As Cool As Ever Strumming

snowman red guitar

The Snowman with the Red Guitar — atBrooklyn Heights Promenade.

Brooklyn Poets

My wife and I were wondering what became of Strummin’ Joe: rhythm guitar troubadour, ingenious improviser, and all-around nice guy. When we last saw him, he was chicken scratching leisurely pass the last ice shelf on the left. Of course, we knew he was cool but had no idea how cool he really was (or is?).

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“There But For the Grace…”

There are a lot of things in life that cause people to say or think, “That will never happen to me.” Maybe for some of those things, it’s true. But honestly, we are all susceptible to some trauma, some misfortune, some twists and turns in life. I’m not a fan of scare tactics or living life in fear. The idea that “it can happen to anyone” is really more about having some empathy for people you consider to be “others.”  Upworthy


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Remember Fender


This loomed large in my childhood legend, before I really began playing in earnest: the Fender Rhodes Electric Piano. However, what looked so state of the art then, looks rather faded now; but I could still hear the sound through the cobwebs.

De Niro and Lil Bub at Tribeca

de niro-cat

This interaction is, perhaps, the best thing that’s happened at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. via Film Event

Both Robert De Niro and Lil Bub, the photogenic feline, look like they had a couple tall ones. But seriously: a warm and intimate shot!

A Winning Virtuosity


Thirty-year-old composer, violinist and singer Caroline Shaw had the surprise of her life this afternoon. Enjoying a sunny day outside, she got a call from a friend informing her that she had won the Pulitzer Prize for her Partita for 8 Voices, which she wrote for the by vocal group Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member. Shaw is one of only a handful of female artists to have earned a Pulitzer in music — and she is the youngest composer to have won the award since its inception in 1943.  read more NPR

Restoring The Shore


Despite being closed for 39 years, Coney Island’s Shore Theatre has never been forgotten. The theatre was one among numerous Brooklyn movie houses that died as a result of variegated technology and diminished audiences in the 1960s/ 1970s: high-tech televisions and multi-screen theatres replacing the stately with the dynamic.

Opened in 1925, the Shore Theatre was designed (reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance palazzo) by theatre architects Reilly & Hall and built by the Chanin Construction Company. An unusual construction for Brooklyn, the building combined a movie theatre with a six-story office complex; a design more typical of Manhattan’s Theatre District. The 2,387-seat Shore Theatre was stately in a day and age when “taking in a movie” was serious business; in fact, it meant going to the theatre in its most lavish and sophisticated sense.

The Shore was originally named the Loew’s Coney Island Theatre when Marcus Loew, theatre chain magnate, began operating the theatre soon after it opened; it was renamed the Shore Theatre in 1964. “The Sporting Venus,” a silent, was the first film screened at the Shore together with live performances by Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton. On August 11, 1949, according to one source, Al Jolson performed there. By the 1970s, the theatre came a long way from the like of feature films, Siamese twins and Jolson when it was reduced to showing X-rated films until finally closing down  in 1973.

The defunct building is currently owned by longtime Coney Island entrepreneur  Horace Bullard who owns the tottering Kansas Fried Chicken eatery. The Shore Theatre has recently been nominated for landmark designation; but, in spite of pleas and cajoling from Coney Island locals and historians to sell, Bullard stubbornly continues to hold on to his vacant property…awaiting the best of all possible offers, I would suspect.

Now that Coney Island is finally being revived (hopefully), the plan is to turn the Shore Theatre into a performing arts center featuring live concerts, circuses, and various other forms of entertainment; another effort to make the island an all-year- round destination. In short, to allow the Shore Theatre to live again in a Coney Island that’s experiencing a second life.

Check out Cinema Treasures for more detailed information on the Shore Theatre as well as the Gothamist for a related article containing some exterior/ interior shots of the theatre in better days.