foto faves

foto faves

Saturday, February 20, 2016

a trip to the past...

so continuing on the concert kick- tonight we went to see/hear Aztec Two Step- at Fogartyville-


From their website: Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman have spent a lifetime of making music together as the folk/rock duo, Aztec Two-Step. After taking their name from a poem by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Poem #9 written by Lawrence Ferlinghetti from A Coney Island of the Mind) and with four plus decades as staples of progressive FM radio, major record deals and non-stop touring, Rex and Neal continue to impress audiences with intelligent songwriting, dazzling acoustic lead guitar and soaring two-part harmonies. 

The story of Aztec Two-Step is intertwined with the history of folk/rock music in America. Originating from a chance meeting at an “open mic night” in a Boston folk club in 1971, Rex & Neal’s first four albums on Elektra & RCA Records helped usher the music of the 60’s into the 1970’s and beyond, leaving an indelible mark on the musical genre. As their recording career continued, so did the critical acclaim. In 1986, their album “Living in America” was named in Billboard’s year-end critic’s poll. It also received the New York Music Award for the Best Folk Album.


Aztec Two-Step at the Clearwater Festival 2007 (New York) on 6-16-07 photo by Anthony Pepitone. Rex Fowler at left and Neal Shulman on the right

a couple of photos from their FB page- yesterday (yesteryear) and today- LOL

they have been playing together 45 years... quite an amazing feat... and obviously these two are not youngsters but they did manage nearly two dozen songs for us in two sets tonight.  my review is quite simple- I kept recognizing snippets of the melodies of other songs and while a number of the songs had good lyrics (Cockroach Cacophony comes to mind) most of them just didn't make it to the level I would say- STOP what is that song!... I found it funny that the PBS show made about them was shown on "several" PBS stations and called "No Hit Wonders" LOL so bottom line to me- too derivative to be more than an evening's entertainment despite being an excellent evening's entertainment.

but here are a few bad photos (the lighting there is not conducive to cell phone photography)


Rex - the terrific singer (above) and Neil - the amazing guitar player (below)


some merchandise for sale-


last year I wrote a post about aesthetic arrest - and that is exactly the kind of phenomena I look for in a song I would label "great" -  an example- the first time I heard Tanglewood Tree which was a 100% knock your socks off song... and even with that, it isn't like Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer are household names LOL...

so here is a video clip and we will call our evening with Aztec Two Step nearly complete-


and I WILL end the post with the poem quoted from Ferlinghetti's "Coney Island of the Mind" (which I did own in high school- and who didn't if you of a "certain age"?) and if you by some chance want to hear Ferlinghetti reciting his poem - the home page of Aztec Two Step has the mp3 embedded at the bottom of the page- if you just read it to yourself - do it with a "beat" kind of rhythm (a la Maynard G Krebs) LOL

“See
it was like this when
we waltz into this place.
A couple of papish cats
is doing an Aztec two-step

And I says
Dad let's cut
but then this dame
comes up behind me see
and says
you and me could really exist

Wow I says
Only the next day
she has bad teeth
and really hates
poetry.”

Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Friday, February 19, 2016

bluesman DUBB

We had first heard/seen DUBB (Doug MacLeod) at SPACE in Evanston last summer as the opener for Janiva Magness.  It was a late night concert - started at 11PM so no one else we knew was interested in going (really? when did everyone get soooo old?- LOL) He was terrific, she was excellent but he was even better.  He is a charming story teller and singer/songwriter of blues and a fabulous guitar player.  Tricone National Steel Guitar for those who are interested in that kind of thing.



from his FB page-
Doug MacLeod (born April 21, 1946, New York City, United States) is an American storytelling bluesman. Although now associated with his home in Los Angeles, he has lived and worked in North Carolina, St. Louis, Port Washington, New York, and Norfolk, Virginia, where he was stationed in the United States Navy. He became acquainted with the blues in St Louis in his teens and started his career playing country blues on acoustic guitar, finding that singing eased a chronic stutter and helped him to eventually overcome it. Although predominantly associated with acoustic guitar, his skills were developed as a blues bass player, and honed by his subsequent journeys into jazz and electric blues.

so we were so wow-ed by his performance last time, that the minute we saw he was coming to Fogartyville we bought tickets - and off we went...


he was finishing his sound check when we arrived -


here's a little video of the sound check -


then he was introduced by Arlene the woman who runs Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center-

he came on and played two lengthy sets- laughing when he found out that about 2/3 of the audience did not have to get up and go to work the next morning LOL- we told him he was in Sarasota LOL



charming guy with some really funny stories and some touching ones - as well as fabulous music! a snippet of one of two train songs he played last night....


so if you see Dubb (a nick name given to him by an old blues guy who couldn't say Doug) playing near you- we can highly recommend him if you are a blues fan (and really who isn't? LOL) Tonight another concert of Aztec Two Step- who I do not know but Phil does-


Fogartyville is still celebrating the holidays - LOL


Then up next more company - and events surrounding a reunion of Phil's 1970 Salzburg trip group... so stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

our local dolphins

so this afternoon we went to hear a lecture by a local scientist who leads a dolphin research program supported by the Chicago Zoological Society and various other foundations - located at the Mote Marine Labs in our area.

here is a blurb from their website-

Based in Sarasota, FL, the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program is the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population, focusing on many aspects of dolphin biology, including health, behavior, genetics, environmental change, and adverse interactions with humans. The program is unique in many respects – nowhere else in the world can researchers work with a group of wild dolphins in their natural habitat where the medical and behavioral history of each individual is so well known. “Discoveries” take place over years and decades, and knowledge about health and behavior of coastal bottlenose dolphins has been greatly enhanced by the Sarasota study. In addition to this pioneering research, the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program provides unique education and training opportunities to researchers around the world and helps establish dolphin conservation research programs in other countries.  The program is led by Chicago Zoological Society Senior Conservation Scientist Dr. Randall Wells, whose lifetime dedication to dolphins is featured in the book "Dolphin Man." 


I took some photos (from the back of the room) of the slides to remind me of relevant facts later- because the lecture was heavily fact laden....










here is a totally unknown to us fact- adult male dolphins pair bond for life with another adult male - and they protect each other as well as support each for reproductive success and usually when the female lets males mate with her she will allow only the two who are pair bonded - no others...



needless to say that humans and human activities are the biggest threat to the dolphin community here in Sarasota Bay- boat propellers, fishing gear accidents, pollution, toxins like Red Tide...etc.. poor guys -they really are fighting for their lives in many ways...and ours is a healthy community by comparison to those affected directly by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


there were many other slides and much of interest to learn about these dolphins but nearly two hours was more information than I could hold in my head - LOL.... we found it fascinating and so did the lecturer - he started working with this program in high school as an intern and then went on to study through college and grad school and doctorate and post-doc level on the subject and has been involved with the program for nearly forty years now... interesting guy- interesting subject... time well spent! Tomorrow Doug MacLeod  see prior post from the concert we heard last summer at SPACE in Evanston -

http://blog.semifreelife.com/2015/06/reporting-back.html


then Friday night- Aztec Two Step-


so as always- there's more to come! stay tuned!

time's up!

just like that our time with MAK is up... the few days have zoomed by in a haze of catch up stories and glasses of wine and laughter.... yesterday we had lunch at Star Fish and got stone crabs for a snack and then had dinner at indigenous- a lovely evening outdoors... time flies




we all started with Mushroom Bisque and then went on to the pork belly-



these were our wines-


I had the short ribs and MAK the char and Phil had a shrimp dish-




a shared dessert of peanut butter ice cream with malted pretzels and chocolate cake squares ended the evening.


time flies- off to the airport this morning to drop MAK at the rental car counter (she's headed to Legoland with nephews aged 4 and 8) and I am off to class. Later this afternoon a lecture about a local dolphin population and the research done about their lives and habitat. Tomorrow night Doug Macleod and Friday night another concert ... next company arrives Sunday LOL- so we do have time to change the bedding and wash the towels...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

a night at the museum

So the morning arrived - President's Day - a holiday we forgot about because we are retired LOL- we found it strange to not have mail on Monday - LOL until it dawned on us that it was a holiday. We headed to Duval's for lunch. If you are a regular reader of the blog you probably know about our "amusing" evening at Duval's on the first night we tried it.  If not, you can find the post here-

http://blog.semifreelife.com/2016/01/a-new-place-for-dinner.html

here is the most relevant passage-

"So when we both ordered the lobster bisque the waitress explained that they were out of it and then went on to explain in GREAT detail why it was so good- LOL (thereby only making us feel worse about it.) We had to prompt her about whether there were other items they didn't have -and yes they were out of two of the three fresh catch of the day fishes and no they didn't have another well reviewed appetizer the ribeye spring rolls and they had no more pork tenderloin.  Mind you we still hadn't gotten to the eight o'clock hour at this point. It was roughly 7:35."

so when the server came to take our lunch orders and I asked for the oyster po'boy and she replied that she wasn't sure that they had the oysters yet I laughed- of course not... she suggested the shrimp one- I said I would look at the menu further because I didn't want the shrimp one... at that she said - "well let me check on the status of the oysters" and went away.  When she returned she had good news - they had them (phew!) so we all ordered the hyped lobster bisque- which seemed overly tomato-y to all of us.  Therefore the AMOB lobster bisque still holds the number one spot in our opinions.

the po'boy was decent but the onion rings were EXCELLENT.  Phil and Maryanne had the seafood cobb salads.  Phil's lobster tail was overcooked... :-(  We passed on dessert and headed home for a half hour before we went off to our lecture at the South Florida Museum.

There we ran into the Greenbergers and chatted with them, introducing them to MAK our guest from NYC... LOL - yes I do love three CAP words and phrases LOL...

The lecture was given by Jeff Rodgers whom I have heard several times before- and really liked. This one was excellent as well.  It was also enhanced by the Q&A afterward when some very thoughtful questions were asked and answered.  We got info about planet X and the newly confirmed gravitational waves which recently reconfirmed Einstein's work.  Then we went on a tour of the museum and learned quite a bit more about the civilization that once covered our area of Florida for more than two thousand years.

Afterward we headed to dinner at Blue Marlin a local favorite and had another great meal but sadly our favorite server there, Dan, was off for the night.  Boo Hoo! because we always look forward to seeing him.  We left the restaurant (closed it down- LOL) at 10:45 and headed home- today- Phil has a busy busy schedule with class and his trainer and other stuff.  MAK and I will do lunch and hang out - tonight we have dinner scheduled at indigenous....

so photos- first Duval's lunch time fare-




then the lecture and museum highlights tour- we started in the planetarium-


we learned how the indigenous people developed spear throwing expertise in order to kill their food-


our "professor" the extremely interesting Jeff Rodgers!


Jeff lectures the group- Phil, MAK and Ellen Greenberger on the far right-


a mammoth skeleton found in the area- and in this room there was also a huge bone from the Bradenton Mastadon... whose bones are in every school in Manatee County (a share the wealth concept that Bernie Sanders would be happy with LOL)


the class room for the school kids visits- looks like they have a lot of fun!


dinner- with the two wines we brought- the Sigrid showed MAGNIFICENTLY- the NSG not so much - drinkable but not brilliant- lost its fruit...





the house comp'd the lobster corn dogs - which contained perfectly cooked lobster - Phil gave them a thumbs up but MAK was less enthusiastic - preferring the standard steaming. boiling or grilling with no embellishments- I thought they were interesting and well prepared but probably would not order again because I try to stay away from fried foods for every meal - LOL and I had already had the onion rings and oysters at lunch LOL


Phil ordered the grouper Fulford and MAK and I had the grouper Provencal with garlic, capers, and grape tomatoes- all excellent-



desserts - MAK had the banana creme brulee and Phil had the bourbon pecan pie and I had the coffee chocolate mousse which had barely a hint of coffee- so I was a teeny bit disappointed-




the life saver in the WC- LOL I guess if you fall into the toilet you can grab on to the ring LOL-


So off we go this morning on another day of adventures in paradise- it is blue sky and sunny and a perfect day for outside! more later.....