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A day at two museums and one park July 21, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Education, Film, History, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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One day last July, my friend Lori Downing and I toured the Fire Island Lighthouse. On Wednesday, our destination was Corona, Queens, to tour a pair of museums. Our first stop was the Louis Armstrong House Museum on 107th Street, followed by the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. In between, we walked through the park to see two relics from the 1964 New York World’s Fair: the abandoned New York State Pavilion, and the Unisphere. That part of this post includes home movies my grandfather shot at the fair, as well as recollections from my aunt Randy and Hank Neimark.

It took an hour and a half to get to our first stop due to heavy traffic on the Long Island Expressway (I-495) and Grand Central Parkway, and limited parking spots near the house. We parked a block away on 108th Street.

It would be 20 minutes until the next tour, so we walked through the garden…

…and looked at the pre-tour exhibits:

Photography was not allowed during the tour, but was allowed everywhere else.

I’m familiar with “What a Wonderful World,” but not enough to know it was recorded in 1967. That means this year marks its 50th anniversary:

The gift shop at the entrance:

The tour began just after noon. Our guide was Elaine, a museum docent that lives only 12 blocks away. She brought us back to the exhibit room for a short introductory DVD. It was then that I learned his name is pronounced phonetically, as in “Lewis,” not “Louie.” After the DVD, Elaine guided us to the house.

Everything in the house is nearly as it was when Louis’s wife Lucille died in 1983, 12 years after his passing. Even the doorbell, which Elaine rang before we walked in, was original.

After walking in, Elaine guided us to the living room, which included portraits of Louis and Lucille, lavish furnishings, and a Spinet piano (which he didn’t play).

Louis and I have something in common: home speech recordings. His medium was reel-to-reel tape; my media were cassette and microcassette. When I was younger, I would record myself, either talking about what I’d been up to recently, interviewing family members, or co-hosting a “radio show” with my cousin Chris. That last one was also recorded on video. While we were in the den, Elaine played a few examples of Louis’s speech recordings. As we learned later in the tour, he also recorded singing and trumpet improvisation from home.

The next stop was the downstairs bathroom with bathtub. The wall and ceiling were all mirrors. After that, it was on to the dining room, which led into the kitchen. Floral wallpaper adorned the walls and part of the ceiling. The cabinets and dishwasher were blue while the counter, sink, and dual oven (with six gas burners) was white. A can opener was built into the wall along with a compartment with paper towels, foil, and plastic wrap. Adjacent to the kitchen was a smaller dining room, which served as Louis and Lucille’s bedroom while Lucille’s mother lived with them and stayed in their bedroom.

The tour headed upstairs where the aforementioned bedroom and recording room were located. The bedroom had a double-size bed with drawers on either side, paintings of scenery hanging on the walls, Mylar wallpaper, a lamp, and a chandelier. The Mylar wallpaper carried into the spacious bathroom and closet. The recording room had reel-to-reel tape decks, amps, a record player, radio, shelves of records and tapes, a desk, and a portrait of Louis painted by his friend Tony Bennett. Bennett signed it with his real surname: Benedetto. Actually, the tapes and records are housed at Queens College, but will move to the Education Center that is going to be constructed across the street from Louis’s house.

That concluded the tour. I didn’t list everything that Lori and I saw and were told by Elaine, but I feel I’ve shared enough. I highly recommend taking the tour. Plan your visit here.

When we got back outside, Elaine suggested we pose with Louis’s cutout. She said it was necessary to gesture as he did:

Lori suggested taking one with Elaine:

In the gift shop, I bought a sticker, pin, picture postcards, and a DVD of an American Masters documentary from 1989: Satchmo: The Life of Louis Armstrong. Some of the interviews were filmed in the living room.

Before we left, I signed the guest book:

Lori and I walked back to her car and we drove to the Queens Museum at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

As I noted at the top, we walked through the park first. On our way to the Unisphere, I got a great view of the New York State Pavilion:

The Unisphere:

Lori walked toward the fountains, but I stayed behind; I didn’t want to get wet:

A different angle:

A closer look at the New York State Pavilion:

I even caught a quick glimpse inside the pavilion right before the gates were closed:

They were open because New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio toured the interior earlier in the afternoon.

Lori was fortunate enough to attend the 1964 New York World’s Fair, as did my grandparents, parents, and my parents’ siblings. My maternal grandfather, Arthur Rose, brought his movie camera to the fair and captured what he saw. The film, along with all of his home movies, was transferred to VHS 30 years ago. Six years ago, I transferred the VHS tapes to an external hard drive and then to DVDs.

Here is what my grandfather captured:

I also posted the film to Facebook, which garnered nothing but positive feedback and memories. My aunt Randy Stephen (née Rose), who was in the film, had this to say:

That was really wonderful, Mike (although I can just imagine how many times grandma must have yelled at grandpa for his camera work 😝)! I do remember going to the World’s Fair a few times, although I was only 6 or 7 at the time. The kid going crazy in the beginning must have been Bruce Goldberger, since I saw his mom, Ann, in the movie, as well. They were our neighbors in [the] Colony Park [section of Freeport].

Hank Neimark – a fellow alumnus of LIU Post and its radio station, WCWP – was there, too:

Michael Kosmin (Charter WCWP-FM guy) and I, claiming that we were doing radio reports on the ’64 World’s Fair, managed to get rides on the Goodyear Blimp. We contacted Goodyear PR, got permission over the phone, and with Nagra in hand headed out to the now abandoned Flushing airport. Of course we weren’t on the air yet, butcha know…. What a thrill. Over Manhattan, over the bridges, and over the Fair. We hitched on to the blimp twice.

Thank you to Hank and Aunt Randy for your stories.

Before heading into the Queens Museum, I heard a plane flying overhead – likely approaching nearby LaGuardia Airport – and quickly photographed it:

Founded in 1972, the Queens Museum is housed in the New York City Building, a pavilion built for the 1939 New York World’s Fair and used again for the 1964 fair. In between the fairs, it was the home of the United Nations General Assembly for the U.N.’s first few years of existence. (Sources: Building History | Queens Museum, Queens Museum Wikipedia entry)

Lori and I looked at a few exhibits in the museum, starting with another relic of the 1964 World’s Fair: the Panorama of the City of New York:

I had to sharpen the pictures below since they came out blurry.

I didn’t have to sharpen these:

World’s Fair Visible Storage:

This houses memorabilia from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs.

Nine: 2017 Queens Museum Studio Program Exhibition:

Our second museum trip concluded with the Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass:

After I bought a book of World’s Fair postcards in the gift shop, Lori and I returned to the car and she drove me home. There was heavy traffic going back, too, so it took another hour and a half to get home. The traffic gave us plenty of time to talk and listen to the jazz CDs I brought with me.

I had a wonderful time at the museums and in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Thanks again, Lori. Until next year.

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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.

Audiobooking 3 December 23, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Comedy, Film, History, Internet, Media, News, Personal, Pets, Politics, Radio, Sports, Technology, Theatre, TV, Video.
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Here is a list of the audiobooks I’ve listened to on Audible in the 13 months since my previous “audiobooking” post:

* – Left-wing viewpoint occasionally expressed

As I noted in my previous post, these books get me through workouts, bedtime, and boredom, but mostly the first two. As long as there are audiobooks read by my favorite public figures, I will continue to listen on Audible and chronicle those books on this site. Until next time…

Audiobooking 2: Listen Up! November 12, 2015

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Basketball, Blu-ray, Christmas, Comedy, Commentary, DVD, Film, News, Personal, Politics, Sports, TV, Video.
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Early last December, I listed all the audiobooks I had listened to while working out between June and the day I wrote the post. I said “there [would] be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead.” This follow-up post will list those books, all of which I listened to on Audible.

Since my misadventure with Dick Cavett’s left-leaning book collection of New York Times blog posts, I’ve only listened to apolitical or right-leaning audiobooks.

