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1980s Debut Albums September 12, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, Radio.
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The next-to-last episode (for now?) of Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection focuses on 1980s jazz debut albums. It’s the first of two episodes where I worked off a script. I didn’t quote it verbatim, though.

At one point, I share a funny story about talking up one of the Rippingtons songs one week on The Mike Chimeri Show.

Links from the video description:
Dan Siegel, “Nite Ride” (1980): https://www.ebay.com/sch/Music/11233/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=dan+siegel+nite+ride
“Nite Ride/The Hot Shot/Oasis” (without “Valdez in the Country”): https://www.amazon.com/Nite-Ride-Hot-Shot-Oasis/dp/B01FWBZ09M/
Dan’s website: http://www.dansiegelmusic.com/

Kenny G, “Kenny G” (1982): https://www.amazon.com/Kenny-G/dp/B000002VC4/
Kenny’s website: https://kennyg.com/

Special EFX, “Special EFX” (1984): https://www.amazon.com/Special-Efx/dp/B000008CAX/
Chieli Minucci’s website: http://chielimusic.com/

Richard Elliot, “Initial Approach” (1984):
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Initial-Approach-Richard-Elliot/dp/B000005HH8/
eBay: https://www.ebay.com/sch/Music/11233/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=richard+elliot+initial+approach
Richard’s website: http://richardelliot.com/

Najee, “Najee’s Theme” (1986): https://www.amazon.com/Najees-Theme-Najee/dp/B00000DQTI/
Najee’s website: http://www.najeeofficial.com/

The Rippingtons, “Moonlighting” (1986): https://www.amazon.com/Moonlighting-Rippingtons/dp/B0000001QV/
The Rippingtons’ website: http://rippingtons.com/

Gregg Karukas, “The Nightowl” (1987): https://www.amazon.com/Nightowl-Gregg-Karukas/dp/B00005U5CD/
Gregg’s website: http://www.karukas.com/

Gerald Albright, “Just Between Us” (1987): https://www.amazon.com/Just-Between-Us-Gerald-Albright/dp/B000002IM3/
Gerald’s website: http://geraldalbright.com/

Acoustic Alchemy, “Red Dust & Spanish Lace” (1987): https://www.amazon.com/Dust-Spanish-Lace-Acoustic-Alchemy/dp/B0000001VE/
Acoustic Alchemy’s website: http://www.acoustic-alchemy.net/

Nelson Rangell, “To Begin Again” (1988):
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Begin-Again-Nelson-Rangell/dp/B0002AAOG8/
eBay: https://www.ebay.com/sch/Music/11233/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=nelson+rangell+to+begin+again
Nelson’s website: http://nelsonrangell.com/

Eric Marienthal, “Voices of the Heart” (1988): https://www.amazon.com/Voices-Heart-Eric-Marienthal/dp/B000008BOC/
Eric’s website: http://ericmarienthal.com/

Kim Pensyl, “Pensyl Sketches #1” (1988): https://www.amazon.com/Pensyl-Sketches-Vol-1-Kim/dp/B000008BZ2/
Kim P.’s website: https://www.kimpensyl.com/

Kim Waters, “Sweet and Saxy” (1989): https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Saxy-Kim-Waters/dp/B0000010HV/
Kim W.’s website: http://kimwaters.net/

Title music: “Wishing for Something” by Jay Dobbins, from “Anything for You” (2013): https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jaydobbins

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Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, Day 2 August 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Art, Football, Internet, Music, Personal, Photography, Sports, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games.
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I’ve been to jazz performances, comedy acts, and New York Comic Con. But yesterday marked my first time at a retro gaming convention. I made my way to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in East Garden City for the second day of this year’s Long Island Retro Gaming Expo.

Within the last year, I’ve become a regular YouTube viewer, gravitating toward channels about computers, music keyboards, video games, video game and console collecting, and what equipment to use to get the best picture quality out of video game consoles on an HDTV. These videos inspired me to start the Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection YouTube series. Here’s the latest episode:

Two of the YouTube channels I watch are The 8-Bit Guy and 8-Bit Keys, both run by David Murray. (He also has a website.) In a video earlier this year, David announced he would be appearing at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo. With that in mind, I bought a ticket for the second day.

When I purchased my ticket, I was automatically subscribed to the expo newsletter. With a month to go, the schedule was released. It turned out the first day would be more eventful, with many guest speakers, including David. In fact, my friend Jill and her son Mark went on the first day and saw him speak. But I chose to stick with my decision to only go to the second day, since David was also listed as a vendor.

I left for the Cradle of Aviation Museum, part of Museum Row, at 11:30. 20 minutes later, I was there.

I was directed to a desk, where I exchanged my ticket for a wristband.

I also bought into a raffle at the information desk:

After a few minutes of walking by vendors, I spotted David Murray. I introduced myself and we had a brief conversation. He graciously allowed a picture with him, which his wife took:

It slipped my mind that he should sign something until he brought it up after the picture. I had him sign my program:

It turned out David wasn’t a vendor on the second day because he had sold all his merchandise on the first day. I was disappointed, but still honored to meet him and his wife. Be sure to check out The 8-Bit Guy and 8-Bit Keys. And if you like what you see, consider supporting the channels on Patreon. I do.

After that, I toured the rest of the vendors.

I held off on buying anything until I was ready to leave.

The tournament room:

The second floor had freeplays on various consoles and CRT TVs, as well as arcade cabinets:

I gave Mega Man and Castlevania a try, but struggled and gave up after losing a life:

I played a successful level of Dr. Mario, a favorite of mine:

I’ve always liked how the “Chill” tune briefly pays homage to “St. Thomas” by Sonny Rollins.

I first discovered the arcade version of Tetris at the since-closed Kutsher’s Hotel in 1995. My former dentist also had a Tetris cabinet for many years. Back in 2010, I bought the rare, unlicensed NES port on eBay. The music and gameplay sound just like the arcade. I also have the licensed Nintendo version.

I subscribed to Nintendo Power for several years. Game Genies for many consoles helped me greatly. The NES version allowed me to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 many times.

Here are R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy), the Virtual Boy, and the Power Glove:

One of my cousins had a Virtual Boy, which I tried in 1995, six months after the Kutsher’s weekend, and did not like.

I quickly walked the third floor where there was PC LAN freeplay:

Back on the second floor, AfroDJMac played our favorite retro tunes:

Madden:

A corridor of freeplay:

Back to the first floor:

Board games, or tabletop games:

In just over an hour, I’d seen everything. All that remained was to go back to the Vendor Hall and buy some games I’ve always wanted, but never owned. Consider this the equivalent of a pickups video. The games I bought were:

Nintendo Game Boy:

  • Monopoly
  • Elmo’s ABCs (don’t judge)
  • Mickey’s Speedway USA

Sega Genesis:

  • Tecmo Super Bowl

Nintendo 64:

  • Cruis’n World
  • Top Gear Rally

Nintendo Gamecube:

  • Super Monkey Ball

Nintendo DS:

  • Kirby Mass Attack

I also bought a Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP model AGS-101:

For over a decade, I’ve had the frontlit AGS-001. I was satisfied with the quality until I found out in this My Life in Gaming video…

…and this Metal Jesus Rocks video…

…that there was a second model, the AGS-101, which was not only backlit, but brighter! The difference is amazing. On top of that, as you saw, the GBA SP I bought was a Limited Edition Pikachu version. I’m not into Pokémon, but it’s still special to have.

I was hoping to get a Sega Saturn at a decent price, but did not succeed. I’ll have to settle for eBay sometime in the future.

There was one item I bought that was neither a game nor a console. It was pixel art by Joseph Uzzo who has a blog called Nestalgic Bits. I picked out a standing sprite of Raccoon Mario from Super Mario Bros. 3:

I may have only been at the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo for a couple of hours, but I had a great time. Thanks to the expo staff, the vendors, the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Joseph Uzzo, the Murrays, and my fellow game enthusiasts.

Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection premieres July 31! July 14, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Music, New Age, Personal, Video.
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It’s official: Mike Chimeri’s Music Collection will premiere on my YouTube channel on Monday, July 31! Each week, I will showcase select albums from my collection of over 1,200 jazz and new age CDs.

Unfortunately, out of fear of copyright claims, I will not be including excerpts from the albums in each episode, but I will link to Amazon, CDBaby, and eBay listings in the descriptions below the videos.

Here are the first four episode titles:

  1. “6 Albums from 1981”
  2. “1970s Debut Albums”
  3. “8 Albums from 1992”
  4. “2000s Debut Albums”

Watch the trailer video below:

Thanks to Jay Dobbins for the music, “Wishing for Something” from his Anything for You album, that I used in the trailer and will be the title music for the show.

Be sure to subscribe to my channel, and if you want, click the bell icon to be notified when new videos are posted.

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.

2017 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony April 3, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, TV, Video.
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Previous Hall of Fame ceremonies: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

It may have been April Fools’ Day, but there was serious business at LIU Post on Saturday. The 2017 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame was inducted during an afternoon ceremony in the Goldsmith Atrium at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts.

It was the sixth ceremony overall, but only the fifth I’ve attended. I couldn’t make last year’s ceremony because I was in Milford, Connecticut, ahead of the second night of musician Jay Rowe’s annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit concert series. Thankfully, this year’s HOF ceremony came six weeks before this year’s SJFS.

I arrived on campus about a half hour before the ceremony, which was due to start at 1PM. As always, I took pictures and video. You can see the video at the end of this post, but first, the pictures:

The ceremony began with an introduction by Dan Cox, WCWP’s Director of Broadcasting:

…and a video narrated by Jim Cutler:

The 2017 inductees are John March:

John LiBretto:

…and Neil Marks:

2015 inductee Jeff Kroll was the host:

2012 inductee Hank Neimark introduced John LiBretto:

2013 inductee Harry Lowenthal had a question for John:

Pat Kroll presented John with a gift bag:

John March was interviewed ahead of the ceremony from his home in South Carolina:

Hank accepted on John’s behalf:

The third inductee of 2017 was Neil Marks, introduced by Jeff:

The view from my Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder:

Neil had a speech prepared:

Neil’s family:

I took this picture of Neil with the family before the ceremony:

Then, it was story time:

Neil’s father had a question:

Pat had a few stories to share:

The ceremony concluded with this picture:

…and cutting of the cake:

Then, it was off to the Abrams Communications Building, home to WCWP for 51 1/2 years, for more reminiscing:

Now, the video:

Video was recorded with my Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder and mixed with audio from my Tascam DR-03. Thanks to Dan Cox for providing the introductory video and interview with John March, which were incorporated into the video.

It’s an honor and a privilege to capture events for WCWP and to mingle with fellow alumni. Congratulations to John LiBretto, John March, and Neil Marks. Welcome to the WCWP Hall of Fame.

Watching YouTube and playing video games March 8, 2017

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Game Shows, History, Internet, Interviews, Media, Music, News, Personal, Politics, Technology, TV, Video Games.
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After about a year of watching TV shows, movies, documentaries, and comedy specials on Netflix in my downtime, I nearly ran out of things to watch. As a result, I turned my attention to YouTube. I watched several episodes of Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, Game Sack, and Gaming Historian on there last year. But in the last month, I’ve re-watched Game Sack and Gaming Historian episodes, and binge watched The 8-Bit Guy/8-Bit Keys and My Life in Gaming. This post is about how I discovered the channels I frequent.

I discovered Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show last year while looking for interviews of Kevin on YouTube. I was listening to his book, How I Slept My Way to the Middle, on Audible last March, and was completely unaware of his chat show, which he’s had since 2009. In the two months that followed, I watched episodes with guests who I was familiar with or whom I didn’t expect to express their political beliefs. Once I was caught up, I would watch new archived episodes two days after they streamed live. I tried watching one episode live, but I focused more on the chat room discussion than the interview. For a few months, the KPCS YouTube channel was down; all videos were gone. Eventually, they were restored and I resumed watching new episodes.

I found Gaming Historian while looking for longplay video game videos like they have at World of Longplays. What I got instead was informative historical documentaries on video game franchises, consoles, companies, and industry executives. Norman Caruso does a great job.

I discovered Game Sack, a channel run by Joe Redifer who co-hosts with his friend Dave White, via suggested videos after watching some Gaming Historian episodes. Each episode features playthroughs and critiques by Joe and Dave of the same categories I listed for Gaming Historian, as well as video game genres. The videos are entertaining, informative, humorous, and well-spoken; a perfect blend.

David Murray is the 8-Bit Guy. His videos focus on retro technology such as computers, digital cameras, and the aforementioned video game consoles. A video about video game music in the 8-bit era was suggested to me after a Game Sack episode. That video inspired David to start the 8-Bit Keys channel, which focuses on synthesizers and keyboards. I binged watched those videos a few weeks ago while recovering from an upper respiratory infection.

I support the latter three YouTubers on Patreon. Searching for other YouTubers to support on that site led me to My Life in Gaming. I watched an episode or two and became hooked. It’s hosted by two friends named Coury Carlson and Marc Duddleson (aka Try4ce). Their videos range from masterclasses on video game consoles and hardware for capturing gameplay to live streams of gameplay. Similar to Gaming Historian and Game Sack, they also have videos devoted to video games and VG developers. They even had a series of “How to Beat” videos which parodied 1990s VHS tips videos. Here’s one of them.

All these videos inspired me to buy NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), Game Boy, Super NES, and Sega Genesis video games to add to my collection. I even bought a refurbished Xbox 360 with a wireless controller a couple of weeks ago. Once it arrived, I bought several pre-owned games at a nearby Gamestop. They include puzzle games, quiz games, racing games, kart racers, and platformers. The game I’ve played the most thus far is Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. I bought the Xbox 360 because it’s backward compatible with most Xbox games which I plan on eventually getting. I also have in mind the Playstation 3 because of its backward compatibility with PS1 and PS2. If only the PS4 and Xbox One were backward compatible with all their predecessors.

Getting back to YouTube, there are two more channels I’d like to discuss. For a couple of years, I’ve been subscribed to a channel called Prager University. It was created by talk radio host Dennis Prager as “an online video resource promoting knowledge and clarity on life’s biggest and most interesting topics.” The channel “gather[s] some of the world’s best thinkers and distill[s] their best ideas into free, 5-minute videos on things ranging from history and economics to science and happiness.” One video led me to another channel. It was by Dave Rubin, a former left-wing ideologue who is now a free-thinking, open-minded classical liberal. After watching that video, YouTube suggested another video from Dave’s channel, The Rubin Report. Now, I’m hooked on that, too. I haven’t binge watched videos, but I have seen his commentaries and most recent interviews. Not only is Dave a political commentator, but he’s also a gamer. He played through Contra on the NES in his latest live stream video.

If you like video games and/or politics, I recommend you give these channels a try. They’ve given me hours of information and enjoyment. Thank you all.

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…

Acoustic Alchemy at Iridium on my 35th birthday November 20, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Food, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel, Weather.
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Other Acoustic Alchemy recaps: June 2008, October 2010, June 2012

11/24 UPDATE: I forgot to note that this trip to see Acoustic Alchemy at the Iridium came ten years to the date after seeing Yellowjackets at Birdland on my 25th birthday. I referenced that trip back in April.

Thursday night, on my 35th birthday, I took a trip to the Iridium in Manhattan’s Theater District to see British contemporary jazz band Acoustic Alchemy perform. It was my first time back at the venue since October 2012, one week before Hurricane Sandy.

Following Chieli Minucci and Special EFX at the Long Beach Jazz Festival in September, I learned through fellow audience members that Acoustic Alchemy would be playing at the Iridium two months later, on November 17 and 18, to close out their U.S. tour. My birthday falls on the 17th, so I bought a ticket for that night. There were two shows each night, at 8:30 and 10:30. As usual, I chose the early show.

Since I would be on my own at the Iridium, birthday dinner and ice cream cake with my family was moved up to Wednesday night. My parents, sister, and I ate dinner at Margarita’s Cafe, a Mexican restaurant in North Wantagh:
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Ice cream cake was waiting back at home:
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We usually get Carvel cakes, but this one was from Friendly’s. It tasted just as good.

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I spent much of my 35th birthday afternoon responding to “Happy Birthday” wishes on Facebook. One of my friends, radio personality Don Tandler, quipped in his wish that I’m no longer in the young demographic, which is 18 to 34. I got a chuckle out of that.

At about 4:10, I took an extended walk from my Wantagh Woods home, to make up for not running, to the Wantagh LIRR station and bought an off peak round trip ticket for Penn Station. I boarded the 4:59 train and arrived an hour later. I responded to more birthday wishes on the train.

I was told the Iridium door wasn’t opened until 7:30, which meant I had a lot of time to kill. Rather than take the 1 Subway train to West 50th Street, I walked all the way from Penn Station to the club.

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The walk took twenty minutes. I stood outside for about ten minutes before figuring out I could wait inside at the bottom of the stairwell.

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I was first in line.

Once staff began letting ticket holders in, a few minutes before 7:30, I chose a seat at a center table right by the stage.

While waiting for the set to start, I took a picture of the monitor as this upcoming event image was on screen:
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8:30 arrived and the show began. The image below was posted to Acoustic Alchemy’s Facebook page a few minutes in:

You can see me, camera in hand, right by the stage. You’ll also notice the stage has been renovated since my last visit.

Acoustic Alchemy was made up of Miles Gilderdale on electric guitar:
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…and acoustic guitar:
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“The Detroit Shuffle” vocal medley:
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Filling in for Greg Carmichael was Nate Najar – a native of St. Petersburg, Florida – on acoustic guitar:
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Rounding out the band was Gary Grainger – out of Baltimore, Maryland – on bass:
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Vocalizing on “One for Shorty”:
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Gary’s brother Greg on drums:
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…and Fred White on keyboards:
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There were ten songs on the set list:
1. Homecoming
Originally heard on: Reference Point, 1990; Arcanum, 1996; Live in London, 2014

2. Overnight Sleeper
Originally heard on: Natural Elements, 1988; Live in London, 2014

3. Mr. Chow
Originally heard on: Red Dust & Spanish Lace, 1987; Arcanum, 1996

4. The Detroit Shuffle
Originally heard on: American/English, 2005

5. One for Shorty
Originally heard on: Roseland, 2011; Live in London, 2014

6. Clear Air for Miles
Originally heard on: Back on the Case, 1991

7. Ariane
Originally heard on: Blue Chip, 1989; Live in London, 2014

8. The Beautiful Game
Originally heard on: The Beautiful Game, 2000; Sounds of St. Lucia, 2003; Live in London, 2014

9. Catalina Kiss
Originally heard on: Blue Chip, 1989; Arcanum, 1996

10 (Finale). Kidstuff
Originally heard on: The Beautiful Game, 2000

Here are wide shots, starting with Miles’s high notes on “The Detroit Shuffle”:
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The finale – “Kidstuff”:
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The last note:
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“Thanks so much, guys!”:
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There was a meet-and-greet after the show. I let Fred White know on Facebook, in the days leading up to Thursday, that I was coming, so he was happy to see me. The feeling was mutual. It was also nice to see Gary Grainger, who I first discovered through his appearances – and Greg’s, as well – on many Ken Navarro albums. I had a female audience member take our picture:
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My camera’s lens focused on the wall rather than us, which happened in a few attempts at a picture the night before at Margarita’s. Since time was short, I didn’t have that audience member take us again. I told Fred, “I’ll get it in editing.”

Thank you to Miles, Nate, Gary, Greg, and Fred for their musical 35th birthday present. I had a blast.

And thank you to everyone that passed along birthday wishes the day before, on, the day after, two days after, and even three days after my birthday.

Jeff Dunham at Carnegie Hall October 22, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Hockey, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Phone, Photography, Politics, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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(10/26 UPDATE: I have censored the few curse words that were in the recap.)

(10/23 NOTE: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Jeff’s show ran “about 70 minutes.” I have corrected that to read “2 hours and 13 minutes.”)

I was in Manhattan for the second night in a row yesterday. Thursday, I was down in Greenwich Village to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. Yesterday, I was uptown at Carnegie Hall to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham. Pictures weren’t allowed during the show, which was part of Jeff’s Perfectly Unbalanced Tour, but I took my plenty before and after. I had to use my iPhone 6 because mobile devices were all that were allowed.

This was my fourth time at Carnegie Hall, but the first time in the Stern Auditorium. My previous three trips were to see pianist Lisa Hilton in the intimate Weill Recital Hall.

Jeff Dunham and his crew made their way to Carnegie at around 4:30. Jeff posted live video of the walk to Facebook:

About an hour after that streaming video, I left the house for the Wantagh LIRR station. It was the last day of a warm and humid air mass. Nonetheless, like Thursday night, I wore my green spring squall jacket in case of rain. There was nary a drop; only fog and mist when I returned six hours later. There had been rain earlier in the day, but while I waited for the 5:59 train for Penn Station, Wantagh was in between rain bands. The band to the east must have been intense because there were impressive cumulonimbus clouds:
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Low cumulus clouds set in starting in Queens, appearing dark against the setting sun.

There were New York Islanders fans on the train through Jamaica. They changed there for the Atlantic Terminal train to Barclays Center where the Islanders went on to beat the Arizona Coyotes 3-2.

The train arrived at Penn Station at 6:55. From there, I took the E train to West 53rd Street and walked four blocks to Carnegie Hall.

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Once there, the crowd had to wait until 7:30 for the Stern Auditorium doors to open. After getting a bottle of water, I got to my balcony seat. Trivia, social media posts, and pictures were shown on the monitor:
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The ceiling:
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There was a welcome announcement at 8:03 following by three intro videos at 8:06. Since they’re from Jeff’s YouTube channel, I’ve included them below:

After an auto-tune montage, the show officially began at 8:16. The voice of Achmed the Dead Terrorist announced Jeff and he walked on stage. I looked at him on the monitor most of the time since I was so high up.

I took ten pages of notes in a 7 x 5 notebook. Below are some of those notes. I’ll try not to give too much away.

Jeff’s opening act:

  • Informal election vote: Hillary – cheers, Donald – more cheers
  • Why he’s a ventriloquist
  • Family – daughters, Audrey, twin boys
  • How Jeff and Audrey found out they were having twins, Jack and James
  • The twins’ birth
  • Changing diapers in NICU
  • Breastfeeding
  • Baby pictures – meme photo (“I CAME OUT OF YOUR WHAT???”), then actual photos: their first birthday, Jeff holding them like dumbbells, at Disneyland
  • Left stage, came back
  • Videotaping show to include message to sons when they’re older

After the opening act, it was time to open the boxes and bring out the characters. Walter came first:

  • “Oh, shut the hell up! (mocking laugh)”
  • Joke about New Jersey
  • How do you get to Carnegie Hall? “Uber.”
  • Joke about auditorium appearance
  • Sick of election garbage – doesn’t like either candidate – like going in for colonoscopy
  • Cut to a video:

  • “You know, folks tell me that I should run for president”
  • Wife
  • Life after death
  • “If Trump becomes president, José’ll be out of the show” (a reference to José Jalapeño on a Stick)
  • Being an older parent
  • “Say good night, Walter.” “Thanks, everybody!”

Before bringing out the next character, Jeff announced that his next special will be taped in Dublin, Ireland, in May for Netflix. It will debut in August. The theme will be family. Jeff found out he is of Irish descent. To that end, a new character he tried out at Carnegie Hall was an Irish baby he was trying to get adopted:

  • Big head
  • Adult voice with brogue
  • Influenced by the other characters (“I keel you” from Achmed)
  • Much smarter than apparent age
  • Cursing (from Peanut)
  • Mother gave him up for adoption
  • Vaccination/shots – “Gin, rum, vodka”
  • Can’t walk, but can pub crawl
  • “All the drunks just think I’m a leprechaun”
  • “And that’s the new baby!”

Bubba J:

  • “I’m doin’ pretty good!”
  • “…watchin’ NASCAR and drinkin’ beer”
  • Twins
  • Wife
  • Running for president
  • “Press the flesh”
  • Debate/da bait, defense/da fence, Syria/Siri
  • Fracking: “Me and the wife are down to once a month”
  • “Say good night, Bubba J”

Peanut:

  • “Dat’s goooooooooood!”
  • (singing): “New York…..”
  • “Two infants at your age, how the hell did that happen?!”
  • Running gags (toward Jeff, into mic): “’cause you’re old”, “’cause you’re an a**h***”, “’cause I’m an a**h***”
  • Porn riff (“chicka-chicka-wow-wow”) – baby-related dirty talk
  • Caffeine zaniness – “It’s great!”, “Yes!”
  • Coffee enema
  • Lost a shoe – “No, dude, I found one”
  • Peanut fell off and his mouth was stuck open – after a few minutes of incoherent speech (“ahh***”), Jeff closed it
  • “Jeff-fa-fa”
  • “Nnnnnnyeow!”
  • Spoke to two men in the front row
  • Hearing aid joke (pretending to cut out)

Achmed the Dead Terrorist:

  • “Most beloved terrorist throughout the world”
  • Achmed’s origin story – tried out Dead Osama a year after 9/11, six blocks from Ground Zero – crowd loved act – retooled as Achmed starting in Spark of Insanity
  • “Greetings, American infidels!”
  • Usama Bin Laden is “dead dead”
  • “Do you know me, infidels?!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you (2x)”
  • “Achhhhhmed”
  • “It’s not funny!”
  • “Silence! I keel you!” – cheers – “Thank you, I keel you”
  • Achmed’s many kids: “…and Steve”
  • Games
  • Life story: “Once upon a time, (boom!). The end.”
  • Presidential election
  • “Oh! Bomb! Ah!”
  • Questions: “Dear Achmed…” – by my count, 19 questions – Favorite breakfast cereal: “Life” – Hugh Jorgen (huge organ): “I can’t believe you fell for that!” – Legs fell off, then arms, then ribcage

After one last joke, that was it. Since it was over, I resumed photography. There was one last bit of business for Jeff: a crowd selfie with his wife Audrey.

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Here’s how that selfie looked:

As you can see, balcony members weren’t in the picture, but I don’t mind.

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In all, Jeff was on stage for 2 hours and 13 minutes, leaving the stage at 10:29.

I took a selfie of my own a few minutes later:
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Then, I made my way down the stairs, through the lobby, and out the door. Merchandise was available in the lobby:
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Rather than walk back to West 53rd Street to take the E train again, I walked to 59th Street-Columbus Circle station.

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I took the 1 train back to Penn Station:
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I would have taken the 11:08 LIRR train to Wantagh, but there happened to be an 11:01 express train that didn’t make local stops until Wantagh. So, I boarded that one. There were some passengers that didn’t realize it was an express and had to change at Jamaica for the later, entirely-local train. It only took 43 minutes to get to Wantagh! Now that’s what I call express! I wouldn’t have arrived until 20 minutes later had I taken 11:08 train.

Thus ended my six-hour adventure. Jeff was hilarious, as always. I wish the show was available on video so I could watch it again and again. My notes and memories will have to do until then.

While I slept, Jeff was live on Facebook as his YouTube channel surpassed one million subscribers!

Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to fans like me for getting the channel to a million and beyond.

Chick Corea Elektric Band at Blue Note October 21, 2016

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Travel.
4 comments

After a month away from the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, I returned last night to see the Chick Corea Elektric Band. It was the first of two shows in two nights. Tonight, I’m going to see ventriloquist and comedian Jeff Dunham in the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Pictures aren’t allowed, so that recap will be all words. (10/22 UPDATE: The recap of that show is now up. I was allowed to take pictures before and after, but I was still quite descriptive. Jeff’s YouTube videos and social media posts are also included in the recap.)

After the seating issue when I went to see Lee Ritenour in August, I opted for a seat further from the stage last night. It was still cramped, but my table seat was against the wall, which meant I was free to get up to take pictures without getting in anyone’s way. It was quite a workout, in addition to the 7.6 miles I ran in the afternoon. I was seated across from Phil, an avid Chick Corea fan from Vancouver, and his wife Kim. They made the time before the show worthwhile.

Now, the backstory: Pianist, keyboardist, and composer Chick Corea turned 75 back in June. In honor of this milestone, Blue Note arranged a two-month celebration/residency, which began Wednesday night with the first of five nights of the Chick Corea Elektric Band. The residency ends with Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu (Orchestra, I assume) from December 8 through 11. That show will combine half of Return to Forever, Chick and drummer Lenny White, along with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin on guitar. Victor Wooten will round out that band on bass.

The Elektric Band featured its definitive lineup, first heard on Light Years, the band’s second album, in 1987.

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Chick Corea played keyboards:
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…piano:
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…and, during the encore, keytar:
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Eric Marienthal was on alto sax:
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…and soprano sax:
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Frank Gambale on guitar:
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John Patitucci on bass:
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…and Dave Weckl on drums:
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The 8:00 set consisted of six songs with extended solos. The songs were:
1. Trance Dance
Originally heard on: Eye of the Beholder, 1988

2. C.T.A. (Miles Davis cover)
Originally heard on: Paint the World, 1993

3. Jocelyn – The Commander
Originally heard on: To the Stars, 2004

4. Beneath the Mask
Originally heard on: Beneath the Mask, 1991

5. Silver Temple
Originally heard on: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, 1986

6 (Encore). Got a Match?
Originally heard on: The Chick Corea Elektric Band, 1986

The encore started with an audience call and response intro. Chick would play:
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…and the audience would echo:
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Then, “Got a Match”:
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The last note:
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After the set, I briefly caught up with drummer Dave Weckl and we posed for a picture:
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I had a longer conversation with saxophonist Eric Marienthal, whom I’ve seen perform many times: with the Rippingtons in 2005, David Benoit in 2006, at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in 2008, solo in 2011, and with the Jeff Lorber Fusion in 2014, my first time at the Blue Note.

Just as we were posing for a picture, bassist John Patitucci walked by and I asked if he could get in, too. He did:
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I interviewed both Eric and John on The Mike Chimeri Show over a decade ago. All interviews can be heard here. (Out of self-consciousness, I haven’t listened since editing them for air.)

The Chick Corea Elektric Band put on a thrilling show last night. If you’d like to see them and get the same thrill I did, they play at 8:00 and 10:30 tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday night.

Here is the rest of Chick’s residency schedule:

  • October 26-30: For Miles
  • November 2-6: Three Quartets, the Leprechaun Band
  • November 9-10: Experiments in Electronica
  • November 11-13: Flamenco Heart
  • November 16-17: Chick Corea Big Band
  • November 18-20: The Piano Duets
  • November 22-23: Chick Corea & Gary Burton
  • November 25-27: Origin II
  • November 30-December 4: The Music of Return to Forever – Acoustic
  • December 7: Chick Corea with John McLaughlin
  • December 8-11: Return to Forever meets Mahavishnu

10/30 UPDATE: Highlights from all five nights of the Elektric Band at Blue Note were posted to Chick’s Facebook page: