When I asked John Peluso what he’d be wearing while performing as front man for The United Booty Foundation’s long anticipated reunion show, he said he would have a costume change between sets. “You can do a costume change too,” he added when I showed him some of my shimmer-shammer style considerations.
I ended up wearing a retro-seventies inspired maxi dress from the company Farm Rio with my Stuart Weitzman platform mules. The “congregation” (read- Booty faithful) were assigned little disco ball necklaces as VIPs.
He wore rose-colored glasses and glittery platform shoes with his two suit looks and, along with the father-of-all-disco-balls around his neck, he looked AMAZING!
“JT” (John’s UBF stage name, T for Travolta) is all about the tongue-n-cheek fun that disco music provides. He always brings that energy to The United Booty Foundation. in all its timeless, and timely exuberance. While the other members of this fabulous band play elsewhere, John prefers the loyalty and camaraderie of the original crew and hasn’t performed since the one-night gig they’d played in 2015 and before that for many years in the ’90s in venues around Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo among other regional concerts.
I love the way these talented musicians support him and allow him to do his thing and that thing is truly magical. They are the best of the best locally and nationally (drummer Jeff Tortora performs with the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas, which is why UBF gigs are so few and far between).
On May 20th, 2023 at a place called Sharkey’s, Liverpool, New York came alive with the sounds of Saturday Night Fever, KC & the Sunshine Band, Diana Ross, EW&F, and so many more great dance tunes, including Barry Manilow and even the theme from The Jeffersons (a ’70s TV sit-com).
It was nostalgia at its finest for those of us who ventured into discos circa the late ’70s (I was under age, btw), as well as those who enjoyed that memory more fully in the ’90s via UBF. In my case – both. And for the twenty-somethings who experienced it for the first time, I will add a collective you’re welcome.
So incredibly fun! It was my dream come true, for sure, for sure.
If you missed it, stay tuned. Because JT, Hutch, Starsky, Dr. Fever and the gang will be back at Sharkey’s for a disco Halloween bash – on October 21, 2023. Follow them on Facebook for the deets.
If you are searching for the joy in life, it is all packaged here. The United Booty Foundation will rise again to shake, shake, shake their proverbial “Caucasian” booties and continue to live the disco dream.
Love, love, LOVE you times infinity, Booty man. <3
Kathy and I went downtown on Saturday night to hang at the Italian Festival, which happens every year around this time (except last year because of the Covid situation). There was Italian food and music, and cover band dance music under tents and on two different stages around City Hall in Syracuse, New York.
Although I have a lot of Italian friends and recently found a lot of Italian in my own DNA, I don’t particularly like Italian food, Luckily, Kathy treated me to dinner at The Fish Friar, which is located right across from City Hall in downtown Syracuse.
Presentation: As you can see from the pictures, the presentation is divine. These fish sandwiches were $15 and came with two sides. Kathy selected house salad and macaroni salad and I had the roasted carrots and coleslaw.
Taste: Although I ate everything on my plate, I thought it was too salty (don’t hate me The Fish Friar fans). It was saltier than I remembered it from eating it the last time I was there.
Restaurant Experience: The restaurant is adorable! Small but comfortable. We ate outside at one of about five tables. The bathroom is very clean as well. :). The service was spectacular. It was such a beautiful night. We enjoyed the sound of the local cover band, Hard Promises, playing on the large stage set up for Italian Fest and later got all front and center to dance and sing along. We also spotted our cousins who strolled by and stopped to chat. Overall, it is an amazing place for a dinner date.
Location: The Fish Friar is located at the corner of Washington and Montgomery Streets in Syracuse, NY. They are open Tuesday-Saturday from 11:00 am – 9:00 pm and Saturdays from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. They offer an on-line service on their website. Call (315) 468-FISH for the deets.
Parking: There is no parking lot for The Fish Friar. Street parking only. Because there is currently so much construction on the roads in the city and many streets were blocked off for this immense Italian block party, we parked in a pay lot by the Civic Center and walked over. <3
When I met Jason Alexander, I did that goofy Cinderella’s step-sister thing and asked him how he liked our Syracuse, New York weather.
He replied, “It sucks!” This was after a performance of the play he’d directed at Syracuse Stage. My friend and I looked at each other in an are-you-kidding-me glance because we both love it here, both love to hike whether in rain, snow, sleet or hail. And our weather had been particularly great in June.
So funny – and that is why I don’t have a selfie with the Seinfeld alum.
Today’s weather is sheer perfection – a magnificent sunny and breezy day to explore the offerings at City Market. Sponsored by the Everson Museum of Art (401 Harrison Street, Syracuse, NY 13202), the market is housed on the museum grounds around the fountains.
It takes place on the second Sunday of the month from 10 am – 4 pm. There are two dates left before the season ends – Sunday, September 8, 2019 and Sunday, October 13, 2019.
There is a lot to peruse – jewelry, trinkets, clothing, food, furniture and flea market-y miscellaneousness. And art, of course.
Tyler Cagwin created Nostalgia Chocolate. He manufactures the product here in Syracuse with international cocoa beans. The flavors are rich and satisfying! Gourmet chocolate with health benefits! (That’s a win-win).
I loved these ceramic pins and magnets created by Beckie Bortel of Beckie’s Pottery. They have a substantial feel to them and they look like ginger snap cookies. Great patina!
Terry Lynn Cameron is selling originals and prints of her colorful paintings. The prints are done on canvas, which is very cool. I am really impressed with how she markets her product! Some of the art has been adhered to sketchbooks and daily planners. Love!
Lori Lizzio‘s work can be found as originals, prints and notecards. They are ink and wash pieces of animals and figures.
Syracuse does have beautiful weather, Jason Alexander, and beautiful people – and art. It is satisfying and fun. Really fun. It doesn’t suck. <3
Herbert Ritts was a California boy. Growing up, he lived in Steve McQueen’s neighborhood in Brentwood, which, according to many biographies I have read recently, was an instrumental synergy that launched his comfort level with celebrity.
The quotes from his high profile portrait subjects include statements about how using daylight was his strength and that they felt at ease in front of his lens:
“Herb made me look how I wish I looked when I woke up in the morning.” – Cindy Crawford
“In his sweet disarming way he suggested that we work together again and I agreed to it. And that was the beginning of an incredibly long and fruitful working relationship, but it was also the beginning of a great friendship.” – Madonna
“Working with Herb was more like just hanging out with a friend. We’d joke, chatter and gossip and at the end of the day he would have captured the whole thing in the lens. He was a great guy.” – David Bowie
Herb Ritts – The Rock Portraits is on display at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York (5798 State Highway 80, Cooperstown, NY 13326). The photographs are on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio until September 2, 2019.
The show is a mirror of my youth. So many images that I have seen on album covers, in music videos, in fashion magazines – Herb Ritts is like an old friend. It is as if you know him. Knew him. You can envision him working because it is evident that it was not work. It was more like a relationship, the way he presented people at ease in the present moment, not thinking about what they must do later in the week or later that day, but being in the now. You can see this in the eye contact, in the way the light shines on their faces and in the crispness of the images.
Ritts captures the essence of his subjects. What I see in the photographs is the “authentic self”, the real person behind the fame. The Bob Dylan pictures are gritty, as though the man cannot hide a lifetime of struggling with inner demons. The Bruce Springsteen images reflect a certain shyness beneath the success. And the Madonna images are, to me, the most iconic, spanning the ’80s and ’90s and showing us a vulnerable, little Italian girl who grows in confidence and artistic resonance with every click. We get to witness that evolution, that living history, and that is a beautiful thing. <3
It is this contrast between the legend and the human spirit that gives credence to Ritts as artist rather than commercial photographer for hire, and is the reason why these photographs and videos belong in a museum. They are evidence of the art of living, the art of performing, the art of communicating a visual language of persona, and the art of documenting artistic merit as an art. It is all about authenticity.
The photographs are accessorized with costumes and musical instruments, also on loan from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. This is Madonna’s. I could totally rock this – OMG, I know it would fit me. Unfortunately, it was on a mannequin and encased in lucite or else it would have been my #ootd.
I took these pictures yesterday, took a day trip to Cooperstown, which I highly recommend! You must go to there! The drive was spectacular – from Syracuse, New York, it is an hour by New York State Thruway then an additional forty minutes down Route 28. Cooperstown is truly a magical place. Home to so many attractions – the Glimmerglass Opera House, the Baseball Hall Of Fame, the legendary Cardiff Giant (on view at the Farmer’s Museum).
And the Fenimore Art Museum is on the lake. It is just incredibly gorgeous there – it was my first time and I felt like Cinderella arriving at the castle for the ball. Just spectacular!
They are open today 10 am – 5 pm. Call (607) 547-1400 for more information about this wonderful place. <3
Known for his elegant and minimalist work, and his mastery of photographing in natural light, photographer Herb Ritts (1952–2002) had a gift for turning stars into icons. Here, in the first curated collection of his photos of some of music’s most celebrated artists, visitors will see how he captured the likes of David Bowie, Tina Turner, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Prince, Cher, Madonna and many more—the world’s biggest music stars—and in the process, helped define their iconic status for generations of fans. See many of his best-known portraits alongside stage costumes and guitars from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
As a native of Los Angeles, Herb Ritts was uniquely attuned to the natural light of the California sun, and preferred to shoot outdoors. He took work seriously and was renowned for posing his subjects in classic, sculptural styles, with little or no pros. He also had a unique, understated way of making his subjects feel comfortable in front of his camera. They trusted him and it’s often that trust and human bond that you see reflected in his portraits. When he died of complications from AIDS at the age of 50, Ritts left behind an extraordinary body of work, that when we see as a whole, demonstrates his undeniable impact on contemporary culture.
The exhibition is sponsored in part by The Clark Foundation, Fenimore Asset Management, and NYCM Insurance.
Panel Discussion – Fenimore Rocks! Herb Ritts and the Image of Rock Music
Saturday, July 13 • 2:00–4:00 pm Join us as Rock & Roll Hall of Fame president, Greg Harris, moderates a lively talk and cocktail party focusing on Herb Ritts and the impact his photographs had on the image of rock music in the 80s and 90s. The event also features Laurie Kratochvil, former Director of Photography at Rolling Stone magazine, John Covach, Professor of Music Theory and Director of the Institute for Popular Music at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, and Rory Ritts, Herb Ritts’ younger brother. After, join them for cocktails and a buffet on the terrace (cash bar, weather permitting).
The talk is free for museum members; otherwise, included with regular admission (Adults: $12, Seniors: $10.50). Seating in the auditorium is extremely limited and will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Overflow seating will be available with live viewing via a flat-screen monitor.
Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – I’m Not There
Saturday, July 27 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) Several actors portray legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. (2007, R) More info
Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – Burlesque
Saturday, August 10 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) A backstage musical film starring Cher and Christina Aguilera. (2010, PG-13) More info
Food For Thought – Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits (Lunch)
Wednesday, August 21 • 12:30 pm with Paul D’Ambrosio, President and CEO of Fenimore Art Museum, and Kevin Gray, Manager of Arts Education More info
Rock ‘n’ Reel Film Series – Madonna: Truth or Dare
Saturday, August 24 • 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) Documentary chronicling the life of Madonna during her 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. (1991, R) Otsego County native John Draper, former Tour Manager of Madonna’s Blonde Ambition World Tour will be present for a live commentary on the film, giving a rare behind-the-scenes look of what it takes to manage a tour for one of music’s original megastars. More info
Live Music with Wurliday
Friday, August 30 • 7:00–9:00 pm (takes place across the street at The Farmers’ Museum) FREE ADMISSION! Hailing from Albany, NY, Wurliday brings together some of the most exciting, dynamic musicians in the live music scene for a lively injection of soul-funk goodness, direct to your ears. You’ll dance all night long! Free admission. More info
® I LOVE NEW YORK is a registered trademark and service mark of the New York State Department of Economic Development; used with permission.
Futura comes down on Saturday, November 11, 2017 (11/11). You can still see the show and buy the work in a cash and carry. Paintings are $111 each. Eye Studio is located at 712 W. Manlius, East Syracuse, NY. They are not open today – hours are 11:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday – Saturday.
Here are the pictures from the closing reception last Friday night. I am so grateful to Ilene Layow for offering me this wonderful space and throwing such an awesome party complete with music by Jerry Cali, and that gratitude is extended to all of my friends, patrons and family who came to support my art career. Great time! <3 <3 <3
I managed to convince a dozen friends to meet me at the Chinese Lantern Festival last week. It was my birthday, a week night, and it was sunny here for the first time in over a week. Perfect conditions to enjoy this exquisite happening at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York.
You enter at Gate 6 and follow the signs to the parking lot inside the fairgrounds. The event is open every night (except Mondays) from 5:30 – 10:00 pm until June 24, 2017. It is $15 per person but they have daily specials; there was a $2 discount last Thursday for “best friends day” in addition to it being my special day! Check their Facebook posts here. I think there is another deal coming up for Father’s Day this weekend.
We arrived at around 7:00 pm. There are a few food vendors and an ice cream truck, and a bunch of crafts to purchase from booths at the far end of the festival enclosure. At 8:30 pm, performers take the stage – acrobat and rhythmic gymnastic style stuff with Asian melodies and lavish costumes.
By 9:00 pm the sky becomes that beautiful Prussian blue before turning dark then the statues transition into glowing visions of beauty. What an incredible light show and photo opportunity. It is truly a magnificent experience! Once you witness it, well…I think it is unforgettable. So worth the admission price. I am so grateful that my friends indulged this whim of mine. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love you all sooooo muchy-much. <3
It means the world to me to share my artwork with all of you. To find the perfect venue, Dolce Vita World Bistro, for the Honor Thy Master series. To take a group of paintings that had been stored under my bed, re-work them to give them new life, and get them out into this world. And to just see them again, breathing new life on the walls of this wonderful restaurant – it just feels magnificent. This is an artist’s bliss.
Today I installed my art exhibition at Dolce Vita World Bistro. It took two-and-a-half hours to figure out the placement and hang them all. I brought the paintings into the space and began by just leaning them against the wall where I thought I wanted them to go – the way I do when assisting the artists who show at the school library gallery. I rearranged a little bit but it pretty much looked like my vision very quickly. Then it was only a matter of climbing on a barstool, measuring with my favorite yardstick borrowed from school, and figuring out how to operate the clasps on the plastic cords that make up the display system on the walls. That, and finding the right bit for my power screwdriver, lol (I brought flat head rather than phillips head screws – how weird).
I love the way the artwork looks in the space. The colors work well with the terracotta walls, and I love the contrast of abstract work in this old-world classic style bistro. It just works.
Here is the menu for the special one-night only art reception on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 from 6:00 – 9:00 pm.
There may be a wine special – proprietor Antonietta Vigliotti is working on that, as well as selecting some great music via the sound system. I requested ’70s rock, preferably 1977 stuff, which is my definitive moment musically. I think you pick the music of your life when you are fourteen, am I right?
All are welcome. Make your reservations early if you care to join. Antonietta said she has already received a few reservations! Yessss! I am sooooo excited. It will be a fun party.
The paintings are only $200. The larger one – 24″ x 48″ is only $500 (regularly $800) and the three 11″ x 14″ paintings are only $75. They are priced low to sell. I want them to find good homes. That would mean everything.
Honor Thy Master will be on display through the month of April 2017, so if you cannot make the reception I trust that you will find the time in your world to visit the restaurant some time during the month! <3
So, here’s something crazy weird and great – I will be exhibiting artwork in three locations during the month of April 2017. Showing watercolors – the ones with the baseball themed titles – at the Half Moon Bakery and Bistro in Jamesville, New York. No date as of yet for the reception, but I am hoping they will do a baseball cake or cupcakes for it. That will be fun for spring, right?
I’m installing an exhibit at Dolce Vita World Bistro in Syracuse, New York on April 2, 2017. It would be nice to keep them up longer than a month, but no deets on this yet. I would love to have a gathering one evening, maybe fill the dining room with friends and have music too, but I haven’t planned that far ahead. Art shows are a great excuse for a party! I will either exhibit the encaustic crown series from 2012 or something more retro – oil & collage paintings from 1998. I don’t remember what I called this series. I made them in the 2nd bedroom of my apartment on Woodbine Ave. during winter break that year. Does anyone remember anything pre-new millennium?
And finally, my 1997 oil & collage series of paintings Messages (From the Other Voice) isup in the Chittenango Middle School library, Chittenango, New York, for the next two months!
So happy to be able to share my artwork in public spaces (you know, to captive audiences). New work is actually coming soon. My sister is opening a yoga studio around the corner from my house. I will be making encaustic paintings to exhibit and sell there. I’m going to be turning my kitchen into an art studio during spring break next month to get those (horseshoe paintings and maybe hearts too) ready for Syracuse Yoga’s opening in May 2017.
Here are my latest outfits of the day. My colleague Katy and I have so much fun at work. It is a joy to be there! We are working on a project together – a presentation for our peers that will take place during the Superintendent’s Conference Day on Friday. Each time we finish another sample of the activity we share them with each other and get really happy and giddy.
That happiness is reflected in these pictures, I think. I am very relaxed in front of the camera because I am inside-out happy. My life is just really fun. I am grateful for my job, my colleagues and students, family and friends, and for art, fashion, music, good times…and Jif natural crunchy peanut butter…. <3
BCBGMaxAzria selected a couple of pictures of me to share with their Facebook audience. They were plucked from my Instagram account via the hashtag (#) BCBGmoment. So exciting! And satisfies my childhood fantasy of being a fashion model, lol.
I started taking piano lessons! I can play rudimentary versions of five songs! Next up singing lessons, and maybe, eventually, I will be fearless enough to do an open mic night somewhere. Nothing’s impossible when you have the happiness factor on your side. 🙂
Can my life get any better? OMG, I was in a music video today! A bunch of us met this morning at the Erie Canal Museum, 318 Erie Boulevard East, Syracuse, New York 13202 to sing into a camera and a drone. It was more like lip-syncing to the tune of “Low Bridge”, the ditty we all learned in 4th grade, which is about the time all New York State kids find out about the Erie Canal. It only took an hour and a half, but it made me smile the whole day and I am still giddy about it. <3
[excerpt from Facebook] The popular song “Low Bridge, Everybody Down” was written in 1905 by Thomas S. Allen after Erie Canal barge traffic was converted from mule power to engine power, raising the speed of traffic.
There’s an age old debate between each coast about whether the lyrics are “15 miles or 15 years”
Originally it was 15 years – but it was folk artist Pete Seeger who made the song become part of the folk repertoire and recognizable to every child in every school!
In fact, you would sing the song in class…and those days seem to have passed. So, we are asking our community to come out and sing our modernized re-imagined version!
The song will be recorded locally and utilize local musicians to create a fun easy to sing – a – long to version that James Domroe of 325 Productions will create a music video for with scenes in Clinton Square and by the Erie Canal Museum downtown!!!
I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal Fifteen years on the Erie Canal She’s a good old worker and a good old pal Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
We’ve hauled some barges in our day Filled with lumber, coal, and hay And every inch of the way I (we) know From Albany to Buffalo
Chorus: Low bridge, everybody down Low bridge cause we’re coming to a town And you’ll always know your neighbor And you’ll always know your pal If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal
Get up there Sal, we’ve passed that lock, Fifteen years on the Erie Canal And we’ll make Rome before six o’clock Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
One more trip and back we’ll go Through the rain and sleet and snow And every inch of the way I (we) know From Albany to Buffalo
Low bridge, everybody down Low bridge for we’re coming to a town And you’ll always know your neighbor And you’ll always know your pal If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.
This was the brainchild of uber-cool guy Michael John Heagerty. His enthusiasm for this city is so infectious. You may recognize him from the New York State Fair, riding around in The Big Yellow Fellow, a barcycle for ten. I rode on it at the Irish Fest a few weeks ago and it was so silly fun. I just love that I can now begin a sentence with – one time on The Big Yellow Fellow (someday I will also be able to begin a sentence with one time in Paris or one time in Milan, or one time in Mykonos…). Michael was the man in the yellow suit minus a Curious George monkey.
The video we made will be joined with the music track, edited and distributed to local elementary schools. The Erie Canal is a big deal around here. I mean, we all spend time on it – hiking, biking, rollerblading, etc., that is, the mule named Sal’s trail, not in the actual drink, although I do see people kayaking in there sometimes.
The museum itself was fun too. I walked around both floors and checked out their little gift shop. They are open Monday-Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sundays 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. Next month there is a gingerbread house contest and other festive events for the holidays. Call (315) 471-0593 for more information or to schedule a school tour.