Art Endures

I was in 6th grade at William Sydney Mount Elementary School in Stony Brook, N.Y. when Elton John released the album “Captain Fantastic & The Brown Dirt Cowboy.”

I loved Elton and The Beatles, but by 1975 The Beatles had been broken up 5 years and Elton was at the height of his creative powers and still releasing new music. I “missed” The Beatles by being too young to appreciate them when they were active, but Elton…well Elton was cranking out the hits just about the time I was getting heavily into music.

By sixth grade, I was already a failed musician after three years of playing a horrible clarinet in the Setauket School band. Once again, we had moved and I was the new kid in school anxious to make friends and establish my credentials as one of the cool kids in class—or more realistically at least not one of the nerds.

So I brought my Captain Fantastic album to a school party but as soon as I got on the bus, I began to worry about whether my prized possession would make it back home intact. Could I smuggle it in past the bullies on the bus and would it survive the elementary school issued turntable with the needle that hadn’t been changed since A Hard Day’s Night was released in 1964?

Of course, when you’re a sixth grader trying to make an impression on three or four girls in your class, these little details go unnoticed until you are faced with them.

Suffice it to say, Captain Fantastic survived the short bus ride and made it safely into my desk which had a top that lifted up to provide storage.

As for the party, the Captain made it through intact. I explained to the 11 year-old DJ that albums had to be handled by the edges to avoid smudges and the needle had to be placed gently on the opening track which was “Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy.”

My sensitive mission was a hit and I left the holiday party with the phone number of one of the girls in my class. Now, she wasn’t any of the three girls I liked, but it didn’t matter. Elton delivered.

I got the album home and I still have it, much to the chagrin of my significant other who wonders why I can’t part with my vinyl even though I haven’t played a record in years.

Predictably, the relationship that came out of the sixth grade holiday party ended well before Valentine’s Day. But my relationship with Elton John and a generation of 60s, 70s and 80s rock stars endures to this day.

We saw Elton recently on his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour which ran through South Florida with a nearly three hour concert that featured a whole lot of hits and a slew of memories. To Elton’s credit, he could have played another three hours and not performed all of the songs that his fans love. Also to his credit, he still has the chops—as a piano player, singer and performer. He was accompanied by two of his original band mates, drummer Nigel Olsson and guitarist Davey Johnstone who still rock. It was a night to cherish. And we will.

I’m enjoying a rash of farewell concerts by the greats of my youth all of whom are making South Florida stops on their way to retirement. We saw Paul Simon, The Eagles (with Glenn Frey) and in a few weeks we will see Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman of The Byrds (who are not retiring). The Rolling Stones are kicking off a tour in Miami in April, we just saw David Byrne of The Talking Heads and travelled to Broadway to see Bruce Springsteen who better not ever retire.

Even for those who haven’t announced a farewell tour, you get the sense that it could be the last time. After all, as The Stones once sang “time waits for no one.”
Indeed, it doesn’t.

Going to these shows is a mix of joy, melancholy, memories and hope. It’s truly exciting to see the greats up close. Every generation says its music is the best ever, but in our case it truly is. (wink).

Sure it’s a little bit sad to see your hero’s age and step aside, especially when they still exhibit so much skill and talent. You want to tell the universe to give these folks a pass and keep them around because they are so amazing. But the memories are powerful and everlasting—like the music that was produced.

The songs—oh the songs—they brought us hope, they made us dance, they made us smile, they moved us and continue to do so.

There’s not many things that your 11 year old self would agree with your 54 year old self on—except maybe baseball and rock and roll. That’s the power of art.

It lasts. I think forever.




Things We Loved in September

Paul Simon: Still crazy (and now retired from touring) after all these years.

September loves

Seeing Paul Simon’s farewell tour at the BB&T.

Artists like Paul Simon are rare…poets, musicians, whose words and music define our culture and leave an indelible mark. We felt privileged to be there. He played all the classics and some of the new gems too.

Happy hour at Senor Burrito and running into the wonderful Trish Jacobson.

Boca Lead’s new season with the amazing Pastor Mitchell. The topic: “Difficult Conversations” in front of a record crowd. Amazing program. Check it out. I’m beginning October by having lunch with the Pastor and another one of my favorites: Karen Granger.

Seeing the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary and Juliet, Naked at Cinemark Boca.

Meeting the wonderful team at 4 Kids a great job-profit that’s coming to Delray. They already serve our kids now they will have a physical presence at The Arbors in Delray.

Lunch and laughter at Papas Tapas  with Ingrid Kennemer and Scott Porten. Very few know the Delray commercial real estate market as well as Ingrid.

The start of a new NFL season at Duffy’s with my best bud Scott Savodnik and Jason Spaide.

Seeing all of the Delray ATP stars excel at the US open. Marin Cilic, Juan Martin Del Potro (finalist), Kei Nishikori, one Bryan Brother and Frances Tiafoe all had great opens.
But the highlight was Delray’s own Coco Gauff winning the girls doubles title with Catherine McNally.

Breakfast at Boca’s venerable Tom Sawyer with a long time friend Sharon Patterson.

Lunch with some Delray greats at Cabana El Rey…

Viewing the “sizzle” reel for a new TV show featuring my friend Eric Roby, former Channel 12 anchor. Stay tuned, I think Eric’s got a winner.

Eating lunch at the bar of Madison’s in Boca. Great all day happy hour menu check it out.

David Byrne at the Fillmore. Wonderful show. Unique artist. While in South Beach check out Cibo and if you can make it a weekend we recommend a stay at the Marriott Stanton.

Sardinia Ristorante is a gem. Fresh mozzarella, a great bar, attentive service and unique food. A great addition.

The Abe and Louie Salad—hard to beat.

Jessica Del Vecchio, Boca’s economic development director is a great asset for her city. It’s a pleasure to partner with her as part of the Boca Newspaper.

Have a wonderful October!

Down To The River


We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to devote a column to Bruce Springsteen who played the BB&T Center in Sunrise Tuesday night.

As you might know, Bruce and his wife Patti are part-time residents of Wellington and he has some ties to our neck of the woods through his band and some old friends.

The late great saxophonist Clarence Clemons had condo’s in Boynton Beach and Singer Island, pianist Roy Bittan has close friends in Jupiter and visits frequently and Bruce himself played a small, but pivotal role in the life of Fran Marincola, owner of two-time restaurant of the year Caffe Luna Rosa.

In Fran’s past life he was a nightclub owner on the Jersey Shore and Bruce played his club. You can read the story in a newspaper clipping posted proudly on the wall of Luna Rosa. Next time you visit CLR, ask Fran to share some stories about Bruce and the band and check out the pictures on the wall they’re great.

So it was great to see the show with Fran this week and hear the stories.

It was also transformative to spend 3.5 hours listening to what I consider the best rock/bar band on the planet. At age 66, after 50 plus years playing together, Bruce and the E Street Band remain forces of nature. If you’re sad, he’ll lift you up. If you need energy, he’s a rocket like boost. If you want to reflect on life, simply sit back  and listen.

E Street Nation—as his legion of fans worldwide are known–is a tight knit community of people who come together to celebrate music that transcends time and place.

The latest tour celebrates “The River”, a 1980 masterpiece that was an elegy to growing up, moving out, gaining distance from your parents, leaving your hometown, falling in love and coming to some understanding of life compromise’s and your own mortality.

I bought the album when I was 16 years old, way back when vinyl was king.

For me, “The River” spoke to life’s mysteries—love, the open road, independence and dreams—those that are compromised or lost. But what’s amazing about Bruce’s music-and the music of other greats—is that the material still resonates well into the audience’s AARP years. From teenage angst to middle age—the songs take on new and deeper meaning.

We went with a group—and the prevailing wisdom beyond the sheer entertainment value of the show and the marveling at the performer’s stamina– was the fact that the songs take you back and still have meaning today. That’s a rare and very unique experience.

The other takeaway is what we knew we were witnessing rare artistry and we openly wondered who if anybody would still be relevant to audience’s 40 years from today.

The Springsteen concert took place one day after The Grammy’s, so today’s hottest acts were fresh on our minds. But will any of them endure and transcend the moment? Bieber? Lady Gaga?

Our small sample thinks Ed Sheeran and Chris Stapleton may have legs, but the rest—we’re not so sure.

2016 has been a sad year for those who like the legendary artists. We lost Glenn Frey, Bowie, Paul Kantner, Natalie Cole, Lemmy and the great Maurice White and it’s only February.

We are here for a moment in time. Bruce told the audience that The River is about mortality, doing our jobs, raising our families and doing some good in the world.

Yes indeed.

From the song “Stolen Car”

“And I’m driving a stolen car.  On a pitch black night.  And I’m telling myself I’m gonna be alright.  But I ride by night and I travel in fear.  That in this darkness I will disappear.”

Hopefully not for a very long time and not without having made a difference to those we love.