From last December to now, here is what has guided me through workouts, bedtime, and boredom:

I have many more audiobooks I plan on listening to between now and the next post, whenever that will come. Just today, I started Mort Kondracke and Fred Barnes’ book on Jack Kemp. It’s called Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America. After that, I’ll move on to the another Rush Revere book: Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner. Then, a series of autobiographies should keep me occupied through the summer. Until next time…

2014 in review December 31, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Audio, Commentary, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio.
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The following is an excerpt of an end-of-year post WordPress created for MikeChimeri.com. Scroll down for my editorial.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,500 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Despite seven more posts than last year, 2014 was more for reflecting than recapping. Only six posts recapped jazz concerts, two recapped WCWP events, and one was a recap of my day at New York Comic Con. A lot of work went into those posts, however. You can find them in the archives (screen left) for January, February, April, June, and October.

As for reflection, I reflected one year with an iPhone, one year of running with the help of the Nike Running app, ten years since my college commencement, and twenty since the infamous O.J. Simpson car chase. You can find those posts in the archives for May and June.

I always hope the best when a new year approaches and this time is no different. I hope you, the reader, I, the writer, and everyone we know have a happy, healthy, and gainful 2015.

Audiobooking December 2, 2014

Posted by Mike C. in Audio, Audiobooks, Baseball, Basketball, Broadway, Comedy, Commentary, Film, Health, Media, News, Personal, Politics, Radio, Sports, Theatre, TV.
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While I may have indefinitely suspended photo album picture scanning, one constant since June has been audiobooks. What I’ve usually done is listen to a whole chapter while working out in the morning or on my portable elliptical machine in the afternoon. I only buy nonfiction and prefer that they are read by the author. I want to hear their words in their voice, not someone else’s, even if the author’s delivery is subpar.

This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to audiobooks. That goes back to a road trip with my parents and sister in January 1997, as we drove back from Florida. To show you how long ago that was, the audiobook was on cassettes. That book, The Hobbit, was the only time I’ve listened to fiction. It’s been all nonfiction since.

Between December 1997 – when I listened to The Big Show: A Tribute to ESPN’s SportsCenter – and June 2014, I would get an audiobook here and there, but I wasn’t a regular buyer. I didn’t exercise in the morning, either. That began in late March. It’s always best to get tough tasks out of the way early because your willpower drops as the day progresses. It helps to have something interesting to listen to while you’re working out, not something aggravating like politics and sports debate and discussion.

With all that in mind, I’ve listened to the following audiobooks, on CD or through Audible, since June:

  • President Me: The America That’s In My Head by Adam Carolla (via CD) – an outline of all the things Adam would do to improve the United States if he were president
  • Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie (via Audible) – improvised stories based on the first and last lines of select novels and poems
  • I’ll Be Back Right After This: My Memoir by Pat O’Brien (via Audible) – Pat’s memoir chronicled his early life, television career, and struggle with addiction. Knock on wood, Pat has been sober for six years and counting.
  • Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard (via CD) – This is the latest in Bill and Martin’s “Killing” series that factually recounts the events of historical figures leading up to their tragic deaths. Their previous books focused on Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus of Nazareth, respectively.
  • Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys? by Billy Crystal (via Audible) – Billy’s memoir ran the gamut of emotions, from funny to heartbreaking, recalling major events in each decade of his life as of publication last year. I learned things I never knew and recalled fond memories of what I already knew. The only downside to the book is that Billy peppered his liberal ideology throughout it, outlining his liberal points of view and maligning right-leaning personalities and media. I’m not a lockstep conservative, but I do tend to take criticism of or jokes about people, places, and things that I like personally. But I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience.
  • Shatner Rules: Your Guide to Understanding the Shatnerverse and the World at Large by William Shatner with Chris Regan (via CD) – When I was searching for the next audiobook to listen to, as Still Foolin’ ‘Em was winding down, I recalled William Shatner had a memoir out called Up Till Now: The Autobiography. But then I noticed that Shatner Rules had come out later than Up Till Now. So, I opted for Shatner Rules instead. The big message I took from the book was to say “yes” to as many things as possible. “‘No’ closes doors,” William said. “‘Yes’ kicks them wide open.” Shatner briefly drifted into politics, too, but the environmental kind. His doomsday scenarios were frightening. I didn’t let that completely ruin the listening experience. (ding) Rule: I highly recommend Shatner Rules as either the written book or spoken audiobook.
  • Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks by Dick Cavett (via Audible) – It was here that I did let politics completely ruin the listening experience. This is not a memoir. It is a compilation of Dick’s columns at The New York Times’ Opiniator blog. That structure is similar to that for Things That Matter, a compilation of Charles Krauthammer’s columns over his 30-year career to date. Charles is Dick’s polar opposite. But I didn’t know any of that until my second day of listening. And it was this rant of a column that Dick read for Brief Encounters – combined with frustration that the book was not what I expected – that led me to request a refund from Audible. Thankfully, they granted it. I did learn a few things, though, about Dick’s days writing for The Tonight Show. I also learned that Arthur Godfrey preferred to address only one member of the listening or viewing audience (“you”), not the entire audience (“everybody”).
  • Scribe: My Life in Sports by Bob Ryan (via Audible) – I bought this in place of Brief Encounters. I’ve been listening for nearly a week and I’m enjoying it.

There will be more audiobooks to come in the weeks ahead as I continue to try to keep myself in shape.

2013 in review December 31, 2013

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Audio, Commentary, Film, Health, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, New Age, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, Weather.
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The following is an excerpt of an end-of-year post WordPress created for MikeChimeri.com.  Scroll down for my editorial.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 was the first full year for the WordPress version of MikeChimeri.com.  April was a transformative month that saw my upgrade from a Nikon D3100 camera to a D5100, and finally join iPhone nation.  I upgraded from an LG enV3 to an Apple iPhone 5.  (I ended up giving my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 to someone very special.)  A week after those two upgrades, I documented the 2013 WCWP Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  A week after that, I was in Milford, Connecticut, for the first two-night Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert seriesApril also marked five years since The Mike Chimeri Blog was launched; MikeChimeri.com launched in May 2005, seven years before merging with the blog.

In addition to some new contemporary jazz releases, I broadened my musical horizons by adding Return to Forever, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, and various Christmas compilations to my collection.  I posted more expressway and parkway pictures.  I spent most of the summer scanning old 35mm pictures and recording cassettes and microcassettes to one of my hard drives.  I returned to LIU Post and WCWP in October for my annual Homecoming Weekend Show and Homecoming itself.  I attended Charlie Fillizola’s art exhibit at Wantagh Public Library.  And besides SJFS, I attended concerts in August, October, and November.

I didn’t mention this in any post, but there was one dark spot in 2013: the loss of my paternal grandmother, Marilyn “Mazz” Chimeri (née Garing), in early July.  She was the last of my grandparents remaining after I lost my maternal grandparents, Lennie and Arthur Rose, in June and November 2010, and my paternal grandfather, Carmen Chimeri, in December 2011.  I miss them dearly, but feel lucky to have known them for as long as I did.  I love you all.

I hope for the best in 2014, not only for myself, but for each and every one of you visiting this site.  Have a happy and healthy new year.

My experience at Day 2 of 2012 New York Comic Con October 15, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Animation, Books, Comedy, Film, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Technology, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Later New York Comic Con recaps: 2014 Day 1, 2017 Day 1

Friday marked my first time at the annual New York Comic Con, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on 11th Avenue on Manhattan’s West Side.  The Javits Center stretches from West 34th to 40th Streets, but the main entrance is at West 37th.

My day at the event was scheduled around the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles panel, which was to be held at 6:45 PM.  Bored at home, I left the house just after 1:00, 90 minutes earlier than I planned.  I walked to the Wantagh LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) station (a 20-minute walk), bought a round trip off peak ticket in a ground-level vending machine, and waited on the platform for the train to arrive.  I saw one person in costume, which meant I wouldn’t be the only one bound for NYCC on the train.  With the air temperature in the low 50s and a stiff breeze, I was dressed for winter: a winter coat and a long sleeve shirt, but no costume.  As the joke goes, I went as myself.

After an hour-long train ride to Penn Station, I walked up to the street and had two slices of pizza at Famous Famiglia on 8th Avenue, one of many locations in New York alone.  It was an appropriate lunch on the day of the TMNT panel.

After passing the Houndstooth Pub at the corner of 8th and West 37th Street, the site of many contemporary jazz shows I’ve attended, I crossed west and then north to walk on the north side of West 37th.  There were groups of people ahead of me also heading to Javits.  Part of the walk featured an overpass above Dyer Avenue, which leads into the Lincoln Tunnel.  Once at the Javits Center, I walked in the green entrance.

Friday was the second day of four of the Con.  A sold-out crowd packed the Javits Center, making the indoor temperature feel like close to 80.  If only I had chosen a spring jacket and short sleeve shirt.

According to my camera, I took the first picture in this post at 3:18 PM, within 40 minutes of arriving at Penn Station.  Let’s see those pics, shall we?

I expected to see press conducting interviews, like Bill Schulz and Jesse Watters did last year, but I only saw crews passing by with their equipment off (seen here after I left the Show Floor):

Taking the escalator to the Show Floor:

Leaving the Show Floor:

The next few pics are LEGO displays built by LUGs (LEGO Users Groups) in New York and Connecticut:

Quidditch:

I put the camera down for the next hour and a half to take in the sights and sounds, and grab an early dinner at the food court.

By the time I got to the conference room where the TMNT panel was, there was a line.  I took this pic of the schedule board while waiting on that line, which went on to extend well past me:

As the wait continued, Peter Hastings, one of TMNT’s executive producers, walked by taking pictures of the line.  I recognized him from a Talkin’ Toons with Rob Paulsen podcast back in May.  As he passed near me, I asked him, “Are you Peter Hastings?”  He said yes, then wondered as he shook my hand how I knew who he was.  I told him it was from his body of work, and I cited Pinky and the Brain and TMNT; all I could think of offhand.  I couldn’t tell if he was scared, shocked, or flattered that I knew of him.  It reminded me of when I was at the will call booth at the old IMAC in Huntington before a Rippingtons concert in 2006.  (You can see my pics with Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Reid here.)  Musician Tom Huber was in line ahead of me and I recognized his name when he told it to the ticket taker.  I told him I knew of him through his background vocals on two tracks from Steve Briody‘s (“BRY-dee”) “Keep On Talkin'” album.  Tom’s response was, “Are you kidding?”  In Peter’s case, he assured me the next day on Facebook that he was flattered.  I thanked him for that.

NYCC staff opened the doors to the conference room just after 6:20.  I managed to get an aisle a few rows in (behind a few reserved rows).

(After the above pic, I switched from my Nikon D3100 to a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 because I don’t yet have a long lens for the Nikon.  I switched back after the panel.)

The panel began at 6:47 with the TMNT title sequence projected on screens and through theater-style speakers.  The crowd erupted in cheers as Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello approached the dais.

Donnie, Raph, Mikey, Leo:

The panel was moderated by Ray Rahman, a writer for Entertainment Weekly and “somehow, the senior Ninja Turtles correspondent, which is a title I take as seriously as you guys do”:

Here is Ray’s pre-panel write up.

The panel consisted of executive producers Ciro Nieli…

and the aforementioned Peter Hastings:

The rest of the panel was four cast members: the voices of three of the four turtles and their sensei.

Sean Astin as Raphael:

The aforementioned Rob Paulsen as Donatello:

Rob was also Raphael in the original TMNT series that premiered 25 years ago.  (Talkin’ Toons podcast live: original cast reunion)

(IGN’s interview with Rob)

Greg Cipes as Michelangelo:

…and Hoon Lee as Splinter:

Rob acknowledged that TMNT voice director Andrea (“ahn-DRAY-uh”) Romano was in the audience.  She stood up and waved to everyone:

(That was the best image I could get.  Sorry about the poor quality.)

Greg, Rob, and Sean reenacted a fight scene from the show while watching the scene on screen:

What they were reenacting:

Greg and Sean looked at the screen to their left (above) while Rob looked straight ahead at the reverse side of a second screen.

It ended with Donnie screaming in shock!:

What the scream looked like animated:

Ciro, Greg, and Rob watching the sneak previews:

As quickly as the panel began, it was over.

An hour flies when you’re having fun.

As the crowd left, a music video set to “Gangnam Style” by Psy played on the screens.

Meanwhile, Greg stuck around to greet fans and sign autographs:

Some of my pictures from the panel were vidcaps (or screencaps), pictures captured from my computer screen while playing video, which I then edited in Photoshop (cropping, adjusting color).  My camerawork was iffy because I used a mini tripod and tended to shake.  Neil Vitale did a much better job than me.  Here’s his video:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles airs Saturday mornings at 11:00 Eastern on Nickelodeon.

About ten minutes after the leaving the conference room…

…I was out of the Javits Center.

Fifteen minutes later, I made it back to Penn Station’s LIRR terminal.  On the train ride back, I sat next to two people that also attended NYCC.  One of them came with a group of anime fans and she was dressed as a character.  But I don’t remember which one.

I arrived home at 9:45.  It was quite an 8 1/2 hour adventure, one that I won’t soon forget.

We leave you with a picture of the lanyard I wore and badge that it carried:

10/16 UPDATE: Meredith Blake of the Los Angeles Times wrote on Friday about how New York Comic Con is catching up with the bigger Comic-Con (note the hyphen) International in San Diego.

10/19 UPDATE: Andy Levy of Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld was on the Show Floor last Friday when I wasn’t.  Click here to see his report.

SJFS 2012 recap May 7, 2012

Posted by Mike C. in Film, Internet, Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Video.
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Other SJFS recaps: 2008, 2008 meet-and-greet, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013 Night 1, 2013 Night 2, 2014 Night 1, 2014 Night 2, 2015 Night 1, 2016 Night 1, 2016 Night 2, 2017 Night 1, 2017 Night 2

Jay Rowe‘s tenth annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars began with:
1.
Hit the Bricks
Featured musicians: Foran High School Jazz Band

Jay came out at the end of the song.  Hidden from view was Dave Anderson on bass, seen here one song later:

Rounding out Jay’s band was his Special EFX bandmate Lionel Cordew on drums:

And Steve Scales (left) on percussion:

It was an overcast evening outside the Parsons Complex Auditorium in Milford, Connecticut.  But inside, the sun was shining.  This year’s show featured guitarists Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence, Nick Colionne, and Chieli Minucci; and saxophonists Paul “Shilts” Weimar, Paul Taylor, and Nelson Rangell.

After we “Hit the Bricks,” Kevin McCabe and keyboardist Jay Rowe introduced the rest of the show:

Then back to the music:
2.
Rosemary’s Tune (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: “Live at Daniel Street,” 2011
Featured musician: Rohn Lawrence (guitar)

Video:

3. Lambeth Strut (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “Going Underground,” 2010
Featured musicians: Shilts (tenor saxophone), Nick Colionne (guitar)

4. Seeing Things Clearly (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “Going Underground,” 2010
Featured musician: Shilts

At the 2010 SJFS, someone in the audience requested “Rainy Night in Georgia” for Nick Colionne.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t on the set list that night, but on this night, the audience got their wish:
5.
Rainy Night in Georgia (Nick Colionne; Brook Benton cover)
Originally heard on: “It’s My Turn,” 1994; “Keepin’ It Cool,” 2006
Featured musician: Nick Colionne (vocals/guitar)

