Saturday, April 24, 2010

As many of you know I have spent most of my life performing, teaching, adjudicating and directing pageantry groups. Drum & Bugle Corps, Bands, Winter Color Guards.....wrote a play or two about it (see "May Day Parade")..this madness has been going on since I was 12 years old!

Been around the block a couple of times, you might say. So, it is really thrilling and energizing that I can still experience the activity in new ways ...surprising ways. A prime example is the Santa Clara Vanguard Winter Guard.

For the last couple of years, I have had the honor and joy of working with this amazing group of young women and men. In 2009, that experience concluded with the winning of a World Championship.

However, it was this past season, that has had a profound impact on me. It is never very easy repeating a world championship...ask the Boston Red Sox, Dallas takes a serendipitous gathering of talent,timing and effort.

This past winter while preparing to go into the 2010 season...The Vanguard had a rough membership...lots of new...young performers. The weight of a championship title on their backs. High expectations...lofty traditions to maintain.

The result did not end up with a world championship medal. The result did end up with affirmation once again that "it is the journey that matters".....these young folks and their amazing staff created an experience...a production...a work of art, that embodied all of the beforementioned ingredience ...the serendipitous trio
....talent...timing....and alot of EFFORT!

1st - Onyx (Dayton, Ohio).......97.85
2nd - Santa Clara Vanguard....97.50
3rd - Pride of Cinncinatti.........97.35

I have been blessed over the years to be a part of several gold medal winning teams,but, I have never been more proud of a group as I was of the Silver medalist Vanguard Winter Guard!

Congratulation to all of the almost 300 organizations that participated in this past Winter Guard International World Championship....and a large thank you to the wonderful souls that make up the Santa Clara Vanguard...thanks for letting me be a part of your journey.

For more information on the Santa Clara Vanguard and it's many programs for young performers, go to

Friday, April 23, 2010

No one appreciates a good appropriation like me. Everything old is new again.
A good case in point is "Kick-Ass".

"Hit-Girl"..... my fave !

Quentin Terrantino has been "sampled" more than any contemporary director I can think of...and usually not successfully. However, director Mathew Vaughn does a great job of creating an intellectually stimulating ass kicking superhero movie...think Kill Bill meets Peter Parker meets the Powder Puff Girls.

Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) does an OK job as your anxiety ridden teen just trying to do some good, but, it is Chloe Moretz as Hit-Girl that not only plays the most obvious homage to Quentin and "Kill Bill" (GoGo Yubari, Lusy Liu's sidekick) but, creates a truly unique super heroine to add to the canon of movie superfolks. Not too mention... Nicolas Cage is in the movie!
.....good stuff.Check it out!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Who Is Tyrone "Shortleg" Johnson?...and why do we care?

I first met "Shortleg" when I was having a rum and seven at a undisclosed blues bar in East St. Louis. He was trying to wait out some fellow card players who were hanging out in the parking lot hoping to "catch up" with him for some gambling debts. He was pretty wasted, and mumbled on and on about his mother, Gert, and the hair salon she ran that was a front for a numbers racket...he claimed to be a blues singer...but could only remember the words to "Oh, Do You Know The Muffin Man?".

Though I was very impressed with the many variations of "Muffin Man" he entertained all of the patrons in the bar with that night, I did not think I would see or hear of him again. Looking at the guys waiting for him in the parking lot also convinced me that Tyrone, may not be long for this world. Well,....I was seems that Tyrone "Shortleg" Johnson is still around and oddly enough will be a part of a webcast coming from Expressions College on Sunday, January 10th at 3:30 pm. Now from what I heard, he will not be singing about the guy from Drury Lane...but may be persuaded to kick out "The Hootchie Cootchie Man" during the broadcast....we can only hope.

Tyrone will be appearing with the best Rock, R&B, Blues, Country and Bugle Band in the East Bay "The Intones"....and as "ShortLeg" says...."I'll be there if the creek don't rise and the warrants don't catch up with me..." Well, lets hope he makes it.

When: Sunday, January 10th @ 3:30 pm

Where: Live Web broadcast @