Archive for December, 2011

almost heaven, south new jersey

jon bon jovi, back from the dead. photo by david bergman.

Okay, okay. We’re all getting a little loopy as holiday madness heads into the home stretch. What else could explain the death yesterday of Jon Bon Jovi – or, rather, his very unreal, manufactured death.

Facebook, Twitter and just about every internet means of speeding up the rumor mill went into overdrive by reporting that Bon Jovi died in Asbury Park yesterday after going into cardiac arrest. Supposedly, paramedics were summoned, only to find him in a coma. Supposedly, CPR was performed. Supposedly, Bon Jovi was on his way to Rock and Roll heaven at the age of 49.

Bon Jovi looked remarkably fit, however, after posting a photo of himself last night with a card reading “Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey.”

Last we checked, though, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was still officially dead.

Pet Calendar, Oct. 4-11

Oakland Tribune October 3, 2008 | Gary Bogue Saturday Adoptions — 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. — TVAR; Pleasanton Farmers Market, First and West Angela streets, Pleasanton; dogs/cats.

— 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — Safe-Cat Foundation; Pet Care Depot, 2000 Bishop Drive, San Ramon; cats.

— 10 a.m.-2 p.m. — ARF; Pet Food Express, 5404 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord; cats/kittens.

— 11 a.m.-5 p.m. — Nine Lives; 2706 Pinole Valley Road, Pinole Valley Shopping Center; dogs/cats.

— Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.R.P.; PetSmart, 4655 Century Blvd., Pittsburg; dogs/cats.

— Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.L.O.; Pet Food Express, 3448 Deer Valley Road Slatten Ranch Plaza, Antioch; cats/dogs.

— Noon-3 p.m. — Truffles Animal Rescue Adoption Fair; Petco, 2005 Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon; dogs/kittens.

— Noon-3 p.m. — FCF; Petco, 2005 Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon; cats.

— Noon-3 p.m. — FCF; Petco, 11976 Dublin Road, Dublin; cats.

— Noon-3 p.m. — Purrfect Cat Rescue; Pet Club, 27451 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward; cats.

— Noon-4 p.m. — Pets & Pals; Pet Food Express, 5404 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord; cats. More at

— Noon-4 p.m. — SPCA; Petco, 1825 Salvio St., Concord; dogs/ cats.

— Noon-4 p.m. — TVAR; PetSmart, 6960 Amador Plaza Road, Dublin; cats.

— Noon-4 p.m. — TLCC; Pet Food Express, 785 Oak Grove Road, Concord; cats.

— 1-4 p.m. — Bee Rescue; Holistic Hound, Walnut Square, Berkeley (Behind Peet’s); cats/kittens.

— 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 2158 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill; cats.

— 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Petco, 1301 S. California St., Walnut Creek; cats.

— 2-5 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 3610 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette; cats.

— 2-5 p.m. — TVAR; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

— 3-6 p.m. — FCF; Petco, 420 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito; cats. in our site pet food express

SUNDAY ADOPTIONS 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — EBARR; Pet Food Express, 5404 Ygnacio Valley Road, Concord; dogs/cats.

— Noon-3 p.m. — ARF; Blessing of the Animals festival, Peace Lutheran Church, 3210 Tassajara Road, Danville; cats, kittens, dogs.

— Noon-3 p.m. — Truffles Animal Rescue Adoption Fair; Petco, 2005 Crow Canyon Place, San Ramon; dogs/kittens.

— Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.R.P.; Pet Food Express, 5829 Lone Tree Way, Slatten Ranch, Antioch; dogs/cats.

— Noon-3 p.m. — H.A.L.O.; PetSmart, 4655 Century Blvd., Pittsburg; cats/dogs.

— Noon-3 p.m. — Purrfect Cat Rescue; Petco, 31090 Dyer Street, Union City; cats.

— Noon-4 p.m. — SPCA; Petco, 1825 Salvio St., Concord; dogs/ cats.

— Noon-4 p.m. — TVAR; PetSmart, 6960 Amador Plaza Road, Dublin; cats.

— Noon-5 p.m. — Second Chance Cat Rescue; Petco, 2310 South Shore Center, Alameda; cats.

— 12:30-4:30 p.m. — FFF; Pet Food Express, 785 Oak Grove Road, Concord; cats.

— 1-3:30 p.m. — Purrfect Cat Rescue; Pet Club, 27451 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward; cats. this web site pet food express

— 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 2158 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill; cats.

— 1-4 p.m. — CC4C; Petco, 1301 S. California St., Walnut Creek; cats.

— 1-4 p.m. — FCF; Pet Food Express, 2220 Mountain Blvd. # 122, Montclair; cats.

— 2-5 p.m. — Safe-Cat Foundation; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

— 2-5 p.m. — CC4C; Pet Food Express, 3610 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette; cats.

— 2-5 p.m. — TVAR; Pet Food Express, 4460 Tassajara Road, Dublin; cats.

EVENTS Feral Cat Foundation Raffle — Drawing is Oct. 19. First prize is seven-day Gold Coast Maui, Hawaii, vacation. Plus trips to Kona, Hawaii; British Columbia; and more, and many cash prizes. All donations help cats rescued by FCF. Tickets are $2 each; $10 for six. To order call 925-829-9098. See all prizes at

MISCELLANEOUS ARF Adoptions — 3-7 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; noon-4:30 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek; cats/dogs.

— Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society — Noon-6 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Mondays; 2700 Ninth St., Berkeley; 510-845-7735. Pet Loss Support Group every third Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. Call Roy at above number for more details. Drop- ins OK.

— Martinez Animal Services — Cat adoptions daily, PetSmart, 4566 Century Way, Pittsburg. Cats, rabbits daily at PetSmart, 1700 Willow Pass Road, Concord. Cats daily at PetSmart, 3700 Klose Way, Building 4, Richmond. Cats/kittens daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Rodies, 8863 Marsh Creek Road, Clayton.

— Valley Humane Society — Call 925-426-8656 for details;

SPAY/NEUTER HELP Low-cost spay/neuter clinic — ARF’s shelter, 2890 Mitchell Drive, Walnut Creek. Appointment: Call 925-296-3105, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays to schedule. Prices: Visit clinic.html.

— Low-cost — Spay/neuter clinic at Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society Thursdays for qualified residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Cats: $20 spay/neuter; dogs: $40 spay/neuter. Appointments only by calling 510-845-3633. Feral Fix Day is third Thursday of each month. Traps are available to rent.

— Spay/neuter assistance — Low-cost vet referrals and financial assistance for Contra Costa County residents. Contra Costa Humane Society, 925-279-2247.

— Free spay/neuter — For feral cats in East Contra Costa County by Homeless Animals’ Lifeline Organization (H.A.L.O.). They also have limited funds for free domestic cat spay/neuters for low- income families. Call voice mail at 925-473-4642, or visit

— Low-cost spay/neuter clinic — Financial assistance for low- income Alameda and Contra Costa counties residents. Tri-Valley SPCA Spay/Neuter Center, 4651 Gleason Drive, Dublin. Free spay/neuter for pit bulls. Appointments: 925-479-9674.

— No-cost — Feral cat trap rental and no-cost spay/neuter surgeries — For eligible feral cats, from East Bay SPCA to help reduce homeless cats in East Bay. For more information, Alameda and Contra Costa residents call 510-563-4635, or visit and click “The Feral Fix.” Send items at least a week in advance of publication to Gary’s Pet Calendar, c/o Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596- 8099;

Gary Bogue

wild (or not) about harry

harry connick, jr. in "on a clear day you can see forever." photo by nicole rivelli/the hartman group.

You have to marvel at the sheer stamina of an artist like Harry Connick, Jr.

In concert on Sunday for two intimate but very sold out performances at the St. Marks Roman Catholic Church in Richmond (where he also performed in March), Connick is maintaining a seemingly unreal schedule this holiday season.

For starters, the singer, pianist and bandleader opened on Broadway last weekend in a new version of the Burton Lane/Alan Jay Lerner musical On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.

The production was first staged on Broadway in 1965 and popularized in a 1970 film version starring Barbara Streisand. But when word came last March that Connick would be featured in a new On a Clear Day, Dave Izkoff of The New York Times called the impending production “a stage revival we didn’t expect to see in this or any other lifetime.”

Ben Brantley was even less gracious in appraising Connick’s portryal of Dr. Mark Bruckner in Monday’s Times review of On a Clear Day’s opening night performance.  

“He has the look of a man just out of grueling dental surgery, who is both in pain and still semi-anesthetized. And he makes even an up number like the title song sound like an exquisitely sung dirge.”

We can only assume the musical will call upon an understudy for a Sunday matinee performance so that Connick can make his way to Richmond.

There is no denying that Broadway is in Connick’s blood. He was performer and composer for the short-lived 2001 musical Thou Shalt Not and scored big in the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game.

But Connick has also placed his music front and center on Broadway stages. Performances from a two-week engagement in July 2010 at the Neil Simon theatre were released last summer as Harry Connick, Jr. In Concert on Broadway. The recording has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category. It will compete in February against records by Tony Bennett, Susan Boyle, Seth MacFarlane and Barbra Streisand.

Those lucky enough to have tickets for the Richmond concerts are likely to be hearing something more seasonal than Broadway fare, however. Connick’s break from New York this weekend was advertised as “Harry Connick, Jr. Performing Christmas Music.” Needless to say, the singer/pianist will have considerable of source material to draw from.

Connick has several holiday releases in his discography. But the newest, 2011’s Music from The Happy Elf, may be the most enlightening. Instead of the grand orchestral pop that dresses 1993’s When My Heart Finds Christmas or 2003’s Harry for the Holidays, Music from The Happy Elf favors instrumental jazz trio music that reveals several musical accents from Connick’s continually inspirational homeland of New Orleans.

It’s an immensely appropriate recording for the Richmond concerts: intimate, involving holiday jazz for an equally intimate setting.

Harry Connick, Jr. performs at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at the St. Marks Roman Catholic Church in Richmond. Both performances are sold out.

MARCH MADNESS; ROUNDUP; Roxbury CC grabs third place.(Sports)

The Boston Herald March 18, 2001 | Harmer, P.J.

Charles Lagoa went the length of the court and scored with six seconds left to give Roxbury Community College a 106-105 win over Vermilion C.C. in the third-place game at the NJCAA Division 3 national championships last night in Delhi, N.Y. site cedar valley college

Chris Brooks’ three-point play with 1:01 to play gave Vermilion a 105-104 lead and each team had the chance to score in the final minute.

Lagoa (25 points) grabbed a rebound on a Vermilion miss and went the distance, laying it up through traffic for the win. Vermilion’s last effort at the win fell short as the buzzer sounded.

The game featured 25 lead changes.

Vermilion opened up a nine-point lead with 7:46 to go in the first half when Edward Smith hit a pair of free throws. That was the largest lead for either team. Roxbury answered with a 14-4 run to take a 44-43 lead with 5:52 to go in the half.

The score was tied at 54 at halftime.

The second half pace was just as fast as the first and Vermilion again looked to take control. The Ironmen ran out to an 86-80 lead with 9:43 to go in the game. Roxbury ran right back into the game and tied it up at 91 with 7:23 to go when Lagoa scored.

Roxbury (31-1) fell to Cedar Valley College in the semifinals on Friday night.

“I’m proud of how they responded,” said Roxbury coach Malcolm Wynn. “To be undefeated and watch your dreams of a repeat championship come to an end, they showed a lot of character in being able to come back.” Wynn is retiring from coaching.

“I got a little emotional when one of the guys hugged me and wouldn’t let go,” said Wynn. “You feel the finality of it. It’s been a great run.” Keenan Small added 23 points for Roxbury. Johnafer White had 14 points, KaReem Horton 13 and Jared King 11. website cedar valley college

Joel Giles had 28 points to lead Vermilion (27-8). Chris Brooks and Steve Monroe each had 20, and Edward Smith added 11.

Catholic 76, William Paterson 62 – Pat Maloney didn’t remember the fourth 3-pointer he hit to help lift Catholic to its first NCAA Division 3 championship in Salem, Va. He’d imagined the fifth one 1,000 times.

Maloney hit the last two of his five 3-pointers 1:03 apart in the final minutes, ending William Paterson’s last rally and giving the Cardinals the victory.

With Catholic ahead, 57-53, Maloney padded the cushion by swishing a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:58 left. After Rashaan Barner’s tip-in at the other end, Maloney hit from about 26 feet with 1:55 left.

“The shot clock was running down and I think everyone thought (Andy) Rice was going to make a move to the basket,” Maloney said. “I was open. I was deep, but he found me and I just turned and let it fly. . . . That definitely was a shot that you end practice with yelling 3-2-1.” Women Ohio Wesleyan 70, Emmanuel 64 – At the NCAA Div. 3 championship in Danbury, Conn., Emmanuel came up short in the third-place game. Melanie Sloan (20 points, 11 rebounds) and Brianne Bognanno (10 points) led the Saints in defeat.

Washington (Mo.), which beat Emmanuel in the semifinals on Friday, defeated Messiah (Pa.), 67-45, to claim the title.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

Harmer, P.J.

critic's picks 206

How curious it is that three of the finer releases in an especially weak pack of new holiday recordings this year belong to jazz pianists whose take on Yuletide sounds could not be more varied.

Pianist Harry Connick, Jr.’s Music from The Happy Elf may be the most unexpected of the three. A veteran of several Christmas-themed recordings that showcase his big band and traditional (as well as overtly commercial) pop preferences, Elf presents Connick in one of his most inviting and overlooked settings: the piano trio.

It’s hard not to smile at the percussive cracks of drummer Arthur Larkin and Connick’s sparse piano mischief during Naughty Children of Bluesville (which sounds like O Tannenbaum trying to escape from a blues cellar) or the way the light, lullaby turns of Christmas Day melt into the intimate swing of What a Night.

Music from The Happy Elf is, aside from a 10 minute opening medley with narration, completely instrumental. Add to that the fact that all of the music is original (but revisited from works Connick composed for the stage musical of The Happy Elf) and you have a holiday recording both risky and refreshing.

One of Connick’s prime piano mentors, Ellis Marsalis, embraces his longstanding Crescent City inspirations on A New Orleans Christmas Carol

There is an understated robustness to this recording, typified by the muscular modal playing behind We Three Kings that could pass for a vintage McCoy Tyner knockabout with John Coltrane. Fun as those moments are, A New Orleans Christmas Carol delights most when Marsalis plays things cool.

Among such highlights is a duet arrangement of O Holy Night where Marsalis provides stately support behind the lean but beautifully expressive vibraphone lead of son Jason Marsalis. It’s a serene little street corner moment on an album that wears its abundant New Orleans jazz heritage proudly without overplaying its hand.

The real surprise of the pack is Geri Allen’s A Child is Born, a fascinating solo piano/keyboard recording that lightly accents a deep spiritual cast with vocal and choir accents.

The most immediately arresting example of the album’s rich solo-and-then-some sound is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. It allows Allen to overdub piano and celeste in a manner that recalls the great Bill Evans. But then vocal samples by the Women of the Gee’s Bend Quilt Collective recorded in 1941 enter as if summoned by a séance. The resulting music is beautifully (and sagely) ancient.

The tune is reprised at the end of What Child is This, minus the vocals, to affirm the spiritual roots that remain at the heart of the sounds of the season.

Mix & match: selecting the right mixer for your flavor, operational and cost objectives can make or break a cocktail.

Cheers January 1, 2008 | Ursin, Cheryl What goes into making today’s hottest cocktails?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A lot of thought. That, and quality ingredients–not least among them a quality mixer.

Bar and restaurant guests now expect a high level of quality in their cocktails, both in taste and presentation. The right mixer can deliver on both, and operators are testing and evaluating their mixer options like never before.

“It’s a ‘class to mass’ movement,” says Fannie Young, vice president of marketing for Fall River, Mass.-based Stirrings, which markets cocktail mixers, garnishes, essences and sodas. “Ten years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to find some of these popular Margarita flavors anywhere except at the finest Mexican restaurants. Now you can find them across the board, in all kinds of accounts, and mixer companies are striving to provide the taste and quality today’s customers demand.” Today’s operators are evaluating mixer quality like never before. A quality-assurance team of food scientists approves the ingredients used in cocktails, including mixers, at Olive Garden, the 621-restau-rant Italian chain headquartered in Orlando, Fla. “They look at the plant where the product is made and research where the company gets its ingredients. Then we decide, by our own standards, what the shelf-life of the product is,” says Darren Loscalzo, beverage operations manager.

Developing a cocktail at Olive Garden is “a five-gate process,” says Loscalzo. First, the company decides upon a theme–fruit-based Martinis, for example. Second, it starts developing cocktail ideas that fit that theme. Third, it looks at all the different ways each cocktail could be made, as well as what products could be used. The resulting cocktail recipes then are tested in the restaurants and, if popular, tasted for final approval at the company’s headquarters.

Taste and appearance are the top priorities when it comes to approving a new cocktail. Cost is a consideration, but it is not nearly as important as operational ease, says Loscalzo, noting an advantage mixer products have over squeezing juices and muddling flavorings by hand. “We ask our operators for feedback,” he explains. “High-volume restaurants need cocktails that can be made in two to three minutes.” Beverage professionals at 200-location Uno Chicago Grill, headquartered in Boston, Mass., also examine all ingredient options for cocktails, from fresh fruit and ingredients made in-house, including a sour and a Bloody Mary mix, to prepared mixes and syrups. “With each drink, we look at all the tools available to us and pick the best one,” says Marc Sachs, corporate beverage manager. “We have a new Margarita made with fresh ingredients, one made with Monin syrup and a frozen one made with a wonderful Island Oasis product. They all sell equally well.” Not only are restaurant operators considering all their mixer options, but they also are looking for unique ways to use those products. “The mix is now being used more as the base of the cocktail,” says Kristin Katruska, brand manager for Daily’s Cocktails & Mixers at American Beverage Corporation in Verona, Pa. “This allows the bartender or mixologist to customize and garnish the cocktail in their own signature way.” At the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami, Fla., “management and all line staff, including servers and bartenders, [are encouraged] to use and create whimsical ideas with the mixers,” says Anthony Freda, director of food and beverage. Currently, some of the most popular cocktails at the Four Seasons are its pomegranate, tangerine and watermelon Mojitos, made with Stirrings mixers and priced at $13.

