Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Snap, A Set and A Song - Coast

This week, Thea of A Snap. A Set and a Song has given us a theme of Coast. At first I thought that I might not be able to participate as I am heading down the coast a bit for a few days of R&R at Atlantic City, and didn't think I really had many photos that relate to this theme. However, living on an Island on the east coast of the United States, that wasn't really the case. Many of my pictures have been taken right by the water but facing away from it. They would qualify for the theme, but I have decided that I want to show the coastline or beach in every case, so without further ado, join me on the east coast!

(While you are at it, why don't you join us and create your own Snap, Set and Song post?)

The Snap

On this particular day, I had the pleasure of showing Australian photographer Catherine White around Staten Island, NY. The last site we stopped to take pictures at was South Beach - the southern coast of the island - where I caught this sunset. 

The Set

Being an island, we have a lot of coastline on a number of different bodies of water, here are just a few views from some of our coast along the Raritan Bay, the Narrows, and the Atlantic Ocean.

The Song

Where there is coastline, there is often a boardwalk ... Coney Island (Brooklyn), South Beach (Staten Island), and the one I am heading to - the boardwalk at Atlantic City.


Who's Afraid of Klowns?

This morning on Twitter I found out that a friend of mine has had a fear of clowns. This is not unusual, many people have or do, including my wife. This is the story of me, my wife, my kids, a small circus and a cult movie.

My daughter with 2-ba (Ringling Bros.)
First, you should know that I am a huge circus fan, have been all my life. Not only do I love going to any circus that I can, but I have studied the history of the American circus for quite a few years now. Some of my earliest, and happiest memories include going to the circus - in tents as well as the old Madison Square Garden. When you would go to the circus in the former location of the Garden, before the arena show you could see the menagerie and the side show - things of the past these days. My children have been going to the circus all their life as well.

But I digress ...

When my kids were young - preteen/teen - I noticed that a small tented circus was setting up not far from my house, so my wife and I found out what time they were performing, and decided to go later in the afternoon. When we arrived home we still had a few hours until showtime so we decided that it would be a surprise for our kids. We turned on the TV and started watching a movie which we had never seen before ...

It was campy but a classic 1950's style horror story which has since gained somewhat of a cult following. While my wife and I were watching, the kids quite normally decided to watch as well. (Remember, at this point we hadn't mentioned that we were going to the circus after the movie.)

After the movie, as planned, we all got into the car and went to where we had spotted the circus. Up until this time my kids only knew the large arena productions of The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey's Circus which they saw every year in the current Madison Square Garden. This circus was a very small, single tent, single ring, very traditionally carnie type company. 

When we got there - the kids still had memories of the movie in their heads - we passed the roustabouts and other circus people as we entered the grounds ... and it wasn't the high class crowd that you saw at a Ringling Brother's (etc.) show! 

The coup de grâce came when a clown came over to say hello ... I think my daughter jumped about 10 feet!

Yes, I am that kind of parent ...


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Finally - A Nice Day!

It's been a summer of one heat wave after another, and we now find ourselves with only a month left until Fall, having had very few comfortable days. However, we have one today - warm but not hot, and low humidity!

My wife and I decided to take advantage of it by heading down to South Beach (the one here on Staten Island, not the more renowned one in South Florida) and sit on the boardwalk. She would listen to music, people watch and enjoy the sea breeze, while I would (naturally) take my camera and see what the day would bring me.

We decided to set up shop, as it were, on the fishing pier, which gave me the opportunity to meet, chat with and photograph a large number and variety of people. I was not disappointed. There were dozens of people there fishing ... individuals, families, young and old. We found a nice bench on the pier and while my wife plugged in to her music, I took out my camera and started taking pictures.

One of my favorite things to do is to meet new people and strike up conversations, and today was not any different. I got to talk to a number of folks during the day about fishing and/or photography. In my mind a perfect kind of day!

So how do you end such a day? Simple, as my wife demonstrates ...


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Snap, A Set and A Song - Vintage

It's time once again to link up with Thea at A Snap, A Set and A Song for this week's theme of Vintage.

The Snap

This week I present ... Vintage me!!

The Set

As the one taking the pictures, I often didn't appear in many, but here are some vintage photos in which I do appear. Notice that even in some here, I have the camera around my neck (on this 1968 vacation I brought two)!

Now say CHEESE!

The Song

As a child of the fifties, I grew up with classic rock-and-roll. What could be more vintage than the song that started it all? Originally from the movie The Blackboard Jungle ...


After I posted this Snap, Set and Song, I came across this truly vintage photo and could not let this pass without including it ...


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Snap, A Set and a Song - Ceremony

Once again it is time to join with Thea for A Snap, A Set and A Song. This week's theme of Ceremony is especially meaningful - though maybe not in the way Thea intended it to be. This week's theme came to her as she was watching the Closing Ceremony for the Summer Olympics, but for me it brought to mind a ceremony which took place one year ago next week - my daughter's wedding.

(Why don't you visit A Snap, A Set and A Song and join in the fun?)

The Snap

August 24, 2011

The Set

The Songs

For this week's song(s) we take a bit of an unconventional route.

First, the wedding processional followed by Wishes fireworks from that night's fireworks cruise.

I produced this video to be shown at the wedding lunch following the ceremony.

Song List
You Made Me Love You - Michael Ball
Ain't She Sweet - The Beatles
Colour My World - Chicago


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Snap, A Set and A Song - Winter

As we endure a summer that has already produced a record number of heat waves - the theme for this week's A Snap, A Set and A Song is - Winter! Once again we join with Thea for this week's theme.

The Snap

This week's snap was taken in front of my house after a snowstorm in February, 2010. For those of you who have never (or rarely) seen snow, this might seem exciting. If so, would you care to stop by this next winter and be prepared to shovel for me? See you in December - plan on staying through March!

The Set

Since we are in the last days of the London Summer Olympics, here is a look at some of the past Winter Olympic posters - and one for the next one, in 2014.

(Click on the set above for a bonus!)

The Song

This week I went into my archives for a copy of Blood Sweat and Tears - Sometimes in Winter, and put it behind a video of my grandtwins' first romp in the snow (January, 2011)


Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Love Being a New Yorker!

Sometimes when you live in one place all your life, you can take for granted some of the things that place has to offer. I am a Native New Yorker, born and bred.

I was lucky to have parents who also appreciated what this city has to offer and probably have done more than most of us NYers have in our own city. Museums, cultural venues, historic sites - my city has it all.

Anyone who has known me more than a minute or two knows that I have a passion for theater, and have never lost the appreciation that Broadway is in my "backyard!" My dad first took me to see a Broadway show when I was quite young, and I saw my first musical shortly after that. (At that time Broadway wasn't as family friendly - read "safe" - as it is today. It was a rough neighborhood. It was not a tourist attraction and was our little special part of NYC.) My wife and kids have also caught the Broadway bug.

It was with that in mind that my wife and I did one of our favorite things earlier this week, and took the ferry from Staten Island into The City to see a show. As NYers, we probably do it differently than most. We take the Staten Island Ferry (past the Statue of Liberty) into Manhattan and then the subway to Times Square. (Actually 50th Street since it is closer to our next destination.) Assuming that we are planning on seeing an evening show, by 2:30 we get on line at TKTS and await its 3:00 opening. At TKTS, you can purchase tickets to that night's (or afternoon as well on matinee days) show for 30% - 50% off. While most shows do offer tickets at TKTS, some very popular shows do not ... yet. At the head of the line is a list of what is currently available, and is updated as tickets are purchased. It is only at this point that we know what is available to choose from and we make our choice of they 3 top shows we want to see from that list. Most of the time we get our top choice. Today we choose Jersey Boys (a show which was unavailable at TKTS for years) and do get orchestra seats for our selection.

One of the things I enjoy doing while waiting on this line (which despite its daunting looking length moves quite rapidly) is meeting and talking with the people on line with me. Most of the time they are tourists and we have great conversations - which also helps make the wait seem shorter. This day was no exception as I started a conversation with the couple behind us on line. Turns out that they were from Germany (though he was born and raised in Virginia) and this was their first visit to NYC. He was an opera singer and she was a production supervisor. I, as you probably know, have spent over 40 years in community theater as a musician and musical director, so we had even more to talk about than usual. It was a sunny, hot day, and our conversation helped the time pass. When she went to get something to eat and drink, she came back with bottle of water, not only for the two of them, but for my wife and myself as well. This simple act of kindness was appreciated tremendously. I Love New York, being a NYer and being able to have these experiences. (They wanted, and got, tickets to see Porgy and Bess ... at a 50% discount!)

Once we got our tickets, we had a number of hours left until our 7:00 PM curtain, so we next went for a relaxing late lunch/early dinner at Bubba Gump Shimp Co. (a regular stop of ours in Times Square). A table by a window overlooking Times Square was our location for the next hour and more as we sat and ate our meal. Since it was a weekday and the restaurant was not very crowded (meaning tables were available and no one was waiting for one) we took our time and had a leisurely meal.

Still some time until we would walk the few blocks to the theater so we stopped into the lounge at the Marriott Marquis and had a glass of wine while we waited.

It was now time to head to the August Wilson theater. This theater is an old traditional Broadway theater, and I have seen many shows here. In fact, the very first Broadway show I ever saw, The Royal Hunt of the Sun - with my father, I saw in this theater. (The first musical I ever saw on Broadway was Funny Girl in case you were wondering.) It was the ANTA theater back then. One of the features in the Playbill is an article which lists some of the shows which have played in the theater. Among the shows I have seen here have been Little Shop of Horrors, Smokey Joe's Café, and Shenandoah.

We had wanted to see Jersey Boys for many years, but for a long time tickets were very difficult to get - even at full price through the box office. My wife and I are big Four Season's fans, and have seen them in concert many times - as well as Frankie Valli solo. I learned a lesson about singing along with Frankie Valli on the way to teach a course many years ago. After singing in my car as I drove to the location (the only place I am allowed to sing - and only when I am alone ... if you have ever heard me sing you would understand), singing along with Frankie Valli's falsetto left me with no voice when it was time to do the training. <groan>

The original, Tony Award winning actor who played Valli had recently come back to the show and we had the pleasure of his performance, better than some of the times we heard Frankie Valli himself in concert!

A wonderful day ended with a return subway and ferry ride back home.

As I said, I love being an NYer and being able to appreciate some of what makes my city what it is!


Do not sing along with this (or any other Four Seasons/Frankie Valli song if you need to speak in front of any group of people ...

And a montage from the Broadway Show, Jersey Boys


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Snap, A Set and A Song - Feather

It's time again to link up with Thea of A Snap, A Set and a Song for this week's theme of Mask. (Why don't you join us as well?)

The Snap

On one of my trips to the duck pond, I found this little fellow running among the shed feathers.

The Set

Some of the other feathery denizens of the duck pond

The Song