The Ecstasy of Gold

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Ennio Morricone conducts his own composition, “The Ecstasy of Gold,” from the movie The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. The other-worldly singer is the astounding Susanna Rigacci.

Thanks to YouTuber schipflingerfred

Ponta Does the Matrix

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I’m not usually a big fan of magicians who don’t show their eyes—either on stage or on camera—but Ponta the Smith is so technically proficient that I still find him enjoyable to watch. Here he does three variations on a classic of coin magic.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Monday, stick your cheroot in your mouth, strap on your holster, wrap your blanket around your shoulders, and squint into the impossibly large sun as the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain plays Ennio Morricone’s haunting theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Impressive Graduation

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Eighth-grader Jack Aiello’s graduation speech was unique: a series of hilarious impressions of the Presidential candidates. He performed with amazing poise and comic timing. My favorite was his dead-on Ted Cruz. Click on the video to see his full speech.

Judy Blume: In The Unlikely Event

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My interview with author Judy Blume was broadcast yesterday on WBAI radio. The gracious writer talked about her new novel, her first attempts at writing, her writing process, and finally, her wise advice for would-be novelists. Listen to the warm voice of Judy Blume speaking about her art and craft by clicking on the grey triangle above.

Proletarian Promo

 

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Recently for WBAI radio’s Arts Express program, I interviewed actor Jerry Levy who plays Karl Marx in Jerry’s one-man play, The Third Coming. We collared him for an interview, and he was also kind enough to do an amusing promo for the show that I put together.

You can hear the 30-second spot by clicking on the grey triangle above.

Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense: Fela Kuti

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The extraordinary Fela Kuti and the Egypt 80 band: tenor saxophonist Yinusa Akinnibosun, and Fela’s son on alto sax.

The video ends abruptly, but by that time Fela and his band had transported me into an entirely different realm.

Thanks to YouTuber JAMES STONE

“When In Disgrace…”

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There have been many attempts over the years to set Shakespeare’s sonnets to music, as at least some of them were probably originally meant to be. Rufus Wainwright, the popular singer-songwriter did this a few years ago with several of the sonnets, my favorite of which is this lovely rendition of Sonnet #29.

Click on the video to play.

Thanks to YouTuber sacroom91

Blue and Sentimental

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Monday morning says a few more minutes lying in bed, staring at the ceiling fan, wondering what happened.

Count Basie, piano

Herschel Evans, Tenor Sax

Lester Young, Clarinet

Jo Jones, drums

I first encountered this piece while acting in a production of Lorraine Hansberry’s The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. I had to dance drunkenly in the dark to this.

Thanks to YouTuber Rick Russell

 

Fine and Dandy

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In the early Seventies it was almost impossible to avoid seeing a crazed television performer who did a hilarious  “magic” act with his fingers, all the while humming an inane show-bizzy type tune. We school kids would do the act for one another all through class.

Well there are probably lots of people who remember that routine, but don’t know either the performer’s name or the name of that inane tune. So, in the age of the internet, that information is now more readily available: the tune’s name is “Fine and Dandy” and the comedian was Art Metrano, and except for Steve Martin’s Flydini act, it stands for me as the funniest send-up of magicians ever.

Click on the video to watch the complete routine.

“It Was The Secrets Of Heaven And Earth That I Desired To Learn…”

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Popular high school English teacher Todd Friedman was put on administrative leave from his job after 29 years of acclaimed teaching. Why? Ostensibly, for selling discount copies of Frankenstein to his English classes. Find out the real reasons, and his continuing fight for justice, in this radio interview I conducted with Friedman, broadcast yesterday on  Arts Express, WBAI radio, 99.5 FM NYC.

Click on the gray triangle above to hear the full monstrous tale.

“Come To The Supermarket”: Kim Grogg

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The verbally dexterous and tuneful Kim Grogg wrapped her pipes around Cole Porter’s witty patter song, “Come to the Supermarket”, with gusto and panache this past week, singing at the Metropolitan Room’s season finale of Everything Old is New Again Live, produced by David Kenney of WBAI radio, and Frank Dain of Cabaret Scenes Magazine.

The show, which also featured the talents of performers Kevin Dozier, Maria Failla, Penny Fuller, Lindsey Holloway, Pucci Amanda Jhones, Hilary Kole, Kristoffer Lowe, Marissa Mulder, Kurt Peterson, Jacob Storms, Eric Sweeney, KT Sullivan and Jacob Keith Watson, will return to the Metropolitan Room in October.

This first season has been a real crash course in great cabaret for listeners like me, a cabaret novice, so thanks, David and Frank and all the wonderful artists who have appeared this season.

Although the first live season has now ended, fear not Everything Old is New Again junkies: David’s radio show will still continue to be heard every Sunday night from 9-11pm on WBAI 99.5 FM, NYC, featuring “The Great American Songbook.”

Click on the gray triangle above to hear Kim Grogg wrestle to the ground Cole Porter’s “Come to the Supermarket.”

“Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery”

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Monday, The Earth itself wakes you up to emancipate yourself.

Playing For Change uses musical artists from all around the world. In this version, the musicians are integrated with footage of Bob Marley singing his famous “Redemption Song.”