FLAVOR OF THE MONTH Flavor trends come and go, however. “There was a time when everything was ‘dark berry.’ Then, it was ‘exotic fruit’ and everything was mango and pineapple,” says Uno’s Sachs. “I think we’re seeing the tip of the end of everything being purple. I think we’re going to see a lot more Asian ingredients, like ginger and lychee, and blood orange is back.” When Uno’s Pomegranate Margarita, made with Monin Pomegranate, was introduced in October, 2005, it “rocketed to the top and has stayed there,” says Sachs. Other popular cocktails at Uno, priced between $5 and $9, include a Lemon Drop Martini made with a fresh lemon sour, a Wildberry Lemonade made with Island Oasis’s new wildberry flavor and a muddled Mango Mojito made with fresh mint and mango cubes. site lemon drop martini

“We’re not trend-setters, but we’re not followers, either,” says Olive Garden’s Loscalzo. “We try to stay innovative.” He points out that the chain’s Pomegranate Margarita Martini, an example of the hot “exotic fruit” trend made with Patron Silver, Patron Citronge orange liqueur, Monin Pomegranate syrup and citrus juices, runs “neck and neck” in popularity with the chain’s more traditionally flavored Strawberry-Limoncello Martini, made with Smirnoff Citrus Flavored Vodka, Caravella Limoncello and fresh strawberry. Both drinks are priced at $7.50.

“Most of our guests still like the traditional fruit flavors–strawberry, peach, raspberry,” Loscalzo reports. “Anything strawberry sells for us.” Olive Garden guests also tend to be “sweet seekers,” he says. And they order dessert-like cocktails before, during and after their meals, cocktails such as the chain’s new Raspberry Sorbeto Martini, made with Smirnoff, Chambord and cream with a float of berry sorbet and a graham cracker rim.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Restaurant operators aren’t the only ones tracking flavor trends. The cocktail-ingredient companies actively anticipate and work to drive new flavor sensations. Monin, which currently has a portfolio of 100 products, introduces an average of 10 new flavors a year. This year’s crop of gourmet flavorings and sauces includes Candied Banana, Rock Melon Cantaloupe, Ruby Red Grapefruit and several chocolate and candy flavors, including Mayan Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and White Chocolate.

“[Most of] our new flavors are totally customer-driven,” says Mark Reinheimer, vice president of strategic marketing and partner alliances at Monin, headquartered in Clearwater, Fla. This year, for example, Monin’s new Chipotle Pineapple was developed while Monin was working on cocktail ideas with Tampa, Fla.-based OSI Restaurant Partners’ Outback Steakhouse. Chipotle Pineapple, like two of Monin’s other new products, Spicy Mango and Mayan Chocolate, which is flavored with cinnamon and chili pepper, was created in response to the trend toward Latin-inspired “sweet heat” both in food and beverage, according to Reinheimer. Tracking another trend, Monin introduced a line of organic syrups last year.

Meanwhile, Daily’s is in the midst of rolling out its new Mango Mojito, Blueberry Mojito and Caipirinha mixes, along with a line of dessert-cocktail mixes called Daily’s Divines in three flavors: A La Mode, Cheesecake and Chocolate. “And in the very near future we will be launching a premium line of Martini syrups,” says Katruska. “Trends that we see coming include the [continued popularity] of classic cocktail–i.e. Sidecars, Manhattans–and ‘superfruit’ flavors.” [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Riding the classic trend with an eye on operational ease is American Mixers, Inc. Its Dirty Sue mixer was created by Eric Toecosky and Terry Fradet, bartenders at Jones Hollywood restaurant in Los Angeles. The twice-filtered brine is made from premium olives and intended for use in Dirty Martinis. here lemon drop martini

SODAS, TOO Many companies are introducing super-premium sodas designed for use in classic cocktails. Stirrings, for example, offers a line of six “cocktail sodas,” three of which are traditional cocktail ingredients: tonic, club soda and ginger ale. The other three are pink grapefruit, tart cranberry and bitter lemon. These sodas are made of high-quality ingredients–the ginger ale contains real ginger root–and are designed for use with super-premium spirits.

Stirrrings’s Cocktail Sodas are available only in single-serve bottles. “More and more high-end bars, lounges and hotels want to serve single-serve bottles. It’s a more upscale, old-fashioned way to make a classic cocktail, rather than getting the soda from a gun,” says Young.

Other upscale soda companies that are targeting the cocktail market include Q Tonic, GuS, which stands for “Grown Up Soda,” and Fever-Tree.

“The newest, hottest flavors? There’s a lot of bitter talk going on,” says Yvan Lemoine, a bar chef and founder of iFood Studios, a food styling and product development firm in Long Island City, N.Y. that consults with companies including Torani.

Tapping that trend, Stirrings is reformulating its Essences line of extracts, increasing flavor while lowering sugar content. The current Stirrings Essences are basil, lavender and rose. In January, the company launches three new Essences flavors: lemongrass, cucumber and ginger.

One issue that remains unclear is whether customers care about the healthfulness of cocktail ingredients. Do they really care if the ingredients are all-natural, such as with the Stirrings and Fever-Tree products, or those offered by Funkin? Do they wonder how many calories are in the drink? Do they order a Pomegranate Margarita because pomegranates have a lot of antioxidants? The jury remains out.

Z Square Cafe * Restaurant + Bar in Cambridge, Mass., offers a lower-calorie Martini, called the Light Rasmopolitan, made with Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Spray, which contains approximately 30 percent fewer calories than other signature cocktails at Z Square, according to the cafe. “It’s popular, but I think that’s more because of how it looks. It’s got fresh raspberries muddled with lime in it,” says Dan McGuire, general manager.

