The passing of a Bronx Legend – Phyllis Carpenella-Germano

 

On 12/05/2011, we lost a local Bronx legend. Ducky Girl Phyllis Carpenella-Germano passed away. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, you were probably not living in the Norwood area of the Bronx during the early-mid 60’s.  During the course of my Ducky Boy interviews, I got to know her a little bit, and found out she still had that rebellious spirit she had back when she was a member of the infamous Ducky Boys gang…

Dec 31st, 2011

On this last day of 2011, I was going thru my to-do list, and writing this blog was at the top of the list. For athe last few weeks, I kept putting it off because I knew it would be awkward to write since I didn’t really know Phyllis “the person” all that well. But she was one of the first interviews I did for my book on the Ducky Boys gang, and she really showed me what I had gotten myself into…

On May 27th, 2006, I met Phyllis for the first time in Bronx Park. My friend and ex-Ducky Girl Geri Gertler-Norcross set up the meeting with Phyllis and Lenny Lim (also one of the original Ducky Boys).

To save typing tonight, here is the link to my blog entry of that day:
Down the Ducky Turf with some Ducky’s 5/27/2006

Read that entry (it’s not too long)… But it shows just how fearless and bad-ass Phyllis was throughout her life…  At almost 60 years old, she and Lenny climbed over a barbed-wire fence just to send a middle finger to the Botanical Gardens who had put this fence up to block people from getting to the Twin Lakes section for free. In talking to Phyllis & Lenny that day, I found that they were two of the most honest interviewees EVER. Neither of them were embarrassed nor apologetic of anything she did back in the Ducky Boys heyday.

I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by this 5 foot, 100 pound (if she was soaking wet) woman… Phyllis was still a tough is it legal to buy ativan online cookie, and could still Read more

So I helped ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock market….

On Dec 20th, 2011, author James Hannon helped ring the opening bell of the NASDAQ Stock Market along with his Star Wars loving geek brothers in the 501st Legion‘s Empire City Garrison, NorthEast Remnant Garrison, and the  Rebel Legion.   It was an event to signify the release of the EA/BioWare videogame “The Old Republic” and that Electronic Arts was changing its ticker to EA on the NASDAQ stock exchange.   This is the story of that day.

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Well, I just woke up after taking a well-deserved nap today.   You see, I had to get up at 5am this morning to be in the heart of Times Square in New York City by 7:30am – And I was shooting to be there at 7am since I didn’t want to be late, so I gave myself a half-hour putz factor.  (Remind me at some future date to talk about the “putz factor” dynamic LOL)

Now, for those of you that don’t know me very well, getting up at 5am is usually reserved for something special.  And today was definitely a day that it was worth getting up at 5am…

Today, I got to help ring the opening bell at the NASDAQ stock exchange in Times Square!

Here’s what happened:

Electronic Arts was scheduled to ring the bell today to signify its changing of its ticker to EA on the NASDAQ stock exchange Also, along with it’s subsidiary company BioWare, it was having a HUGE release event for their videogame “The Old Republic” that came out at Midnight last night.

And EA/BioWare asked the Empire City Garrison (the NYC branch of the 501st Legion – which is the Star Wars costuming group that I belong to) to provide some Read more

Ace Frehley’s “No Regrets” and the Ducky Boys Gang

Ace Frehley‘s new book “No Regrets” covers his time with the Ducky Boys gang, and surprisingly is in-sync with James Hannon‘s “Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang

On Saturday, I was at a local 501st Legion – NER troop over at Bookends Bookstore over in Ridgewood, NJ.  We were there to support the release of a bunch of Star Wars books by DK Publishing.  The troop was fun and all and we took a lot of pictures, and made a lot of kids (and some adults) pretty happy with our appearance there. But that’s not the main point of this blog.

What I do want to tell you about is that while we were there, we noticed that there were a LOT of big-name stars that were listed on the store’s past & future booksigning event schedule. People like Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, Mary Higgins Clark, Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath, Bill O’Reilly, Snookie from the NJ Shore TV show, the Kardashian family, and lots more..  Not every one of those names will appeal to everyone, but you have to admit they all do have some star power behind them. And it was impressive considering that it was a LOCAL bookstore and not one of the big corporate ones (i.e. Barnes & Noble).

I had to know “how” they got the caliber of authors to have a book-signing event, and I asked them. It seems they report their sales numbers to the NY Times Book list, and apparently that is a big deal when authors are going on book-signing tours.

So, me being the marketing whiz I am, thought “How am I going to jump on this bandwagon with my book Lost Boys of the Bronx: the Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang“… So I asked the owners how to get on their author list… And it was pretty simple – basically they had me autograph a few of my books and leave them there… And depending on the interest generated, they’d figure out if they wanted me to hold a book-signing event.

So the #1 piece of information you should take away from this blog is:
Go to Bookends Bookstore at 211 East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood, NJ and show some interest in Lost Boys of the Bronx – hopefully by purchasing one of them!

But the story doesn’t end there… I wouldn’t hit you with a marketing plea like that without giving you a hopefully interesting story!

While talking to the manager of the store, Blair Relyea – the official (and pretty awesome) photographer of Bookends, overheard my conversation about my book and asked if these were the same Ducky Boys of the Bronx that Ace Frehley of KISS was a part of. I told him yes, and then pressed him how he knew that, since he didn’t seem to have any Bronx or obvious KISS ties.

He told me that Ace Frehley had just had a book-signing event at the bookstore for his book “No Regrets” a few weeks earlier and written a large section of the book about his involvement in the Ducky Boys growing up.

This floored me because when I talked to Ace Frehley when I was writing my Ducky Boys book, he really didn’t want to tell me any stories buy ativan online canada about his involvement with the gang – at least not for free. I have an entire chapter of Lost Boys of the Bronx devoted to my interaction with Ace regarding my book – and it wasn’t that pleasant of an interaction. Now it all makes sense – he wanted to save the stories for his own book.

So, curiousity got the better of me and I bought a copy of Ace’s book at Bookends… Even better was that they still had a few autographed copies of it (They have a huge selection of autographed books)… I must like this bookstore giving them so many free plugs LOL

I got home that night and started reading. True to Blair’s word, there were a bunch of Ducky Boys references in the first couple of chapters. It would be too much to expect that Ace would actually refer to my Ducky Boys book, but I was impressed with his stories. While they were different stories than mine, they were actually in-sync with what I had.

Some examples:

  • Most of the Ducky Boys I interviewed don’t remember Ace being in the Ducky Boys. But Ace never said he was in the Ducky Boys. He says he was in the Junior Duckies – which were the younger kids who hung out with the Ducky Boys and eventually became the 2nd generation of Ducky Boys when the original members got older and stopped hanging around the park.
  • In my book, Ducky Boy Kevin Byrne only remembers seeing Ace (then known as Punky) around the gang once. And it was when Ace put the moves on Ducky Boy Eddie T‘s girlfriend Marianne, and Eddie beat the hell out of Ace for doing so. Ace, in his book, tells that story from his point of view.
  •  Ace remembers that the original Ducky Boys were more about the camaraderie and friendship of the members, but eventually degenerated into drugs and crime. Ace also spoke of having to get away from the gang to make something of his life. That was a key theme in Lost Boys of the Bronx – a large percentage of the kids in the Ducky Boys who didn’t get away died way before their time – sometimes with very grisly endings.

I didn’t want to like Ace’s book based on our prior interactions, but I am really glad to see that he was honest and fair in his memories of the group. I am still reading how he got into KISS and his adventures there, but the interesting part of the book was his Ducky Boy memories, and he delivered.

So, the #2 thing you should take away from this blog is:
If you have read Ace’s book, and liked the Ducky Boys section, you should pick up Lost Boys of the Bronx to find out a lot more about the gang. And vice-versa – If you liked my book, you should pick up Ace’s “No Regrets” and read the first few chapters at least.

That’s about it for this blog entry – Hope you liked it… Let me know if you have any comments or questions!

Take care and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!
-=James

P.s. Here’s a picture of us trooping at Bookends last weekend 11/19/2011
More pictures here

A Tale of Two Comic Cons – Part II – NY Comic Con

Part 2 of a segment about two consecutive weekends where I got to met THREE of my childhood heroes, and have a lot of other cool things happen at a pair of conventions.  This is in addition to the weekend earlier where it was Superhero Nirvana down in Flemington, NJ– October is a great month to be a costumer!

Well, this one is about the big boy of conventions in the New York City area – NY Comic Con!  Last year there were 96,000 or so attendees – this year 105,000.  According to Wikipedia, its been going up steadily since its inception…It sold out both weekend days this year, so I dont know how much higher those numbers can get…

Year Attendees
NYCC 2006  33,000
NYCC 2007  49,000
NYCC 2008  60,000
NYCC 2009  77,000
NYCC 2010  96,000
NYCC 2011 105,000

Last year, Johnny Rox and I went to NYCC for a first time on the Saturday, and it was MOBBED (I’m not talking supermarket mobbed – I’m talking last train out of the apocalypse-mobbed!)…   We went in normal civilian clothes (as opposed to being costumed) and we had a great time.  Check out our experience last year here  (Lots of pix there too)

Anyhoo, so lets get on with the events of the individual 2011 days!

Friday Oct 14th, 2011 – Day #1 (for me)

Someone mentioned to me that since I was vacation on Friday, I should go to NYCC that day because it would be a LOT less crowded…  Nobody else was on vacation, so I had nobody else to go with, but I knew enough people there – so I headed into the city on Friday sans costume…

I got a call in the morning saying that the lines around the Javitz Center were insane but happily found out that these were people who had to pickup tickets.  Luckily I ordered my tix a few months ago and had them in hand, and didn’t need to wait in any lines..  But I got there after 2pm anyway to avoid the initial confusion that usually happen at these things.

I went in without any maps, or any idea what I wanted to do…  I said I wouldn’t do that again, and I actually created an agenda on the NYCC website, but I never printed it, nor did I remember anything on the list…   There’s a LOT to see, and there’s no way in hell I was gonna see 5% of what there was to see, so I just decided to let Fate be my guide…

So I walked… And walked…  And walked…  I zigged and zagged down aisles dodging human traffic looking for Read more

A Tale of Two Comic Cons – Part I – Garden State Comic Con

During the course of two weekends in October 2011, I got to met THREE of my childhood heroes, and have a lot of other cool things happen.  This is in addition to the weekend earlier where it was Superhero Nirvana down in Flemington, NJ – October is a great month to be a costumer!

This was originally going to be one blog entry, but there were too many pictures to split out between the two events, so I figured I’d make two so it would be easier for my readers to digest.

During the 2nd weekend of October, 2011, a small convention down in Cherry Hill, NJ happened. It was called the Garden State Comic Con and it was run by a company named ZoloWorld.   Its not the biggest con I’ve been to, and it certainly is going thru some growing pains, but you know what? I had a great experience there, so I’ll cut them slack on the problems faced…

For a small con,they had some big con names appearing – Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie, Hayden Panettiere – the cheerleader from Heroes, Davy Jones of the Monkees, Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Rusty Goffe and Bonnie Piesse from the Star Wars franchise.

One particular attendee – Jackson Bostwick, most people probably wouldn’t recognize, but he was the reason I drove an hour and a half to Cherry Hill to see.  Mr Bostwick played the original Captain Marvel from the 1973 live action Saturday morning show “SHAZAM!” which was my favorite show from when I was 6 years old.  I  dare say that this show may have been the early inspiration for the costuming bug I developed years later.  I remember yelling “SHAZAM!” and tying a towel around my neck and pretending to be Captain Marvel (or as I call him Shazam).

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Jimbo’s Writing Tips : Fight procrastination with procrastination????

A year or so ago, I wrote a blog entry called “Laying out the Damn Pennysaver” and I talked about how someone could get a book published while working a day job and trying to have a social life…   Read the blog entry if you get a chance, but the short version is that if you write one hour a day at lunch, you will eventually have something complete. It may not be fast, but it will be consistent and the Tortoise and the Hare shows that consistency will eventually win out as the fast get tired.

I learned that method while writing my last book “Lost Boys of the Bronx – the Oral History of the Ducky Boys” and I am continuing to use it for my new (as yet untitled) book about people who have the unorthodox hobby of costuming even when its not Halloween…  See my blog at “You’re only as relevant as your next project” for more on that book.

Anyhoo, I was thinking about the Pennysaver article recently because I just started a two-week vacation and I was planning to do 8-hour shifts of writing to get ahead in my writing of the new book…  And yesterday, I ran into one of the big problems I had before my “one hour a day” method…   It is really easy to get overwhelmed with everything you want to do at once…  You have all these hours ahead of you that you “think” you’ll be 8 times as productive as you are during that one hour…It doesnt work that way…More time equals more time to procrastinate and do other stuff  (Facebook anybody?)   I’ll be honest this blog entry itself is just a way to avoid doing…   But since this is writing, I’ll allow it… And if it helps anyone, then its worth it…

My new plan to fight procrastination is to fight it with…. procrastination????     Meaning  have to have multiple projects going on (that are important to where you want to go with your life – and I’m not talking about watching TV or framing a Shazam! photo – which I did this morning)

Having multiple projects means that if you don’t want to do something on Project 1, you can procrastinate and do something on Project (2 or Project 3, 4,5 or 6).  That way your productivity increases overall, and you still have the feeling that you avoided doing something you didn’t really want to do at the time.  Then when you have to do the next step on the 2nd project, you can Read more

SuperHeroes for Hayley event – 10/1/2011

Hey it’s almost time for another round of WIDOMW (What I Did On My Vacation) posts.  Last year was a flurry of events including events promoting my new book (at the time) – Lost Boys of the Bronx– The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang.  ( c’mon you knew I had to  advertise it at least once LOL),  NY Comic Con, an Irish-American Writers party with some big names, a Halloween Parade, and a few charity events – where one sparked one of the greatest nicknames ever – the Peeping Princess…  Click the WIDOMV category over there on the right to read some of those adventures…

Starting Friday (10/7), I’m starting another 2-week October vacation.   Now if you’re from my regular day-job, I will be in Cuba without phone or email and please stop reading right now however.

Ok, good it’s just my friends now, so I can be honest – I’ve got a few events lined up – NY Comic Con,  the annual Irish-American Writers & Artists Awards party, my best friend Jeff’s show down at the Brighton Bar, and God knows what else…  Check my Facebook or Twitter page to see where I’ll be, and check back here after the fact and I’m sure I’ll have a report of what happened…

But my biggest plans for the next two weeks may not sound thrilling to some, but to me it’s heaven.  For the next two weeks, I’ll be splitting my time between my home-office and the local Scotch Plains library working on taking a big chunk out of my new book.

“What new book?” Well, you may want to check out this link for a little better background on me and my project.  But, the short version is that for the last few months I have been interviewing some really cool & interesting people who get dressed up in costumes for various reasons and finding out what makes them tick.   The reasons people put on a costume are a lot deeper than you would think.

Well anyway, speaking of really cool costumers, I attended a really cool costuming event yesterday (10/1/2011) down in Flemington, NJ called SuperHeroes for Hayley.  It was a charity event set up by HomeTown Club in Somerset, NJ to benefit the family of a 12 year old girl with brain cancer.   The Star Wars costuming group I belong to called the 501st Legion – NorthEast Remnant Garrison was requested by the fabulous Amber Love and we showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday morning.

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What I learned about Human Nature from Hurricane Irene (and the small earthquake a few days earlier)

Well we’re finally out of the woods on Hurricane Irene…  The last few days have been pretty intense with the buildup the media has been giving – And while Jackie & I survived it pretty much intact, not everyone was so lucky.   There was a river running down the main street of our town (and we aren’t close to any regular rivers), and the reports and pictures from Facebook show that people in other parts of town had some real damage.

My good friend Anna Zelikman took a bunch of pictures of Scotch Plains-Fanwood showing the damage that Hurricane Irene did to our town.

