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January 2018

Sunday Morning Dance Break - Can't Stop The Feeling!

JustinGood morning and Happy Sunday! Hope you all go out and make it an amazing day, no matter your circumstances, no matter the weather  - because to do otherwise would be to waste a once in a lifetime event known as "today"! OK I know that's schmaltzy, but it's the mood I'm in. 

This song and video by Justin Timberlake seems perfect for this morning's Dance Break - even the people in the video 'can't stop the feeling' and have the urge to move, dance, cavort. 

There have been times when I've not felt like doing much of anything, the weight of the world pushes down on me and I feel as though I'll never ever climb out of from under it. But most times, it's music (like this) that gives me the strength of will to push it off of me, at least temporarily (I'm being a realist here). 

So, no matter what you're doing: get up. Cavort. Dance. MOVE. I believe that the more you do, the more you want to do. When that's harmful substances, that's a problem, but when it's feeling good/dancing, well, that's OK! 

And, of course, don't forget to JUMP FOR JOY! 




Saturday Morning Dance Break: Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah)

Good morning and Happy Saturday! 

Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 8.10.49 AMBest to you all reading this - hope all is well on your end! Today, a little video from singer Andy Grammer - I first heard this song a few months ago when I was officiating a wedding on Staten Island. I was there in the car with the grooms and this came on and it LIT ME UP. And you know, some days you just really need that. God knows I've been kind of in a funk for awhile so HALLELUJAH thank you Andy for this song! 

So, this morning write in the comments below here or on FB (here is preferable) why you, yes you, you sexy effer you, think it's good to be alive! And, not for anything, think about it this way (as Simon Pegg said last year) - in all the millions of years that the Earth has been around, we were honored to have had the amazing fortune to have shared a planet with David Bowie. That, in and of itself, is reason it's GOOD TO BE ALIVE. 

Now listen to the song and GET UP whereever you are and enjoy a Saturday Morning Dance Break. Not only do you DESERVE it, you NEED it! :) 

(side note: this is the kind of crazy energy this song gives me and I hope it does a little something for you, too) 




Happy Birthday, A.B. Lugo #ablugo #SpanishCoffeeBlackNoSugar #SCbns #book #poetry #HowDoYouLikeYourCoffee

Happy Friday all! Today, a short blog in praise of my pal, A.B. Lugo, on his birthday which is this Sunday, January 21. 

But first, a word about A.B. and birthdays. I've known A.B. since February 2004 and I still don't know how old he is. Truly. I have no idea. 

BlogablugoI first met A.B. when I was producing and emceeing a talk show at a club in Chelsea in 2004. He was one of my first guests as a playwright and actor associated with Wings Theater, for which I'd done shows in years prior. A.B. noticed that I was trying to host the show AND take promotional pictures of the show at the same time. He offered to come back the next week and shoot for me in exchange for drinks. It wasn't a great deal for him but I was grateful to have a little help if only for the second week of the show. 

Well, the second week turned into the third week and the first month turned into 12. The show got cancelled and I created a Bingo night at another club in town and A.B. followed. And then every week for the next ten years, A.B. showed up to shoot. I cannot over explain how valuable he was to the success of the show and how valuable he became as my friend. 

In the 2 1/2 years since the end of the Bingo night, A.B. went on to produce and emcee a karaoke show in east Harlem, write a book of poetry when his parents died, meet a wonderful girl, move to Colorado to be with her, and they are expecting their first child later this year. He's back in town this and next weekend to perform his latest one man show, BBC, at JACK in Brooklyn. Click here for more info/schedules/ticket information

And I still don't know how old he is. One year, in defiance of this, I simply guessed and gave him a cake at bingo that celebrated his 50th birthday. I figured this would goad him into telling me his real age. No deal. Even when he left town, I expected to be finally rid of this mystery. But noooo! :) And the funny thing is, A.B. keeps track of what fictional age he'd be now (is it like 58 or something, I've forgotten! lol) 

So here's to A.B. on his birthday. You are timeless. Ageless. and a real friend. All the best and Happy Birthday! 

A.B.'s book SPANISH COFFEE: BLACK, NO SUGAR can be purchased at Amazon by clicking here.    

Time to Vacation in San Francisco! #sanfrancisco

26733479_10156176062864432_5902698867720176978_nHi all! You know, there are times when you're tired of beating your head against a wall in ... well, frustration would be a word that I've used quite often over the past few months/couple years. And there are times then when you have to say "I need a frickin break from all of... this" (while gesturing at, well, all of ... this). So it's with great happiness that the Mister and I are taking a few days off of the Island and traveling to San Francisco which, frankly, always seems like an island of sorts to me as well. One of my bestestest pals lives there and we're visiting him and a few others. If you're reading this, and you live in the San Fran area and want to meet up, drop me a line in the comments section or Facebook or email me or whatever. I'll probably run into you on the street at some point and you'll admonish me for not making a concrete plan with you and well, I will nod and smile and say sorry and then we'll get a drink and forget about it. Even if it's 9am. Because, it's vacation and there are no rules on vacation. It's kind of like Fight Club. or Vegas. Or. Well, who cares. :) 

Enjoy the video below, Jeanette MacDonald's San Francisco is one of my all time favorites so enjoy. And I'll catch when (and if) I resurface). 


Bird's Eye View #Bogdan Teodorescu

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 11.15.05 AMHello all and welcome to Monday - no doubt that after the holidays and the intense cold, we're all happy to be getting back to our routines. My routine is job hunting (which is a routine I'd like to break so that I can, you know, work, but I digress). 

Anyway, today let's follow the example of filmmaker Bogdan Teodorescu and find perspective 'up and above' of the snarl and crazy of the world we find ourselves in these days. Yes, we should absolutely keep abreast of what's happening (it is essential to be informed) but we must also not lose perspective. Or, you can just enjoy this for the two or three minutes of peace it will give you to soar above and look down on beautiful countryside. 


Up and Above #2017 from Bogdan Teodorescu on Vimeo.

Super Team Family Is My Jam #superteamfamily @RossPearsall #comicbooks #DCComics #Marvel #batgirl

BlogsuperteamfamilyHappy Saturday morning all - hope that the first week of 2018 has been a blast - or, at least, a time to finish resting, relaxing, and recharging from the holiday season madness! :) 

This morning, a few words about one of my all time favorite blogs - Super Team Family. If you're not a comic book fan, this site won't mean squat to you but for those of us who have enjoyed a few years of comic booking, this site is a joy.

You see, there used to be a comic book called Super Team Family and it was published by DC Comics in the 70s. Back in the late 70s, DC created a line of "Family" books - one for Superman, one for Batman and also the Super Team Family where they would publish team ups. I seem to remember that Super Team Family consisted of reprints of past team ups of heroes (but I will be happy to be corrected). As a side note, DC also published a comic book called The Brave and the Bold which also featured super hero team ups, but these were new stories. Originally, Brave and the Bold featured sort of anyone teaming up with anyone... but at some point, it became a Batman only team up book. Realistically, however, Batman could only be shoehorned into so many other heroes' stories without it getting a little ridiculous since Batman doesn't have any powers (and, at the time I was reading, in the 70s and 80s, he was still 'just a man in a bat suit' rather than the more modern interpretation that he can single handedly go up against the entire Justice League of America and win... but I digress significantly). 

Anyway, artist Ross Pearsall conceived of a site where he'd create covers for team ups he wished would happen - not just between DC Comics characters, but between any character from any company. And thus the Super Team Family blog was born. I don't pretend to know all the history and frankly, it's not that important to know in order to enjoy. If all the site had been created for was to have a mock cover featuring time traveler hero Booster Gold and the Tom Baker Doctor Who, then I'd be OK with that. But my latest favorite is Ms. Marvel and Batgirl (but then, I'm a kind of Supergirl and Batgirl fan for some reason so anything with Batgirl is going to appeal to me). If you're  a comic book fan and this all sounds appealing to you, please check out the site by clicking here. 

BlogbatgirlAs a side note, speaking of Batgirl, my pal Frank reports that there is a new omnibus collection of Batgirl stories from 1967 - 1977. It's not comprehensive but if you like your bat character with a few curves and long red hair (and I know Todd is sitting there reading this nodding his head), then this is for you. Available at finer comic shops across the land. 

That Did Not Diminish My Childhood #StarWarsSpoilers #TheLastJedi #StarWars #comicbooks #DCComics

A common complaint about the new Star Wars flick, The Last Jedi, is that it has ruined people's childhoods. Apparently because Luke dies (sorry, spoiler) and has more or less failed to live up to the mantle of hero in the way that fans think he should have, this has ruined 40 years worth of devotion. 

First, that's ridiculous. If 40 years can be rubbed out over the course of one movie, then I question what kind of fan you are. 

Second, and most importantly, throughout The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Luke is seen as a hero throughout the galaxy. His name is said reverently and apparently he has inspired others to tap into the Force. There is real beauty in his story - especially in his final sacrifice. I can't think of a better arc for him and I'm very happy with it. 

1549496_10152146001504432_1757279747_nGrowing up I loved reading Harvey comics. Casper, Richie Rich, Wendy, etc captured my imagination. The stories were funny and fanciful and I loved them. But my sister thought that I, as a 12 year old, should be reading something more 'adult' in nature. So one day when my parents, she and I were traveling in our Winnebago, we stopped in to the Clock Tower Resort located in Rockford, IL In the gift store, they had a spinner rack with three bagged super hero comics. My sister liked the one featuring someone saying Superman was the pits (it was her 'catch phrase' at the time). So on the way home, I read The Flash, Action Comics, and Justice League of America. I was hooked and spent the next decade a very hard core reader up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths changed the continuity from multiple earths to one Earth. The 12 issue story was great but not really well thought out and post Crisis DC Comics has often been a muddle where creators have continuously tried to rework the revision. I stopped reading regularly in the late 80s although I have kept up with occasional stories now and then. 

Along the way most of my childhood heroes either died (but came back) or their origins changed (how many versions of Wonder Woman's origin exist?) or they became 'grim and gritty' (I was bored with this direction as soon as it appeared). But at no time did I feel like my childhood had been diminished. 

Out of curiosity, I googled the Clock Tower only to discover that it had fallen into disrepair and had been sold to a developer last May. Last report was that it was in the middle of demolition last month. 

I should mention here that the Winnebago was sold in 1982 after my father died of cancer and we were basically broke. I should also mention that after another 30 years of living in her house, my mom passed away in 2012 and the house was sold. The new owners have made massive changes at least the exterior of the house and it looks amazing. 

Is my childhood gone because fictional superheroes I loved died/got gritty? or that things from my growing up were sold, demolished, changed, upgraded? 

Well, no. 

Life is evolution and nothing can stay the same no matter how much we'd like it to. You can't keep your childhood in amber, bubble-wrapped from the rigors of the march of time. 

And even if you could... would you want it to?



Time Lapsing in Florence, Italy #florence #italy #travel #europe #eurail

Florence1988Welcome to Thursday. On the east coast, we're enjoying a 'snow day' - intense winds and blowing snow. The only upside to being on the job hunt is that oy, I don't have to go out in this mess. :)

I stumbled across a little time lapse video this morning and I swooned. It's a quick tour of one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Florence, Italy, which I've been in love with since 1986. 

I'll admit it: my love for Florence, Italy stems solely from the movie "A Room With a View". Whew, feels good to get that off my chest. My name is Andrew Altenburg and I sometimes base my love for things based solely on a movie I saw. 

I first saw the movie in autumn 1986 when I lived in London on a study abroad program but it wasn't until late April 1988 when I was traveling around Europe on a Eurorail pass that I got to actually visit for two glorious days (see picture to the right).

I visited on the cheap but I was OK with that. I didn't care where I slept, I just wanted to be there. And those two days validated my intense love for the city. I don't know why. I hadn't been there before nor had I known anyone who had, I just fell in love with this place immediately.

In fact, it felt like I'd been there before. That's happened a couple of times since: in 1991, I took a trip to New York for a week and I felt immediately at home (I had been before but it didn't hit me in the same way) and then, in 2013 when I was on a cruise and we stopped at Saint John's. 

I've wanted to go back for a longer visit to Florence, and, at times, I've even dreamed of the idea of living there for a few months ....or forever. Something about it just feels like home to me.  I don't really think that I'll ever live there, but I hope to go back before too much longer. It is one of the top five things on my bucket list. :) 

Anyway, I hope that you enjoy this video.  If you haven't been, this quick tour of one of the most beautiful places on Earth, will make you a devotee! 

Stay warm today all!  

The Grand Tour to Florence. Italy Timelapse & Hyperlapse from Kirill Neiezhmakov on Vimeo.


"Santa Is a Psychedelic Mushroom" #santaclause #shaman #mushrooms

SantamushroomsOK right off the bat, I should mention here that I don't consume or am encouraging anyone to consume mushrooms (although, full disclosure, I've tried twice and gotten sick both times, wah wahhhh) but this is a super cool video that I found from The New York times on the possible origins of the Santa Claus mythology. I find it fascinating and probable.

Embedded in the video (and stated explicitly towards the end) is the idea that that the gifts we should be giving ourselves and others, is the gift of spiritual reflection. That's not going to play very well with our corporate/Capitalistic culture, but it seems to me to be the real reason for the season. After all, it is the birth of Jesus and, other than on some very disturbing memes, Jesus tends to the poor and shares humble philosophy. Focusing so much on 'stuff' is a symptom of the illness that threatens to destroy our culture (and, by extension, the world). 

Anyway, the video is very interesting and will, at least, stimulate discussion. Enjoy! 



Santa Is a Psychedelic Mushroom from The New York Times - Video on Vimeo.