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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Working Class Bohemians -- music sample

Can't make it to the Big Viper-ino this weekend? Don't even know what the Big Viper-ino is? (If you don't know, you are not on my email list.)

Well, whatever the case here's a musical teaser / sample from Working Class Bohemians' gig at Cherry Valley Vineyards this past weekend. Working Class Bohemians is the duo act for Uke Jackson and JJ Peppers of the Ginseng Roots Band (can't very well call 2 of us a "band" now can we?)

Working Class Bohemians -- JJ Peppers and Uke Jackson
(Photo by Lynn Redmile)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Hot Time in the Old Town Last Night

Sometimes the view alone is worth the price of admission, and last night was one of those evenings, and all it cost me was a bus ride into Manhattan on a beautiful summer's afternoon.

Noel Kilkenny, Ireland's Consul General in New York, had a reception for Cill Rialig, the artists' retreat founded by my dear friend Noelle Campbell-Sharp. Cill Rialig is a pre-famine village of stone cottages all lovingly restored and now in use by invited artists on retreat. If you want to find Cill Rialig, it's overlooking the ocean at the end of the last road in western Europe.

Poets Sue Hubbard and my buddy Michael Carter both read from work created at Cill Rialig. The setting could not have been more splendid or magnificent -- unless  it had been held at Cill Rialig.

The consul general's residence is a 2 floor penthouse on the 52nd and 53rd floors of an east side high-rise, with a wrap around terrace.

My artist pal Brian Gormley, a Cill Rialig alumnus, was supposed to have some of his prints on display but US Customs had them on hold, despite the ambassador's best efforts to have them released on time.

Nonetheless, a great time was had by all. (And the rumors are true -- Anthony Haden-Guest did dance on the table at the restaurant afterward. How could I not blog that?)

Photos by David Barish.

EDIT NOTE: More photos blogged at 2:35 pm EDT

Noelle Campbell-Sharp, The Unknown Playwright, and Anthony Haden-Guest, 
poet Michael Carter in the background

Friday, June 24, 2011


Saturday June 25

Uke Jackson & the Ginseng Roots Band
with Pete Reichlin on tuba and trombone and Mike Green on cornet

Stockton Inn(click for info)

Playing from 12:30 - 2:30 pm
1 North Main Street
Stockton NJ

Sunday June 26

Working Class Bohemians (Uke Jackson and JJ Peppers)

Cherry Valley Vineyards (click for info)

Playing from 1 - 5 pm
Lower Cherry Valley Road
Saylorsburg PA

Here's our set lists for Saturday, in case you're interested:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adventures of a Little Red Ukulele

How did my little red plastic ukulele end up on French TV news? Read, watch, and find out. Also, you can learn how to restore frets on a plastic ukulele (or guitar, for that matter).

The Unknown Playwright with the now famous red plastic ukulele

Well, it began with me selling a Maccaferri Islander Baritone ukulele to my pal Antoine Carolus, an architecture professor in  France. He's also a ukulele player who runs this website devoted to the plastic ukulele of the 1950s and the automatic chord player made popular by Arthur Godfrey.

So, Antoine got the uke and was thrilled with it. He asked me what else was available from my collection. Being a bit short of folding money at the time, I mentioned the red uke -- even though it needed a bit of repair work on the frets -- and he made a generous offer. After all, it was a red Playtune made by Mario Maccaferri's company. Red is rare in the world of 1950s plastic ukuleles,

BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- new chapter posted, and Kindle price reduced

Chapter Forty One of Broadway6 Vampire is now posted.

The Kindle Edition is now available at a reduced price -- $3.99(click it)

Mystery and history along the Street of Dreams -- as seen through the eyes of a vampire, who is also a producer.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Three gigs at retirement homes this week; in addition, the 2 below are open to the public. 

Saturday at the Stockton Inn, Stockton, NJ

Look for Uke Jackson and the Ginseng Roots Band playing sweet and low down New Orleans jazz and blues, in front of the Stockton Inn, inspiration for Lorenz Hart when he wrote “There’s a small hotel / with a wishing well . . .”

That’s on Saturday June 25, from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm as part of Stockton Day in Stockton, NJ. A cat playing trombone and Sousaphone and Mike Green on cornet and flugelhorn, and me on reso uke and vocals – that’s the line up.

Sangria Sunday at Cherry Valley Vineyards

Sunday, June 26, from 1 pm – 5 pm, it’s Working Class Bohemians – JJ Peppers on saxophones and Uke Jackson. Hot roots tunes and sweet croons are the musical fare, with light snacks, chocolate covered strawberries, and great sangria served at our favorite winery.  Cherry Valley Vineyards in Saylorsburg, PA.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I'll be playing a concert his evening with the Ginseng Roots Band from 6 pm - 8 pm on the grounds of the public library in Blairstown, New Jersey.  Free admission. In the event of rain, we will play the gig indoors.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Power of the Pen

Just saw this on Mark Fiore's YouTube channel.  Something to think about other than Weiner's dick and the rise of the Mormons.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


So, Sunday afternoon was a huge treat. The Pennsylvania JazzSociety presented Kevin Dorn and his Big 72 (click for more info) at the Moose Lodge in Easton. Dorn, a native New Yorker, used to call his band the Traditional Jazz Collective. Why he changed it is something you would have to ask him.

Dorn is one of the most talented jazz drummers in the country. From 2002 – 2004 he was the drummer for Jim Cullum’s Jazz Band, heard weekly on NPR’s Riverwalk: Live from the Landing. By way of full disclosure, he also frequently filled in as the drummer for the 2008 showcase production of my musical comedy Ukulele Land (Terry Waldo composer). Plenty of people have lauded Dorn’s drumming, and let me add my own praise. The guy is solid and, to coin a phrase, doesn’t miss a beat

Also in the band on Sunday was 3-time Emmy winner J. WalterHawkes, my former band mate and always a pal, on trombone and vocals. Walter is one of the most active jazz t-bone players in the city these days. You can hear him on Nora Jones’

Monday, June 13, 2011


Tonys -- Best broadcast of the Tonys that I've seen.

Basketball -- Lebron who?

Friday, June 10, 2011


Since our gig was canceled for tonight, here's some music to help you get through the weekend.

From Cheech and Chong:

From Fats Waller:

From LNO

Last but certainly not least, John Prine (with a shout out to everyone at Bonaroo this weekend).

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Due to problems that have nothing to do with the band, our June 10 Friday night engagement is canceled. There's really nothing we can do about it. Thanks for helping keep the music alive!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

BROADWAY VAMPIRE -- Chapter 39 posted

History and mystery along the Great White Way, as related by a vampire who's also a producer.

Only 21 more chapters to go! This week's chapter can be found by clicking here

And just in case, here's the URL:

Have a good read, free.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

PHOTO ALERT -- Bear At The Gig!

So, a black bear showed up at our recent Sangria Sunday gig at Cherry Valley Vineyards. A big thanks goes out to Lynn Redmile for her great photos! (And so you know, bears express their appreciation for music by sticking their tongues out -- it means they love it!) It might look small in the photo, but this bear was easily 250 -300 pounds.)

Buckwood Bistro Tiki Bar

The Memorial Day weekend started off at the Buckwood Bistro.

JJ Peppers on bass sax, The Unknown Playwright on resonator ukulele and vocals, Mike Green on cornet and Flugelhorn.

Lady Ellen Marie showed up and did some whistling and vocals. she also goofed around on percussion. Fortunately, Bill Noren will be joining us for the foreseeable future, for the percussion end of things.

There was a baby goat from Chef Jean-Louis farm bouncing around for awhile. This lady picked it up and JJ Peppers played a serenade.

Sangria Sunday at Cherry Valley Vineyards with Working Class Bohemians (Uke Jackson and JJ Peppers)

 The sangria was great, and a bear showed up. Need I say more? Okay, I will. The day was beautiful, and as a veteran who it seems can't arrested in the elitist theater world, it was great to be working as a musician all weekend,

JJ Peppers brough and played his specially designed experimental sax.
Did I mention that the sangria was great? It was!

Remember -- the tongue means the bear loves the music!

The kid in the foreground was the only dancer at this gig.

My reso uke

The grounds at Cherry Valley Vineyards are lovely.

We will be playing again for Sangria Sunday at the end of this month. Stay tuned to this space.

Please feel free to use the Share button if you think any of your FaceBook friends or Twitter followers might be interested in our music (or a music-appreciating bear).
All Photos Copyright 2011 by Lynn Redmile

Thursday, June 2, 2011


The means to eliminate the debt is quite simple: tax gasoline $2.50 a gallon. Before you flip your lid, please consider this: gas is going to go up anyway, and all the money will go to the oil companies and Wall Street traders.

By introducing a gas tax of $2.50 a gallon over 4 years ($1 the first year, then 50 cents a year for 3 more years) the stage would be set to pay off the debt in under 10 years --without reducing Medicare, Medicaid, the number of teachers, fire fighters etc etc ad infinitum as the current criminal conspiracy of billionaires and elected representatives are bent on doing.    

Currently the national debt is around $12 trillion. The USA burns about 65 billion gallons of gasoline per year. A tax of $2.50 per gallon would raise about $185 billion per year.  That means the debt can be paid off in a decade, even if the country adds another $6 trillion as we go along.

Remember, we’re going to be paying that much more for gasoline, regardless. Last week, Goldman Sachs announced it will drive up the price of gasoline to $5 per gallon by July 4 weekend (click here for that story). Wall Street traders have been manipulating gas prices for profit through every recent rise in price.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

JUNE MUSIC GIGS SCHEDULE -- There's a Small Hotel

We had some great gigs over the weekend! Thanks to all the Vipers and other folks who showed up! And thanks to the black bear that came for the last set at Cherry Valley Vineyards on Sunday. 
Photos soon!

Meanwhile, here's what's happening this month.

SPECIAL NOTE: Uke Jackson will lead two hours of Dixieland and Tin Pan Alley tunes at the Stockton Inn, made famous by Larry Hart and Richard Rodgers in the song "There's A Small Hotel"
It's part of Stockton (NJ) Day, Saturday June 25 from 1 pm - 3 pm.
All gigs this month are Free -- No cover!

JUNE 2011

Friday June 17, Gazebo Concert

6 pm – 8 pm

Blairstown Branch of Warren County Public Library
Route 94
Blairstown, NJ 07825

Saturday, June 25, Stockton Inn

Stockton Day

1 pm – 3 pm

Stockton Inn – “There’s a small hotel / with a wishing well”
1 North Main Street
Stockton, NJ 08559
(609) 397-8948

Sunday June 26, Cherry Valley Vineyards

Sangria Sunday*

1 pm – 5 pm

Cherry Valley Vineyards
Saylorsburg, PA
*This is a duo gig featuring Uke Jackson on ukulele and vocals and JJ Peppers on saxophone and bass clarinet. We are the Working Class Bohemians.