Sunday, October 25, 2015

Wilie K sings If I Didn't Care at 2105 Maui Fair - Fan for Life.

This is a rather strange aside from all my other posts.  I wanted to focus on travels and people and places I visited and met.  I have not yet met this man, but I will share a small story about Willie K.

in 2005, I took a trip to Maui for a class.  The class was offered at the Ritz Carlton in Kapalua.  I was staying in town near the airport, so I had to commute to class.  It was my first trip to Maui.  I was able to see a few sites, but I wanted to get a feel for the local community, so I scheduled my stay to allow for an additional week beyond the class.

That second week, Kathy Collins was doing a comedy show at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.  It was walking distance from where I was staying, so I decided to attend.  She had legendary falsetto singer, Uncle Richard Hoopii open for her.  It was my first time enjoying his stylings.  He greets you with a prayer, and his voice is a beautiful deep resonating welcome.  But once he starts singing, he hits and holds notes that will shatter a wine glass.  Smooth, melodic and very high in the octave range.  I was dutifully impressed.

Kathy's concert was fun, silly and very entertaining.  She knows her audience and plays well to the crowd.   Good jokes and even better talk-story made for an intimate, warm and welcoming evening.  She broke her concert into two parts, and asked the Barefoot Natives to entertain at intermission.  At the time, this was a partnership between Eric Gilliom and Willie K.  The music they shared blew me away.

They sang a version of Watching the River Run, by Kenny Loggins.  Eric asked the audience to watch Willie K's fingers carefully as he increased the pace of the music to match the flow of water increasing from creek to rapid river.  Willie K's guitar and ukulele skills were beyond amazing.  I had never seen them play prior to this performance, but I knew I would soon be a fan.  I bought their CD and started playing it over and over.

Within six months, I had relocated, at least part time, to Maui.  I returned in time for the 2005 Maui Fair.  Willie K was performing.  Once i saw him perform, I knew I was a fan for life.  He took the audience on a musical journey from blues, to latin to opera to traditional Hawaiian.  I have since seen him more times than I can remember, and have introduced my friends and family to his live music.

At the 2015 Maui Fair, we got good seats and I decided to record the concert.  I like the footage I was able to get, so I uploaded a few songs on my YouTube channel.  But this is a song I really like.  He performed a version of, "If I Didn't Care" by the Ink Spots.  He performs it in the style of blues artist, Nina Simone.   I grew up hearing Redd Foxx as Fred Sanford make fun of the song impersonating Bill Kenny of the Ink Spots.  It was more comic relief.  Willie K infuses soul, into his rendition in a manner both unexpected and humble.  His is an homage you will appreciate again and again.  Enjoy it here.

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Leroy Phoenix

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Silly Cat Tosses Chew Toy

Ok. I'm not ashamed to admit that my motivation for entering the world of online posts is to upload a video that could go viral.  And, yes, I am pandering to the animal lovers out there who must upload hundreds of cat videos daily. 

So here is my entry into the fray. While visiting a friend recently, I noticed that their cat was normally quite calm until you tossed him his favorite chew toy.  He seemed to enjoy batting it around and tossing it. Here is a short clip of Hyper Cat tossing his favorite chew toy. 

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Thank you. 

Leroy Phoenix

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Flight to Los Angeles with escort plane

By now I should be used to flying and seeing other planes. It's been awhile since I've flown into Los Angeles. So seeing another plane flying nearby as we approached the airport caught me by surprise.

There are plenty of runways, so there really was no issue. But I decided to record it anyway just because it was also an unusually clear day for Los Angeles. Known for the smog that can obscure the city, LA had recently been blessed with two days of much needed rain. 

The flight in was clear and smooth. So please enjoy my short clip of our escort as we approach Los Angeles airport. AKA LAX.

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Leroy Phoenix. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Muscle Beach traveling rings. Travel to Santa Monica, CA.

I spent a few years of my youth in Santa Monica, CA.  I remember my older siblings being quite proficient in doing the traveling rings. Today, they call the area south of the pier muscle beach. I'm not sure it had that moniker in the 70's.

Going there recently, I was impressed with the renovations to the beach toys, gym equipment and restroom facilities between the pier and the old Synanon building at Pico Boulevard. Today that building is called Casa Del Mar hotel, and it's a great place for dinner and drinks with an ocean view. 

Back in the day, we were told to avoid getting too close to the building or we might get kidnapped into a commune and have all our hair shaved off. 

We lived in Hotel Monica, the big blue box by the sea. Today it is painted yellow, and the replacement structure is called the Sea Castle. It was here that I made my pilgrimage to enjoy the beach at sunset. And here, a new generation of ring enthusiasts ply their skills at the New Muscle Beach. 

So with that introduction, I'd like to share this video of one of the more artistic rings gymnasts. Please enjoy. 

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Leroy Phoenix