel came to visit! (OK, this was a while back, but I still like the picture. :-)
The 95-foot tree was completely uprooted -
it took off a piece of the roof and brought down power lines, phone and cable.
(A couple of houses away, there was another power line draped across the street!
The good news is that Tysons Tree came out right away to clean up the mess,
and we had about a million neighbors come out to help us!
The bad news is that it took nearly a week to get the power back
(including two days after they repaired the wires but accidentally forgot to re-set the breaker - Yeesh! :-)
But we're wired again, everyone's OK, and we're working on getting the roof repaired.
(Oh and the very top of the tree
fell on the car, too, but nary a scratch.)
OK, this was way too exciting. Let's not do that again any time soon. :-)
Tracy got her masters degree at GMU - ED and LD Special Education!
With more than 28,000 students, George Mason University
is the largest
four-year university in the state of Virginia - just a bit larger than Virginia Tech (#2)
and Virginia Commonwealth (#3). After finishing at Mason, and getting her official teaching
certificate in Virigina, she got recruited to teach Special Education in Hawaii!
George Mason, for those of you who don't know your Founding Fathers very well, was an
interesting guy: He's described as an "impatient politician" who had no time for
high society or big government, but who had a driving passion for writing and passing what
eventually became the Bill of Rights.
"George Mason University exemplifies our namesake's desire to
transform the status quo."
Well, I guess Tracy's status quo got pretty well transformed! :-)
Jack is at MSU!
It has a great engineering program, plenty of snow, and more mountains than they know what to do with:
Montana State University in Bozeman.
Gateway to Yellowstone, Home of the
and ranked the #1 college town in the West.
Bounded by the Gallatins,
the Bridgers, and the headwaters of the Missouri, this is Big Sky Country.
The Last Best Place. Alma Mater to Sid. Alma also Mater to Jay.
Jack plans on majoring in Engineering at MSU.
(We think he'll be majoring in cold. With a minor in snow.)
Either way, we know he'll do great.
Tracy is teaching special education again this year in Fairfax County! She has moved
from Luther Jackson Middle School (which was very very close) to just across town at
Madison High School.
Madison is a very highly-regarded school (it was
in Newsweek's 2006 list of top high schools in the country - although to be fair, a lot
of Fairfax County high schools do pretty well in that listing :-), and Tracy will be
helping to build their program for students with
Madison High School is named for
James Madison, the fourth
President of the United States. Together with Thomas Jefferson, Madison was a leading member
of the activist "Democratic-Republican" Party. Madison served as Secretary of State under
Jefferson, and then won the presidency after Jefferson completed his successful terms in
office in 1809. In the next few years, trade conflicts with France and Britain
escalated to new heights as the British navy began attacking and capturing American
cargo vessels. Eventually, Madison join Henry Clay and
John Calhoun as the "War Hawks," and asked Congress to declare war against Britain in 1812.
Unfortunately, America wasn't prepared and we were pretty soundly trounced--leading to
the British capture of Washington DC, the torching of the White House and Capitol,
and the heroic efforts of Dolley Madison (for which she became justly famous).
Tracy is teaching special education at Luther Jackson Middle School, part of the
highly-regarded Fairfax County school system!
Luther Jackson is close to home ... and it's got quite a history.
The school is named for
Dr. Luther P. Jackson,
a distinguished historian and political activist who wrote extensively about racial
inequities and the need for school
desegregation in Virginia. The bitter irony is that when the school was built and
named for Dr. Jackson, just four years after his death, it opened as a segregated, blacks-only
high school ... the first and only school in Fairfax County where blacks could attend
classes beyond the 7th grade.
In 1965, when the county's school system was desegregated, Luther Jackson was
integrated and it became an intermediate school ... later becoming a middle school.
Tracy was at Rivermont Schools in Alexandria, teaching special education!
Rivermont is actually an entire network of schools in Virginia, operated in
conjunction with several Medical Centers (also in Virginia).
The programs at Rivermont Schools are tailored for students who can't participate in regular
school programs due to psychological problems, emotional difficulties or learning
disabilities. Students are taught the same subjects as in public schools,
but with more emphasis on managing behavior, interpersonal skills and family involvement.
The Web site says, "Classes are small, usually eight to 10 students, and are taught by special
education instructors and counselors." That's Tracy!
Tracy was at SYSCO and Kroll Worldwide!
After a short stint at SYSCO (the food services company) in Brooklyn, Tracy came home and
took a job with Kroll Worldwide in Reston. SYSCO
is a terrific company to work for - most people know them as the primary suppliers for
large cafeterias and restaurants throughout the United States - and they're a first-class
organization all around. What a fun experience it was to work for SYSCO and to live in the
City That Never Sleeps! After SYSCO, Tracy moved to Kroll, while getting ready to go back to
school. Kroll is a really interesting company:
In the 80s, Kroll was known primarily for its investigative and security services
(they were described as "Wall Street's private eye." But in the 90s, Kroll expanded into
a full range of forensics and consulting services (acquiring the popular OnTrack
data recovery company just a few years ago), and now the company has more than 2,600
employees in 60 offices around the US and around the world. Wow!
(Tracy worked at the office in Reston.)
Tracy has completed her classes and externships(!) and is officially
graduated from the culinary school at Nicholls State University, in Louisiana.
Nicholls is in a town called Thibodaux--about an hour southwest of New Orleans, deep in the heart of True Cajun Country.
(OK, I didn't realize you could go that far southwest of New Orleans and not drown in some swamp either, but
you can. :-) She attended the
The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, and she is armed with knives. Bam!
Menopause The Musical!
(As opposed to... ? :-)
It's Sarah Jane's latest play that she's working on.
"The best part is the audience," wrote one reviewer. "Oh, the one-liners are funny,
the actresses are adorable, and the remade songs are a bit of a hoot. But the best part
are the women in the audience. They can't stop laughing. Gales of laughter.
Hoots of laughter. Women leaning forward, slapping their legs, slapping the legs of
the women beside them. Women wiping away tears."
(I'm guessing this is a comedy. :-) It's at
Playhouse 91, at 316 East 91st Street (between 1st & 2nd).
Jack had an amazing Senior year in high school! Just 'cause I'm bragging, check this out:
made Eagle Scout;
won the FBLA (Future Business Leader of America) Regional competition in Networking;
was a finalist and took 2nd place in the FBLA Virginia State Championships (Networking);
selected as the Most Improved Athlete for the Marshall Winter Track and Field;
qualified for Districts and Regionals in the Shotput-Indoor;
qualified for Districts in both Discus and Shotput-Outdoor;
received a Fairfax County Council of PTAs Professional/Technical Studies Scholarship Award;
selected for the Booz Allen Hamilton Public Service Scholarship Award;
received a Vienna Optimist Club Award for Excellence in Science and Technology;
received a Vienna Rotary Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Marshall Academy;
and received a Montana State University Achievement Award.
Not to mention taking summer classes at George Mason University to
finish his Government Studies requirement early and double up on his IT Academy classes
in his senior year.
In his copious spare time, Jack participated in all twelve seasons of sports over four years at Marshall,
and lettered in ten of the twelve seasons
(earning a Statesman Tri-Athlete Award in the last two years),
and held a part time job at PetCo.
Tracy did her first externship at
a "full-service meals market" in New Orleans. (Imagine what you'd get
if a five-star restaurant decided to open up one of those
carry out/grocery store/wine markets.
That's what Foodies is. (Are?) The restaurant is
Commander's Palace (where
Emeril got his start :-) Awards include 2001 New Orleans Magazine,
"Best Take Out," 2001 Gambit Magazine "Best place to stop on the way
to the airport," and 2000 New Orleans Magazine, "Best Prepared Meals."
InsideNewOrleans wrote up a
Another write-up at
describes it this way: "This is a 'Meals Market' - or, in the industry,
a 'home meal replacement.' Foodies, like the multi-unit national firm
EatZi's, fills in around restaurant meals with restaurant-quality items
in various stages of completion. We're not sure owner Ti Martin would
call the food turned out by Foodies' 40 chefs (sporting a total of 98
years cooking for the Brennans) gourmet takeout. But that's probably
what a bunch of people are going to call it anyway."
Tracy's done with the externship (it was really great, she reports),
but if you want to go there for the terrific food, go to the
Foodies Web site
for directions and specifics. It's just a
couple blocks off the freeway. Be there or B .
Yet another hit show for SJ!
The show is Mary, and it was part of the renowned
New York International Fringe Festival 2003.
One reviewer called it
"The must-see play at this year's New York Fringe Fest. Virtuoso writing--wickedly delicious!"
Playbill did a nice write-up describing the story line:
"a play about a U.S. president and an 'encounter' with his intern.
The play was written before the Monica-and-Bill story hit the headlines, but
you'll have to see the show yourself to find out if truth is really stranger than fiction."
Maybe this time, fiction stills holds the edge :-)
Sarah Jane was On The Road Again! And this wasn't your ordinary
theater-and-grease-paint stage show. This was Heavy Metal on wheels. Hogs.
Panheads. Milwaukee Iron. Yup. For its 100th anniversary, the best-known
manufacturer of motorcycles on the planet put on the
100th Anniversary Open Road Tour. ("10,000 BIKES, 50 EXHIBITS, 25 BANDS AND 1 BIG PARTY.
The Open Road Tour is a 10-city massive traveling festival--25
acres of pure Harley-Davidson adrenaline.") In each city, they put on a three-day event.
And every day was a 12-hour festival--with exhibits, events and non-stop music. Who headlined?
Dylan. Creedence. Billy Idol. And the official A.D.D. spokesmodel, Cat Scratch Nugent.
(check out Ted's latest book,
Ted & Shemane Nugent's Kill It & Grill It Cookbook.)
SJ managed shows on two separate stages in
Altanta, Milwaukee, Baltimore, L.A. and Dallas.
By the way, that oh-so-recognizable Harley sound (and the accompanying vibration)
is produced by a patented engine design
in which both cylinders fire
alternating, the way they do on almost
every other internal combustion engine on the planet. But I digress :-)
Jack graduated from
George C. Marshall High School.
Home of the Marshall
In addition to the academics and the Trail
to Eagle Scout, Jack was plenty involved in football and track.
In the track and field events, he mostly did throwing. Shotput that is. Weights. Big balls thrown for long distances.
He even has the
Will Throw For Food T-shirt
(not exactly shown at right) (but close).
Pretty cool. In the fall, of course, it was
He was the starting left tackle for the Varsity squad as a Junior.
When he became a Senior, even more happened! He got his name in the
Colleges recruited him! Yikes! (Jack's senior season in football is now over. Sadly,
he finished it on the sidelines--suffering a partial tear of something in his knee that
has a hard-to-spell medical name.)
OK, so it was pretty exciting when the car repair place
DROPPED OUR VAN OFF THE LIFT. No photos... but Wow.
Sarah Jane is doing like a million things these days ...
it's way hard to keep up with them all. One was an event called
V-Day is a organization devoted to ending violence against girls and women.
The centerpiece of the V-Day events has been
Eve Ensler's play,
"The Vagina Monologues,"
which runs at the Westside Theatre in New York. On February 10, 2001,
they held a special version of the play in which "70 of the world's most
celebrated women" performed, with additional musical and dance performances,
at Madison Square Garden. The cast included Oprah Winfrey, Queen Latifah,
Jane Fonda, Glenn Close, Rosie Perez, Calista Flockhart ...
and Sarah Jane Allison making all the details happen at all the right times.
For more about V-Day and The Vagina Monologues, see
Sarah Jane went on the road again! This time it was Stage Manager with Nickelodeon,
and it was planned as a 40-stop live-action tour
based on Nick's popular cartoon, Rocket Power.Maximum Rocket Power Live!
featured skateboarders, inliners, BMX bike-riders, and "those four lovable characters from the
(The Allison Insider is also pleased to pass along this juicy showtime secret:
Yes, it's true. In addition to Reggie, Otto and their pals Twister and Sam,
showgoers were treated to a cameo appearance by the One and Only
(I know, I know. Me, too!)
The truly dedicated Rocket Power fan, I'm sure, showed up wearing their Rocket Power
(No, there isn't any SpongeBob SquarePants underwear--yeesh.)
Sadly, the planned 40-stop tour ... uh ... stopped early. Still, it was a whole
lot of fun. Oh yeah, here's the
about the show from Nickelodeon. If we find anything more online, we'll add it to the site.
Sarah Jane is on Broadway! ("If you can make it there," eh?)
Assistant Stage Manager. And it's on Broadway. In fact, it's the Broadway
Theater. At 1681 Broadway between W. 52nd and 53rd.
Are we proud, or what? And did I mention that she's on Broadway?
(It's true. She is.) Oh yeah, the show. (Almost forgot. :-) It was called
Blast! While it was playing on Broadway, the show enjoyed both critical acclaim and packed houses.
Yup, it took home more than its share of TONY AWARDS. Here's how it was
described: "An energetic,
animated mix of the outdoor pagaentry of marching bands, drum & bugle
corps and color guard squads with a non-stop, two-hour barrage of laughs,
leaps and luster." Think Riverdance meets Stomp. At a high school football
game. "'The whole thing is to make that kind of a music a theatrical event,'
says Jim Mason, Executive Director of
Star of Indiana,
the world-champion 128-member drum & bugle corps from Bloomington
that evolved into Blast!" (Pretty cool, huh? She's on Broadway.)
[Oh--one last thing: The Blast! Web site
is all but gone now. But when it was alive, it was really
lame. ... Sorry, it looked completely cool, but it took forever to load the
Pix from the Marshall Class-of-'03 Car Wash are here! ...Well,
actually... over there --> --> -->
Floyd pays a call. Well this was scarier than it needed to be.
The photo above shows the tree that fell on
Sue and Dennis' house when Hurricane Floyd raced through. The good news was
that no-one got hurt and the tree didn't break through the roof. The bad news
was ... THERE'S A TREE ALL OVER THE HOUSE! (Okay, it's not there any more. :-)
In addition to the tree falling on
Sue and Dennis' house,
Ed and Judee Showalter suffered through Floyd as well. Massive flooding affected
Rocky Mount--about 20% of the city was under water--and several houses on their
street were flooded out. Luckily, Ed and Judee's house came through relatively
unscathed. Our hearts and thoughts go out to their neighbors.
Unfortunately, Tennessee doesn't have a culinary program. So as part of the transfer-to-culinary-school process, Tracy came home--did her spring semester at NOVA--then went to Nicholls State in the fall.
Yes, it's true, Tracy was a Lady Vol! She got
selected as a member of the
University of Tennessee Crew Team
for the Fall 1999 freshman season, and she got cleared through
that NCAA clearinghouse stuff for Division 1 athletes (which was pretty cool).
OK, so Tracy went off to college.University
of Tennessee at Knoxville. Home of the
(And just a couple of hours from Jay and Kitty's house.)
She did all the cool stuff. Crew. Livin' in the dorm. Finals.
Staying up 'til college students go to bed. And she came home
with the abligatory Tenn'see accieent.
Just 'cause you asked, yes, Tracy did indeed
graduate from Marshall. Of course we have our own photos--from both
graduation and the Senior Prom. But the only photos we put on the site (and I'm not sure they're here any more)
are from the previous year's
Junior Prom, if they're here, they're
right here--complete with newspaper coverage and the
ever popular Where's Tracy? game. (Best of luck to all her friends and buddies--all
headed off to fun, fame and fortune at college now.)
They used a photo of Gordon out ice skating on Salmon Lake
for the front page of The
Missoulian Online (December 17, 1997)!
Here's a tiny part of the photo that they used.
Click on it to see the whole thing!
Also, if you want to see a copy of what the December 17 issue looked like,
I saved a copy (complete with the full photo).
Click here to see it.
Pretty cool, I'd say.
Wow! Jay and Kitty's house got hit by a tornado!
Everyone is OK. (Although the truck has seen better days :-)
And we've got the story.
We've got photos, too, but
they take a real long time to download. So if you
just want the story-part, click on story.
If you click on photos,
you'll get both the photos and the story.
Either way, it's pretty amazing.
Sarah Jane's play, Grandma Sylvia's Funeral, at the SoHo Playhouse
(Off Broadway) got a special write-up in The New Yorker--with one of those cool
little illustrations. And it deserved all the attention it got.
Sylvia was great fun, and for a while it got officially recognized as
a "long run." The New Yorker's
simply listed Sylvia in the Long Runs paragraph, along with
Broadway staples, such as Phantom and Cats.
Grandma Sylvia's Funeral was on CNN a few years ago (!),
being used to help demonstrate a new Internet feature called
OK, OK, I know it sounds like the punchline to a Jay Leno joke, but it's not.
Cybermourn is touted as a service that'll help families get together
during funerals--even when everyone isn't able to travel.
CNN demonstrated the service in a sort of light-hearted way, using live
footage from the country's most famous long-run off-Broadway funeral.
If you want to see a little of how it looked, I captured a
few sample pages after most
of the demo was over.
(The image in the upper right of the screen was a then-live shot of the
August 28th matinee at the SoHo Playhouse.)