Bake Turner, a TMB Model Train Club Board Member, told me how the club – which is a Lionel Ambassador for 2016-17 – moved from Lindenhurst to their Farmingdale location four years ago, and they’re still expanding the elaborate O-Scale layouts, including developing one vertically up a wall!
Young children perched on parents’ shoulders; adults bent down to inspect the subway line; and lots of arms, short and long, pointed to trains whizzing around the 19 scale miles of track winding through fantastically detailed landscapes, towns, tall cityscapes, a three-ring circus….
And then there’s the club’s star attraction: the actual train layout featured in “The Blue Comet” episode of The Sopranos HBO television series. It wasn’t until shortly after my visit I realized the layout was complete with “blood stains” from Bobby Bacala’s execution, so I want to return to the scene of that crime during a future Open House.
Prime lenses used with my Nikon DSLR to cover event:
Nikon 16mm/2.8f 180 degree fisheye lens – views of vast layouts in close quarters
Nikon 105mm/2.8 macro lens – close ups of miniature universe
For years, my family’s been a big fan of Matt Harding’s “Where the Heck is Matt?” videos where he enthusiastically dances around the world. So I was intrigued when I saw that the Kickstarter campaign to fund his 2016 video included a perk to have him create a Dance-a-gram.
Hamburg, Germany, March 2016. Matt Harding dancing with fans in Marco-Polo Terrassen, his final stop in Europe. This is one of several postcards Matt sent as perks to many of his Kickstarter supporters.
I asked Matt to create a message about adopting animals on behalf of our family’s Cleo the Cat – the gray and white striped furball we adopted from Last Hope Animal Rescue in Wantagh, NY.
Yesterday I received Matt’s Dance-a-gram, and it’s AMAZING:
Matt Harding’s Dance-a-gram for our Cleo the Cat, adopted from Last Hope Animal Rescue in Wantagh, NY. (YouTube: https://youtu.be/mGUSaiBFekl )
When I saw the first location in Matt’s Dance-a-gram is Cape Canaveral, Florida, I smiled, since I’m such a space fan and was at Kennedy Space Center in 2000 for Jim Lovell’s talk & book signing for Apollo 13.
And please remember, if you have room in your heart and home, Cleo the Cat hopes you’ll adopt a rescue animal!
Yesterday, DAVID AXELROD was the Signature Debate Speaker on “The Evolving Media and Political Landscape” – a Debate 2016 event at Hofstra University, which is hosting the first presidential debate later this month, on September 26.
My favorite Q&A exchange began when a student referred to Axelrod’s advice to vote for one of the two major party candidates, rather than casting a statement vote for a candidate with no realistic chance of winning. The student then said he did not want to vote for either the Democrat or Republican nominee and indeed would vote for a 3rd party candidate.
So Axelrod gave an example of when protest votes for a 3rd party candidate may have affected the outcome of the election:
In the 2000 presidential race in the pivotal state of Florida, Green Party nominee Ralph Nader received over 97,000 votes, and Democrat Al Gore received just 537 fewer votes than Republican George W Bush, who won the presidency.
Unswayed, the student once again said he’d be voting for a 3rd party candidate.
Axelrod began to say something, then abruptly stopped, glanced up and then back at the student, and asked if he was from New York. When the student said yes he was, Axelrod cheerfully told him to go and vote away. The student smiled as he returned to his seat; the audience clapped.
FYI from LI: The most recent Republican presidential candidate to win New York was Ronald Reagan in 1984.
Last night my daughter Sue and I saw Episode 1 of Kevin Can Wait being filmed at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage. This new CBS sitcom, starring actor Kevin James, is the first prime-time network series originating from a Long Island studio – hello, Hollywood East!
First we saw the pilot, which gave background to the episode being filmed that night. It introduced us to the Gable family: father Kevin, a newly retired police officer; mother Donna, a school nurse; and their children Kendra, Sara, and Jack.
We also met Kevin’s brother Kyle (who looks like a short Kevin with facial hair), Kendra’s fiancé Chale (who looks like… no, I’ll leave that as a surprise), and Kevin’s three friends who are fellow retired police officers.
BTW from LI: The Gable family lives in the south shore town of Massapequa, so they’d have to move just a few miles west to be the Gables of Merrick Gables, a 1920s development of Spanish stucco houses near my home.
HAPPY & PEPPY
Long Island’s Joey Kola was the warm up comedian. Over the course of the night, Joey identified dozens of cast and crew … had us sing along to songs the DJ played … shared anecdotes that were probably at least partly true… did fast and furious impressions (mostly of Long Islanders, of course)… and introduced countless audience members who were fellow comedians, notable Long Islanders, media personalities, and relatives of cast and crew.
The first scene filmed was the first scene of the episode, and there were several partial and whole retakes (that I found riveting) – of this scene and scenes in general – in order to tweak dialogue and action, and film from different viewpoints. As Director Andy Fickman – who made some genuinely funny comments when cameras weren’t filming – explained to the audience, the sitcom studio filming is done in chronological order – except that night the last two scenes were reversed so Mary-Charles Jones, a minor, would finish her last scene before 11 PM.
I especially liked how Kevin Gable – the eponymous character played by star Kevin James, a gifted everyman physical comedian – didn’t always have to be the one getting the Big Laugh, so his character had the chance to convey emotion, doubt, conflicted feelings – you know, things real people feel while living life without a laugh track, let alone a live studio audience.
And I hope to see more of Chale, who stood out as a unique, engaging character.
BTW from LI: “Chale” has a range of meanings throughout the world: Perhaps the village Chale in the Isle of Wight, England, is relevant. Also, “Chale” means “strong” and “manly” in Spanish, which might be something to think about.
When Executive Producer Rock Reuben took questions from the audience, he stated that KCW will be free of references to a certain infamous Massapequa resident from the early 1990s.
BTW from LI: Wouldn’t it be fun if Kevin Can Wait has Kevin bumping into, or even hanging with, Long Island natives Alec Baldwin, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld – say, at All American Hamburger?
UPDATE Ray Romano guest-starred on KCW Oct. 23, 2016
Cameras weren’t allowed, but cell phones were, though they couldn’t be on/out during filming.
Media, including People magazine and Newsday, were there to cover the night, and though I wished now and then I were covering it with my Nikon D4, it was a nice change to be sitting there with my daughter and fellow audience members, simply enjoying the show – you know, things people do while living life without a pro DSLR and Press badge.
The long evening of filming was so much fun it sped by. If you’re in the Long Island area and interested in free tickets to a future filming of Kevin Can Wait at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, visit 1iota.com (August & most September 2016 dates are already Sold Out). And don’t forget to eat dinner before you go to the studio.
So, okay, maybe it’s partly because I’m from Long Island, plus there’s a retired police officer in our family, but I enjoyed watching the pilot and filming of the first episode of Kevin Can Wait, and can’t wait to see its premiere on Monday, September 19, 8:30 PM (EST) on CBS.
Kevin James as Kevin Gable
Erinn Hayes as wife Donna
Taylor Spreitler as daughter Kendra
Ryan Cartwright as Kendra’s fiancé Chale
Mary-Charles Jones as younger daughter Sara
James DiGiacomo as son Jack
Gary Valentine as Kevin’s brother Kyle
Christopher Brian Roach as Mott
Leonard Earl Howze as Goody
Lenny Venito as Duffy
Episode 1 “Kevin and Donna’s Book Club”
Writer: Heather Flanders
Director: Andy Fickman
Executive Producers: Kevin James, Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, Jess Sussman
9/19/2016: During Z100’s Elvis Duran Morning Show, my daughter Sue spoke with Kevin James about how much she enjoyed being in the audience for taping of Kevin Can Wait at Gold Coast Studios in Bethpage, NY.
Listen to above 2-minute clip to hear what my daughter Sue calls Kevin James, on Z100’s Elvis Duran Morning Show, 9/19/2016.
Singers Robbie Rosen, from neighboring Merrick, and Sarah Barrios, each a mere three years older than LIIFE itself, sang solo and together. Their duet “Chains” – which they performed both that night and in the Musical Video that went on to win that category – was one of restrained raw emotion and distinctive, complimentary singing styles.
Bernard Rammerstorfer, from Austria, accepted the Alan Fortunoff Humanitarian Award for his documentary Taking the Stand, which he directed, produced and wrote to share the “Testimonies of Holocaust Survivors and Victims of Nazi Tyranny.” Before leaving the stage, Rammerstorfer gave LIIFE a bottle of Organic Austrian Plum Schnaps, which he cheerfully described at length.
Actor Cathy Moriarity (Vikki LaMotta in Raging Bull) gave an affectionate introduction to LIIFE’s Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Ed Asner, who’s best known to my generation as cranky, lovable Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and to my grandson as widower Carl in Pixar’s animated Up.
Not coincidentally, the documentary My Friend Ed – a portrait of Asner the actor and activist, by director and producer Sharon K Baker and co-writers Baker and Daniel R. Collins – made its Long Island debut at LIIFE 2016.
Long Island’s own Angela Anton – the Publisher of Anton Community Newspapers, and a philanthropist and volunteer, including Board President of the Nassau County Museum of Art – received the Humanitarian Award.
LIIFE’s three surviving co-founders each spoke: Debra Markowitz, the Nassau County Film Commissioner; and Anne Stampfel and husband Henry Stampfel, co-owners of the historic Bellmore Movies where the Awards Ceremony was held.
Skipper the Jack Russell terrier was one of many celebrators dressed in patriotic red, white and blue when awards were handed out, and the 60th Annual Miss Wantagh Pageant crowning ceremony was held, following the Wantagh Independence Day Parade yesterday morning.
In 1958, when Clayton was 18, she was Miss Congeniality and First Runner Up in the New York State pageant of Miss America. But Miss Wantagh isn’t a beauty pageant. It crowns a Wantagh resident in high school based mainly on academic excellence and community service.
Officials included Hon. Christopher Quinn, Supervising Judge of Nassau County Court; Erin King-Sweeney, Town Councilwoman; Steve Rhoads, Nassau County Legislator, District 19; and Ella Stevens, the Miss Wantagh Pageant Coordinator.
I literally & frequently had to hold onto my hat Sunday afternoon, since it was such a breezy spring day at the Antique & Collectible Auto Show – with hundreds of vintage, classic, and collectible vehicles – at Old Westbury Gardens.
After getting a cold soda at the refreshment table, I spotted Pastor Green and Miska – an NYPD Service Dog who helps Marine veterans – near the Free Hugs booth of Marine Corps League, North Shore Queens Detachment #240. Both the pastor and his Husky and German Shepherd mix partner were so patient as I captured photos of Miska with her arresting ice-blue eyes and white fur.
Especially because this was the rain date for the event, some participants had other commitments to go to, so the trophy ceremony began early, explained officers from the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Greater New York Region chapter, which sponsored this 50th Annual Spring Meet.
Driving home in Bob’s faithful 2000 Honda later that day, we passed a local business with a large American flag flying at half mast, likely in sympathy for the victims of the horrific mass shootings early that morning at the Orlando nightclub.
“Hold on tight because this is going to hurt like hell.” – JohnA Passara