Thursday, December 27, 2012


As we come to the close of another year (and it didn't end after all!), we often reflect on what has past and try to look ahead with optimism and high hopes. Once again, I have asked some of our favorite celebrities for their New Year's resolutions! Here is what they have shared with us...

WABC Eyewitness News Anchor BILL RITTER says "My resolution: to spend more time with my family, and to spend more time at work. and I can do it if I cut back my sleep to 3 hours a night. Shouldn't be too hard, right?" Good luck with that Bill!
Actress KATHY GARVER, best known as Cissy on the classic TV sitcom "Family Affair" states "My New Year's resolution is to accept what I cannot change in politics and work for the things I can!"
Legendary musician BOBBY WHITLOCK, from Derek and the Dominoes: "My New Year's resolution is the same one that I have always had~"Never make myself any promises that I can't keep". Right on Bobby!
American singer PETER LEMONGELLO: "My New Years resolution is simple. "Take an inventory of your life and the people who are important to you, and do all you can to make them happy". You'll be amazed at how it comes back to you!"
American singer and actor MEL CARTER, best known for his 1965 million-selling recording, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" has vowed "To Stay as active as I can and make more beautiful music--God Bless!" God bless you too Mel!
BUTCH PATRICK, who played Eddie Munster on the classic 60's sitcom "The Munsters" is not one for resolutions "Don't make em! But if I was to make one, it would probably be to maintain my sobriety and be of service to others".
American comedic actress, impressionist and singer MARILYN MICHAELS: "I think I've given up on "resolutions" because, if I don't keep them, it's
another thing to feel guilty about!! Then I worry that I didn't keep the
resolution! So I'd rather call it a "wish list".
That would be... lose 10 pounds... stop worrying, and of course get the
musical comedy I wrote with my son, film critic, Mark Wilk, called...
"ALYSHA", produced in the new year!" Some greats goals Marilyn and hope they come to pass!

Argentinian actress OLIVIA HUSSEY-EISLEY, who became famous for her role as Juliet in Franco Zeffirelli's Academy Award-winning 1968 film version of "Romeo and Juliet" shared: "My New Years resolution for 2013 is to make a point to take everything with a grain of salt! Enjoy every single day..and feel peace and bliss in my takes a lot of discipline to feel good inside all the time..but it can be consciously done! My New years resolution is to do this!" Bravo Olivia!
American southern rock and country singer/songwriter HENRY PAUL, who was a founding member of the Southern rock band "The Outlaws" told me "Honestly Mick I don't have a new years resolution...... but I can always commit to dropping a few pounds!!!!" Sounds like a plan Henry!
Renowned sports radio and television broadcaster ANN LIGUORI said "My New Year's resolution is to spend even more quality time with my loved ones and plan even more visits with my Mom, sister Jean, brother Dan and niece Madison and nephew Christian whether we get together on the East End of Long Island, in Florida where they live, in Ohio where we grew up or anywhere we can meet to get together. With our hectic schedules, this takes a lot of planning but family is foremost!" Such wonderful thoughts Ann!
American actress, writer, novelist, comedienne, blogger, and talk-radio host LYDIA CORNELL, famed as Sara Rush on the ABC television situation comedy "Too Close for Comfort" says "My New Years' Resolution is to finish the book and movie I'm writing. And to stop dating, marrying and doing business with sociopaths. And to stop seeking the approval of Neanderthals!" Wishing you my success with all of that Lydia!

Lets hope all of these resolutions come to pass and my hopes that yours will too!
Happy New Year!

For more information on our special celebrities:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Having grown up in Bay Shore, NY, local history has always intrigued me, especially the history of celebrities who called this area home. Many of these South Shore celebrities have shared their talents in the Yuletide season through their work in movies, television and music.

Legendary comedian RODNEY DANGERFIELD was born as Jacob Cohen in Babylon, Long Island in 1921. When he started out in show business, he used the name Jack Roy. That remained his legal name for the rest of his life. In 1952, a club owner gave him the name Rodney Dangerfield after Ricky Nelson used the name in an episode of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”. In 1968, Rodney appeared in a Yuletide TV movie “Our First Christmas”.
BOB KEESHAN, beloved as TV’s Captain Kangaroo for over 30 years, was a longtime Babylon resident who lived on Mulberry Lane. He was a member of the board of education in West Islip (1953-1958) and was on the board of directors at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip. One of his audio works that is still available is “Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas With Captain Kangaroo”.
In 2006, Bay Shore born LL COOL J starred with Queen Latifah in the uplifting Christmas comedy “Last Holiday”.
Grammy Award winning singer composer PATTI AUSTIN grew up in Bay Shore and graduated from Bay Shore High Scholl in 1968. Her godparents are Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington so music was truly her destiny. In 2008, Patti released a digital Christmas EP “An Inspirational Christmas”. The three songs featured a sublime “I Really Don’t want Much For Christmas”, a dramatic version of Bill Wither’s “Lean On Me” and her original “By The Grace Of God”.
DAN LAURIA, who went to Lindenhurst High School and is best known as Jack Arnold on the hit TV series “The Wonder Years”, has signed to play radio icon Jean Shepherd in “A Christmas Story- The Musical” at the Lunt-Fontaine Theatre Nov.5 through Dec. 30.
Copiague resident JERRY TUCKER is one of the last surviving members of The Little Rascals. He was “the rich kid” in the Little Rascal shorts from 1931-1938. He was also one of Mother Peep’s children in the 1934 Laurel and Hardy holiday classic “March Of The Wooden Soldiers”. You can still see this each year on TV 78 years after it was released!
Sayville’s MELISSA JOAN HART (TV’s Sabrina the Teenaged Witch) has been in several Christmas movies. Her first was in 1986 “Christmas Snow”. In 2000, she was the voice of Molly in “Santa Mouse and the Ratdeer”. Her most recent holiday movie was “Holiday In Handcuffs” in 2007.
Watch for world famous jazz vocalist, Oakdale’s JANE MONHEIT, on classical violinist Mark Connor’s new Christmas album “An Appalachian Christmas”. The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times have already chosen the album as one of the best albums of the season in 2012!
BRIAN SETZER, who was born in Massapequa, has once again returned to the Island with The Brian Setzer Orchestra doing the 9th annual "Christmas Rocks Extravaganza" at the NYCB Theatre At Westbury. Since the early 2000's, Brian's rockabilly Christmas albums and tours have become a tradition here and around the world.
Norman Vincent Peale once said “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Our local celebrities have done just that and we are proud and thankful. Try to enjoy some of their holiday offerings this year and share the magic with your family and friends.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

THE MEDAL- Kerriann Flanagan Brosky's new novel!

She became a well known, award winning author with five nonfiction books, including "Ghosts Of Long Island" and "Ghosts Of Long Island II". Now KERRIANN FLANAGAN BROSKY has written her first fiction novel "THE MEDAL" and though it has just been released, it is getting rave reviews from around the world. The inspiring story that Kerriann has written involves lovable characters whom we all can relate to, Padre Pio ( one of today's most revered Saints) and a miracle that will not only surprise you but warm your heart at the same time. I spoke with Kerriann recently prior to the books release...

MICK: You've had great success writing non fiction books. Is fiction something you've always wanted to do?
KERRIANN: Yes it is something I've always wanted to do! I thought that having the background with non fiction would help further my career and people would take me seriously as a writer. I wanted to do a story that would be a good transition from what I was doing with ghost books and with Padre Pio it works well. His story adds mysticism. He had bi-location, he was psychic even though the church doesn't necessarily use that word. Based on my own knowledge from what I've read, he could read hearts, he could have that sense of knowing what people are thinking. So this story is a great progression for me. I combined a lot of history in this book as told from the character of Jimmy, in his language and his words. He talks about the life of Padre Pio. So this combines my love of history and my love of the paranormal that I worked into the novel.
MICK: When did you first learn about Padre Pio?
KERRIANN: The book is based on a lot of things that have happened to me. I have had a lot of paranormal experiences and I've had a lot of religious experiences too. My father had passed away seven years ago after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. I was born and raised as a Catholic and had a very religious background. When my father got this disease, I was thinking "Why? Why my father". This is a question that a lot of people ask in times like this. After seeing this illness taking over every once of his body and cutting his life short with my mother and the family. He was only 48 when he was diagnosed. My mother is three years younger. I started losing my own faith and starting questioning and doubting God. I became so upset that I said I wouldn't go to church anymore and just stopped believing. I never believed in miracles. The very next day, I was in a store in town and I ran into this man that I did not know. Out of nowhere, he said to me "Do you believe in miracles?" I'm now thinking that I was losing my mind. He started saying "Do you have someone in your life that is in need of help that is suffering with an illness?" Why is he asking me this? All of a sudden he started telling me about Padre Pio. I had never heard of him before. He told me to start doing research on him which I did. As time went on, every time I was suffering or had doubts, this man would sort of appear in my life. He gave me a medal of Padre Pio, a very old silver medal that has a relic in the back. He told me to give this to my father and have him wear it. My father wore it for three or four years. It helped him as much as it helped me. Every time he was in the hospital, there were several times when he almost died and pulled through. As time went on, my faith started to improve. My fathers condition would sometimes even get better! It was more about me at that point than it was about him. The book is written in the perspective of the caretaker. There are so many books that are about people that have the illnesses, and of course that is the most important thing. But so many overlook the role of the caretaker.
I was told by many people that it was a whole journey that I had been on.
I knew that it was still ultimately up to God if someone doesn't get cured. So when my father eventually did pass away, there was a miracle that took place in my life.
Two years later, I was in the same store where I met that man and he was suddenly there again! I had only written my first "Ghosts of Long Island" at that time. He told me "Mark my words, one day you will write a book about me". I had no idea what he was talking about. So as time went on, I started picking up things that I had to write a book on this subject. In "The Medal", the main character is Bethany Fitzpatrick and she is based on what I had experienced and what my mother had experienced, as the caretaker, in relation to my father's illness. In the book, Bethany's family came from money, they lived in Northport and had the perfect kind of family. She had gone to the culinary institute to become a pastry chef. She had this great job lined up in Manhattan and then her mother gets very sick. So she had to forego that to go home and care for her father. She ultimately opens a bakery and has to run it. But she's only in her late 20s and also has to care for her father, whom she loved beyond comprehension. It's not a normal life for someone that age and I have that conflict in the book. Her two friends have a totally different life and the character of Bethany doesn't fit in. Her friends go blank when it comes time to talk to her about her life because they don't understand. This is common for people who are caretakers. No one understands them; no one knows what to say. People say the wrong things or they ignore you. In the book, I am trying to stress that caretakers are not alone in feeling that every day you wonder what is going to happen, that they've given up their own life. She gets to that point in the book where she's given up and has a breakdown in her bakery. All of a sudden, this stranger appears who is reminiscent of a character from the Godfather. The bakery was locked so she doesn't know how he got in. He starts telling her about Padre Pio and the story unfolds from there.
MICK: Since this book has more of a universal appeal, will you be traveling around they country for book signings?
KERRIANN: I would like to. I've always been a Long Island girl and an author on Long Island. Last year, I came in third to Nelson DeMille in "the best of Long Island" for authors. With this book, it does have the potential to move outside of this area. So far, people of all ages and genres are raving about my book. I've already got two five star reviews from two totally different people whom I do not know!
MICK: When we spoke recently, you told me that you met a man here on Long Island that had a first hand encounter with Padre Pio.
KERRIANN: Yes I did and that was a huge turning point for me as well. I was learning about Padre Pio and things would come in my path unexpected.
One day, I went to a religious store to buy a communion gift. I paid for it and was looking around as she wrapped it up. When I got home, I opened the bag and with the gift, there was a flyer in there about this man Anthony Fuina who was doing a presentation in Bayville. It was about Padre Pio and it was a healing mass. I could not believe it was in my bag! I had to go! So I went to see this man and listened to his amazing story. His miracle with Padre Pio is one of the reasons that Pope John II declared Padre Pio a saint. There are a certain amount of requirements for a person to be made a saint. Anthony's was one of them. I not only heard him speak but also attended the healing mass. I was always very reserved about my religion and this was more of a charismatic experience. I was taken back by the whole thing with people falling back on the alter. I thought that is not going to be me! But it happened to me! I saw bright light and heard them speaking
in tongues. It was an amazing experience!
I woke up and there I was looking up at the ceiling in the church!
But Anthony Fuina is a very interesting man. He is alive and well all these years later and his life's work now is devoted to Padre Pio.
MICK: Have you ever seen that mystery man from store again?
KERRIANN: Yes I have. And the book is dedicated to him! He is very excited! I often wonder about him because he's an unlikely person but I owe him so much! He lifted me up many times when I needed lifting. He is also very Italian so I had a lot of fun making the character of "Jimmy" in the book because of the lingo and the language.
MICK: Are there any more fiction books in the future for you?
KERRIANN: I would hope so! I keep several journals with different story lines and it is things that are not necessarily paranormal or spiritual. It is definitely something I would like to continue. I often get asked if I will be writing a third "Ghosts of Long Island" book but as much as I would like that, I want to be able to move on and do something a little different. I have my radio show that keeps me in with the paranormal so that satisfies that need that I have. I really love non-fiction because I love the research and I love going out in the world interviewing and meeting people. It's a big change doing fiction because it is very reclusive. For "The Medal", I did have some research but it was nothing like what I had been doing. It was an adjustment. The book went through four revisions and three professional edits. The one thing I really enjoyed was I could create my own story and my own characters and I still found a way to include my interest with history to put that in with the life of Padre Pio. After doing five non-fiction books, I really want to move up into the fiction world. I think this is the book that can do it!
This book is more of a natural progression from non-fiction to fiction because of the subject matter. My fans expect this of me with books coming out in October so the timing of this could not have been better!
MICK: When will "The Medal" be officially released?
KERRIANN: The official release date was on September 23. We were at the Church of St. John the Baptist and that was Padre Pio's feast day! I did well. I sold 41 books in between Masses. I was really taken back emotionally by the whole day. People were coming up to me telling me the most amazing stories. One woman broke down at my table and reached across and started hugging me for writing the book. People were requesting the book in Spanish, French and Polish. Other people would come by my table, pick up the image I had on display of Padre Pio, kiss it and walk away. It was all quite overwhelming. The church was packed! I've gotten some incredible responses on Facebook and some Amazon reviews too!

On Friday, October 19, 2012,at 7:00pm Kerriann Will be at the BOOK REVUE
313 NEW YORK AVENUE HUNTINGTON NY Huntington, NY 11743 to discuss "The Medal

" and sign books. Don't miss this this wonderful evening with one of Long Island's most gifted and loved authors!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

64th Annual Artists & Writers Softball Game in East Hampton

This coming Saturday, August 18 2012, will be the 64th Annual East Hampton Artists and Writers Softball Game at Herrick Park in East Hampton. The star studded game will feature some very famous and talented East Enders who will wage a friendly battle to see who gains supremacy between the teams of artists and writers.
Deb Sanzo McEneany is the spark plug who has helped organize this gallant fund raiser game for the last seven years. Her love of the game and what it represents is very evident in her enthusiasm in putting this together. She does not play but her husband Kevin McEneany does for the writers team. Deb says "I'd have to say my biggest thrill each year is announcing the amount raised at our MVP ceremony after the game". Biggest disappointment? "If we spell someone's name wrong on their shirt!" Oops!
Among those who will be participating for the artists includes Christie Brinkley, Lori Singer, John Slattery, WEHM's Anthony, Mercedes Ruehl, Mark Feuerstein, Josh Charles, Gregg Bello, and Bob Balaban among many others. On the writers side is Mike Lupica, Ken Auletta, Jimmy Leyritz, Rod Gilbert, Mark Green, George Stephanopoulos, Ann Liquori,
Carl Bernstein, Tom Clavin and numerous others. Announcing the game will be Juliet Papa, Ali Wentworth and the incomparable James Lipton. The National Anthem will be performed by singers from dozens of Houses of Worship on the East End. Nancy Atlas will sing during the 7th inning stretch.
The charities that will benefit from the game includes The East Hampton Day Care Learning Center, Phoenix Houses of Long Island, East End Hospice and The Retreat

A suggested donation of $10 will benefit all four charities.
Deb expects an estimated crowd of 1200 so it's a good idea to get there early. Batting practice starts at 12 Noon and the game commences at 2:00PM. There will be lots of refreshments and food for sale with dozens of games and raffles for the kids.
And if it rains? "I will cry and we will play on August 25" Deb says with a big smile on her face.
They say that sometimes the only thing fair in life is a ball hit between 1st and 3rd.
Lets see how fair life is this weekend in East Hampton!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


America is just finding out about Australia's LAURA WILDE, a beautiful 22 year old powerhouse guitarist, who is taking the world by storm with her debut album "Sold My Soul". Laura is multi talented as she not only writes her own songs, she plays all the instruments as well! She is currently touring the USA with the Motor City Madman himself, Ted Nugent. I had the pleasure of speaking to her recently between gigs...

