Ithaca Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

May 1, Last Day For Discount GrassRoots Tickets

May 1 is the last day for discount ("Early Bird") tickets for the GrassRoots Festival in July.

Early Bird tickets are $85 for the 4-day event. On May 2, the price goes to $95.

Tickets are available at Autumn Leaves Books and Ithaca Guitar Works, but transactions must be in cash.

At the GrassRoots website, you use a charge card, and rather than mailing you a ticket, as in the past, they will e-mail you a ticket to print out, and scan at the gate.

The site is

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Legs Faster Than Wheels

On the old TV show, Superman was "faster than a speeding bullet."  Today in Ithaca, you can be faster than  cars.

Clinton Street closed today, for bridge repair, from Cayuga St. to Danby Road. It will be closed a while.

Meanwhile, Green Street is under repair, with only one lane open.

You could walk backward and be faster than the car traffic on Green, Clinton, or South Cayuga.

If you come to Ithaca from out of town, and are heading downtown, your fastest option would be to park as soon as you hit Clinton or Green, and start ankling it.

Ithaca might be a lousy place to drive, but it is a great place to burn calories.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Friday, April 27, 2012

Last Days For Castaways

We had nice fun at Castaways on Wednesday, seeing the Spampinato Brothers. The very bad news is that  Castaways is closing its doors this week, due to a raise in rent. There are a few good shows left to celebrate.

Tonight is the final Happy Hour, with GoGone, ironically.

Saturday is a big bill with The Gunpoets and 4 other bands. It starts at 8.

Sunday is the last night. A big show, fittingly, with John Brown's Body and Sim Redmond Band. It starts 9:30.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spampinato Brothers at Castaways, Wed. 25 April

In the '90s, I was approached by some friends with children to coach their t-ball team. I knew the kids but was not a parent myself, so could avoid playing favorites.

I agreed to do it on the condition I got to name the team.

I named them the Sensational All-Stars And Friends Of Spampinato.

Joey Spampinato was a member of my favorite musical ensemble, the New Rhythm and Blues Quartet (NRBQ). The band has just recorded a song where they sang and spelled "Spampinato," in response to reporters who couldn't get the name right.

It was a lively chant, and I thought it would make a great theme song for a team, provided they were named Spampinato. So we were.

Joey is still playing music, no longer with NRBQ, but with his brother Johnny and their band. The Spampinato Brothers come to Castaways this Wednesday, 25 April.

The brothers are probably pushing 60, or actually pulling it, but have a rock and roll spirit that makes the music timeless. They sing harmonies in the style of the Everleys and Beatles. They write songs reminiscent of Liverpool, as well as Memphis, New Orleans, Motown, the Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley, and Belmont Avenue.

Years back, when Bill Wyman quit, the Rolling Stones asked Joey to join as their bass player. He said he would tour with them once, but had his own band.

Come hear what the Rolling Stones liked so much, this week at Castaways.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Something Extra For New York

Taxes are done and I find that I am getting a refund from the federal government of a few hundred dollars, and from New York state, one of much, much less.

Asking around, I find this is the norm. The ratio seems to be about 10 to 1.

They say the federal government is doing bad, so New York must be in real trouble.

As a result, I would like to do a little extra, and send a few Powerball tickets to New York. But the tax instructions only tell you where to send a return that has a check, or one that doesn't, not one that includes lottery tickets.

In his taxes, the lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, reported almost $3,000 in income from the race track in 2012. Apparently he needs gambling, too, to make ends meet.

He got a refund from the federal government of over $2,000 and from New York of about $200. It's reassuring, I guess, to see the big guys don't do any better than the regular people.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Richard Price Writing For Network TV

Normally we don't write much here about television. Why, because we are snobby? Maybe, although we will certainly watch the Mets on TV, and that is not a very elite pastime.

Friends of ours tried to get us to watch "Mad Men," and we watched this year's episodes, but we think it is a little silly. They also mentioned "Game of Thrones," but we nixed that without a trial. Why?, they asked. We explained that we don't like any entertainments with people wearing costumes, or with English accents.

We like realistic things, or at least credible ones. So, we are interested that premiering this Sunday is a series that seems a lock in those categories: a cop drama, "NYC-22," written by Richard Price, bard of the Bronx (and Cornell alumnus).

TV fans will know Price as a writer of the HBO series "The Wire." Book fans know him as author of "The Wanderers," "Clockers," "Lush Life," and other novels. Movie fans might know he screenwrote "The Color of Money," "Sea Of Love," and others.

Price's writing is stark, so we were surprised to see the series is on network TV rather than cable. We will bet on Price on any writing enterprise, though.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog