Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sesame Street

I was one of those kids who was just a *little* too old for Sesame Street when it debuted in 1969. I didn't see it all that often, so when I watched it with my kids a few years ago, I saw a lot of really funny things for the first time.

I always enjoy it when I come across one of the things I missed, like this cameo by Smokey Robinson - which my friend Kateri Hunter posted earlier today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

City Buys 7 Acres of Joe Sitt's Coney Island

Well - its about time! New York City finally bought the heart of Coney Island, as the Times reported today.

But even though the city needed to buy Joe Sitt's Thor Equities out, it's only a first step and not enough to ensure that Coney Island stays "Coney Island". You see, Joe Sitt is that odd breed of developer who buys land and then - doesn't develop it. Instead, he sits on it until the value goes up. He's what we used to call a speculator.

This time around, the real estate market was been pretty terrible, and on this sale, Sitt was told if he didn't take the initially proffered $110 million, the price wouldn't go up, it would only go down. It did. First, it went to $105 million; then, a little more than $95 million. That's the offer Sitt took.

It's great news, but it isn't quite enough, as Save Coney Island's Juan Rivero points out in a statement issued today.

Stay tuned...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Music for a Frenetic Day

You're familiar with this lousy phenomenon. You have a day off scheduled, so the day before you leave, in an attempt to make sure you've completed everything you need to, you tear through today's work AND tomorrow's. You straggle off for home around 8:30.

I'm trying to avoid that these days, but, with a day off tomorrow, the familiar pattern repeats itself. At times like these, I need to bring in the black coffee, the heavy artillery of musical motivators, the Balkan brass band.

So, enjoy the act of the day, Fanfare Ciocarlia, my favorite Roma (Gypsy) band from Romania.

If you saw Borat, you may remember their ridiculously fast and rowdy version of "Born to Be Wild" from the credits. Here they are from a concert with Jony Ilev, the Bulgarian clarinetist; the legendary Esma Redzepova; and the last, in Spanish, with the French group Kaloome.

They kick ass.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This Is Burlesque; Happy Birthday Angie

If you haven't seen "This is Burlesque", you once again have the chance and you shouldn't miss it.

The show's driving force is the dynamic and lovely Angie Pontani, whose birthday it is tomorrow. I've brought several friends to see the Pontani Sisters (Angie, Helen - the Tapping Tornado, and the amazing Peekaboo Pointe); their truly hysterical MC Murray Hill (the Hardest Working Middle Aged Man in Showbiz); the delightful Little Miss Lixx; occasional guest MC Miss Astrid, the "Wiemar Fraulein"; and their guests, who have included the amazing acrobatic duo from Baltimore Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey and our own Little Brooklyn (who is like the Lucille Ball of burlesque), among others. I think by now, almost everyone I know has heard about this from me, but maybe YOU haven't.

They open tomorrow night at Sweet Caroline's with a performance to benefit "Save Coney Island". What does Coney Island need saving from, you ask? A poorly thought out development scheme, is what.

It's high-powered dance, it's satirical, it's sexy, and above all, it's the kind of funny where tears roll down your face.

For your daily moment of zen, here's a little of what you might see...

You should go. Tomorrow night. And wish Angie a Happy Birthday.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's My Birthday

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

It's that time of year again for yours truly. This time I turn 46, but I don't care how old I get, as long as the presents and German chocolate cake keep coming.

And lest you think I'm fishing for birthday wishes, here's a gift for you. This is an interesting, rare 'Happy Birthday', so I thought some of you might enjoy hearing it. It's hard to tell, but our four lads are singing "Happy Birthday dear Saturday Club", which was a BBC radio broadcast that used to showcase up-and-coming recording and performing talent, which they were, once.

Anyhow, Happy Birthday to all scorpios out there. Let me know when yours is so I can hoist one on your special day. :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

MTA Subways Play Leonard Bernstein

It's true. It took me awhile to believe it when my wife kept telling me, "New York City subways play the first three notes of 'Somewhere' from West Side Story."

Now, at first I thought she'd heard some isolated aural anomaly, but once while I was with her, I heard it, too. In fact, for the last couple of years, I've heard it every time I take a subway train. NYC trains always play the first three notes of "Somwhere" and then another note, a long discordant whine. You can hear it here; just wait for the doors to close and the train to start moving:

I take that particular train to work most days, but I've found dozens of videos on you tube (some much longer and believe me, far less interesting, if that's possible) and all trains leaving an underground station make this odd music.

What is making this noise? Are there others out there who've got any ideas?