Category Archives: Music

Ella Fitzgerald and The Latin Casino

Ella Fitgerald

I belonged to a card club and I didn’t want to go to her show, but the majority ruled. That’s how I happened to attend a concert starring Ella Fitzgerald.

At the very least, I knew I would enjoy a nice dinner, since The Latin Casino served a pretty decent meal. What I wasn’t expecting was an out-of-this-world show. Ella turned out to be exciting–a stellar entertainer. Her voice rang out straight from her heart and her audience could feel the very essence of her music.

What made me think of Miss Fitzgerald today? I don’t know.

She is no more. Neither is The Latin Casino in New Jersey. But those were the days!

I Cried This Morning

It wasn’t a feminine dab your misty eyes sort of cry, it was a full-on blow your nose and pull yourself together cry. I like to watch Sunday Morning on TV every week. Sometimes I don’t get to it until Monday night, but this week, with a cup of tea on hand, I watched the program on Sunday.

One of the stories dealt with Melvin, an Alzheimer sufferer. He’s had no memory for three years now, but it was the day before Mother’s Day and he decided to go for a walk … unaccompanied. Of course as soon as that was discovered,the police were summoned. They found Melvin about two miles from home attempting to buy a bunch of roses for his wife because he remembered that’s what he did  every year of his marriage on Mother’s Day.

It appears the Alzheimer disease robs you of your memory, but sometimes your instinct kicks in and you get to hand your wife a bouquet of roses once more as you did in days of old.

That’s what started my waterfall of tears. Perhaps because my mother suffered with the same affliction–I don’t know, but I thought I had cried enough to last me two months when they hit me with a segment on the last Bee Gee brother–Barry Gibb.

I loved the Bee Gees. I don’t think there was a song they ever recorded that I didn’t like. Anyway, Barry, he’s the one with the falsetto singing voice, is going on tour for the first time without his brothers, Morris and Robin. Well, that was it! Listening to that story and to their music again reopened the floodgates.

Believe me, I had a rough morning and I haven’t even touched on the Vietnam segment.

Footloose – Kevin Bacon vs Kenny Wormaid

No one could ever fill Kevin Bacon’s boots, but Kenny Wormaid gave it a royal, good try. The new Footloose is more athletic and possibly more energetic than the original 1984 flick, but again Kevin takes home the bacon. There is no way to remake an iconic film. Footloose is one of those.

The movie was entertaining, though. And cowboy hats off to Miles Teller (Willard). He added his own brand of humor. The scenes showing him trying to learn how to dance and then finally conquering the moves were so, so enjoyable.

Too bad they didn’t show more of the famous red boots. But the music was still phenomenal.

Chubby Checker

Who would’ve guessed that out of all the shows I’ve seen in my lifetime, Chubby Checker’s concert would take first prize? I didn’t think anyone could possibly displace the double bill of the fantastic Tina Turner and the inimitable Joe Cocker, but there it is. Chubby Checker skyrocketed.

His show didn’t begin with an announcer’s usual warnings, “There will be no flash pictures allowed during the show” and “Turn off all cell phones.”  Once the show started, I understood why. Because if a cell phone rang, no one would’ve heard it anyway.

Only one prior statement was made–“Chubby will be available in the lobby after the show to sign autographs and say hello.”

Then his band walked out, took their places and the sax player walked up to the mic and simply said, “Chubby Checker.”

Chubby walked out onto the stage and proceeded to sing non-stop for an hour and a half. He embraced the audience and they embraced him back.

By the mid-point of his concert, it became obvious he needed no back-up singers or performers, because his audience filled the bill. People were dancing in the aisles, standing at their seats dancing and those who couldn’t get out of their seats were dancing in their seats.

Whenever he sang a song that came complete with its own dance, he’d shout, “If you know how to do the Pony, come on up.” People of all ages went up to the stage and danced. At one point, he had over 20 women onstage teaching them how to do the Fly. Toward the end of the show, he had 20+ men on stage doing the Twist.

He encouraged people to sing and since everyone in that audience knew the lyrics, everyone in that audience sang. He didn’t just perform his own songs, he sang songs that were well-loved in the 60’s. Songs by Little Richard, Marvin Gaye, Bill Haley, and so many more I couldn’t keep track.  He sang Blue Suede Shoes and he didn’t massacre it. He did Elvis proud.

At other concerts I’ve attended, when a recognizable song is about to begin, there is a hushed sort of “ahhh” that permeates the audience. At this concert, every time Chubby started to sing, people screamed their approval.

Senior teenagers! It was a night to reminisce, to do things we hadn’t done in many years. Some folks who climbed up on stage had to be helped up the steps. In one case, a man actually used a cane to get up on stage to join the rest of the guys.

Inhibitions be damned! Everyone was a kid again.

Many people stayed to talk to Chubby after the show and get his autograph. Some held old 33 1/3 record albums for him to autograph. Others just wanted to tell him what he meant to them when they were growing up.

I was there well over an hour and there were still people waiting to talk to him. They took pictures of him with their cell phones. He was gracious, never rushed anyone, and he signed every autograph requested.

It was a party!


10 Women I Like — A Lot

As with my list of men, I won’t be listing any American presidents–oops, we haven’t had any female presidents–no American politicians, or religious leaders. This is a random list, no ranking intended.

  1. Eleanor Roosevelt – Human Rights were her passion. She fought for the youth of America, for the poor, for black Americans and for women at home and abroad. She was a suffragette. (Yeah, Eleanor!) Her accomplishments are too vast to enumerate.
  2. Audrey Hepburn – For me she will always be My Fair Lady, but her glowing achievement was working as UNICEF’s Ambassador. She traveled the world, gave countless interviews and appeared before Congress, working tirelessly to make children’s lives better.
  3. Gloria Steinem – Where would women be today without Gloria and Bella Abzug?
  4. Lena Horne – I think she was probably born 50 years too soon for Hollywood.  But in spite of some really Stormy Weather, she clung to her star status throughout her life. Her sultry voice caressed. Her music should be cherished.
  5. Margaret Thatcher – Britain’s first female Prime Minister. History will decide her successes and failures. All the same, I loved listening to her speak.
  6. Jackie Kennedy – She entered my life as the wife of a president and she enchanted me for the rest of her life.
  7. Ginger Rogers – For the many hours I spent at the movies and in front of the TV watching her dance effortlessly across the screen with Fred Astaire.
  8. Pauly Perrette – Plays Abby on NCIS. This seems like an unlikely choice, but what many don’t know about Pauley is she uses her celebrity to help children, animals and the homeless. She is active in so many foundations, it would make your head spin.
  9. Rosa Parks – Where does this type of courage come from?
  10. Sandra Day O’Conner – First female member of the Supreme Court. She was a ground-breaker from the minute she graduated from law school.

Ain’t women grand?

Usher, Lady Gaga and Jay Manuel



Don’t you wish Usher would conduct a seminar for celebrities titled How to be a Celebrity and Look Like One, too?

Lady Gaga

Lady GaGa

C’mon, tell the truth–she makes you smile. And anyone who can perform an unforgettable duet with Elton John deserves a “well done.”

Jay Manuel

Jay Manuel

And here’s the guy who dissects what’s fashionable and what’s not–I’m just sayin’.

Macon, GA

macon-gaphoto from

[My computer has been sick, but it’s all better now.]

So, what’s doing in Macon, GA? That’s what I was thinking 5 years ago when a friend asked me if I’d like to go to Macon for the Cherry Blossom Festival. It turns out that Macon has more, many more, cherry blossom trees than Washington, DC.

Here’s a report from Faye and Ken

Did you know that Macon has more than 300,000 Yoshino Japanese Cherry Trees? So many that Macon was declared the Cherry Blossom Capital of the United States” in 1983. Later, the Japanese Consul General named Macon the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World!!” William Finkling found and propagated the first Yoshinos in 1949 and later he gave away 1,500 trees every year to the Macon community. That’s how there came to be many Cherry trees.

Anyway, I decided to go with my friend. Macon holds the festival for 10 days every year in March, so if you’re a person who prefers not to take summer vacations, you’ll have plenty of time to plan for this trip.

Let me tell you, they pack in a lot of events in those 10 days, too. And much of it is free: parades, craft and artists shows, food fairs, dancing in the streets, band concerts in the park, and the best fireworks I have ever seen (and that’s saying something, because I’ve seen a lot of fireworks displays in a lot of different places.)

If you like to tour Antebellum Homes, there are plenty of them. We visited one when we were there, but I can’t remember the name of it. I remember it was lovely and that it had a cannonball in the porch floor, right where it landed during the Civil War.

Learn more about the Pinkest Party on Earth

Orlando, Florida

Orlando By Night

Continuing on with fun cities to visit in the United States. Try Orlando, Florida.

Yeah, you already know it’s about Disney, Universal and Sea World. That’s all good, but it is also about nightlife downtown and restaurants galore. One of my favorite restaurants is Vito’s Chop House on International Drive, a steak house with an Italian flair. But that’s only one of many delightful places to dine.

I’d venture to say no matter when you visit, you’ll always be able to find a live concert to attend. There are great venues: Amway Arena, House of Blues, and Hard Rock Live, to name a few.

If you prefer golf, look no further. While the kids are at Universal for the day, you can pick up your clubs and head for any of the Grand Cypress Resort’s Courses, Bay Hill, Shingle Creek or the Hunter’s Creek Golf Course. Again, this is a partial list. There are many more.

If the kids want to see something a little more off the beaten path, try Gatorland or Wet & Wild or Silver Spurs Rodeo.

Most visitors to Orlando aren’t usually looking for cultural pursuits, but if you’re happiest at the theatre, you’ll be pleased to know Orlando hosts a ballet company, opera company, a philharmonic orchestra, a lineup of live plays and it even has a thriving Shakespeare Theatre.

For sports, there’s always the Magic and if you visit at the right time of year, you can see the Citrus Bowl Parade, which kicks off another exciting Citrus Bowl Game.

Gosh, what more could you want?

Memphis, Tennessee

Since I’m encouraging vacation travel on a budget, I’ll rerun part of a previous post I wrote a while back.

If you’re looking to hear the blues, Memphis is the town.

Looking to savor the sweet taste of BBQ? Memphis is a good choice.


A word about Beale Street–I was expecting something similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but Beale Street is much shorter, only extends about a block or two. Therefore, it doesn’t have as many shops, but what it lacks in shopping, it makes up for in good food and fantastic music. The entire time spent on Beale Street is a party for the senses.


There is one important fact to know about BBQ, it comes “wet” or “dry.” At the Pig On Beale, you can order your ribs with a dry rub. Take it from me, if you’re ever at the Pig, dry is the way to go.

The final Memphis highlight that I will touch on has a lot of “soul.”


photo from

We only had time to visit one museum and, boy, did we make a good choice–STAX. Museum, with just the right mixture of history, made for a memorable visit.

There are bus tours galore that will take you to Graceland, if you yearn to see the King’s home. We ran out of time.