Here is the link to those pictures…
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.243539165685094&type=1

As you can see, it was no joke – Yes, that is a picture of a tree that split down the middle and crashed into the street AND landed on the side of some poor bastards house in there.

Now Jackie & I did the smart thing and stayed indoors throughout the hurricane so we can’t really comment on the actual devastation out there outside of Anna’s pictures, but we did watch a LOT of TV and see a lot of my Facebook friends postings about what happened…  And that dear reader, is the theme of this blog.

What I learned about Human Nature from Hurricane Irene (and the earthquake a few days earlier).

First, pre-hurricane, people were already skittish about ol’ Mother Nature.  A couple of days earlier there was an earthquake in Virginia that was felt all the way up to Maine.  Here in NJ we felt it as well, but it was very small and lasted maybe 30 seconds tops.   But it was very telling about human nature and that leads us up to my first Human Nature insight:

1.  People want to know EVERYTHING about something before they react.

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Tribute to a friend who passed: Mary McDonald

My friend, co-worker, artistic supporter, and mentor passed away about 3 and a half weeks ago. I started writing this about 2 weeks ago, but I was hoping to have more info on what happened by now. But, nobody (who I know anyway) has any new information other than that there will be a “Celebration of her Life” in two months. So figured I’d just go with this post instead of waiting anymore.

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Last Thursday (7/7/2011), I got an email from a friend informing me that my old boss passed away. Most of you who will read this won’t know her, but her name was Mary McDonald. The story of the moment (7/11/2011) is that she came home from yoga on Friday 7/1/2011 and had either a stroke or a heart attack. Her apartment is under police seal pending an autopsy/investigation, so who knows what that will uncover. But until that, I’m not going to speculate on how she died, but rather how she lived.

I met Mary back in March 2000. I had interviewed with her for a consulting job at PaineWebber. After burning out on a previous job, I had taken a 3-month sabbatical between consulting jobs to try and make a go of Lantern Media Web Design. But that didn’t go over so well (a blog entry for another time perhaps), and after much prodding from a particular recruiter who thought I would be a perfect fit for this job, I decided to give it a shot.

Mary gave me a phone interview that went well, and I went in for a face-to-face interview with Mary, and three other interviewers. Other than one interviewer (who I found out over the years has an industry-wide reputation for not-liking any candidates), I had a GREAT set of interviews. I had such good connections with 3 of the 4 interviewers that I almost felt like I was goofing off there since each of the interviews were more friendly than business-like (FYI until this interview, I had never met any of them). That recruiter was right on the money about me fitting in there – I was pretty much told I had the job before I walked out the door.

So now I was working for Mary and some other cool people in an organization that people liked (at the time anyway). Work life was good again, and slowly I started to enjoy coming to work again. All the work got done in an efficient manner, but there was a friendly environment that I had missed in the prior few jobs. Mary actually supported my film-making aspirations, and gave me a lot of freedom to work on my Richard & the Young Lions documentary (as long as my work got done – which it did) – Mary was thanked in the credits of that movie.

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Star Wars at the Cradle of Aviation Museum 6/18/2011

The 501st Legion visits a really cool museum in Garden City, Long Island called the Cradle of Aviation.

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

If you’ve been following me at all, you probably know that I’m a Star Wars geek, and that I go to local events dressed in a Star Wars costume.  Just check my photo albums here or on Facebook to see visual proof.  You could also read any of my numerous blogs by clicking 501st” or “Star Wars”  over there on the right under Categories=====>

The short version (for me anyway) to get you up to speed, is that I am a member of a group called the 501st Legion.  The 501st is a group of geeks like myself who like Star Wars to the point of spending the time and money of creating professional quality costumes of the “bad guy” characters in the movie.  (I also belong to the Rebel Legion which covers the costumes of the “good guys”.  This particular event, I was a TIE Pilot “bad guy”, so I’ll focus on the 501st angle).

