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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Through his vocoder, keyboardist Bill Heller welcomed the audience:

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

Bandleader Russ Freeman played guitar:

Bill Heller was on his Kurzweil synthesizer:

Brandon Fields on alto saxophone:

…and flute:

Rico Belled on bass:

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

“Dave Karasony on drums!”:

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

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

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

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

5. Morocco
Originally heard on: Kilimanjaro (1988)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Encore song #1: “Aspen”:

Encore song #2: “Tourist in Paradise”:

Encore song #3: “Purple Haze”:

‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky!“:

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

Let me stand next to your fire!“:

The set was complete.

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

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

Road signs in South Florida March 7, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Personal, Photography, Travel.
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I recently spent six days in South Florida for my cousin David’s wedding to Talia in Key Biscayne. There was plenty of travel involved, which meant I saw road signs I hadn’t seen in a decade or ever.

I photographed along Interstate 95, 195, and 595, the Sawgrass Expressway (FL 869), A1A, and other state roads, and up and down South Miami Avenue and SW 1st Avenue in Miami’s Brickell neighborhood. Friends and relatives stayed at the Atton Brickell Miami hotel ahead of the wedding.

I also photographed the skyline, clouds, aircraft, landmarks, a Bass Pro Shops location, and of course, the aforementioned friends and relatives. However, with this one exception…

View this post on Instagram

My new cousin-in-law Talia shared one of my pictures from her wedding to David Saturday evening in Key Biscayne. If you know me on Facebook, I have many more pics in an extensive album, as well as a musical slideshow.

A post shared by Mike Chimeri (@mikechimeri) on

…this post is limited to road sign pictures, provided the cars’ license plates aren’t visible. Let’s begin.

I-95 north:

I-95 south:

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I-195 east:

I-595 west:

I-595 east:

Sawgrass Expressway (FL 869) north:

Sawgrass Expressway (FL 869) South:

Florida’s Turnpike south:

A1A north:

Walking through Brickell:

Other signs:

That concludes this photographic journey through the traveling portion of my Florida trip. Congratulations to David and Talia.

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

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

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

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

The other arrival times are unchanged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The correct 7 train arrived at 6:52:

12 minutes later, I stood in Queensboro Plaza:

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

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

I took the southeast corner stairway:

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

It wasn’t long before I reached my destination:

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

The audience was allowed in at 7:30.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Watercolor World

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

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

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

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

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

10. Waterfall (from Cocktails at Eight, 2000)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brrr! Each gust was tough to endure.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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:
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The creator/showrunner is Noelle Stevenson, who was accompanied by Aimee Carrero (Princess Adora/She-Ra), Karen Fukuhara (Glimmer), and Marcus Scribner (Bow).

You can watch the interview here:

I commented on the video:

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

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

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

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

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

Then, I left:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Mike C. in Jazz, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel.
1 comment so far

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.

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.
1 comment so far

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: