Downy Soft

(Click to enlarge)

This male (the red nape) Downy Woodpecker looks a lot like a miniature version of its larger cousin, the Hairy Woodpecker. They’ve both got very similar markings including a white back, but the Downy is around 6″ compared to the Hairy’s 9″.

One advantage of trying to photograph birds in winter is that you can get a clearer shot without leaves in the way.

Marine Park Salt Marsh

Brooklyn, New York

“Dear Number 1036924053887”

In which your friendly neighborhood healthcare insurance company sends a letter of mild request to Roy Zimmerman…

One more example of Roy’s great witty songs.

More at Roy Zimmerman


(“Enjoy Denial” by Tim Fenn is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Here’s a re-working of an essay that I originally printed on this blog some time ago, and revised for radio broadcast.

Well everyone’s all aflutter these days with our newly elected overlords, and far be it from me to burst anyone’s bubble.  I mean, what fun is it in having enemies if you can’t beat up on them and blame them for all the country’s ills? Of course our unelected overlords still continue apace, but today I want to talk about a different level of reality that remains largely unspoken...the one incontrovertible fact about life in these United States regardless of who is ruling is the following…”

Click on the triangle or link above to hear it as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.

Does Everything Have To Be Funny?

In which Nellie McKay answers that burning title question–and sings a version of “Moon River” to boot.

(The expert panel of the Language Acquisition and Identification Department of Shalblog® Industries is identifying the language in the song, within a 2-3% margin of error, as being Portuguese.)

Thanks to YouTuber Caffe Lena

Ruddy Duck

(Click to enlarge)

Here’s the Ruddy Duck. They’re small and like to travel in large same-species groups. The male and female both have chestnut sides and backs, with sharp tails; the male has white cheek patches. In the photo above you can see two males in the foreground and a female behind them.

Prospect Park,

Brooklyn, New York

February’s Feast

Celebrating our second year of publication!
Another great free issue of the Arts Express Newsletter

*Why was this Arts Express interview censored from YouTube with no explanation?…… An Arts Express Special featuring an extraordinary interview with Mike Africa Jr., member of the radical MOVE organization. He is also the subject of a new documentary about his parents, 40 Years A Prisoner.

*Art At A Time Like This presents a multi-borough billboard exhibition, “Ministry of Truth 1984/2020,” exploring issues of propaganda, censorship, and racial injustice in our present time.

*Dennis Broe on depictions of working-class families in recent television series.

*and much more!

Get your free copy and free subscription by emailing us at and put the word “subscribe” in the subject line

Small Day Tomorrow: Janis Siegel

Janis Siegel’s name is new to me, but after hearing her sing this Fran Landesman/Bob Dorough song, I am definitely a fan.

Sometimes I hear a strong lyric and I smile, because I can imagine the songwriter knowing she has hit gold with a great idea. Bob Dorough, the composer of this song, told in an interview how his writing partner, Fran Landesman, came upon the lyric. One night Fran and her husband were out drinking with some wealthy business people, and one of the puffed-up men suddenly downed his drink and peremptorily said, “Folks, I have to get going, I have a big day tomorrow” And Fran’s husband drawled, “Well, I think I’ll stay. I have a small day tomorrow.” And of course, as soon as they got home, Fran knew that was the hook of a great song, wrote down the line and finished writing the lyrics. Bob Dorough says as soon as he got the lyrics from Fran, the melody practically wrote itself.

More at Janis Siegel – Topic

Outdoor Life

Two weeks ago I drove down to the wonderful Garden for Sculpture, an outdoor sculpture museum in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, which features, among many others, the works of Seward Johnson and three-dimensional sculptural reproductions of paintings by Monet and Manet. I bought my timed tickets online, stuffed some COVID masks in my pocket, and jumped into the car. So come along with me on this little adventure, and you can join me virtually as I head down the highway and tour the Garden For Sculpture, on location.

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our report as broadcast today on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.

Rehearsing the Bridge

Monday morning, peeking through the bedroom blinds. Art Garfunkel and pianist Larry Knectal did 72 takes for the studio version of Paul Simon’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the last of which eventually landed on the best-selling album. Above is an early version which has some different lyrics from the final version, and a lot less orchestral backing. While the lyrics in this version are a bit more filled with college-level angst, especially the cheesy “bedroom blinds” line, I like the simpler music arrangement a whole lot more, with less bombast than the released album version.

Thanks to YouTuber Simon and Garfunkel News

All The World’s A Grave: A New Play by William Shakespeare by John Reed



Arts Express is happy to present a new play by William Shakespeare. What, impossible you say? No, not if you’re John Reed who has written a Shakespeare mash-up, using Shakespeare’s own lines and characters in a new play John calls All the World’s A Grave.

Hamlet, Iago, Romeo, Juliet and Macbeth all in the same play? Yes, and more.

If you’re familiar with Shakespeare’s characters, you’ll get a kick out of seeing them in unfamiliar situations and relationships. If you are new to Shakespeare, you’ll enjoy the fast-paced story of betrayal, love, and intrigue.

The Cast of Characters:

Iago, a lieutenant to Prince Hamlet, played by KeShaun Luckie
Hamlet, the Prince of Bohemia, played by Josh Miccio
Juliet, daughter of King Lear, The Princess of Bohemia’s military rival, Aquitane, played by Mary Murphy
Romeo, a General to Prince Hamlet played by Rick Tuman
Rosencrantz, an old college friend of Hamlet’s, played by Marty Levine
Guildenstern, another old college friend of Hamlet, played by Vivienne Shalom
The Ghost of Hamlet’s father, played by Jack Shalom

Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear our Quarto radio version of the play as broadcast today on WBAI FM NY and Pacifica stations across the nation.

The full stage version by John Reed is available from Plume Books.