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John Scofield’s Combo 66 at Blue Note December 2, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Politics, Travel, Weather.
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Two weeks after braving wintry conditions to see the Bob James Trio at Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village, I returned to the legendary venue to see guitarist John Scofield‘s Combo 66 quartet.

363 nights after seeing saxophonist Dave Koz for the first time, as his 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour stopped at the Tilles Center, it was time to see John Scofield for the first time.

Skies were partly cloudy with a stiff westerly breeze on Thursday afternoon as I walked from my house to the Wantagh LIRR station. I took an earlier train than the last time: 4:27 this time. Aboard the train, an M3 railcar, I sat in the head car and could see straight ahead, a perspective I seldom see.

Once at Penn Station, I boarded an E train for West 4th Street. I arrived outside Blue Note at exactly 5:45:

Within 20 minutes, I was inside. I thought about sitting by the stage again, but opted for a seat further back and elevated. Unfortunately, I didn’t make any new friends at the table this time. A father and son, and man in his 20s kept to themselves and I was too shy to start a conversation.

John Scofield’s Combo 66 began their set a few minutes after 8:00:

John led the quartet on electric guitar:

He was backed up by Gerald Clayton, on piano for five songs:

…and organ, which I had a better view of, for three songs:

Vicente Archer on acoustic bass:

…and Bill Stewart on drums:

Bill used brushes for “I’m Sleeping In”:

There were eight songs in the quartet’s set, with all but three of them from the Combo 66 album:
1. Can’t Dance*
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

2. Hand Jive
Originally heard on: Hand Jive (1994)

3. Green Tea*
Originally heard on: A Go Go (1998)

4. Dang Swing
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

5. I’m Sleeping In
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

6. Icons of the Fair
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

7. F U Donald (Bill Stewart composition)
Originally heard on: Band Menu (Bill Stewart) (2018)
I felt like an outcast as John announced the title, an obvious shot at President Donald Trump, which received a hearty applause. The son seated next to me cheered “my man!” at the title’s sentiment. I just sighed and shook my head. The song itself was great. I thought it was better with guitar than saxophone as there was on Bill’s Band Menu. Afterward, John emphatically repeated the title and softly quipped, “now, we’d like to play a beautiful ballad for [Vice President] Mike Pence.” Even I laughed. Then, the set concluded with…

8. New Waltzo*
Originally heard on: Combo 66 (2018)

*-Gerald Clayton played organ.

It was a superb set. Not even a politically-charged song title could dampen my enjoyment. Thank you to John, Gerald, Vicente, and Bill.

Returning to Penn Station on the E train and to Wantagh on a Babylon-bound LIRR train were both uneventful. My next trip to Manhattan is slated for January 10 when I’ll once again see pianist Lisa Hilton perform.

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Bob James Trio at Blue Note November 16, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Hockey, Jazz, Music, Personal, Sports, Travel, Weather.
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A little mid-November snow wasn’t going to keep me from getting to the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village last night to see the Bob James Trio’s 8PM set. This was my first time inside Blue Note since I saw the Chick Corea Elektric Band in October 2016. It was also the first time I’d seen Bob since I saw Fourplay in December 2015, and the first time seeing him solo since May 2007 at the defunct IMAC (Inter-Media Art Center) in Huntington.

The story begins several hours before showtime. A nor’easter was about to bring what I assumed was going to be light snow and sleet that wouldn’t accumulate much before changing to rain. I based my assumption on Wednesday’s forecast. Little did I know that forecast models now called for a longer period of moderate-to-heavy snow. A winter weather advisory was issued from 1PM to 10PM and called for 2 to 5 inches. Wantagh ended up with the max. Plus, there were the usual gusty winds a nor’easter provides. It wasn’t comparable to Sandy, but was a nuisance.

For reference, here are a few photos in the snow’s early stages, at 1:43 PM:

2:17 PM:

…and 3:14 PM:

I chose to take a later LIRR train, the 4:59, to Penn Station so I wouldn’t have to wait outside Blue Note in the elements for an hour. Indeed, my father drove me to the Wantagh LIRR station just after 4:30 in heavy snow on unplowed roads. I waited on the platform for about 20 minutes, seeking shelter by the main stairway and escalator until the train arrived. At that time, I walked closer to the head of the train and sat down in a railcar.

The Rangers were playing the Islanders at Barclays Center in Pacific Park, Brooklyn, which meant I was surrounded by fans of both teams (I’m a Rangers fan, myself) until Jamaica, a major hub, when they would change to an Atlantic Terminal train. As the train approached Jamaica, the conductor relayed bad news: due to signal problems west of Jamaica, the train could not proceed to Penn Station. Passengers bound for Penn were diverted to the E train where tickets would be cross-honored.

MTA workers directed a throng of passengers through what was now sleet to the underground subway station. I was closely followed by Jeanette, my seatmate who boarded at Rockville Centre (or maybe it was St. Albans).

We sat together for about a half hour as the E train proceeded through Queens and into Manhattan. She exited at 50th Street and I said it was nice meeting her.

After a few more stops, the train had reached West 4th Street. I walked up to West 3rd and crossed 6th Avenue, tiptoeing through snow and slush, as sleet continued to fall, until I finally arrived at Blue Note.

I checked my coat and was fortunate enough to get my old favorite seat at the table next to the stage. The claustrophobia that drove me away from that seat before Lee Ritenour’s set in August 2016 was gone. I made fast friends in my a few of my tablemates: Debbie, who went to high school with Bob’s Fourplay bandmate Nathan East, and married couple Tom and D’Lissa. My night was more enjoyable for having met and spoken with them.

The Bob James Trio began their set at 8:23; better late than never.

Bob James played piano:

Fender Rhodes:

…and both on “Night Crawler”:

Bob was joined by Michael Palazzolo on acoustic bass:

…and Billy Kilson on drums:

Billy’s “Mister Magic” solo:

The set consisted of nine songs, plus one encore:
1. Bulgogi
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bulgogi is Korean grilled beef.

2. Feel Like Making Love (Roberta Flack cover)
Originally heard on: One (1974)
Bob played Fender Rhodes throughout, just as he did on One and on Roberta’s original.

3. Night Crawler
Originally heard on: Heads (1977), Straight Up (1996), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
Bob began on Rhodes, then transitioned to piano, playing both at once along the way.

4. Shadow Dance
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)

5. Il Boccalone
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
This song was named after an Italian restaurant in, of all places, Tokyo. It was a duet for Bob and Michael.

6. Mister Magic (Grover Washington, Jr. cover)
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bob performed on Grover’s Mister Magic album, playing Rhodes on the original, but piano here, as he did on Espresso.

7. Topside
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
Bob started on Rhodes, then switched to piano, with a backing track playing throughout on his iPad, which required him to wear headphones.

8. Mojito Ride
Originally heard on: Espresso (2018)
This song also had a backing track.

9. Westchester Lady
Originally heard on: Three (1976), All Around the Town (1981), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
This song had a call and response between the trio and ended with an accelerando that led me to polka dance.

10 (Encore). Angela (Theme from Taxi)
Originally heard on: Touchdown (1978), All Around the Town (1981), The Genie (1983), Angels of Shanghai (2007), Live at the Milliken Auditorium (2015)
Bob began on Rhodes, then ended the set on piano.

After the set, I asked if there was a meet and greet afterward. In a way, yes. After saying goodbye to Debbie, Tom, and D’Lissa, I and a few others congregated outside Bob’s dressing room, where his manager Sonny Abelardo let us in one at a time. I reintroduced myself to Bob, he signed my copy of Espresso, and we posed for a picture:

Sonny called us the Vest Brothers. I liked that.

After leaving the room, I briefly commiserated with Billy Kilson about our misadventures getting to Blue Note.

Back downstairs, I claimed my coat, bundled up, and walked back to the West 4th subway station. By this time, it was raining lightly, but I had to tiptoe through and around slush to cross 6th Avenue.

40 minutes on the E train later, I was back at Jamaica:

I boarded the 11:08 train, which was a few minutes late, along with some happy Islanders fans and dejected Rangers fans, as the Isles beat the Blueshirts 7-5.

After taking this picture…:

…I boarded the train and headed for Wantagh.

I found through a couple I sat next to – they had come from a play – that service had been restored west Jamaica and I could have boarded at Penn Station without needing to take the E train all the way to Jamaica. But I didn’t want to take any chances, so it was the E train all the way.

Dad picked me up in Wantagh and took me home. At 12:05 AM, my adventure was complete. I hope the weather is better when I go see John Scofield’s Combo 66 on November 29.

Thank you to everyone I met last night. It was great to meet you, and in Bob’s case, to see you again.

2018 LIU Post & WCWP Homecoming Weekend October 15, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, History, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Earlier recaps: 20082009WCWP 50th Anniversary (2011)20122013201420152016, 2017

In all the years I’ve recapped WCWP Homecoming Weekend, this is the first where I consolidate all days into one post. With Sunday photographic help from Pat Kroll, I’m recapping all three days of WCWP’s special block of programming, including coverage of the LIU Post Pioneers‘ Homecoming game against the Saint Anselm Hawks.

I left for the Abrams Communications Building, home to WCWP, at 11:00 on Friday morning. I was there within a half hour and I immediately got out my equipment. There were shows to record, including one for me to host.

Unlike the previous three years, I was not the first show of the weekend. That honor went to 1960s Post Scripts, hosted by Art Beltrone and Jay Elzweig, who were with WCWP when it began:

Art Beltrone:

Jay Elzweig:

The show was packed with interviews and had occasional music.

The first guest was William Rozea, part of C.W. Post College’s first graduating class in 1959:

Also among Art and Jay’s guests were Jarron Jewell, LIU Post’s senior library assistant for archives and special collections:

Rita Langdon, LIU Post Executive Director:

Mark Bilker, another member of the Class of 1959:

Alan and Carol Fritz from the Class of 1966:

Bernie Bernard, Class of 1972:

Dan Cox, Class of 1985, and WCWP Director of Broadcasting:

Art, a Marine Corps veteran, presented Dan with banner from Vietnam, part of the Vietnam Graffiti Project.

…and Edward Keller, a Vietnam Graffiti Project volunteer and fellow Marine:

1960s Post Scripts concluded with “Yesterday” by The Beatles, which led into my show, Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri.

As my second song played, I took a picture of Art Beltrone and Jay Elzweig:

Before he left, Art gave me a copy of Vietnam Graffiti: Messages from a Forgotten Troopship, by him and his wife Lee.

My setup in Studio 2:

I had Jeff Kroll take a picture of me at the board. He suggested I have my headphones on:

I belong to a few Discord servers and my fellow members know I’d be on. I gave them all a shout-out at one point during my show, including the servers’ proprietors: Norm Caruso a.k.a. the Gaming Historian, Game Dave, and Anna a.k.a. Circuits & Coffee. I gave Game Dave a personal shout-out after playing a Keiko Matsui song because he recommended her music over in-game music in one of his videos. I couldn’t recall which one on the air, but it was for the Famicom game A Week of Garfield (relevant portion at 7:40, unless you want to watch the whole thing):

Now that you’ve seen that video, here is my airchecks video:

If you just want the audio, click here for itClick here for the transitions, and a PDF of the playlist.

From one Mike to another: Magick Mike Hendryx (Mike Schanzer) followed me:

Pat and Jeff Kroll:

After the above picture, I packed up and got a ride back home. After a pasta dinner, I got to work editing Friday’s video and audio. I decided to wait until downtime after arriving back at Post on Saturday to edit Friday’s pictures.

Here is my Friday video, featuring plenty of 1960s Post Scripts, followed by two airchecks each from my show and Mike Hendryx’s show:

I left for LIU Post at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon. Once on campus, I set up my equipment at WCWP, edited pictures on my laptop, and then headed to Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium for part of the Pioneers’ game against Saint Anselm.

I spent much of the second quarter in the press box. Calling the game were Jeff Kroll and Neil Marks:

Video of the game was also streamed online with WCWP audio:

The scoreboard console:

A defensive stop:

The Pioneers’ third touchdown drive:

“Touchdown, Pioneers!”

The extra point:

That’s the end of the first half:

The Pioneers went on to win 37-6. If this was their last game against Saint Anselm, as they are heading to Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) next season (likely under a new name), they won all 15 of them. Highlights can be viewed here.

The next few pictures were taken on the way back to WCWP:

Ted David took this great picture of me:

Banners and trophies inside the Pratt Recreation Center:

Back at WCWP…:

Jett Lightning, Lew Scharfberg (standing), Ted David, Bill Mozer, Jay Elzweig:

As usual, Bernie Bernard was on after the game:

Lisa Seckler-Roode regailed Bernie with many stories from her days working for record companies and as a personal assistant to The Who guitarist Pete Townshend:

Bernie – or rather, Maura – with her fellow reverend, Fr. Michael Tesmacher, who she and I know as Mike Tes:

Mike and I have known each other since 2002 when we worked on the public access show, The Long Island Rainbow Connection.

Jeff Jensen and his son, Jackson:

Bernie and Lisa:

Ward Henry watching Bernie’s next-to-last aircheck of her show:

Bobby G. (standing) and Mike Riccio were next:

They hosted their special Homecoming countdown show:

Joining them was Jett Lightning (center):

Mike Riccio:

Bobby G.:

Jett Lightning:

Mike and Bobby:

Before I left, I had Pat Kroll take a shot of me and John Zoni, both of us with our glasses off:

John hosted the pregame, halftime, and postgame shows. He’d go on to host a music show at midnight.

Here’s the Saturday video:

After transferring photos, videos, and audio files to my computer and eating a late dinner, I went to bed early. I woke up at 5:30 AM. My second Instrumental Invasion of the weekend was scheduled to air at 6AM. When I accessed the WCWP app on my iPhone X, I heard silence (except for light static). Apparently, there was an automation glitch that kept the scheduled 2AM and 4AM pre-records from running. At 6AM, I briefly heard the start of the 4AM show, then 12 more seconds of silence, and finally my show. Here are the airchecks from the showthe transitions, and the playlist.

Bobby G. informed me on the WCWP Alumni Association Facebook group that the show also aired at 2AM, which was its original slot before a change was made two weeks ahead of Homecoming. So, not only did my show air without a hitch, it aired twice! Bobby called it an “extra bonus.” Jeff Kroll added, “Yessir BONUS time!”

I listened to the entire show. I lied in bed, looking up at the ceiling for the first 45 minutes, then went to the computer to edit, which I continued to do long after the show ended.

Jay LaPrise (“la-PREE”) hosted Sunday’s first live show from 8 to 10AM. Here’s how he signed on.

I may not have been at WCWP in person on Sunday, but I was there in spirit, not just with my show, but with the show’s filename on the stream page for several hours afterward:

As the day progressed, I periodically recorded more airchecks. Here are two from Billy the Kid (Billy Houst), on from noon to 2:00.

Joe Honerkamp was at the mic from 2:00 to 4:00. Here he is with his daughter Diana:

Lew Scharfberg and Bill Mozer, with a photobombing Neil Marks:

Lew hosted from 4:00 to 6:00:

Jeff and Pat Kroll, and Lew Scharfberg:

Neil Marks’s wife Lita:

Jeff Kroll assisting Neil Marks at the board during his 6:00 to 8:00 show with Pat Kroll:

Pat and Neil during their show:

From 8:00 to 10:00, Alana hosted a special Homecoming edition of The Rockin’ Sunday Show:

Jeff Kroll had the last shift from 10:00 to midnight:

And with that, the 41st annual WCWP Homecoming Weekend is in the books. It was a weekend I won’t soon forget, nor will my fellow alumni. I’ll leave you with the kind works Ted David left on my Facebook timeline:

May I publicly acknowledge C.W. Post alum Mike Chimeri. As I mentioned on the air during Homecoming Weekend on WCWP Saturday, his Friday jazz show was worthy of any shift at the former CD 101.9 or the current Watercolors channel on SiriusXM.
Add to that his superior skills as a photographer/archivist and he’s one amazing guy. I spent some time with him Saturday at the station and then down at the football game. Just a super talented guy, pleasant company and proud to call him a friend and “fellow alum!”

Thank you very much, Ted.

Listen for me on WCWP this weekend October 9, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Education, Football, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, Sports.
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All times are Eastern.

It’s that time of year again: Homecoming Weekend on 88.1 FM and WCWP.org. It starts Friday at noon and runs through Sunday night at midnight.

Unlike the last three years, my show is not the first of the weekend. That honor goes to one WCWP’s founding members, Art Beltrone, who will be hosting 1960s Post Scripts.

Instrumental Invasion with Mike Chimeri follows Art’s show at 2PM. You’ll hear music from Najee, Nick Colionne, Ken Navarro, Bob James Trio, and many others.

My second Instrumental Invasion, which I pre-recorded at home on September 19, airs Sunday at 6AM. It’s the usual decades-long musical journey, a 50-year journey this year, featuring Return to Forever, David Benoit, Dave Koz, the Rippingtons (which David and Dave were once part of), and so much more. One spoiler: I recorded the show thinking it would air at 2AM, so my talk-up for “Up All Night” by Richard Elliot (“a fitting title at this hour”) lost its context.

Both shows can be heard at 88.1 FM, if you’re close enough to the signal, at WCWP.org, or on the WCWP app for iOS devices. (There is an Android app, but it isn’t working, which led Google Play to suspend it from downloading.)

In between Friday’s live show and Sunday’s pre-recorded show, I’ll be at LIU Post Homecoming on Saturday afternoon and evening. As usual, I’ll mostly be at the Abrams Communications Building, where WCWP is located, but I’ll drop by the parking lot of Bethpage Federal Credit Union Stadium as the Post Pioneers play the Saint Anselm Hawks. The team enters the game with a 5-0 record. It’s their last season in Division II, their last with green as a team color, and may be their last as the Pioneers. LIU President Dr. Kimberly Cline announced the “One LIU” unification last Wednesday. Starting next year, the Pioneers (or whatever they’ll be known as) will play in Division I FCS (Football Championship Subdivision). Ironically, I wearing my LIU Post polo shirt the day of the announcement.

Following the game, during the second hour of Bernie Bernard’s show, the 2019 inductees to the WCWP Hall of Fame will be announced.

I hope you’ll be listening to WCWP during as much of Homecoming Weekend as you can. Jeff Kroll closes out the weekend with his 10PM show on Sunday.

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.
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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:
\

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.

Chieli Minucci & Special EFX at The Cutting Room: 2018 edition October 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
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I was back at The Cutting Room on Saturday night for Chieli Minucci & Special EFX.

It was my third time at the venue and first time seeing Special EFX since the 2016 Long Beach Jazz Festival.

Like last time at The Cutting Room, I made sure to arrive early so I could get a good table. I ended up at the same table as last time.

On this night, Special EFX was made up of co-founder Chieli Minucci on guitar:

Jay Rowe on keyboards:

Jerry Brooks on bass:

Mino Cinelu on percussion:

…and Joel Rosenblatt on drums:

The set list contained nine songs and with three vignettes. Here’s the list:
1. Daybreak
Originally heard on: Global Village, 1992
2:21 PM UPDATE: Chieli posted an excerpt to Facebook (below) and Instagram:

 

2. My Girl Sunday/Miami
Originally heard on: Sweet on You (Chieli), 2000; Masterpiece, 1999

3. Chieli and Mino vignette 1 (Chieli called it “Church 1”)

4. Courageous Cats
Originally heard on: Jewels (Chieli), 1995

5. Dance on the Delta
Originally heard on: Deep as the Night, 2017

6. Chieli and Mino vignette 2

7. Rush Hour (Chieli and Jerry duet)
Originally heard on: Sweet Surrender, 2007

8. Uptown East
Originally heard on: Slice of Life, 1986

9. Speak to Me
Originally heard on: Masterpiece, 1999

10. Chieli and Mino vignette 3

11. Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers (Stevie Wonder cover; based on Jeff Beck version)
Originally heard on: Renaissance (Chieli), 1996

12. Crazy Eights
Originally heard on: Genesis, 2013

Here are various shots of Chieli Minucci on acoustic guitar:

Electric guitar:

Vocalise on “Speak to Me”:

Jay Rowe:

Jerry Brooks:

Mino Cinelu:

Vocalise:

…and Joel Rosenblatt:

Mino and Chieli during their vignettes:

Chieli and Jerry on “Rush Hour”:

The finale: “Crazy Eights”:

The last note:

Before I left for Penn Station, I briefly spoke to Chieli, then to Jay Rowe and his mother Mia DiStasi, who introduced me to her friend Elaine.

Chieli and the band always put on a great show. This time was no exception. Thank you so much.

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.

No more “Audiobooking” posts; rant about expressions September 21, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Audiobooks, Books, Personal, Politics.
1 comment so far

I’ve had a rough year when it comes to audiobooks I’ve purchased on Audible. After enduring the disappointing political turn in Ron Perlman’s book last year, I was subjected to the same political turns from Carrie Keagan and Joely Fisher, culminating in Kevin Hart repeatedly going off on endless tangents in his book. He didn’t get political, but he took a political turn at the MTV Video Music Awards while I was in the process of listening to the book.

As if the tangents weren’t enough, he said “at the end of the day.” It’s time for me to come clean: I loathe that expression. I also have no use for “kind of” unless you actually mean “somewhat” or “partially.” And don’t get me started on “so” as the first word of a response to a question or to introduce a video. “So” typically means “therefore.” Oh, and uptalk/high-rising terminal.

That was a tangent, but a worthwhile one.

In light of the four audiobook disappointments, three this year alone, I’ve decided to give up the annual “Audiobooking” posts. I don’t listen as often anymore, anyway. I tend to watch YouTube videos (some of which are plagued with the aggravating expressions and/or vocal tic) or listen to podcasts (likewise) during my workouts or at bedtime.

I’ll conclude this impulsively-conceived post by linking to the final “Audiobooking” post from nine months ago.

2018 Long Island Retro Gaming Expo recap August 13, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Internet, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Travel, Video, Video Games, Weather.
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Last year marked my first time at the annual Long Island Retro Gaming Expo, held at the Cradle of Aviation Museum along Museum Row in East Garden City. I was only there for two hours, though. This year, I deeply immersed myself in the event, buying a weekend pass back in March. I did that after learning that legendary video game collector and educator The Immortal John Hancock would be there:

If that wasn’t enough, David Murray, The 8-Bit Guy, would be back, as well. And on behalf of Retronauts, Jeremy Parish was there. I’ve only listened to one podcast so far, but I regularly watch the Works series of videos for NES, Super NES, and Game Boy on Jeremy’s YouTube channel.

Hancock, 8-Bit Guy, and Parish all had panels on Saturday afternoon in the museum theater. Before I did anything else, I made sure to sit in on those panels.

I left for the Cradle of Aviation Museum at 10:20. A light rain fell in the wake of thunderstorms that plowed through an hour earlier. By the time I arrived, there was only drizzle. I had to wait in line to present my ticket and get wristbands for both days. While waiting, I photographed a couple of historic markers:

…and the museum exterior:

Once inside, attendees were greeted by this sign:

My home for the next four hours:

First panel up, Jeremy Parish (center) with Kurt Kalata (left) and Rob Russo (right) of Hardcore Gaming 101:

Kurt plugged the appearance a few days ago on the site.

The topic was the history of Super Joe in Capcom games, including Commando and Bionic Commando.

Jeremy Parish:

Kurt Kalata:

Rob Russo:

The lone picture I took with my iPhone X all weekend:

The panel wrapped up with Q&A.

Afterward, I got to meet Jeremy, letting him know how much enjoy his videos. Then, we posed for a picture:

He let me know what the next episode of Super NES Works would be about, including the correct pronunciation of one of the words in the title.

8/15 UPDATE: The episode is about Darius Twin, with “Darius” pronounced like “Elias,” but with an “R” instead of an “L”:

Jeremy explained the pronunciation in a pinned comment below the video:

Fun fact about this video: I looked up the pronunciation of Darius to make sure I got it right. So anyone who posts a comment to “correct” it will be (1) wrong and (2) sent to the salt mines for a life of hard labor.

For the next panel, The 8-Bit Guy talked about the demo scene:

For Q&A, someone asked how David’s Planet X3 game for DOS was coming along.

He showed us:

A few more questions and answers followed.

8/14 UPDATE: I recorded all the panels for personal use, but in the case of David’s presentation, to vidcap anything I couldn’t get with my DSLR. Here are those vidcaps:

David stuck around to watch the third panel of the day: The Immortal John Hancock:

John shared his backstory, discussed collecting, and of course, took Q and gave A.

John’s video game binder:

The panel concluded with a group shot, which was one of a few pics posted to John’s Facebook and Twitter pages:

After leaving the theater, I met up with David and John at their booths. David’s wife Leslie took our picture:

…and The Eternal Sarah Hancock took my picture with John:

8/14 UPDATE: In his latest YouTube video, John reflected on his time at the expo and shared some of his oddball game pickups:

On the upper left and right corners of the screen, he mixed in B-roll from the first and second floors. The group shot is the video thumbnail and was also shown in the upper left in the last 30 seconds.

Before my shopping spree, I walked all three floors, taking pictures along the way. We start on the first floor:

Second floor:

The music of Super Thrash Bros.:

LAN play on the third floor:

Here’s the end result of my shopping:

When I got home, I photographed my pickups.

Sega Saturn:

  • Console with cables and two controllers (second bought separately)
  • Daytona USA
  • Sega Rally Championship
  • NBA Jam Extreme

I was so proud to finally get a Saturn and games for it. I have fond memories of playing Daytona USA, among other games, at my cousins’ house in Massapequa.