6. Pleasure Seeker (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: “Pleasure Seeker,” 1997
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor (soprano sax), Chieli Minucci (guitar)

7. Uptown East (Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Slice of Life,” 1986
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci, Paul Taylor

8. Exotica (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: “On the Horn,” 1995
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor, Chieli Minucci

9. Mystical (Chieli Minucci & Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Sweet Surrender,” 2007
Featured musicians: Chieli Minucci, Shilts, Nelson Rangell (alto sax)

10. Good Evans (Shilts)
Originally heard on: “HeadBoppin,” 2006
Featured musician: Shilts

“Good Evans” began with solo piano from Jay:

With a little help from Steve Scales:

Then, Shilts and the rest of the band joined in:

11. Free as the Wind (Nelson Rangell; The Crusaders cover)
Originally heard on: “Soul to Souls,” 2006
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell

Nelson originally performed this song on tenor sax, but he went with soprano here:

Jay had a wild piano solo:

Nelson also had a very involved solo:

Video:

12. The Warmth of the Sun (Jay Rowe; The Beach Boys cover)
Originally heard on: “Jay Walking,” 1997
Featured musicians: Foran High School Select Ensemble Chorus (Director: Theresa Voss), Nelson Rangell, Rohn Lawrence

In a move many didn’t see coming, at least not me…

Marion Meadows made a surprise appearance!

13. Suede (Marion Meadows)
Originally heard on: “Player’s Club,” 2004
Featured musicians: Marion Meadows, Rohn Lawrence


14. Funky Broadway (Wilson Pickett cover)
Featured musicians: Rohn Lawrence (vocals/guitar), Paul Taylor (alto sax), Shilts, Nelson Rangell

Paul switched to alto sax for the rest of the show:


15. The Night is Ours (Chieli Minucci & Special EFX)
Originally heard on: “Without You,” 2010
Featured musician: Chieli Minucci

Another Jay solo:

And one from Chieli:

Nelson Rangell introduced the next song this way:

This next tune that we’re gonna do for you is something that I wrote.  And the title is not for the new movie that’s out, but it’ll do.  This is called “A New Avenger.”

16. A New Avenger (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: “Soul to Souls,” 2006
Featured musician: Nelson Rangell

“A New Avenger” featured solos by Lionel Cordew, Steve Scales, and Dave Anderson.

Lionel went first:

Steve was next:

And then, it was Dave’s turn:

Getting back to Nelson:

(NOTE: Pictures from the next two songs, and some from the finale, are screencaps, which I cropped, sharpened, and magnified in Adobe Photoshop 7.0.)

17. Sonora (Nelson Rangell; Hampton Hawes cover)
Originally heard on: “Destiny,” 1995 (alto sax); “My American Songbook, Vol. 1,” 2005 (whistling and piccolo)
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell, Chieli Minucci

It wouldn’t be a Nelson Rangell show without whistling:

Dave Anderson switched acoustic bass for this song:

Nelson switched to piccolo (below) after Chieli’s solo (above):

After a quick applause, Nelson whistled solo for about a minute before the band rejoined him.

He took a bow as he got another round of applause:

Video:

18. Prime Time (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: “Prime Time,” 2011
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor, Shilts, Nelson Rangell


19. Some Funky (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: “Feel the Heat,” 2011
Featured musicians: Nick Colionne, Rohn Lawrence

Nick’s guitar solo:


20 (Finale). Godfather J (Nick Colionne)
Originally heard on: “No Limits,” 2008
Featured musicians: Everyone (Nick – vocals)

“Godfather J” is a tribute to James Brown.  Nick channeled the Godfather of Soul throughout the song.

Nick took to the audience:

Back on stage, Chieli played lying down for a while:

Kevin McCabe came out to drape Nick’s jacket on him:

Jay briefly left his keyboards to “play” Chieli’s guitar:

That’s it!

This was the wildest Smooth Jazz for Scholars I’ve ever attended!  Who knows what next year’s show (or shows?) will bring?  Here’s to ten more years, and many more after that!