MICK: Congratulations on your new album!
LAURA: Thank you! It's been a bit of a whirlwind since it was released. We been out on the road touring all over the country! We are very excited to be coming to New York!
MICK: How long did it take you to record the album?
LAURA: It was recorded over four years. The first song was recorded when I was 18. The last one was recorded in Los Angeles in 2011. It was a long time and I've certainly grown up! I don't think the next one will take that long.
MICK: I see that you play all of the instruments on your album. That is quite impressive!
LAURA: Thank you! Sometimes if you want it done right you just do it yourself!
MICK: Did you get any help at all with the other instruments?
LAURA: I got a few people to teach me some drum stuff. It was definitely a big learning curve doing this album. I made a lot of mistakes. You never learn unless you make mistakes.
MICK: When writing a song, what comes first for you...the words or the music?
LAURA: It all depends. Sometimes I can write a song with a guitar riff when I'm practicing or messing around. Sometimes a song can come to me, the lyrics and everything, when I am falling asleep. I feel I do my best work when I'm not sitting down and trying to write a song deliberately. The songs write themselves.
MICK: How is the tour going so far?
LAURA: It's going very well! It's been very hectic. Ted Nugent does over 300 shows a year and his team runs like clockwork. It's been great learning from someone like Ted.
MICK: Do you get to play with Ted at all?
LAURA: I got to hang out with him a little bit. He came into our dressing room and gave us the pep talk before his show. He said "Hey this Aussie chick can play guitar!" I thought "Wow, Ted Nugent says I can play guitar!"
MICK: How do you like living in the USA?
LAURA: I love it! I've been given the chance to play shows every night and tour the country and see it all through a car window. It's been such great fun and I feel so lucky to have this opportunity.
MICK: On this tour, what has been your most memorable moment up to this point?
LAURA: We have had a lot of technical errors. In the Boston show, my guitar cut out for three songs which was not a good thing. I guess you have to learn from stuff like that. It's been great seeing the country. You really get to know the band and grow with them.
MICK: Have you had the chance to meet any of your influences like Slash, Suzy Quatro, Lita Ford?
LAURA: I met Steven Tyler. I think he is the most recent influence that I've met. There's still more time for that kind of stuff.
MICK: I've read that you played a private accoustic show for the Saudi Arabian royal family. What was that like?
LAURA: That was a "wow" experience. I couldn't believe it was happening! I was staying at the same hotel as them and they found out I was a musician. They looked me up and liked my music. So they requested a private accoustic show and they really liked it! It was amazing!
MICK: Do you think about possibly doing an accoustic album one day?
LAURA: Definitely! I know the Foo Fighters and Nirvana have done unplugged stuff. I just love it. It's a different way of presenting a song.
MICK: What do you do to unwind?
LAURA: I've actually been going shooting! I was in Las Vegas recently and they have different gun laws so I got to shoot a shot gun and an AK47.
MICK: Do you havce any hobbies besides music?
LAURA: I like to hang out with friends. I like to play video games, watch movies and stuff like that.
MICK: What's next after this tour?
LAURA: We are going back into the studio and record the next album. It is now in the proccess of being written. We'll do it all over again!

Laura Wilde comes to the Westbury Theatre in Westbury, NY on 08/01/12 as shew opens for Ted Nugent.
You can see more about Laura Wilde at:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


He will be forever known as "Chip Douglas", the third son of Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) on the long running TV series "My Three Sons". But Stanley Livingston has accomplished much more in his long career that is still going strong. The multi faceted actor recently released a revolutionary DVD series " the Actor's Journey Project" , which he produced and directed, as an insider's guide to breaking into the industry. I had the great pleasure to speak with Stan about this and his amazing career...

MICK: How did you get the role of Chip on "My Three Sons"?
STAN: I'd been working for about five years in the industry by that time. At that point, I had a little bit of a reputation in the industry. I'd done a whole bunch of "Ozzie and Harriett" shows. I started my career there in 1955 as the neighborhood kid. Did a lot of TV shows back in those days and started doing movies too. I did "Please Don't Eat the Daisies" with Doris Day and David Niven, "Rally Round the Flag Boys" with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and a few other feature films. By that point in time, the producers asked to see me. I came in and was cast almost right on the spot! I was the first one hired besides Fred MacMurray. They had to put the rest of the cast together and that took another six months. They finally had William Frawley, Tim Considine, and Don Grady to complete the original cast.
MICK: When "My Three Sons" first went on the air in 1960, ABC got Fred MacMurray to play the dad Steve Douglas. He was a big movie star at that time. How did he adjust to TV work?
STAN: It probably doesn't resonate as much now but when Fred MacMurray came to do "My Three Sons", it was unprecedented, to be truthful about it, that a movie star of that caliber would actually come and do the daily grind of a TV series. Most of the big movie stars, if they did TV at all, would maybe do a Bob Hope special or an episode of Lucy. They weren't up to doing the 36 episodes we did in those days that would curtail their movie careers. Fred had just adopted twins, Katie and Laurie. They were pretty young then and he wanted to stick close to home and not go off for months doing a movie. It sounded like a good thing for him. He was half owner of the show with Don Fedderson. It was a nice little gig he had going!
MICK: How was veteran actor William Frawley on the set?
STAN: He was great! He was probably my favorite person/character on the set. We kind of bonded because I didn't have a grandfather and he never had any kids. I don't think he liked kids. I looked up to him because at that point in time I was a big fan of "I Love Lucy". I used to play hooky from school to watch "I Love Lucy" at 9:00am and then have a miraculous recovery at 9:30am! My parents got wise to that one! He was great. He was a crusty old guy, always cursing four letter words. Taught me every four letter word I know!
MICK: After William Frawley, there was William Demarest!
STAN: Yes, Demarest came in the fourth year. Frawley was having some health problems and the studio basically couldn't get him insured. They had to let him go and needed to replace that character. Fred MacMurray worked with William Demarest quite a bit. Somehow he came to their attention as he was so much like Frawley. So he was cast as Bub, the brother to the grandfather on the show. He continued with the cooking, cleaning and vacuuming. He made a great domestic maid! Wish I could find one of them myself!
MICK: Do you have a favorite episode?
STAN: I like the one with the lion [Season 6 Episode 5 There's a What in the Attic]. That was a cute episode. A circus is in town and a lion gets loose. Everybody has a near miss with the lion. We had another one called "Happy Birthday World" [1966 Season 7 Episode 9]. In that one, we had pie fights like the Keystone Kops. that was fun to shoot. My favorite episodes are the ones shot in black and white. There was a different style of writing for those. They were really heartfelt and portrayed the family values that struck a chord with American families.
MICK: You started out on "The Ozzie and Harriett Show". They were a real family. Was that different from working with a make believe family?
STAN: There really wasn't much difference from working with the surrogate family I had on "My Three Sons" except they were actually a real family. The Nelson kids were great. We came into the show when the Nelson boys were getting a little older. Ozzie, in his infinite wisdom, decided to get some younger people on the show as neighborhood kids. We did all kinds of episodes. Ozzie was a gentle director to work with. That fostered my interest in the business. I was pretty lucky there and I've worked with some monsters too. The movie "How The West Was Won" is another story. Henry Hathaway and John Ford, living legend directors of that era, were really tough guys.
MICK: They were tough to work for?
STAN: They were very temperamental, yelling and screaming at everybody. They had a pretty tense set going, not just for the actors but the entire crew. They didn't take any guff from anybody. They would scream and curse you out even if you were a six year old kid!
MICK: Your brother Barry Livingston was on the show with you. Do you have any other brothers or sisters in the business?
STAN: Barry and I actually did one episode of "Ozzie and Harriett" together. It was the very last episode I did because I found out I'd been hired for "My Three Sons". We actually worked together one time before that in the film "Rally Round The Flag Boys". Barry got fired from that because he wasn't paying attention. We were suppose to be watching TV when Paul Newman walked in and starts talking to us. My brother didn't look like he was looking at the TV set and by noon, the director was really frustrated with him. He said "This kid has crossed eyes!" and decided that no son of Paul Newman's was going to have crossed eyes. So by One O'clock, we had a new brother on the set and Barry was fired! My younger brother, who is ten years younger than me and my sister is thirteen years younger. When they were younger they did a few things. My sister did commercials and did a movie with Elliott Gould called "I Love My Wife". My younger brother did a few
"Waltons"episodes but he wasn't really cut out for it. At that point, my mom wasn't up to fostering another career!
MICK: Do you keep in touch with Don Grady?
STAN: Yes, we used to see each other a couple times each year. We email and phone each other. The same thing with Tim Considine, who played my older brother Mike. I see him quite often, maybe three or four times a year. He's older than me and he's like a real older brother. Don is like a real older brother too! And my younger brother on the show is my real younger brother!
MICK: Please tell me about The Actor's Journey Project!
STAN: After "My Three Sons", I got involved in production. I started producing small stuff like industrial educational films and I worked my way up to producing a feature. Having been in the industry for most of my life, I recognized that many people went to acting school and tried to get in the business. The fact is that there's over a 99% failure rate of people who are trained. What happens is that you graduate and then try to get a job in the business and within a year or two, most of these people are gone! There's this thing called the business that's in show business and that's not taught to you in acting class. So we put this program together. I'm the guy who organized this whole thing and brought 100 people together from within the industry that includes actors, directors, producers, executive producers, casting directors, talent managers. It also included the president of the Screen Actors Guild and the Screen Directors Guild at that time. This
program was put to together for actors that is totally dedicated to getting them into the industry and teaching the business skills that they need to know to actually facilitate a career. It was no small task. It took around three years to get the entire thing shot and another couple years to edit. There are two different programs because we realize there wasn't one program that fits all. There's one program for the adults 18 years and older. This is people who come into the industry just after they graduate and they're usually doing it for themselves. It's pretty easy to get lost in this industry. Nothing happens and there's nobody there to help you. You may get a job or two but it's how you sustain the whole thing is another story. There's no information out there, not even on the internet. This program is a ten hour program called "The Actor's Journey". At the same time, we shot another program for parents who want to involve their children in the
industry. That's for children from infancy to seventeen years old. The parents really need to know what's going on to stay in the business. The child may have the talent but it's the parents who are fostering the career. They need to know what they're involved in.
We have cottage industry of scam artists in this industry. They recognize your desire to get in but they also recognize that you are pretty naive on the business side of it and they exploit that. The second project is called "The Actor's Journey For Kids" and it's not really for kids, it's for the parents of children and teens who want to get in the business.
One of the criteria's for people involved with the project is that they must be in the industry for at least twenty years or more. They all have huge credits. The information they share is something you can't find anywhere else. I produced and directed the project. It was done through my company "First Team Productions". The information we have here is timeless and it doesn't matter where you live.
MICK: Where is "The Actor's Journey Project" available?
STAN: If you go to the, that will send you to the two websites, one is "" for adults and the other is"" for children 17 and under. On the website, you can read about the project and see the 100 people involved with it. Their list of credits is unbelievable. We involved and engaged people of the highest level to make sure this information is more than accurate. You are getting it straight from the horse's mouth instead of the junk that's on thInternetet.
MICK: You are also an accomplished glass artist. How did that come about for you?
STAN: That resulted from spending a lot of years on a sound stage and trying to entertain myself while not making a lot of noise. I was always interested in art. I certainly had the time to do it! Oils, watercolors, pen and pencil, ink, I did it all. I eventually got interested in stained glass. You're not only working on a canvas, you're working on a glass canvas which means you're working with light as well. I have a website for my art "". I really haven't done anything in a while because I've been busy with production. You can see when I've already done and hopefully may do iagainan in the future. Tiffany glass has always been a favorite of mine. When you see that, you realize what actually can be done or the degree to which glass can emulate paint. They were amazing at putting these windows together with the highlights and the shadows. It's not like what most people think of stained glass. Around 1980, I had some time off and
decided to do my art for a while. That's when I got into glass art. I wasn't really looking to sell anything but I was starting to get commissions to create some pieces.
MICK: Do you still paint?
STAN: I haven't had time. I went back into production about ten years ago. We did a feature, a TV series that I directed, and the Actor's Journey thing that took up a good chunk of my life. I thought it would be a four or five year thing but it took much longer. The economy slowed things down. I have a production company that I'm involved as a producer and director. I'm doing a project right now with a guy named Steve Railsback. He's the guy that played Charles Manson in the movie "Helter Skelter". I'm producing a movie that he is directing. We are hoping it goes into production later this year. I have another script that I've been working on for over a year that deals with the Beatles.
MICK: "My Three Sons" ended in 1972. Your character had got married at that point. As the character of Chip, what do you think would have happened to him?
STAN: I probablwouldn'tnt have stayed married to Polly! I think everybody got a divorce in those days. I think Chip might have become a photographer or something creative. It's funny because we actually talked about that at one point of time. We decided Ernie would have become an engineer, Don would have definitely become a musician either with a rock band or writing jingles for commercials.
MICK: Is your daughter in the entertainment business?
STAN: No she's not.
MICK: What are your future plans?
STAN: My future is getting shorter and shorter! I will be 62 this year. I wanted to do this project for the acting community. I wanted to put something back into the industry along with the 100 other people that helped me. If this is the last thing I do, I can say I did at least two great things to be remembered by. Not matter what I do, I will always be remembered from "My Three Sons". And this other thing, I'd like to think it has some merit. Everybody that has seen it has been blown away. I'm really proud that I did this and took the time off to do it. My main indenture right now is to push ahead with production work, either as a producer or a director. I have about four or five different things on my plate right now. Hopefully, that is what I hope to be doing until I fall over! I don't want to be locked up somewhere doing nothing so I hope I'm on a movie!

This interview was previously posted on: http//

For more information on Stanley Livingston:

Monday, May 14, 2012

VONDA SHEPARD Comes to New York!

Long before Ally McBeal, Vonda Shepard was making a splash in the musical world with her raw talent and sheer determination to succeed. Once she was signed to appear as a regular on "Ally McBeal", millions more soon found out about Vonda as she recorded over 500 songs for the show. Today, she continues to record and add to her amazing resume! Her new CD "Solo" has just been released and Vonda is touring to support the CD. I had the greatest pleasure to talk with Vonda the other evening from her California home...

MICK: Your new CD "Solo" sounds awesome. When and why did you decide to record a CD with just you and your piano?
VONDA: Several months ago, I was talking to my European record label and they said "Let's do an interim solo project". I'm still writing my next album and it's taking a while. We could do this in between. He wanted to do this and rerecord some previous stuff. As I thought about it, there are so many fans out there who have requested this of me, including playing a tour solo. I had been too intimidated and vulnerable to go on the road by myself on stage but I did it! I did the record, went to Europe and toured. It was very exciting and powerful!
MICK: Did it take long to record?
VONDA: Not long at all. We did around 3 songs a day so it took about four days to record. Then it took a few days to mix it.
MICK: Your rendition of "Walk Away Renee" is great! Has anybody from The Left Banke heard it yet?
VONDA: No they have not heard this yet! If they have, I would be shocked!
I love that song and I remember hearing their rendition of it and Riki Lee Jones did it also. That song and "You Belong To Me" are the only covers on the album because those are songs I identify with.
MICK: "Solo" is your fifth collaboration with your husband, producer Mitchell Froom. How is he different from other producers you've worked with?
VONDA: Before I ever met Mitchell or worked with him, I was a big fan of his. His records were my favorite records, especially Crowded House. I used to study his production and tried to emulate his style when I recorded. On the album "It's Good, Eve"[1996], I would ask myself "What would Mitchell Froom do here?". When I started to work with him, I really saw why his records sounded so good and unique. He really is the master of deconstructing and adding space where it needs it. The changing of one chord that will make the whole song go to another dimension that the artist would never have thought of. It could be just a passing chord or a bass note change. I'm very lucky to be able to work with him!
MICK: On your current tour that comes to BB Kings in NYC on May 21, are there other musicians with you?
VONDA: Yes there are! I was going to come solo because that's what I've been doing. But I thought it would be fun to do a little run with the guys. We have a lot more fun with the three of us! We have James Ralston on guitar. He was with Tina Turner for 22 years! A fantastic rhythm guitar player and he sings like a lead singer. On bass is Jim Hanson. We've been playing together for over 14 years now. He has played with Johnny Cash, Bruce Springstein, Rodney Crowley...some great people! We do anything from very intimate, where we just have acoustic guitar and bass, then just build it up to the big soul section!
MICK: Growing up, who did you admire?
VONDA: I admired the hardcore singer/songwriters of the 70's...Carole King, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor. I was hugely influenced by Candi Staton, Chaka Kahn and Stevie Wonder.
MICK: You've met most of them, right?
VONDA: I've met Chaka and Stevie; I've worked with Jackson Browne and I've been on the road with James Taylor. I've met Carole King. I still haven't met Aretha Franklin!
MICK: Do you keep in touch with Calista Flockhart [from their work together on Ally McBeal]?
VONDA: Calista is one of those friendships where if I ran into her today on the street, we would give each other a huge hug and it would seem like
yesterday! She and I had this kind of connection. We don't really stay in touch. We speak maybe twice a year and attempt to have dinner, but we are both very busy with our children and our careers. We both live in LA where everybody is busy!
MICK: When you write a song, what comes first for you...the words or the music?
VONDA: Usually is kind of gibberish and the melody with a couple chord changes. I have to interpret and edit the gibberish and try to discover what my sub conscience is trying to say and what feels good to sing. Usually there is one word or one sentence that defines the song. Sometimes it's a really bad sentence but it sounds good and I keep going over and over it. Try to make it something that is well written and also sounds good to sing!
MICK: When you are writing, what inspires you?
VONDA: Relationships are a big subject for me and most people. Working out problems with people that you can't necessarily communicate to the person. Nature inspires me a lot. Many of my songs have images of the beach or the rain in some way. Sitting in a cafe and watching the people and make up stories about their lives is something I like to do. I miss that because now I have a little boy and I don't have the liberty to sit for two hours!
MICK: What are some of your favorite venues to play?
VONDA: There's a place in Paris called La Cigale. I've played Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado and adore it! I love playing outside, especially when the sun is setting. I also love a gorgeous theater like The Beacon in NYC. I've played Royal Albert Hall in London and it's gorgeous.
MICK: Do you have any relatives still living here in New York?
VONDA: My father still lives there. My cousins also. We will probably catch a Broadway show, after my show, which will be fun!
MICK: What do you do to unwind?
VONDA: I love to read! I also like to cook a lot. My new thing is gardening. I just planted a vegetable and herb garden!
MICK: Is there anybody in particular that you would like to work with?
VONDA: I think it would be great to work with Seal. I think our voices would really do well together. Some of the others ones like Bono would be awesome. I've produced a lot of amazing artists when I was on Ally McBeal. People like Sting, Randy Newman, Bon Jovi. But I really love Seal's rich voice.
MICK: What is your next project?
VONDA: I am working on my next album and also writing it. I've finally found a couple of great songs that are close to being done. I'm very excited about those! I still play a lot of the songs from my last band album which is called "From The Sun". At the show, I will be playing 3 or 4 from that album. They are not getting old to me yet but I'm ready for something new and I might play one of the new ones at the show!

Vonda Shepard and her piano will be performing at BB King Blues Club & Grill, 237 West 42nd Street, in New York City, on May 21, at 8 PM.
Opening is singer-songwriter Jann Klose (
Tickets are $28. in advance, and $32. day of show
The venue phone is 212-997-4144
The web site is
Vonda will have her new CD at the show and will autograph them after the show.
The only place you can purchase them is through Vonda's website:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Left Banke's Tom Finn

In 1965, a new rock group emerged from New York City called The Left Banke. Less than a year later, they scored a huge hit with "Walk Away Renee" and secured their place in pop history. Other hits followed but never reached the heights of "Walk Away Renee". Tom Finn is the original founding member and bass player in the band, which has recently reunited to the thrill of it's longtime fans. I recently had the great pleasure to speak with Tom about his amazing career in the Left Banke and his work as one of the top DJs in the world...

MICK: How did the band get it's name "The Left Banke"?
TOM: Michael Brown was an assistant working at his father's recording studio on Broadway and he would let us in. We used to go into the studio and we would plug in and jam there almost every night. There was an office downstairs and I was sleeping on the couch in the office. Steve Martin and Mike Brown came in and said "We've got the name!". I was half asleep and asked what it was. They said "The Left Banke". I remember after hearing that I had a picture in my mind of a bunch of guys dressed in Edwardian suits with hair parted in the middle, much like the Kinks. I thought that was a good name and very classy! They had gone out to eat with a guy named Scott English, who was a song writer ("Bend Me, Shape Me", "Mandy"). He thought the band should have an exotic name and suggested The Left Banke and they both went for it. We were playing Baroque music and just put an "E" on the end of "Bank". That worked out great because today, with the Internet, if was
just "Bank", it wouldn't be special. But the the "E" added for 'Banke", we get millions of hits online!

MICK: Is it true that "Walk Away Renee" was about your girlfriend Renee Fladen?
TOM: Yes, that is true. Renee was my girlfriend at the time and I'd bring her over to the studio. Michael Brown did have feelings for her and did write a few songs with her in mind.

MICK: Have you had any contact with Renee after all these years?
TOM: No, she doesn't like any attention to her because of the song. Renee is a very successful opera company leader in San Fransisco. She has her own opera company and became very successful with it. She doesn't want have anything to do with anyone from the past. But whenever she does something, they always throw in that she is the person that "Walk Away Renee" was written about. I think she got some mileage out of it but will not admit it!

MICK: What was it like for the band when "Walk Away Renee" became a big hit?
TOM: We were driving to Ohio in a station wagon with our road manager. When we left New York, we were starving and flat broke. I didn't even have a home at that time, sleeping in the office or at a friend's house. After about eight hours arriving in Ohio, I heard the song on the radio and they said "Tomorrow night, appearing live, with their top 5 hit "Walk away Renee", The Left Banke!" When we got arrived, there were girls waiting for us for autographs. It was a big deal! From nothing to famous!

