Stories You Might Have Missed This Week: PRX, Irene Cara & The Last Days of Kishka?


Do you keep in mind the place you have been while you heard the news? My Zaida was holding my hand as I dragged behind him and my Kodiak snow boots have been making a multitude within the slushy car parking zone in entrance of Pancer’s Deli on Bathurst Street.

“Avrum, they killed John Lennon,” mentioned the person behind the deli counter as we pushed our method contained in the slender doorway and into the silent group of noshers who had grown up with the Beatles.

Half-eaten sandwiches advised the story. An uneasy and nearly creepy silence overcame what was normally a boisterous crowd devouring scorching pastrami on rye, kurnatzels, greasy fries with gravy. Cans of Vernors have been getting heat on the worn tables and and dropping their efficiency.

Lorne Pancer, Pancer’s Deli, Toronto, Ontario

My Zaida spoke satisfactory English; Yiddish and Polish have been all he actually knew however having raised a home full of daughters who had been obsessive about Paul, John, Ringo, and George — even he understood the totality of what the deli man had simply advised him.

I used to be sufficiently old to grasp that the homicide of John Lennon was a very unhealthy factor and that my mom and aunt have been seemingly sitting at my Bubie’s desk crying hysterically when the news broke over the CBC’s airwaves.

We sat on the Shabbos desk and ate our matzo ball soup, knishes, kasha with varnishkas, pastrami and tongue on rye — in abject silence.

My siblings and I have been far too younger to understand what the Nineteen Sixties have been like in Toronto; how Beatlemania had left its mark even on the Holocaust survivor neighborhood.

My mom left the radio on within the background and we listened to hours of the Beatles and the worldwide response to the mindless homicide of John Lennon.

My mother and father would ultimately dwell not that removed from the Dakota and one among my sister’s has walked previous it 0000s of occasions over the previous 25 years.

Make Mine a Fatty with Some Kishka and Gravy

The Beatles have been a relentless in our house rising up. So was the odor of greasy deli meat. Not the rubbish you purchase right now in sealed packages from Whole Foods or Wegmans.

What love went into these $8 packages of pressed turkey breast?

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Pancer Sandwich

How many conversations in regards to the mafia, warfare, Maple Leafs not profitable the Stanley Cup, divorce, upcoming Bar Mitzvahs, the not-so-good physician throughout the road caught displaying has salami to Mrs. Rosen within the backseat of his Mercedes — happened in these meat packing vegetation in the course of nowhere outdoors of Des Moines?

If I miss something about my childhood rising up in Toronto, particularly having grown up inside the restaurant neighborhood as a result of it was how my household lastly made it (solely to lose it and have to start out once more) and the place I spent numerous hours within the kitchens of among the metropolis’s greatest dives and priciest white desk eating places — it’s the deli.

Are these the dying days of Kishka? I’ll cry for it way over I ever did the demise of disco.

Deli Fries

It was our place of refuge after a late-night hockey recreation or failed date; the place we sat in worn-out cubicles listening to basic rock over the 2 barely functioning Radio Shack audio system bolted to the wall above the deli counter.

Old males sat within the tiny cubicles and complained about their wives, jobs, the asshole boss who wouldn’t give their child a elevate, and the primary Trudeau who was driving the nation right into a Socialist abyss.

Manny's Delicatessen
Manny’s Delicatessen, Chicago, Illinois

Having skilled extra delis than one may presumably think about over the previous 52 years; from Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Miami Beach, Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta, D.C., New York, Newark, and even the streets of Paris — I’ve lastly come to the belief that what’s left would be the final of its type.


The deli and historical past of music are intertwined. Every reminiscence; good and horrible, could be related to the deli.

David Steinberg and the late-John Candy could be late arrivals at Pancer’s or Yitzy’s (I proudly performed proper wing for the hockey workforce within the Forest Hill Hockey Association) and photographs of SCTV alumni and well-known Canadian rock stars lined the wood-paneled partitions.

