The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘Long Island’

Troubling Times

Posted by keithosaunders on March 2, 2016

The Trump stuff is starting to get a little scary. He’s like a cartoon character — a buffoon – and it’s hard to take his platform seriously.  After all, other than promising to build a wall, or make Mexico build a wall, he really hasn’t said anything. If you go by his history he’s even a little more liberal than his hapless opponents.

No, what’s worrying me are his followers.  Trump’s jingoistic, xenophobic banter has brought to the surface a virulent racism in this country, so much so that I’m beginning to wonder if we’ve progressed at all since the 1950s.

Coded racism has long been a staple of Republican (and even Democratic) candidates.  One need look no further than patron saint, Ronald Reagan launching his 1980 campaign at the Neshoba County fair, a few miles away from Philadelphia, Mississippi, a town associated with the 1964 murder of civil rights workers.  There, he used the term, states rights, a kind of code for tacitly approved racism.

But with the ascendance of Trump there is no longer a need for code words.  He can vilify Muslims and Mexicans, thus empowering rednecks across the land to speak their minds.  And I’m not just referring to the South.  There were plenty of racists in the New York metropolitan area six years ago when I lived there.  Drive ten miles in any direction from Manhattan and you’ll see what i mean.  Long Island and New Jersey are cesspools.

Even here in the Bay Area, one of the most liberal places on the planet, you can find racism.  A singer with whom I worked with just last night friended me on Facebook.  No sooner did I accept her request than I saw that her page was littered with racist posts.  One showed a pair of four or five year old African American boys teasing and hitting a white girl, with the implication that violence starts at a young age.  She also compared these children to Palestinians.

By itself the post is merely ignorance.  In light of the violence and bile we have seen at Trump rallies, however, it’s unsettling.  What level of racism would be unleashed should this man somehow gain the White House?

 

 

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Waiting for the ball to drop

Posted by keithosaunders on January 1, 2016

Earlier this week I told my friend that I wouldn’t be hate posting re New Years Eve because it was too obvious. Consider that to be my last broken promise of 2015.

Just how much of a moron do you have to be to schlep out to Times Square, stake out a 2 square foot patch of concrete, and wait hours in sub-freezing temperatures to watch a plastic ball drop a few feet?

It’s bad enough that you’re standing in the asshole of New York City. It’s a cesspool of capitalistic corporate, kitsch, and you have willingly planted yourself there amidst the drunk Long Island and Jersey Broncos and Broncettes, not to mention the pickpockets and Aqualung-style dirty old perverts. And to do it for no good reason?!

It boggles the mind that people would do this on the most cynical, contrived holiday there is. Don’t feign irony now. DON’T PLAY THAT. It’s a corny holiday. At least us musicians get paid for going out on 12/31. I don’t care if I play the Chicken Dance & a 40 minute conga line song. At the end of the night I’m driving home with fat stacks of cash! We don’t need an excuse to drink; it can be go time on Jan 2nd, what do we care?

NPR weighed in this afternoon with a hard-hitting feature on the guy who is in charge of organizing throwing the confetti from the Times Square buildings. With Paul Simon-esque acoustic guitar music playing in the background this nimrod breathlessly described the minute planning and intricacy that goes into confetti-throwing. “…and when it’s 20 seconds to midnight I speak into my walkie-talkie: Go confetti, go confetti, go confetti!

Happy fucking New Years everyone.

Posted in life, New York City, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

New Years memories

Posted by keithosaunders on December 29, 2015

And now it’s time for:  Keitho’s New Years gig memories!

Some of my fans have been after me to hate post about New Years Eve but I can’t. You hate it, I hate it, everybody hates it. In other words, it’s low hanging fruit. Instead I offer some personal memories of a lifetime of December 31st spent as a capitalist pig.

My first New Years gig would have been 1978. I was still in high school but somehow got called to do a casual in downtown LA. I had just gotten my drivers license 3 or 4 months earlier and my Dad was worried about me driving home amidst all the drunk drivers so he drove me to the gig, hung out somewhere downtown for 5 hours (we lived 15 miles away) and picked me up when it was over. Needless to say this was embarrassing for me at the time but looking back on it…what a Dad!

My first New Years gig in NYC would have been 1985. I remember Jerry Sokolov and John Ray were on it. We were somewhere in the Village and Soupy Sales did a set in the middle of it.

The next year I did a trio gig in Islip, Long Island at this redneck bar with Lee Hudson & Fred Lite . Islip is way out in Suffolk county – exit 60-something, which was about 60 miles from where I lived at the time on the Upper West Side. I remember that it was a freezing cold night with temps in the 20s and at some point the owner, to save money, turned the heat off! There were only 5-7 people in the place the entire night so needless to say getting paid was an adventure. I think we made $100.00. I was in a good mood, however, because I had gotten the waitress’s phone number, but by the time I had a chance to get back to Islip to see her she had become a lesbian.

New Years Eve 1994 saw me working at a country club in Stamford, Connecticut with my good friend and incredible singer, Richard Lanham. My firstborn son, Jake, was just 6 months old and since Richard hadn’t seen him I said to him Seinfeld style, “You have to come up and see the baby!”

So he came upstairs and of course Jake was really cute and we were mesmerized by this adorable baby. Soon it was time to go. We were a mile or so before the Whitestone bridge when I realized that I had forgotten my keyboard. D’oh! Needless to say we were late and to this day I am persona non grata at the Stamford Arms CC.

Posted in jazz, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

On crabs, national and international

Posted by keithosaunders on July 28, 2011

My time in New York City is finally nearing its close.  I’ll be here for another nine days before hitting the road for my second west-bound cross-country trip in as many years. 

Amazingly enough I still have three gigs to play here — two on the Island, and one in Rye, which is in northern Westchester.  All in all I will have ended up playing double-digit gigs during my seven plus weeks here — not bad for a non-resident.

It’s been interesting experiencing New York for an extended period of time from an outsider’s point of view.  On the one hand, I still know it like the back of my hand, but on the other hand I see it through new eyes. 

I’ve certainly become familiar with all of the subway lines up to the Bronx.  Reading and listening material are key for the late night trip uptown, which often lasts well over an hour, between all of the stops and the wait time.  I use the reading material for the trip down, when I’m still sober.  The ipod gets me through the return trip. 

By far the greatest thing about New York is the people who live here.  They are smart, funny, and very much open.  I can’t tell you how many spontaneous conversations I’ve had since being here.  Whether it be on the subway, at a lecture in Bryant park, or at the local sports bar, people here are happy to shmooze.  This is a schoomzing kind of a town! 

Paris is a great city — probably my second favorite city in the world behind New York — but the Parisians won’t give you the time of day.  Sure, part of it is the language barrier, and the fact that they hate Americans, but I would wager two tickets to the Jerry Lewis retrospective of your choice that they do not behave  that differently towards their French compatriots.  

New Yorkers can be crabby, but their surliness is often accompanied by a healthy dose of humor.  Parisians are just plain crabby, end of story. 

Now how about those Mets?!

 

Posted in New York City | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

So you want to be in show business?

Posted by keithosaunders on May 8, 2010

Last night’s gig is a good example of life in the trenches as a musician.  Every six months or so my trio plays at a restaurant on Long Island that has jazz.  The place has great acoustics, serves us a nice meal, and is generally offer a pleasant experience.  The problem is that getting there involves a 40 mile drive into the teeth of Friday rush hour traffic. 

I had a double on the Island yesterday; a lunchtime gig with a singer in the afternoon saw to it that I didn’t have to deal with the traffic.   The bass player and drummer, however,  rode together and experienced the usual Expressway slog and arrived 15 minutes before gig time.  There isn’t much parking on the street but for years we have parked in an adjacent post office lot with no problems. 

You can probably already tell where this is going, but on the first break we discovered that there was a padlocked gate on the post office lot.  The drummer’s car had been locked in!  Fortunately I had parked on the street otherwise we all would have had to sleep in our cars. 

Needless to say this put a damper on the rest of the evening.  The poor drummer had to deal with the stress of not knowing whether or not his car would still be there  the following day.  If the car was indeed towed there would almost certainly be an accompanying ticket.  It doesn’t take a math major to factor in our paltry salary versus a steep towing fine and ticket.  As usual, the jazz economics are bleak.

After the gig  — a  good one,  all things considered — I gave the bass player and drummer rides home to Manhattan and Brooklyn respectively, before returning to my apartment in Queens.  I managed to get four hours of sleep before picking the drummer up and driving back to the Long Island post office.   The good news is twofold:  First of all, and most important, we were able to retrieve the drummer’s car with no more trouble than a stern talking to from the post office manager.  Finally:  We now have conclusive evidence that it is possible to drive 40 miles into Long Island in 40 minutes.  As long as you leave at 7:30AM.  
 
   Now I have to drive two hours upstate.  Why did I have to go into show business?

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