MICK: Did The Left Banke ever do the American Bandstand TV show?
TOM: Yes, we did it once. We also did "Where The Action Is". That video is all over the Internet. I remember doing the one with Dick Clark as clear as day but I've never seen a copy of it.
MICK: After the Left Banke, you worked as an engineer at the Bell Sound Studio in NYC. Who were some of the great artists you worked with?
TOM: Wow, there were a lot. In the 50's and 60's, Bell Sound Studio was probably the most famous NY recording studio. Even Buddy Holley recorded there. I got there at the end of 1969. When I started there, I got to work with people like Roberta Flack, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Kiss before they were wearing makeup. There were so many famous people and hit records made there in the early 70's. I was the fly on the wall as I was learning to be an engineer as an assistant.
MICK: You also worked closely with the legendary Buddy Rich.
TOM: I met Buddy at Bell Sound. I was doing some horn overdubs with him in the studio and his manager, Stanley Kaye, asked me if I could come over to Buddy's Place Nightclub and help them set up their sound system as Buddy was unhappy with the sound on stage. I went over there as a onetime thing to show them how to run it and ended up staying there for about 5 years! He closed that club after about a year and opened up a new club. I designed the sound system and the lighting. While I was working with Buddy, we became close. I was also the master of ceremonies there and worked with people like Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Stan Getz, etc... This was on a weekly basis as they were booked into the club.
MICK: How did you get into becoming a DJ?
TOM: I was really disappointed after The Left Banke reunion in 1978 when we did our third album called "Strangers On A Train". We broke up and I was disappointed in the way the group members behaved. I remember I was invited to a party and some of Elvis Presley's musicians were guests at this party. I stood by and watched these guys jam and it hit me like a ton of lead what The Left Banke was missing. They were missing that rugged individual thing that the Beatles knew about, the Stones knew about. It was that roots of American rock that you stand on your own and play your instrument as an individual with other people too. That's what The Left Banke was missing. Everything had to be a group decision and it had to be politically this and that. I realized that you had to stand on your own two feet and then you talk about playing with other people. So I studied this 50's style of music. I bought records by the truckload of 50's music because I felt that I
missed it all. I would play this music day and night, blasting it in my apartment. I would also be playing guitar to learn all these songs. One day my neighbor knocks on the wall and says "Hey man, all my friends over here in my apartment tell me that you are playing the best music. My name is Pavese and I work at Studio 54. I'm opening a new club and want you to come down and talk to the DJ about the music you play". I said "You like my guitar?". He said "No we don't like the guitar, we like the records you play!". I go down to this club and spoke to this DJ, who was a female. I told her she should be playing 50's music. This new place was going to be a Disco. I told the owners to leave it just the way it is. It was a diner with a sword fish on the wall, neon clock, coke machine. It was perfect! This was 1982 and before the retro-craze hit. They listened to me. We created a night at this club called "Heartbreak" and was attended by every celebrity
you can imagine. I was responsible for the music format and ended up being the DJ there just playing 50's music. The line of limos was three blocks long with celebrities..Diana Ross, David Bowie, tennis stars and movie stars. The place was packed almost every night of the week. Steve Rubell from Studio 54 came in and asked me to stop by Studio 54 and talk to his DJ. I did stop by and did a few guest spots. Steve wanted me to be the DJ at his new club called The Palladium. I took the DJ job and the Palladium was the biggest nightclub in NYC in the mid 80's. They packed in 5000 people a night! I was playing the new stuff by Madonna and Prince and also 60's music. It was perfect timing because all of the yuppies were going to the clubs now. I was the perfect DJ in the right place at the right time. Steve Rubell started to send me out to his wealthy, superstar friends for their parties on their yachts, in Europe, wherever. I became what you would call a
celebrity DJ working these amazing parties all over the world but mainly here in NYC. I was on the front cover of The New York Times Saturday edition in 2006 in a 1000 word article called "The DJ That Moves The Movers and Shakers". I had arrived!
MICK: Is it true that you found your band mate George Cameron on Facebook and that's how this reunion got started?
TOM: Yes, that's exactly right. I had just opened a Facebook account and I started getting hundreds of requests from people I didn't know from all over the world. They were all asking me about The Left Banke. I kept refusing their friendship because I didn't know them. I did this for almost a year. Then I started feeling guilty about it because these people were really nice. I decided to get someone who know a lot about the Internet and opened the official Left Banke fan page. Now I was able to answer questions that a lot of people were asking by making a post. I was telling George Cameron about how many people were asking about the group and how many stars were saying how the Left Banke influenced them. So George put a group together and it was like a heavy metal Left Banke. I went to one rehearsal that he invited me to and said "Good luck George but I'm not interested in playing in this type of band". He wanted me to produce the band but I only wanted
to do it if we sounded like the record.
So I brought in a lead singer and some other key people. That was in 2010. Now two years later, we have this big band together. Two other original members are coming back too..Michael Brown and Steve Martin.
MICK: Is The Left Banke recording anything new?
TOM: Yes. I've written 4-5 new songs that are damn good. Michael Brown has some great songs too. We are doing an album, a new Left Banke album, and hopefully it will be out by this time next year. It's not going to be an oldies thing at all. We were always an original band writing original music and we weren't into the entertainment aspect of it. We modeled ourselves after the Beatles and a few other bands back then. Today our show is pumped up. Now at least we can play because back then, we were only 17-18 years old when we first started.
MICK: I see on your itinerary that there's only a few shows coming up. Will there be more?
TOM: Yes, definitely! There's only a few shows on the schedule now because nobody can pay us because the band is too big. We just can't afford it. Right now we are planning on doing a TV show on PBS. We are trying to do some selected gigs.
MICK: As a bass guitar player, which bass players do you admire?
TOM: My favorite is James Jamerson, the famous Motown bass player. I like Paul McCartney and John Entwisle. There's a lot of unknown bass players that I like. There's a guy named Anthony Jackson who is a killer bass player.
MICK: In your illustrious career, what would you consider you greatest moment?
TOM: The most touching thing that ever happened to me was when I was invited by President and Mrs. Clinton to The White House to do their millennium gala on New Year's Eve 1999. I was the only entertainment at The White House that evening. I just kept thinking if my parents were alive, they would have been very proud. I remember calling my sister from the Oval Office. They had a phone out on the chaise lounge just outside the door and asked if I could use it. They said "Sure, you are a guest here!". Also, as a DJ, I did Whitney Houston's wedding to Bobby Brown. I did the first half of that party. I've done so many major things as a DJ that were just over the top. You can see some of them on my website. There were some special shows with the Left Banke. We did one show with The Mamas and Papas that was very nice. We did a Beach Boy tour that was great. Leonard Bernstein did a TV special called "The Rock Revolution" and he played "Pretty Ballerina" on the
piano and said 'This is an example of how good pop music can be". He said The Left Banke was one of the best music groups that he had heard! That was nice!
MICK: Did you ever meet any of the Beatles?
TOM: John Lennon was a neighbor of mine. I still live about five blocks away from The Dakota. I had heard on the news that fateful night that there was a shooting outside the Dakota. I decided to high tail it up there to see what was going on. There was blood all over the sidewalk and not many people were there yet. I heard it was him that was shot and heard later that he died at Roosevelt Hospital. I used to see him around the neighborhood. He used to go to this one bakery called "Café La Fortuna" and saw he there quite a few times. I wouldn't go up to him because I had been around celebrities and they don't want you to come up to them. They get that all the time. I never actually met Lennon. I did parties with Princess Diana as a DJ and had a chance to meet her on the greeting line but didn't want to do it. I could have met the Queen of England if I wanted to but choose not to.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sydney Biddle Barrows- The Mayflower Madam Today!

In 1984, a relatively unknown beautiful socialite became world famous when her upscale escort service was exposed to the world. Her name is Sydney Biddle Barrows and became known as The Mayflower Madam. Her service catered to the rich and famous and the police were amazed at how well and professional the business was run. She went on to become a best selling author and is now in high demand for her expertise on customer experience. I spoke with Sydney recently about her life today...

MICK: It's been 28 years since your escort service was shut down and the world found out about you. How did your family react to that?
SYDNEY: I come from a very waspy family and there are many things that we don't discuss and they don't exist. That was the way my family's attitude was about this. My mother never once said to me "What were you thinking? How could you!". Nothing at all. We never discussed it like it never happened! That was my mother. The people who are most strongly affected in a negative way by it are your parents and your grandparents, especially your mother and your grandmother. People look at them and say "What did she do wrong?". That's the really tough thing because they had nothing to do with it. This happened about a month before Thanksgiving so for relatives that were more distant, you know they were sitting around the Thanksgiving table delighting in all the gossip! For them it was fun! I'm sure they were breathing a sigh of relief thinking "Thank God that wasn't my daughter!"!
MICK: Candice Bergen played you in the movie "The Mayflower Madam". Are you friends with her?
SYDNEY: I'm not friends with her. She played me in the movie but I haven't really heard from her since. She was very gracious.
MICK: I read that police confiscated your client list or your black book. Was it ever returned to you?
SYDNEY: Never. It would have been nice to have it back. Technically, they should have returned it to me because it was evidence in a case that was never bought. I'm not sure of the technicalities. I'm sure it's sitting in an evidence room somewhere!
MICK: When you were running your escort service, did organized crime ever want a piece of it?
SYDNEY: Not that I knew of. I could tell that they sent some girls in for interviews. Just the kinds of questions they were asking were suspicious. I made the business sound really small. I told them "I don't think this would be the right job for you. The girls only work a couple times a week and they only see one client a night." I said "This is for people who need just a little extra money. We're not really big". I made it sound small so they would not be interested.
MICK: Were you ever tempted to go back into the business?
SYDNEY: Never. First time is foolish, second time would be stupid.
MICK: Do you ever run into former clients?
SYDNEY: A couple of times.
MICK: Was it awkward?
SYDNEY: Not for me!
MICK: Are you still involved in the fashion industry?
SYDNEY: Yes I am! I work backstage during Fashion Week as a backstage supervisor. I've been doing that since 1987. It's a lot of fun and I really enjoy it. That's twice a year, in February and in September. I work for people like Vera Wang, Donna Karan, Oscar de La Renta, Bill Blass when he was alive, Michael Corrs, and a lot of the little people that you never heard of.
MICK: Please tell me about your career today.
SYDNEY: Today I am a business consultant. My area of expertise is customer/ client or patient experience depending on the kind of business that you have. I go on site to businesses and I do what is called a fresh eyes analysis. I look at the business from a point of view of their customer and make suggestions as to how they can make their experience more relevant and more meaningful. Make it the kind of experience that will actually influence
people to give them money!
MICK: I noticed that you have two websites?
SYDNEY: Yes I do! was unfortunately hacked by Russians so it is temporarily down. My other website is You've heard of the expression that so and so can't get out of their own way? Those are internal road blocks. Those are things that keep you from doing the things you would like to do. They keep you from being who you would really like to be!
MICK: If someone contacts you for the roadblock removal, is it a one on one process?
SYDNEY: Yes it is. It is completely customized to each individual.
MICK: Do you do groups also?
SYDNEY: Roadblock removal does not lend itself out to groups. It is totally a one on one thing.
MICK: How is business going?
SYDNEY: The business is tremendous! The results that my clients get are so phenomenal. It's great for weight loss, it's great for people who have a hard time focusing, incredible for procrastination and motivation. It's great for people trying to complete something. A lot of people start something but can't finish or simply have a hard time starting. Bad habits and phobias are things roadblock removal can help. I mainly do it for business. The majority of my clients have issues about money that have to do with feeling that they deserve it. Feeling that they have a right to it and the ability to make it. People have receiving issues. They can attract it but they can't receive it. Or once they get it, they lose it. They somehow sabotage themselves out of it. Roadblock removes the stuff that makes you sabotage yourself. We all do it and I get rid of it!
MICK: After work, what do you do in your leisure time?
SYDNEY: I love to walk! I live in New York City. I am equidistant from Central Park and Riverside Park. I put information on my Kindle and find a wonderful bench by the lake that has a beautiful bridge. I go to the gym, I see my friends. I love to read. I could spend 4-5 hours a day just reading!
MICK: Are you close with your family?
SYDNEY: Not particularly. I never was. It has nothing to do with all of the stuff that's happened to me.
MICK: Who do you admire?
SYDNEY: I've never been a fan of anyone and never had favorites. However, I did hear Joan Rivers speak last year. I've never been a big fan of hers because she's little crude and crass for me. But after hearing her speak, I was blown away and impressed by her life story and how she overcame it. So many of us only see her doing something funny on television. This woman has had some life. I thought I had been knocked down a million times. This woman has survived more body blows than everyone we know put together! She has come out on top every single time! I wouldn't want to be like her but I admire her for what she has overcome.
MICK: What are your future plans?
SYDNEY: I hope the business keeps getting better. I'd love to meet Mr. Right! That would be terrific!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Long Island is renowned for it's world class wines that have been produced here for many years. Now beer brewing is becoming more prevalent with the addition of some new breweries producing some amazing micro brews. PORT JEFF BREWERY is the latest to open and it is a very welcome addition to Port Jefferson with it's delicious hand crafted micro brews. Michael Philbrick is the founder and this is his dream come true. I had the great pleasure to speak with Michael recently...
MICK: The Port Jeff Brewing Company opened in October 2011. How is it going so far?
MICHAEL: Great! We opened the tasting room in October and since then we've got a pretty good following in the tasting room and opened 60-70 accounts throughout the Island. It's moving right along!
MICK: You began as a home brewer right?
MICHAEL: Yes I did. About twelve years ago I started home brewing and it became a passion of mine. I ended up turning it into a business and that takes me to where I am today!
MICK: I read that you graduated from World Brewing Academy at the Siebel Institute in Chicago. Is that a college?
MICHAEL: No it's not. In the United States, there are three places of higher education you can go to learn professional brewing. There's a new one called EC Davis. The other two are the Siebel Institute in Chicago or the Vermont Brewers Guild. It's more or less a certificate course. When I wanted to open a brewery, I thought I should get a formal education and start learning larger equipment before I just go out and buy some!
MICK: How long were you there?
MICHAEL: The course I took there was a four month course.
MICK: When you decided to open a brewery, how long did it take for you to get it going?
MICHAEL: From conception until today it took three years. There's an incredible planning stage that happens long before you start looking for real estate. We actually moved into our building about a year ago last January and started the construction. That entails putting a large scale brewery into an otherwise small commercial space.
MICK: Were you actually brewing while you were building the place?
MICHAEL: We started construction in January and the actual brewing equipment arrived in July. It wasn't until September that is was operable. In brewing, we have a lot of plumbing hookups and electrical hookups with various pipes and hoses that run throughout the brewery. That takes time to situate. Our building is so small that we had to get the brewing equipment in first and then build around it. We occupy under 1000 square feet. For the amount of beer that we put out, I can't imagine there are many other places that are that small and can produce that much beer!
MICK: How long does it take you to make a brew?
MICHAEL: The actual brewing of the beer would be about six hours. That's basically preparing the liquid to start fermenting. Depending on the type of beer you are making, the fermentation could be anywhere from as little as 8 or 9 days to a month. It varies from beer to beer. Higher alcohol content beers take longer and those that are less in alcohol take less time to ferment.
MICK: How many employees do you have?
MICHAEL: There is another guy that brews with us so he's the head brewer. His name is Jeff Nokes. He is currently attending Siebel Institute. We two other interns that help out during the week. These guys are considering or already enrolled in that secondary type of education. They come to work and learn the trade for free! That's what I did and that's what Jeff did.
Home brewing and commercial brewing are very much the same but also very different. There's a lot of work involved. People think we brew beer, hang out and drink beer all day but that's not the case!
MICK: Do you have a personal favorite beer?
MICHAEL: My personal favorite beer is the one that was just brewed! We make 8 different beers right now so between October and now, we just brought them out.
MICK: Do you brew soda also? Is that a brewed thing?
MICHAEL: We don't brew soda but we do make soda on the premises. We make a birch beer.
MICK: Is that a similar type process?
MICHAEL: Not really. Birch beer and soda are a little bit more with flavoring. We could brew a birch beer but we don't do it completely from scratch.
MICK: Are you planning to develop more types of beers?
MICHAEL: Yes we are! Right now, of the eight that we have, there are three that are seasonal. Once winter passes, we will start brewing in the spring and again in the summer. Around Halloween, we make Boo Brew which is our pumpkin beer.
MICK: Where is the beer distributed?
MICHAEL: We have two main outlets which are restaurants and bars. The second category would be a home distributor like a local beverage and beer store. Because we only package in kegs, the beer stores we serve all have growlers.
MICK: What events do you have coming up at the brewery?
MICHAEL: We are doing an event on St. Patrick's Day and having a band in front of the brewery. The tasting room is open 7 days a week so there's always something going on. We also do bar events, beer festivals and various fund raising events. We typically do two events a week.
MICK: Beside brewing beer, what else do you like to do?
MICHAEL: Going out on the boat! I'm married with 3 children and a dog. The boat is a great pastime for us. We live right in Port Jefferson so we are right on the water.
MICK: How long have you lived in Port Jefferson?
MICHAEL: We've lived here for about five years now. My wife is from the Stony Brook. I'm originally from Connecticut. We've been spending our summers here in Port Jefferson for the past ten years. So when I decided to open a brewery, I thought it didn't make sense for Port Jefferson to not have a brewery! We have a great location too, right in the heart of Chandler Square!
MICK: What are the plans up the road for the brewery?
MICHAEL: We just began an expansion and we are going to start doing some barrel aging. We will be using mainly oak barrels. Some are wine barrels, some are whiskey and rum. In the beer world, it's something that is definitely more attractive. The type of bottling we would do would be a cork and cage bottle, much like a champagne bottle. That seems to be catching on well on the market. I think the beers that we do the best would really work well with the oak.
MICK: How far west is your beer sold?
MICHAEL: We are not into New York City yet. The furthest place we are at from the brewery, other than Westchester NY, is Lynbrook in Nassau County. In the past few weeks we've started getting into Nassau County but we are predominantly in Suffolk County. We are still fairly new and we are steadily growing!

PORT JEFF BREWERY is located in beautiful downtown Port Jefferson at 22 Mill Creek Road - located within the Chandler Square walking mall.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012


She is one of Long Island's more prominent and respected authors and one of the nicest persons to speak to. Kerriann Flanagan Brosky is the author of five books with her most popular being "The Ghosts of Long Island". A writer, photographer, paranormal investigator, cook, wife and loving mom, Kerriann is accomplished at everything she delves into. I recently had the great pleasure to chat with Kerriann from her Huntington home...