Hockey Team

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson would sit (as my mother or father’s did being the identical age and from the identical neighborhood) at Pancer’s and share a plate of fries and soda with their pals — it was all anybody may afford.

Nobody got here only for the greasy meat or very unhealthy energy — it was all in regards to the firm and discuss in regards to the future; which appeared like the one factor that one may do within the years after their mother and father had been liberated from Hitler’s Concentration Camps in Poland.

The well-known Jewish delis of Montreal and New York should not even owned by the identical households anymore and once they murdered Abe Lebewohl of the 2nd Avenue Deli in NYC — it was actually nearly closing time.

Katz’s in NYC nonetheless has the vibe nevertheless it’s largely vacationers at this level.

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Katz Deli NYC 2022

The time period “deli” has been change into a part of our cultural lexicon however isn’t actually utilized in its correct context; it’s the place individuals can go now and get a sandwich, and that mainly applies to each bodega, quick meals institution, and cafe on the planet.

At a time when antisemitism is being normalized in our tradition, I’m going to push again fairly exhausting on this one. The deli is the place Jews and their non-Jewish pals discovered refuge from the world to kibbitz and revel in greasy meat on correct rye bread they usually didn’t need to spend $15 for a sandwich with avocado and turkey breast on multi-grain toast.

Fame & $120 VHS Tapes

So once I walked into the Princeton Record Exchange final week and heard the news over the radio that Irene Cara had handed away at 63, I felt as if I had been transported again to 1980 — and never simply due to John Lennon.

My father had modified my life again in 1979 with one of many first JVC Vidstar VCRs within the neighborhood, and whereas our house video assortment consisted of lower than 20 movies, we knew each line from all of them.

Only 20?

It appears unusual to say that in 2022 once I stare at a movie assortment that’s quickly approaching 3,700 titles, however movies on VHS in 1980 have been $120 apiece.

When my father introduced a retailer bought copy of Fame house one night time, we turned very excited as a result of it was not a movie they might take us to see within the theater. It was filled with risqué language, nudity, medication, and a soft-core porn scene with Irene Cara that they have been by no means letting us see.

We waited nearly a month and blackmailed the babysitter into letting us watch it whereas she made out with boyfriend within the yard.

Irene Cara took the world by storm together with her vocal vary and Flashdance made her a Grammy, Oscar, and Golden Globe Award profitable singer.

She did sing on an extra 15 film soundtracks however D.C. Cab and City Heat have been a major drop for somebody who had shared the limelight with Giorgio Moroder and was #1 on the Billboard charts.

The explanation for her loss of life has not been launched.

Princeton Record Exchange Sign

Trouble Brewing For Record Stores?

2022 has been a comparatively good 12 months for impartial document shops with new vinyl gross sales up 22% in H1, however two latest journeys to Jack’s Music Shoppe and Princeton Record Exchange have me involved about 2023.

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Consumers are beginning to grumble barely louder in regards to the worth of latest information; I bought over 50 new information in 2021 and solely 12 in 2022.

I can’t justify it anymore. And I’m getting the sense that lots of patrons are $30 and $40 releases and heading to the “used” part or shopping for CDs.

Princeton Record Exchange CDs
CDs at Princeton Record Exchange

PRX has fewer information than I’ve seen in lots of months and the used CD part was actually busy the final two occasions I’ve visited; the shop is lower than a block from Princeton University and Nassau Street the place the entire motion takes place.

It’s truly price it for me to drop the youngsters off at college, go to Maman Bakery across the nook, and spend 30-40 minutes used CDs as a result of I at all times go away with 5-6 titles and by no means spend greater than $25.

A visit over the weekend to Jack’s in Red Bank; one among New Jersey’s richest cities and fewer than 2 miles from Bruce’s entrance door in Rumson was fairly odd; the shop was empty on a Saturday and the bins appeared considerably dusty.

6 jazz titles on CD for $19.

Are shoppers ditching impartial document shops for on-line purchases solely?

That could be unhealthy for individuals who don’t have a robust presence on Discogs.


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