Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Wow, i just took a crazy, wild ride through "Misty" on the tenor sax. Sort of Coltrane meets Sonny Rollins style, way out there but landed back where it belongs. I don't usually play like that. Not sure how I did it this time but it felt good. Sometimes I just gotta let loose, let whatever's in me flow out like liquid melody. This time I hit it right on, right in the groove, took that horn somewhere way out in space and brought it back in for a 3-point landing. I wonder if I could ever do it again.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Sax in the Night

Rich in the night he slays,
Dreaming, weeping.
Echoing riffs through artificial valleys and alleys
While torturing the living and the dead
With his soul.

Long sounds, blue tones bobbing on the moist city air,
Yesterday’s raindrops dancing with each.
A run; 30 notes fly, brass demons taking their shot out of hell.
No one notices.

Lone, lonely he stands, back pressed rough against the cool brick,
Beaten hat slid to the side and a pocket full of emptiness.
His road is at its end, down to his last reed and last rites.
Another fifty cents could get him a last drink, but that luxury is denied.

Sorrowful lament in D minor, sixteen off-tempo bars ’til the last ghost note sways.
His breath shallow, his fingers weak.
One last wail into the darkness.
Crescendo…sweet, high and red on black, his best ever,
Desperately reaching out to a million ears.
None will hear.
With the final high G, the reed splits.
And so does he.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Murder Mystery at the Mai Kai Fort Lauderdale

You can't go wrong when you mix the world's greatest Tiki Bar, Tropical Drinks, Florida weather and an old-fashioned who-dunnit murder mystery. That's what they're doing at the Mai Kai, this Friday, July 24. They don't have any info up on their site, so if you want to know more I posted it on my Tiki Talk site http://TikiLoungeTalk.com

I used to own a traveling murder mystery theater company, StarDust Productions. I met my wife when she auditioned for one of our shows. We traveled all over south Jersey, from Cape May to Atlantic City, doing retro-themed mysteries with live music and audicence interaction. For more on that, see http://stardustmysteries.com

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tiki Time Travel

(Ok, I'm cheating. I published this on Tiki Lounge Talk first, but thought it fit well here)

July in South Florida can be many things. It can be cool and breezy, wet and rainy with the sun shining through the clouds, or hot and muggy like an old Tennessee Williams scene.

Tonight has Williams all over it. Heavy, humid air, hanging wet, scented of the rain forest. Heat lightning shining up the Eastern sky. The sounds of night creatures…frogs, crickets, night birds, cutting a swath through the thick night air.

Perfect night for a cocktail at the Tiki Bar.

The vintage bar is outside on the lanai, next to the pool. It’s damned hot out there, but a Crown and Ginger Ale fixes that quick (Surprising how refreshing that combo can be). I sit at the bar, contemplating the 50’s style designs I’ve painted on the bamboo backdrops. Paintings of exotic cocktails. Cartoon faces smiling with intoxication. Tropical flowers. Everything is lit with blacklight, helping to pull me back to a time forgotten by most, but not by me.

As I sip the drink and look over the vintage bottles and Tiki trinkets, I start to get that feeling…that feel, the one that tells you time no longer exists, it’s only in our minds, and our reality is what we decide it is. My reality races away from the present, and lands me somewhere in the middle of the last century. Les Baxter music plays softly, not from the CD player but from a 45 on a hidden jukebox. The bottles of Crown and Captain turn into Canadian Club and Seagram’s Seven. Even the air feels different…still muggy, but with a distinct hint of kool.

I take a sip of the drink, built just right with plenty of ice to keep me from melting. My eyes roll over the black velvet paintings of tropical islands and hula girls, and I get that buzzing in my head that tells me I’m floating back to another era, another existence. The jungle drums fill my eardrums and I sway with the sounds and the heat and the booze. Maybe that’s it, maybe this feeling is just too many highballs (or not enough). Whatever it is, I’m there, for that moment, I’ve transgressed time and landed in the glory days of cool jazz and Polynesian Pop, that magical time when calling a woman a doll was a compliment and Frank Sinatra was king of the universe. When a flashy car meant plenty of chrome and big white wall tires. When a buck-fifty could get you a decent steak and a Manhattan, and the really good movies were still being made in black and white.

Then I hear something, a buzzing like a sick chainsaw…a car on the street…it sounds like a souped-up lawnmower, some kid in a Civic who thinks he’s cool but has no idea how dorky he really is. Suddenly I’m ripped ahead in time again, thrown back to now, back to July 2009.

The Crown is sitting on the bar again, the CC gone. The air shifts back to normal. I finish the last few sips of my highball and head inside to type this riff on my iMac computer, already a “vintage” model at four years old. In the library, I’m surrounded by memories of the past…a 1955 Marilyn Monroe calendar, Original Glenn Miller and Martin Denny albums, old books, antique toy cars…but the computer and the TV and the cell phone tell me no matter how many times I feel that feeling, almost get back in time, I will always return to the present.

But it’s nice to know those times are only a cocktail away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The First Post

Well, here we go. Not sure why I'm doing this to myself, I already have my Tiki Lounge Talk blog site that takes up a lot of my time (but what the hell, it's fun). But here I go, writing a new blog.

Why? I'm hoping to 'attract like-minded readers' of course, just like everyone else. People who like to read about retro stuff, Tiki stuff, jazz music, horror movies, mystery novels and ghost stories (plus a lot more).

I promise to keep the posts short, and try to include as much useful info and links as possible.

So for the first post, I'd like to direct your attention to a site for writers and readers, http://pentenscribes.ning.com . I've been a contributing writer there for several weeks now, and have found it to be a lot of fun. There are some talented people writing on there, and dig this...you have to say it in 10 sentences or less. Flash Fiction they call it. Pretty groovy. Check it out, and look me up on there, I've written a few things you might like.