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David Benoit at My Father’s Place June 17, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Comedy, Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Travel, TV, Weather.
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Friday night marked my second time in My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel. The first time in March was to see The Rippingtons. This time, I saw one of the musicians from their first album: David Benoit. I saw David as part of Dave Koz’s 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour in December 2017 and at Smooth Jazz for Scholars in April 2018, but hadn’t seen him solo since October 2012, five days before Hurricane Sandy, at The Iridium. Furthermore, it was the first time I’d seen David on Long Island since his Christmas show at IMAC in December 2008, my last time there before it closed the following June.

I arrived at My Father’s Place at 6:30, entering from The Roslyn Hotel lobby and taking the elevator down to the lower level where it and 1221 at MFP are situated. The hostess recommended a table in the center. Considering the way the piano, bass, and drums were arranged, I opted for that table. I ate a cheeseburger and french fries, then waited for 8:00 to come.

Once again, there was an opening comedy act: Sherry Davey:

I was familiar with Sherry’s work, having seen her on an episode of NickMom Night Out, a signature show when Nick Jr. aired a late night programming block for adults. Sherry lives in nearby Port Washington and she incorporated many local references into her set. She also talked about getting remarried, online dating, millennials, her daughters, her nephew, her parents, and living with heart disease. I noticed in her website bio that one of her daughters is autistic. I’m on the spectrum myself, diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome 20 years ago. That could be why I’m so passionate about the music of David Benoit and other artists that I’m into.

After 20 minutes, Sherry’s set was over and it was time for the David Benoit Trio.

David led the trio on piano…:

…with Roberto Vally on bass:

…and Merrick native Dan Schnelle on drums:

Including the encore, the set ran 73 minutes. Here’s what they played:
1. Every Step of the Way
Originally heard on: Every Step of the Way (1988), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

2. Só Danço Samba
Originally heard on: So Nice! (with Marc Antoine) (2017)

3. Siena Strut
Originally heard on: David Benoit & Friends (coming later in 2019)

4. Vernazza
Originally heard on: David Benoit & Friends (coming later in 2019)

5. Kei’s Song
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987), Conversation (2012) (as “Kei’s Song Redux”), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

6. Waiting for Spring
Originally heard on: Waiting for Spring (1989)

7. Dad’s Room
Originally heard on: Professional Dreamer (1999), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

8. If I Were a Bell
Originally heard on: Heroes (2008) (bonus track on Japan release; not worth importing unless you don’t have the U.S. release)

9. Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Originally heard on: Waiting for Spring (1989)

10. Beat Street
Originally heard on: Full Circle (2006)

11. Strange Meadowlark/Blue Rondo a La Turk (Dave Brubeck medley)
Originally heard on: Digits (1983), The Steinway Sessions (2017); Heroes (2008)

12. Freedom at Midnight
Originally heard on: Freedom at Midnight (1987), Earthglow (2010) (subtitled “The Schroeder Variations”)

13 (Encore). Linus and Lucy
Originally heard on: This Side Up (1985), Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! (1989), Here’s to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years! (2000), The Steinway Sessions (2017)

I can’t wait to hear how “Siena Strut” and “Vernazza” sound on the new album when it comes out, likely by September. I will definitely play something from it on my Homecoming Weekend show in October. In the meantime, I’m falling in love with The Steinway Sessions.

Now, for groups of pictures of each band member, starting with David Benoit:

Roberto Vally:

…and Dan Schnelle:

The end of the encore:

I hung out in the lobby for about 15 minutes, mingling with David, Roberto, and Dan. Dan introduced David to his mother and grandparents. That was when I learned he was originally from Merrick. I perked up, telling them I grew up and live nearby in Wantagh.

Roberto asked me to send him the pictures I took of him, which I did on Saturday, including this one:

Two guys from the South Shore:

Lastly, me and David:

On the subject of his song “Dad’s Room,” I told him how much I enjoyed “Secret Love” on Waiting for Spring, which was a duet with his father Bob on rhythm electric guitar. He appreciated that, picking up on the story he told during the set of how that album was recorded in one day for budgetary reasons.

I had a great watching David, Roberto, and Dan perform. Thanks to all of you. Thanks also to Sherry Davey for relatable jokes and hilarious impressions.

Witnessing the final round of the 2019 PGA Championship May 21, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Golf, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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For the fourth year in a row, I attended at least one PGA Tour event; and for the third time in the last four years, I attended a round of a major golf tournament. Three years ago, it was the second round of the PGA Championship at Baltusrol. Last year, the third round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. Sunday, I attended the final round of the PGA Championship (final leaderboard) at Bethpage State Park’s Black Golf Course, Bethpage Black for short. The Black previously hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Open.

The 101st PGA Championship was the first to be played in May, after decades in which it was held in August and served as the last major of the season. Now, it’s the second. That means CBS holds the broadcast rights to the first two majors of the year, with Fox carrying the U.S. Open and NBC televising the Open Championship.

Bethpage State Park and its courses are only 15 minutes away from my Wantagh home, but going there for the PGA Championship by car required driving south to Jones Beach State Park parking field 3 or 4 for general parking:

My dad and I were directed to field 4:

From there, a shuttle bus took us east on Ocean Parkway, north on Wantagh Parkway to Exit W6, east on Merrick Road, north on the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (NY 135), east on Merritts Road (after exiting at a special ramp), and finally to the terminal outside Bethpage Black. We arrived at 12:30, two hours and five minutes before Brooks Koepka (“KEP-ka”), the 54-hole leader by seven shots, was to tee off:

The sun broke through the clouds for the first few hours, but the clouds eventually won out.

The USGA calls their shop the Merchandise Pavilion; the PGA calls it The PGA Shops:

Having already purchased a cap and short-sleeve shirt, the latter of which I wore on the second night of Smooth Jazz for Scholars, and not wanted to lug a bag of merchandise all day, I waited until we left in the evening to get anything.

The defending champion, and, I hoped, the repeat champion:

The range:

Among those practicing were Lucas Bjerregaard, Erik Van Rooyen, and Rickie Fowler.

The obligatory photo op:

The practice green and media center:

The bridge to the range:

The bridge from the 18th green:

Another practice green:

Phil Mickelson walking up the bridge after his final round:

He shot 76 for the second consecutive round, finishing at +12.

The 1:05 group: Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open Champion…:

…and Lucas Bjerregaard:

The Lucases both shot 73 and finished at +3.

The electronic leaderboard/TV monitor:

The 1st fairway:

The 1st green:

I stood by the 2nd tee to watch three groups come by:

First, another group where the pair share a first name: Danny Lee:

…and Danny Willett, 2016 Masters Champion:

The Dannys both shot 77, with Lee finishing at +6 and Willett +7.

The Goodyear Blimp provided aerial coverage early on:

But cloud cover forced it to ground.

The second group I saw at 2 was Rickie Fowler:

…and Sung Kang, who won the AT&T Byron Nelson tournament the week before:

Fowler shot 77 to finish at +6, while Kang fared a little better: 72 to finish even-par.

The third was Jordan Spieth, who won the Masters and U.S. Open in 2015 and Open Championship in 2017:

…and Erik Van Rooyen:

Van Rooyen’s tee shot was way left:

Here’s where it ended up:

The 2nd fairway:

The 2nd green:

Spieth was one stroke better than yesterday, 71, ending up at -2. Van Rooyen shot 73 and finished at +1.

The 3rd tee:

The 3rd green and 4th tee:

The 4th fairway:

After that, I started to get hot – that’ll teach me to wear a jacket – and didn’t feel like walking the entire course. So, I headed for the 18th green. Along the way, I saw the 13th green:

14th tee:

14th green:

Back across Round Swamp Road, the 16th green grandstand:

15th tee:

16th green:

Somewhere in the distance is the 17th tee:

The 17th green and its grandstands:

The 18th tee:

18th fairway, which didn’t see many balls this round:

The 18th green and grandstands:

The TNT/CBS broadcast tower, overlooking the 18th fairway and green:

Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo called the action from 2:00 to 7:00. Spoiler alert: the championship ended on time, meaning 60 Minutes started on time.

The 18th fairway, seen from the greenside bunker:

Matt Kuchar after shooting 69:

He was one of a handful players under par for the round. He finished +1 for the championship.

After stopping at the adjacent concession stand for lunch/dinner, Dad and I returned to our spot by the greenside bunker:

We stayed there to the end. The stiff breezes cooled me off to the point where I put my jacket back on.

Between groups, the leaderboard would switch to the CBS feed (no audio). We watched as Brooks Koepka’s seven-shot lead almost evaporated, mainly due to four straight bogeys from 11 to 14, and Dustin Johnson, two groups ahead, drew closer, with five birdies and only one bogey through 15 holes. Even though I’ve rooted against players myself, I was startled that the fans around me, behind me by the ropes and up in the stands, were cheering Koepka’s demise. I like D.J., I even saw him triumph over Jordan Spieth in The Northern Trust two years ago, but I wanted Koepka to finish what he started. I’ve seen collapses in other sports, and the 2012 Ryder Cup, and I don’t like them. When Dustin Johnson faltered himself with bogeys at 16 and 17, I shook my head in affirmation and pumped my fist, not that anyone noticed. “Take that, fans,” I thought. But the fans cheered again when D.J. saved par at 18, chanting “D.J.! D.J.!” They cheered more as Brooks Koepka missed a short par putt at 17.

We’ll get to Koepka’s 18th hole in a bit. But first, here are some of the players that came before him, starting with Rory McIlroy, the 2012 and 2014 PGA Champion, as well as the 2011 U.S. Open Champion and 2014 Champion Golfer of the Year (winner of the Open Championship):

Like Matt Kuchar, McIlroy shot under par 69 and finished at +1.

When I went back to the concession stand for a chocolate chip cookie, I noticed there was another course map, smaller than the one by the entrance:

Back at the green, the Lucases, Glover and Bjerregaard:

One hole earlier, at 17, Bjerregaard made a hole in one while Glover chipped in for birdie from the bunker! I heard the roar, but didn’t know what it was until I saw on the leaderboard/monitor. It turns out my friend, guitarist and vocalist Matt Marshak, was there and saw both shots! How exciting!

Back at 18, Danny Lee in the bunker:

Rickie Fowler:

Jordan Spieth:

Dustin Johnson:

“D.J.! D.J.!”:

He finished with a 69, -6 for the championship. Spoiler again, Koepka survived 18 to win by two.

Luke List:

List had a rough day after three rounds under par. He shot 74 to finish at -1.

And that brings us to Brooks Koepka. His tee shot landed in the fescue left of the fairway:

His second shot landed back in the fairway.

After checking the distance…:

…he laid up and landed on the green, 12 feet from the hole:

The fans changed their allegiance to Koepka as he walked up to his ball:

After playing partner Harold Varner III putted out, an unfortunate 81 for him and +6 finish, Koepka putt from 12 feet:

…and made it:

As Jim Nantz said on TV, “It’s a Koepka coronation!” “Coronation” was the word I had hoped for after Saturday. Despite shooting a 74, his only round over par, he was crowned repeat PGA Champion.

Here’s how it looked on CBS:

I couldn’t see the trophy presentation from where I was:

Unfortunately, no one could hear it, either. Whoever was in charge of the speakers didn’t feed into the CBS audio. Only the TV audience heard Bill Macatee as he announced Rob Labritz was the low-scoring club professional, heard PGA of America President Suzy Whaley introduce Brooks Koepka as he returned to the green to receive the Wanamaker Trophy, and heard Koepka fielding Macatee’s questions. Fans in the grandstands cried “we can’t hear you!” and words to that effect. They cheered when it seemed like they were supposed to: when Labritz waved and Koepka raised the trophy. This could be why I’m unable to find video of the presentation online. This video has excerpts at the beginning, but that’s all we get. Otherwise, I have to consult my DVR, as I did yesterday morning.

5/26 UPDATE: One week later, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship was played upstate, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, televised on Golf Channel and NBC. Ken Tanigawa won by one shot. This time, the crowd at 18 was able to hear the trophy presentation hosted by Steve Sands. Oak Hill will host the regular PGA in 2023, as it did in 2013, 2003, and 1980. It first hosted the Senior PGA in 2008.

With no sign that the presentation would be redone for the fans, Dad and I headed for the exit:

Future PGA Championship sites:

Along the way, we went into The PGA Shops:

I had to get a commemorative 18th hole flag, as I had done for the two U.S. Opens. Yesterday morning, I unwrapped it and put it on my bedroom wall:

It replaced the flag from the 2009 U.S. Open:

…which replaced the one from 2002:

That one developed creases from being folded up for ten years.

Back at the Black, it was time to go:

With my iPhone’s battery at 10%, I turned it off for the shuttle bus ride back to Jones Beach. I charged it in the car on the way home and back in my room once I got home.

Bethpage Black’s next big event will be the 2024 Ryder Cup. The last thing I’d like to hear that Sunday, whether in person or on TV, is the “Olé” song, indicating Europe won again.

I’m so glad that Brooks Koepka held on to win the 101st PGA Championship. It’s his fourth major victory in the last eight he’s played. The win returned him to #1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. And he’s undefeated on Long Island, having won his second U.S. Open last year at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton. Congratulations, Brooksie!

Will Koepka get the three-peat at Pebble Beach next month? Will Dustin Johnson redeem himself after losing the lead in the final round the last time the U.S. Open was at Pebble? We’ll see.

6/16 UPDATE: Neither happened. Gary Woodland won by three shots over Koepka to win his first major.

Until then, I’ll leave you with videos…:

Todd Lewis’s interview with Brooks Koepka for Golf Channel

…and articles:
Mike Lopresti, PGA.com: Big-Game Brooks Koepka Goes Wire to Wire for First Repeat PGA Championship Since Tiger Woods
Ryan Lavner, Golf Channel: Little brother no more: Koepka sends message staring down DJ at the PGA
ESPN: Koepka struggles, holds off Johnson for PGA win
Kyle Porter, CBS Sports: Brooks Koepka finds his edge, exuding toughness in fourth major win
Greg Logan, Newsday: Brooks Koepka holds on to win at Bethpage Black despite struggling in final round
Hank Gola, New York Daily News: Brooks Koepka wins PGA Championship overcoming difficult course, hostile crowd
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: How Brooks Koepka avoided epic PGA Championship choke job

Perfect Bid: The documentary that set me straight May 16, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Game Shows, Internet, Interviews, Media, Personal, TV.
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About a decade ago, when I regularly watched The Price is Right, I would post about major accomplishments that I saw. One of those involved Terry Kneiss (“nees”), who went on a run that ended with him winning both showcases with a perfect bid. Host Drew Carey deadpanned in response, not at all excited by the achievement. Unaware of the circumstances, and considering how I reacted in a recording I made after bowling a 221 in 2002, I defended his reaction.

Two years later, Terry released a book called Cause and Effects, which defended his actions.

Three years after that, I heard Drew’s side of the story on a podcast: the tape clearly showed Terry got his exact prices from an audience member with a grudge. I updated my original post about Terry’s book with Drew’s remarks. I considered it closure to my years of watching The Price is Right. George Gray’s announcing delivery didn’t sit right with me and I no longer liked watch contestants lose on any game show. So, I stopped watching.

5/30 UPDATE: Watching old episodes of TPiR on YouTube last weekend led me to DVR Monday’s episode for comparison. Whatever distaste I had in the show when I stopped watching went away. I’m back on the bandwagon. I’m also watching Jeopardy! again to see how long James Holzhauer can last as champion. I’m in awe and wish I had watched sooner.

6/6 UPDATE: Never mind. Holzhauer was unseated after 32 wins and contestants lose too much on TPiR. I’m back off both bandwagons because tonight’s new champion, knocking off the woman that knocked off Holzhauer, says “please” nearly every time he makes a selection. I like assertiveness in contestants. Shorthanding category names and dollar amounts is also a plus. Picky, aren’t I? It’s the curse of having Asperger Syndrome: nonsense like this bothers you. Anyway…

This week on Netflix, while searching for Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate, I noticed an entry in one of the queues called Perfect Bid: The Contestant Who Knew Too Much. So, that’s why the Cause and Effects post was getting hits on my blog. Yesterday, I watched it.

Perfect Bid profiles a “loyal friend and true,” Theodore Slauson. Ted became a fan of TPiR early in its CBS run and noticed that the same items were up for bids with the same prices on several shows. So, he kept track of those items through spreadsheets, word processing documents, and original computer software. Starting in the early ’80s, he regularly attended tapings, giving contestants in contestants’ row and on stage the prices of prizes. There were plenty of $100 bonuses awarded for perfect One Bids and Bob Barker gave him his due during the tapings. He even came on down once in 1992, winning One Bid and Punch-a-Bunch.

After his day as a contestant, he stopped attending tapings to focus on other things. He returned in 2002 and helped a fellow audience member win over $39,000 in cash and prizes.

When Drew Carey took over for Bob Barker in 2007, the rule that contestants could only appear once was rescinded. That opened the door for Ted to return. At the start of season 37, Ted went to a taping in the hopes of coming on down again. He didn’t, but Terry Kneiss did. The two met in line before the taping.

