Archive for the ‘rock and roll’ Tag

Birthday Bash   1 comment

Some people really know how to throw a great party.  I’m not one of those people, but when I get a chance to go to such an affair, I take it.  My brother-in-law, Jim Marsella, is such a person.  Jim is a very high-powered guy, and he married my sister Julie, and once in a while he does something that I can tag along for.  So, actually, this isn’t my story today, it’s part of Jim’s story, and I’m just one of the extras in this part of the movie.  To follow this party, and see much better pictures of it than I was able to take, find my page on Facebook and scroll down.  I’d post some of those pictures here, but Facebook has done something to make stuff posted there not re-usable elsewhere–just another reason I really don’t like Facebook.  I use it as a necessary evil, but I don’t like it.

Jim and Julie are really the stars of this party, and they got to enjoy one special dance together with all eyes on them.

Jim and Julie are really the stars of this party, and they got to enjoy one special dance together with all eyes on them. (Picture taken by Brian St. Andre, & he wasn’t using his best camera.)

The party took place at the Elk’s Hall in Tempe, Arizona between 5 p.m. and midnight on Saturday, April 20, 2013 to celebrate Jim turning 60.  Ironically, his actual birthday is about a month earlier, but he picked this date for a public celebration in order to give people time to come from all over the country.  It is also the exact birthday of his daughter, Lisa, who came in from Florida to be there.

The external setting was bizarre.  I didn't even know that Tempe had an industrial district, much less any buildings this futuristic and bizarre, but what would one expect of a place located on Industrial Park Road?

The external setting was bizarre. I didn’t even know that Tempe had an industrial district, much less any buildings this futuristic and bizarre, but what would one expect of a place located on Industrial Park Road?

I'd be willing to bet that of the dozens of cameras at this event, no one else took a picture of tghe front door.  I don't remember ever actually going into one of these places before, so I wanted some proof.  It's a flat, southwestern style building with a big parking lot.  You wouldn't guess what's inside unless you've been there before.

I’d be willing to bet that of the dozens of cameras at this event, no one else took a picture of the front door. I don’t remember ever actually going into one of these places before, so I wanted some proof. It’s a flat, southwestern style building with a big parking lot. You wouldn’t guess what’s inside unless you’ve been there before.

My mother, Evelyn St. Andre had a place of honor at the St. Andre table.  At 86, she is the oldest living member of the St. Andre clan that I'm aware of.  The scary thing is, I'm second oldest.

My mother, Evelyn St. Andre had a place of honor at the St. Andre table. At 86, she is the oldest living member of the St. Andre clan that I’m aware of. The scary thing is, I’m second oldest.

The man in the black shirt in the center is our host and also Guest of Honor, Jim Marsella.  The man in the gray shirt in the foreground is Matt Marsella, one of his sons.

The man in the black shirt in the center is our host and also Guest of Honor, Jim Marsella. The man in the gray shirt in the foreground is Matt Marsella, one of his sons.  The woman in Lavendar is Lisa, Jim’s daughter, and birthday girl for the night. I don’t know the woman in polka dots, though I did get to dance with her briefly later in the party.

These are Jim's birthday cakes.  At least one was chocolate.  I'm watching my weight, and didn't get to eat any of them. Well, I was already full when the cakes were cut, and I passed them by.

These are Jim’s birthday cakes. At least one was chocolate. I’m watching my weight, and didn’t get to eat any of them. Well, I was already full when the cakes were cut, and I passed them by.

Here is Jim showing off one of his presents.  Jim works for Volkswagen, and his life sort of revolves around cars.  He has some of the most beautiful, hot, sexy cars in the city of Phoenix.  The Garage sign is a bit of a joke, but has a basis in fact.

Here is Jim showing off one of his presents. Jim works for Volkswagen, and his life sort of revolves around cars. He has some of the most beautiful, hot, sexy cars in the city of Phoenix. The Garage sign is a bit of a joke, but has a basis in fact.

This was a party where dancing was a big attraction.  My brother, Brian--he of the desert hikes--and his wife Donna were among the first on the dancefloor, where they always look very good.  Unlike me, Brian can really dance--he studies it, and practices every week at local dance halls.

This was a party where dancing was a big attraction. My brother, Brian–he of the desert hikes–and his wife Donna were among the first on the dancefloor, where they always look very good. Unlike me, Brian can really dance–he studies it, and practices every week at local dance halls.

My sister Julie is the blonde.  I think she looks like a biker babe in sparkly sleeveless blouse and blue jeans.  She was the hostess with the mostest.  The other woman is one of her Cruise friends, and I don't know her, and didn't meet her.

My sister Julie is the blonde. I think she looks like a biker babe in sparkly sleeveless blouse and blue jeans. She was the hostess with the mostest. The other woman is one of her Cruise friends, and I don’t know her, and didn’t meet her.  Brian is either watching the back wall, or wondering what I’m taking a picture of.

The first entertainer of the night was none other than Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll.  Actually, it was  Bret Kaiser, the best Elvis tribute artist in Arizona, and he put on a very fine show.

The first entertainer of the night was none other than Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll. Actually, it was Bret Kaiser, the best Elvis tribute artist in Arizona, and he put on a very fine show.

I think this is the only picture of me you get in this blog. To prove I was really there, I had Brian take this shot of me with "Elvis" in the background.  It's hard to judge exactly how much to smile for a posed shot.

I think this is the only picture of me you get in this blog. To prove I was really there, I had Brian take this shot of me with “Elvis” in the background. It’s hard to judge exactly how much to smile for a posed shot.

The next few shots are of "Elvis".  He was the big star of the evening--other than Jim.  Among the songs he did were "Fools Rush In" and "Heartbreak Hotel."

The next few shots are of “Elvis”. He was the big star of the evening–other than Jim. Among the songs he did were “Fools Rush In” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Donna St. Andre got the Elvis treatment with some flirting and a silk scarf to keep.  So did Julie and my mom, and quite a few of the women in the audience.  I got a handshake, but I could photograph that.  Jim ran around providing "Elvis" with fresh scarves as he wooed one woman after another in the audience.

Donna St. Andre got a silk scarf from "Elvis".  So did my mom, Julie, and about half the women in the room.  Men got a handshake.

Donna St. Andre got a silk scarf from “Elvis”. So did my mom, Julie, and about half the women in the room. Men got a handshake.

"Elvis" is singing to my Mom.

“Elvis” is singing to my Mom.

This is my sister Neloa and her husband Jerome Beeler.  They came down for the party from Payson, more than 100 miles, but nothing compared to people on Jim's side of the family, some of whom came from Detroit, Boston, and Florida.

This is my sister Neloa and her husband Jerome Beeler. They came down for the party from Payson, more than 100 miles, but nothing compared to people on Jim’s side of the family, some of whom came from Detroit, Boston, and Florida.

I'm just taking pictures of the pretty women at the party.  These two are Kerina St. Andre Fitzgeral (my niece) on the left, and Jennifer Embody on the right.

I’m just taking pictures of the pretty women at the party. These two are Kerina St. Andre Fitzgeral (my niece) on the left, and Jennifer Embody on the right.

Party games.  This one is called "Stuff It" and this is winner Jim Marsala with 81 ballons in his shirt.

Party games. This one is called “Stuff It” and this is winner Jim Marsala with 81 ballons in his shirt.

Tom Garrett, lead singer for the band the Classics IV during the band's later stages of its existence.  He is a very good singer.

Tom Garrett, lead singer for the band the Classics IV during the band’s later stages of its existence. He is a very good singer.

At 9 p.m. the final band for the evening came on, a local group called "Come back, Buddy."  They are  a tribute band that peform in the style of the late great Buddy Holly, though they also like to do Elvis material.

At 9 p.m. the final band for the evening came on, a local group called “Come back, Buddy.” They are a tribute band that peform in the style of the late great Buddy Holly, though they also like to do Elvis material.

My last picture shows the lovely Kerina rocking and rolling.  The two children in the center are Zack and Haley.  They belong to my niece, Kris, and I guess they're grand nephew and niece.

The Belles of the Ball: from left to right: Donna St. Andre, Kris Eckert, Lisa Marsella, Haley Eckert (child), and Kerina St. Andre Fitzgerld.

Come back Buddy was still belting out the rock and roll with Jim Marsella on the drums when I decided to go home at 10:30 p.m.  It was a fine party that I enjoyed very much.  Happy birthday to Jim and Lisa and also another guest named Charley Parker whose birthday was also that Saturday.  I ate, I sang, I danced, and I talked to family and friends.  It was a very successful, very fun party, and I’m glad I went.

If you’ve been to a good party lately, why not leave a comment and tell what made it good?

–end

Golden Oldies   2 comments

Today, August 1, I got a treat.  I went with my sister and mother out to Harrah’s Ak Chin casino in Maricopa, Arizona to listen to my brother-in-law’s old band: Time and Time Again.  They consider themselves to be a do-wop band (lots of ooh-ah, ooh-ah, and bop-she-bop-she-bop, etc.), but they really do a fine job of delivering the best classic rock and roll from the fifties and sixties.  I had a great time, and took some pix, and I’d like to share them with you.

Approaching the casino. The hotel wing has the best name sign.

Looking toward the casino entrance, you see a giant bald eagle landing on the world’s largest saguaro cactus!

How often does one get a chance to take a picture of a giant eagle? I’m not sure of the symbolism here. It’s a casino. Does this show your money flying away, perhaps?

It’s a fountain in the desert–very unnatural. Organized gambling is only legal in Arizona on Native American lands. Hence the landmark out front shows this bronze tribute to the Tohono O’odham tribe.

Flashing lights, neon signs, people putting money in machines. Yep! It’s a casino, alright. Actually, it’s pretty nice inside, although the place kind of intimidates me.

First stop inside was the bathrooms. Second stop was the cafeteria. Large screen televisions were everywhere. I’m not sure what the big green thing is overhead–maybe a giant guacamole rose, but it was colorful.

My lunch–doesn’t it look yummy? Breakfast quesadilla–scrambled eggs, ham, cheddar cheese, onions, salsa, inside a tortilla. It was delicious.

The band–called Time and Time Again–was rocking out up on stage while I ate lunch. The light makes everything look reddish, but actually the suits were dark black with white ties–the singers looked like a bunch of good fellas.

Another view. They were really rocking and bopping. I think this song was “Oh What a Night!” by the Dells. That was one of the songs they did.

Ken (Atroll) is having a good time.

After the set, the band came down and talked to the audience. Jim Marsella, my brother-in-law, used to drum for these guys. He’s the one in black shirt, white pants, back to the camera. He’s talking to the lead guitarist and organist. Sorry, I don’t know their names.

When the music was over, I found a spot where I could play some video poker. Don’t I look like the perfect gambling addict? If only I could pay attention like that in class or real life . . .

The epic struggle of Man vs. Machine. I’m happy to announce that I walked away a winner. I had a couple of chances to go for royal flushes–didn’t fill them, but I did make some full houses, and that was enough to win a whole dollar by the time I had to go.

On the ride back home we saw a lot of dust devils. Look carefully and you can see several columns of whirling dust in the far background up against the Estrella Mountains. Julie Marsella is in profile and driving the car.

A closer view of a dust devil. Dusties are miniature cyclones that spawn on the hot deserts of the southwest. I’ve always liked them. I’ve heard that the Arabians thought they were spinning djinnis (genies).

That concludes the day’s adventure.  It was a fine way to spend a Wednesday.

If you’ve ever listened to an oldies band in a casino, or danced with a dust devil, please leave a comment.

–end