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David Benoit at My Father’s Place June 17, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
2 comments

Friday night marked my second time in My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel. The first time in March was to see The Rippingtons. This time, I saw one of the musicians from their first album: David Benoit. I saw David as part of Dave Koz’s 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour in December 2017 and at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in April 2018, but hadn’t seen him solo since October 2012, five days before Hurricane Sandy, at The Iridium. Furthermore, it was the first time I’d seen David on Long Island since his Christmas show at IMAC in December 2008, my last time there before it closed the following June.

I arrived at My Father’s Place at 6:30, entering from The Roslyn Hotel lobby and taking the elevator down to the lower level where it and 1221 at MFP are situated. The hostess recommended a table in the center. Considering the way the piano, bass, and drums were arranged, I opted for that table. I ate a cheeseburger and french fries, then waited for 8:00 to come.

Once again, there was an opening comedy act: Sherry Davey:

I was familiar with Sherry’s work, having seen her on an episode of NickMom Night Out, a signature show when Nick Jr. aired a late night programming block for adults. Sherry lives in nearby Port Washington and she incorporated many local references into her set. She also talked about getting remarried, online dating, millennials, her daughters, her nephew, her parents, and living with heart disease. I noticed in her website bio that one of her daughters is autistic. I’m on the spectrum myself, diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome 20 years ago. That could be why I’m so passionate about the music of David Benoit and other artists that I’m into.

After 20 minutes, Sherry’s set was over and it was time for the David Benoit Trio.

David led the trio on piano…:

…with Roberto Vally on bass:

…and Merrick native Dan Schnelle on drums:

Including the encore, the set ran 73 minutes. Here’s what they played:
1. Every Step of the Way
Originally heard on: Every Step of the Way (1988), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

2. Só Danço Samba
Originally heard on: So Nice! (with Marc Antoine) (2017)

3. Sienna Step
Originally heard on: David Benoit and Friends (coming later in 2019)

4. Vernazza
Originally heard on: David Benoit and Friends (coming later in 2019)

5. Kei’s Song
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987), Conversation (2012) (as “Kei’s Song Redux”), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

6. Waiting for Spring
Originally heard on: Waiting for Spring (1989)

7. Dad’s Room
Originally heard on: Professional Dreamer (1999), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

8. If I Were a Bell
Originally heard on: Heroes (2008) (bonus track on Japan release; not worth importing unless you don’t have the U.S. release)

9. Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Originally heard on: Waiting for Spring (1989)

10. Beat Street
Originally heard on: Full Circle (2006)

11. Strange Meadowlark/Blue Rondo a La Turk (Dave Brubeck medley)
Originally heard on: Digits (1983), The Steinway Sessions (2017); Heroes (2008)

12. Freedom at Midnight
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987), Earthglow (2010) (subtitled “The Schroeder Variations”)

13 (Encore). Linus and Lucy
Originally heard on: This Side Up (1985), Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! (1989), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

I can’t wait to hear how “Siena Strut” and “Vernazza” sound on the new album when it comes out, likely by September. I will definitely play something from it on my Homecoming Weekend show in October. In the meantime, I’m falling in love with The Steinway Sessions.

Now, for groups of pictures of each band member, starting with David Benoit:

Roberto Vally:

…and Dan Schnelle:

The end of the encore:

I hung out in the lobby for about 15 minutes, mingling with David, Roberto, and Dan. Dan introduced David to his mother and grandparents. That was when I learned he was originally from Merrick. I perked up, telling them I grew up and live nearby in Wantagh.

Roberto asked me to send him the pictures I took of him, which I did on Saturday, including this one:

Two guys from the South Shore:

Lastly, me and David:

On the subject of his song “Dad’s Room,” I told him how much I enjoyed “Secret Love” on Waiting for Spring, which was a duet with his father Bob on rhythm electric guitar. He appreciated that, picking up on the story he told during the set of how that album was recorded in one day for budgetary reasons.

I had a great watching David, Roberto, and Dan perform. Thanks to all of you. Thanks also to Sherry Davey for relatable jokes and hilarious impressions.

The Rippingtons at My Father’s Place March 23, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
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Thursday night marked four firsts. It was my first time at My Father’s Place at the Roslyn Hotel:

It was the first time I’d seen the Rippingtons perform in nearly eight years. And the first time I saw Brandon Fields play saxophone for the band.

My Father’s Place was the first stop on the Ripps’ latest tour, coinciding with the release of their 23rd album, Open Road. Copies were available in the lobby and I gladly purchased one. This was another case of buying an album at a concert the day before its release. The last time I did that was three years ago when I bought Cohearence at Yellowjackets’ Birdland show. (An earlier version had the wrong album title, Altered State.)

The tour’s second stop was at Blue Note last night. I could have opted for the early show there, but I wanted to try somewhere new. My Father’s Place was in Roslyn, in my home county of Nassau, a short drive west of my alma mater LIU Post. Rippingtons keyboardist Bill Heller lives a little further up NY 25A (Northern Boulevard in Nassau and Queens) in Huntington.

My Father’s Place is nice and spacious. I arrived around 6:15 and was able to get a one-person table facing the right side of the stage. To use a rhyming word, the staff was gracious. Thank you, Billy, Mike, and my server Maggie. I ate two bowls of mac and cheese, or more accurately, cavatappi and cheese. It was delicious. The two bowls were equal to one bowl of Ronzoni ziti rigati that I make at home.

Getting back to Thursday’s performers, I’ve kept in touch over the years with Bill Heller and his wife Dawn on Facebook and Instagram. Dawn loves the photos I post to Instagram and cheers my running progress on Facebook. In the last two months, I’ve routinely run 70+ minutes on the treadmill, sometimes without stopping for breaks. I was looking forward to see Bill and meet him after the set, and I was glad to learn that Dawn would be there, as well. She arrived 45 minutes after I did. As it turns out, I was sitting next to her friends Pete and Sally. Not only were they longtime fans of the Rippingtons, but Pete was Bill and Dawn’s contractor. It was great to share my love of the band, and contemporary jazz, with them. It was equally great to speak with Dawn for a little while at her table. Saxophonist Brandon Fields walked by and I briefly introduced myself after he spoke with Dawn. Rippingtons manager Andi Howard also passed by Dawn’s table, but I didn’t think to say anything until she left.

Before long, it was 8:00, and the fourth first occurred: the first time I saw a comedian open for a band. The comic with that task was Paul Anthony:

Paul’s 15-minute set covered such topics as growing up in the 1970s, Dancing with the Stars, scratch-off lottery tickets, and even The Weather Channel‘s Local on the 8s. The Rippingtons were among the contemporary jazz and new age artists whose song excerpts were heard during the Local Forecasts from the ’80s into the 2000s. (Check out TWC Classics for examples.) So, I was glad Paul worked that into his set.

A short time later came the main attraction: The Rippingtons!

MC32119011a

Through his vocoder, keyboardist Bill Heller welcomed the audience:

Hello, Roslyn. Welcome to My Father’s Place. We are the Rippingtons. Relax, enjoy the open road!

Bandleader Russ Freeman played guitar:

Bill Heller was on his Kurzweil synthesizer:

Brandon Fields on alto saxophone:

…and flute:

Rico Belled on bass:

…and Dave Karasony on drums, as seen during his “Tangerine Skyline” clinic:

“Dave Karasony on drums!”:

Counting the four-song encore!, the Rippingtons’ set ran over an hour and a half. Here’s what they played:
1. Open Road
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)
Bill Heller, vocoder

2. Destiny
Originally heard on: Tourist in Paradise (1989)

3. Follow the Stars
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)

4. Curves Ahead
Originally heard on: Curves Ahead (1991)

5. Morocco
Originally heard on: Kilimanjaro (1988)

6. Lost Highway
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)
Brandon Fields, flute

7. I Watched Her Walk Away
Originally heard on: Welcome to the St. James’ Club (1990)

8. Road Warriors
Originally heard on: Live Across America (2002)

9. Silver Arrows
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)
Brandon Fields, flute

10. Caribbean Breeze
Originally heard on: Life in the Tropics (2000)

11. Carnival!
Originally heard on: Weekend in Monaco (1992)

12. Tangerine Skyline
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)
Dave Karasony, drum solo to backing track

13. Luca
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)

14. Gran Via
Originally heard on: Open Road (2019)

15. Welcome to the St. James’ Club
Originally heard on: Welcome to the St. James’ Club (1990)

16. Body Art
Originally heard on: Modern Art (2009)
Bill Heller, vocoder

17 (Encore 1). Aspen
Originally heard on: Curves Ahead (1991)

18 (Encore 2). Tourist in Paradise
Originally heard on: Tourist in Paradise (1989)

19 (Encore 3). Purple Haze (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Originally heard on: Live Across America (2002)
Rico Belled, vocals

20 (Encore 4). Fire (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Originally heard on: Live Across America (2002)
Rico Belled, Brandon Fields, Bill Heller (vocoder), vocals

Here are pictures from the “last” song of the set: “Body Art”:

Encore song #1: “Aspen”:

Encore song #2: “Tourist in Paradise”:

Encore song #3: “Purple Haze”:

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky!“:

Encore song #4, truly the last song of the set: “Fire”:

Let me stand next to your fire!“:

The set was complete.

I caught up with Bill Heller, my friend of 14 years, in the lobby after the show. He signed my new copy of Open Road and we posed for a picture:

What a show: 15 songs and a four-song encore! That’s how you open a tour! Thanks to Russ, Bill, Brandon, Rico, and Dave for an hour and a half of great music. Best of luck with the rest of the tour. And thanks to Paul Anthony for 15 minutes of laughs.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: 2019 edition January 12, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Blu-ray, Comedy, DVD, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011January 2014January 2015January 2016, January 2018

Thursday night, for the fifth time in six years, I made my way to the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall to see jazz pianist Lisa Hilton perform.

Unlike last year, I didn’t leave the house early so I could eat dinner before arriving at Weill. I went about my typical Thursday routine, including eating a pasta dinner around 5:00. At 5:40, my mom drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station. It’s a good thing I chose to leave at that time because unbeknownst to me, the 5:59 train was moved up to 5:55 starting on Monday:

The other arrival times are unchanged.

It was cold and windy on the platform, so it’s a good thing I wasn’t there long.

The train arrived two minutes late, at least on clocks set to the official U.S. time:

Just like the snowy night I saw the Bob James Trio at the Blue Note, the Rangers and Islanders were playing each other. Then, the game was at Barclays Center, current home of the Islanders. This time, it was at Madison Square Garden. Thus, Rangers and Islanders fans were prevalent on the train. Ordinarily, I would have stayed on all the way to Penn Station, but getting to Carnegie Hall isn’t as direct as Blue Note. I could have taken the 1 train from Penn to 59th Street-Columbus Circle, but I would have to walk a few blocks south and east from there. In the afternoon, I consulted Google Maps to determine what subway line I should take instead of the 1. They suggested I exit at Woodside and take the 7 train to Queensboro Plaza, then transfer to the N or W trains to 57th Street and 7th Avenue. That’s what I did.

I arrived at Woodside at 6:46 and proceeded to the adjacent subway station:

I lost my sense of direction and stood in position for this Flushing-bound train:

I figured out where I was facing when the doors wouldn’t open on my side.

The correct 7 train arrived at 6:52:

12 minutes later, I stood in Queensboro Plaza:

Google Maps suggested the N train on the way and the W train going back. I ended up doing the opposite. The W train arrived before the N, two minutes after I got off the 7:

By 7:15, I was at 57th Street:

I took the southeast corner stairway:

The stairway faces south, so I had to turn north and then east:

It wasn’t long before I reached my destination:

Foolishly choosing the stairs over the elevator, I (somewhat) breathlessly arrived on the fourth floor and stood in the lobby until the hall doors were opened:

The audience was allowed in at 7:30.

After finding my front row not-quite-center seat, I took a few pictures of the stage, knowing I’d have to put the camera away until afterward:

A security guard reminded me there was no photography during the show, and I assured him I was only taking before and after. I know the rules and willingly play by them. (I didn’t tell him that.)

Lisa and her two bandmates walked on stage at 8:04. Yes, for the first time, this was a trio performance. Luques (“lu-KEZ”) Curtis was once again on acoustic bass with Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums. Mark alternated between sticks and brushes depending on the song.

The first nine songs were all from Lisa’s latest album, Oasis, released on December 7. The concept is similar to that of her previous album, Escapism: escaping the craziness of the real world. At the Oasis, you can take your mind off the political turmoil and extreme weather dominating the news. A case of extreme weather is the Woolsey fire in Southern California, which forced Lisa to evacuate her Malibu home. She eventually returned home to no damage, but others weren’t as fortunate.

I’m right-of-center politically, but I can’t stand politics’ insane tribalism. It’s our way or the highway, whether “our” is Republicans or Democrats. And don’t get me started on the politics of personal destruction. One wrong move will destroy your life. I also have a pessimistic view of my party’s chances in elections and I take hyperbole from left-leaning politicians and pundits personally.

Since late September, I have paid little attention to the news. I know what happened on November 6, and that my left-wing friends gloated triumphantly, but that’s mostly it. Some news comes to my attention by overhearing what someone is watching in another room, from newspapers on display at the supermarket if I fail to avert my gaze, or reading Chuck Lorre’s vanity cards at the end of episodes of his sitcoms. I keep my head buried in music, sports (but not sports debate or news magazines), documentaries, cartoons, sitcoms, tech reviews, and video game or console reviews and retrospectives. Ignorance is bliss.

I used to occasionally post political links or videos, such as for Prager University, on Facebook, but I stopped a year ago. Now, I don’t talk politics at all on any of my social media (I seldom did on Twitter since my account is public) or with family and friends, unless we agree. I’m a people-pleaser; I want to be everyone’s friend. I don’t want politics to come between us.

Lisa promised that the songs we were about to hear would be uplifting. There wouldn’t be any songs with titles like “F U Donald,” as John Scofield had with Combo 66 in November.

The set ran about 70 minutes. Here’s what Lisa Hilton’s trio played:
1.
Adventure Lands
This made me think of the times I went to the Adventureland amusement park in Farmingdale when I was growing up.

2. Oasis
Mark Whitfield Jr. provided a swing beat at times. At one point, I followed Luques Curtis’s fingers on the bass.

3. Twists of Fate
Lisa credited Count Basie and Thelonious Monk among her inspirations for this song.

4. Watercolor World

5. Vapors & Shadows (also on Horizons, 2015)
In a quiet moment, Mark lightly clacked the drums. Lisa and I seemed to lock eyes briefly.

6. Lazy Daisy
This brought to mind a hippie daisy floating downstream or lying in an inner tube in a water park lazy river, like the one at Splish Splash in Riverhead. That was another park I frequented growing up, but I haven’t been there in almost 20 years.

7. Just for Fun (also on In the Mood for Jazz, 2003; Nuance, 2010; and Getaway, 2013)
Lisa’s gliding up and down the keys made me laugh.

8. Sunshine States
There was a Latin flavor befitting the two Sunshine States, California (officially the Golden State) and Florida. It was reminiscent of Chick Corea, and the end felt like “Tequila” by The Champs, just as “Hot Summer Samba” did last year.

9. Sunday Morning (also on Midnight in Manhattan, 2006)

10. Waterfall (from Cocktails at Eight, 2000)

11. Meltdown (from Sunny Day Theory, 2008; later on Nuance, 2010; and Escapism, 2017)
This song is a comment on a hectic life, being driven to a meltdown or breakdown. It had a frantic, heavy metal-like pace, and also brought to mind boss music in a video game. There were occasionally staccato Morse Code-like notes.

12 (Encore). Zero Gravity (from Escapism, 2017)
Coincidentally, earlier in the day, I watched the fourth Futurama film, Into the Wild Green Yonder (2009), on Blu-ray. One of the special features involved series executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen talking about their recent Zero G flight. They and their fellow passengers, including Matt’s son Will, experienced periods of weightlessness.

As it turned out, no one else was seated in the front row, not even in the handicap seats. I could have moved, but chose not to.

1/18 UPDATE: Lisa posted a picture from the set (taken by photographer Ryan Nava) to Facebook, her website, and her newsletter last night:

Here’s the Facebook post, which ends with a link to her web post:

1/29 UPDATE: Lisa posted two more of Ryan Nava’s pictures to social media yesterday:

When the house lights went back up in Weill Recital Hall, and the audience began to leave, I said aloud, to no one in particular, that was a great show. Steve, who was seated one row behind me, agreed. I told him it was my fifth time, he said it was his first. We spoke a little more, then went our separate ways. I proceeded to the lobby to meet and greet Lisa and Luques. I didn’t see Mark, though. As I let other audience members talk to them for a while, I shared my enthusiasm with Adam and Vicki. Adam was seated a row or two behind me and told me he noticed that I was taking notes. I let him know it was for the recap you’re reading right now, and shared some of the notes with him. He was nice enough to take a picture of Lisa and me before I left:

I rightly took the elevator back down to the first floor.

By 9:46, I was back in the 57th Street subway station:

My N train for Queensboro Plaza arrived at 9:54:

Ten minutes later, I was among a massive throng of passengers (whom I didn’t photograph out of privacy) waiting to board the 7 train:

It took another ten minutes for that 7 train to arrive, and a couple more minutes before the doors were opened. I barely fit into the cramped car I walked into. There was little relief between stops as few people got off. Flushing was likely the majority destination.

The late arrival of the 7 train at Woodside meant I missed my LIRR train for Wantagh.

The good news is I would only have to wait about 20 minutes for the next Babylon-bound train:

The bad news is it was an express train that only stopped at Woodside, Jamaica, Valley Stream, and Freeport, with no other stops before Babylon. My dad was nice enough to drive 15 minutes out to Freeport to pick me up because I wasn’t about to wait until about 11:15 for a train that would stop at Wantagh.

After waiting upstairs out of the wind for 15 minutes, I proceeded to the track 4 platform and waited for my train:

Brrr! Each gust was tough to endure.

I was relieved to board the warm train at 10:47:

Once again, there were Rangers and Islanders fans aboard. And once again, the Islanders won. This time, 4-3. As a Rangers fan, this has been a tough season. (8:20 PM UPDATE: The game was part of a home-and-home. The Rangers won 2-1 at Barclays Center earlier today.)

The train was scheduled to arrive at Freeport by 11:15. Instead, it was there at 11:23. My railcar was a few blocks from where Dad was. Once inside his car, the drive back to Wantagh took 15 minutes, the same length it took to get to Freeport. Home sweet home.

Thank you to Lisa Hilton, Luques Curtis, and Mark Whitfield Jr. for the fifth great night of music in six years. (I couldn’t make it in 2017.) Thanks, as well, to Steve, Adam, and Vicki from the audience; and of course, to my parents for transportation to and from the train stations.

My experience at Day 1 of 2018 New York Comic Con October 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Audiobooks, Baseball, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Sports, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
3 comments

Previous New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 22014 Day 1, 2017 Day 1

Yesterday marked my fourth time at New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in Midtown West. It was also my second consecutive year at NYCC.

I’d been looking forward to going ever since I bought my badge in June. Grey DeLisle (a.k.a. Grey Griffin), Phil LaMarr, and Richard Horvitz were among the voice actors that would be signing autographs, recording video or audio messages, and taking pictures with fans like me. Like last year, this was my sole reason for attending. None of the panels interested me.

I woke up at 5:30 in the morning. I spent the next three hours watching the American League Wild Card Game on DVR (the Yankees won handily), a couple of episodes of season six of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In on Amazon Prime, working out, and of course, getting ready to leave for the day.

My mother drive me to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station at 8:30 for an 8:47 westbound train. When I went there last Saturday on the way to see Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at The Cutting Room, the elevated track platform was partially closed off while the west half of it was being renovated. Little did I realize that renovation would complete two days later. Finally, after two years, when boarding a Babylon-bound LIRR train at Penn Station, you no longer have to ask if you’re in one of the six cars that lets out at Wantagh. When the east half was being renovated, only the last six cars could exit. When the west half was under renovation, you had to be in one of the first six cars.

I didn’t feel like taking out my DSLR until I got to the Javits Center, so I used my iPhone to take pictures on the platform:

It felt good to sit in the first car again.

The train ride to Penn Station took nearly an hour. Upon exiting, I walked up West 33rd Street to 10th Avenue, then north to West 35th to enter the Javits Center’s south side:

I endured a quick bag search (including emptying my pants pockets and holding up the contents) and tapped my badge in. Unfortunately, I was scolded for not moving beyond the area where the badge was tapped when I replenished my pants pockets. I felt like a fool, but felt better when I got inside and relayed my situation to an empathetic staff member when she asked if I needed help finding something.

Off to the autographing area:

I was third in line to meet Grey DeLisle at Table 1 after waiting about 45 minutes before her scheduled arrival.

As she and Richard Horvitz arrived, they spoke to each other in their respective voices on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Richard was Billy and Grey was Mandy.

Grey was very nice. In my brief time with her, I told her I’d been a fan of hers since Clifford the Big Red Dog and three Butch Hartman cartoons – The Fairly OddParents, Danny Phantom, and T.U.F.F. Puppy. She did the voices of Emily Elizabeth (Clifford) and Vicky (FOP) for me, which led me to respond as Mark Chang, voiced by Rob Paulsen, whom I met last year. Then, we posed:

After we said our goodbyes as Vicky and Mark, I headed to Table 6 for Phil LaMarr:

I let him know how the chronological order in which I’d seen his work: FuturamaFamily Guy, MADtv reruns on Comedy Central, and Butch Hartman’s Bunsen Is a Beast. He was complimentary of Bunsen, and I lamented that it was a shame the show was canceled after only one season.

I concluded at Table 3 with Richard Horvitz:

We didn’t have time to chat, but I’m still glad to have met him. Shortly before our picture, I saw him record a video message for a fan as Zim from Invader Zim. As with his conversation with Grey as Billy and Mandy, it put a smile on my face and made me laugh. I applauded when he was finished.

After that, I headed back to civilization, so to speak…

…and walked the show floor:

I happened to pass by the SYFY Wire stage…

…as Cher Martinetti spoke to the creator/showrunner and cast of the new Netflix series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
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The creator/showrunner is Noelle Stevenson, who was accompanied by Aimee Carrero (Princess Adora/She-Ra), Karen Fukuhara (Glimmer), and Marcus Scribner (Bow).

You can watch the interview here:

I commented on the video:

I walked by the stage during this interview. I was curious about this series after seeing The Power of Grayskull documentary, but now I’m all in. I’ll definitely be watching.

11/20 UPDATE: I have unfortunately fallen off the bandwagon. While I wish nothing but the best for the series, it plays out like a soap opera, and I’m more into episodes with self-contained plots. I don’t know how I would have managed watching the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons when they were new with story arcs lasting several weeks. The “Jet Fuel Formula” arc took 20 weeks, “Upsidasium” lasted 18 weeks, and “Missouri Mish-Mash” played out over 13 weeks. Now, back to the recap…

I pre-ordered Mega Man 11 for PlayStation 4, but have yet to play it.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is on my Xbox One wish list:

Having seen all I wanted to see on the show floor, I headed down to the main entrance:

Then, I left:

It’s a good thing I didn’t wear a jacket because it was warmer than it had been in the morning.

Within 20 minutes, I was back at Penn Station, where I boarded a Babylon-bound train. An hour later, I was back in Wantagh.

I walked about a mile and half home, listening to Marion Ross’s memoir on Audible along the way.

Once I had unpacked my things at home, I took a picture of my badge (blurring out the codes):

It was a nice few hours at New York Comic Con. Thank you to Grey DeLisle, Phil LaMarr, and Richard Horvitz. It was a pleasure meeting you all.

Audiobooking 4.5 September 22, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Film, Music, News, Personal, Theatre, TV.
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After I wrote my previous post, I decided to at least list the audiobooks that didn’t let me down.

Rather than wait until December and recall all I’d listened to in the past year, I made a Microsoft Word document in January, adding to the document after completing each audiobook. Putting aside Carrie Keagan and Joely Fisher, here’s what I chronicled in that document:

  • My Story by Elizabeth Smart with Chris Stewart (read by Elizabeth) – This was an intense book. I felt Elizabeth’s pain during her nine-month abduction. I understood just how sick and deranged Brian David Mitchell was. I cheered at the point when the police found her and apprehended Mitchell and Wanda Barzee.
  • Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life by Steve Martin – Steve recalls his youth and entire stand-up career, which he ceased in 1981. He has occasionally returned to stand-up since, including for a Netflix special with Martin Short.
  • Leonard: My Fifty-Year Relationship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner with David Fisher (read by Bill) – William Shatner details his 50-year relationship with Leonard Nimoy, along with their lives prior to meeting. Shatner briefly detailed Nimoy’s left-wing political activism, but it’s in the past and didn’t sting as much as Carrie Keagan’s contemporary politics in the previous audiobook. It was interesting to listen to. Shatner’s read sounded extemporaneous rather than scripted.
  • Boys in the Trees: A Memoir by Carly Simon – In this memoir that bears the same name as her platinum 1978 album (minus the “A Memoir” part), Carly Simon focuses mostly on the first 40 years of her life. It starts with the dysfunctional upbringing, moves on to touring and recording as The Simon Sisters with her sister Lucy, details her early hits, and chronicles her marriage to James Taylor from its fairy tale beginning to its bitter end.
  • Not Dead Yet: The Memoir by Phil Collins – This is a complete autobiography, from birth to publication in 2016. There was a passing positive reference to Harvey Weinstein, anachronistic considering what’s been reported since this book came out.

If you’d like to know what I’m listening to after this post, ask me.

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: 2018 edition January 14, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
5 comments

Previous Lisa Hilton recaps: June 2011January 2014January 2015, January 2016
Later recap: January 2019

Thursday night marked my first time at Carnegie Hall since I saw comic ventriloquist Jeff Dunham 15 months ago, and my first time seeing jazz pianist Lisa Hilton in two years. (I couldn’t make last year’s show.)

As with all Carnegie shows, I was not allowed to take pictures during the performance. That means I have to compensate by describing what I saw and photographing what happened before and after. That’s not a complaint; just an explanation.

Until my dad drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station at 4:40, it was a typical Thursday for me: grocery shopping, treadmill running, and YouTube and Netflix watching.

As I waited on the platform for the 4:59 Penn Station-bound train to arrive, I took a couple of pictures, the first ones taken on my iPhone X, a generous Christmas gift.

About 50 minutes later, I was at Penn Station, where I walked to the 34th Street subway station and took an uptown E train to 7th Avenue and West 53rd Street.

All but one of the remaining pictures in this post were taken on my Nikon D5500:

When I exited the train, I was greeted by the Ed Sullivan Theater, home to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since September 2015. (David Letterman retired that May.)

I planned on eating dinner at Lindy’s, but was walking up Broadway when I should have been on 7th. So, I missed it.

I turned east at West 56th Street, but couldn’t find a restaurant I liked. I did take pictures along the way.

I turned north up 6th Avenue and then west at West 57th.

I figured I would try the Russian Tea Room:

The staff seated me at a booth, generously moving the table so I could get in. Unfortunately, there was nothing on the menu to my liking. I apologetically relayed that to the waiter and left. I felt embarrassed, but I’m sure you, the reader, feel I shouldn’t have been. At least I can say I’ve been to the Russian Tea Room.

I passed by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, where Lisa Hilton was to perform, and found a restaurant on 7th Avenue called 9Ten:

The atmosphere was great. Contemporary jazz was playing on the speakers through what I assume was Pandora. I recognized “Max-O-Man” by Fourplay, Eric Marienthal’s cover of “Work Song” by Cannonball Adderley (written by his brother Nat), “Slammin'” by Nick Colionne, and “Step On It” by Pieces of a Dream.

As I waited for my food, I took a selfie on my iPhone X:

The food was great: mozzarella sticks, Penne Bolognese, and vanilla and chocolate ice cream.

On my way back to Carnegie Hall, I could see Times Square to the south. The ball was still there, eleven nights after it dropped:

I walked in to the Weill Recital Hall at 7:07. I had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes until the hall doors were opened. I was the first to arrive, but within 15 minutes, the lobby was packed. I briefly heard Lisa Hilton and her band rehearsing.

A few minutes after the doors opened, my ticket was checked and I walked into the hall. As usual, my seat was front row center, though barely right-of-center.

As I waited for Lisa and the band to come out, I took a few pictures:

I should have taken a picture of the audience behind me. The turnout was big at the orchestra level where I was. They were ready for a great performance.

Lisa came on stage at 8:07, followed closely by J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, Luques Curtis on upright bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Most of the songs in the set list were from Lisa’s Escapism album, which she composed music for between April and July, and released on December 1. Thursday night was the first time the music of Escapism was performed live. Weill Recital Hall doesn’t have a sound system, so the instruments relied on the acoustics of the hall for amplification. I couldn’t tell. It sounded great; it always does.

1/17 UPDATE: Lisa posted a few of Justin Bettman’s pictures from the set to her Facebook page:

I’m in the center, to the left of J.D.:

Talking to the audience between songs:

The set was about an hour and contained the following songs:
1.
Hot Summer Samba
2. Meltdown (also on Sunny Day Theory, 2008; and Nuance, 2010)
3. Zero Gravity
4. Too Hot (not a cover of Kool & the Gang)
5. 29 Palms
6. Mojave Moon
7. Waterfall (from Cocktails at Eight, 2000)
8. A Spark in the Night (from Nocturnal and Day & Night, 2016)
9. So This is Love (from My Favorite Things, 2005; Sunny Day Theory, 2008; Nuance, 2010; and Day & Night, 2016)
10 (Encore). Seduction (from Seduction, 1997; Cocktails at Eight, 2000; My Favorite Things, 2005; and The New York Sessions, 2007)

J.D. didn’t play on “Meltdown” or “29 Palms.” He had a solo at the end of “Seduction,” which was otherwise performed as a trio. “Waterfall” was a solo piano piece, considering its origin on Cocktails at Eight, a solo piano album.

“Hot Summer Samba” was reminiscent of “Tequila” by The Champs. “Too Hot” was inspired by a trip to New Zealand in extreme heat. “Zero Gravity” brought to mind astronauts floating aboard a space shuttle. “Waterfall” initially had a Celtic feel, but then tensed up. Two years later, I still think “A Spark in the Night” had a Latin feel. Specifically, it reminded me of drummer John Favicchia‘s “Kukuc,” but at a slower tempo. That might be why “Spark” was my favorite song in the set.

I caught up with Lisa afterward, and then got to meet J.D. Allen and Luques Curtis. We all posed for a picture:

I put my coat and backpack on and left. I impatiently opted for the stairs over the elevator, then briskly walked north and west to the 59th Street-Columbus Circle subway station.

The station is adjacent to the Time Warner Center, home to CNN’s New York bureau:

As you can see, I arrived just as the downtown 1 train arrived. I boarded it and put my camera away for the night.

Thanks to Lisa, J.D., Luques, and Rudy for a great hour of music in the Weill Recital Hall. I hope to be back next year.

Audiobooking 4 December 12, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Country, Film, Game Shows, History, Internet, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Technology, Theatre, TV.
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Here is a list of all the audiobooks I’ve listened to in the 51 weeks since my previous “audiobooking” post:

These audiobooks got me through workouts, bedtime, long walks, and boredom.

In the case of Ron Perlman’s book, I found out after the “Legacy” chapter that Ron is politically active on social media. But I digress.

While I was obsessed with Game Show Network (now GSN) in the early 2000s, I saw plenty of Bill Anderson on Goodson-Todman game shows like Match Game and Password Plus. So, it was nice to be reacquainted with him and introduced to his music.

When you read a book, you don’t hear the tone and inflection that the author had in mind. Listening to Shelly Peiken read Confessions of a Serial Songwriter put what her words I read 16 months earlier into perspective.

Next year’s post will be #5, but will not mark five years of regularly listening to audiobooks. That milestone comes in a year and a half. In the meantime, I hope I’ve inspired you to give the above audiobooks a chance. Happy listening.

Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at Tilles Center December 4, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Baseball, Comedy, Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV.
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Saturday night, my friend Lori Downing and I saw the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of my college alma mater, LIU Post. Saxophonist Dave Koz’s friends are guitarist Peter White, horn player Rick Braun, pianist David Benoit, and singer Selina Albright, daughter of saxophonist Gerald Albright. (She plays the sax, too.) The rest of the band was made up of music director Randy Jacobs on guitar, Brian Simpson on keyboards, Nathaniel Kearney Jr. on bass, and Jay Williams on drums.

There are 149 pictures waiting below, but first, the backstory.

This was my first time at Tilles for something not involving WCWP since July 2009 when I saw John Tesh perform. It was also my first concert since Smooth Jazz for Scholars in May. Rick Braun was there for the first night.

I have been meaning to see Dave in concert for almost 11 years. My dad bought tickets to Dave’s Valentine’s Day show at Best Buy Theater in Manhattan in 2007, but an ice storm kept us from going. Four Februarys later, I had another opportunity to see Dave at the same theater with my friend, and loyal Dave Koz fan, Kelly Dacey. Unfortunately, plans came up for her and I missed out again.

For four years in a row, I saw Peter White Christmas – a spin-off of sorts of Dave’s Christmas tour featuring Peter and Rick Braun, along with saxophonist Mindi Abair – at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington. (Here’s my recap of my fourth year.)

This year, to use a cliche, Dave got the band back together to mark the 20th anniversary of his tour. The inaugural tour coincided with his first Christmas album, December Makes Me Feel This Way. With Peter, Rick, and David Benoit, whom I hadn’t seen perform since five days before Hurricane Sandy, on board, I felt compelled to finally see Dave in concert. When I noticed in early September that the tour was coming to the Tilles Center on December 2, I immediately bought two tickets, inviting my friend Lori Downing to come with me. I picked those tickets up at Tilles’s Will Call booth on October 13, following my WCWP Homecoming Weekend show.

I was anxious in the days leading up to Dave’s show, worried that something would go wrong. Thankfully, nothing did.

Until Lori picked me up around 6:30 PM, it was a typical Saturday for me. I exercised, ran on the treadmill, went grocery shopping with my friend Rob Leeds, and watched NCAA Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) conference championship games.

I guided Lori from my house to LIU Post, going the route I’ve known for 18 years of my life: the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135) north, the Long Island Expressway (I-495) west, NY 106/107 north, breaking off into 107 north, Northern Boulevard (NY 25A) west, and the west entrance to LIU Post. I usually went in the east entrance to be let off at Post Hall (where the Academic Resource Center was) or WCWP, but I directed her to the other one since we were going to Tilles.

We arrived just after 7PM, but had to wait a half hour for the concert hall doors to open.

Our tickets were for row JJ, which I affectionately called the Uecker seats, a reference to an infamous Miller Lite commercial from 1984, starring Hall of Fame baseball player and broadcaster Bob Uecker, a spokesman for Miller beer at the time:

Our seats weren’t that high. The view of the stage was great (and less filling). It still helped to have my 55-300 mm lens for the pictures I was about to take.

The show began at 8:08 when David Benoit, offstage, announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your host for the evening, Dave Koz!”

“New York, make some noise!

Before you see the rest of the pictures, I present the set list:
1. Opening Medley: Winter Wonderland/Happy Holiday/The Most Wonderful Time of the Year/Angels We Have Heard On High/Sleigh Ride
Dave Koz – lead vocals on “Happy Holiday”
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

2. Let It Snow
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

3. Little Drummer Boy
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

4. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, trombone

5. The Christmas Song
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals

6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Peter White, Rick Braun – background vocals
Peter White – spoken verse
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo

7. White Christmas
Can be heard on: December Makes Me Feel This Way (1997)
Dave Koz only
Dave’s saxophone: alto

8. Together Again (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: The Dance (1999)
Dave Koz/David Benoit
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

9. Possible (Selina Albright)
Originally heard on: Conversations (2017)
Selina Albright only

10. Everything is Alright (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Around the Horn (2017)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Dave’s saxophone: tenor
Rick Braun – lead vocals
Randy Jacobs, Nathaniel Kearney Jr., Peter White, Dave Koz – background vocals
Randy Jacobs – electric guitar solo
Brian Simpson – piano, dance solo
Jay Williams – drum solo
Rick prompted the audience to sing the “hey, hey, pretty mama” line.

11. Do I Do/Promenade (Peter White)
Originally heard onGroovin’ (2016)/Promenade (1993)
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Dave’s saxophone: alto

12. The Music of Charlie Brown: Christmas is Coming*/Skating**/Christmas Time is Here***/Linus and Lucy**** (David Benoit)
David performs these songs on:
* – Remembering Christmas (1996), 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas (2005), Believe (2015) (part of “Guaraldi Medley”)
** – Remembering Christmas (1996)
*** – Christmastime (1983); Remembering Christmas (1996), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
**** – This Side Up (1985); Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1989); Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano on “Christmas Time is Here,” tenor on “Linus and Lucy”
Selina Albright – vocals on “Christmas Time is Here,” vocalese on “Linus and Lucy”

INTERMISSION

13. Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

14. Silent Night
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright, end verse vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

15. Feliz Navidad
Can be heard on: 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave Koz, Rick Braun – background vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

16. Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley) (Dave Koz & Friends)
Originally heard on20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave’s saxophone: alto
In a year where Lori and I went to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum, and 50 years since “What a Wonderful World” was recorded, this song warmed our hearts.

17. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Selina Albright – lead vocals
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

18. The Hanukkah Song/Eight Candles (A Song for Hanukkah) (Dave Koz)
“Eight Candles” originally heard onDecember Makes Me Feel This Way (1997), A Smooth Jazz Christmas (2001)
Dave Koz/Peter White/Rick Braun
Dave Koz – lead vocal on “The Hanukkah Song”
Peter White – accordion on “Eight Candles”
Rick Braun – trombone on “Eight Candles”
Dave’s saxophone on “Eight Candles”: soprano

19. Every Step of the Way/Kei’s Song Redux/Freedom at Midnight (David Benoit)
Originally heard onEvery Step of the Way (1988)/Conversation (2012)/Freedom at Midnight (1987)
Dave’s saxophone on “Freedom at Midnight”: tenor

20. Bueno Funk (Peter White)
Originally heard on: Glow, 2001
Peter White/Dave Koz/Rick Braun
Jay Williams – drum solo
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

21. Grazing in the Grass (Rick Braun)
Originally heard on: Shake It Up (with Boney James) (2000); Sessions, Volume 1 (2006)
Rick Braun/Dave Koz/Peter White
Mid-song vocal medley: Groovin’/Just My Imagination/Shotgun/Soulful Strut (instrumental)
Dave’s saxophone: tenor

22. You Make Me Smile (Dave Koz)
Originally heard on: Lucky Man (1993)
Nathaniel Kearney Jr. – bass solo
Rick Braun – trombone
Dave’s saxophone: soprano

23 (Encore). Celebrate Me Home
Part of “The Home Medley” on 20th Anniversary Christmas (2017)
Dave Koz, Selina Albright – lead vocals
Rick Braun, Peter White – background vocals
Everyone, even the audience, joined in on vocals at the end
Dave’s saxophone: alto

Now, the rest of the pictures. We start with Dave Koz on tenor sax:

Soprano sax:

And alto sax:

Peter White:

Peter played accordion on “Eight Candles”:

Rick Braun:

I never knew Rick played trombone until Saturday night:

Marching back and forth during the “Eight Candles” refrain:

David Benoit:

The “Linus and Lucy” solo, complete with Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree:

Selina Albright:

Randy Jacobs:

Brian Simpson:

Nathaniel Kearney Jr.:

Jay Williams’ “Bueno Funk” solo:

On to wide shots, starting with the opening medley:

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:

“Together Again”:

“Everything is Alright”:

…which featured a dance solo by Brian Simpson, accompanied by drummer Jay Williams:

“Promenade”:

“Linus and Lucy”:

“Hark! The Herald Angels We Have Heard On High (Medley)”:

“Silent Night”:

“Feliz Navidad”:

“Joy to the Wonderful World (Medley)”:

“Eight Candles”:

“Freedom at Midnight”:

“Bueno Funk” began in the audience:

The James Bond routine:

After Selina put the sunglasses on, Peter played a wolf whistle riff, which made me chuckle.

“Grazing in the Grass”:

“You Make Me Smile”:

Finally, the encore: “Celebrate Me Home”:

Dave had everyone pose for a picture – albeit, a small one – posted to Facebook and Instagram:

Here’s how it looked:

“… God bless you, Happy Holidays, good night!”:

About an hour after the band left the stage, there was a meet and greet in the Tilles Center’s Herbert and Dolores Goldsmith Atrium, which has hosted the annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony since the first class was inducted in 2012. Coincidentally, I was wearing the same shirt that I wore at this year’s ceremony. Rick was the first musician Lori and I met and greeted while we were in line for Dave, Peter, and Selina:

Then, at the table, I caught up with Peter, and introduced myself to Selina and Dave. I told Dave that Kelly Dacey said hello. He appreciated that and asked what she’s up to these days. I told him. 15 minutes later, after the autograph portion of the meet-and-greet was over, I posed for a picture:

As we were posing, Dave said it was great to meet him. Through my posed smile, I said “likewise.” Selina got a kick out of that, which led me to quip “I’m a regular Jeff Dunham.”

Then, Lori joined us:

I told Dave about how we’d been to the Louis Armstrong House and Museum earlier this year and how special it was to hear “What a Wonderful World” following the trip.

After that, Lori and I packed our things and left the building, but not the campus. First, I wanted to show Lori around WCWP; or at least, since the door was locked, the exterior of the Abrams Communication Center that’s been home to it since its switch to FM in March 1965. (It began as a carrier current station in October 1961.) She was fascinated.

The clock struck midnight as Lori and I drove back to our homes. It had been a fantastic five hours on the campus of LIU Post and its Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. I had a blast! It was great to meet Dave and Selina for the first time and see Peter and Rick again. I spoke to David on Facebook on Sunday, letting him known how things went for me, complimenting him and the band, and wishing them all luck on the rest of the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour.

Merry Christmas to all that observe it and Happy Hanukkah to me, Dave, and our Jewish friends and family.

P.S. As I finish this post, I’m at the end of my 302-song iTunes instrumental Christmas music playlist, which I started listening to on November 9. Okay, let’s take it from the top!

My experience at Day 1 of 2017 New York Comic Con October 6, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Art, Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, Photography, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Previous New York Comic Con recaps: 2012 Day 2, 2014 Day 1
Later New York Comic Con recap: 2018 Day 1

Yesterday, I was at the first day of the 2017 New York Comic Con, held annually at the Javits Center in the Midtown West section of Manhattan. It was my third trip to NYCC.

I almost didn’t go this year. When I planned on buying a badge (ticket) in June, I learned that fan verification was required. Unfortunately, fan verification was closed. Luckily, last month, I learned on the website that verification was open again. So, I immediately got verified and bought a badge for Day 1.

I woke up at 6:20 yesterday morning. I looked out my window and saw a picturesque sky. I took a couple of shots of it, without and with flash:

After that, I put my camera in my backpack, where it stayed for a few hours.

In between, my mother drove me to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station at 8:40. Nine minutes later, I was on a train bound for Penn Station.

50 minutes later, I exited Penn and walked to the Javits Center. Those that had a badge, including me, were directed to the green entrance via West 39th Street, five blocks north of where I’d been walking.

I made my way down to Level 1 to meet five voice actors and get professional photo ops with four of them.

First up was Tara Strong:

As you can see, I wore my Northern Trust golf tournament shirt. I got it back on August 27, after walking Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury to see the final round.

After Tara, it was on to Rob Paulsen:

Rob is a throat cancer survivor (knock on wood), having battled it last year.

Tress MacNeille:

Jim Cummings:

And finally, Jess Harnell:

When I noticed Jess had his sunglasses on, I put my glasses on:

In all, I spent about four hours in five lines. It was a thrill to meet and chat with them all. I won’t get into the details of our brief conversations, but they were all very nice. Jess even gave me a hug.

I also enjoyed chatting with fellow fans – like Kelly, Sierra, Dave, and a few others whose names I didn’t get – while waiting in line. There was even a woman ahead of me on the Jess Harnell line who was not only dressed as one of his characters – Cedric from Sofia the First – but her name is Jess Warner! Her first name was the same as his, and her last name was the same as his Animaniacs character Wakko Warner. More on that below.

Afterward, I headed to the Epic Photo Ops area for a pair of professional photo ops. Since I had just met the actors at their autograph tables, there was a familiarity in the booth. It was like visiting old friends.

Jim Cummings suggested we “look intrepid”:

I love the outcome.

The second photo op was with Rob, Tress, and Jess, the stars of Animaniacs:

They were the Warner siblings: Yakko, voiced by Rob, Wakko, by Jess (as I noticed before), and Dot, by Tress.

All that remained was to walk the show floor on Level 3. But first, a few shots taken in the lobby on Level 2 after entering around 10:15:

The show floor:

I mostly focused on the video game developers section, as you’ll see below.

The next six pictures were taken in the morning:

I took this in the afternoon:

It was a fun day, but I was ready to head home. I left satisfied.

I walked south on 11th Avenue until I reached West 34th Street, where I alternated between walking and running, hoping to make the 4:12 train back to Wantagh. I did, with time to spare.

Thank you to Tara Strong, Jim Cummings, Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell. As I said, it was a pleasure to meet and chat with you all.

I’ll conclude this post with a picture of my program and badge:

10:25 PM UPDATE: While searching in vain on YouTube for video of the I Know That Voice: The Series panel that took place at 5:30, shortly after I got home, I found this interview of Jim Cummings:

10/7 UPDATE: The only video I could find of the aforementioned panel was this:

The video stops before the Q&A portion.

Seven weeks of Netflix April 29, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Comedy, Film, Internet, Music, Personal, Technology, TV, Video.
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In a post last month, I noted that I ran out of things to watch on Netflix and, in addition to playing video games, began watching YouTube channels instead. Less than a day after I wrote that post, I discovered things to watch on Netflix again. I started with a few movie classics that I had never seen. First up was Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles. That was followed by a pair of Rob Reiner films: This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride, both of which featured Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal. From there, I moved on to a few music documentaries:

I went back to YouTube for a couple of days, but then I took a big step. Actually, a giant leap is more like it. I decided to watch all 278* episodes of Cheers, followed by all 264* episodes of Frasier, its spin-off. “Let the journey begin,” I told myself on the afternoon of March 12 as I loaded the pilot episode of Cheers. What followed was textbook binge-watching. It took only 20 days to watch all 11 seasons of Cheers. It took 17 days to watch every season of Frasier, which also ran 11 seasons. The last day I watched Cheers and the first day I watched Frasier overlapped, making for a combined 36 days of 542* episodes. The journey was worth it.

* – Multi-part episodes are split up.

With the two long-running series out of the way, I spent the next two days watching four stand-up specials: two by Dave Chappelle, one by Jo Koy, and one cinematic release by Kevin Hart. After that, there were four documentaries:

After a few days of DVDs and Blu-rays, I returned to Netflix to watch the third season of Dawn of the Croods, one of many Dreamworks animated series made for Netflix. Unfortunately, the season ended on a cliffhanger. Yes, Cheers and Frasier had cliffhangers, but seasons weren’t released to Netflix months apart. Within seconds of watching a cliffhanger finale, you could move on to the next season’s premiere.

All that remained for me to watch were two movies: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, which I watched a few times on VHS when I was 12, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which I don’t recall every seeing.

Now, the well has run dry again, but I expect there to be a handful of movies and documentaries to watch in May. Until then, back to YouTube.