Monday, June 22, 2015

Quote of the Day - from a REAL Confederate/Southerner

(This image brought to you by graphic artist Doug Dobey in response to this idiocy: a gigantic Confederate flag that welcomes visitors to Richmond, Virginia.)

Any Southerner who honestly believes that the rebel flag is a reminder of their honorable Confederate history and heritage is woefully ignorant of the facts -- or flat-out racist.  And here's the quote that proves it.

"Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth." --Alexander Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, "The Cornerstone Speech," March 21, 1861
For any reasonably intelligent, clear-thinking American to stand by a flag that represents this racist philosophy is unconscionable. 

To read The Cornerstone Speech in its entirety, click here

Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Jazz Age Lawn Party: Details, details!

On June 13-14 and August 15-16 from 11a.m. to 5p.m., guests transcend time once upon the shore of Governors Island to celebrate the music and zeitgeist of the 1920s and ‘30s. The romance, joie de vivre and infectious rhythm of that halcyon age come to life once more, as the distractions of the modern world fade away.
Each weekend, guests will don fresh linen, lace, seersucker and straw at the world’s quintessential prohibition era gathering. Special surprises for its 10th Anniversary celebration will abound and delight. Featured programming includes: 
MUSIC & DANCE PEFORMANCES on TWO STAGES featuring the finest Jazz Age entertainment:
  • Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra: the world’s premier Jazz-Age dance orchestra, steeped in the hot-dance band tradition of the 1920s and early 1930s, present a one-of-a-kind songbook from Michael’s original album, “Blue River,” and his newest album, “Just In Time,” which will be on sale for the first time at the event. “Just In Time” highlights Michael’s horn playing and singing in an intimate, jazz-driven setting
  • Roddy Caravella & The Canarsie Wobblers: performer, teacher and Jazz Age Lawn Party Dance Director Roddy Caravella, and his fun-loving dance troupe The Canarsie Wobblers, will showcase performances that capture the exuberant spirit and flaming youth of the Roaring ‘20s
  • The Antique DJs: emcees and Antique Phonograph DJs, Michael Cumella and Michael Haar, spin vinyl and cylinder records on period crank up talking machines and bring to life original recordings from the 1920s
  • The Dreamland Follies: the ten girl dance spectacular harkening back to the days of the Great Ziegfeld, will delight guests just as much with their choreography as their Art Deco costumes and head pieces. Expect a new 10th Anniversary production set to Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra’s theme song, “Paddlin’ Madelin’ Home”
  • Peter Mintun: the world’s greatest piano man will dazzle guests with his magical fingers  
  • Queen Esther: hear modern-day jazz royalty as the award-winning jazz vocalist presides over the lawn 
  • The Gelber & Manning Band: feuding vaudevillian lovebirds, specializing in raggy time songs and early jazz styles, will quarrel and coo to your delight
  • The Minsky Sisters: tap dance darlings delight with fancy footwork in the tradition of classic vaudevillian family acts
  • Tamar Korn: ephemeral vocalist, known for her love of singing songs both lyrically as well as "instrumentally" with her pitch-perfect pipes, will perform her signature repertoire steeped in traditional New Orleans and early jazz
  • Molly Ryan: with a lush, elegant vocal style, songs of the 1930s will be brought to life with innocence and total believability to the music that refuses to admit that 80 years of distractions have ever happened 
  • Albert Cadabra: the master of illusion and charm will astonish onlookers with devilishly wild magic delivered with unmatchable style, class and an inviting sense of humor 
  • Dance Lessons: learn the hottest dance steps of the time from top Jazz Age hoofers
  • Charleston Dance Contest: see who’s the Bee’s Knees in this lighthearted yes spirited dance-off
  • The all new food market will feature New York’s fanciest picnicking fare and gourmet food trucks along with treats and snacks by vendors such as Luke's Lobster, Empanada Lady, Kaya NYC, Local 215, Carnal BK, La Crêpe C’est Si Bon, Vintage Ice Cream Guys, Chef and the Baker and more 
  • Annual High Court of Pie Contest: submissions are open for the annual contest. Categories include: “Mom’s Best” “Best Savory” “Most Original” and “Hobo’s Choice” (For entry email:  
  • St-Germain Artisanal French Elderflower Liqueur will be the signature spirit for the seventh consecutive year. Golden age elixirs such as the signature St-Germain Cocktail (made with St-Germain, sparkling wine, sparkling water and a lemon twist) will be served alongside the 10th Anniversary Cocktail (a refreshing Collins-style cocktail blending summer strawberries with gin, St-Germain and fresh citrus), and a delicious Boathouse Punch from renowned cocktail celebrity Julie Reiner’s new book (Bombay Dry, St-Germain, Aperol, Martini Sparkling Rosé and splashes of lemon, orange and grapefruit juice)
  • MARTINI & ROSSI sparkling wines again join the lineup of superior cocktail offerings. The iconic Italian winemaker will be showcasing a full menu of sparkling wines for refreshing enjoyment, including the new fully sparkling Prosecco, the aromatic Rosé and the naturally sweet Asti. Available by the bottle, by the glass, or in charming mini bottles, MARTINI & ROSSI has a wine for every palate
  • DUVEL and BREWERY OMMEGANG will be the signature beer  
  • Additional Beverages include: old fashioned lemonade, soda, juices, water, iced coffee and tea to whet your whistle
  • Bathing Beauties and Beaus Promenade: pull that itchy wool number out of the mothballs and parade it for all to admire
  • Vintage Clothing Vendor and Artisans: a veritable village of timeless treasures and inspired creations to take home
  • Kidland: carnival games and prizes for junior gents and flapperettes
  • 1920s Motorcar Exhibition: get up close and personal with flivvers, Tin Lizzies and “Buttercup,” Gatsby’s very own 1925 Rolls-Royce “Twenty”
  • Vintage Portraits: immortalize yourself while perched upon one of our Paper Moons with special vintage adornments and accessories available by Unique Vintage
Tickets and packages are still available for the June 13-14 and August 15-16 events. Ticket packages include General Admission, “Jazz Baby, “Bee’s Knees, “Bonnie & Clyde. “The Gatsby” VIP package brings special perks and table and bottle service. These packages can be purchased at To commemorate the 10th anniversary, the Jazz Age Lawn Party has presented “Sheikh of Araby”, a brand new private tent for eight to 10 guests located right off the dance floor, with full wait table service and luxury appointments, and which can be reserved by emailing

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Quote of the Day -- from John Clare

"Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air; 
whoever looks round sees Eternity there." -- John Clare

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Ella Fitzgerald on Marilyn Monroe

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt... it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him - and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status - that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman - a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.” - Ella Fitzgerald

Imagine that. Because of segregation in the 50s, one of the greatest jazz singers on the planet couldn't get a gig in a popular nightclub until a white female movie star -- who happened to be one of her biggest fans -- interceded.  Just think of all the change that could take place if white female movie stars demanded it. Heck. White people, period.

And why do you suppose they didn't include this important moment in that made-for-tv Marilyn bio pic?

Happy belated birthday, Norma Jean. You were a lot cooler than I thought.

Monday, June 01, 2015

NaBloPoMo for June: Ready, Set, Go!

I think I've spent the better part of the year winding up and readying myself to sling art out into the world -- with strong ideas, performances and gigs.  Still and all, I don't really feel as though I'm doing enough. Probably because I'm still learning my intervals.

I'm going to take another stab at documenting my world as an artist this month, one day at a time.  You can find me online at these hotspots: