Ithaca Blog

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mother's Day: For Peace

A local group has created a web site, called, to publicize the historical origins of Mother's Day in the U.S. as a day to promote peace and social justice.

Julia Ward Howe, author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," wrote "Mother's Day Proclamation" in 1870:

... "To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
     The amicable settlement of international questions,
     The great and general interests of peace."

Of course, America being what it is, as Christmas became a month of shopping, Mother's Day became a day of flowers and eggs benedict. is trying to change it back.

Visit the site and log in with your thoughts about honoring our mothers by achieving peace.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Monday, April 25, 2011

Ithaca Music For Our Favorite Bar in Brooklyn

The Red Hook section of Brooklyn is remote, between projects and docks, served by buses but no near subway. It is not fancy and not even strictly reputable, but then neither was Brooklyn, back when.

It has a bar that recalls good old Brooklyn to us, native there.

The place is called Rocky Sullivan's.

It's not an old bar. It's only been in its Brooklyn location a few years, having moved from exorbitant Manhattan.

It has nice furnishings, a marble-topped bar, big windows, a good kitchen, a wood-burning pizza stove, a  music room which holds over 200, and a rooftop patio with a view of the piers.

Our friend Larry, from Bensonhurst, has a piece of the place. Larry has been to Ithaca a few times, including GrassRoots Festival, and is interested in putting excellent, crowd-pleasing Ithaca music into the joint.

Also interested in this is owner Chris Byrne, a musician himself, from the band Black 47.

We went to Rocky's last autumn to check out the prospects. We sure think it will work.

Now with winter past, we will get moving. Plans for the first gig are Richie Stearns and Pat Burke, of the Evil City String Band, playing with Stephanie Jenkins and Rosie Newton, of the Pearly Snaps, who now live in NYC.

The date is not set but it will be sometime soon -  May or June. Keep an eye out here, and in the meantime, check out Rocky Sullivan's website and Facebook page.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Our Favorite Easter Joke

With all this thinking about Easter songs, we remembered our favorite Easter joke.

It is the only Easter joke we know, actually, so perhaps it should just be called a favorite joke.

We posted it here on 9 April 2009. You can find it by searching here for "Big Fat Tony."

It's funny even in print, we think, but you should hear us tell it live, with pinpoint dialects, pregnant pauses and everything. Wow, then it is hilahrious, as Tracy Morgan says. No kidding.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Those Songs About Jesus For Easter

Continuing from previous post: here are our top picks for songs to celebrate Easter.

"Jesus Wants Me For A Moonbeam" (The Vaselines)

"I'll Have A New Body" (Hank Williams)

"Were You There" (Johnny Cash)

"Jesus Christ, What A Man" (Oak Ridge Boys)

"He Bumps When He Rides" (Jamz Gang)

"The Christian Life" (The Byrds)

"Help Me Jesus" (The Staple Singers)    

"Jesus Is Waiting" (Al Green)

"Anti-Christ TV Blues" (Arcade Fire)

"When He Offers His Hand" (Townes Van Zandt)

"Mercy Seat" (Nick Cave)

"Citrus" (The Hold Steady)

"Roll Away The Stone" (Leon Russell)

"Plastic Jesus" (Flaming Lips)

"We Bid You Goodnight" (Grateful Dead)

... enjoy the day
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Easter Playlist For Jesus

Owning a music store (Angry Mom Records/Small World Music, LPs and CDs), we wonder how come there are so many compilations of Christmas songs, for J. Christ, but no Easter ones?

Mr. Christ, himself (Himself?) probably counted Easter as the greater day. It marked much more achievement than simply being born.

Our friend Bill Chaisson is a host of the Nonesuch show on WVBR radio, on Sundays. It is a show that goes for hours and generally has themes. Bill put out a message asking for suggestions for his Easter show, this Sunday.

Bill alluded to a geographic theme, about the Middle East, Christ's home in his brief earthly tenure.

We suggested to Bill a playlist about the guy himself, as rendered by many fine musicians. Our guess is that Bill will consider it a little too wacky. But we don't think so. We think our suggestions comprise a fine compilation, to rival any Xmas one. We'd love to see that happen. So we will pass it along to you, directly.

Friday, April 22, 2011

GrassRoots Festival Looms

Okay, it's zero degrees outside. Want it to feel like summer real fast?

Then get this: Early Bird tickets for the GrassRoots Festival, in July, go off sale May 1.

Early Bird tickets are $85, for the 4-day festival. On May 2 they go to Advance Sale price of $95.

Tickets are available online at, and at locations in town, including our favorite, Autumn Leaves Books, on the Commons. We like the place especially because our music emporium, Angry Mom Records/Small World Music CDs, resides there, in the basement.

We carry tons of good music, including loads of local, and the genres of music (and the actual bands) you will see at Grassroots.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We Know, We Know, We Should Post More

We acknowledeged this critique last posting. And tried to explain. Besides this blog, we're also writing one to turn into a book (see "Brooklyn 3 New York" here on

But we haven't done anything in either, the past week. We went to Florida (I mean, literally).

Lucky us, for that. But also lucky us to have you reading. Between our two sites, we have lots of readers, and we are grateful.

Now we're back home and will get busier. We hope you'll stick with us.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog
and Brookyln 3 New York

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guy Says We Should Post More

B., a rock and roll guy who pops in to our record store occasionally, told us today that he has started reading Ithaca Blog, and that we need to "post more," or maybe he said "update more."

Or maybe some combination or variation of those words. Whatever sounds most blunt, that is probably what B. said, or meant, because he is that direct kind of guy. We don't mind.

So, B., this one's for you. Partly.

It's also partly for yous, who read us here, to let you know, and/or remind you (long-time readers), we have slacked off a bit here because we are also trying to write a book.

We are posting the early manifestations of that here on, too; look at it by searching for Brooklyn 3 New York.

That work is an attempt to render a few blocks in Brooklyn NY as it used to be.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Land Trust Benefit at Maxie's, NEXT Tuesday

After work tonight at Small World Music/Angry Mom Records, we went directly to Maxie's to enjoy and support a fundraiser for the Finger Lakes Land Trust by the Evil City String Band.

Imagine our chagrin to find that the event was mis-reported by the Ithaca Times. It is next Tuesday.

Actually, our chagrin was unsevere. We figure it is more time to alert more people. How's that for positive thinking. See you there on 4/12, we hope.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog