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Instrumental Invasion, 4/28/21 April 29, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Rock, Travel, Video.
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The April 28, 2021, Instrumental Invasion on WCWP was recorded over four days. One segment was recorded per day on March 23 (at home) and 24 (away on my laptop), and two per day on the 25th and 26th, both at home.

The playlist was created on March 21 and annotated on the 22nd, after which the script was drafted. While drafting, I forgot to include a tidbit about David Benoit‘s cover of “Your Song” by Elton John. The original came out in David’s last year of high school and he’s been a fan of Elton ever since. I added that tidbit in a March 27 pickup.

There were plenty more tidbits to go around, including one that required a pickup to make clear I was saying “funky” and not some other word. The personal tidbits are true and I have photographic evidence. Here I am in Florida at Christmastime in 1992, possibly the day that Cedar Walton‘s Manhattan Afternoon was recorded:

And this was taken during that trip on March 28, 2004, wherein I listened to “Expression” by Joyce Cooling and other songs on This Girl’s Got to Play:

One tidbit, however, was cut for time in the first segment:

Here is the cover of “Palladium” by Weather Report that I recommended in the outtake:

As for what aired, click here to download the aircheck MP3 or listen below:

February 18-19 winter storm February 21, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Weather.
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After an unexpected quick inch of snow last Wednesday night into Thursday, we lucked out with the next few storms. They were either next to nothing or mild and rainy. Plenty of melting occurred with the mild rain this Monday night into Tuesday.

Our good fortune ended Thursday with a two-day winter storm, but snow accumulation was minimal: four inches on Thursday and two on Friday, along with a coating of sleet.

Here’s a photographic timeline, starting at 7:50 AM Thursday:

10:27 AM:

12:47 PM:

2:16 PM:

4:21 PM:

5:30 PM, after my dad Bill used the snow blower:

6:17 PM:

There was no new accumulation when I woke up Friday morning. I took the first photo of the day at 8:02 AM:

About ten minutes later, sleet was falling:

10:20 AM, after shoveling:

12:41 PM, with new snow accumulation:

2:41 PM, after additional shoveling:

5:10 PM:

One more shot of snow came through as it got colder, seen at 7:44 PM:

I took the last photo at 8:58 PM:

I didn’t bother shoveling the next morning. I just let the sun do its thing.

It doesn’t appear any measurable snow is coming anytime soon. If that changes, I’ll post about it.

February 7 snowstorm February 8, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Football, Media, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, TV, Weather.
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Hours before Super Bowl LV, a fast-moving snowstorm gave us 5 inches of wet snow.

The forecast called for snow to start before dawn, but it hadn’t started when I first looked out the window at 7:07 AM:

By the time I returned to my room at 10:13 after running on the treadmill, snow had begun:

12:02 PM:

The heaviest snow was in progress at 1:18:

2:49:

4:07:

My dad Bill took these backyard photos from the back door at 4:54 while the snow was winding down:

And this one on the front porch a few minutes later:

I took these:

By 5:07, snow blowing had commenced:

Along the way, the clouds broke:

Then, the two of us shoveled. I was finished by 5:40 and took these photos:

Meanwhile, Dad walked through the backyard for this batch of photos:

Dinner and Super Bowl LV awaited. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 31-9. (Links: NFL, ESPN, Tampa Bay Times)

I took one more photo outside my bedroom window at 10:38, as CBS‘s post-game show was wrapping up:

The next round of snow is a quick inch or two on Tuesday, followed by a storm that could last as long as last week’s, albeit with less accumulation. We’ll see.

January 31-February 2 snowstorm February 3, 2021

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Film, News, Personal, Photography, Radio, Weather.
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I said in the last winter storm post that “there will be storms this winter.” It took until the last hours of January for the next storm to come, lasting nearly two days and dropping 17 inches of snow.

The first snowflakes fell at around 8PM on Sunday, January 31. I took this photo at 8:05 before going to bed:

After a broken eight hours of sleep, I was up for the day, taking this photo at 6:28 AM on Monday, February 1:

8:25 AM:

Following my morning workout, and a botched attempt at treadmill running, I returned to my room, taking these photos at 9:13:

Snowflakes were thicker at 9:53:

In the next few hours, I began watching The Goonies on Blu-ray, along with special features, and worked on the March 10 Instrumental Invasion playlist. I took a break at 12:43 PM for the next photographic update:

Any photo of the backyard was risky, as the wind gusted out of the northeast (it was a nor’easter, after all):

The snow seemed to be tapering off by 1:53, so I attempted to shovel part of the driveway after taking another batch of photos:

Before photo:

I measured 15 inches of snow on the lawn with a wooden 18-inch ruler.

After photos, 58 minutes later (2:54 PM):

For the second storm in a row, I initially felt I had wasted my time shoveling. Snow re-intensified as I shoveled and it re-accumulated. My goal was to shovel a path from my dad Bill’s car on the side of the driveway to the front door. But when he came home around 4:00, he had to park in the road. The snow I had left for the snow blower to get was too high. I wasn’t sure if he’d use the blower right away, but work began at 4:25:

At one point, Dad let me try out the snow blower. I asked my mom Lisa to capture the moment:

Working around the visible license plate, here is my edit of Mom’s video:

Having gotten the hang of it, I let Dad finish up:

It took 30 minutes to clear all that snow. Now, Dad was able to move his car into the driveway:

I took photos these at 5:13, after ten minutes of touch-up shoveling:

Unfortunately, the snow was still not over. Another two inches would fall by the early morning hours of Tuesday, February 2. I took this last photo of the 1st at 6:46, shortly before an early bedtime:

I got a broken 8 1/2 hours of sleep this time and woke up at 4:59 AM. Two minutes later…:

After watching more of The Goonies, I decided it was time for one last touch-up at 6AM. I used a 12-inch ruler to measure the additional snowfall in the driveway: 2 inches, making for 17 in all. It must have taken half an hour to shovel the driveway and then another half-hour to shovel the sidewalk up to the property line.

Starting at 7:04, I captured the after photos:

Unfortunately, a plow came through within the hour, which undid my edge work.

I took indoor photos at 7:10:

My Tuesday proceeded from there. Wet snow showers came in the afternoon, but didn’t accumulate. I did a little more shoveling around 4:00, taking this indoor photo at 4:37:

Snow showers persisted after sunset when temperatures were back below freezing. That meant the snow stuck to the ground, as seen at 7:18:

I initially tried to shovel the new accumulation on the morning of Wednesday, February 3, but it was merely a coating, so I left it.

Tuesday was also Groundhog Day, and if you’re wondering, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. That means six more weeks of winter and more storms to photograph. The next one is expected on Super Bowl Sunday. Until then.

December 16-17 winter storm December 19, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Radio, Technology, Weather.
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It had been nearly three years since I last encountered a major winter storm in the winter, and less than that since a major storm that hit in early spring. I didn’t have to shovel snow in the winters of 2018-19 or 2019-20, and the snow blower that my dad Bill bought after the January 2018 blizzard remained in the garage. As winter 2020-21 approached, that blower would finally be put to use. While checking the weather on my Weather Underground app on December 12, I saw that up to a foot of snow was forecast for the 16th. Forecasts are variable, especially days in advance, but I prepared myself for shoveling and blowing.

We ended up with a mix of snow, sleet, and wet snow between mid-afternoon Wednesday (the 16th) through early afternoon Thursday (the 17th), leaving about six inches of accumulation.

Here is a photographic timeline starting at 3:41 Wednesday:

5:05 PM:

7:36 PM:

I tried to go to sleep around 8:00, sleeping intermittently overnight.

I was up at 2:20 AM Thursday, shortly after checking the aircheck of the 9PM Instrumental Invasion, relieved that the end wasn’t cut off in automation. Here was the view from my window at that time:

After another 2 1/2 hours of sleep, I was up at 5:40 AM to take this shot:

7:55 AM:

I kept the window closed for backyard shots starting here:

9:35 AM:

The sun peaked out at 9:54:

11:08 AM, before shoveling and snow blowing:

The view from the kitchen window:

Front door:

While I shoveled, Dad ran the snow blower:

He asked if I wanted to try, but I declined.

Unfortunately, snow continued to fall as I shoveled and Dad used the snow blower. After a shower, I noticed the skies had cleared, so I attempted to shovel again after the next few photos at 12:16 PM:

The window is open again:

The snow was too dense for me to shovel entirely, so I gave up after about 20 minutes. I felt defeated, and said as much on Facebook, but was reassured by my friends and Dad. These photos were taken at 12:44 PM:

I took what I thought would be the last photo at 1:03 after Dad left for his office (he cleared off his car before he left):

When I noticed melting at 2:45, I decided to take more photos:

This is as far as I could shovel:

I took still another photo at 4:48 PM after Dad came home and my mom Lisa cleared off her car:

I’m hoping that the next winter storms are all snow and easier to shovel. I have no doubt in mind that there will be storms this winter, and my dad and I will be ready for them.

Attending the 2020 U.S. Open in spirit; how I got through the COVID-19 lockdown September 22, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Dogs, Golf, Health, Internet, Media, Music, New Age, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Tennis, Travel, TV, Video, Video Games.
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2020 would have been the third year in a row I attended a PGA Tour major championship held in the New York metropolitan area and fourth year in the last five. In 2016, I traveled to Baltusrol Golf Club for the second round of the PGA Championship. In 2018, I was briefly at Shinnecock Hills for the third round of the U.S. Open. And last year, I witnessed the final round of the PGA at Bethpage Black Golf Course, the third time a major had been held there.

This year, the U.S. Open was to return to New York in June, as usual, to be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck. As my dad and I had done in 2002 and 2018, we opted to attend the third round so that he could watch at home on Father’s Day. We attended the final round the last time the championship was at Winged Foot in 2006. We were on the periphery of Phil Mickelson‘s collapse on the final hole. So many people stood by the 18th green that we could only hear the undoing. It was a depressing walk to the bus terminal and ride back to general parking at Orchard Beach in the Bronx.

Shortly after Dad bought the 2020 third round tickets in December, I bought a polo shirt that I would proudly don as I walked Winged Foot’s West Course. I had visions of aerial shots of the course along and ground level views of flags flying in the breeze while Brian Tyler‘s epic theme for Fox SportsUSGA coverage – “Triumph of the Spirit” – danced through my head.

Meanwhile, an insidious disease was spreading its way around the world. By March, Coronavirus Disease 2019 – also known as COVID-19 and the coronavirus – had reached the United States. State and local governments put residents on lockdown. Events were canceled or postponed left and right. Sports were put on hold indefinitely.

It was a sudden, sharp, and scary change that was very hard for me to bear. I was so scared and paranoid that I avoided watching or reading the news. It was torture passing by the den as my parents watched New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily briefings. His voice was the last thing I wanted to hear as it served as a harsh reality check. Social media wasn’t any better. Every day, another public figure became a casualty. Some of my friends lost their friends. My dad lost two of his friends.

From March to June, I kept busy at home. I retouched photo scans, removing dust and scratches, and adjusting contrast and color. While I worked, I listened to music or to interview podcasts that didn’t reference the news. Once I landed a weekly radio show at WCWP, recording and producing the shows became another preoccupation. In my downtime, I watched videos on the various YouTube channels I subscribe to, learning about technology and video games. I also watched traditional TV programming: sitcoms like Last Man Standing and Man with a Plan, and the documentary miniseries The Last Dance, about the Chicago Bulls championship dynasty in the 1990s. I worked out religiously and watched what I ate. I bought groceries and other necessities online.

On social media, I limited my Facebook posts to treadmill running milestones, post-radio show blog posts, and photos from the past on Throwback Thursday (#TBT), Flashback Friday (#FBF) or #MemoryMonday. Instagram had some of those photos from the past, but I also began the Cocoa Photo Series, with new entries posted every two to three days. It’s photos of my late Chocolate Labrador from his puppy days in 1998 through Christmas 2006. Here’s an example:

As states and localities were phased back to somewhat normal, I left my house more often, disposable mask in hand when walking through the neighborhood and covering my face when necessary, especially when shopping. I still buy some things online, though.

For a few months now, I’ve begun to follow various dog accounts on Instagram, mostly for Labrador Retrievers. Watching dogs grow up is just what I need in these difficult times.

This concludes the COVID-19 portion of the post.

In April, I learned that three of the four PGA Tour majors were rescheduled for later in the year, with the [British] Open Championship being canceled outright. The U.S. Open was rescheduled for September 17 to 20, the first time the event was in September since 1913. (This meant it would occur a week after the conclusion of the tennis US Open, sans periods, held south of Winged Foot within the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. For the record, Naomi Osaka won the women’s singles title for the second time in three years while Dominic Thiem won for the men, his first grand slam title.)

Assuming spectators would be allowed, I would be attending the third round of the U.S. Open on September 19. I put the date in my iPhone calendar and hoped that fans got the okay to attend. On July 29, access was denied. I felt like I had wasted my money on a shirt for an event I couldn’t even see in person. At least Dad got refunded for the tickets.

Indeed, to date, I’ve only worn it once after the above Instagram post. That one time was on September 10, a week before the first round. It was for a photo project that would put myself at Winged Foot in spirit.

I connected my Nikon D5500 to a tripod, attached a remote, and photographed myself in front of a blank spot on my bedroom wall, clad in what I would have worn to the third round:

The hat is from 2006 and the ticket holder is from 2018.

Then, I applied an effect to make it seem like I was outside in the sun:

The third step was to combine the image with a shot of Winged Foot I found on Google:

I used the magic wand tool to highlight the wall so I could delete it, leaving only myself. Then, I copied and pasted what was left over the Winged Foot image. After initially placing myself in the center of the image, I cropped it down and re-centered myself. This is the end result:

For publicity’s sake, I made sure to note it was a “fake photo.” I posted to Facebook upon completion on the 10th and to Instagram on the morning of the 19th:

Fall conditions were in effect in the area, which meant I’d have a jacket on if I was truly in person, as I did last year at the PGA:

I watched all four rounds of the U.S. Open on TV like everyone else, but not on FS1 and Fox. The rescheduling put Fox in a bind as they were committed to college football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday. The only solution was to relinquish their USGA rights back to NBC Sports, which they did on June 29. Starting this year, Thursdays and Fridays would be seen on Golf Channel with weekend coverage on NBC. This also meant the previous U.S. Open theme, “In Celebration of Man” by Yanni (pardon the audio quality), made its return. (A bagpipe-infused version was made for Open Championship coverage, as heard in 2016.)

At the end of 72 holes, Bryson DeChambeau was the 120th United States Open champion. He was the only player to shoot under par in the final round and the only player under par for the championship. Bryson joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods among players to win an NCAA individual title, the U.S. Amateur, and the U.S. Open. It was his first career major victory and I was very glad for him.

The end result motivated me to include the polo shirt in my regular rotation, just as I do with shirts for most of the other tournaments I’ve attended.

The next major to be held in the New York metropolitan area comes in May 2022 when the PGA Championship is held at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey. I hope the world is post-pandemic by then so I can be there in person. (Other future sites can be found here.)

1/11/21 UPDATE: The 2022 PGA has been pulled from Trump National Bedminster due to the storming of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday by some of the outgoing president’s supporters. An alternate venue has not been chosen yet. I hope it’s one in the New York metro area as Bedminster would have been.

2/4/21 UPDATE: The PGA announced their replacement last week, which I didn’t find out until this morning. It’s far removed from the New York metro area: Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They were originally scheduled to host the PGA in 2030, which means a new venue will have to be picked for then. The next major in the New York metro area will be the 2026 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.

I’ll leave you with video and additional articles related to the final round of the 120th U.S. Open.

VIDEO:
John Pak finishes as low amateur
Final round top shots
Final round extended highlights
Bryson DeChambeau, every televised shot
2020 U.S. Open top shots
Every televised shot from DeChambeau’s victory (all rounds)
Trophy presentation
Press conference
Bryson with Todd Lewis on Live from the U.S. Open
Bryson with Todd Lewis on Morning Drive

ARTICLES:
Will Gray, Golf Channel: Bryson DeChambeau cruises to U.S. Open win for first major title
Michael Bamberger, Golf.com: Victory & Validation: Bryson DeChambeau won the U.S. Open on his own terms
Mike Dougherty, Rockland/Westchester Journal News: Bryson DeChambeau vindicated after dominant finish at Winged Foot
Bill Pennington, The New York Times: Bryson DeChambeau wins U.S. Open his way: in commanding fashion
Mark Cannizaro, New York Post: Bryson DeChambeau runs away with U.S. Open for first major title
Greg Logan, Newsday: Bryson DeChambeau powers his way to his first major at Winged Foot

Guest reading at my old elementary school: Year 5 March 5, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Books, Education, Personal, Photography.
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Other guest reading posts: 20152016, 2017, 2018

Monday simultaneously marked my fifth National Read Across America Day at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport (where it’s known as Guest Reader Day), and the fifth anniversary of my debut.

I was unable to attend last year as I was in South Florida for my cousin’s wedding, but Meghan Carney allowed me to read to her class a month and a half later.

Unfortunately, Lori Downing, the teacher who first invited me to be a guest reader five years ago, couldn’t make it this year due to a death in the family. She graciously lent me her classroom as my home base for the day. I hung out there between reading sessions.

This year also had a theme: Be Kind, based on Pat Zietlow Miller’s book of the same name. The day began with an assembly for students in the cafetorium (cafeteria/auditorium), hosted by Gina Newcombe. There were separate assemblies for kindergarten through second grade, and for third and fourth graders. I attended the first assembly.

An introductory video featured messages from faculty – including principal Amanda Muldowney and assistant principal Amy Lederer – and slides, the latter of which can be seen here:

Next, Lisa Eisenberg presented a few scenarios based on book excerpts. They were acted out by Larraine Brown, Stephanie Huggard, George DiGiovanni, and Wendy Connelly. Each scenario had an unkind and kind version, prefaced by Mrs. Eisenberg.

After the first assembly, I returned to Mrs. Downing’s room. I hadn’t received the schedule yet, so I didn’t know who I’d be reading to or when. Mrs. Huggard provided the schedule once the second assembly was over.

In the next five hours, I read ten books to six classes (denoted in parentheses), mostly by Dr. Seuss:

Fox in Socks, my last book of the day, was quite a workout. It was an epic, riddled with tongue twisters.

The three non-Dr. Seuss books were:

There was mutual admiration. The students and faculty love me and I love them back. I’m grateful for the opportunity every year to act out the books I read, putting smiles on everyone’s faces. Thank you all.

Until next year, I’ll leave you with a collage of candid photos all the teachers took as I read:

Lisa Hilton at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall: The one I almost saw January 9, 2020

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, Weather.
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Successful trips to Lisa Hilton performances: June 2011January 2014January 2015January 2016, January 2018, January 2019

This site has been quiet since my recap of Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber just before Christmas. I would have had a recap of Lisa Hilton‘s annual Weill Recital Hall show on January 9, but circumstances beyond my control before showtime prevented me from seeing it. It was very disappointing. The worst part is I began drafting the recap in advance. I’ve been sitting on the draft for weeks, opting not to delete it. Now, you get to see how the recap would have gone:

Thursday marked the sixth time in the last seven years that I saw Lisa Hilton and Friends perform at Carnegie Hall‘s Weill Recital Hall.

It was my second show in three weeks, having seen Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber at The Iridium on December 19. That was a mainly electric performance. Lisa and her friends performed acoustically in Weill Recital Hall’s natural sound system.

Lisa’s friends were JD Allen on tenor saxophone, Luques Curtis on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

Together, they mostly played music from Lisa’s latest album, Chalkboard Destiny. The album’s message is that we don’t have predetermined fates. We can make our own paths. That doesn’t keep me from regretting the paths I haven’t taken in my life, but I digress.

If I only knew the words I wrote would ring true that night.

It was cold on the platform at Wantagh’s LIRR station, but bearable with no wind. The 5:55 train was on time and my section of the railcar was quiet. I arrived at Penn Station at 6:56. I wasn’t going to attempt subway trains from Woodside this time. …

The show began at 8:??. As I said, Lisa, JD, Luques, and Rudy mostly played music from Chalkboard Destiny, except where noted:

(Describe songs)

After the show, I gathered my belongings and met Lisa in the lobby where we caught up with each other and posed for our usual pic:

“Our usual pic” would have gone here.

I took the C train back to Penn Station and the 10:?? Babylon train back to Wantagh.

That’s as far as the draft went. I would have added to it on Friday and published it Saturday, but my chalkboard destiny didn’t call for that.

The impetus for bringing this draft to light is a newsletter Lisa e-mailed on Monday night. The subject was “Behind the scenes at Carnegie Hall.” It led with this photo by professional photographer Ryan Nava:

Here’s what followed:

Are you curious what it’s like to perform at Carnegie Hall?

One thing for sure is that it was a LOT easier the sixth time than it was the first time, especially with an enthusiastic audience, so this year was my favorite year so far. The fact that I had friends JD, Luques, and Rudy all there this year just warmed my heart – we really have been playing together a while and it’s just getting better for us.

OK, back to the question, what is it like to play there? Every room has a unique energy, as well as advantages and disadvantages – but these days, I only perform in rooms that I like. Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall has perfect acoustics and an amazing 9′ Steinway D, so that’s way up there in the advantages category for a pianist, of course, since I only get to play a piano like that maybe 2-3 times a year at best. Just imagine my favorite thing to do – playing the piano – on one of the finest instruments in the entire country. It’s like a Ferrari to me – a high-performance vehicle – that’s what it’s like! You can see the piano practically overwhelms the stage – it’s huge – the big “engine” has longer strings with the ability for a greater range of sound, as well as dynamics. So, I get to enjoy the thrill of the sonic beauty, the easy “touch” which allows quickness and clarity, but I also try and “milk” the room and piano with contrast in volume – playing very, very softly as well as really pretty loud, all magnified naturally by the design of the room, so no microphones are needed. That’s definitely cool. I also like that it’s a “treat” for most of us to go to Carnegie Hall, so there are positive expectations with the audience. The room and stage are very pretty and live up to those expectations – lots of chandeliers all around – and I like being a part of a special experience. As an artist, I like playing up to those advantages – so yes, the room is inspiring.

OK, what’s it like to play Carnegie Hall?

It’s absolutely soooo much fun! We had an awesome time! I think we’ll be back January 10, 2021!

That would be a Saturday, a first for Lisa at Weill.

Below Lisa’s commentary was a collage of Ryan Nava’s photography with the Chalkboard Destiny artwork in the center:

I hope I’m able to redeem myself next year. Redemption is always sweet. Thank you to Lisa, not just for your explanatory newsletter, but for your understanding.

I’ll conclude this post with last year’s “usual pic”:

11/18 UPDATE: There will be no redemption in 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Carnegie Hall canceled the show (per Lisa’s latest blog post).

Mike Stern & Jeff Lorber Fusion at The Iridium December 22, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Theatre, Travel, Weather.
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I made my fourth trip to The Iridium Jazz Club on Thursday night to see Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber Fusion perform. Not only was it the last show of their four-night engagement at The Iridium, but also the last show of their tour.

I bought my preferred seating ticket on October 1, four days after the release of Eleven, Mike and Jeff’s collaborative album. Before Thursday, I had seen Jeff, a keyboardist, and his Fusion bandmate Jimmy Haslip, bass, three times each. For Jeff, my first time was the first night of Smooth Jazz for Scholars in 2014, followed two months later by the Fusion’s appearance at Blue Note, and 19 months after that, I saw them at Birdland. Obviously, two of the three times I’d seen Jimmy was those two Jeff Lorber Fusion shows, but I also saw him with Yellowjackets in 2006. (He left the band about five years later.)

This was my first time seeing Mike Stern, as well as his wife Leni (“Lainie”), also a guitarist, and drummer Dennis Chambers.

It was very cold as I stood on the platform at Wantagh LIRR station just before 6:00, and the gusty winds didn’t help. I was only up there a few minutes because the ticket office was unlocked, which was only slightly warmer, but it was a tough few minutes.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eleven, which I’ve listened to several times since September 27, including during the train ride to Penn Station.

Once at Penn, I took the E train to 50th Street. The station let out at 51st and 8th Avenue, so I had to walk a block east to Broadway to get to The Iridium. It was 7:05 when I arrived.

I initially stood on a small line outside the entrance, not realizing that preferred seating ticket holders could go in before 7:30. When one such ticket holder showed up, I acknowledged my mistake and walked down the stairs inside where ticket holders were let in one at a time. Unfortunately, there was a draft from the front door constantly opening and closing. It was a relief once I entered the venue itself.

The host seated me at a table by the stage, but I felt uncomfortable with the lack of space between chairs. So, I was reseated at a small table facing the left side of the stage that had two chairs on opposite sides. That was much better.

From the menu, I picked Pasta Bolognese which came with a couple of slices of bread; delicious.

The TVs cycled through upcoming bands until 8:30 arrived. Showtime.

The energetic and gregarious Mike Stern led the way on guitar:

Jeff Lorber played a pair of Yamaha Montage 8 synthesizers:

Jimmy Haslip on bass:

I color corrected Jimmy’s pictures because they were too blue and red.

Dennis Chambers on drums:

…and for seven of the nine songs, Leni Stern, Mike’s wife, on additional guitars. She played ngoni on the first tune, “Like a Thief” from her Sabani album, which she also sang:

…and electric guitar:

The happy couple:

Five of the nine songs in the set were from Eleven:

  • Motor City
  • Jones Street
  • Nu Som
  • Runner
  • Slow Change

Wide shots from the end of “Motor City”:

The end of “Jones Street”:

“Slow Change,” the finale, was my favorite on the album and my favorite Thursday night, ending in an extended jam:

The end of the song:

Mike asked if we wanted one more. Of course we did.

The encore was a Jimi Hendrix cover sung by Mike – “Look Over Yonder”:

With that, the set and the tour were complete.

Before bundling up for the trek back to Penn Station, I met and greeted Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber. I spoke to Jeff more than Mike, reminiscing about the last time I saw the Fusion play in 2016 with Andy Snitzer on saxophone and Lionel Cordew on drums. We talked about what they were up to lately. Lionel was in the audience for one of Wednesday’s sets. I didn’t get to say much to Mike before we posed for a picture:

Mike didn’t realize I wanted both of them in the shot, but I’m satisfied with how it came out.

Just as I was about to leave, I noticed Jimmy Haslip walk by. We spoke briefly and posed for a pic:

The set ran longer than I thought it would, so I didn’t have much time to get to Penn Station for the 10:45 train to Babylon, which would arrive in Wantagh an hour later. Not wanting to look for a subway line to ride to Penn, I ran and walked 17 blocks. I was on the train with a minute to spare. Thanks to the double whammy of two shows at Madison Square Garden – Andrea Bocelli in the arena and Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Twas the Night Before in the Hulu Theater – the train was standing room only! Not a single car offered relief. I learned this from one of the passengers I stood next to in the car. The situation was initially frustrating, but everyone in my end of the car bonded through conversation about where they’d been, which led to other topics. Once the train reached Rockville Centre, the crowd began to thin. 15 minutes later, I was in Wantagh. By midnight, I was home in bed.

I had a wonderful time. Thanks to Mike, Jeff, Leni, Jimmy, and Dennis for 90 minutes of musical bliss.

Whether or not you’ve seen Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber Fusion in person, Eleven is a must. It even has a horn section.

Ryan and Mike at LIU Post, Teddy and Abe on exhibit October 30, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Art, Education, History, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Technology, Travel, TV, Video.
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I concluded my Monday post this way:

With a pair of loose ends successfully tied up, it’s on to the next post, whenever that may come.

It turns out you only had to wait two days for the next post. The focus this time is another trip to LIU Post, including a stroll down memory lane as I recall my undergrad years.

I walked the campus with my friend, Ryan Grabow, who graduated with me in 2004:

I also had a chance encounter with another friend of mine, LIU Post artist-in-residence Dan Christoffel, leading to a tour of his latest art exhibit. More on that later.

For many years after graduating, Ryan Grabow had been living in Fort Myers, Florida, where he directed newscasts for two TV stations owned by Waterman Broadcasting. This year, he decided to look for the same position upstate in Orlando. He now directs the morning newscast at WOFL-TV, FOX 35 Orlando.

My trip back to LIU Post with Ryan, one week removed from Homecoming Weekend, was arranged in a text message conversation we struck up during Instrumental Invasion on Friday, October 18, after I played a song by the Rippingtons. As I wrote in my comprehensive recap:

… [M]y friend Ryan Grabow texted me after I played “Silver Arrows” by the Rippingtons. When he would appear on The Mike Chimeri Show 15 years ago, he’d always say “a ripping good time” whenever I played a Ripps song. Coincidentally, the next song I played was “Dear Friend” by Patrick Bradley, a fitting title.

You can watch the aircheck here:

Ryan told me he was driving up to New York for a week-long vacation and chose Monday the 28th as our day to hang out. He would pick me up at 10AM.

This was our first time at Post together in two years. I brought along my Nikon D5500 camera and the two CDs I made to alternate between for my show. As we listened to the music on the ride to Brookville, we told one another what we’d been up to lately and I provided commentary on what was happening in my show as each song played on the CDs.

Once we arrived on campus, Ryan acknowledged the change in color on the signs, which I had first seen ten days earlier and photographed a day later. Case in point:

He quipped that the speed bumps hadn’t changed. The reference was a running gag that originated with a TV production project: “Speed control: good idea or just plain nuts?”:

Naturally, our first stop after parking was WCWP, where we spoke to receptionist Janine Celauro, my mother Lisa’s bowling teammate, and Dan Cox, Director of Broadcasting.

Ryan’s next task was going to the bursar to update his alumni contact information. So, we walked north to Kumble Hall, passing signs with alumni names on them. One of them was Fred Gaudelli:

Fred is the executive producer of NBC’s Sunday Night Football and was inducted into the WCWP Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Another was Brian Kilmeade:

Brian, a Massapequa native, co-hosts Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel, hosts The Brian Kilmeade Show on Fox News Radio, and has authored a handful of books about American history. His latest is called Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History.

Passing Brian’s name reminded Ryan that he helps set up remote guests for Fox & Friends and other national Fox broadcasts for the aforementioned Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, and Fox Sports 1.

I photographed Kumble’s exterior before we walked inside:

Kumble was a place I visited when meeting with my academic advisor each semester. My aunt Robin Rose was an advisor in the 1990s and early 2000s, which is how I ended up at what was then C.W. Post. Her presence was invaluable. It helped that she knew so many faculty, which made things easier for me in my first two years. It turned out the place I had the most success, WCWP, didn’t require her connections.

The bursar’s office directed us to the Alumni & Employer Engagement building, which housed the campus bookstore while Ryan and I were students.

On the way, we stopped in the Crafts Center, home to ceramics:

Professor Frank Olt was among the faculty that was connected with Aunt Robin and she recommended one of his courses to me in my second semester when I switched out of photography. I couldn’t handle film development or manually setting aperture and F-stop. It was overwhelming. I thrived in ceramics, sculpting many works that semester. I would sculpt more works in the spring of 2002, after switching out of an intimidating journalism course, and fall of 2003, the only time the course was my first choice. Via grainy digital camera photos from 2003, here are a few of my works:

I don’t know what happened to those, but here is what I was able to find in my house this morning, starting with the first thing I ever made in 2000:

I called it “Hertz Fieldhouse” because I was inspired by Conseco Fieldhouse, the recently-opened arena in Indianapolis. Since I made an outdoor stadium, I should have just called “Hertz Field.”

Lastly, a piece I photographed on film in April 2000:

I hadn’t visited Frank Olt in years – he wasn’t there when Ryan and I walked the campus in 2017 – so we were both happy to see each other. I told him about the jazz shows I had been to recently: the aforementioned Rippingtons in March, David Benoit in June, and the Bob James Trio last November. I forgot to tell him about seeing John Scofield two weeks after Bob.

Frank and I posed for a picture as he sat at a pottery wheel:

I’m so glad to know Frank, and to have known his colleague Linda Marbach while she was a professor.

This was Linda in April 2000 with graduate student Ji-Hyun:

Frank directed me and Ryan to the back room where Dan Christoffel was situated. I hadn’t seen him since he attended his friend and fellow artist Charlie Fillizola’s exhibit at Wantagh Public Library in 2013; six years and two days before Monday, in fact. Dan told us that he was about to present his latest exhibit in the Steinberg Museum of Art on the lower level of the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library. Ryan would have to wait before updating his alumni contact info. Luckily, he didn’t mind.

Dan spoke to an audience of LIU Post art majors (at least, I think that’s what they were):

Shortly after Ryan and I came in, Dan had us introduce ourselves.

Here are some of Dan’s works, starting with Now He Belongs to the Ages on the Abraham Lincoln wing of the exhibit:

Unfortunately, I can’t make out the title on the left, but the painting on the right is Thinking Beyond:

Justice, a trompe-l’œil (deceive the eye) painting:

Two paintings of Walt Whitman: Oh captain, my Captain, inspired by Whitman’s poem after Lincoln’s assassination:

Walt Whitman in His Prime:

On to the Theodore Roosevelt wing:

In his deepest hour:

Colonel Roosevelt:

Sagamore Hill:

Nobel Prize:

Rough Rider:

At the Elk Horn Ranch, Dakota Territory:

1901 – A Very Young President:

A Young Assemblyman:

Fighting the Good Fight:

A portrait of Booker T. Washington to mark a milestone occasion: First Black Man to Have Dinner at the White House:

His Love of Reading:

Little Texas:

T.R. – His Wife and Mother Died on the Same Day; He Went out West to Deal with His Deep Grief:

The exhibit concluded with Taking the Bull by the Horns:

A Newsday article on Dan’s artistry:

A picture with Dan before departing:

Thank you, Dan, for inviting us to your exhibit. It was wonderful. I highly recommend the exhibit if you, the reader, will be at LIU Post in the near future.

Ryan and I made our way east to the Alumni & Employer Engagement building:

Leftover from Homecoming:

Ryan was given a notepad to write down his new contact information and that was that.

We took the scenic route back to Hillwood Commons:

Ryan stopped in the Arboretum Walk so I could photograph him with his iPhone for a Facebook post. I also took a photo with my camera:

Ryan has been inside The Doll House, but I never have:

Post Hall:

As an undergrad, the southwest corner of the building was home to the Academic Resource Center. It was my home away from home. I made many friends in the form of fellow students, directors, learning assistants, and annual social work interns. I remain in touch with some of them.

The northeast corner of Hillwood:

Before going up the stairs to the current campus bookstore, which was once home to the museum, we passed a sign that explained the presence of Dan Christoffel’s exhibit:

Once in the bookstore, I planned on buying a sky blue polo shirt that said “Long Island University,” convinced to buy one after seeing Jeff Kroll (right) and Neil Marks (left) sporting them during the Homecoming game:

I was hoping for a shirt that said “LIU,” but when I initially visited the bookstore ahead of my radio show, it seemed only shirts emblazoned with the full name were available. But seeing Jeff and Neil in the shirts convinced me to buy upon my return with Ryan. On this day, I searched the rack where the shirts hung to look for my size: medium. Once I saw the letter M, I blindly reached for the shirt, and was surprised to find the holy grail: an “LIU” shirt!

Meanwhile, Ryan bought a windbreaker that said “Long Island University,” something to wear on cool winter mornings in Orlando. I’m proudly wearing my “LIU” shirt as I write this post, and it will be part of my warm/hot weather rotation.

We made one more stop at WCWP to say goodbye to Dan Cox and Janine Celauro. I had Janine take our picture:

Coincidentally, our friend Bernie Bernard was on the display behind us.

Ryan planned on stopping at Wendy’s on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale, but it was closed for renovations. So, we proceeded to our next stop – Micro Center in Westbury – looking for a place to eat on the way. We settled on Applebee’s in Roosevelt Raceway Center. Inside, besides eating our entrees, we talked about Ryan’s job at FOX 35 Orlando, about former WCWP Director of Operations Joe Manfredi (now at SUNY Old Westbury where he serves as station manager for OWWR), and other things. We walked around Micro Center for 45 minutes, browsing but not buying. Ryan didn’t leave empty-handed, though, buying a few mouse pads.

Ryan was nice enough to take me grocery shopping at the Levittown Stop & Shop, then we hung out at my house for an hour. After talking about a few YouTube channels in the car, he recommended the channel Technology Connections. I chose a couple of videos to watch on the CED (Capacitance Electronic Disc). (A third video on the subject was released yesterday with a fourth still to come.)

After that, we said our goodbyes until his next visit. It was enjoyable 7 1/2 hours.

It’s always great to see you, Ryan. As I said on the air, you’re a dear friend. I hope you don’t mind that I dipped into the archives with the speed bump video.