Super Nintendo:

  • Aladdin
  • Killer Instinct
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

Sega Genesis:

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist

Nintendo Gamecube:

  • Super Smash Bros. Melee

Nintendo Wii:

  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1

Nintendo Wii U:

  • New Super Luigi U
  • Super Mario Maker

And from The 8-Bit Guy’s booth, I bought a pair of Retro Grooves cassettes by Anders Enger Jensen, whose music can be heard in David’s videos.

I will be getting these in MP3 form by e-mail, but for now, I used my Sony TC-WE305 cassette deck – which I bought in 2004 for digitzing my WGBB shows – to record both sides of each cassette to my computer, via Adobe Audition 3.0, and save the tracks separately. I love them.

I spent a couple of hours editing Saturday’s pictures and then went to sleep.

I left a half hour earlier yesterday morning, attaching my Sunday wristband beforehand.

The Long Island Retro Gaming Expo runs concurrently with the Long Island Tabletop Gaming Expo. I didn’t walk through the section on Saturday, but I made up for it when I walked in yesterday:

John brought his R2-D2 from the Tabletop area to the vendor hall:

After John delighted kids with his astromech droid…

I asked if he could pose for a pic. He obliged:

When I finished shopping from vendors on Saturday, I thought that was it. But I wanted more, and got more yesterday morning before the one panel I planned on attending: Leonard Herman and John Hancock, the latter of whom I saw with a couple of the vendors I bought from.

Leonard and John covered many topics in their 11AM panel:

Their backstories, how they met, video game history, Leonard’s history books (such as the latest, Phoenix IV: The History of the Videogame Industry), and Leonard’s stories about Ralph Baer and Ted Dabney.

It ended with a lengthy Q&A.

I learned so much during the panel. Afterward, I bought Leonard’s book from one of the vendors and he signed it for me.

To Mike,

Best Wishes

Leonard Herman

I look forward to reading Phoenix IV from cover to cover, no matter how long it takes.

That counts as one of my pickups, which I photographed when I got home around 1:45:

As for the games I picked up…

Nintendo Entertainment System:

  • Double Dragon
  • Mega Man 3

Nintendo Game Boy:

  • Alleyway

Sega Genesis:

  • Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Sega Saturn:

  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
  • WWF In Your House

Sony PlayStation:

  • Tekken

Sony PlayStation 2:

  • Tekken 4
  • Tekken 5

Nintendo Wii U:

  • Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition

At home, I bought the Action Replay 4M Plus for Saturn, and six more games on eBay: three for Genesis (World of Illusion, Quackshot, Rocket Knight Adventures), two for Saturn (Virtua Fighter Remix, Virtua Fighter 2), and one for N64 (Yoshi’s Story).

I’m so glad I was more involved in the Long Island Retro Gaming Expo this year. Thank you to everyone I met, met again, and bought from. Until next year.

A day on trains and at the 118th U.S. Open June 18, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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I spent 2 1/2 hours with my dad at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Saturday for the third round of the 118th U.S. Open.

It was the fifth time Shinnecock hosted the U.S. Open, and fourth since 1986. Counting this one, my dad has been there every one of the those modern four. This was my second time, having gone in 2004 when Retief Goosen won. It was his second U.S. Open victory. With my grandpa, my dad saw Raymond Floyd win in ’86, and, with his friends, saw Corey Pavin win in ’95.

Getting to and from Shinnecock Hills was an adventure. My mom dropped my dad and I off at the Wantagh Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station at around 10:45 AM. Dad bought our round trip train tickets, which required changing at the Babylon station, the end of that branch of the LIRR. We didn’t have to wait long as an eastbound train arrived while walking up the stairs to the platform. 20 minutes after boarding, we were in Babylon. We followed a few other fans that were bound for Shinnecock to another platform and boarded a Patchogue-bound train at 11:17. Just under an hour later, we were in Patchogue. Unfortunately, the Montauk train that would ultimately take us to Shinnecock wasn’t due to arrive in Patchogue until 1:17.

With an hour to spare, Dad and I walked to a nearby waterfront seafood restaurant, Harbor Crab, that he saw as we pulled into the station.

We both ordered Fish and Chips, which was delicious.

After paying the check and leaving a tip, with 15 minutes left to spare, we headed back to the LIRR station.

