Continuing a look back at my first exposure to a number of rock ‘n’ roll acts and superheroes (or other denizens of print or periodical publication), some of which were passing fancies, and some of which I went on to kinda like. They say you never forget your first time; that may be true, but it’s the subsequent visits–the second time, the fourth time, the twentieth time, the hundredth time–that define our relationships with the things we cherish. Ultimately, the first meeting is less important than what comes after that. But every love story still needs to begin with that first kiss.

This was originally posted as part of a longer piece covering both pop music and comic book characters. It’s separated here for convenience.

Building upon our influences plays a large role in shaping who we are, and what we become. As a kid in the ’60s, and as a teenager in the ’70s, my personality, and my likes and dislikes, were molded in part by the pop culture I absorbed via TV, comic books, movies, and AM radio. A Hard Day’s Night. BatmanThe Monkees. Pulp paperbacks. Jukeboxes. DC ComicsMarvel ComicsGold Key Comics, all kinds comics. WNDR-and WOLF-AM in Syracuse. Throw in some baseball, some random 45s, some more TV (from Gilligan’s Island to The Guns Of Will Sonnett to Star Trek to Supersonic), some books on World War II, some DisneyMarx Brothers, and Jerry Lewis flicks, and some surreptitious glances at Lorrie Menconi and Barbi Benton in Playboy, and you have a partial portrait of the blogger as a young man.

Y’know, it ain’t polite to stare, mister!

And throw in some rock ‘n’ roll magazines, too. I’ve already written at length about the importance of the ’70s tabloid Phonograph Record Magazine, and I will still have more to write about PRM in future posts. I saw an issue of Circus some time in the mid-’70s, and I fell in love with Suzi Quatro when I saw her on the cover of the Rolling Stone. Later on, I’d immerse myself in Trouser PressCreemNew York RockerRock ScenePunkThe Pig Paper, and also a little thing called Goldmine, for which I freelanced for almost twenty years. But the most important single issue of any rock mag I ever read? No contest; that was the February 1978 issue Bomp! magazine: the power pop issue.

The way I read and re-read and re-re-read that issue, it’s a miracle its cover is still attached. I was 18. I was a fan of The BeatlesThe MonkeesThe KinksThe Raspberries, and The Ramones. I’d just seen The Flashcubes for the first time, so I was already a fan of theirs, too. The power pop issue of Bomp! was Heaven-sent, a manifesto for what I already believed, but couldn’t yet articulate. And its pages contained scores of recommendations for more acts I should check out as a nascent power pop acolyte, bands like The Flamin’ Groovies (whom I’d already heard, but needed to hear more), The CreationThe Dwight Twilley Band, and The Nerves; and there was quite a bit of coverage of some band called Big Star, and some group from the ’60s: an Australian band named The Easybeats.

Greg Shaw and Gary Sperrazza!, the auteurs behind Bomp!‘s power pop extravaganza, cited The Easybeats alongside The Kinks and The Who as power pop’s founding fathers. That’s pretty heady company to keep, so I certainly wanted to learn more about The Easybeats. If there were any Easybeats records in print in the U.S. in ’78, I wasn’t aware of them; I don’t think I could even find an Oldies 45 reissue of the group’s lone American hit, “Friday On My Mind.” So Easy Fever had to be deferred for me.

It may seem odd in retrospect that I’d never heard “Friday On My Mind,” but I don’t think I had. I finally heard it in–I think–the summer of ’78. Tip-A-Few, a bar on James Street in Eastwood, specialized in playing oldies while thirsty patrons tipped a few (or, sometimes, more than a few). The DJs at Tip-A-Few were armed with a massive collection of 45s–no need for LPs, because they would only play hit oldies–and I was there with decent frequency, tippin’ a few while requesting singles by Gene Pitney, The Beau BrummelsThe Knickerbockers, and The Fireballs. And, one night, I requested “Friday On My Mind” by The Easybeats.

I liked it, of course, It wasn’t immediately revelatory, but it was catchy rock ‘n’ roll music, and that was fine by me. That fall, I picked up a used copy of David Bowie‘s covers album, Pin Ups, which contained the former Mr. Jones’ take on “Friday On My Mind.” That track was, in fact, the very thing that prompted me to buy my first Bowie album, so yes indeed, thank you, Easybeats! I did eventually score an Oldies 45 of The Easybeats’ “Friday On My Mind,” a record which I grew to love more and more with each easy spin.

