We are tremendously loyal to our big name stars who have spent any amount of time in Chicago. We are frequently claiming credit for the accolades that anyone brings to our grand city. The warmth of your accomplishments leaves us magnificently glistening beneath the snowy stars.
On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, three major internationally recognized stars hit the pavement hard. And we watched with gleeful anticipation.
Derrick Rose – MVP
First we lost D Rose. Former MVP of the NBA out with another knee injury, his third requiring surgery and major rehabilitation in 3 years. Yes, Derrick Rose, a truly homegrown product who has accomplished much in his short and talented life. Down for the count again. Will he return? Possibly. But will he ever be an MVP again? Hard to say.
Some say “No way!”
Will he ever lead the Bulls to an NBA Championship? Time will tell. I wouldn’t count him out.
We love our heroes when they win. We adore them when they repeat.
Next, (yes, all on the same day) we lost ‘Kaner’ aka Patrick Kane leading scorer in the NHL on this day. Yes he has the repeat bug 2-Time Stanley Cup winner and the reigning champion of the All Star Game Skills Competition. Gone for 6-10 weeks with what appears to be a broken collarbone.
Taken out on a cheap hit by some guy know one pays to go and see no matter where he is playing. Kane is from Buffalo NY but he is ours now baby! It is safe to say we don’t win either of those Cups without him. I mean, just look at this guy … Will he be back in time for the playoffs?
Third (and not so lastly) Rahm Emmanuel reigning champion of Chicago politics. Former Chief of Staff of our Commander In Chief and Chicago home owner Barack Obama. Currently our sitting Mayor of only one term. His predecessor, Richie M Daley holds the record for 6 terms, which he wrested from the the previous record of 5 terms held by his Dear Ole Dad Richard Sr.
Yet poor old Rahm may not make it to repeat with even a 2nd term. Why? Because he did not hold a majority in the election held on Tuesday and now faces a run off in 6 weeks against some guy named ‘Chuy’.
Yes Chuy ran as kind of an afterthought and has basically no clue what to do with our huge budgetary shortfalls and monstrous chasms of quality jobs if actually elected.
So instead Chuy just stands there on the podium and smiles like he just got elected Prom King along with the virgin cheerleader that never talks to him in the high school hallways.
These three stories are in no way to be dismissed lightly when Chicago history books get re-written. And yet these three separate but significant events will be talked about and examined by pundits, talking heads and prognosticators until the first tulip blooms this spring.
These next 6-8 weeks before the run-off election and before the playoffs will be a boon for comedy writers and bloggers spanning this City of Big Shoulders. From Lakeview to Austin. From Evanston to Hyde Park. Yes we will capitalize on the heart ache and misfortunes of others’. Even though they are our superheros.
But we will do it with love and good humor. After all it is February and it is Chicago and there is a new layer of snow falling to the ground as I write this.
So we’ve got to do something to pass the time. Because even though pitchers and catchers reported to spring training last week, from where we stand we are still light years away from a walk down by the lake to cool off from a humid summer day that we spent in the bleachers that have been completely rebuilt during the reconstruction of Wrigley Field that seemed to have never ended.
So here’s to our stars, home grown and otherwise. The winners and the not so winners. The runner ups and the contestants. We love you all for gracing us with your presence so that we may temporarily bask in your warm glow, if only for a moment, to say “C’mon! You can do it again!”
Did you ever hear one of the attendees leave one of your corporate events saying, “wow…that was amazing!”
I’ve been fortunate enough to have event planners tell me that is exactly what they’ve heard people say, and honestly, they’ve said it themselves.But how do you get to that point? How do you create a corporate event that leaves people “wowed?” For me, it’s a collaborative process with the client.
I’ll create that one special song, or develop that one memorable moment or special entertainment experience that has people clapping their hands and tapping their feet.
Whatever the event, I’ll create customized songs that fit in with a strong brand presence, or key elements of a new product launch or trade show theme, or find a way to honor that someone special.
When you hire me, here’s what you get: a seasoned professional who has built a reputation of making events an overwhelming success, filled with lasting memories for everyone.
Isn’t that what you want when hiring a lead entertainer?
Of course it is. And I know corporate entertainment! It’s a unique niche, and it’s what I specialize in!
I work hand-in-hand with you to make sure the content, the music and the comedy is in line with your goals, your company and your audience.
There’ll be no surprises, no red flags, no questionable content – nothing that will embarrass you or anyone in your company.
Once we decide on “the line,” I won’t cross it. So you can rest assured that everything will go according to the plan we develop together.
Sound like the professional entertainment you’re looking for?
Let’s talk about it!
I encourage you to give me a call at 773-527-7417. I’m here to answer any questions you may have, discuss the process or check available dates.
I’m going to say something here that’s going to piss a lot of people off. I don’t care. It needs to be said.
Tea Drinkers Don’t Suck
If I’m going to have something to drink – I want to drink it. You can’t drink tea. You have to sip it. And that’s what infuriates me.
You can’t drink tea. It takes forever. I wish it didn’t.
I have things to do. I have people to be. I don’t want to waste my time sipping tea. Give me something to drink. There I’ve said it. I like to swallow.
You have to wait for it to cool down to sip it or you’ll burn the crap out of the roof of your mouth. Who wants a burned mouth? Not “It”.
It’s fine for my wife. She likes tea. No I take that back.
She loves tea. She drinks it all day long and she says it makes life simple and more enjoyable. She says tea lets you think about things before you react to them.
So since she knows so much more about so many more things than I do, I decided to join her at the tea store on one of our dates. Chicago has some great tea stores. There’s this one over on Broadway in Chicago. You can buy tea in bulk and it smells really good in there too.
But when we get home and she makes the tea, it tastes funky. Not like anything “good” funky. I tried to like it but I couldn’t.
Don’t Drink This
To me it tastes like dish water that has been soaking the skillet that you broiled that salmon in last night.
At best it resembles a baby diaper bin at a day care center for children that suffer from inferiority complexes.
Once I had a sip of my wife’s tea and I thought I was drinking hair dye that got poured into the Ganges River and strained through a gym sock that had been left in the bottom of my gym bag from last Thursday.
Who wants to drink that?
I don’t. Not me. Go look for crazy somewhere else. Please.
Tiger Woods will NOT be back. Many people think he is washed up. They think that’s the last we’re going to see of him.
I tend to agree. When he burst onto the scene as a young Stanford student some 15 years ago he was a beast. He was doing things most golfers never bothered to do. They sure as hell didn’t look like him.
Tiger hit the course and not only was he winning, no, destroyingthe competition, he looked really good doing it. He was chiseled from head to toe. He wasn’t sporting a gut. He had abs and pecks and he could drive the ball farther than anybody on the tour. Plus the color of his skin made us sit up and watch. A whole generation did.
He changed the game of golf forever. He changed the tour. The purses went up and now these guys are making more and more every year. They can thank Tiger for that. He is the one that made people watch, which brought in the sponsors who brought the prize money.
In 2014 there were 100 players who earned $1M or more on the PGA tour. In 1996, the year Tiger turned pro, there were less than half of that amount.
Here’s another reason Tiger won’t be back to the form he was.
He averaged 305 yards per drive as a young pro. 305. Ranked #1. No one else even came close. You know what he averaged this year? The same. 305. Respectable? Hell yeah!
That ranks him 19th overall.
But I don’t know what happened. Maybe he got distracted by his off the course challenges. Maybe he worked out and pushed his body too hard. He’s still a beast. Anybody who stays on the course and wins a championship with a completely destructed knee is everything we wanted to be.
But he had to take time off after reconstructive knee surgery. That took a year. Then he had to get that psychological edge back. That takes time. And many argue he never got the edge back after either one of those two incidents.
Add this — the guys on the PGA tour are the kinds of guys who are super competitive too. So they did what the champion had been doing. They worked out. They pushed themselves to build their gluts, not their guts, their abs and pecs so they could drive the ball further too.