Meanwhile Atlanta, Ga.-based Coca-Cola Company, which makes the Bacardi Mixer line of products, recently conducted a survey about frozen drinks and mixers and discovered that the least important drink quality for consumers was whether it contained all-natural or artificial ingredients. The top motivators, not surprisingly, were taste and a “nice presentation.” That said, in this environment it doesn’t hurt to mention attributes such as “all-natural” in a drink’s menu description.

Uno, for its part, enjoys great success with non-alcohol smoothies made with low-fat frozen yogurt rather than ice cream. “We have nutritional kiosks in every company restaurant and most franchises where guests can look up information on our menu items,” says Sachs. “We track the hits, and the number-one piece of information looked at is the number of calories.” Whether customers are most interested in calorie content, ingredient origin, color, presentation or taste, one thing is clear: they are demanding high-quality drinks. And that’s why, increasingly, employing a selection of quality mixers matters.

Cheryl Ursin writes about beverages and beverage management in restaurants and at retail from Houston, Texas.

Ursin, Cheryl

rockabilly billy rides again

billy burnette

Billy Burnette can’t recall the first time the riotous sounds of rockabilly grabbed his attention.

Maybe that’s because the music has surrounded, quite literally, every moment of his waking life – from the roots-driven songs his father and uncle created during the ‘50s with the acclaimed Rock and Roll Trio to the younger Burnett’s own industrious career, which has included touring and recording tenures with Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac and John Fogerty as well as a rockabilly-and-more solo career he is just now returning to.

“As far back as I can remember, music is all I have ever done,” said Burnette, who performs tonight at the Kentucky Theatre for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. “My mother told me I performed with the Rock and Roll Trio when I was about 3 ½. I’ve been told I sang Hound Dog or something with them as a kid. So I’ve been involved with music all of my life.”

Born in Memphis, the city that helped put rockabilly on the map, Burnette’s family moved to Hollywood when he was in grade school. By age 7, he cut a single for Dot Records with Rick Nelson’s band. Father Dorsey Burnette produced it.

“We lived right in the heart of Hollywood, so I wasn’t the only one in school whose family was involved in the music at the time. I just thought everyone was involved in making music and making records. My dad did it. My uncle (rockabilly great Johnny Burnette) did it. That was the way I was brought up.”

By the time Burnette was in his early teens, he had cut records with Herb Alpert and toured with Brenda Lee. Roughly a week after he finished high school, father Dorsey took him back to Memphis to meet veteran country music producer Chips Moman.

“Instead of going to college, I went to the recording studio and became a writer and singer,” Burnette said. “I kind of rediscovered my roots in Memphis then, too. I had a great time.”

In the ensuing years, Burnette wrote and recorded steadily, constructing songs and recordings that mixed contemporary country formulas with his inherent command of rockabilly. But by the early ‘80s an entirely different alliance was struck.

In 1981, Fleetwood Mac drummer/co-founder Mick Fleetwood enlisted Burnette for his side project band The Zoo. The following year, that group backed up Fleetwood Mac guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham for an appearance on Saturday Night Live. In 1984 he co-wrote So Excited with Fleetwood Mac keyboardist/singer Christine McVie and recorded a duet with Stevie Nicks during her Rock a Little sessions called Are You Mine.

So it hardly seemed surprising that Burnette was summoned when Buckingham balked at the prospect of touring behind Fleetwood Mac’s Tango in the Night album.  

“They were in the middle of production rehearsals for Tango in the Night, so they had everything in gear to go on the road,” Burnette recalled of joining Fleetwood Mac. “I guess Stevie and Lindsey must have gotten into it because they called me.

“It’s a close family, Fleetwood Mac. It’s really protected, but I was accepted in before I joined the band, really. Until that first gig in Kansas City, though, it was kind of scary. We didn’t know what the crowd was going to think. But it all went fine.”

With a more recent six year stint playing in Fogerty’s band also complete, Burnette has finally turned his attention exclusively to his own music. Along with his induction into the International Rockabilly Hall of Fame last month, Burnette has released his first solo album in a decade, Rock N Roll With It.

The album offers hearty samplings of Burnette’s rockabilly roots in tunes like the Bo Diddley-flavored Karaoke Queen and the holiday original Rock N Roll in Christmas. But it also veers into vintage pop with the Roy Orbison-inspired Only the River Knows.

“I told myself it was simply time to do an album again, one that I did by myself. I’ve never done that before. I’ve always had a producer or a record company or a band I was part of behind me. So this is the first one I did with just me and my band. It was great fun.

“I’ve been really fortunate to have played with all these great people and then to have so many people (Ray Charles, Faith Hill, Cher, Loretta Lynn, George Strait and many others) record my songs. So I am very blessed when it comes to doing this.”

Billy Burnette and Lydia Loveless perform at 7 tonight at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main. Tickets are $10. Call (859) 252-8888.

in performance: pink martini with the university of kentucky symphony orchestra

Pink Martini. Back row, standing from left: Martin Zarzar (drums & percussion), Pansy Chang (cello), Timothy Nishimoto (vocals and percussion), Robert Taylor (trombone), Nicholas Crosa (violin), Gavin Bondy (trumpet), Phil Baker (upright bass), Derek Rieth (sitting on stool; bongos & percussion). Front row on sofa:: Thomas M. Lauderdale (piano), Storm Large (vocals), Brian Davis (percussion). Photo by James Chiang.

If you have ever felt deflated by the stylistic uniformity of most orchestral pops programs, then last night’s jet-setting, global-reaching and deliciously cosmopolitan meeting between Pink Martini and the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra must have seemed like an early holiday gift.

This was far from the usual pops presentation of drab contemporary music draped with orchestral designs that seldom wander past perfunctory string arrangements. Instead pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale and the dozen-strong Portland, Ore. PM lineup offered a repertoire that embraced Afro-Cuban rhythms, swing, pop from the eras of Judy Garland and Doris Day and lyrical accents from France, Mexico, Brazil and Croatia.

Opening with an appropriately cinematic rendering of Ravel’s Bolero, PM emphasized light layers of tropical groove from a quartet of percussionists that would generously color the entire performance.

The concert didn’t always make the pop stops in paradise seem obvious, though. The Croatian-based U Plavu Zoru (At Blue Dawn) was instigated by very wintry (but altogether lovely) exchanges between PM cellist Pansy Chang and UK harpist Elaine Cook before vocals and brass fully let the light in.

Similarly, a stately, seasonally assured take on theVerdi-based La Vergine Degli Angeli prefaced what guest PM vocalist Storm Large termed as “the Material Girl of Christmas tunes,” the ‘50s-era pop nugget Santa Baby.

But for the most part, the performance reflected a winter wonderland with an eye out for sunshine. And when the full orchestral might of the UK Symphony came to bear on the music, as when Large kicked into the playful mambo-pop of the PM original And Then You’re Gone, the resulting radiance was pretty potent.

National Public Radio news correspondent Ari Shapiro, a fellow Portland-er, exhibited surprisingly strong vocal chops during the Cuban/Mexicali charm of Yo Te Quiero Siempre. But he impressed even more in his ability to fit in with PM’s versed pop playfulness, as exhibited during his mash-up with Large of Get Happy and Happy Days are Here Again.

Large had the last laugh on everyone, though, by leading the full orchestral charge through a vamp-ish Brazil that sent assorted (albeit prompted) conga lines throughout the concert hall.  It was one final blast of tropical wonder before the audience was sent back out into the cold of a very real winter evening.

thinking pink

thomas lauderdale and storm large of pink martini.

Describing the music of Pink Martini in any succinct fashion is like undertaking a global tour on a single evening – so many sounds and destinations, so little time.

Let’s use Pink Martini’s 2010 holiday recording Joy to the World as the point of departure. Its repertoire covers Ukrainian bell carols, Cold War-era orchestral American pop and a dash of Italian operatic splendor. Even the album’s most familiar tune, White Christmas, is presented twice – once in English sung by longstanding Pink Martini vocalist China Forbes and again in Japanese with the oft-dubbed “Barbara Streisand of Japan,” Saori Yuki.

But that level of musical globetrotting doesn’t begin to describe the actual performance design of Pink Martini, a self-described “little orchestra” that blends grandiose pop elegance with a hint of lounge-savvy kitsch (as shown by the 2007 hit Hey Eugene!).

So how did Pink Martini manage the artistic schooling, technical command and performance smarts to pull off a musical montage where all the world is, indeed, a stage?

For Pink Martini co-founder, pianist and occasional songsmith Thomas Lauderdale, the journey began in an unexpected cultural metropolis known as Indiana.

“That’s where I grew up,” said Lauderdale who will perform with Pink Martini in a Saturday concert at the Singletary Center for the Arts that will include the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and numerous guests. “My parents came from what you might call the earnest side of the ‘60s.

“My childhood soundtrack consisted of Ray Conniff, Ray Charles, Roger Miller, The New Christy Minstrels, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Jesus Christ Superstar. That sort of set everything up.”

So began the cultural voyage that became, in 1994, Pink Martini. Curiously, the global reach of the ensemble’s vintage pop repertoire was nurtured in very modest and unexpected settings – specifically, record stores.

“The thing is, I go to record shops around the world,” Lauderdale said. “That’s how I find a lot of great music. That’s how I discovered Saori Yuki. I found her debut album in a Portland record store.”

That unlikely introduction was something of an artistic windfall for Lauderdale. Pink Martini wound up covering Yuki’s Taya Tin, which led to the White Christmas recording for Joy to the World. Last month, Yuki and Pink Martini released a full collaborative album, 1969. It covers hits that broke out around the world during the year that gave the recording its title. As such, there are tunes sung in Japanese, French and English and music that shifts from Asian melodies to Brazilian bossa nova cool.

“So had I not gone to that record store and purchased that album, we would not have made 1969.”

Yuki will be joining Pink Martini for its current tour, but not until after the Lexington concert. Still, the Singletary show will sport several key guests that will contribute to the performance in very different ways.

In purely musical terms, the group will be teaming with the UK Symphony and conductor John Nardolillo. An orchestra collaborating with a pop artist is nothing new. But what happens when that artist turns out to be, in effect, another orchestra?

“It’s sort of like taking the band and making it 100 times more Hollywood,” Lauderdale said. “But more Hollywood in a 1940s kind-of-way. It heightens the romance. More strings, more players, bigger sound – but it’s still romantic and global at the same time.”

“The music Pink Martini plays is just spectacular,” Nardolillo added. “It’s so eclectic. One of the reasons it works so well with an orchestra is that the group is so interested in the roots of the music.

“They’re looking through old film scores from the 40s and old big band charts. They’re playing works from a real golden age of popular music. It’s marvelous stuff that we don’t have the opportunity to perform very much.”

Also with Pink Martini will be fellow Portland artist Storm Large, known to the pop mainstream for her TV appearances several years ago on the reality/talent show series Rock Star: Supernova. Large’s workload for Pink Martini over the past six months has been considerable. She was enlisted as a substitute for China Forbes, who underwent vocal chord surgery earlier this year.

“She’s incredible,” Lauderdale said. “And very smart. She studies very, very hard. She took classes so she could sing our French songs. By the end of two weeks she was conjugating and joking in French. That’s how smart she is.”

Completing the Pink Martini guest list will be Ari Shapiro, known more for his on-air work as National Public Radio’s White House correspondent than as a vocalist.

“I can’t discern that Ari has any faults whatsoever, so we’re thrilled he has joined our little troupe.”

Why so many collaborative pals? Because their input works, Lauderdale said. And that along with Pink Martini’s overall popularity, surprises him as much as anyone.

“I am constantly surprised that any of this possibly works. It just doesn’t seem like it should. It seems so implausible and impossible and so removed from most modern pop culture in America. But it is fascinating.”

Pink Martini and the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra performs at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Singletary Center for the Arts. Tickets are $45, $55, $65. Call (859) 257-4929.

Estimated tax payments for private foundations. (Brief Article)

The Tax Adviser November 1, 1992 | Cornwell, Diane; Ceko, Daniel D.

Private foundations must make estimated tax payments of the excise tax on net investment income if that tax is $500 or more for the year (Sec. 6655(g)(3)). The tax imposed is 2% of net investment income (1%, in some cases). To avoid underpayment penalties in 1992, a foundation must timely pay amounts totaling 93% of the actual excise tax liability. The requirement increases to 94% for 1993 and 1994 and to 95% thereafter. Alternatively, a foundation may pay in an amount equal to the actual excise tax shown on its prior year Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation or Section 4947(a)(1) Charitable Trust Treated as a Private Foundation. (Foundations subject to the estimated tax rules applicable to “large” corporations may not be safe by using the prior year’s tax.) Private foundations that incur an annual excise tax liability of less than $500 are not required to make estimated tax payments. However, if estimated net investment income for the year is expected to increase (e.g., through the sale of appreciated securities), a payment may be necessary. estimated tax payments here estimated tax payments

The first quarter tax payment for calendar-year foundations is due April 15. Generally, certain foundations might consider paying the entire estimated tax due for the year with the first quarter voucher, to avoid the administrative inconvenience of making additional quarterly payments during the year (otherwise due June 15, September 15 and December 15 for calendar-year foundations). Payments must be deposited with a bank authorized to receive Federal tax deposits with a Federal Tax Deposit Coupon (Form 8109 or 8109-B), at a qualified Federal tax depository bank.

From Djane Cornwell, CPA, Louisville, Ky., and Daniel D. Ceko, Esq., Chicago, Ill.

Cornwell, Diane; Ceko, Daniel D.

in performance: billy joe shaver

billy joe shaver

“I’m gonna do one here that I recorded way before most of you all were born,” said a lean and spirited Billy Joe Shaver before a sizable crowd of remarkably diverse ages last night at Cosmic Charlie’s.

The tune was Thunderbird, a song that has long emphasized the harder and, at times, harsher side of the honky tonk inspirations that have been at the heart of the veteran Texas songsmith’s best music. For Shaver, the tune was something of a sermon – one that wasn’t preached so much as simply felt. He dropped to his knees as an immensely electric guitar solo from Jeremy Woodall wailed and later raised his hands to the heavens as the tune’s final verses chimed away.

Overall, a surprisingly loose Shaver was in action this night, one that fronted an industrious quartet that did some serious reeling in the years as the two hour program progressed. He joked about his marriages, his bad habits and his wild times from the past. But there was some reformation at work, too. Throughout the show, Shaver sipped nothing stronger than bottled water, but still belted out near suicidal rampages like Ragged Old Truck with bloodshot relish.

Stylistically, the show covered considerable ground. Half of the performance emphasized semi-acoustic arrangements, as on Bottom Dollar and a fascinating Oklahoma Wind that had drummer Jason McKenzie diverting the groove to tabla.

The show highlight, though, was a solo reading of Light a Candle for Me that faded into an a capella finale surrounded by remarkable audience quiet.

Sure, Shaver had to stop the tune early on and politely scold a few revelers near the stage to get establish that quiet. But the point proved effective. After all, when Billy Joe Shaver tells you settle down… well, brother, you had best shut your yap.

in performance: noam pikelny/victor furtado

noam pikelny

Banjo ace/Punch Brother Noam Pikelny wasn’t about to about to let a few technical glitches and false starts derail his fun at last night’s taping of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour at the Kentucky Theatre. Cracks and pops resulting from a faulty onstage cable caused a false start on the opening Jim Thompson’s Horse. But a second take revealed what made the tune shine: expert interplay from an especially learned band – fiddler Gabe Witcher, guitarist Chris Eldridge (two of Pikelny’s fellow Punch Brothers), bassist Mark Schatz and mandolinist Jesse Cobb – as well as a compositional sensibility that took serious cues from progressive minded “New Grass” acoustic players of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Later, a feisty version of the more barnyard friendly bluegrass instrumental My Mother Thinks I’m a Lawyer highlighted by fine gypsy fiddle turns by Witcher had to be repeated after more cracks and static erupted, this time from Pikelny’s gear. “I think we should all look very sternly at my pedal boards,” the banjoist remarked. “Actually, I hear Billy Joe Shaver is playing across town (the Texas honky tonk giant, in fact, kicked off a show at Cosmic Charlie’s about a half hour after WoodSongs wound  up). I suspect foul play.”

But the tech problems didn’t spoil anyone’s enjoyment of the evening, least of all Pikelny’s. The game plan for the six songs he performed from his new Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail album was to create an industrious string band sound that put his bandmates – Witcher, especially – in the driver’s seat as much as himself. Still, half the fun came from watching the limber rhythmic turns Pikelny navigated when his playing wasn’t in the spotlight.

The lyricism turned elegant during Boathouse on the Lullwater, wistful for a hushed reading of Tom Waits’ Fish and Bird that added Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O’Donovan to the mix and ruggedly mischievous for the encore of Bob McKinney (with Witcher taking over the vocal lead Tim O’Brien provided the tune on Beat the Devil).

Sharing the bill last night was 11 year old banjo champion Victor Furtado – a young player who displayed a remarkably intuitive command of Celtic-inspired, old world (as opposed to simply “old timey”) influences.

Pikelny and Furtado also teamed up for a duet arrangement of Florida Blues that allowed these two generational players to discover considerable stylistic common ground.

critic’s pick 205

From the slice ‘em and dice ‘em guitar riff triggered by the album-opening Lonely Boy, El Camino again establishes The Black Keys as the prototype 21st century party band.

Such a tag might suggest a kind of modern pop sheen has overtaken the music of the Nashville-by-way-of Akron troupe fronted by guitarist/vocalist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Not at all. El Camino is something of a garage sale where assorted riffs, grooves and retro-lined melodies are placed on view, even though the chunky, distorted and instantly infectious music The Black Keys fashion from these spare parts becomes unmistakably their own.

Take all of Lonely Boy, for instance. That fabulous opening riff is just a heartbeat away from the grand guitar line T. Rex used to ignite 20th Century Boy nearly 40 years ago.

Take Little Black Submarine, which – after being submerged for two minutes in stark, acoustic reflection that recalls 1970-era Traffic – surfaces with a guitar hook that sounds like it was passed from Neil Young to Tom Petty before winding up in Auerbach’s lap.

Take Gold on the Ceiling, which opens with a bouncy guitar reverie before settling into a boogie groove that would have well served the Chess-era records of Muddy Waters.

Then there’s the overall sound of El Camino. With Danger Mouse again producing alongside Auerbach and Carney, the album retreats ever so slightly from the brighter, fuller pop passages that made last year’s Brothers a breakout record for The Black Keys. But there is still enough of the former album’s pop accents – specifically the choral-like backing vocals that provide harmony as well as very unlikely counterpoint to Auerbach’s unfussy singing on Dead and Gone and Sister – to fuel the new record’s retro-active fun. Those songs closely rival Lonely Boy as the El Camino works that will keep kicking around in your brain after just a listen or two.

And let us not forget Carney, whose thunderous backbeat keeps crashing the party again and again on El Camino, yet it never sounds tired or obvious. But when the party veers into the ‘80s, as it does on Nova Baby, Carney offers a post-New Wave stomp that settles into a muted, Clash-like beat.

Those still lamenting the primal boogie grind of The Black Keys’ early Fat Possum records will find little to key into on El Camino other than the aforementioned Chess reflections during the Gold on the Ceiling intro. It’s best to view those initial indie efforts, fine as they were, as the product of an entirely different band. For The Black Keys, the party has moved on.

Slide into the passenger seat of El Camino, in fact, and you will quickly sense how far the band as traveled and how sweet the ride remains.

no place like noam

noam pikelny

It was a career zenith for Noam Pikelny.

Onstage last month at Northern Kentucky University with Punch Brothers, the progressive string band he helped form, the banjoist was propelling tunes like Next to the Trash and the Finish-flavored Flippen to form music that meshed bluegrass, folk, pop, jazz and even a classical flourish or two.

But it was the setting that astounded the most. This wasn’t a headlining concert for Punch Brothers, but an opening set for Paul Simon. In short, the performance served as a goal marker. After cutting his musical teeth with some of the most modern thinking bluegrass instrumentalists in Nashville, Pikelny moved to New York to establish a band with a stylistic reach that stretched way, way beyond what could be viewed as traditional bluegrass. But kicking off a concert bill for an iconic American songsmith reminded him of how such an artistic risk can pay off.

“I didn’t see any of this coming when I first joined the band,” Pikelny said by phone from St. Louis a few days prior to the NKU concert. “This was a brand new life. It was the most exciting musical experience I could have imagined. And it continues to be so.”

Still, a bit of the past still tugged at the banjoist. With Punch Brothers playing everything from original string quintet works for bluegrass instrumentation (group chieftain Chris Thile’s The Blind Leaving the Blind) to Radiohead covers, there was still a pull to pursue some of the more traditionally inclined music he was practiced in Nashville.

And so we have Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail, an exuberant bluegrass-based solo album that leans to the traditional inspirations of Pikelny’s youth but comes fortified with a level of virtuosic musicianship he has attained after five busy years as a Punch Brother.

“I felt a little amputated from the acoustic music scene in Nashville, where I would see guys like Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan and Jerry Douglas – guys who were my heroes but had become friends I would see informally at picking parties or festivals. Obviously, these opportunities weren’t as prevalent being in New York. So I came to the conclusion that if I wanted those experiences to keep happening, I had to facilitate them myself.”

That’s when the idea came to cut a sophomore solo album (Pikelny’s solo debut, In The Maze, was released in 2004) in Nashville with new and old friends alike. The guest list included Steve Martin, the actor/comic/bluegrass entrepreneur who awarded Pikelny his first annual Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass last year during a joint appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

All of Pikelny’s fellow Punch Brothers helped out as well on Beat the Devil, although fiddler Gabe Witcher works exclusively as producer on the record. O’Brien, Duncan, Douglas and bassist Mark Schatz, the string music elders that have pursued similarly minded progressive acoustic music for decades, are also featured.

Beat the Devil’s repertoire is similarly eclectic. It shifts from the fiddle/banjo staple Cluck Old Hen to a cover of Tom Waits’ wistful Fish and Bird (which features Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O’Donovan) to fine plaintive Pikelny originals like The Broken Drought. But the pervasive musical inspiration is still bluegrass.

“There were two motivating factors for making the album,” Pikelny said. “One, I felt my playing has really changed because of Punch Brothers. I felt that even when I returned to more traditional music. Some of the techniques I’ve had to incorporate into my musical toolbox have been sparked by music that is very different than bluegrass.

“And selfishly, I wanted to put myself back in the room with Tim, Stuart and Jerry and all of the guys who have been a real source of inspiration. They’ve been serious role models.”

While Pikelny is squeezing in a few performances around touring duties with Punch Brothers (including a return to the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour on Monday where he will be accompanied by Witcher, O’Donovan, Schatz, Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Eldridge and ex-Infamous Stringdusters mandolinist Jesse Cobb), his primary source of promotion for Beat the Devil is an hysterical seven minute promotional video viewable at

Intended as a spoof on electronic press kits sent out by record companies to push their product, Pikelny’s video is a star studded mock-documentary featuring Martin, actor Ed Helms, banjo greats Earl Scruggs and Bela Fleck, Americana songstress Gillian Welch and others. It revolves around the fake premise that Pikelny intended to dress the album’s instrumental tracks with unknowingly pitch-deficient singing of his own design.

Bluegrass patriarch Scruggs gets the best line on Pikelny in the video: “If his dream is to sing, he better wake up.”

“The video was an absolute coup,” Pikelny said. “I just dreaded the idea of having to sit in front of the camera and lavish praise upon myself. It was actually my brother’s idea to have the premise be, in my mind, that the record would mark my debut as a star vocalist. The whole experience was absolutely ridiculous. But it was also one of the highlights of my life just in how unanticipated that opportunity was.

“It was in the realm of my imagination that one day Punch Brothers could end up on Letterman or (Jay) Leno and get exposure. But everyone’s participation in the video was just overwhelming. I mean, to get Earl Scruggs involved? That really warmed my heart.”

Noam Pikelny and Victor Furtado perform at 7 tonight at the Kentucky Theatre, 214 E. Main, for the WoodSongs Old-Time Hour. Tickets are $15. Call (859) 252-8888.

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