I realize there is a tendency to think of people who costume as loner freaks, but most of the people I’ve met doing this are sane and  productive members of society – We have moms, dads, cops, firemen, lawyers, teachers, programmers, musicians, writers, artists, etc within our ranks.  If we weren’t wearing a Star Wars t-shirt, you probably wouldn’t be able to pick us out of a crowd.  LOL

One of my favorite quotes lately is “Just because my hobby is different than yours, doesn’t mean my hobby is any dumber than your hobby.”  Plus our hobby has an outlet that helps make the world a better place.  A large portion of the events we attend are charity events, and our costumed groups have helped raise well into the millions of dollars for various charities.   And we bring LOTS of smiles to the kids who come out to our events and see characters magically come off the screen into their world.  It’s a really cool feeling being part of this.

One thing that I should mention here is that it isn’t just Star Wars costuming groups that enjoy these benefits, but most costumers, be it Star Trek, Superheroes, Disney princesses, etc.  (People who know my “wannabe marketing genius” mind are laughing right now because they know what’s coming next)

I am currently working on a new book that will hopefully be finished in early 2012.  It will be all about the various costumers out there –  How they got into it, Why they do it How they got their cool costumes,What their families and friends think, Cool stories while costumed, and everything in between. So basically I am looking to hear from any costumers who are willing to tell their story for inclusion in the book.   So if you are a costumer, and have a cool story, email me at jameshannon@lantern-media.com and let me know. You can be any type of costumer (including anime, re-enactors, mascots, gorilla-grams, etc) – the only exclusion is that the book will be relatively family-friendly, so I probably won’t be using any adult-themed stories.  Nothing against it personally, but as wise costumer Amber Love wrote in her Amber Unmasked blog, “there’s a time and place for everything.”   :)

Ok, sorry for that tangent, back on target about the Cradle of Aviation event.

The Cradle of Aviation is a really cool museum on Museum Row in Garden City, Long Island.  They’ve got a whole lotta exhibits on the history of flight – with a slant towards Long Island’s involvement in it.  Grumman Corporation was a HUGE contributor of exhibits to the museum and there is some really cool stuff there like flight simulators, lunar landers, space suits, planes of all types, etc.  It even has a Fire Dept museum and historic carousel on the property – See the pics below for a taste of it..   HIGHLY recommended by your pal James…

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Green Lantern movie – A lifetime waiting to review!

Don’t worry, I’ll let you know in big bold letters when to stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Well, after waiting my entire life for this, FINALLY a Green Lantern movie came out. In case you didn’t know, your old pal James (whose company is called LANTERN-media.com by the way) has been a HUGE Green Lantern fan since he was a kid.

Sure Superman and Spiderman were cool, but there was just something about having a ring that can construct kick-ass weapons based on the wearers imagination really appealed to this Irish kid from the Bronx – And the fact that he was “green” didn’t hurt LOL And every summer, I’ve watched as a bunch of less-deserving superheroes get their moment on the big screen.

Well not this Summer… Finally Green Lantern hit the theaters today!

I’ll be honest, I was pretty worried about this movie… Waiting an entire lifetime for something only to have it suck was a real concern. I really tried to keep my emotions in check about it – and by its release, I was fully expecting it to be more disappointing than the Green Hornet movie with Seth Rogan last year.

Which was a really good strategy on my part. Having low expectations meant that as long as Jack Black didn’t star as Hal Jordan (an actual possibility from a past script that still frightens me), it was probably NOT going to be a disappointing movie.

So we found a local theater and went to the matinee. Jackie wouldn’t have stayed awake for the car ride to the theater, let alone the whole movie, if we had went to the midnight showing, so we went to the first showing of the next day. We also decided to watch the Non-3D version since it was earlier
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Richard and the Young Lions – 7 years later

Today is June 17th, 2011 – which is the 7 year anniversary of the passing of Howard “Richard” Tepp – The lead singer of Richard and the Young Lions (also known as RYL).  I wasn’t thinking about that milestone intentionally today, but it kinda jumped out at me accidentally, so it seems like the universe really wanted me to make a note out of it.  and what better way than a blog?  :)

Other than today being the release of the new Green Lantern movie (just remember, my company name is LANTERN Media Productions), it wasn’t supposed to be an extra-ordinary day.   I was just working from home, trying to decide which showing of the movie I will see.