So now Tiger still averages 305 per drive. Yet that only ranks him 19th overall.
Thank You Tiger Woods
So, No, I don’t think he’ll be back. That’s not a pun. Remember no comedy here today. Just a mini rant.
Did he destroy his body? Maybe. I doubt it. I think he just lost the edge.
I think he was the right man at the right time for the PGA. He built it up the way no one else ever could before him. There may be someone else behind him. But there will never be another Tiger Woods. I doubt it sincerely that he will ever win another championship. He did what he did when he did it but …. and he’ll never be back. Not anymore. In the meantime …
Learning new songs is part and parcel of our daily existence as a piano player who plays live music regularly. The challenge is sifting through all the new music and finding what works and what doesn’t work.
In my opinion most of the Pop and Country music these days has become homogenized. For those of you that didn’t grow up in the 60s ‘homogenized’ is not a sexual connotation. It means that everything is made the same. Some might say made to the same standard of quality. But I think what has happened is that most of the popular songs have the same chord changes and a drought of tasty melodies. I know there are some great and talented songwriters out there. But by the time their tune gets to the producer and to the recording process, there are changes that get made to make the song palatable. Axis of Awesome did this comedy music bit that has become a perfect example of what I’m taking about
That’s okay by me. I don’t mind. I just know, as a writer, there are so many possibilities harmonically and melodically speaking, that there is no excuse for this. Even if a song were to have one ‘mystery chord’ in there somewhere, it would go a long way. It could be laziness. It could be ignorance.
But I think what has happened is when people like something, the creators replicate it because they know it’s a winning formula. This is true in every successful business. The music business is no different.
I think Adele has had some good success with adding tasty chords into her songs. Bruno Mars is copying many of the greats that came before him. They are both quite open about the fact that they are standing the shoulders of the giants who came before them.
My job is a piano player is to interpret what is out there and make it my own. For example, I don’t use massive amounts of music production techniques at our performances. I know some players use backing tracks and drum machines, even at dueling pianos shows. That’s cool. I never found it all that inspiring. As a piano player who works a lot I find I get inspiration from the people who are listening. I like that kind of energy rather than a technical energy.
The idea is that then the piano player turns the song into something of his own. Since we are all standing on the shoulders of the great ones who came before us, the only thing left for us to do is to personalize it.
That’s one of the things I learned early on as I was an aspiring musician learning to become a professional piano player. I used to think “Who is the best piano player?”. But then I realized it’s all one magic trick. Once you learn that one trick everything else after that is about adding the personality you were born with or that you are willing to let shine through.
So when I learn a new One Direction song or something from Jason Aldean, it doesn’t matter to me that all the same chords sequences are being used over and over again. I try to find the essence of the tune and make it my own. Sometimes I get it right, other times I need to keep learning.
I had a call last week for another custom writing job. It was to be part of a long list of retirement party ideas.
I’ve had these calls before. An executive of seasoned tenure is about to retire. The accolades will be forthcoming. The revealing anecdotes will be told. … and … in this case, a special song parody will be written and recorded for the celebrant.
The gentleman going into the golden years of his life was a life long salesman. He had founded his company, mentored many young professionals in his time and was looking forward to go off hunting and fishing. The perfect choice was a song parody of the Kenny Rogers hit The Gambler.
The interview process is a simple one for gigs like this. I have a 2 page questionnaire I have the contact fill out. They usually send it around to the other executives and co-workers around the office. They become our eyes and ears.
The process is going to take at least two days. I get all the info. I write up a few verses. 5 or 6 to be exact. I’m only going to use one or two. Then I get the chorus to go along with the plan.
After that I get the studio all cranked up. Fire off the essential parts. Arrange it for timing of the jokes and then I get a quick demo out the door. Once the customer signs off on it, I know I’ve got a winner. Then I just re-record it, mix it and master in the studio.
Listen to the final product. How did I do? Let me know.
Lickety split, Super quick Retirement party ideas will last a lifetime.