Cinco de Mayo & More! It was another jam-packed, great Peekskill weekend--again demonstrating how this fantastic location allows me to seamlessly interweave work and play. Some events announce themselves before I'm even out of bed. Early Saturday morning I heard the stage, chairs and porto potties being set up for Peekskill's Cinco de Mayo celebration. I got up and packed for my afternoon show to make room in my studio for Alexis Cole's photo shoot for the cover of her new album. Alexis arrived, looking spectacular, but I didn't get to stick around because it's Communion season - a busy time for magicians - and I was booked for a party at a restaurant in Mamaroneck.
When I got back at about 4pm, Peekskill's Cinco de Mayo party was heating up. The music was super loud. It's not my music, and I wouldn't be into it on a regular basis, but I love that Peekskill puts on such a great event for our large Latino population. I changed and hit the street. As soon as I stepped out my door, I was surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people. Just to the right of my door were a couple of bouncy castle-type inflatable playgrounds, full of squealing kids. To the left were tables and chairs where people were sitting and consuming the food and drinks available from the Division Street restaurants, which were selling an amazing array of delicious offerings. I ran into Brooke McGowan, and we each bought and attacked a HUGE plate of paella at 12 Grapes ($5!), then we each dashed home to refrigerate half of it for the next day's lunch.
The bands performing were fascinating and I'm sure stirred much Old Country nostalgia in the crowd. There were several different styles of Latin music groups, from traditional to pretty edgy-contemporary. As I was standing to the side (away from the too-loud-for-me speakers) a van pulled up and a bunch of guys wearing lime green blazers and cowboy hats got out and started pulling instruments out of the van, first trombones, and then a tuba - none of them in cases. They were Banda Agave from Brooklyn. It was a huge group - about 18 guys - with percussion, brass and two very strident clarinets. The crowd loved it, but it was a little ear-splitting for me. I walked one block over to the opening of the new Beale Street Barber Shop on South Street.
I just missed Elvis! He made a special appearance on the stage (!) of this wonderful new barber shop/art gallery/vintage retail store. Owned and operated by master barber and New York music scene veteran Mark Sinnis and wife Danna, it's completely unlike anything else in salon-saturated Peekskill. BSBS is an exciting addition to Peekskill's newest, happening area on South Street. I hung out for a while, wandered around the Cinco de Mayo celebrations a little more and came home, planning to stay in for the evening and get a little work done.
Then Alexis called. "There's a vintage fashion show at the Coffee House right now!" I dashed the two blocks over. It was great, but I only saw the very end. We walked over to the BeanRunner and caught a few songs by the Brian Conigliaro Trio. Then Alexis suggested we drive to Cold Spring to see Steve Chezmadia, who was singing/playing at Whistling Willies. I told her I didn't even have my wallet with me. She said, that's OK! So we jumped in her car and caught Steve's fantastic final set. She was still all dolled up from her photo shoot, and a guy sitting at the next table bought us drinks. We were home by 11:30pm, but my studio was still a wreck from the photo shoot and I had an 8:30am patient coming. So Alexis, still in full makeup, sexy dress, little hat and high heels, helped me dismantle the light tree, move it into my storage room, and put my studio back in order.
My evening ended with my hearing a loud, drunken argument outside. When I looked out my bedroom window, I saw two guys standing at opposite corners of the stone wall on Bank Street, arguing back and forth, while each was engaged in an act of more-public-than-intended urination. Ah, Peekskill...
That was just Saturday.
Sunday morning I saw three patients in a row, then had brunch at Birdsall House with Alexis, Sturgess and two visiting magicians from Brooklyn. I barely had time to whirl through the Attic Treasures Flea Market before coming home to get ready for Sunday's show which was part of a party at L.A. Monroe salon in support of EMBARK Peekskill - our amazing new performing arts organization. Luis, Donald and Jesus of L.A. Monroe transformed the salon into a performance venue/gallery/party spot. They even built a stage just for this catered event, and brought in DJ Steve Raguso. Local artists Maureen Winzig, Toni Quest, Michele Izzo, Marc Yarnes and photographer Lesley Lovingall had their work displayed (with descriptions written in lipstick on the salon mirrors!). Author Catherine Wald talked about her book. (I got to talk about my book, too!) Then there were performances. First, EMBARK did a scene entitled, Oh What a Beautiful Theater! by Tom Ragle, starring the playwright, Katie Schmidt Feder, Sol Miranda, Stephanie Hare, Carol Harvey, Marilyn Heberling and Ian Berger. There was a fantastic lineup of Peekskill music makers--cello/keyboard duo Julie and David August, composer/singer/instrumentalist Brian Delma Taylor, and vocal/guitar duo Mary Crescenzo and Paul Mesches. And I did a little magic. It was a fabulous way to end another amazing Peekskill weekend.
And it's not even summer yet!!!