It took another hour to get to Shinnecock Hills, but we were finally there:

Dustin Johnson won the U.S. Open two years ago when it was held at Oakmont Country Club:

A monitor showed Dustin Johnson, the 36-hole leader, practicing before his disappointing round of 77 (+7):

I asked Dad to take a picture of me at the course map:

On the way home, I posted an edited version of the pic to Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

My dad and I spent two hours or so at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the third round of this year’s U.S. Open. We spent more time traveling there round trip, though.

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

The iconic clubhouse:

2010 [British] Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay on the 13th green:

The 13th fairway:

Aaron Baddeley and Xander Schauffele:

Tyrrell Hatton’s ball in the 12th fairway:

This year’s Masters champion Patrick Reed after his second shot:

The 15th tee:

Aaron Baddeley after his tee shot:

This is what the leaderboard looked like before dry, windy conditions got the better of the players:

The 16th tee and 5th green:

Bryson DeChambeau’s tee shot:

Hideki Matsuyama’s tee shot:

In the distance on the 5th green are Ian Poulter and Brooks Koepka:

It didn’t occur to me that a day later, Koepka would repeat as champion.

The 17th tee:

The 18th fairway and green:

The main leaderboard:

The grandstand:

Baddeley and Schauffele completing their rounds:

DeChambeau and Matsuyama completing theirs:

Not wanting to get home too late via multiple trains, Dad and I headed for the merchandise tent, where I bought a ticket holder:

Then, we walked back to the LIRR station, a temporary stop during the championship, and waited 15 minutes for the train back to Babylon.

I hope to be at Winged Foot in 2020:

I hope traffic and transit is better in 2026:

Dad suggested Mom pick us up in Babylon rather than wait for a train to Wantagh. She agreed. The train arrived at the temporary station 20 minutes before its scheduled departure. Since the train was full up, it left eight minutes early. Unfortunately, it ended up in Babylon ten minutes late. The railcar my dad and I were in was standing room only. We found seats, but other passengers stood in front of us until seats became available at Mastic-Shirley. Chatter and loud young girls dominated the ride, and reached a crescendo when one girl, bless her heart, had a meltdown one stop from Babylon.

In all, Dad and I spent 3 1/2 hours traveling to Shinnecock Hills, an hour and a half traveling from there to Babylon, and about 20 minutes in Mom’s SUV back home. Though we spent less time at Shinnecock, it was still a great experience, especially considering Brooks Koepka ultimately won the next day.

The New York Metro Area has two more years of local majors. Next May, the PGA Championship will be at Bethpage Black Golf Course in Bethpage State Park – the first year its held in May – and, as seen earlier, the U.S. Open comes to Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck in June 2020. I hope to be at both.

For now, I’ll leave you with media links. While aggregating them, I noticed that the USGA was heavily criticized for their conduct during this year’s U.S. Open, but I chose not to look at those.

U.S. Open website:
118th U.S. Open Sights and Sounds: A Look Back at a Great Week
Final Round: Highlights Down the Stretch
Brooks Koepka’s 68 in less than 3 minutes

Fox Sports:
Brooks Koepka on winning the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Brooks Koepka shoots 2-under to win the U.S. Open for the second year in a row
Joe Buck and Paul Azinger wrap up the 2018 U.S. Open

Newsday (Newsday or Optimum subscription required for all links):
Fans say attending U.S. Open a treat on Father’s Day
Mark Herrmann: Repeating at U.S. Open puts Brooks Koepka in elite group
Curtis Strange welcomes Brooks Koepka into back-to-back club
Long Island crowd gives Phil Mickelson a mulligan
Brooks Koepka wins, becomes seventh player to repeat as champion
LIRR: More than 78,000 passenger trips to, from U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

Golf Channel:
Back to back: Koepka wins second U.S. Open
Repeat U.S. Open win gives Koepka credit he deserves
Best Father’s Day ever: Bob Koepka soaks in son’s victory
Koepka: ‘It is much more gratifying the second time’
Koepka’s caddie pushed him to ‘keep plugging away’
Koepka’s Father’s Day gifts … just U.S. Open trophies
U.S. Open purse payout: Koepka clears $2 million

8/13 UPDATE: Koepka went on to win the 100th PGA Championship yesterday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, coincidentally in his 100th career start. He is the fifth golfer to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year. The first four were Gene Sarazen in 1922, Ben Hogan in 1948, Jack Nicklaus in 1980, and Tiger Woods in 2000. Tiger shot a final round 64, finishing two shots back. He congratulated Koepka by the clubhouse afterward.