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Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Person of the Year -- Reid Stowe


2010 Person of the Year -- Reid Stowe

First, let me say that if the main stream news media were anything but a gang of toadies doing the bidding of elite plutocrats, Reid Stowe would be on a dozen round up lists of incredible accomplishments. The man returned to New York City from the longest sea voyage in history. He sailed for more than 1100 days without touching land anywhere. Most of that time, he was alone. In ages past, he would have been greeted with a ticker tape parade through the canyon of heroes. In the Age of the Computer Screen as Reflecting Pool for Narcissists, his return barely rated a yawn. Being from a military family background, rather than an elitist Ivy Leaguer or the teenage spawn of the rich, the class-consciousness-supporting, youth-obsessed MSM have ignored this world-record-shattering accomplishment as much as possible.

Reid Stowe sailed alone on a 70-foot schooner that he built himself. Think about that for a minute, please.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

ATTENTION UKULELE FANS

In the next few days I will begin liquidating my rather extensive archives of vintage sheet music on eBay. First up will be all the sheet music with the word "ukulele" in the title.

Among the titles that will go on sale are:
UKULELE LADY
UKULELE BABY
UKULELE JOE
MY LITTLE UKULELE
GHOST OF THE UKULELE
WHEN OLD BILL BAILEY PLAYS THE UKALELE
and many many more.

There will be pictures of the cover of each sheet music but they are not meant as photographic art or as something that can be downloaded and printed. They are strictly to give an idea of what the image is.

The condition of each sheet will be accurately described. All sheets are vintage originals and

These sheets are suitable for framing, or for learning the music. Great for hanging on the wall of your music room or studio.

Hawaii-ana will also be listed among the first batches. After that I will sell the vintage ukulele songbooks. Then I will sell by theme -- songs with "rose" in the title; songs with "river" in the title, etc.

Why am I selling these? Basically, they sit in a box. Someone should enjoy them, and I can use the money.

LOBBYISTS -- More from the Dept of Random Thoughts

What do you call a Washington lobbyist? One of the Bribery Pirates.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

haiku at 2 in the am


Chimney puff shadow
Eclipsing moon made dark show
Shooting stars, no snow

STOP FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE ARTS


"I want to throw up because we're supposed to quietly and politely make house in this killing machine called America and pay taxes to support our own slow murder and I'm amazed we're not running amok in the streets, and that we can still be capable of gestures of loving after lifetimes of all this."
                                                            David Wojnarowicz

It’s time for some honor and honesty among artists. We – theater, performance, literary and visual artists – should demand that the Federal government stop all funding for the arts. I’m not certain that David Wojnarowicz would have agreed with this position, but my gut tells me he would have, and not simply over the blatant censorship of his writing recently exerted by the Smithsonian.

Almost no Federal money goes to contemporary artists. Federal funding for the arts is basically limited to supporting elitist institutions. As if the tax cuts for billionaires weren’t enough, the country is forced to support museums and theaters that are run by sycophantic administrators who would rather pucker up and kiss some corporate butt than engage in an exchange with living artists. (I’m talking about creators here, not interpreters – meaning pit musicians, directors and actors, for example. Don’t get me wrong. These folks can be creative, but they do not originate the pieces upon which their work is based.)    

The late great Henry Miller (the writer, not the theater manager) once said that museums are mausoleums built by the rich to show the rest of us how little we know. And much as I enjoy a stroll through the galleries of the MoMA or the Metropolitan, the idea of government funding for these institutions strikes me as criminal in this current economy. If the museums and institutional theaters were presenting work that challenged corporate dominance I might feel differently. However, the grant money that arts organizations receive has become hush money.

The pittance that is doled out by the Federal government is not worth the censorship and other strings that are part and parcel of this funding. Groveling for money might suit administrators but it does not become an artist, at all.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

SENATE EARMARK BODES INSANE ATTACK ON DELAWARE RIVER

The following press release was issued today by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network today. More than 20 million people from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania draw drinking water from the Delaware. Please consider the Delaware Riverkeeper as you make your year end gifts. Donate securely using PayPal. http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/join/donate.asp

Taxpayer and Conservation Groups Decry $5 Million Delaware River Deepening Earmark
Groups call on Congress to reject politically-driven earmark, focus on fiscal and environmental health
 
 
(December 16, 2010) Conservation and taxpayer organizations today decried the U.S.
Senate’s earmark funding for the Delaware Main Channel Deepening project in Delaware, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania in the FY 2011 ‘Omnibus’ Appropriations bill. This $332 million
project has been questioned three times by the Government Accountability Office, called
economically wasteful and environmentally dangerous in numerous studies and has been legally
challenged by two states and five advocacy groups.
 
“At the same time New Jersey and Delaware and several conservation organizations have
sued the Corps of Engineers for violating a host of state and federal environmental laws in
planning this project, some Senators are trying to force feed funding of this project by classic
log-rolling,” said David Conrad, Senior Water Resource Specialist of the National Wildlife
Federation.
 
Democrats and Republicans promised fiscal responsibility. Their Government
Accountability Office has three times questioned the deepening. Multiple state and federal
environmental agencies and experts have identified a wealth of risks to drinking water supplies
for millions. Hundreds of millions of dollars provided to the economy by Delaware River
resources are at risk with deepening. This project has pitted the federal government against the
states. Responsible leadership would not fund this project.” said Maya van Rossum of the
Delaware Riverkeeper.
 
“Clearly some lawmakers didn’t get the message voters sent Election Day. Instead of
tackling the record deficits and restraining from parochial project spending, powerful Senators
are stuffing hundreds of water project earmarks into the end of year spending bill, piling more
onto the billions of dollars in earmarked spending,” said Steve Ellis of the fiscal watchdog group
Taxpayers for Common Sense.
 
“The Delaware Deepening project threatens endangered species, municipal water
supplies, and the health of the river ecosystem including the Delaware Bay wetlands that provide
vital habitat and flood protection benefits. The project will also have wide-ranging risks to
human health, including potential introduction of toxic materials into the river and aquifer,” said
Dalal Aboulhosn from Sierra Club.
 
“We call on Congress and President Obama to reject these tactics and the blatant use of
earmarks to propel this poorly conceived and enormously costly project forward. Here’s a budget
savings, cut this $300 million project and help the environment at the same time,” said Jane
Nogaki of New Jersey Environmental Federation.
 
“These tactics by Republicans and Democrats alike is just one more example of putting
special interest pork over the needs of the people and the planet,” said Paul Schwartz, National
Policy Coordinator for Clean Water Action. “Scare tax dollars should go towards projects that
will help not hurt our communities.”
 
“The State of Delaware denied the project’s permit on July 24, 2009 based on wideranging
and poorly analyzed risks to human health, the environment, and outstanding economic
questions. Most recently the National Marine Fisheries Service identified the project as a major
threat to Atlantic Sturgeon, a species soon to be listed as endangered which used to generate over
$16 million of economic benefit (worth over $400 million in present day dollars) to the region,”
said Brenna Goggin, of Delaware Nature Society.
 
The FY2011 Omnibus Appropriations bill is expected to be voted in the Senate in the
coming days.
####

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

THE EDUKATORS and German Film Making


Last night I watched The Edukators using my Roku to stream it from Netflix.

I don't usually do product links but the Roku has completely changed my viewing habits. We're disconnecting from cable TV (at $70 a month) and amending our Netflix account to streaming only and adding HuluPlus (each service $7.99a month) and will save over $50 a month and have more programming options. We'll also be out of the plastic and paper stream through the mails.

I try and watch several German movies each week, as part of my effort to master the language. I'm finding German film making much more appealing and entertaining than Hollywood fare. For one thing, Germans are not afraid to make movies about real people doing radical things. The Edukators certainly fit that bill.

The four main actors do a brilliant job. At one of those most tense moments in the action, I jumped up from my chair and spoke aloud to the screen: "Get out! Get out now!" I never talk to movies. I honestly can't remember the last time that happened. But I became totally caught up in the story, and the lives of the charming young people in this story. (ADDED EDIT: A big shout out to director Hans Weingartner is also in order.)

As the story progressed, my expectations of where it was going were repeatedly mistaken. Yours will be, too, if you watch it. Want a radical political thriller (without shoot em ups)? Watch The Edukators.

On a further note, another chapter of Broadway Vampire was posted today. It's FREE!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Obama's record so far, for the record

Ismael Reed defended President Obama on the Sunday NY Times Op Ed page with an attack on "white progressives" that seems to imply racism is at the heart of dissatisfaction with the President. I'm white and I used to consider myself a progressive. However, I'm not sure that term means anything anymore. It's been co-opted by the media elite.

Here are most of the reasons I'm not happy with the President. Feel free to add your own reasons why you are happy or unhappy with the Obama administration in the comments section.

War in Afghanistan escalated at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars daily.
Number of mercenaries paid $250,000 a year doubled.
In two years number of American troop deaths in Afghanistan more than doubled from the previous seven years.
Appointment of a cabinet of political hacks instead of people with fresh ideas.
Continuation of the "Burn it and we will profit" energy policy benefiting the elite.
Near-total capitulation to the medical-industrial complex without negotiations during health insurance expansion.
Continuation of the Patriot Act, wiretapping, surveillance of citizens' emails.
Covering up amount of oil spilled by BP during the Gulf of Mexico disaster.
Allowing use of a destructive dispersant during Gulf disaster.
Two years into Obama's term, the ACTUAL unemployment rate is still more than 18%.
Don't Ask Don't Tell intact for the foreseeable future.
Attack on WikiLeaks.
Tax cuts for billionaires.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

FRACKED AGAIN!

Today the Delaware River Basin commission issued proposed regulations for hydrofracking. The commission is only allowing 90 days of comments, with 3 public meetings in February -- the month most likely to present weather problems for those wishing to attend. I will rant further about this in the future. Right now, I turn this blog over to Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper:

Delaware River Basin Commission Issues Draft Natural Gas Regulations
Public Comment Period set through March 16, 2011
      West Trenton, New Jersey -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) issued draft natural gas rules for the Delaware River Basin today, December 9.  The draft rules have been posted on their website with a fact sheet at http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/notice_naturalgas-draftregs.htm   
 
            A public comment period of 90 days will close 5:00 pm, March 16 2011. Three public hearings are planned, expected to be held in February; the locations and dates are to be announced.
 
            The proposed public comment process was criticized by the Delaware Riverkeeper, Maya van Rossum.  “The public is deeply concerned about this issue.  For the DRBC to offer a brief 90 day comment period on these complex proposed regulations that will require highly technical analysis and science-based review, is an insult,” said Maya van Rossum.  “There is deep interest in the impacts of gas drilling in the Watershed and people want to submit substantive comments that will take time to develop. This is simply not enough time to do that.  We need at least 120 days but, in reality, a year is more like it”, said van Rossum.  “And there needs to be broad input from various geographic areas since every corner of the Watershed will be impacted in some way.  Each of the four Basin states should host a Public Hearing and the major population areas like Philadelphia and New York City, both dependent on the Delaware River for water supply, deserve to be heard at a Hearing located in their cities,” concluded van Rossum.
 
            The DRBC issuance of the draft rules was objected to at the meeting by Commissioner Mark Klotz from New York who represents Governor Paterson.  Governor Paterson filed a letter with the DRBC on December 6 requesting the rules not be issued until New York had completed its environmental review of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling for natural gas in shale formations in New York State.
 
            The DRBC action is being taken prior to the issuance of a cumulative impact assessment of gas drilling on the Delaware River Watershed, which is expected to be funded by the federal government in the coming weeks.  The issuance is also done over registered objections from NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the NYC Council, Philadelphia City Council, NY Congressman Maurice Hinchey, numerous environmental and conservation organizations, hundreds of individuals who have attended and spoken on the record at DRBC public meetings  and at least 8000 written comments submitted by the public.
 
            "It's a grave mistake for the DRBC to rush forward with half-baked regulations before the needed scientific analysis is done through a cumulative impact analysis", said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
 
            "The cumulative impact assessment that the federal government will be funding in the coming weeks needs to be done in order to inform the gas rules. Without this informed and science-based approach, the DRBC doesn’t have the information to develop comprehensive and effective regulations that are designed to prevent pollution and avoid degradation.  We’ll be continuing to fight for that study to be done before regulations are finalized”, said Carluccio. 
 
            15 million people rely on the Delaware River for water, including at least 7 million residents in New York City, 1.5 million in Philadelphia and 2.8 million in New Jersey. The Delaware River is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River, recognized by Congress due to its outstanding natural features. The DRBC has classified the entire nontidal River, from Hancock NY to Trenton, New Jersey, as Special Protection Waters based on its exceptional water quality.  The DRBC’s Special Protection Waters program mandates an anti-degradation approach.  This means that strict regulations are required for to all activities that could have substantial impacts on the water resources of the Basin to prevent any degradation of the existing high qualities of the River. 
 
For more information on gas drilling go to www.delawareriverkeeper.org
###

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

BROADWAY VAMPIRE Chapter 13

Today I posted Chapter 13 in the serial version of my novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE.

I'm still waiting for someone to comment on the inside joke that runs through the entire book.

Happy reading!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Elaine R.I.P.

This is a difficult post to write. Elaine Kaufman passed away last week. I posted a notice on my Face Book page at the time and mulled over what I would write about this great New York character.

Elaine's was the place where I used to go fairly regularly in the 1980s. She always donated a case of wine, as a raffle prize, to any benefit for which I was a committee member.

Then I gave up living in the city due to losing my home/apartment when the landlord died and the heirs got greedy. Ancient history.

Whenever I was in Manhattan, I still made a bee line for Elaine's. She always had time for me (even though I'm the unknown playwright -- to her I was a writer, which was important to Elaine). When I was out of town for long periods of time -- which incidence increased of late, as the economy worsened -- we stayed in touch by mail.

Elaine is a character in my novel, and lots of scenes are set in her saloon. (I recently discovered that Stuart Woods sets lots of scenes in Elaine's in his novels, too; though his sell books lots more than mine, for sure.) Did I do Elaine justice in the book? Probably not.

The last time I saw Elaine was in her place shortly before Halloween. Just like the vampire in my novel, I'd polished off a bottle of Veuve Cliquot with some friends while the Yanks were getting eliminated from the post season. Elaine waved me over to her table. It was clear her strength was waning. We talked a bit. She told me she had taken my book home to read, and enjoyed it very much.     

I gave her a kiss and said goodbye.

R.I.P. Elaine Kaufman. There will never be another.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WikiLuck

With idiots like Chuck Todd of NBC and MSNBC talking about Senator Tom Coburn's goatee, and trying to pass it off as news, WikiLeaks clearly becomes a blessing. We no longer get genuine news from the network "news" pimps like Todd and the ever-bubbly CNN media slut Kyra Phillips.

Phillips, almost no one recalls, was a total corporate whore during the run up to the Iraq war. When Scott Ritter -- the man who actually oversaw the dismantling of Iraq's weapons programs during the 1990s, as head of the UN weapons inspectors -- went on Phillips' completely forgettable show on MSNBC as the media cheered for the start of the Iraq war.

The former US Marine intelligence officer stated unequivocally during the Phillips interview that there were no weapons of mass destruction, that it was impossible for Hussein to have rebuilt his programs that quickly after Ritter and his teams destroyed them. Phillips response? "It sounds to me like you've been drinking Saddam Hussein's Kool Aid." This from an idiot who never served this country other than to screw and squirm her way up the corporate "news" ladder.

Shortly after that exchange, Ritter was charged with attempted child molestation. Sound familiar? Julian Assange of WikiLeaks is now wanted for alleged sex crimes. Oddly, these charges are being promulgated by a Swedish prosecutor who already said there is no merit to the charges when they first were proffered, then dropped.

Strange isn't it? Obama wins the Nobel Peace prize and turns total war monger. WikiLeaks and Assange release info that delineates possible war crimes, at worst, and crappy leadership on the part of Bush, Obama and all their henchmen in the Pentagon and the military industrial Congressional complex, at best. For this, he gets persecuted in the home country of the Nobel Prize.

I wish the guy lots of luck.He will need it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Chapter of BROADWAY VAMPIRE

Chapter Eleven of Broadway Vampire is now posted for your reading pleasure. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Oh, how I love those stars!

Broadway Vampire got another five star reader review on Amazon. And this one came from a theater professional!

"My only negative reaction to this book was that is was too short. On the flip side, I am Hopeful that there will be sequels.

Well written, nicely paced and interwoven with real life, assuming Vampires aren't actually real.
"

 The people who are buying this book, in paperback or Kindle, are loving it!

BEAT THE BLACK FRIDAY RUSH! BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

THE GREAT GARZON


Ixion Burlesque, under the direction of impresario Albert Garzon, presents Weimar Burlesque this Saturday night at the Bowery Poetry Club. I wrote the script based on the love affair and marriage between Lotte Lenya and Kurt Weill, drawing from letters, biography and other reading.

However, this is really the brain child of the maestro, Albert Garzon. The Great Garzon loves the art form known as burlesque -- with reservations. He loves burlesque that is accompanied by live music and singing. Young women taking to stages and plugging their iPods into the house sound system to accompany their dances of dishabille, the Great Garzon likes to point out, is NOT true burlesque. Live music and singing accompanying the dancers is essential to presenting burlesque as it is meant to be seen. Fan dancers grinding to pre-recorded tracks are presenting ersatz burlesque.

Maybe the insistence on live music is why the Great Garzon's presentations are always sold out.

I'll be there this Saturday evening. Will you? (For those of you too far away, there will be a live web cam presentation of the performance on the BPC website.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

THEATER ADMINISTRATORS ARE THE AMERICAN CENSORS

Administrators at not for profit American theaters are screaming “murder” that the Republicans may shut down the National Endowment for the Arts and send Rocco Landesman back to playing the ponies. As a playwright and writer with decidedly social democratic leanings, it appears to me that the American experiment in supporting the arts has been as big a failure as marijuana prohibition.

How is this possible? Quick. Trot out the fact that the “mere” $161 million NEA budget generates billions in ancillary revenue. Yeah. Sure. But for who? Not for artists. For corporations that own hotels and airlines and chains of restaurants – the same bunch who have undermined democracy with their money.

The fact is that most arts administrators regard living creative (as opposed to interpretive) artists as, at best, inconveniences. The institution uber alles is the primary operating principle. That makes sense in terms of arts admins doing their jobs. It doesn’t make sense in terms of creating a thriving culture.

The not-for-profit theater in America these days shores up the status quo. This means unmitigated participation in the dumbing down of American culture. Arts admins don’t want to do anything to upset their corporate donors. That is why the only voices of protest heard these days in the theater are those protesting cuts in their own budgets. America doesn’t require a system of official censorship. Theater administrators have become the de facto censors.

Monday, November 8, 2010

UKE JACKSON AND THE GINSENG ROOTS BAND AT THE GERSHWIN HOTEL

UKE JACKSON AND THE GINSENG ROOTS BAND
AT THE GERSHWIN HOTEL
Concert and Book Release
Thursday November 11, 2010
7 East 27th Street @ Fifth Avenue
8 pm

Uke Jackson and The Ginseng Roots Band will make a rare Manhattan appearance on November 11 at 8 pm in the Gershwin Hotel. In addition to Jackson, musicians include Albert Garzon, JJ Deluxe (aka Johnny Peppers), and Kevin Vertrees. The evening will begin with the band playing a set of their signature neo-skiffle music including Tin Pan alley songs from he 1920s, 1930s jug band music, and acoustic folk and blues. The line up includes ukulele, piano, melodica and bass sax.

            The second set of the evening will be a celebration of Uke Jackson’s new novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE. Jackson will read from the novel at different points in the story where the lyrics of original songs appear. The band will join him in renditions of the three tunes from the book – “Vampire Luck”, “Vampire Bankers” and “Thick Stack of Hundred Dollar Bills”.

Whether you are a fan of Broadway theater or hungering for new knowledge about the Eternal Undead, Broadway Vampire will provide compelling entertainment. Combining horror, theater history, murder mystery and love story, Broadway Vampire is a sure fire page turner set in the world of contemporary New York theater. Stage buffs and those lusting after fangs of their own will discover a vampire that everyone loves to hate.

Angus "Gus" Windham IV is a Broadway producer. He is also a vampire. He has a ten million dollar bet riding on his revival of Pretty Lady. So, when one of his closest human associates is found murdered, this consummate serial killer is forced to align his efforts with those of the NYPD in order to solve the case. Meanwhile, other vampires are beginning to tire of Gus's public persona. A surprise ending will satisfy even the most hard-boiled thriller fan.

            After the “vampire set” Uke Jackson will answer questions from the audience. Copies of Broadway Vampire will be available for sale and signing. There is a $10 music charge at the door.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

GIG CALENDAR ADDED

I've added a gig and event calendar on the right of this blog. It is the most-up-to-date listing for my appearances.

Two good gigs coming up:

FOR THOSE OF YOU IN Northeast PA: Friday November 5 @ 7:30 PM The Bookhouse concert at the Hughes Library on 9th Street / Route 611 in Stroudsburg, PA Admission is free. Uke Jackson and the Ginseng Roots band do a music set, then Uke reads from BROADWAY VAMPIRE and he and the band perform the tunes the lyrics of which that are part of the novel. Book signing afterward.



FOR THOSE OF YOU IN Manhattan: Thursday November 11 @ 7:30 PM The Gershwin Hotel 7 East 27th Street. Admission is $10. Uke Jackson and the Ginseng Roots Band perform their neo-skiffle music. BROADWAY VAMPIRE book signing afterward.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ANOTHER GREAT REVIEW

Another great reader review was recently posted on the Amazon.com page for BROADWAY VAMPIRE (Love the signature!).

"If you are looking for a book that will keep you glued and turning the pages to see what happens next this is the one for you. Do you believe in Vampires? Well you just might after reading this. This book will grip you and stay with you. Take this from someone who knows I highly recommend this book.

Signed


Vampiras
"

BUY YOUR COPY HERE!

Broke? Read it FREE here.

A Skeleton in the Closet

MORE LOUIS FOR HALLOWEEN!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

HALLOWEEN ENTERTAINMENT

Love this tune from Louis Armstrong!



Also, Nicole Kidman in The Others provided a couple of hours of appropriate Halloween entertainment. I thought the director, who also wrote the music, really pulled it off.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Holidays Are Coming

Please take a look at this web site and think about making a donation of either items the troops are requesting or some cash. The holidays are coming, folks, and we'll be enjoying them with family and friends, not ducking bullets.

http://www.give2thetroops.org/items.htm

This is a pretty good outfit. Even 20 bucks sent thru their PayPal link will help.

However you feel about the war, it is not the fault of the troops serving there. When you're serving, the holidays are often the toughest times of the year. Show a little love!

Please pass this along to anyone who can afford to show their appreciation.

Enjoy the turkey and the trimmings next month

Thanks!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GIG THIS SATURDAY

I will be at the Quadrant Book Mart and Cafe in Easton, PA this Saturday October 23, from Noon to 3 pm. I'll be signing copies of BROADWAY VAMPIRE and from 1 'til 2 JJ Deluxe will join me for an hour of music and some reading from the novel in the art gallery upstairs at the Quadrant.

Monday, October 18, 2010

BRIAN GORMLEY -- closing party

Brian Gormley -- He is the Master of the Mark.


He is the Keeper of the Flame of Abstract Impressionism.


He is the direct artistic heir of Jackson Pollack.

Brian Gormley fancies himself an outsider. Intellectually and artistically, he is the ultimate insider.

His show REVENGE OF THE MAYAN CALENDAR at Mindy Wyatt Gallery closes tomorrow night, Tuesday October 19. There will be a HUGE closing party.

Mindy Wyatt Gallery
814 Broadway (between 11th and 12th Sts)
Manhattan

7pm - 9 pm. Be there or be square!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

READER REVIEWS

Here are some of my favorite quotes from readers who have read Broadway Vampire and then wrote reviews.

From Amazon:

"This book was a pleasant surprise, a mix of Broadway history and an inventive twist on the traditional vampire lore. It was a great read, fast paced like James Patterson, but with enough substance and interesting, colorful characters to keep me reading long past bedtime!! It was also fun to have real-life people mentioned in the book, as well as real places with which I'm familiar. No book since Interview with a Vampire has made me wonder more about their existence!! A great first novel, hopefully there will be more to follow!" 

"I loved the book! A fast read and interesting history of Broadway theater. I am not a vampire person but Gus is my kind of vampire!!!!"


and from Goodreads:

"An intriguing premise, a vampire theatrical producer.
I liked the vampire lore of this book. It was well thought out and intriguing. Make no mistake this is a vampire with a capital V, no sparkly veggie angsty emo guy, but a murderous unapologetic drinker of human blood. ."


One thing I noticed -- the paying customers were much more enthusiastic than the people who got freebies. (I gave away ten copies on Goodreads as part of one of their contests.) I'm thinking "No more freebies! Read it free on the blog or buy it." 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- chapter 5 posted

Chapter 5 of BROADWAY VAMPIRE is now available for your reading pleasure. It's FREE.

One chapter a week for 60 weeks, every Wednesday before Noon. (Hey, I'm a playwright. How precise a schedule do you want from me?).

Here's the link written out: http://broadwayvampire.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!

Friday, October 8, 2010

BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- 1,000,000 Readers!





I want to have 1,000,000 people reading the serialization of my new novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE by Halloween this year. That's a huge number. If there's anything you can do to help me spread the word, it would be much appreciated. Tweet it. Share it on FaceBook -- link on upper left of your screen, write your own blog post. Tell people about it. Hey, it's FREE. Who else is putting an entire serialized novel about a vampire who is a Broadway producer on the internet for FREE?

So, if you can tell people, thank you!

Here's the link written out:


http://broadwayvampire.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Army Corps of Engineers Emerges as Rogue Agency Fronting for Fracking Criminals

Press Statement from Delaware Riverkeeper Network:

Army Corps of Engineers
Emerges as Rogue Agency

 
Philadelphia, PA – The Army Corps of Engineers is the “ex officio” appointee that represents the federal government vote on the Delaware River Basin Commission, one of the five votes on the Commission that make decisions about the water resources of the Delaware River Watershed.  In that role, the federal member is representing the President of the United States.
 
The federal representative is supposed to confer with and reflect the input of other federal partners such as the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its deliberations regarding DRBC policies, projects and voting matters. Unfortunately, as the natural gas industry chafes at the bit, anxious to start drilling here in the Delaware River Watershed where there is a moratorium in place on gas production wells, pressure is building.
 
Recently New Jersey pushed the DRBC to fast track gas regulations before an essential cumulative impact study is done. Then the Army Corps sent a letter to Congressman Maurice Hinchey glorifying “economic development” over scientific study and a measured approach to gas drilling regulation and oversight.  These and other poor policy decisions are beginning to unravel the DRBC’s ability to protect the water supply for 15 million people and the outstanding features and ecosystems of the Delaware River watershed, the very mission that the DRBC is mandated to fulfill.
 
Congressman Hinchey had written the Corps as a federal lawmaker asking that they support the completion of the federally funded cumulative impact study he and other members of the Delaware River Congressional delegation are marshalling through the appropriations process and urging that the study be completed prior to the promulgation of gas regulations by the DRBC.
 
In addition to disregarding the requests of Congressman Hinchey, the Corps also notably ignored the written requests of the National Park Service and Department of the Interior for the completion of the cumulative impact study of the potential impacts of gas development on the “water quality and scientific features” of the River Basin and its Special Protection Waters, and to include all natural gas projects, including all exploratory wells, in their review and regulation, not allowing any to start construction at this time.  In addition, the Corps has ignored the public voice, expressed for months in thousands of submitted letters and by the appearance of hundreds of residents attending DRBC public meetings advocating for “Study first, a full moratorium now during the course of that study, and once study information is available then regulate to prevent pollution”.
 
Says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper, “The Army Corps has emerged as a rogue agency, ignoring input from other federal partners and pushing instead for fast tracking regulations before a cumulative impact assessment is completed.”  
 
The Army Corps approved the water withdrawal for Stone Energy on July 15 (.70 million gallons of water per day from the West Branch Lackawaxen River for fracking their wells) and voted to deny Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s “Request for Hearing” (a legal challenge to the Stone water approval).  They also voted to deny the joint request by Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Damascus Citizens for Sustainability for a stay to keep a group of grandfathered “exploratory” wells from moving ahead in Bucks and Wayne Counties, PA.  And they say they are doing it all for “economic development” and to “secure energy reserves”, despite the fact that there is no provision for such considerations by the DRBC; the DRBC exists for water resource and watershed protection according to its Compact.
 
“It is essential that a cumulative impact assessment of the potential impacts of gas development be completed and this study needs to be used as the basis for the new DRBC regulations.  Right now, being pushed by the Army Corps, the DRBC is planning to do it backwards – to allow drilling first, and do the study of the harms of gas drilling later when it is too late to take advantage of its findings in crafting their gas rules,” said van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.  “Delaware Riverkeeper Network thanks Congressman Hinchey and our other elected officials who are working to assure that this crucial assessment is completed for the Watershed in order to inform the DRBC gas rulemaking so regulations that prevent pollution and degradation can be adopted and that no gas-related projects proceed while the study is underway,” said van Rossum. 
 
Congressman Hinchey replied to the Army Corp’s letter on September 30.  In a strong rebuff of the Corp’s errant actions, Congressman Hinchey cited the underlying regulations that created and guide the DRBC and challenged the Corps with several questions.  The text of his letter follows. 
 
September 30, 2010
 
Brigadier General Peter A. DeLuca
Commander and Division Engineer, North Atlantic Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
302 General Lee Avenue
Brooklyn, NY  11252
 
Dear General DeLuca:
 
            Thank you for your prompt response to my recent letter regarding regulations for gas exploration and drilling in the Delaware River Basin.  While I appreciate learning your views on this matter, your letter raises very serious and troubling questions about the role of the Delaware River Basin Commission’s (DRBC) federal representative, how the views of other federal agency partners are represented at the DRBC, and the obligations of the DRBC to protect one of our country’s largest sources of drinking water.
 
            In the recent letter, you note, “The federal family of agencies that I represent on the commission are collectively charged with a requirement to support the economic needs of the region and our nation’s need to secure energy reserves while protecting the environment.” While this charge may be legislatively specified for other federal and state agencies, there is no legislative authorization for the DRBC that supports such an interpretation of the federal representative’s role on that commission.  In fact, this statement contradicts Congressional intent and ignores the specific interests that Congress cited in creating the DRBC and in establishing multiple federal designations and protections along the length of the Delaware River. These designations include the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, the Middle Delaware National Scenic River, and the Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic River.

            As you know, the DRBC was established by Congress in 1961 and signed into law by President John F. Kennedy to protect and manage the waters of the Delaware River Basin.  The Compact specifies the DRBC’s role in protecting and managing key interests such as water supply, pollution control, flood protection, watershed management, recreation, hydroelectric power, and regulation of withdrawals and diversions.  The Compact between the federal government and four basin states specifically notes:
 
“Each of the signatory parties covenants and agrees to prohibit and control pollution of the waters of the basin according to the requirement of this compact and to cooperate faithfully in the control of future pollution in and abatement of existing pollution from rivers, streams, and water in the basin...[1]
           
            The Compact provides no charge or direction to the DRBC to “secure energy reserves,” other than hydroelectric power, particularly if such activities jeopardize the federally-protected Special Protection Waters of the basin.  This charge is explicitly cited numerous times in the law. Unfortunately, without the benefit of a cumulative impact study of gas exploration and drilling in the Basin, the DRBC cannot accurately assess how the development of up to 30,000 gas drilling wells will impact the Basin’s water resources or fully protect the Basin’s invaluable water and natural resources.
 
            In terms of representing other federal interests, the interpretation cited in your letter also contradicts the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968 and the inclusion of large segments of the Delaware River in that federal system.  The Act describes the “Congressional declaration of policy” as follows:
 
“It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.[2]
 
Widespread reports of water contamination and adverse impacts, however, raise serious questions as to whether the use of hydraulic fracturing for gas exploration and drilling in the Delaware River Basin is consistent with this policy.
 
            As I noted in my prior letter, the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have also conveyed to the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) their agencies’ concerns about drilling activities in this basin, citing the federal protective designations and other important national interests and supporting a cumulative impact study[3].  However, your letter makes no mention of the concerns publicly expressed by any of the “family of federal agencies” that you indicate the Army Corps represents.
 
            At a time when the wells of private citizens near gas drilling sites in Pennsylvania and many other states are being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatory bodies for contamination by methane and fracking fluids, we should be doing everything we can to ensure that the Special Protected Waters (SPW) of the Delaware River Basin, which supplies drinking water to millions of people, is home to endangered fish and wildlife, and supports the local recreation and tourism economies for scores of local communities, is protected against the risks of natural gas drilling.
 
            Given the serious nature of this issue and the vagueness of your prior response, I request that you please provide answers to the following questions:
 
·         What are the “federal agencies” you represent at the Delaware River Basin Commission?
·         What is the legal basis, be that statutory or regulatory, on which you based your statement that the “family of federal agencies” you represent are charged with supporting “the economic needs of the region and our nation’s need to secure energy reserves?”
·         What is the legal basis, be that statutory or regulatory, on which you based your statement: “This balancing [environmental protection to proceed together with economic development] was an underlying reason for the creation of the Commission?”
·         How have you complied with your agency’s environmental review requirements and other responsibilities under the National Environmental Policy Act?
·         Did you, or anyone in your agency, conduct any environmental reviews on the cumulative impact of gas drilling on the Delaware River Basin’s water quality, drinking water supplies, or fish and wildlife?
·         Did your agency conduct any analysis of the potential negative economic consequences of gas drilling to other sectors of the economy, including tourism, recreation, second home construction, and agriculture?
·         How did you incorporate the views of other federal agencies before making a decision to approve a water withdrawal for gas drilling (Stone Energy Docket D-2009-01301, approved 7.14.10) and to support the “grandfather” exceptions to the Supplemental Executive Director Determination for a number of exploratory wells?
·         Did you consult with other federal agencies prior to drafting and sending your response to my letter?
·         Was your response to my letter approved by any superior officers at the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Army, or senior administration officials before it was sent?
·         Can you provide the schedule that shows that “several public hearings as well as a written comment period sometime later in the calendar year” have been arranged to address drilling in the Delaware River Basin?
 
            I look forward to your timely response.
 
                                                            Sincerely,
 
                                                            Maurice D. Hinchey

Monday, October 4, 2010

MORE EIRE

Charlie Connelly, author of Our Man in Hibernia
and The Unknown Playwright, author of Broadway Vampire


So, there had to be more, right? 

Above you see two ukulele strumming authors. I first met Charlie Connelly when he came to NY Uke Fest in 2007. We stayed in touch over the internet. As it happened , his new book Our Man in Hibernia was being launched while I was in Dublin. Which meant that I was likely a pest but we did get together at an evening club event The Irish Sunday Times sponsored  to help launch the book.

Charlie is the author of eight books, BBC radio correspondent, and a collector and player of the ukulele. Our Man in Hibernia is a witty and loving examination of his move from England to Ireland to be with the love of his life and fellow journalist Jude Leavy. It's witty and engaging and has earned a place on my bookshelf right next to Sarah Lyall's The Anglo Files.

Brian Henderson's 60th Birthday 
(l to r., me, a friend, Brian Henderson)

Painter Brian Henderson was a long-time stalwart on the New York art scene for many years before returning to his native Dublin. Seeing him when I walked into Chez Gormley (Dublin edition) for the first time sort of threw me. I'd just finished a long trek that included a first class flight to Heathrow, a layover of a few hours in London, a train from Euston Station across England and Wales for several hours to Holyhead where I boarded the Ulysses, pride of the Irish Ferries line and  the slow boat to Dublin. Then public transport and finally a cab to Pembroke Road, where I walked in to see not only Brian but another face I knew from someplace else.

Anyway, Brian was definitely part of the picture while we were there, and a welcome one I must say. He dropped by on the evening of his 60th birthday. (His studio, btw, is really well-appointed. Most American artists would give their proverbial eye teeth -- whatever the hell they are -- for a place like this. Like my host Brian Gormley, Brian Henderson creates beautiful abstract paintings -- though their styles are quite different. Henderosn also likes to shoot photography of black women in tight, scanty vinyl outfits.

The Dublin Museums and exhibits are outstanding. I was invited to the gala opening of the National Gallery of Ireland exhibit: Gabriel Metsu -- Rediscovered Master of the Dutch Golden Age. Brilliant! I'm surprised that it debuted in Ireland and not the Netherlands. You've likely never heard of Metsu but by all means make a point of looking at his work, especially if you happen to find yourself in Dublin anytime while the show is still up (thru Dec 5)

The Dublin Writers Museum was a treat. I spent a full morning there checking it all out. I found out about writers I'd never heard of but should have, and learned more about writers who have long been favorites of mine. Imagine America having a museum honoring its writers. Hah! Fat chance. That means we as a nation would have to respect ideas and storytelling that goes beyond car chases, old bones, cops and shoot 'em ups.

I also got to see the Sir John  Lavery exhibit "Passion and Politics" at the Hugh Lane Gallery -- really a museum. Arthur Keating and his wife have a very rare piece loaned to this show. It's a painting of a young girl by Hazel Lavery, Sir John's American-born wife who became famous as the beautiful woman on the Irish bank notes (until the Euro came along).  The evening of the same day that I saw this show, Arthur and Vera had a going away dinner for us (mentioned in the other blog).

There's a lot of angst in Dublin these days. Everywyhere you look there are "To Let" signs on offices. The economy is hard hit by the collusion between 3 American presidents (Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama) with the criminals on Wall Street who destroyed the world economy. The Irish will survive though, as we all will. There will always be Guiness.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

HOW TO ORDER “Broadway Vampire” (or read it for FREE)

HOW TO ORDER “Broadway Vampire” (or read it for FREE)

There are several ways to order my new novel BROADWAY VAMPIRE, even though it “officially” comes out October 10. And there’s a way to read it for FREE. Please read on.

The best way for me is if you use this link (I get triple royalties):


Here’s the link to buy it on Amazon.com:


Here’s the link to buy the Kindle version:


If you want to go the old-fashioned route, you can order the book at your local bookstore. You will need this number, though, so you might want to copy it down:

ISBN-13: 978-0965128773

I do hope you will read my book, so much so that there is also a FREE on-line 60 week serialization. Hopefully, you get so hooked in that you find you can’t wait and MUST order the whole book immediately. Anyway, here’s where to read it FREE:


Thank you!


Monday, September 27, 2010

IRELAND


So, yes I did go to Ireland for 3 weeks. I think the hangover is finally cured. I'm not much of a drinker but I was told by a pal I would be a social outcast if I turned down a drink. I was never good at the social outcast thing.

I was invited and housed in absolute Georgian splendor with a decidedly bohemian edge. Most of my  time was spent in Dublin, which fact flies in the face of the rural photo above. My buddy Mike Anton took that shot when we were on a two day road trip to County Galway on the West Coast. Mike only came over for a week toward the end of my stay with the artist Brian Gormley.

Gormley is one of the few true geniuses I number among my close friends. I've know him for some 25 years. He likes to say he inherited me from his father, the late great Edward Francis Gormley -- soldier, saloon keeper, playwright and bon vivant -- which I consider an honor.

Brian was there for an exhibit in which his work is included Graphic Studio: 50 years in Dublin at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Enrique Juncosa, the amiable director of the museum, wrote an excellent introduction to the exhibition catalog.

The Dublin Dandy (me) with Jon Lasker.



We ran into Enrique at John Daly's Hillsboro Gallery for the opening of Jonathan Lasker's and John Noel Smith's joint exhibit there (Hillsboro also reps Brian Gormley in Dublin.) The next morning we received a phone call that I was now on the guest list for a sit down dinner at The Tea Room at The Clarence, owned by Bono and the Edge, after the exhibit at IMMA. I thought that was very generous. (Thanks again, Enrique! Great party!)

I wasn't there as a theater tourist (I was going with the flow, so to speak -- and man, did it flow) so I only took in one play -- The Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault -- at the Civic Theater in Tallaght in south Dublin. I tried to see the play in its last weekend at the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, which is Dublin's equivalent of Greenwich Village, more or less. It was a superb show. The set was one of the best touring boxes I've laid eyes on. The cast was brilliant. Boucicault gets some prominent mention in my novel Broadway Vampire for writing the first vampire stage production -- titled The Vampire -- which appeared on Broadway and the West End in 1852-3 -- decades before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula

The Unknown Playwright, Noelle Campbell Sharp, Brian Gormley, and a firend at the IMMA opening.


I got to meet the inimitable Noelle Campbell Sharp, patron of the arts and a great Dublin character. She has her own Georgian house in the heart of the center city, with a private drinking establishment. Brian Gormley, I should explain, has visited and lived in Dublin on and off since he was 3 years old. So he knows everyone there is to know, or so it seemed. In any case, Noelle invited Gormley, Michael Carter, a NYC poet, and myself to come to Cill Rialaig the artists colony she founded on the wild seacoast of County Kerry. (The invitation, for two weeks this November, almost beat me back to the States. Now I've got to beat the bushes for some money to go.)

While in Dublin, I got to hang out with a couple of Ireland's top Mick Cullen and Charlie Cullen. These two affable characters have studios right next to each other in a building of artists' studios, the existence of which made me think of Montparnasse during the time of Picasso and friends. Oddly enough, (or not) these two masterful artists are not from the same family.Both these superb painters, however, were represented in the IMMA show with Brian Gormley.

I also met the erotic blogger and artist Maria Dolorosa Delacruz while there. She invited us all to a great party that her boyfriend djs on the roof of a private club. (Thanks, Maria! Another great party!)

The last night there, Arthur Keating, a prominent art collector and RTE exec,  threw a going away dinner for Brian and me. The other guest of honor was the playwright and film director Martin Duffy, who lives in Berlin. It was a great evening. For some reason, our host was enamored of my singing and ukulele playing and kept calling for songs throughout the evening.

Martin made me promise to stay in touch and to visit him when I go to Berlin early next year. I'll be doing the final research for Berlin Vampire, my next novel.

And that was my trip to Dublin. More or less.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Brian Gormley opening tomorrow kicks off Fall Season

I'm revising and explicating my hand-written journal notes from my recent visit to Ireland and will post a chronicle on Thursday. Meanwhile, tomorrow evening I'll be at the opening of Brian Gormley's one man show at Mindy Wyatt Gallery, 814 Broadway @ East 11th Street in Manhattan. I consider this painting exhibit the official kick off to the "season".

Brian Gormley is one of the most interesting abstract artists on the planet today. His method of marking the canvas deserves an entire essay. For the moment, I'll say that he does automatic-style doodling, then blows these drawings up, works on them some, then has them transformed into silkscreens. He places the screens on the prepared canvas and then uses a "splatter" technique to imbue the composition with colors. The results are striking and quite beautiful

You should check out Brian's work and toast the autumn.

Brian Gormley -- "Revenge of the Mayan Calendar" Painting Exhibition
September 22, 7pm - 9 pm
Mindy Wyatt Galley
814 Broadway @East 11th St
Manhattan