MICK: Did you grow up on Long Island?
KERRIANN: Yes I did! I grew up in Plainview and moved to Huntington twenty years ago when I got married. I've been a Huntington resident since then.
MICK: When did you first get interested in the paranormal?
KERRIANN: It's something that was always interesting to me since I was a teenager. My degree is actually in photography. I went to Long Island University at C.W. Post and I studied photography under Arthur Leipzig. I had worked at Newsday as an intern so when I got out of school, I worked in Huntington at some local papers. I really took an interest in the town's history. I started my own column and that ultimately led to writing two books in the mid 1990s on Huntington's history. I was on the board of trustees for the Huntington Historical Society as first vice president for six years. When you are researching older homes and buildings, you always find a ghost story that would literally be in the files I would go through. Since it was something I was already interested in, I put a couple of them in the two books I had written. I became a well known speaker doing lectures on local history primarily for the Huntington Historical Society. I did the same
lecture over and over again. October was approaching and they said to me 'Do you think you could do something different and do a ghost lecture?" I thought that would be fun! So we had it down in the Conklin Barn in Huntington. My husband had rigged up the whole barn with webbing and all kinds of things around. During the lecture things were actually happening and it looked like a haunted barn! We had people down to New York Avenue! People could not get in! I couldn't believe all these people were interested in ghosts. It started a tradition and I did it for years, beginning in the early 1990s. People started asking me if I could do a book on ghosts and combine it with Long Island. I was still early into my career and wanted to be taken seriously as a journalist. I was doing some freelance photography and had left the newspaper at this point. In the Spring of 2005, my father had passed away after a long battle with MS and I was devastated. After about
three months, I knew I had to get involved in another book project. My last book had come out in 1997 so my husband suggested I do that ghost book. At that time, there were some popular ghost TV shows surfacing and I realized people weren't afraid to talk about these things. Because this area was relatively new to me, I had to find a paranormal investigator to help me. As luck would have it, at one of my lectures for the Historical Society, in walks Joe Giaquinto who is a paranormal investigator from Hampton Bays. I asked him right on the spot if he would help me with this project, something I normally would not have done right away. At the time, I thought it would be a book about things that go bump in the night and combine it with local history. But it was that very night that started me on a whole spiritual journey because I do believe it was my father who guided me and put Joe and I together to work on this project. The book turned into way more
than I ever anticipated. It's been incredible ever since!
MICK: Have you had any ghostly experiences personally?
KERRIANN: Oh yes a lot of them! I like to tell people they are all very subtle things. I still do a lot of lectures on "The Ghosts Of Long Island" book. It's amazing that the book has already been out a couple of years and I get standing room only at the lectures. People really believe that what they see on TV and movies is what it is like for me. It is not! There's no blood dripping down the walls or pots and pans flying around. It's all positive spirit communication. Since I'm a professional photographer, I get a lot of orb photographs [balls of transparent light we find in photos taken in allegedly haunted places] and i get a lot of them around me when I am photographed. Joe specializes in EVPs which is electronic voice phenomenon. I've also got some great apparition photographs. On a personal level, I've had a lot of experience with my father who had passed away dealing with music, smell and different things.
When I do lectures, I tell people about signs to look for from the other side. I am Catholic and believe in heaven. So if heaven is a perfect place, then why can't our loved ones come back to visit us and help us on our life journey? People assume ghosts are spirits of people who die tragically. That's just one type of ghost. There's actually ten different types that you will see in my book. I call them spirits and it's generally communication with your own family.
MICK: I guess you're not afraid of ghosts?
KERRIANN: No I'm not! There have been times when Joe and I have been in cemeteries and woods and it's scarier with real people out there! So I don't go into the woods alone without Joe! Joe and I really stay on the positive end of spirit communication. We stay away from anything that could be negative or demonic. We don't do exorcisms! It's not like what you see on TV. We are normal people. When I first started lecturing, I would get a lot of odd looks when I entered the room. I wasn't what they expected. One woman said "You're a soccer mom!". I said "Yeah, I have two kids and live a very normal life". Joe is very normal too although he is a clairvoyant medium. On investigations, people say we don't look like ghost busters! I always say I'm an historian first and a ghost investigator second!
MICK: I know you've written an Italian cookbook also! That's totally different from the other things you've written about!
KERRIANN: If I hadn't been a writer and a photographer, I may have gone to culinary school. My whole world revolves around food and cooking! I'm very good friends with Sal Baldanza from Mr. Sausage in Huntington, NY. He was on my case for years about what I was making with everything I bought from his store. So he said 'Why don't we do a cookbook one day?. It was quite a challenge! I had to go and start doing studio food photography. I had to interpret his recipes and combine my recipes. It was challenging and even to this day, when give lectures, people say "Is that a haunted cookbook?"
I tell them it isn't but I do have a lot of haunted restaurants in both books.
MICK: Are you working on another book now?
KERRIANN: Yes I am. It's my first fiction book and has to do with some things that have really happened in the world. I hope to have that done this year.
MICK: You also have a weekly Internet radio show. How did that get going for you?
KERRIANN: Joe and I had been on a couple of other Internet radio shows and we started talking about having our own show. It was just the two of us in the first month or so talking about things in the book and investigations. As time went on, I started booking guests. They range from a lot of mediums, paranormal investigators authors, doctors, past life regression therapists, etc... All of our gusts have loved the show and can't believe how professional it is run. It's a lot of fun! We are actually just had our anniversary on February 9th.
MICK: Do you have a large audience?
KERRIANN: It has been growing. We have a couple hundred people at this point. It's constantly growing. We have a live chat room each week. I had someone in the chat room recently and she said she was from Jersey. I assumed it was New Jersey. I found out it's an island between France and England! So our guests are from all over the country and our listeners are from all over the world. As if I don't have enough to do, I am also the president of the Long Island Authors Group! I enjoy it all and it keeps me busy!
MICK: Are you still actively involved with your photography?
KERRIANN: I do that more for myself now. I had a couple of fine art photography shows where I would hand color black and white photographs. I still do that upon request if someone a hand colored black and white photograph of their pet or family. What was nice about the ghost books is that I was able to combine my photography with the writing. I took all my own photographs for the books and my cookbook too. Now I do more fine art photography for myself. But my main concentration is the writing!
MICK: Have you ever investigated paranormal activity in regard to the Montauk Project?
KERRIANN: It's something that has always fascinated me. I'm definitely a Montauk girl! My parents use to rent a house out there when I was a child. I spent a lot of time at the Montauk airport. The Montauk Project was a little different as it didn't have to do with ghosts. It was about time changes and time travel, Bigfoot and things like that. That whole area is very spiritual and very haunted. When Carl Fisher built the Montauk Manor, it was built on an Indian graveyard. When Teddy Roosevelt went there with his Rough Riders, many of them were dying from tuberculosis and they died there. There were also Indian battles with tribes from Connecticut. A lot went on in that area so that makes it very haunted in general. Whether any of that is related to the Montauk Project I really don't know.
MICK: Are there any towns on Long Island that are more haunted than the others?
KERRIANN: The North Shore in general is more haunted. A lot of the history is maintained. Cold Spring Harbor is a huge hot spot. Almost every building on the main strip there has a ghost in it. There are a lot of ghosts in Saint James, Stony Brook and Setauket. Sometimes it doesn't have to be a ghost per say but it can be left over energy that just happens to come out at certain times in certain places. The whole north shore seems a little more haunted than the south shore!
MICK: Do you have any other hobbies besides writing and cooking?
KERRIANN: I do yoga. I was also an active equestrian for a long time but I've retired from that now. I was learning Italian for a while; I do quilting and raising my kids! Above and beyond, I am always mom first. I work out of the house and work around their schedule completely. I try to get my work done by June and try to take two months off in the summer.
MICK: What plans are coming up for you?
KERRIANN: The main thing is getting this fiction novel published. That's my goal for this year. I'm going to see if my current publisher, who specializes in non fiction, can possibly do it. I have five books behind me and I feel it's time for me to move into that next realm of fiction. The Ghost books have really meant a lot to people. They help people heal and get through the grieving process. The fiction book I have now is a book that people can relate to and I'm hoping it will have a big impact on people's lives. That's always an important goal for me that my books make a difference in people's lives. I will continue with my radio show and my lecturing which I do year round, especially in October!

For more on Kerriann, please see: