Brilliantly smooth darker chocolates at Big Chocolate Show

Chocolate Lovers Find Smooth Dark Amid Choice Array

If perfection is possible in chocolate making it may have been achieved in all but one respect by Christopher Elbow of Kansas City, whose offerings welcomed visitors at the first table at the Big Chocolate Show this weekend in the vast ground floor show space at the Terminal Stores at 11th Ave and 27th St, where Elbow’s glorious pictorial array of delicately hand and air brush painted round and square morsels were lined up in $185 gift boxes or in a parade of three prime selections for visitors to taste and discover the extraordinary delicacy of their supersoft, light cream ganache filled interiors …

Air brushed in beautiful designs this array from Christopher Elbow from Kansas City costs $185 a box but if you have the cash they will transport you to chocolate heaven -unless you are afraid of dyes

…wrapped in variously sourced chocolate otherwise set off by grey French sea salt and enjoy the clarity and brightness of novel flavors ranging from fresh mint, fresh lemon, real bananas to real strawberries climaxing in “lemon marmalade” globes in colored cocoa butter and white chocolate, all succulent enough to persuade the most dedicated high cacao content fanatics to stray from continuing their search for the ideal in the upper percentages of cocoa content, which are too often a little bitter for the rest of the world to wholeheartedly enjoy, possibly enough to prompt such visitors in search of the ideal to turn on their heels right then and go home convinced they have found it…

Moran Etstein of DrizzleNYC concocts chocolate beauties which may be too good to eat straight away

except perhaps for the small point that their finely varied decoration is not organic, which is a concern of some consumers today, but if so they would have missed other strong rivals for attention at this extensive show, such as the beautifully costumed chocolate torso dolls by Moran Etstein of DrizzleNYC, whose modeling is so lavish and exquisite to the eye that she has packed them in boxes which can be mounted vertically for display if you can’t bear to consume them, which is likely, or the chocolate bars in clean modern design G logo’d covers and the more substantial if less subtle olive oil based quanache of Ron Paprocki ….

Cooking up chocolate bars in a corner of the Gotham kitchen, Ron adds a big G in various forms to his smart cover designs

who cooks his creations up up in a special corner of the kitchen of the Gotham Bar and Grill just off Union Square at 12E12St, or the 100% cacao bar of Pacari, pure but still astonishingly smooth flavored chocolate,

Pacari is one of the crop of new tree-to-bar makers who prove that even 100% cacao can still taste smooth and mild instead of too bitter

The light roast of the cocoa beans may account for the acceptably palatable choclate that results from Pacari even in the pure cacao bar

or the very promising Angovi chocolate from the Ecuadorian company formed last year and devoted to making “the best chocolates in the world” by five high school friends from Ecuador, after they had worked in high finance (J.P. Morgan) and in law as well as in their family plantations, ….

If sheer energy and enthusiasm can propel Angovi chocolate to be the “best in the world” then the IncaKaw brothers in arms from Ecuador will do it

whose Chocolate Bianco bar, for example, contains only 35% cacao yet manages to get away with it in the warm splendor of self indulgent comfort that may envelope you as you eat it, but of the five Ecuadorian tree-to-bar entities at the show the very best chocolate seemed to be the range labeled Minka from the Shiwa Urku Community, of which the 43% dark-and-milk was exemplary in achieving a fine sweet milk without a trace of sugary bloating….

Minka is a community chocolate which achieves the ultimate in sweet plus clear basic bean to please all but the dark fanatics

rivaled at the show only by the communal Grenada cocoa farmers’group Jouvay bars, whose name implies the arrival of a new day for chocolate and certainly backed it up ….

Another example of how dark chocolate can still be light and smooth even at the 70% cacao level.

with their 70% cocoa content bar which achieved a fresh and smooth flavor even at that level of advanced darkness, which otherwise so often loses a wide audience because it passes their boundary of bitterness, although aficianados with a yen for urban sophistication which combines chocolate punch with satisfying substance to the level of real food may find exactly what they love from De Martini in their Praline with Barolo purple wrapped shells of dark chocolate with aromatic filling juiced with Barolo, the reigning royal of wines from Piedmont.

Chocolate is a real food with the aroma of Barolo wine in the purple wrappings from Turin’s De Martini

Press and PR:

The Big Chocolate Show


Discover a world of chocolate at the Big Chocolate Show, October 8 & 9, 2016 in NYC! Meet the greatest chocolatiers, artisans, chefs and pastry chefs from around the world.
Discover exceptional chocolate creations, attend live demonstrations, take part in a variety of delicious gourmet activities for both adults and children.

West Chelsea / Manhattan
Terminal Stores – The Waterfront NY
269 Eleventh Avenue (B/W 27th & 28th Street)
New York, NY 10001

Press preview is this Friday, October 7th, from noon to 6. You are also welcome to attend the general admissions sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Visit our website for all the info :


Saturday: 9 AM – 1:30 PM / 2:30 PM – 7 PM
Sunday: 9 AM – 1:30 PM / 2:30 PM – 7 PM

Saturday Main Stage Schedule:
10AM White Chocolate, Pecan, Cranberry and Orange Bark with Kathryn Gordon, Institute of Culinary Education
11AM Hand Rolled Chocolate Truffles with Jessie Riley, Institute of Culinary Education and CityTech
12 PM Breakfast Brownies with Sarah Chaminade, Institute of Culinary Education
1 PM Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookie with Penny from Sugar Couture
3:30PM Chocolate Center Piece: Technique and Decoration with Jacques Torres
4:30PM Five Things I Didn’t Know about Chocolate Before I Started Making It with Michael Laiskonis, Institute of Culinary Education
5:30 Bean to Bar Chocolate -Making at Home with Erin Andrews, Indi Chocolate

Sunday Main Stage Schedule:
10AM GF Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Chocolate Bourbon Sauce with Michelle Tampakis, Whipped Pastry Boutique
11AM Dairy Free Chocolate Mousse inspired by Hervé This, presented by Tamara Stechmach, pastry instructor
12 PM Bean to Bar Chocolate-Making with Erin Andrews, Indi Chocolate
1PM Vegan Buckeyes with Jen King and Liz Guttman, Liddabit Sweets
3:30PM Hot Chocolate Cheesecake with Melanie Underwood, Institute of Culinary Education
4:30PM Bean to Bar Chocolate-making at Home with Erin Andrews, Indi Chocolate
5:30 PM Holiday Spirits from Marie Brizzard

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Tap Water Runs These Clocks

Bedol pioneered good looking battery free timepieces

Travel clock and Smiley are two nice designs

But how do they work?

Batteries for small items like clocks are a small but annoying drain on the housekeeping budget and shopping time, but a small number of makers now supply clocks which can run on water for five years or even longer.

Two of the best designs are from Bedol, the Traveler Alarm and the Smiley Alarm, available direct from Bedol in California, and they will run for years with merely topping up with tapwater occasionally – with six months or even longer between refills (we tested three versions for six years and found two lasted for five years and one is still going strong).

The $16 Bedol Traveler Alarm Clock is well executed efficiency and simplicity in a form suitable for executive travel and the $39 Smiley, available in various attractive colors, is one large water drop in theme, a warm hearted bulge appropriate for bathroom or even bedroom.

 Efficient simplicity is married to economy in the Bedol Travel Clock which will run seemingly forever on tap water.

Efficient simplicity is married to economy in the Bedol Travel Clock which will run seemingly forever on tap water.


The Bedol Water Alarm Clock Traveler.

This travel sized timepiece not only runs on all natural ingredients, it also does its part to reduce the carbon footprint.. Alternative sources of energy, such as powering consumer products with water are important ways to reduce the carbon footprint.

The Bedol Water Clock keeps perfect time without requiring batteries or electricity. Just open the top cap and fill with about 1/8 cup of tap water! The amazing Bedol Water Clock converts ions in the water into clean energy power. Water won’t need to be replaced for 26 weeks or more and its simple and fun to do. Built-in memory chip remembers time so you don’t have to reset. This eco-friendly timepiece is the perfect size for travel! Features a daily or hourly alarm and easy to set 12 hour or 24 hour clock. The perfect alarm clock for traveling, you never need to buy batteries! The Bedol Water Clock. Time powered by water, join Bedol in another leap forward towards a greener planet.

The Bedol Smiley Alarm clock

An attractively sculpted form reminiscent of a large raindrop is seen in the Bedol Smiley clock, which runs for more than five years with tapwater refills, and possibly longer.

"title="An attractively sculpted form reminiscent of a large raindrop is seen in the Bedol Smiley Alarm clock, which runs for  five years with tapwater refills, and possibly even longer."

An attractively sculpted form reminiscent of a large raindrop is seen in the Bedol Smiley Alarm clock, which runs for five years with tapwater refills, and possibly even longer.”

Reduce your carbon imprint by keeping time with tap water! This water-powered alarm clock keeps perfect time without requiring batteries or electricity. Just pop open the cap and fill with tap water! The amazing Bedol Water Clock converts ions in the water into clean energy power. Water won’t need to be replaced for 6 months or more and it’s simple and fun to do. A built-in memory chip ensures you never need to reset the time. Features a daily or hourly alarm and an easy to set 12 hour or 24 hour clock.

The organic design captures the natural beauty and grace of water, taking its inspiration from the moment a water drop splashes against the ground. Eco-friendly in both function and design, The Bedol Water Clock is a truly unique accessory for home or office.
Smiley is available in six vibrant colors including red, green, orange, blue, yellow and charcoal. Measures 6.5” tall x 4” diameter.

The Bedol clocks have appeared on NBC, CBS, ABC and other TV and print media since they were introduced in New York at Javits in 2009. Live Customer Support and Orders Call : 909-626-0388 or visit the shop which stocks a variety of unusual items at Bedol What’s Next 1120 Dewey Way, Suite H Upland, CA 91786 USA.

So these clocks are a step forward in saving the planet but the enduring (for us) question is, how do they work? Have these guys invented perpetual motion, or cold fusion for bedside clocks. Enquiring minds need to know.

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The Ruins of Lifta – Outstanding Documentary at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas Encapsulates Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Held over at Lincoln Plaza cinema after strong reviews

Rated 100 at Rotten Tomatoes, praise from Times and Voice

Where the Holocaust and the Palestinian Exile meet

After a well attended release in Manhattan, the new documentary The Ruins of Lifta has been held over for another week, which seems especially timely as the funeral of the most arms oriented yet peacemaking president of Israel, Shimon Peres, proceeds.

Here is our review of this remarkable film:

The Ruins of Lifta – Where the Holocaust and Nakba Meet: An unusually rich and understanding exploration of the painful past and threatened future of Lifta, the last ruins standing of the 1948 forced removal of 700,000 Arabs from over 800 villages to make way for an independent Israel, personalized in a moving face-to-face meeting of two good people on either side of al-Nakba (“the catastrophe”)

Sins of the past and present
Deep humanitarianism is the style of this perfectly constructed, personally respectful and patiently understanding documentary about the two sides of Israel’s first but still festering war atrocity, the Palestinian Nakba (national disaster) of forced exile of 700,000 Arabs from as many as 800 villages in Israel’s 1948 war of independence, with its iron fist policy against return, as New York filmmakers Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky follow Daum in his personal odyssey to escape his Orthodox Jewish family’s one sided views and visit Israel to explore for himself the true character of Palestinians and their experience in the ongoing dispute since 2005 over The Ruins of Lifta, a vivid model of the whole Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since Lifta is the only one of the evacuated Arab villages whose ruins have not yet been replaced with Israeli settlement, whose crumbling walls with stones quarried and built by the hands of its Arab inhabitants and holes blasted in its roofs to prevent return still stand as mute witness to political violence long ago and since which has left so many torn from their ancestral homes and still yearning to go back, a predicament here personalized by Menachem’s meetings with the poetic and dignified Lifta refugee Yacoub Adeh who leads the Palestinian movement to at least preserve Lifta as a memorial and defend it from an Israeli plan to develop the historically significant valley, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, though only if the Israeli government agrees not to develop it, and in the person to person rapprochement Menachem achieves in the moving climax to their film, when he introduces his friend and Holocaust survivor the lively 85 year old Dascha Rittenberg from Manhattan to Jacoub and both clash over whether one great anguish justifies another, but as they tread the paths of Lifta’s ruins together, eventually agree that peace would be served by making Lifta a memorial to a past where many Jews and Arabs once lived in harmony and an inspiration to a shared future, a small but meaningful victory for the notably humane spirit of Daum, whose equally distinguished preceding documentary Hiding and Seeking was on a similar theme of broadening the views of his two sons by taking them to Poland to visit the families of the farmers who hid Jews during World War II at the risk of their own lives, and to see young Christian Poles renovating Jewish cemeteries, both films a gentle but penetratingly effective counter to Israel’s policy of enforced enroachment on Palestinian territory, with yet another expansion in the news this week. – AL


The Ruins of Lifta will be premiering on Friday, September 23, 2016 at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, New York (and in Los Angeles a month later, in Laemmle Theatres on October 28, 2016)

The mega-narratives underlying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are pitted against each other by a Holocaust survivor and a Nakba refugee who meet in the haunting ruins of Lifta, the only Arab village emptied in 1948 that has not been completely destroyed or repopulated by Jews.

Trailer: The Ruins of Lifta – Trailer


attendnyc-sep-16-16-lifta-less-ruinedLifta is the only Arab village abandoned in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that has not been completely destroyed or repopulated by Jews. Its ruins are now threatened by an Israeli development plan that would convert it into an upscale Jewish neighborhood. Discovering that his parents’ Holocaust experiences may have distorted his views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Menachem–the filmmaker and an Orthodox Jew from Brooklyn–sets out to establish a personal relationship with a Palestinian. He meets Yacoub, who was expelled from Lifta and now leads the struggle to save the haunting ruins of his village from Israeli plans to build luxury villas on the site. Learning that Lifta was once a place where Jews and Arabs got along, Menachem joins Yacoub’s campaign in the hopes that Lifta can serve as a place of reflection and reconciliation. This sets up a climactic encounter between a Holocaust survivor and a Nakba refugee amidst the ruins of Lifta.

Menachem, Dasha and Yacoub:  Human contact - the only way political narratives and emotions can be brought together in mutual understanding

Menachem, Dasha and Yacoub: Human contact – the only way political narratives and emotions can be brought together in mutual understanding

“Lifta’s Ruins succeeds as a personally honest and politically provocative documentary. It makes me think of the wonderful line that Jean Renoir speaks in his film Rules of the Game, ‘There’s only one terrible thing in this world, that everyone has his reasons.’” – Annette Insdorf, Columbia University Film Professor, author of Indelible Shadows: Film and the Holocaust

“A personal, self-questioning encounter with the myths of history that measures the abyss between Palestinians and Jews, and between the two contending nations and peace; “a site of memory” whose history has for too long been erased; a profoundly searching and moving inquiry into the collective and personal past of Arabs and Jews; an ethical testimony marked by visual beauty and emotional poignancy, and a place where the ongoing tragedy, of Israel/Palestine continues to be reenacted.” – Marc Kaminsky, author of Shadow Traffic

“A painful, powerful and problematic film that dares to go into the ruins of a Palestinian village strategically situated on the road to Jerusalem and the conflicting claims of memories that divide Jews and Palestinians. It boldly believes that the commonality of our collective humanity can heal wounds and bridge divisions, a message that is all the more urgent because it is all the more absent in the world today.” – Michael Berenbaum, author After Tragedy and Triumph

“To the great credit of its creators, The Ruins of Lifta offers no pat dialogue-based solution to the crises of the region.” – George Robinson, The Jewish Week

“A vital study of loss and memory. Grounded in the art of listening, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ builds a powerful, personal, political conversation between Palestinians and Israelis looking to live differently. The result is necessary viewing.” – Diana Clarke, Village Voice

“An achingly poignant documentary that investigates a debate in which dueling narratives collide.” – Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times

Built by the hands of those who lived in Lifta before 1948, many of the houses were substantial investments in time and place whose memories are as real as ever in the minds of those who fled

“By turns inspiring and dispiriting, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ offers a muscular example of the ability of documentaries to make the political intensely personal.” – Ella Taylor, NPR

“To the great credit of its creators, ‘The Ruins of Lifta’ offers no pat dialogue-based solution to the crises of the region. Guardedly hopeful.” – George Robinson, The Jewish Week

“Provocative…allows the ambiguity to surface through interviews that reflect a range of heartfelt experiences and interpretations…visually stunning and packs an emotional wallop.” – Simi Horwitz, Film Journal International

Yacoub Odeh, Dasha and Menachem walk the path of peace in the deserted village

Yacoub Odeh, Dasha Rittenberg and Menachem Daum walk the path of peace in the deserted village

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Organic Goodness Displayed By Acevedos and Alewife Farms

Two Upper East Side Farm Market Stalls Put Real Food On The Menu

Mother Nature Needs No Chemical Help in Boosting Taste and Health

Ernesto holds a zucchini from his 20 acre farm in upstate New York which if this photo is accurately displayed you will see is a brighter yellow than anything else in Mother Nature this side of the sun

If you hope to find vegetables that look as colorful and taste as real as Mother Nature intended there are two spots where you can count on finding them on the Upper East Side, two fine stalls we recommend among the scores active in the 52 farmers markets dotting the five boroughs, with 24 listed active in Manhattan (see (212 788-7900)).

The good news

While it may be disappointing to find that most produce at farmers markets in New York City has a coating of pesticides to wash off, you can find organic and chemical free veggies and fruits on the Upper East Side either mid week at Mt Sinai Farmers Market, among its stalls laying out produce and pies and apple cider all Wednesday till 5pm, or on Saturdays at at 82nd Street and York/1st, in the yard inside the South side railing.

Ernesto and Alexis present an artists palette of beautiful unregimented root and leaf vegetables at their stall at Mt Sinai

The two real food sources we have in mind are Acevedo’s Farm (at Mt Sinai Market at 97-98th and Madison on Wednesday’s from 8am to 5pm (6/29-11/23)) and Alewife Farm (at 82 St between 1st Ave and York on Saturdays 9am-2.30pm (Year round)).

The problem is that just like other Farmers Markets the Mt Sinai attraction has many fruits and vegetables straight from the farms upstate or in New Jersey, but most of them are not organic ie the small farmers use pesticide and chemical fertilizer to grow and protect their apples and lettuces just like the big boys who supply supermarkets.

One farmer who takes the opposite path is Ernesto of Acevedos Farm in Orange County which is a two hours trip up the Hudson in a little town called Goshen (845 741 8237. His 20 acres yields a stall which is an artists palette devoted to growing the real thing in all its colors and flavors courtesy of Mother Nature alone without the help of pesticide or fertilizer, and his purism oays off. In every case his array of produce has deeper color, and the richer flavor, of plants which are allowed to respond to sun, rain and rich and moist black soil without the artificial stimulus of chemical boosts which have their origin in the second World War explosives that had to find a new home after the defeat of Hitler and the Emperor of Japan.

Earthy, knobbly, real – the source of phytochemicals which will do you good faster than pills, and more effectively, according to science, and prepared by an enthusiast

As a result his potatoes are small in size instead of being big fat and somewhat short of real taste like their supermarket cousins, his carrots are naturally unpredictable in shape but reassuringly sturdy and ineffably carroty tasting instead the uniformly long lathed shape of the simply sweet ones you might buy in Whole Foods. His beets are a deep scarlet with luxuriously long and healthy leaves, his zucchini seem brighter yellow than the sun and his garlic has huge knobbly sections with glowing white interiors inside funky rough hairy wrapping which by its very crispness you know betokens a powerful pungency to hearten any dish, not to mention cure you of all your trivial ailments overnight.

See those tomatos, half green half rosy – they’re riper and much more tomatoey than gas reddened green tomatoes at your local junk veggie market

In fact Ernesto’s achievement is on display as soon as you walk up to his stand, for every single vegetable in every tray or openly arrayed along his tables announces its nutritious power and strong flavor to those with eyes to see simply by its naturally colorful appearance.

Too bright for the small camera, zucchini of a nourishing nature beyond the Manhattan supermarket, even Whole Foods

The whole tent array is a palette of colors which not only announce Ernesto to be as much artist as farmer but also betokens the nutritional value of every item, for in those colors are what science has in the last twenty years proved to be the phytochemicals attached to color, the flavonoids whose deep reds and scarlets and vibrant greens signal, as now proven in lab and epidemiological studies over twenty years in peer reviewed journals, to counter human ills up to and including cancer, which in the lab scientists can demonstrate by placing them next to cancer cells which they then induce to commit suicide (apoptosis, as it is called) faster than chemotherapy.

So while the proof will be in the eating if you pause at his stall long enough you will see with your eyes just how beautiful and imbued with life are his shining green peppers, his classically striped and seeded melons, and his small yellow potatoes with good black soil still clinging to them, alongside his small cabbages as heavy as cannonballs, which are particularly flavorful.

Pure nature at Alewife

A similar palette of natural shape and coloring stands out at a stall deep in the inner yard of the weekly market on East 82nd street between First and Second Avenue, south side.

This is Alewife Farm (, where on a recent Saturday Sarah Groat, one of the three staff of the 20 acre farm two hours North of Manhattan at Clinton Corners, displays $5 cannonballs of squash in a deep orange which bespeaks their flavorful interiors, compact fresh tasting cabbages for $3, butter lettuce of a fine sturdy delicacy for $4, Italian tropea or long red onions with their unaggressively sweet taste for $1, as well as bright red and yellow cherry tomatoes and other produce free of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizer.

Sarah Groat of Alewife Farm holds a squash of vibrant deep color reflecting its nourishing interior and pleasing flavor, straight from a farm which relies on Mother Nature without explosives from World War II or other chemicals which Monsanto and others are anxious for her to use

Alewife’s items like Acevedo’s are a blessing for sore eyes as well as the stomach, and one might say that Sarah’s appearance of ruddy glowing health is an advertisement in itself for the life enhancing advantages of the output of farms which allow Mother Nature to create her magic without the very doubtful assistance of explosives and other chemicals with their origin in World War II post war surplus, which is how the mania for artificial enhancement of soil and insect killing first was started seventy years ago.

For a variation of your salads why not add in some tropea, the unusually mild and sweet onion the Italians like.

We asked Sarah how the farm was able to get along without such expensive aids and she told us “It’s easy to do if you are willing to lose some crop or wait till the beneficial insects come in. Our fava beans were really hit hard this year by aphids, but we waited and the ladybugs came in and destroyed them all.”

Even some farmers are surprised that parslane, which they may consider a weed more than a vegetable, sells for high prices on the East because people have read up on its abundance of strong health effects

Both farm stalls offer the opportunity for Upper East Side residents to gather Mother Nature’s bounty from outside their doors without visiting Whole Foods, and to enjoy vegetables which look and taste as if they enjoyed life as well.

Nothing is as tender yet fresh as butter lettuce grown by Mother Nature at Alewife farm and taken directly to Manhattan and your plate

Crisp, Succulent Apples Too

Special Note: Apples at Migliorelli farm of Tivoli (845-757-3276) at Mt Sinai and at Samascott Orchards of KInderhook ( (518) 758-7224) the big sidewalk stall at 82nd Street are both good, pesticide or not, with Migliorelli farm apple cider at $4 for a half gallon richer, sweeter and more satisfying than a gallon of supermarket cider. At press time the new crop of Ginger Gold have arrived at Mt Sinai at last and they are indeed outstanding.

Mutsu apples are the choice of some demanding apple lovers

Update: Sarah Groat, pictured below with her assisting friend Chelsie a week later than this item, has informed us that in their continuing search for the ultimate in veggie goodness the entire twenty acre Alewife Farm is going to move to new ground soon to escape the rocky soil on which it is currently based which, although giving rise to abundant leafy crops in short order as recorded in the Instagram postings linked above, has broken too many plough blades to endure.

Alewife’s ambassador and sales staffer Sarah Groat at 82nd street with her colleague Chelsie has some news last Saturday about Alewife’s upcoming wholesale move to new soil

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Back With The Best: WKCR – Global Home of Jazz History Refurbished: Louis All Day July 4

Ultimate jazz radio on WKCR in NYC back on line for phones pads and PCs

Here you will find Louis all July 4, Bach 24/7 Christmas till New Year

Phil Schaap loquacious but knowledgeable presenter historian perseveres in place, has jazz shop on line

Treated with respect honor and full appreciation on WKCR, the great source himself

After 47 years the great jazz authority Phil Schaap is still talking a little too long but always informatively on WKCR, where you can hear the world’s best jazz through times past to the present, including whole days devoted to big names on their birthday. Bach gets his own 24/7 festival at Christmas till New Year’s Eve annually.

There was a six month long interruption of WKCR 89.9 FM on line perhaps because the Web site was being overhauled but now all is spic and span, though updating of program scheduling continues.

Jul 1 2016: Thank you for your patience and support during the past months with regard to the issue of our online stream. We are excited to announce that our broadcasts are once again accessible in the form of a live stream at WKCR.ORG. We have been in the process of making technical and logistical changes to improve your listening experience and to ensure that WKCR can have a sustainable and consistent online presence in the future. One of these changes involves our playlists, which are enhanced to continuously display track and artist information for content as it is being broadcast. This new feature will be allow us to record and share the details of our programs in a more dependable and accessible way. In addition, we have improved our audio quality, and our listener capacity is now unlimited.

We sincerely appreciate your dedication throughout this transition. If you have feedback on our new services, please feel free to contact the WKCR Executive Board at


The WKCR Board

Columbia University NY 10027 | Studio 212-854-9920 |

A phone call to the studio will often be picked up by the person such as a musical toned female student picking up slack in the early morning, who will say again what the LP you heard is and what it’s number is.

The other programming on WKCR is all on the same informed top level on a myriad subjects to interest those in academia and other explorers of culture in many forms.

WKCR-FM, Columbia University’s non-commercial student-run radio station, is dedicated to presenting a spectrum of alternative programming—traditional and art music, spoken arts, and original journalism. Granted its FCC license in 1941, WKCR is both steeped in tradition and committed to innovation. In the New York area, the station can be heard at 89.9 megacycles in FM; worldwide, it streams online.

WKCR-FM is celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2016! WKCR originated as the Columbia University Radio Club (CURC) in 1936 and our first official broadcast occurred on February 24th, 1941. A few months later, on October 10th, 1941, the CURC was granted its license from the Federal Communications Commission. WKCR celebrates 1941 as its founding year and February 24th as its birthday. Join us as we honor and look back on WKCR’s 75 years of broadcasting and radio throughout the remainder of 2015 and the year of 2016. Check our website for exclusive, rare, and special content unveiled for this remarkable milestone in WKCR’s history. Happy 75th Anniversary WKCR!

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MatchaBar Tea Impresses with Strength, Character and Power

A new kind of tea from Japan expands in NYC

Already in Whole Foods, a interesting NYC new Matcha Tea from Matchabar

Already in Whole Foods, a interesting NYC new Matcha Tea from Matchabar

With three different kinds from Original through Mango to Ginger the new Matcha Teas are a spin off from the two tea bars in Brooklyn and Chelsea founded on this new approach to tea drinking in NYC which strengthens both the taste of the brew and its energy boost along traditional lines borrowed from Japan, where the tea is stronger because the whole leaf is used rather than just the tip and the caffeine level is much higher tham standard tea.

Family business: Son of the founders of Matchabar Tea Bars and his colleague show off the Tea at Whole Foods on Upper East Side on Monday Jun 6

Compared with standard bottled tea it rises to a new level of impact on the tongue which leaves ordinary tea by comparison watery and feeble in savor. The difference is immediately sensed with satisfaction if you have a stronger tea experience in mind and the only caveats might be that for some tastes it might be too advanced in its non-sweet appeal and also a careful reading of the ingredients will reveal that the deep dark green color is not natural but the result of the addition of a coloring substance with a rather chemical name.

Given the sad decline and fall of Effy’s Cafe at 90th and Third from its status as the only decent sidewalk cafe refuge on the Upper East Side above 86th Street we might hope that MatchaBar might bring civilization of the old European kind back to the area which is otherwise a desert where Starbucks rules.

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Most Enlightened Confab: Left Forum 2016 Occupies New York

Those who support a humane society will gather on May 20 Fri (3pm-9pm) May 21 Sat (9am-9.45pm) and May 22 Sun (9am-9pm) at the John Jay School of Justice 524 W. 59St for the gigantic meet The Left Forum 2016. Those interested in enlightened politics will find a cornucopia of 133 panel sessions and events listed in the 88 page brochure squeezed into little more than two and a half days of programming.

Here is a short list of sessions we consider the plums in the Left Forum 2016 pie. Click the title links to raise the full page on each.


Politics for the people a la Bernie Sanders instead of for the cream hogs – the future of civilization explored

Conference information

A unique phenomenon in the U.S. and the world, Left Forum convenes the largest annual conference of a broad spectrum of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and the interested public. Conference participants come together to engage a wide range of critical perspectives on the world, to discuss differences, commonalities, and alternatives to current predicaments, and to share ideas for understanding and transforming the world. The conference is held each year in New York City.

A letter from Naomi Klein about the Forum 2016

Left Forum 2016 Full Conference Schedule
Left Forum organizers are proud to present the full conference schedule for Left Forum 2016. Not only will attendees have hundreds of panels and workshops to choose from, but musical performances, special lunch time events, a diverse and sprawling exhibition, and exciting evening plenaries, all promise to make this year’s conference an exciting event.

Check out the schedule below or view it on the website.

Left Forum 2016 Conference Schedule

HIGHLIGHTS (Click links for event full page)


Friday May 20th, 2016
Registration: 3:00pm – 6:30pm
Exhibitions: 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Session A: 5:00pm – 6:45pm
Computerized Election Theft, the Rolling Right Wing Coup, and How to Stop It in L2.85 (We can protest all we want, but if voters can be stripped from the rolls and elections can be flipped behind closed doors, the Deep Corporate State will always maintain power.) Joel Simpson, Chair; Jonathan Simon Election Defense Alliance; Mark Crispin Miller New York University; Bob Fitrakis Columbus State Community College; Mimi Kennedy Progressive Democrats of America; Virginia Martin Columbia County (New York) Democratic Election Supervisor.
Privacy, Surveillance and Secure Internet Access: Planning the Fight in L.76 (The almost complete destruction of privacy as a human right, coupled with severe surveillance and data confiscation has now become a major issue for social justice and revolutionary movements)
The Rise of Independent Media, Perspectives From the Progressive Left in L2.81 (the current state of Independent media, how it has been affected by the rise of Bernie Sanders) David Pakman, Chair; The David Pakman Show; Benjamin Dixon The Benjamin Dixon Show; Sam Seder The Majority Report; Nomiki Konst The Accountability Project; Paul Jay The Real News Network.

Chris Hedges makes it very clear which side he is on

Opening Plenary: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Capitalism and Militarism – At Humanity’s Peril: Organizing Our Power – Tariq Ali, Medea Benjamin, and Chris Hedges (Laura Flanders, Moderator)


Saturday May 21st, 2016
Registration: 8:00am – 7:45pm
Exhibitions: 9:00am – 7:30pm
Session 1: 10:00am – 11:50am
Film: To Begin the World Over Again — The Life of Thomas Paine NORTHHALLBUILDING 2450 (the visionary who saw democracy and independence more clearly than the other founders) The presentation is the last great work of legendary cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler (1922 – Dec. 2015) who made One Flew Over The Cuckoo Nest and Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? National Educational Telecommunications Association Ian Ruskin The Life of Thomas Paine Productions:; Victor Madeson . Thomas Paine Friends,
Class Struggle in Popular Music 3.81 1.113 (how popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries–in different modes and genres–represents class and class struggle) Science & Society; Maria Damon, Chair Department of Humanities and Media Studies, Pratt Institute; Carter Mathes Department of English, Rutgers-New Brunswick;Rachel Rubin U of Mass, Boston, Department of American Studies; James Smethurst Department of Africana Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Situation in Ukraine on the 2 year anniversary of the fascist attack on demonstrators where 46 people were killed. 1.113 (A leader of the progressive movement from Odessa will join this panel)
Michael Moore’s”Where to Invade Next”: What can the Rest of the World Teach Us about Multiparty Democracy with Strong Left Parties? North Hall Building 2327 (This panel will include several experts on multiparty systems in nations featured in Michael Moore’s new movie plus Brazil.)
Zoned Out! Race, Displacement and City Planning in New York City 1.77 (New York City’s communities of color are facing massive gentrification and displacement resulting from unbridled real estate speculation and government land use policies that support it)

Session 2: 12:00pm – 1:50pm
What Next for the Movement Behind Bernie? L2.84 (How do we continue the fight against the billionaire class after the primaries?)
US-Cuba Relations Today: Fighting for Real, Full Normalization 1.103 (What has changed and what remains to be changed? The US economic, commercial, and financial embargo, while crumbling politically, remains entirely in place, as do travel sanctions. US companies continue to be sanctioned for relations with Cuba)
Trash Talk: Fighting Incineration & Achieving a Zero Waste Vision for Environmental Justice 1.117(New York City and Newark have both made commitments to Zero Waste recently. This panel will highlight the most recent industry attempts to reintroduce incineration to our region)
Overcoming Capitalism (Zero Books) 1.109 (how to transcend or overcome capitalism)
One Democratic State in Palestine/israel. In 2504 (to acknowledge the death of the “two state solution” and reality of the alternative, “one state solution,” whereby Israelis and Palestinians would live together as equal citizens before the law)
Occupy the Commons: Towards a Rational, Peaceful, Bloodless and Effective Revolution for Social Justice, Economic Equity and Human Liberation 1.73 (How does the current system further accelerate the vicious spinning circle of exploitation, widening the wealth-poverty gap, degrading the Environment and exploiting the Bio-commons?)
Climate Change and Capitalism 1.115 (why have efforts to mitigate climate change failed so far? What does this failure say about the nature of the system that is confronting climate change?)

Featured Saturday Lunchtime Event 1: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Rage, Rebellion, Revolution and Song L.63 (Lecture Hall)
Featured Saturday Lunchtime Event 2: 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Easter Rising – Songs of Freedom L.76 (Lecture Hall)
Black Box Theater Saturday Events
3.30-5.15pm Poetic Justice: An Afternoon of Emancipatory Lyrics Hosted by Shayla Cook
5.20-7.10 Comedy Show: Who Says The Left Has No Sense of Humor FEATURING: RANDY CREDICO, JOHN FUGELSANG AND RHONDA HANSOME

Session 3 Saturday: 3:30pm – 5:15pm
Transcending Material Scarcity 1.82 (Distribution of income by labor is almost universal but outdated in an economy where the major and increasing source of production is capital which is nearly all owned by a minuscule (plutocratic) few)
Silencing Dissent: False Accusations of Anti-Semitism Against Palestine Solidarity 1.119 (defenders of Israel have launched powerful and coordinated counterattacks to silence the movement of Palestininian solidarity)
Sanders’ Politics and the Path to Socialism 1.71 (relationship between the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders and the budding mass movement)
Fukushima on the Hudson: The Risks Posed by Governmental Negligence at Indian Point 1.114 (Indian Point has one of the worst safety records of any nuclear plant in the country, a pattern of negligent safety enforcement, and presents multiple clear and present dangers to the region. Among them are ongoing plans to build a high gauge gas pipeline on site, which in the event of a pipeline explosion could trigger a nuclear incident.)
Criminal Justice Reform, or Justice Denied? 1.83 (This panel argues that reforms and decarceration mark instead the emergence of enhanced state control through greater coordination of criminal justice agencies and enhanced supervision and surveillance through private and non-governmental agencies)
Capitalism’s Right Turn: From Far Right Populism to Authoritarian Neoliberal State 1.100 (launching the 2016 Register on The Politics of the Right)
Bully Nation: How Militaristic Capitalism Creates a Bullying Society 1.63 (In order to assure domination, the militaristic capitalist elite must build a culture that reinforces and rewards bullying behaviors and values, both in the ruling institutions and in everyday interpersonal interactions. Book: Bully Nation by Charles Derber and Yale Magrass University Press of Kansas)
A Dialogue on Israel and Palestine With Tariq Ali and Norman Finkelstein L2 85 (No abstract)
Debate: The Left and the Sanders Campaign L2 82 (how socialists should relate to the Bernie Sanders campaign.)
Film Screening: All Day All Week: An Occupy Wall Street Story 3.79 (It is 2011. Three years into the global financial crisis, there is a growing sense that political and economic elites sold out the people. In response, a wave of revolutions spreads from North Africa to Europe, and even the United States. In New York City a small group of activists meet in the NY General Assembly to discuss the possibility of #OccupyWallStreet. On September 17th they go to the financial district and occupy Zuccotti Park. They rename it Liberty Square)

A Brief History Of The Future 1.107 (The activists soon find themselves in the center of a growing movement. They face many external challenges including the media, the unions, political parties, and police violence. However, it is the internal challenges that they cannot overcome.)
Session 4 Saturday: 5:20pm – 7:10pm
We Are Not Your Soldiers: Learn to Talk Students Out of Signing Up for War 1.123 (Veterans with World Can’t Wait’s We Are Not Your Soldiers project present what they do in a typical high school classroom where students are considering joining the U.S. military. Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans relate their experiences in occupying countries, boot camp and post-military service)
The TPP, TTIP and the Continuing Free Trade Onslaught, the View From Canada 1.73 (Unfortunately the onslaught of the neo-liberal regimes continues. Four Canadian experts will share their analyses and experiences fighting the latest round of mega-free trade agreements.)
The Donald Trump Presidential Campaign: How to Fight the Rise of Fascism in Our Time 1.125 (Some say Trump is a buffoon, but that was also said of Mussolini, and after the laughing stopped about a million died.)
Justice 4 the Wrongfully Incarcerated 1.82 (The harm done to the wrongfully incarcerated and their families is tremendous in all such cases. This panel will discuss action and strategies for dealing with wrongful incarceration.)
Turkey’s Denial of the Armenian Genocide and the Question of Reparations 1.119 (how Turkey rewrote history after the 1915 Armenian Genocide in which the Assyrians,and Pontic Greeks were killed, and the rest sent into exile. Anoush Ter Taulian will discuss the intergenerational trauma that led her to become a lifetime Armenian activist and Artsakh (the part of Armenian liberated from Azeri conquerors) veteran.)
Night Event: 7:30pm – 9:45pm
Saturday Plenary Black Liberation and the Sanders Groundswell: Prospects for Left Unity


Sunday May 22nd, 2016
Registration: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Exhibitions: 9:00am – 5:00pm
Session 5 Sunday: 10:00am – 11:50am
The Imperative of Nuclear Disarmament in an Increasingly Dangerous World 2511 (countries are in the process of modernizing or further advancing their nuclear weapons programs in a world where elites envision and plan for continually escalating competition for increasingly scarce resources)
So the Next Bernie Can Run as an Indie: The Ballots, the Dollars and the Debates L 76 (Even Sanders’ most ardent campaign supporters acknowledge the perils of running in the obviously undemocratic DNC primary system)
Reducing Fossil Carbon Use. Wind, Water & Solar or Nuclear Fission – Which Has Better Promise? 3.79 (It is technically possible to greatly reduce mankind’s use of fossil carbon fuels)
It’s Time for Alexander Hamilton the Leftist: Hamilton’s American System of Political Economy Is the Key to Defeating Wall Street and Finally Organizing an Economic Recovery Starting With Infrastructure 1.75 (Hamilton’s American System of protectionism, mercantilism, and dirigism can help us put an end to the free trade sellouts, unemployment, and immiseration of our own time. We will attempt to convince the Left to adopt Hamilton as a champion of economic progress and as a figure whose ideas are worth pursuing in our time. A case in point is the rebuilding of the US rail system, financed by Hamiltonian methods.)
How Would Thomas Paine and Henry George Plan a Rebellion? L2.82 (Thomas Paine promoted “Rights of Man” (2 vols) and “Agrarian Justice”. Henry George extended these ideas on “Progress and Poverty” into the 20th Century.)
Capitalism and Loneliness L2.84
(But while capitalism freed people from rural manors, social bonds and attachments were ruptured. Alienated labor rent communities asunder. Between its political economy, its fragmented social and mediated exaltations of the individual, we now live lonely lives of quiet desperation.)
Session 6 Sunday: 12:00pm – 1:50pm
Discussion With Cubans About Life Under Blockade, the Cuban Economy, and Mass Organizations During the Changing Us-Cuban Relations 1 103 (US blockade, and the continuing damage this inflicts on Cuba)
Unifying Independent Media: Creating Networks for Bloggers, Freelance Journalists, and Livestreamers 1.92 (The coverage that is shown on TV is framed to discredit and demonize those participating in actions on both a local and national level)
The Transatlantic Slippery Slope – Suppression of Freedom of Expression from Israel to the US 1.121 (In 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the “Anti-Boycott Law”, thereby legitimizing the suppression of dissent in Israel. Passed in 2011, the Anti-Boycott Law makes the call for the boycott of Israel (including of the illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territory) a civil tort, and joins similar laws and policies designed to chill and curtail internal critique of Israel and Israeli policies. In the United States, dozens of anti-BDS laws have been proposed/enacted in both the US Congress and at the state level, mirroring the Anti-Boycott Law in Israel and with the aim of suppressing or punishing activism for Palestine.)
The History of Interracial Desire: From Slave Narratives to Obama 1.67 (In this panel we work against the backdrop of the scientific debunking of race as a genetic reality and move to read it as a culture of power….the narrative of romance is being re-invented in the cause of radical egalitarianism.)
Marxism and Religion: Cooperation and Contradiction 1.108 (The relationship between Marxism and religion has historically been sometimes antagonistic, sometimes cooperative)
Berning Down the House? Left Populism and Its Limits L.76 (A conversation on the promise and limits of the Bernie Sanders campaign.)
Bernie v. The Greens: What Can the Government Actually Do to Fix Our Economic Mess? L2.85 (UMASS Amherst Economics Professor Jerry Friedman made headlines with his breakdown of how we can actually accomplish Bernie Sanders most challenging goals, including job growth, single payer health care, free public university tuition and paid family leave. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate for US President with some ideas of her own about reorienting the economy toward environmental and social justice.)
Bernie, Capitalism’s Crisis and Democratic Socialism: What Next? L2.84 (examines the Bernie Sanders campaign in its relation to capitalism’s triple crises: economic decline accompanied by intense psychological stress and a crisis of hegemony with deep political challenges.)

Lunch Session Sunday: 2:00pm – 3:40pm
Chasing Utopia: A Roundtable on Workers Co-ops and Socialist Strategy L.63
(a broad diversity of perspectives among the leading advocates and critics of the workers cooperatives in relation to socialist strategy, SAM GINDIN, GAR ALPEROVITZ, SHARRYN KASMIR, AND RICHARD D. WOLFF New School LEO PANITCH, MODERATOR/INTERLOCUTOR)
Black Box Theater Sunday Events
2pm-3.40pm Sing in Spanish (and English)- Chorus as Community – The Power of Singing Together FEATURING: BERNARDO PALOMBO, RUBEN GONZALEZ, MARIO CANCEL, HUDSON VALLEY SALLY, & LUPE RAMSEY (NARRATION)
4pm-6pm Waking Each Other Up! The People Have the Power Ist Act: Upsurge! 2nd Act Literary Warriors

Session 7 Sunday: 3:40pm – 5:40pm
Cuba Speaks for Itself: a Panel With Cuba’s Ambassador to the United Nations L.76 (Ambassador Reyes is a veteran of Cuba’s military campaign in Angola and Southern Africa, which was the decisive factor in the military defeat of the South African apartheid state)
What is the role of Marxism Leninism in the US and the world today? Is it time for a new US Marxist Leninist party? 1.109 (Lacking a non-sectarian, revolutionary but realistic party, effective in mass struggles, the masses have been subject to right wing forces.)
US Militarism’s Expanse and the Need for a Movement to Cut Military Spending and Invest in Human Needs 1.123 (to call for an end to war, to protest drone attacks and nuclear weapons modernization, to wage campaigns to cut the military budget, to stand up in our communities to bring attention to the futility of war, and to demand a full focused effort on diplomacy and redirection of resources to meet human needs and protect mother earth)
The Endless “War on Terror”: US Drones & Targeted Killing 1.127 (he US military is now training more pilots of unmanned vehicles than of fighter/bombers)
Rethinking the 1950s: How Progressives Survived the Great Terror 8.61 (during the ‘50s, sex was as threatening to the nation’s moral order as communism)
Private Prisons as Profit Factories — How Banks & Wall St Control & Profit from the (In)Justice System 1.81 (the money machinations that lie behind private for-profit prisons)
Sunday May 22 2016 Closing Plenary: 6:30pm – 9:15pm Rage, Rebellion, Organizing New Power: A Hegelian Triad
Gymnasium, 4th Floor, Haaren Hall.

The most dangerous philosopher in the West and the Elvis of cultural theory

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian-born philosopher and psychoanalyst. He is a professor of philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS, a senior researcher at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, Global Distinguished Professor of German at New York University, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, and founder and president of the Society for Theoretical Psychoanalysis, Ljubljana. Aside from these appointments, Žižek tirelessly gives lectures around the globe and is often described as “the Elvis of cultural theory”. Although, more seriously, as British critical theorist Terry Eagleton confers, Žižek is the “most formidably brilliant” theorist to have emerged from Europe in decades. Many, in fact, now consider Žižek to be “the most dangerous philosopher in the West.”

Decency is her aura as she works to report on the hidden side of news

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on over 1,200 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its “Pick of the Podcasts,” along with NBC’s Meet the Press.Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ for “developing an innovative model of truly independent grassroots political journalism that brings to millions of people the alternative voices that are often excluded by the mainstream media.” She is the first co-recipient of the Park Center for Independent Media’s Izzy Award, named for the great muckraking journalist I.F. Stone. The Independent of London called Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! “an inspiration.” PULSE named her one of the 20 Top Global Media Figures of 2009.
Panels, Workshops and Events 1-66

Panels, Workshops and Events 67-131

Left Forum List 2016 Approved Panels

Download Left Forum 2016 Program Guide (88 pages)

The Left Forum 2016 Schedule

Left Forum 2016
May 20th-22nd:
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The City University of New York
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Mar 6th Sun 4pm Music’s Greatest Choral Work, Bach’s Mass in B Minor at Heavenly Rest 5th/90St by Canterbury Choral Society

Outsized now by the grubby works of Mammon, the Church of the Heavenly Rest will rise above them in spirit to host the City's finest choral society on Sunday afternoon for a celestial performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor, the celebrated composer's most brilliant and glorious testament to the power of God to invest creative genius in his mortal supplicants

Outsized now by the grubby works of Mammon, the Church of the Heavenly Rest will rise above them in spirit to host the City’s finest choral society on Sunday afternoon for a celestial performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, the celebrated composer’s most brilliant and glorious testament to the power of God to invest creative genius in his mortal supplicants

The greatest and most tuneful heavenly choral music in the universe will be sung by the Canterbury Choral Society at their resident venue, the fine spacious Church of the Heavenly Rest at Fifth/90th Street, at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.

Conductor Jonathan De Vries took up the baton of leadership at Canterbury Choral Society when its founder Charles Doddsley Walker died two years ago, and continues the tradition of presenting the finest choral works from musical history

Conductor will be the masterful Jonathan “Jon” De Vries, who chairs the music departments and teaches at St Hilda’s and St Hugh’s School. He has been rehearsing the orchestra and the 80 member choir for the last few months in the tall and elegant space, which he says is well suited for the massive work because “although it is built of stone walls it does not have a long-lasting echo” partly because the crumbling around the organ when it caught fire a few decades ago was never resurfaced. This is unlike the elongated echo at St John the Divine, he says, a church which is said to be even longer than St Peters in Rome, where to deal with that resonance “as a conductor you have to have your wits about you”.

Meanwhile he emphasizes that the Mass in B Minor was actually composed in parts from many previous works by Bach to tempt a patron to release him from the bondage of the church and that the sacred work therefore is full of melodic and harmonic appeal to the average mortal. From the musician’s point of view it is a demanding and rewarding adventure in playing a work where “there is so much detail, yet there is not a single extra note, for every note means something.” He points out that every listener enjoys a privilege withheld from its composer. “Bach never heard it, since it was never performed as a whole in his lifetime.”

Met star counter tenor Jeffrey Mandelbaum in rehearsal at Heavenly Rest on Friday for his Sunday performance of the Mass in B Minor

The soloists will be Mozart, Handel, Bach and Haydn specialist, soprano Laura Jobin-Acosta, Texan mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert of the classical alt/rock band the Knells, tenor Blake Friedman, soloist this season at the New York City Ballet, Met bass Matthew Anchel, and Met star countertenor Jeffrey Mandelbaum (whose name means ‘almond tree’). Mandelbaum debuted at the Met three years ago in The Enchanted Island alongside Placido Domingo, sang later at the Met in The Tempest.

The Canterbury Choral Society choir rehearses the complex harmonics and soaring spirit of Bach's famous B Minor Mass on Saturday under the firm but magical wand of conductor Jonathan De Vries

The Canterbury Choral Society choir rehearses the complex harmonics and soaring spirit of Bach’s famous B Minor Mass on Saturday under the firm but magical wand of conductor Jonathan De Vries

In rehearsals in the church concluding on Friday and Saturday the artistic director and conductor Jonathan De Vries demonstrated his famously sanguine temperament by congratulating the performers at frequent intervals on their flair for navigating the elegant but propulsive and richly satisfying turns of the music. “Really, really, truly you keep moving and moving!” he said at one point, and at the finish exclaimed “Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!” He then asked the choir, “Can we thank the soloists and the orchestra?” and the 80 strong ranks of the singers, some of them home owners from the exclusive family neighborhood of Carnegie Hill which surrounds the church, burst into grateful applause, partly for him.

Tickets $25 b($20 seniors, $10 students) from Smarttix, from any member or at the door.
More details at the Canterbury Choral Society, where auditions are also available for those with choral experience who wish to join the Society.

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ZOOM’s Final Days – Megasale of Cultural Treasures in Video and Games

Landlord busts an Aladdin’s cave already being stifled by megastores nearby

Sixty years of fantasy on the block for half price or less

Among the treasures being sold off at 50% discount as Zoom’s emporium of fantasy are these beauties, accompanied by a Cosby kid doll!

Cognoscenti of fantasy culture in this city of niche specialties such as novel games and toys should know that it’s the last two weeks of final sale at the unique and irreplaceable Harlem store Zoom. This commercial but cultural gem has been brought down by a greedy rent increase (from $3800 to $6000) after its customers’ payday splurges were slowly siphoned off by the arrival of Costco, Best Buy and other megastores five years ago over in the 117 St Mall.

Where are you going to find this again, in a store in which you can actually look at and handle it to size it up properly?

Run don’t walk to this small Manhattan storehouse of imagination on Third at 109 Street in the next two weeks while it is still replete with wonders such as a giant four slice ultra hospitable toaster, video game figures and sitcom dolls, choice DVDs (eg Godard’s Breathless, Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf, A Fish Called Wanda, and Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, not to mention The Words of Ayn Rand), with benchmark VHS tapes such as Arthur, Local Hero or The Producers (not to mention the unmentionable The Vagina Monologues), and hard to find stuffed toys including a striking 3 foot tall Spiderman, some well costumed Superwomen dolls including Marilyn Monroe and Madonna, and even a wide eyed Bill Cosby kid doll, a couple of monkey heads which grimace, and a really far out prize, a $150 bottle of real Moet et Chandon champagne, vintage 1971. Originally cost three times as much, says Manny.

Maybe a $150 toast to the achievement of a store which served culture?

Zoom is as much clubhouse as store in the late afternoon as owner Manny Villefane exchanges stories rooted in local New York life not yet entirely obliterated by the heavyfooted march of the megastores nearby

In charge is Manny Villfane who for three decades has run the store his mother started thirty years before that, who presides over the clubhouse atmosphere in late afternoon (the store is open 2pm until 8pm) from his seat behind the far end counter, while a local specialist in computer rebuilding picks up a home phone designed in payphone format with a slot for 25 cent coins, and a baseball card collector shuffles boxfuls of rarities and reminisces with him about champion sluggers of the past.

This home pay phone with coin slot will keep your guests from freeloading, if you don’t buy it for changing it into a computer

Of course the end of Zoom is a sad loss for the city and just one more hole in the sidewalk city fabric which once knitted together the lives and interests of locals in a social network built on personal encounters with owners and their assistants, who became encyclopedias of information and explanation on their products and related activity such as fairs and shows of the latest versions available, whether they were in mundane hardware or drug stores or specialists in electronic excitement like Zoom.

Raymond behind the counter is himself a storehouse – of advice on the quality of movies you may not have heard of, but which at a giveaway $1 you can hardly afford to pass up, as well as how everything works

We recall running into Mayor Bloomberg a few years ago when he was cutting the ribbon on a new installation of wifi in the City’s parks – whatever happened to that? – and mentioning that we were covering the replacement of a storied Mafia barber nearby on 116 St by yet another Chinese takeout, another casualty of the perfect rent hike storm of the last decade blasting small storefronts in Manhattan and replacing them with Duane Reades.

A rather magnificent toaster “worth $300” went for $65 to some lucky buyer to warm up his kitchen and make it the most hospitable room in the apartment

We suggested that there was a need for legislation to slow the commercial rent tornados obliterating the small guys with their irreplaceable knowledge and all the what economists call human capital they had built up in a neighborhood over the years.

Detecting my English accent the good mayor replied “Oh we let money decide everything in this city, that’s the way we do it here!”

After a pause, though, he added,”of course, if it was my barber maybe I would do something!”

A box of 45s includes Tom Jones’ Its Not Unusual on a Parrot pressing

The barber was lucky enough to find a substitute location in the basement of a house along 116 Street recently bought by a doctor at Mt Sinai who heard about his predicament. But in the case of Zoom, a blank shutter is all that will be left as the month ends.

Landlords off the leash are eviscerating New York’s storefront culture, and blank walls is soon going to be all that is left of a vibrant local institution which was far more than a store

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Ultimate Umm…mami! At Vermilion, Business Decor, Indo-Latin Savory Meld

World Bank Beauty’s Masterful Integration of India, Brazil and Beyond

Citadel of Fusion Achieves Peak of Savory Nourishment

Destination For Spicy Meat Mavens, Though May Need Patience

Ex World Bank Economist Rohini Dey meets the challenge of organizing two restaurants in two different cities - Chicago and New York - to offer something uniquely different

Ex World Bank Economist Rohini Dey meets the challenge of organizing two restaurants in two different cities – Chicago and New York – to offer something uniquely different

You can be sure that unusually interesting taste sensations will arrive on your plate from the kitchen of At Vermilion, whose tall ceilings and open interior space can be seen lighting up the corner of Lexington at 46 Street.

The combination of Indian and Latin American influences is the imaginative idea of a restaurateur from an unlikely background. Rohini Dey is a tall and slender, soft faced Indian beauty who likes to dress in Oscar length gowns when she visits from Chicago to oversee this, her second restaurant. In another life, she was a McKinsey consultant who moved to the World Bank and married an economist. Then, in a sharp break from her comfortable office bound existence, she found her bliss.

Dey left the abstract paperwork and regular paycheck of high level economics far behind to take on one of the most demanding entrepreneurial roles in the US. Nowadays she is running At Vermilion, her high level restaurant in the Big Apple, as well as the original Vermilion she founded earlier in Chicago.

Not surprisingly given the high level jobs Rohini left for her passion, the decor at At Vermilion is well arranged business modern softened with comfortable shapes and lighting and spacious enough for relaxed dining and for parties and functions

With passion as fuel

Running a restaurant is a highly demanding feat well known for its flow chart tangles and insoluble personnel problems, magnified in New York City by incessant bureaucratic demands, zooming rents, and extreme competition, with 23,705 permits for bars, cafes and restaurants in July, a jump from 18,606 back in 2008.

But this is what Rohini without hesitation calls her “passion”, one she has pursued for ten years. She opened her first Vermilion in Chicago, and then launched its New York sister in 2008, just in time for the economic collapse.

Armed with a bunch of plaudits from major media she kept At Vermilion going through the downturn and recently decided to add impetus with a relaunch. On Wednesday the press were invited to come and taste the result.

Having a strong liking for the spicy side of food we made sure to attend, with the results as far as we are concerned quite remarkable.

How to transform the mundane into a peak of fusion: Vermilion’s menu offers a range of choices almost impossible to choose at one sitting, given the novelty of its attractions and the inspired compatibility of its combinations

The second half of the menu reveals one of the few possible flaws in an otherwise appetizing lineup, and that is not a complaint about the quality or taste of the offerings.  But given the likelihood that diners will feast on a substantial main course following a quite filling starter, the heavy style of the desserts that lean towards the Indian side of the Vermilion fusion may need relief with a few more of the lighter touches such as the mango flan and the coconut mouse (sic)

The second half of the menu reveals one of the few possible flaws in an otherwise appetizing lineup, and that is not a complaint about the quality or taste of the offerings. But given the likelihood that diners will feast on a substantial main course following a quite filling starter, the heavy style of the desserts that lean towards the Indian side of the Vermilion fusion may need relief with a few more of the lighter touches such as the mango flan and the coconut “mouse” (sic)

It is hard to think of any among the 16,000 full service eateries in New York that we would return to with more eagerness to sample more of the menu items that we missed, a list we tried for two hours to make as short as possible.

Meat eaters paradise
As a guilty carnivore our choices were heavy on the meat eating side which is especially well served with imaginative spice and sauce combinations, an approach which benefits from the fact that with meat you can go all out with such additions without fear of overdoing it. We tasted enough to be sure that on the fish side the same excitement will be found.

A cast iron soup bowl and wooden platters enhance the earthbound tastiness of many offerings on the menu, min this case the cauliflower soup panchporan bengali five spice cream blend (slightly pinker in reality)

One Rohini inspiration is to serve up morsels such as ribs or strip steaks or soups on cast iron platters bedded with wooden palettes, which add a welcome iron and wooden touch of earthiness to frame the dark results of barbecued or grilled meat.

Mysore lamb chops, with pickled onion and mango mint chutney are dark and succulent, blacked but not burnt, lightly minted, tender rare and with no greasy feel whatsoever

But it is the impact of actually taking the morsel you cut off into the mouth which will start fireworks in your neurological system.
Tastings of two restaurant week menu items - bottom right, grilled beef anticucho peruvian street, garlic cumin tones; bottom left, pani puri street Indian chaat, flour shells, potato, chili mint water; and latin indian petiscos: bottom right, alcapurria puerto rican croquette, chicken kabab, chipotle mango;  top left, tamarind pork bun bifanas, portuguese classic, tamarind pork dip (bacony, very tasty)

Tastings of two restaurant week menu items – bottom right, grilled beef anticucho peruvian street, garlic cumin tones; bottom left, pani puri street Indian chaat, flour shells, potato, chili mint water; and latin indian petiscos: bottom right, alcapurria puerto rican croquette, chicken kabab, chipotle mango; top left, tamarind pork bun bifanas, portuguese classic, tamarind pork dip (bacony, very tasty)

We’re talking of not only the taste of the saucy spices added but the way in which they enhance the power packed protein hit of the meat. The savory flavors add a dimension of suffused heart warming nourishment which ordinary Indian tandoori baked chicken, for example, just doesn’t possess.

On the left, tandoori skirt steak, seared churrasco, indian marinade, plantain chips, chorizo kale, jicarna roll, raita, on the right, blackened tamarind ribs indian-latin chili-tamarind glaze, with quinoa salad and tapioca crisps (dry when we got it, but quickly remedied)

The dishes offer a double punch of flavor enhancement and boosted nourishment which add up to meat eaters nirvana. Of course, then there is the problem of choosing wine – solved quite easily by selecting one of the two red wines offered by the glass.

A nice range of signature herb and spice cocktails are on the drinks menu, such as Fresh line pear with green chili vodka, or pani puri margarita tequila

or a good red Chilean?

or a good red Chilean?

Red wine is no problem at Vermilion with two easy choices in wine by the glass – the slightly sharper but soon blossoming Araucano, Carmenere Valle De Colchagua from Chile, or the mellower but equally rounded Tilia Malbec Mendoza Argentina.

See her on Restaurant Confidential soon

As it happened there was also a Restaurant Confidential crew from CBS shooting an upcoming episode featuring Rohini and her performance art. They recognize that this worldly Indian beauty is juggling as many roles as a writer and producer for the stage.

A CBS crew tries to listen in on Rohini Dey’s management and culinary secrets as she briefs her barman, possibly on which of the excellent red wines to serve as a fine complement to her unique dishes

For Dey writes her own script and gathers a cast and crew to stage a production she designs in its entirety – the physical space and decor, the cooks and other cast, the raw materials, and in consultation with the accomplished chefs, the finished menu. The result of her stagecraft deserves to be an explosive hit, according to our taste.

Bottom line we’d say that At Vermilion should be a first choice for all adventurous foodies in search of a savory spice haven – or should we say heaven? – amid comfortable and spacious modern decor. If they read Yelp, however, they should bear in mind that Rohini has rebooted the service side after a long list of indignant reviews there over the past few years, and that it should be vastly improved under the hand of her current manager, the impressive Varcian Virgo, whose Jamaican heritage may have made him amiable in humor but whose disciplined bearing suggests he has everything entirely under control (not to mention that the wild swings from good to bad at Yelp suggest that some reviews are the work of rivals).

Varcian Virgo is the general manager whose good humor may have roots in his Jamaican background but whose straight backed bearing reflects the discipline with which he approaches his role


If the wholesale staff upgrade proves out, and service for the anonymous guests matches the quality, interest and prices of the food and wine, the reincarnation of At Vermilion deserves to be as full of enthusiasts for its taste sensations as its menu is packed with variations on the Indo-Latin theme.

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More than meets the eye: Chutney Kitchen is tasty, healthy

    Clean decor matches cleaned up take on Indian food, mild but tasty

    Two young Indian-Americans bring healthy to Indian quick food

    Fine tea, Naked smoothies belie full soda cabinet

    Chutney Kitchen is open from 10 am till 11pm to serve tasty meals to office workers, shoppers and theater goers as well as Hells Kitchen locals

    One of the funkiest neighborhoods in Manhattan is Hell’s Kitchen, the fantasy stage for Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. Nowadays its main drag, 52nd Street, is home to dozens of little hole in the wall bars and restaurants, some like Totto Ramen with crowds outside in the early evening.

    A notable, more mainstream addition is Chutney Kitchen, on the East side of Eighth Avenue at 51/52nd Street, which opened seven weeks ago to help expand a tiny niche – Indian fast food, upgraded from oily to healthy, clean, nutritious and mildly spiced, to suit less adventurous tastes.

    She left a hedge fund for what she wanted to do – with her childhood NJ friend as partner, serve up a healthy, light version of her family food

    Here two young friends from New Jersey, hedge fund alumnus Silu Sao, and her long time friend from sixth grade, Pankaj Amin, have upgraded economical Indian food to suit the current New York taste for healthy ingredients, but have retained a number of spicy sauces to add the Indian flavor without simmering the beef, chicken or pork in an oily sauce. The result is a fast food option worth ordering take out or sitting down for if you are in the neighborhood, or going to the theater district nearby.

    Amid decor that is all bright light and hard surface plastic those in line can choose from ten kitchen specials or put together their own “base” and “fill”, and add their choice of flavored sauces, chutney and salad dressings from the wall menus.

    Chutney Kitchen offers a healthy low key version of Indian fast food, palatable to the newbie

    Good ingredients with a touch of spicy sauce, such as “date” or “cilantro”, result in fast food worth eating, two continents away from burgers and submarines, or the sandwiches of Pret A Manger or worse, those found at Starbucks, where only the egg salad is bearable. For those with an experienced palate who seek the strong kick of intense Vindaloo, there is a bottle of that to have flourished over your basics too. All these sauces, from mild Coconut cashew to yogurt and spicy mirchi chutneys to lemon cumin and spicy mango salad dressings, are mixed by the slim hands of co-founder Silu.

    The container ingredients look modest but are both tasty and nutritious

    The array of small stainless receptacles in front of the counter from which the ingredients of your chosen mix are spooned may seem too reminiscent of tired buffets in delis, and the plastic squeeze bottles containing the sauces may seem too industrial, but the bowl full of rice, flatbread roti or naan filled with shredded pork or steak or cubed chicken or lentils flavored with turmeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, chilies, onions and streaked with one or two of ten different toppings will score high in taste and nutrition, according to our sampling last night.

    Servers will fill your cardboard bowl in front of you according to your choices

    For those holdouts who may miss that eternal standby of fast food in Manhattan, French fries, there are fries dusted with Masala. However, there is no goat and lamb, too heavy to fit into Silu’s modern approach. Also, you may have to speak up when ordering over the big glass plate partition protecting the serving containers. The clean, hard surface decor creates a din when the place is even half full.

    Although Silu is hoping that customers will move to healthier beverage choices, just like Burger King, you can still get your traditional accompaniment to Indian food, Coke

    There is scarlet Iced Rose Hibiscus Tea and Iced Honey Green tea as well as Naked Mango Smoothie to make up for the fact that the huge refrigerated cabinet is full of sodas, which Silu Sao says are still demanded by “the market” she is trying to tempt into the milder and healthier Indian food she is offering.

    P1320117Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Prices from $7.95 (Pan seared potatoes) to 9.95 (shredded steak) for main “fills” or kitchen specials, teas and drinks $2.75 to $3.50. Fries $2.50 Naan $2.50. 856 8th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (212) 247-6200 Wheelchair Friendly, Accepts Credit Cards

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CUNY Jewel: Focus on Europe

German program clean relief from US sales mania

Deutsche Welle provides rock solid coverage of real life

CUNY and WNYE contributions to mental health

Sick of the blare and low content of US programming? A very fine program on CUNY TV (75 on TW cable, 25-3 over the air (WNYEDT3)) is Focus on Europe, a weekly issue with many repeats, about “some of the very best personal stories behind the headlines”. The origin is German; it is one of Deutsche Welle’s features, though the unusually gentle in manner, boyish announcer Damian McGuinness is obviously native born English (twitter @damienmcguin).

New announcer at FOCUS ON EUROPE is Damien McGuiness who also reports for the BBC on Germany and the Baltic States.

The credits state that direction is by Oliver Wickop, Producers are A. Lutz and J. Riedel, Executive Producer is Dagmar Michel on the latest Mar 26 Thursday (2015) installment.

This current edition is typical: it realistically undertakes in its trademark style of exploring simple personal reality a series of straightforward and truthful reports of the experience of individuals caught up in political and economic change.

It covers five topics: Ukrainians fleeing war and call up by the Ukranian military by moving to Moldova, the British upgrading CCTV camera surveillance in Trafalgar Square (which pet hawks now keep free of pigeons and mice) and throughout London, Norway meeting local resistance setting a convicted, terrorism inciting Mullah safely aside in a remote village, invisible toxins permeating the bucolic farm and mountain valley of Gortschitz in Austria, where sheep and cattles have been slaughtered and schoolchildren in the state capital now test positive for the chemicals, and weed used to relieve cancer suffering in Belgium through an EU legal loophole.

The Web site is, copyright is Deutsche Welle 2015 The program listing is at

The other FOCUS ON EUROPE presenter Valeria Risi is the daughter of a violinist and a journalist in Uruguay who became an actor and a journalist and mother of three.

Similar programs from Deutsche Welle carried by CUNY-TV include Euromaxx on European lifestyle topics, and Deutsche Welle News at 6pm (see and and email address is

The latter is the same English language news program labeled Journal, which is projected on WNYE (Channel 25-1 over the air and 25 on TW cable) at the same time, 6pm NYC.

Other new programs on CUNY blessedly free of the corruption of commercialism which has spread like a cancer across even PBS in the US (whose Nightly news broadcast and news documentaries tend to be enslaved to whatever established and self serving beliefs dominate commerce and government with the sole exception of Frontline) include Democracy Now, the latter almost the sole source of realistic coverage of news on the street outside the fortresses of power.

BBC World News America (5.30pm 13 and 25 WNYE NYC) and BBC World News (25 NWNYE 7 am NYC) are also relatively free of commercial taint though enslaved anyway to established views of political and economics affairs. They are carried on WNYE 25 Cable and 25-1 over the air.

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James Irsay: Liveliest Classical Piano Radio Program

Amusingly spontaneous radio presentation by fine pianist critic

Close analysis of major works, performances

Fresh, knowledgeable, winning – WBAI Fri 10=12 am

this man knows how to live, host at WBAI and play the piano: james orsay in sun

Go to WBAI 99.9 FM every Friday morning from 10am to 12pm to catch the finest, most informed, liveliest program on classical piano ever, hosted by the inimitable James Orsay.

James Irsay


James Irsay, born in New York City, began piano study at the Buffalo School of Music. Before he entered the fifth grade, his family moved back to New York so James could attend the Juilliard Preparatory Division, where he studied piano with Anne Hull, a student of Ernest Hutcheson. He also studied composition there with Peter Schickele (“PDQ Bach”) and Jacob Druckman. After private study in New York with the man who taught him the most, Sascha Gorodnitzky, he studied at Indiana University with Jorge Bolet, and John Ogdon, and composition with Frederick Fox.

James spent many years as an award-winning radio broadcaster, at WBAI, WNYC AND WQXR in New York, and on WFIU in Bloomington, Indiana. His extra-musical pursuits include collecting and translating old books and manuscripts of practical kabbalah (Hebrew magic) and Jewish polemical writings. He has translated a (legendary) Jewish life of Jesus from a rare Hebrew manuscript in his collection.

He tries to keep his fingers in shape, but is busy working as a teacher to keep up rent payments for his overpriced apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. He loves to fish for bluefish and striped bass in New York waters. His travels have taken him to the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Morocco, Nepal, India (where he joined and traveled with a circus), Pakistan, Yemen, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and more. He plans to visit Europe soon, so he can pay his respects to Chopin.
Chopin – Waltzes
Dussek – Sonatas
Dvorak – Piano Trio Op.26
Schoenberg – Piano Concerto
Schumann – Toccata
Scriabin – Etudes

From his Facebook page:

We had yet another fun-fest on MORNING IRSAY today. A wild and wooly Bach-Tausig d minor T&F from Mark Hambourg; some gorgeous poetic playing from Jelly d’Aranyi and her discreet vibrato. Our man from Lodz, Karol Szreter, played Beethoven 4 with Frieder Weissmann – great clarity and simple, direct phrasing, but loaded with the excitement that always flowed out from the irrepressible pianist. He probably would have played it somewhat differently if he were not forced to fit the concerto onto 8 sides of a 78 record.
We also brought out Liberace, playing “Beethoven’s First Movement Of The D Minor Sonata.” He also played Chopin’s F# Major Nocturne – the main section rather hyper-freely, but a not-bad-at-all middle section. And of course, the Bumble Boogie. Some have called Liberace’s piano playing “ridiculous”, but it’s not. He was really quite musical, if not always polished.
Here’s a repeat of our last offering, the delightful, toe-tapping Lisztravaganza by duo pianists Rawicz and Landauer: “Liszt in Rhythm”.

WBAI listener and advocate Christ Albertson:

The right move: James Irsay is back

This morning at 10, intelligent programming returned to WBAI…well, at least for a couple of hours.

I don’t know whose idea it was to bring back James Irsay, but it is a big step in the right direction. Whoever initiated this (was it Reimers?) deserves applause. Irsay, an accomplished pianist, is witty, intelligent, very much at home with the microphone, and thoroughly professional.

Giving him two hours a week is as good for WBAI as would be getting rid of Ifé, Armah, Knight, Kathy Davis, Tony Ryan, Starman, and others, too numerous to mention.

The program is Morning Irsay and it will air Friday mornings from 10 to Noon.

Here is Irsay’s own liquid and imaginatively complex playing of Chopin at The Piano Society’s Free Archive:

Waltz in D flat major Op.70 No.3 by James Irsay

Evidently Irsay is just the superlative player himself one might imagine from his amusingly spontaneous and darting but always richly perceptive and well informed commentary on his program, which is undoubtedly the best presentation of its kind available on radio anywhere.

A vivid potrayal of his effect on listeners, from one addict:

“What’s WBAI trying to do, get me fired?!

And yet …. and yet …. I can’t tear myself away. This is radio as it was meant to be, this James d’Irsay character who thinks I should hop off the merry-go-round of all the other things I have to do and learn what makes great music enjoyable, and great. Right, he’s gonna teach me that, when so many before him have failed! And make me love it. Sure.

Right now, an hour-and-forty minutes into Irsay’s can’t-peel-my-ears-way show, I am looking out my bedroom window over a very rainy Belt Parkway and Gravesend Bay, listening to some Nazi apologist make incredibly beautiful music, damn him! (following, of course, the obligatory and insightful political questions Irsay poses). Yikes, I’ve forgotten to panic at the thought of having no subway fare tomorrow, lost in the maze of musical parentheses, trying to claw my way back to the surface to more familiar ground, wondering “what else do I not know, and why don’t I know it?” and, “Listen to that, did you hear it?!”

Ahhh, here comes the pitch for the transmitter/antenna fund. Turns out that no one is answering the phone at the answering center, even though the phone number is painted in huge numbers facing Irsay in the studio. And it’s out of order. Oh, gawd! Not again! Back to the useless but familar frustration otherwise known as WBAI, which I guess I can at least thank for Irsay’s brilliant utopian interruption amidst the muck.

Mitchel Cohen

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TV Antenna: Portal to Free Movie Paradise

Overflowing cornucopia for cord cutters using antennae

All the free, well crafted, story telling, entertaining movies you might wish to see (again)

Step aside Netflix, IFC, TCM! River of film glittering with stars, Oscars

What do you think spies are: priests, saints, martyrs? They’re a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors, too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives.

Tired of too much good and bad TV, too many cable channels, and movies which cater to the pre-adolescent set with weak plots, overwhelming special effects and coke fueled direction? The sanest way to keep up with the basic offerings of TV aside from sports channels may be to cut the cord and revert to over the air TV, which has offered all the basic channels – 2,4,5,7,9,11, 13, 25, 64 – in crystal clear digital form ever since the digital switchover in 2008. Additionally, the channels are multiplexed, offering more than one broadcast program on the same channels, including program guides.

Movie Mississippi

One overlooked benefit of cutting the cord to basic cable TV apart from the savings of up to $30 a month, or $360 a year, or even six times that if subscribing to many cable offerings, is that the multiplexed space provides room for three or more first rate movie channels featuring all the golden oldies you never saw or wish to see again.

I Walk The Line (1970) features Gregory Peck succumbing to Tuesday Weld

On 5-2 is M! (WNYWDT2), which boasts classics such as Untamed (1955, a Boer War romance with a straight backed Tyrone Power and an overwrought Susan Hayward), The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1966, with a dour Richard Burton spying in East Germany), A Blueprint for Murder (1963, Joseph Cotten finds out if Jean Peters really poisoned relatives), The Last Hurrah (1968, an aging Spencer Tracy hangs on to rule as a mayor in New England town), I Walk The Line (1970, married sheriff Gregory Peck tempted by teenage daughter of moonshiner Tuesday Weld), Evel Knievel (1971, George Hamilton with Sue Lyon), Hatari (1962, John Wayne and Red Buttons with Elsa Martinelli capture and pet wild animals in Kenya), North to Alaska (1960, John Wayne brings back French girl to Stewart Granger and Ernie Kovacs in Alaska, fellow gold rush prospectors), Moscow on the Hudson (1984, Robin Williams as Russian musician seeks asylum in New York)… to select just from the 24 hours current while this post is written.

Gary Busey makes a better Buddy Holly than Buddy himself

On 11-3 THIS-TV (WPIXDT3) has Sleeper (1973, Woody Allen wakes up after 200 years in deep freeze), The Last Waltz (1978 Band’s last concert),The Buddy Holly Story (1978, with a young Gary Busey!), La Bamba (1987, Ritchie Valens played by Lou Diamond Philips), The Englishman Who Went Up The Hill and Came Down A Mountain (1995, Hugh Grant maps a small Welsh village in 1917 and falls for local beauty Tara Fitzgerald), Jack and Sarah (1995, high strung yuppie Richard Grant meets bubbly nanny Samantha Mathis after wife dies, mother Judy Dench clashes), Ulee’s Gold (1997, Florida beekeeper Peter Fonda searches for wife of jailed son against thugs looking for stolen loot). All these and more within a day, as we write this.

Good Neighbor Sam (1964, Jack Lemmon) features Jack in a difficult situation, especially when they put up billboards around town featuring him with the wrong wife!

On 68-3 GET-TV (WFUTDT3) today there is playing The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946, Barbara Stanwyck with Van Heflin and Kirk Douglas fears exposure as the poisoner of her relatives), Duffy (1968, James Coburn, James Mason, James Fox involved in hijacking banker father’s yacht), Murderer’s Row (1966, Dean Martin plays Matt Helm, secret agent), The Inspector General (1949, Danny Kaye’s sublime comedy masterpiece), Good Neighbor Sam (1964, Jack Lemmon as San Francisco adman who poses as friend’s husband so wife can inherit $15 million), Meet John Doe (1941, Barbara Stanwyck reporter hires bum Gary Cooper to act as spokesman for masses), The Way We Were (1973, Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford as leftist and writer whose college romance extends through life), The Owl and the Pussycat (1970, George Segal struggling writer shares an apartment with some of the time call girl Barbara Streisand). All these within the same day.

Finally, an over the air antenna is a portal to the golden oldies in television series such as Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Rawhide, Star Trek, Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and perhaps the most intelligent and entertaining of all, Colombo, all of which are being rerun on 3-10 in NYC, MeTV.

Antennae sensitivity

Antennae in Manhattan are extremely sensitive to location within less than a foot and to positioning within a few degrees of turn or angle, varying according to the channel being sought. However, a position and angle should be found which will serve most stations well, with a few exceptions that will have to be tuned by changing position or angle. From one location three floors up in a brownstone half a block from Central Park in the East nineties, we have found that best results so far have come from a small power boosted flat antenna (Antennacraft HDTC Indoor Ultrathin from Radioshack $30-50) with almost as good results from a small power boosted three panel folding antenna with center rod (GE Model 24775 Power Boosted Quantum Antenna) with the Channels at 3-10, 11, and 66 the most recalcitrant. But your mileage will vary and will change within very small adjustments.

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George Carlin RIP: Really Interesting Pundit

There was probably no comedian in the modern era worth more as an iconoclast and a wordsmith than George. His 74th Birthday is on May 12.

A few quotes from the Really Interesting Pundit:

The real reason we cant have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’, ‘Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery’ and ‘Thou Shalt Not Lie’ in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.

Working-class people “look for work.” Middle-class people “try to get a job.” Upper-middle-class people “seek employment.”

I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

Where ideas are concerned, America can be counted on to do one of two things: take a good idea and run it completely into the ground, or take a bad idea and run it completely into the ground.

Have you ever wondered why the Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer for their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.

They try to blame movies and TV for the violence in this country. What a load of shit. Long before there were movies and television, Americans killed millions of Indians, enslaved millions of blacks, slaughtered 700,000 of each other in a family feud, and attained the highest murder rate in history. Don’t blame Sylvester Stallone. We brought these horrifying genes with us from Europe, and then we gave them our own special twist. American know-how!

I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.

I saw a picture of the inventor of the hydrogen bomb, Edwin Teller, wearing a tie clip. Why would the man who invented a bomb that destroys everything for fifty miles be concerned about whether or not his tie was straight?

Personally I haven’t worn T-shirts with writing on them for about ten years, but I do own what I consider to be the coolest T-shirt in the world. It’s plain white, and inside a kind of faded maroon circle, in an odd, feminine sort of print, it says, “Fuck the Cows.” But it’s about two sizes too small. Ain’t that always the way?

Actually, this selection of lesser known (to us) quotes is from Daily Kos’s Bill in Portland Maine. We still haven’t worked out exactly why the last one was a choice.

Highly Recommended *****

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McLaughlin Group – Best Sunday Morning Political Show Again Hidden Away by CBS

Witty, wise and well informed

Intermittently put in Siberia, then brought back

Invaluable transcripts available

A host for grown ups: John Mcclaughlin seems fierce, but only in the cause of curiosity and clarity

Why was the outstanding Sunday morning political comment show McLaughlin Group banished to the broadcast Siberia of 6.30 am on Sunday morning for much of last year?  At present, thanks to the invisible executive gods of media, it is back at its customary 11 am slot on CBS Channel 2 in NYC. But the question remains: why was it suddenly ‘disappeared’?

For a time – many months last year – this, the best Sunday morning political comment show on American television among many worthy rivals, was banished to a slot which made it very unlikely (saving the use of Tivo or a lesser DVR, of course) that viewers in New York City would catch it, given that they likely stayed up late the night before, either at a party or watching a good Saturday night movie on PBS (13) or CUNY (75).

The banishment was an astonishing move.  The McLaughlin Report is the only political show with a variety of well expressed analytical opinions which draw on substantial research and long time knowledge on the part of the participants, who sit ready to roll them out at a moment’s notice in well informed, well formulated and succinct sound bites when called on by the admirably abrupt stentorian host, who demonstrates every week that even at the age of 87 a man can be alert, intellectually vigorous and deal with ideas with dispatch.

The real John and his smile

The main reason the show is so good is that it is run by that one individual, rather than by a group.  McLaughlin himself is the creator, and the producer, as well as the host of each show.   There is no muffling taint of the committee, the compromise approach which burdens so many worthy creations of the human mind. This is one man whose guiding principle is that “there’s no reason on God’s planet why knowledge has to be boring”

The result is that the Report is the Sunday morning talking head show with the most lively conflict of ideas and opinions, a grown up gladiatorial arena where the participants’ ideologies are distinct and generate usefully direct clashes in widely differing views.  All of them, especially the staple presences of Pat Buchanan and Eleanor Clift, are well informed, articulate, and share a sense of humor and realism about themselves and the process. The show’s only major defect reflects its liveliness: often words are lost as too many participants talk at once.


The Group – Clarence Page, Eleanor, John, Monica Crowley, Pat

The show typically deals with two main news items a week along with the issues they raise. Thus one accomplishment of the show with great value is that it has a site that offers past shows on YouTube with full transcripts all the way back to 1998 also as podcasts and MP3s. The record is a tribute to the quality of the show.

A broadside from former Vice President Cheney and his daughter Liz appeared on top of the opinion page in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal. Quote: “In 1983, President Ronald Reagan said if history teaches us anything, it teaches that simple-minded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom,” unquote. “President Obama is on track to securing his legacy as the man who betrayed our past and squandered our freedom,” unquote.

Question: Is it unprecedented for a former vice president to criticize a sitting president like this? Is it below the belt? Eleanor Clift.

MS. CLIFT: Oh, I don’t think he should be critiqued on that level. I think we should ask, though, why somebody who was so colossally wrong in 2003 expects to have any credibility today. His major beef with the administration is that they didn’t keep a residual force in Iraq after the war ended at the end of 2011. Well, why didn’t they? Because Iran was so empowered by the stupid invasion of Iraq that Iran told Maliki I don’t want Americans in there. And Iran has much more sway over this government —


MS. CLIFT: — that our service people —

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat.

MS. CLIFT: — died for over a period of years. So I think Cheney is just off on some other planet.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, Pat.

MS. CLIFT: And he’s going to get his comeuppance from his own party. Listen to Rand Paul.

Taped: Friday, June 20, 2014
Broadcast: Weekend, June 21-22, 2014 “

The one valid concern one might have regarding this exemplary show is the danger of it being cancelled owing to the increasingly frailty of the host as he advances towards his nineties.  But there is no sign of this vulnerability yet.

Highly recommended ****

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Macchiato Espresso Bar

141 East 44 Street NY 10117  212 867-6772


That’s the address of the best coffee bar in New York, bar none.


More later.






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Warby Parker – Film Star Frames for $600 Less

Innovative entry into the grossly overpriced market for spec frames

Cheeky Web startup busts Luxottica’s effective monopoly by charging commodity prices

P1340808Need new frames, but not overpriced brand names or plain Jane designs from the opticians on the corner?

Then get down to the Warby Parker HQ in the Puck Building and help yourself to movie grade frames (stars are actually wearing them) including the lenses (restricted at the moment to single prescription) for only $95 a throw.

The young company decided to bust open the monopoly pricing of the spectacles market in the US, which is led by the Italian frame makers Luxottica, which produces fine but expensive frames which provide an umbrella of high prices for every make sold in opticians in America. Moreover, at least 30 per cent of the market is dominated by Luxxotica, according to reports, because the company is the only source for high end brand frames, and it won’t supply anyone who breaks ranks, or so they suggested on 60 Minutes.

P1340806Whatever the reason, Warby Parker have broken the mould – offering high quality frame, well designed, for minimal prices on the Web and now, increasingly, on the retail storefront level.

Warby Parker began selling their frames with single prescriptions directly on the Internet, then expanded into establishing retail outlets throughout the US and is planning one in Manhattan’s Soho soon.  But meanwhile it has a showroom on the 6th (as we recall) floor of the Puck building where all its frames are on display.

P1340805The remarkably low price is $95 for the frames and single prescription lenses, but according to an executive, double prescription will be available soon.

P1340803So anyone who can get down to the Puck Building at Houston and Broadway can finally avoid paying through the bleeding nose for new glasses. The style and artistic design are well up there among the very best that Luxottica make, just without the many famous brand names that that company has spread its umbrella over.

At Warby Parker’s Corporate HQ there, they have a special showroom where you can buy their frames WITH lenses (currently only single prescription, soon double) for the monopoly shattering $95.

P1340807The company’s breakthrough pricing depends on having their frames made for them, so they don’t have to be supplied by Luxottica, the makers in Italy who have taken over the high end frames market – even buying Oliver People’s – in the last twenty years and made so many opticians beholden to them and their high prices, which reflect the cost of handcrafted frames from Italy.

P1340804You can buy Warby Parker’s often excellent designs in luxury grade plastic with single prescription lenses included for $95, either in person or on the Web. Take a look at their Web site where you may join in the movement to bring rational prices to a market which is so vital to so many.


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