I was Twittering back and forth with my friend Jedi-J (aka Jason Antonelli) about my Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang book and my Out of Our Dens: The Richard and the Young Lions Story documentary I did back in 2004.  I had recently sent both to him, and he had just finished them and was giving me his review on both.

Side Note:  Jedi-J (his preferred name, don’t ask LOL) is one of my interview subjects for my new book about costumers, and we’ve become friends over the last few months.  He does a killer Obi-Wan Kenobi (the Ewan McGregor one), and has a really interesting story that will come out partially in my new book, but really deserves his own book – If nobody else grabs him by the time I’m done with this book, I’m seriously going to consider writing it myself)

So, I was talking with Jedi-J about my RYL documentary and he asked how the band was doing nowadays, and I told him that Richard Tepp had died back in June 2004 – I forgot the date, but it was 4 days after I had completely finished my documentary on him and the band.    And Jedi-J was really shocked that he had died, and started asking questions about the days leading up to his passing, and how he felt the documentary became a lot more poignant knowing that.

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Casualty at the Saint, Asbury Park, NJ – 6/10/2011

Its been a crazy two weeks, so I’m trying to keep up with the individual blogs before I forget to…   They’ll be shorter than my longer-winded ones :)

Casualty at the Saint, Asbury Park, NJ – Friday, June 10th, 2011

I drove down to Asbury Park to see one of my best friends Jeff Hornlien play his first show with his new band “Casualty”.

If you haven’t heard by now, Jeff’s old band “The RiffSurfers” (that I managed – against my will LOL), are no more.  <insert huge sad face here>   No dramatic fight between the 5 J’s (Jeff Hornlien, Jimmy Diamonde, Jenna D’Onofrio, John Kraemer & James Hannon (umm, that’s me),  but things weren’t happening, and we all eventually went different directions.  I went on to promote my book “Lost Boys of the Bronx: The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang“;  John became Johnny Rox and joined the band “Tasting Grace” (see my review of their shows here and here);  Jenna joined the successful cover band Decades Invasion and is probably playing somewhere near you this weekend (and next weekend, and the weekend after that);  Jimmy became James Giunta, Certified Hypno-Therapist and currently has a thriving practice in Red Bank, NJ.   And Jeff started up this new band called “Casualty” with old RiffSurfer drummer Sean O’Connor and bass player Nicky Vitucci.   So now that you’re all caught up with the history of the band, lets move on to their first show.

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Band Review: Black 47 at the Stone Pony, Memorial Day 2011

Band Review: Black 47 at the Stone Pony, Memorial Day 2011

As biased as my previous review was, this one will be also.  But, unlike the previous review, I became biased towards Black 47, not because of friendships (which came later), but because I was just a super fan going back to their early days (1989-1991) when they were playing in the Norwood/Bainbridge section of the Bronx – which just happened to be my old neighborhood.

I’m kinda embarrassed to admit this, but I never did see the band live when they were playing back in my old neighborhood.  They had played in the local Irish bars, and by this time I had already given up drinking at the ripe old age of 16 (more common in my Irish-American neighborhood than you would expect)

I don’t remember who exactly, but “someone” recommended Black 47, and I picked up their CD – probably at Crazy Eddie’s on Fordham Road. I was really surprised that I liked their music.   I DID NOT like Irish music at all at that time tho – too many parentally-forced listenings of “Wild Colonial Boy” and “The Unicorn” on WFUV’s Sunday radio program will do that to you.

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You’re only as relevant as your next project…

Ok, so its been a few months since Lost Boys of the Bronx – The Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang was published, and the marketing blitz has died down a little bit.   There’s still a few outstanding things there that might catch fire again, but the craziness of a book release is over and I can think straight again…  Or as much as I could do before the craziness anyway… :)

Instead of sitting back and enjoying the free time that I’ve been looking forward to, what does your friendly neighborhood author decide to do?   Get started on another project of course!!!

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