Wednesday, December 19, 2012
To show my appreciation I thought it would be fun to make a calendar of Lester's first year as part of my family. Each month I photographed Lester in a scene that best represents that month – some were pretty elaborate. My neighbors must think I'm a nut job, posing dolls in front of the house.
I knew from ordering calendars in the past that they also give you the option to add photos on peoples birthdays or holidays. I figured if this calendar was coming from Lester, he would probably acknowledge his friends and family's birthdays. So I needed images of Lester's friends and family. That led to a google search: black ventriloquist dummies. Through searching, I learned that there's been many African American ventriloquist acts in the past and present. I became fascinated with this genre, at least for a few days. When I put my mind to something, I tend to go all out…some may say overboard. The proof is below.
Please enjoy my year with Lester, I know I have...
For those of you not familiar with the comedy stylings of Willie & Lester, here's a video from the 1970's children's show, Vegetable Soup…
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Here's this year's Santa photo, much better than years past. Chloe actually sat next to Santa and smiled…a first.
She's come a long way…
2007: Lots of babies cry on Santa's lap, understandable.
2008: Still a baby, I get it.
2009: Not crying, but refused to sit next to Santa. A bit unorthodox.
2010: Wouldn't even go near Santa.
2011: Again, wouldn't go near him. So I got creative.
2012: Yay Chloe!
Monday, December 10, 2012
"That was really good, even though there wasn't any explosions." That was Casey's comment after seeing The Monkees perform at The Paramount in Long Island, just over a week ago. The only other show he's ever been to was a KISS/Mötley Crüe concert (here) and it was full explosions, so he only has that as a guide.
We listen to The Monkees on a regular basis at home and in the car so Casey and Chloe are very familiar with their songs. The Monkees were also the first band I ever got into (their show used to rerun on Saturday mornings). Our seats were great, seven rows from center stage (although the people in front of my mom – she went too – stood the whole time, blocking her view).
This particular Monkees tour was quite special in that Michael Nesmith was participating. He's always been the hold-out when it comes to Monkees reunions. He, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork performed 29 songs spanning their short-lived time as a band – including lots of deep cuts you normally don't hear.
Unfortunately, there was one key thing missing, Davy Jones. He passed away last February. (Fortunately, I had the honor of meeting and working with Davy back in 2010.) We originally had tickets to see The Monkees with Davy Jones (no Nesmith) over a year ago, but they abruptly canceled the tour. I later found out it was due to Davy wanting more money. But Davy was at The Paramount in spirit and represented in videoclips. In fact, the most emotional moment of the night came toward the end, when the trio and a randomly chosen audience member led the crowd in a massive singalong to Davy's hit, “Daydream Believer.”
Below are some videos I recorded of the show. The first one being “Pleasant Valley Sunday”, which was actually the closing song of the show (you'll notice Casey didn't want me filming him, he can be a grouch at times). I recorded that one in it's entirety. The other two songs I recorded all of were Nesmith's "Papa Gene's Blues" and "Circle Sky". I also recorded snippets of a bunch of other songs, which I strung together forming a 10 minute Monkees medley.
“Pleasant Valley Sunday”
"Papa Gene's Blues"
"Monkees Medley" (ending of 'Last Train to Clarksville', band intros, 'Sweet Young Thing', 'Steppin' Stone', 'Randy Scouse Git', 'Daily Nightly', 'Porpoise Song', 'As We Go Along', 'Daydream Believer', and 'Listen to the Band')
Here's the complete setlist from the night...
1. Last Train to Clarksville
2. Papa Gene's Blues
3. Your Auntie Grizelda
5. Sweet Young Thing
6. I'm a Believer
7. (I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone
8. I Wanna Be Free (Davy on video)
9. You Told Me
10. Sunny Girlfriend
11. You Just May Be the One
12. Mary, Mary
13. The Girl I Knew Somewhere
14. For Pete's Sake
15. Early Morning Blues and Greens
16. Randy Scouse Git
17. Daily Nightly
18. Tapioca Tundra
19. Goin' Down
20. Porpoise Song (Theme From "Head")
21. Daddy's Song (Davy on video)
22. Can You Dig It?
23. As We Go Along
24. Circle Sky
25. Long Title: Do I Have to Do This All Over Again?
26. Daydream Believer (Vocals sung by audience)
27. What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round?
28. Listen to the Band
29. Pleasant Valley Sunday
Monday, December 3, 2012
2012 turned out to be the year of KISS for the Fuscos. We saw KISS in concert, went to a KISS Expo, met Ace Frehley, and the kids even dressed as KISS for Halloween. All of those experiences lead to this year's Christmas card.
I apply a certain amount of pressure on myself when coming up with our Christmas card. We've had some pretty good ones in the past and I don't want to let anyone down, myself included. The year you get a store-bought Christmas card from the Fuscos you'll know I've given up on life. But I'll admit, it's getting harder to come up with ideas.
Kim and I started talking about this years Christmas card in October. I had a few thoughts, but nothing I was in love with. We had just ordered the kids Halloween costumes so Kim suggested we all dress up as KISS and say "Merry KISSmas". That's right, it was Kim's idea! (I added the Santa hats.)
Tiny Prints (they were very thorough, sending emails about my cards' status along the way and a representative even sent me a handwritten card afterward telling me how much he enjoyed my art). The square card allowed for a custom photo front with a personalized message on the inside, plus the option to add an extra photo on the inside.I figured we'll borrow the back cover layout of KISS Alive II and have close-ups of our faces on the inside. After all, applying that make-up was a grueling experience, might as well get the most out of it.
Here's our personalized message…
And the FFF logo on the back…
Here's to a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and the hopes that Gene doesn't sue me for copyright infringement.