It took me a while to expand my Easybeats stash beyond that one 7″ single. In the mid-’80s, Rhino Records‘ The Best Of The Easybeats rewarded me with a glimpse into the true and enduring greatness of The Easybeats. “Friday On My Mind” was their only Stateside hit, and on some days I’ll agree it was their best track. But most days, I’ll dig in my heels, and I’ll insist, Yeah, “Friday On My Mind” is great, but “Sorry” is better!  “Sorry” struck me as the perfect melding of The Monkees and the early Who, so sign me up for a new religion based on those Australian pop gods, The Easybeats. “Good Times.” “Made My Bed (Gonna Lie In It).” “St. Louis.” “She’s So Fine.” “Sorry.” “Friday On My Mind.” Scripture. Chapter. Verse. Easy!


You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 



This was originally distributed privately to patrons of this blog on December 1st, 2018. This is its first public appearance. You can become a patron and support Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) for just $2 a month.
A recent online exchange about DC Comics Silver Age characters, cosmic crisis crossovers, and a popular real-life entertainment figure who starred in his own long-running DC Comics title inspired this flight of fancy. 

It was yet another crisis. You’d think such things would be rare, but they seemed to happen every summer, sometimes even more frequently. The world, the universe, multiple universes in danger, and the superheroes must save us. Worlds will live. Worlds will die. The universes will never be the same. Again. And again. And again.

But this crisis was different. This time, they invited me.

I’m usually excluded from these things. I used to be as big a star in our four-color world as any of the big guys. I don’t mean just my (if you must) “real” world counterpart, the comedy legend with the telethons and the movies and the temper, the adoring fans in France, the gurgled cries of LAAAAAAAAAYdeeeeeee! I mean me–the comic-book me–mingling with the Caped Crusaders and the Man of Steel, the Amazon Princess, the Scarlet Speedster. I was the Lovable Lunkhead. I met the prettiest girls. I had amazing, silly adventures, and the kids kept coming back for more, every other month. I did all right: Forty issues with my martini-guzzling ex-partner, and then 84 more–that’s 84!–without him, a total of 124 issues from 1952 to 1971, That was a longer sustained success than most of the superheroes in the freakin’ League, man. I was a king of comedy in the funnybooks.

Funnybooks. Nobody calls ‘em that anymore. No one wants any comic in their comic books. They just want another crisis. The real me was celebrated. Comic-book me was forgotten.

I don’t know what made this crisis du jour unique from the infinite previous crises. Maybe because all the heavy hitters were taken off the table before the action even started, out of commission at the hands of a mysterious grandmaster pitting champion against champion for the fate of all reality. Or something like that—I’ve never really understood the macguffins tossed around in these secret superwar things. I only knew that I’d been called to battle, as had dozens of presumably lesser heroes. It was like sending in the walk-ons during an NCAA basketball tournament. The bench was empty; we were the last hope standing.

I’m not a fighter. I’d tell you I never shied from a fight, but one look at my flailing panic in desperate situations would expose that lie. We chosen champions (such as we were) were supposed to fight each other—God knows why—in order to save the multiverse or some such mishigas. Most of the others were bona fide superheroes and adventurers; they expected me, a comic-book avatar of a popular film comedian, to compete with that? Oy….

My pesky nephew Renfrew and my housekeeper Witch Kraft accompanied me, though Renfrew disappeared immediately—knowing him, I figured the little monster was probably working up a high-stakes gambling pool—while Witchy zeroed in on some hero’s sturdy sidekick to flirt with. Everyone presumed I’d be dusted in the first round; presumed I’d be dusted in the first round. This never happened to Buddy Love, man.

My first opponent was a superhero, a stalwart member of a whole Legion of such people, but get this: his super power? He could eat anything. That’s it, I swear, hand to God. He could eat metal bars, walls, and plants and birds and rocks and things. Especially rocks. Man, even I wasn’t afraid of that. He charged at me, and I bent down to tie the loose laces of my sneakers. Safety first. Mr. matter-eatin’ boy overshot, and went careening into our picnic table, landing face-first into Witch Kraft’s Super Secret Recipe mocha, jalapeño, and sardine potato salad á la mode. Even an ability to eat anything wasn’t enough to spare my opponent the gastronomic indignity of that concoction, and I had won my first round.

Then I won my second. And my third. My fourth…?! Crazy. I would trip and my opponent would knock him- or herself out. Slapstick is my super power. I made it to the final round, and I knew that would have to be the end of the line for me.

Why? Because my opponent in the final was the daughter of that badass Dark Knight guy and the buxom cat burglar who used to cause strange stirrings in his utility belt. Trust me; it was a thing that led to a fling, and a second-generation superhero. Little Miss Batcat was one of the fiercest hand-to-hand fighters ever known. My luck had run out for sure.

She whispered something in my ear before the battle. At first, I was thinking to myself, You smooth Don Juan–if only Dean could see you now! But then I heard what she was saying, and I understood my role.

I came out fuming. Bellowing! Beating my chest and swaggering the swagger of the clueless and doomed. She remained tightlipped, all business, making it look good. I tried to make it look good, but my sheer haplessness hampered my façade. I nearly decked myself, not once, not twice, but three times, oh LAAAYdeee! She rolled her eyes behind her mask, but managed to keep saving me from myself. Finally, I seemed to have gotten in a lucky shot, and she crumpled to the ground, apparently defeated.

I had won.


The crowd was speechless, dumbfounded. From behind a cosmic curtain, the hidden orchestrator of this contest emerged, masked and hooded, hopping mad. YOU?!, he cried in anguish. YOU won this double-bag super-duper crossover crisis mega event? YOU? He was much shorter than I would have expected a cosmic criminal mastermind to be. I lost a friggin’ FORTUNE in bets on this! YOU WERE AT A BILLION TO ONE ODDS! The only way I can maybe break even is to destroy the universe and do a reboot…ULP!

The miscreant’s dastardly soliloquy was cut short by a savage blow from my former opponent, the Batcat chick. Yeah, she’d thrown the game, but for noble purpose, giving herself the opportunity to play possum and then get close enough to bring the bad guy down. With the dramatic flourish of a true comic book champion, she unmasked the mastermind as…


That kid just ain’t right in the head. Another get-rich gambling scheme. Ponzi had nothing on Renfrew, lemme tell ya. And rest assured: after Witchy and I got Renfrew home, he wasn’t able to sit down for a solid week.

The crisis was over. The vanquished champions recovered, and even more champions from across the multiverse showed up for the after-party. Hell, I think Dean was there, which was my cue to exit. Always leave ‘em wanting more.

I don’t get to participate in crises. Maybe that’s best. I’m a hero—no, scratch that, not a hero. I’m a comic book star from a different time. Fans look back and think because people laughed I must have been a joke. But I wasn’t a joke. I was an A-list star. Readers loved me, and my comic book ran for almost twenty years. They were good comics, too. It’s a shame so few will ever read them again. So I fade away. There’s no dark and gritty revamp of me. There’s no back-to-basics retread, no breathless hype that everything you thought you knew about the Lovable Lunkhead is wrong. There’s just the memories. I’d thank you for those, but that line belonged to another comedian turned comic book star. Instead, I sing: When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high. You’ll never walk alone.

Oh. And I have a hot date tonight with the Batcat chick. The ladies still dig a guy that can make ‘em laugh. The Lovable Lunkhead rises. The Lovable Lunkhead returns.


Thanks to Michal Jacotfor providing the spark.

You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 
Our new compilation CD This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4 is now available from Kool Kat Musik! 29 tracks of irresistible rockin’ pop, starring Pop Co-OpRay PaulCirce Link & Christian NesmithVegas With Randolph Featuring Lannie FlowersThe SlapbacksP. HuxIrene PeñaMichael Oliver & the Sacred Band Featuring Dave MerrittThe RubinoosStepford KnivesThe Grip WeedsPopdudesRonnie DarkThe Flashcubes,Chris von SneidernThe Bottle Kids1.4.5.The SmithereensPaul Collins’ BeatThe Hit SquadThe RulersThe Legal MattersMaura & the Bright LightsLisa Mychols, and Mr. Encrypto & the Cyphers. You gotta have it, so order it here. A digital download version (minus The Smithereens’ track) is also available from Futureman Records.



An infinite number of songs can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

An earlier version of this chapter from my forthcoming book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) appeared as an entry in my weekly 10 Songs feature on 1/5/2021
This slightly expanded version was previewed in my weekly GREM! video blog (GREM! # 18), and makes its first complete printed appearance today.

