Becoming Ella Fitzgerald, Part One

I was happy to speak with Judith Tick, famed musicologist and professor emerita of music history at Northeastern University, and also author of the new biography of Ella Fitzgerald, Becoming Ella Fitzgerald.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to listen to part one of our interview, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program, heard on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation. Next week, we’ll run part two of the interview.

9th Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest WINNERS

Well, it was a tremendous turnout, the largest ever since I started these contests.

Who knew that random numbers could be so exciting?

The 10 prize winners, in order, are:

1. Ken Muller

2. Dustin White

3. David Koenig

4. Chris Wilcox

5. Aubrey Torres

6. Steve Cobb

7. Jeff Shriver

8. Frank Yuen

9. Abe Carnow

10. Jay Jennings

Prizes will go out as soon as hear back from everyone on the above list. (If you haven’t responded to me yet, please check your email and get back to me.)

Thanks to all who entered, congrats to all the winners, and y’all can try your luck again next year.

A Backstage Peek

This was really fun to watch. This guy, Josh Turner, is not only a great guitar player, but he is just so creative and knowledgeable on the back end of things as well. He writes and records a song in one hour, and shows you his process. Just his closetful of mics alone was worth the price of admission. Hilarious and scary!

More at Josh Turner Guitar

Guitar God: Tommy Emmanuel

Monday morning, a virtuoso. True, it’s basically three and a half minutes of showing off, but Tommy Emmanuel kind of has the right to do all the showing off he wants. “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams.

Thanks to YouTuber sung hoon park

Ninth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest

Well, it’s that time of year again, and I thought last year’s idea worked fairly well, so let’s try it again.

In the never-ending battle for shelf place, I’m giving away some very nice magic books. One of them can be yours. Here’s what to do:

Please follow all the bolded directions, or I cannot accept your entry. I have generated a list of 10 random whole numbers between 1 and 10,000. Email me, at one whole number between 1 and 10,000 that you think might be on the list. Put the word “Contest” in the subject line. Make sure to include your full name (not a company name!) and a shipping address. One entry only please. Do this before 9 days from now. Deadline is Saturday, December 2, 11:59 PM Pacific Time. That’s it. (Sorry, but due to shipping costs, this is only open to folks who live in the Continental US.) Please follow all the bolded directions, or I cannot accept your entry.

Whoever is closest to the first number on my random list gets first prize; whoever is closest to the second number gets second prize, and so on. There will be 10 prizes given out.

First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of magic books I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag, and so on, down to 10th prize gets 10th choice. The items in the grab bag are all commercial magic books at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to have.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Two Poems by Caitlin Johnstone

If there’s anything that defines today’s political era, it is the amount of pure BS that is spouted and accepted every day. One of my favorite writers who cuts through all that is Australian based Caitlin Johnstone. With a sharp eye and a sharp tongue and a sharp pen she states the obvious, but forbidden, that the emperor has no clothes.

Here are two poems of hers written within the last year that I particularly like. The first is called “In Times Like These” which is self-explanatory, and the second is called “Thank You for Your Service,” written on the occasion of the death of whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear my reading of the two poems, as broadcast yesterday on Arts Express radio on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the nation,

Junk: MonaLisa Twins

Monday morning, a trip to the junkyard. Paul McCartney wrote this song for the Beatles White Album but it was rejected, and he later recorded it for his first solo album, McCartney. It feels at first like a throwaway song, but there’s something about the melody that haunts. The MonaLisa Twins here sing a very good version of it.

More at MonaLisa Twins