Perfect Bid notes that Ted was edited out of several camera shots during the show which aired in September 2008. The note came as an excerpt began from host Drew Carey’s appearance on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show. The impression given to Drew by producer Kathy Greco, who Bob dubbed “Fingers” when he was the host, was that Ted was sent by Roger Dobkowitz, fired as producer the season before, to sabotage the show. Giving Terry exact prices was revenge exacted by a fan group. Drew later found out Ted was innocent, but didn’t know that as the show was taped.

Kathy stopped production after Terry and his fellow showcase contestant gave their bids, trying to make sense of what had happened. When taping resumed, Drew deadpanned the results, assuming the show would never air because of Ted’s involvement, shook Terry’s hand, and wrapped up the show. But it did air. In the aftermath, TPiR staff never used the same item more than once. The price one day will not be the price another day.

In the final moments of the documentary, Ted remarked:

You know, I’ve been called a lot of ugly names on the Internet, and in podcasts and things like that, and it’s just sad that people don’t know the whole story. So, I appreciate being able to tell it.

And I appreciate having seen Perfect Bid. It cleared the air about what happened on that September morning a decade ago. Thank you, CJ Wallis, for setting me straight. Thank you for interviewing Theodore “Ted” Slauson, Bob Barker, and Roger Dobkowitz. I highly recommend you watch it. This post only scratches the surface.

Sincerely, Mike Chimeri, a loyal friend and true starting with summer 1992 reruns.

2019 WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony May 14, 2019

Posted by Mike C. in Airchecks, Audio, Football, Internet, Interviews, Jazz, Media, Music, Personal, Photography, Radio, Sports, Travel, TV, Video, Weather.
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Other Hall of Fame ceremony recaps: 20122013201420152017, 2018

Video of the ceremony can be found at the end of this post.

The eighth annual WCWP Hall of Fame Ceremony was held Saturday afternoon in the Goldsmith Atrium at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of LIU Post. As you can see above, this year’s inductees were Lew Scharfberg, Fred Gaudelli, and Pete Bellotti.

The ceremony began at 1:10 with an introduction by WCWP Director of Broadcasting Dan Cox…:

…and a video narrated by Bernie Bernard, who was inducted in 2013:

This picture taken during a dissolve was a happy accident because it looks like Lew and Jeff Kroll, the Master of Ceremonies, are pointing at Pete:

Jeff at the mic as M.C.:

Dan had the honor of introducing two of the three inductees. First, was Pete Bellotti, currently of CBS Sports Radio:

Before Jeff’s interview and remembrances from the audience, Pete gave a speech:

Jay Mirabile had an interesting story:

Joe Manfredi, Director of Operations while Pete was a student, was complimentary:

Pete even acknowledged me when referencing the music I provided and hours of co-hosting for WCWP’s live broadcast from Bar Beach Park (now North Hempstead Beach Park) in 2006:

I was about 90 pounds heavier at the time, as I co-hosted with Eli W. Sen:

“It was a fun experience”:

Lew Scharfberg was next, following Jeff’s introduction:

Among Lew’s stories in his speech were the teletype bell ringing frantically on August 16, 1977, as news broke that Elvis Presley had died, and learning of the Dome Auditorium roof collapse during the Blizzard of 1978.

Bill Mozer misremembered one anecdote…:

…and had to be corrected by Dan:

He accurately recalled another:

Neil Marks ribbed Lew, leading to an impassioned defense…:

…but was also complimentary:

Dan Cox chimed in:

The obligatory camcorder shot to use as a cover photo for my YouTube channel:

…and the obligatory alternate perspective:

Lew’s son Dan gave a moving speech:

I told him afterward, “you’re a good son.”

Last up was Fred Gaudelli, who is the executive producer of Sunday Night Football for NBC Sports:

Fred had plenty of stories from his days at C.W. Post, working his way up through ESPN, introducing what became the 1st and 10 line, producing Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football.

At one point, Dan played a clip of Fred calling a furious comeback by the Post Pioneers against James Madison in 1981:

They rallied from 21 points down with two minutes to play, winning 37-36.

Jeff’s closing remarks:

I want to thank everyone for being here today. That’ll do it. That’s it for the 2019 WCWP Hall of Fame induction. Thank you, folks.

Photo ops, starting with the three inductees:

The three inductees with Dan Cox, Bill Mozer (2013), and Jeff Kroll (2015):

Pete and his wife Bridget:

Pete with Dan Cox and Joe Manfredi:

…and me:

The early-to-mid-2000s era of WCWP:

The Scharfbergs:

Dan quickly introduced me to Fred before he left, and took a picture of us:

I posed with him 16 years earlier after he and fellow alum Dan Reagan (“Reegan”) spoke to the broadcasting class I was in:

My parting shot was of Pat and Jeff Kroll:

Pat was inducted last year along with Muffet Provost and John Commins.

Jeff was kind enough to drive me home. We had an interesting conversation along the way, and he recognized my driveway from all the times I’d photographed it after shoveling snow. (Here’s one example.)

Congratulations to Pete Bellotti, Lew Scharfberg, and Fred Gaudelli, the 2019 class of the WCWP Hall of Fame.

Here is the video:

Thanks to Dan Cox for providing the introductory video and highlights of Fred’s play-by-play. My video was shot on a Panasonic HC-V770 camcorder with a Takstar SGC-598 shotgun mic. I periodically switched to my Tascam DR-03 recording from the platform to fill gaps between raw video files and compensate for panning to the audience.

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.
5 comments

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.

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.

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.

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.

SJFS 2018 Night 2 recap May 1, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Internet, Jazz, Media, Music, News, Personal, Photography, Softball, Travel, TV, Video.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Other SJFS recaps: 20082008 meet-and-greet20092010201120122013 Night 12013 Night 22014 Night 12014 Night 22015 Night 12016 Night 12016 Night 2, 2017 Night 12017 Night 2, 2018 Night 12019 Night 1, 2019 Night 2

The 16th annual Smooth Jazz for Scholars benefit run by keyboardist Jay Rowe continued on Saturday night with the second of two concerts. The headliners were Nelson Rangell, Jessy J, Matt Marshak, and Paul Taylor.

Like last year, I got a limited amount of sleep in my room at the Milford Hampton Inn into Saturday morning due to nervous energy related to impending photo editing. I got 5 1/2 hours, and maybe another hour half asleep. At around 7:30, I took my laptop and its power supply to the lobby to mingle with any musicians and fellow jazz fan friends I saw. When I arrived, David Benoit, Marc Antoine, and Roberto Vally were seated at a table, so I said hello and sat one table over. When they left for the airport, I moved to a seat at an elevated table with outlets for charging. I plugged the laptop power supply into an outlet and spent the next few hours editing in that spot, occasionally getting up for hot chocolate.

There was a man that looked like film and TV archivist Ira Gallen. It turned out his name was John, and after apologizing for mistaken identity, I had a nice conversation with he and his wife Mary. My friend Mark Abrams also came in the lobby and introduced me to John Caramagna and his wife Barbara Grocki. And I briefly spoke to Kevin McCabe and Steve Lewis.

Also in the lobby, though I didn’t talk to any of them, was the Le Moyne College softball team. They were in town to complete their Northeast-10 (or NE-10) regular season against the University of New Haven. They lost the series, but ended the regular season with a 2-1 win Sunday afternoon while I was back home in Wantagh. Adelphi University, where my sister went for her master’s, is in the NE-10 and are the reigning conference champions. Le Moyne plays New Haven later today in the first round of this year’s conference championship.

Nelson Rangell and Jessy J joined me at the table for a while. We had a lengthy, interesting conversation, which included remembrance of John Patterson, who tragically, suddenly died in March. John came to SJFS in 2016 to promote the River Raisin Jazz Festival. I made a video of his promotional pitches from both nights and posted it to Facebook. I’d like to share it here.

I never met John in person, as I added him on Facebook afterward, but we had shared interests in music and politics, so I was glad to know him.

My friend Kelly was the last friend I saw in the lobby before I went back to my room. CNN was on the TV behind me and I was hearing viewpoints I didn’t want to. The secret to having and keeping most of my friends that are music fans or musicians is to avoid politics. Thankfully, Kelly is apolitical. After finishing editing Friday’s pictures in my room, I watched initial coverage of the remaining rounds of the NFL Draft. I hung out with Kelly for a half hour and then went back to my room. After watching some YouTube videos and SnapKay’s Twitch stream, 5:00 came and it was time for dinner.

My parents and I went to Mexico Tipico, where Uno used to be, on U.S. 1 right before I-95. We went there early because we thought we would have to wait. There was no wait and we were finished by 6:15. I had my favorite Mexican dish: plain chicken quesadillas without any other toppings or sides. I was back at the Hampton Inn for about five minutes, then Kelly met me in the lobby and we took the scenic route to the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. Part of that route was the building that’s home to The Dan Patrick Show:

The show is syndicated on radio stations nationwide and simulcast on Audience and NBCSN.

We arrived at the auditorium just before 7:00 and the doors opened at precisely 7:00.

Once inside, we went our separate ways until after the show. I set up in the orchestra pit, took a break in the lobby to buy 50/50 raffle tickets (I lost), and went back to the pit.

Once again, the show began before 8:00; eight minutes, to be exact. Kevin McCabe spoke first:

The opening act was the Foran High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Jessica Shearer:

The ensemble played two songs, the second of which was “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, but in a lower key than Chuck played.

Jay Rowe and his band came on stage at around 8:10.

Jay worked the keyboards:

Dave Anderson played bass:

Trever Somerville on the drums:

Steve Scales on percussion:

…and Rohn (“Ron”) Lawrence on guitar:

As I said at the top, the headliners were Nelson Rangell on alto saxophone (below), flute, and whistling:

Jessy J on tenor sax:

Paul Taylor and soprano (below) and alto sax:

Matt Marshak on guitar:

…and for two songs, special guest Marion Meadows on soprano sax:

Unfortunately, that was the only solo shot I took of Marion, but there are plenty on the first night.

SET LIST
1. Rosemary’s Tune (Jay Rowe)
Originally heard on: Live at Daniel Street (2011), Smooth Ride (2016)
Featured musicians: Jay Rowe (keyboards), Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

2. Sunny Salsa (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

3. Hot Sauce (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Hot Sauce (2011)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Rohn Lawrence (guitar solo)

4. Tequila Moon (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Tequila Moon (2008)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

5. Lifestyle (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: Lifestyle (2014)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

6. Sleepwalk (Matt Marshak; Santo & Johnny cover; Larry Carlton arrangement)
Featured musician: Matt Marshak (guitar)

7. Pleasure Seeker (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Pleasure Seeker (1997)
Featured musicians: Paul Taylor (soprano sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

8. Arrival (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Countdown (2016)
Featured musician: Paul Taylor (alto sax)

9. Over the Rainbow (Nelson Rangell; Arlen/Harburg ballad from The Wizard of Oz)
Musicians: Nelson Rangell (whistling), Jay Rowe (keyboard)

10. By Light (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (flute), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

11. Lookin’ Back (Matt Marshak)
Originally heard on: New York (2016)
Featured musicians: Matt Marshak (guitar), Marion Meadows (special guest) (soprano sax)

12. From the Start (Nelson Rangell)
Originally heard on: Upcoming album
Featured musicians: Nelson Rangell (alto sax), Matt Marshak (guitar)

13. All I Want (Jessy J)
Originally heard on: Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special (2018)
Featured musicians: Jessy J (tenor sax), Jay Rowe (keyboard solo)

14 (Finale). Ladies’ Choice (Paul Taylor)
Originally heard on: Ladies’ Choice (2007)
Featured musicians: Everyone (Paul played alto sax)

Rohn didn’t play on any songs featuring Matt.

Here are groups of pictures by artist, starting with Nelson Rangell on alto sax:

Whistling:

…and on flute:

Jessy J:

Prompting the audience to clap on “Hot Sauce”:

They obliged:

Matt Marshak:

Paul Taylor on soprano sax:

Prompting the audience to wave their arms side to side on “Pleasure Seeker”:

Again, they obliged:

…and alto sax:

Jay Rowe:

Dave Anderson:

Trever Somerville:

Steve Scales:

Rohn Lawrence:

Pointing at Jay because it was his turn to solo on “Rosemary’s Tune”:

Wide shots, starting with Nelson and Jessy:

Rohn and Jessy:

Matt and Jessy:

Rohn and Paul:

Matt and Marion (MM and MM):

Matt and Nelson:

Jessy and Jay:

The finale: “Ladies’ Choice”:

The end:

The meet and greet began with Jessy J:

I brought my copy of Live at Yoshi’s 10 Year Anniversary Special for her to sign. I was the first person to pledge to the album’s PledgeMusic campaign. I also told her a funny story. When I pledged to her 2015 album, My One and Only One, I foolishly typed my name for her to sign rather than a personal message. So, when that album arrived in my mailbox, she had signed my name, “Mike Chimeri,” on the cover. It was like that early episode of The Simpsons – “Lisa’s Substitute” – where Mr. Bergstrom (Dustin Hoffman under the pseudonym “Sam Etic”) left a note for Lisa which read “You are Lisa Simpson.”

Jessy, Paul Taylor, and Marion Meadows used to tour as Sax and the City. Saturday night served as a reunion, which was 2/3 immortalized below:

Marion also took a selfie.

I met and posed with Paul Taylor myself:

I was happy that Paul remembered me when he saw me. “Mike!,” he exclaimed.

When I approached Nelson Rangell, he signed an empty envelope (or so I thought while working on the post). It read:

For my buddy Mikey!
(signature) Nelly

So, you can understand why I have a big grin on my face:

Here’s the envelope Nelson signed:

Waiting at the end of the line was Matt Marshak:

I hadn’t seen Matt since his November 2015 show at Houndstooth Pub, which was the first time I used my Nikon D5500 at a show. He was at SJFS two years ago, but I didn’t meet him afterward.

I couldn’t see the expression Matt was making above. I only knew he spread out his arms, so I spread mine out.

While waiting in line, I saw my friend Jay Dobbins and his girlfriend Philomena. Jay took three of the last four pictures. Kelly took the one of me with the envelope. After saying goodbye to Jay, Philomena, Steve Lewis, and photographer Steve Cooper, Kelly and I headed back to the hotel.

I got a half hour less of sleep and began editing in the lobby at 6:00 Sunday morning. It was quiet for the first hour or so, but I did meet Mike, who was going to drive Jessy J and David to the airport. Then, Jessy and David came downstairs. They liked the pictures I had edited so far. Later in the morning, I met Diane Roth and her friend Rich. We had a fascinating conversation. It turns out that envelope Nelson signed originally contained a framed photo from last year. Diane took the photo and gave it to him as a gift. While working on these recaps, I noticed that there was another unframed print in the envelope. I scanned it to include here:

After Diane and Rich left, Mark and Phyllis Abrams said hello, John and Mary waved goodbye, the Le Moyne Dolphins congregated, Kelly dropped in, and Nelson and I spoke for a half hour.

I was finished editing by 10:55. I put my laptop away, went back to my room to get my packed suitcase and tripod, left a tip for housekeeping, said goodbye to Kelly in her room, exited the hotel, and got in the car with my parents. Despite pockets of heavy traffic on I-95 in the Bronx, and on the Grand Central and Southern State Parkways, it only took an hour and 40 minutes to get home. Along the way, I watched a couple of YouTube videos on my phone (this and this).

After a few hours of decompressing, I chose pictures for the two recaps you’ve read. It was tough to get to sleep, but I think I got six or seven hours. I drafted the recaps yesterday and published them this morning.

Thank you for joining me on my journey. And thank you to everyone I spoke to and saw perform this weekend. Until next year, so long.

Guest reading at my old elementary school a fourth time March 5, 2018

Posted by Mike C. in Books, DVD, Education, Personal, Photography, TV, Video, Weather.
4 comments

Previous guest reading posts: 20152016, 2017

Friday was March 2, Dr. Seuss‘s birthday, which meant it was time to read his books at Leo F. Giblyn School in Freeport. It was my fourth year as a guest reader. I finally learned what this day is commonly known as: National Read Across America Day.

I read to seven classrooms and two remedial reading classes. For the latter, which were taught by my friend Lori Downing, I read Green Eggs and Ham. As the other seven classes, I read The LoraxIf I Ran the ZooHop on PopDr. Seuss’s Sleep BookMr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, and Gerald McBoing Boing, the book that started my guest reading journey.

What separates me from other readers is I incorporate voice acting into my reading. I even take cartoon character requests. My throat grew scratchy after doing certain voices, but it was worth it to entertain the kids.

Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book has a newscast tone, so I read it like a news anchor. For The Lorax and the end of Green Eggs and Ham, I based my delivery on the acting in the 1970s CBS specials. Green Eggs and Ham was part of Dr. Seuss on the Loose in 1973 while The Lorax was a full half hour the year before. I first saw them on VHS in the late ’80s and then again on DVD about a decade ago.

As I read, I had the teachers take candid pictures. I combined those, and one Lori took of me, into a collage:

While I was inside Giblyn, a nor’easter was raging outside. A mix of rain and snow fell as coastal flooding affected streets around the school, at least in the morning at high tide. I didn’t grasp how bad the storm was until riding home and then arriving home. A few small tree limbs were in the driveway while a bigger one fell in my neighbor’s backyard. Power went out twice around 3PM, based on my mother’s DVR recording of General Hospital and the time flashing on the stove clock.

I may not be able to guest read next year. My South Florida-based cousin is getting married on March 2. If that’s the case, I had a nice four-year run with so many great memories.