MELANIE WITH THE EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: Lay Down (Candle In The Rain)Written by Melanie SafkaProduced by Peter SchekerykSingle, Buddah Records, 1970
My Mom hated Melanie. I mean, it wasn’t anything personal; if Melanie Safka had shown up at our house or something, I’m sure Mom would have offered her a bite to eat and a chance to sit and relax for a bit, all the while politely begging Ms. Safka not to sing. The distaste was based purely on artistic grounds; when Mom was working at a factory, Melanie’s 1971 hit “Brand New Key” came on the radio. It came on the radio repeatedly, as hit records are inclined to do. Over the clang ‘n’ clatter of hardware and machinery, the waifish voice trilling I got a brand new pair of roller skates, you got a brand new key reached Mom’s ears like Trotsky’s icepick. Mom thought it was the worst approximation of music she’d ever heard. Experiencing the song again at a later time–outside the factory, away from the industrial thrum and bang of assembly work–did not improve Mom’s initial impression, nor did any subsequent spin improve Mom’s view of the song. Noise. This is pop music?

I was eleven years old at the time. And while I may have enjoyed teasing Mom about this song she disliked so much, I didn’t have any particular love of it, either.


Although “Brand New Key”‘s hit reign in ’71 was the first time I recall hearing Melanie’s name in connection with a song, it was not the first Melanie song I knew. In September of 1970, when I was entering sixth grade, one of my favorite radio records was “Look What They’ve Done To My Song Ma,” which was written by Melanie and a hit for The New Seekers. Listening now to both The New Seekers’ single and Melanie’s own recording of that song, I’d swear it was actually Melanie that I heard on the radio as middle school beckoned. That doesn’t likely; it was almost certainly The New Seekers getting airplay on AM Top 40 in Syracuse, my stubborn contrary memory notwithstanding.

But I betcha I also heard Melanie’s first Top 10 hit, “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain),” earlier that same year, when I was still safely ensconced in elementary school. What a terrific, uplifting song, with the sanctified might of The Edwin Hawkins Singers lifting Melanie up to soar as high as the angels above. I’d had no real use for the straight black Gospel sound of The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ huge 1969 hit “Oh Happy Day” when I was nine, but “Lay Down” effortlessly mingled their celestial sound with Melanie’s folk-singer vibe, and it all wound up as pop music. Irresistible pop music. Forget the damned roller skates. “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” is the key, right here.

“We were so close/There was no room/We bled inside each other’s wounds.” Well, the lyrics pin this one to the Viet Nam War era. “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)” was inspired by Melanie’s performance at Woodstock, a song written to express how it felt for her to see this massive crowd–perhaps not really a half a million strong, but giving the impression of a large, large number–as she sang and played her own songs of peace. The rain came down. You can hear her on the Woodstock Two album, performing “My Beautiful People” and “Birthday Of The Sun,” dedicating her music with a giggle to the beautiful, wet people. You can hear her smile. You can hear her belief. 

After Woodstock, Melanie took all of what she’d seen, all of what she felt, and turned it into “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).” Raise the candles high. If you don’t we could stay black against the night. The Edwin Hawkins Singers provide amazing grace, immortal soul, an oh-happy-day’s journey into night. Raise them higher again. We could stay dry against the rain.

In the ’70s, I listened to my sister’s copy of Woodstock Two, transferring Melanie’s “My Beautiful People” (along with tracks by Jefferson Airplane and Joan Baez) to cassette mix tapes I made by placing my little deck right next to one of the stereo speakers. You can laugh at my lo-fi approach, but I’m still pretty sure that’s how K-Tel did it. In high school, I bought a cutout copy of the two-LP compilation Dick Clark 20 Years Of Rock N’ Roll, a collection which included Melanie’s “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).” It was the first and only Melanie track I ever owned. The set also included “Oh Happy Day” among its varied treats by DionOtis ReddingThe Shangri-LasFats Domino, and Tommy James and the Shondells. It did not credit The Edwin Hawkins Singers on the Melanie track, and I doubt I even realized it was them singing those heavenly Lay down, Lay down!s behind our Melanie. I didn’t appreciate Hawkins and ensemble at the time. I do now.  

I did appreciate Melanie, and I confess that it wasn’t just on account of her singing. I was a boy. When “Brand New Key” was still a recent radio memory, I saw some photographs of Melanie for the first time, and the notion of lying down with her seemed very appealing to this eleven-year-old. 

I don’t think Mom would have approved.


You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 

Hey! If you buy from Amazon, consider making your purchases through links at Pop-A-Looza. A portion of your purchase there will go to support Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do). Thinking Amazon? Think Pop-A-Looza.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at You can read about our history here.

The many fine This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio compilation albums are still available, each full of that rockin’ pop sound you crave. A portion of all sales benefit our perpetually cash-strapped community radio project:

Volume 1: download
Volume 2: CD or download
Volume 3: download
Volume 4: CD or download
Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio:  CD or download
Carl’s writin’ a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)will contain 165 essays about 165 tracks, each one of ’em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1). My weekly Greatest Record Ever Made! video rants can be seen in my GREM! YouTube playlist. And I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl.


All The World’s A Stage

This celebration of columnist Carl Cafarelli’s history as a fan of live theater originally appeared at Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) on September 17, 2019. As you may have noticed, the world has changed a bit since then. Cafarelli adds this 2020 preface:

“When I wrote this in 2019, live theater was active and vibrant. I had recently made my first-ever trip to see a play on Broadway. I was looking forward to continued exposure to local theatrical productions in Syracuse, and my wife and I hoped to make Broadway jaunts an annual event. The quarantine scene squashed that plan for now. We’ll get back to Broadway someday.”

I have always loved the theater. I have no specific recollection of my first experience as a theater-goer, though it was probably something along the lines of an elementary school production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Mrs. Richards’ third grade class at Bear Road Elementary used to put that one on every year, a tradition which ended after I took on the lead role myself as a third-grader in 1968. I guess I broke it. Sorry…?

As a budding li’l narcissist, I certainly liked the idea of being a star of stage and screen. But I left the footlights and floorboards behind me after sparring with all the Whos down in Whoville in ’68. My love of theater continued to grow nonetheless.

Granted, I was mostly a passive fan; I went along with parents or siblings to whatever school production or community theater extravaganza they wanted to see. But I was a willing participant, and I enjoyed most of these outings, maybe even all of them. It wasn’t Broadway, but it was captivating.

The details blur in memory. I recall seeing my cousin Maryann play the lead in The Pompeian Players’ staging of The Unsinkable Molly Brown; I later saw a TV rerun of the film version starring Debbie Reynolds, and sniffed dismissively that Maryann was the better Molly Brown. I saw at least two Famous Artists Playhouse presentations put on at Henninger High School, Three Men On A Horse (with Bert Parks and Abe Vigoda) and Dames At Sea (with former TV Catwoman Julie Newmar). I think my sister Denise had small parts in both; she was definitely in Three Men On A Horse, playing an intrepid newspaper reporter, crying out, “What a story!” See, acting ran in the family. There was also a Cicero High School production of Carnival–one of my favorite musicals–which I think we went to see just because we wanted to see it.

Julie Newmar wore a slightly different wardrobe for her role in Dames At Sea

All of the above plays were presented to me in the early ’70s (though Carnival may have been a tiny bit later in the timeline). An eighth grade class trip to New York City in 1973 added Jesus Christ Superstar to my theater-goin’ resumé, an off-Broadway production that was as close as I got to the Great White Way. They say the neon lights were bright on Broadway, but I could not verify that claim firsthand. 

Seeking (and failing) to appear more cool than I actually was, I think I distanced myself from plays while in high school; if I did in fact see any musicals during my sentence at North Syracuse Central High School, the memory of it/them is gone. I wish I had been more willing to participate, whether as an audience or an unlikely actor, but I had walls to build around me, and that took up most of my time.

The interest started to rekindle slightly in college at Brockport. I saw a campus production of Pippin, and although I didn’t really like the play itself, at least I went to see it. A Shakespeare course brought me to Geva Theatre in Rochester for Twelfth Night; I was suffering from pink eye that night, but somehow managed to enjoy the play anyway. I took one analytical theater course, and it seems like we must have seen a play in connection with that; maybe it was Pippin? Can’t remember. I retain three chief memories of that course: a theater-major classmate’s fairly accurate imitation of the professor; the enticing prospect of the class meeting the playwright Eugène Ionesco (a meeting cancelled because Ionesco fell ill); and a late-night study session with a female classmate. The latter was probably not what you’re thinking; although we goofed around and giggled like the teenagers we were, we were platonic pals, and we actually did study. (Though I confess that, looking back, I’m not sure if she may have been afraid I was going to try to kiss her, or hoping that I would. The former is more likely. No boundaries were breached in this session.)

For dramatic purposes, the parts of my theatre classmates and Eugène Ionesco will be played by Miss Julie Newmar

It was really after graduating from college that I started wanting to see plays again. I moved into an apartment in Brockport with my girlfriend (and eventual lovely wife) Brenda, and we were occasionally desperate for something to do on the weekends in that small village. We saw movies, we caught two area rock ‘n’ roll bands (The Insiders and The Party Dogs) on the too-rare opportunities they played within walking distance, and we enjoyed beer. 

And we saw plays when we could. Carousel at the college. Brigadoon and It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s Superman at Brockport High School, and I think Bye Bye Birdie at the high school, too. Somewhere in there we saw The Rocky Horror Show on a visit to Syracuse. I don’t remember any more than those, and I don’t remember seeing any plays when we lived in Buffalo 1982-87. But the interest had been re-established.

We’ve lived in Syracuse since 1987. During that time, we’ve seen plays whenever we could. High school plays. Community theater. Syracuse Stage. Touring companies. Shakespeare in the park. Children’s theater, when our daughter Meghan was young. Fiddler On The RoofThe Grapes Of WrathLa Cage Aux FollesYou’re A Good Man, Charlie BrownThe Sound Of MusicThe Music ManOliver! Guys And DollsGreaseThe Pajama GameDamn YankeesHairThe Last Five YearsThe Tempest. Brenda, Meghan, and I saw Wicked at the Civic Center, adored it, and we got to see it again at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London in 2010. Brenda has seen it a total of three times, and Meghan has seen it four times. And we have been changed for good.

In the summer of 2019, I finally–FINALLY!–saw my first play on Broadway. Brenda and I had been talking for ages about taking a bus to New York, seeing what matinees might be available at the discount ticket booth, and then catching a return bus to Syracuse the same night. We got up early, made it to Manhattan, and grabbed tickets to see Oklahoma! at Circle In The Square. A wonderful, thoroughly exhausting day, and a dream at long last come true. Broadway. It was daylight, but I do believe the neon lights were bright regardless.

We’re going to try to do that again, maybe make it a once (or twice?) a year treat. And we’re going to continue to see plays in Syracuse when we can. This past Sunday, we saw Keenan Scott II‘s powerful new work Thoughts Of A Colored Man, which we believe is Broadway-bound and will eventually be Tony-nominated. We really, really hope to see Hamilton some day. The play’s the thing. Musical, drama, comedy. We will stand and applaud. Theater. Welcome to the theater.

Ken Wulf Clark and Hanley Smith in The Last Five Years at Syracuse Stage, 2019


You can support this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon: Fund me, baby! 
Fans of pop music will want to check out Waterloo Sunset–Benefit For This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, a new pop compilation benefiting SPARK! Syracuse, the home of This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & CarlTIR’N’RR Allstars–Steve StoeckelBruce GordonJoel TinnelStacy CarsonEytan MirskyTeresa CowlesDan PavelichIrene Peña, Keith Klingensmith, and Rich Firestone–offer a fantastic new version of The Kinks’ classic “Waterloo Sunset.” That’s supplemented by eleven more tracks (plus a hidden bonus track), including previously-unreleased gems from The Click BeetlesEytan MirskyPop Co-OpIrene PeñaMichael Slawter (covering The Posies), and The Anderson Council (covering XTC), a new remix of “Infinite Soul” by The Grip Weeds, and familiar TIRnRR Fave Raves by Vegas With RandolphGretchen’s WheelThe Armoires, and Pacific Soul Ltd. Oh, and that mystery bonus track? It’s exquisite. You need this. You’re buying it from Futureman.

(And you can still get our 2017 compilation This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio, Volume 4, on CD from Kool Kat Musik and as a download from Futureman Records.)

Get MORE Carl! Check out the fourth and latest issue of the mighty Big Stir magazine at

Hey, Carl’s writin’ a book! The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1) will contain 100 essays (and then some) about 100 tracks, plus two bonus instrumentals, each one of ’em THE greatest record ever made. An infinite number of records can each be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Updated initial information can be seen here: THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE! (Volume 1).