Falling for Fall

iPhone?

i-eye-Phone?

Gigi is back in town and we had a great time exploring Ontario looking at fall colours. Captain Paul knows the backroads and showed us areas of Niagara and The Bruce Trails that were starting to get colourful.IMG_8316

 

 

 

Another couple of weeks and it’ll be full-on-fall! Our trip to see the McMICHAEL CANADIAN ART COLLECTION in Kleinburg included a pit stop at the art galleries at the ALTON MILL ART GALLERY.unnamed-15

Barbra Lica live!

Barbra Lica live!

McMichael featured a concert by Barbra Lica and the following week, Emilie-Claire Barlow. On Friday the 17th they feature Ernie Tollar, and on Thursday the 30th, Tony Quarrington. Tickets are at http://www.mcmichael.ca

Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre - always a great time and a great meal!

Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre – always a great time and a great meal!

 

 

I brought Jessica, Hayden and June to see a new show at Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre. Sam Spade, Mae West, Al Capone and other eccentrics had as much fun playing “whodunnit” as we did watching it. One day I hope to do a comedy and jazz night at this unique venue…with June Garber as the star!IMG_8381

My mom and dad came to visit and we all enjoyed a concert by Gigi!

My mom and dad came to visit and we all enjoyed a concert by Gigi!

My mom and dad always enjoy trips to Toronto and this was no exception! We had dinner and live music at Toni Bulloni in Yorkville, where Gigi sang, accompanied by Mark Kieswetter on the keys. IMG_8433David Clayton Thomas joined us…along with almost a dozen other friends.

The next day we attended “The Book Of Mormon” and laughed like mad.

dressed for the theatre

dressed for the theatre

Tickets are pricey but it’s a great musical; a ton of laughs, great music and Christopher John O’Neill is certainly a star on the rise. www.mirvish.com

My pals!

My pals!

Gigi and I hosted the first Chez Bee salon of the “season” recently.

While Bill McBirnie and Bernie Senensky performed, Magdalese from Cuba joined in on the cahone and everyone was clapping along. Suddenly a man from the film crew shooting next door comes in and begs us to keep it down for fifteen minutes as they are shooting a quiet scene. IMG_8480Sahra pulled out my celtic harp (I have many instruments I’m not good at playing, but they get plenty of love from my visiting musicians) and Schram recited a poem. Gigi and June Garber sang torch songs and Mark Kieswetter, Tony Quarrington, Roger Clown and others performed for three hours non-stop. I’m usually having too much fun at my parties to take pics and rely on others. I snap a few at the end of the party but miss the low-light performances on purpose. Rather be in the moment.

Tom Wilson, Andrea Ramolo and Sahra Featherstone

Tom Wilson, Andrea Ramolo and Sahra Featherstone

I’ve had a nasty toothache for weeks. Just before hitting Monterey it began and last week was bonkers. I asked to get it pulled but was told to have it checked by a specialist. $624 later, I’m going to get it pulled. My friends have been very sweet to put up with me running at 40%. IMG_8514 My trip to wine country on Sunday made up for my lack of drinking lately. We stopped by Peninsula Ridge for a delcious brunch and then over to try some rare wines at Daniel Lenko’s. It was a perfect autumn Sunday and I look forward to several more weeks of fall colours and pumpkin pie!

Brunch at Peninsula Ridge - worth the drive to Beamsville!

Brunch at Peninsula Ridge – worth the drive to Beamsville!

Stronk like bull! (Strong? like, bull?)

Stronk like bull! (Strong? like, bull?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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San Francisco, Monterey, TIFF and More!

Israel Schwartz taking photo bomb to a new level!

Israel Schwartz taking photo bomb to a new level!

Before heading out of town I had a Sophie Milman sighting at JAZZ.FM91 where she sang along with Ian Thomas, Marc Jordan and other greats to celebrate a new CD by The Breithaupt Brothers. It’s a fantastic album of original material. Heather Bambrick is on her way down to sing with them for the launch in New York next week!

BREITHAUPT BROTHERS NEW CD

Last week I beelined to the racetrack to spend a few hours before picking up Gigi from the airport.

I bet on this nag because I am a fan of Duke Ellington's trumpeter Cat Anderson. Got me forty bucks!

I bet on this nag because I am a fan of Duke Ellington’s trumpeter Cat Anderson. Got me forty bucks!

I called these three in a row - this does not always happen.

I called these three in a row – this does not always happen!

I always enjoy Woodbine Racetrack…

but I am rarely as lucky as this day: I walked out with almost two hundred after paying for lunch and drinks for two. It’s not big money but I started with ten bucks!

BEE GIGIAfter the horse races Captain Paul and I took the RV to the airport to pick up Genevieve Marentette.

Gigi is the epitome of a BFF. I seem to write way more songs when she’s in my immediate vicinity and I am sure she’ll be singing around town for the next few months. RESERVATIONS FOR THIS SATURDAY NIGHT 8pm!  Genevieve, G or Gigi…she’s an amazing singer, check her out – you can thank me later! IMG_8067

While in San Francisco I took BART to Berkeley and hung out with Paul Myers. We’ve worked together back in the day and it was great fun to reminisce and catch up. His new band is called THE PAUL & JOHN and it’s great pop music!

Sheldon gets "Best Dressed Donor" award!

Sheldon gets “Best Dressed Donor” award!

The JAZZ.FM International Jazz Safari to Monterey was such a blast! I had a group of 34 in total…and as always the JAZZ.FM donors had a great time. It’s always an amazing hang with these people. They are not just listeners…and not contest winners. People who donate to my favourite not-for-profit radio station are culture heroes in my mind – and we always have a lot of laughs see the very best live bands!

Guiding a wine tasting tour of Napa Valley...I love my job!

Guiding a wine tasting tour of Napa Valley…I love my job!

A view from my hotel suite...sweet!

A view from my hotel suite…sweet!

I didn’t leave my heart in San Francisco…it’s already divided in three: Toronto, New Olreans and Jaco Beach (Costa Rica) … but I do love the place!

Mark Russo was featured with Tommy Igoe's Groove Conspiracy at Yoshis. Wow!

Mark Russo was featured with Tommy Igoe’s Groove Conspiracy at Yoshis. Wow!

Also, while in San Francisco, I saw “Old Hats” … a very clever and enjoyable show with some old corn and some truly original schtick. I can’t do it justice by describing it – if you get a chance to see David Shiner and Bill Irwin in ANYTHING…do it!

Old Hats - see it if you can - I'm sure Mirvish will bring it here to Toronto sometime soon!

Old Hats – see it if you can – I’m sure Mirvish will bring it here to Toronto sometime soon!

The Monterey Jazz Festival was as amazing as ever. Billy Childs, Harold Lloyd and Lisa Fischer were favourites. Booker T, Jon Batiste, Christian McBride and Tony Monaco all put on incredible shows and I got to see a full set from Harlod Lopez Nussa Trio.

Lopez Nussa Trio!

Lopez Nussa Trio!

They stayed at my place when they played Toronto recently and were surprised to see me walk over to the stage. Harold dedicated a ballad to his mom that died when he was seven, and in the middle of it, a beautiful bird flew around him several times and flew off…singing all the while. I hadn’t seen this type of bird; it may have a been a “rusty blackbird” or “western scrub jay” but I’ve never heard that particular chirp. Beautiful!

Was (Was Not Was) No Way? Way! I mean Was!

Was (Was Not Was) No Way? Way! I mean Was!

I bumped into Don Was a few times – he’s such a down to earth genius…I told him that I was in touch with Fred Schneider often (he produced Love Shack) and he was pleased to hear it and said the B52’s were a ton of fun to work with. No surprise there!

 

While in Monterey many people go to the Aquarium…but we opted for a different deep sea adventure…mini golf!

Fore!?!

Fore!?!

I discovered a perfect cure for a hangover: after brunch with Mimosa...glow in the dark mini putt!

I discovered a perfect cure for a hangover: after brunch with Mimosa…glow in the dark mini putt!

Who knew 18 holes could be so challenging?

Aside from jazz, golf (well, putt putt) and great meals I also spent several hours in a ginormous antique store filled with bizarre treasures.

a bevy of silly souvenirs

a bevy of silly souvenirs

I refused to buy anything big as last time I hit San Francisco I had to buy a suitcase for all my purchases…but my jam-packed (read over-weight) suitcase cost an extra hundred to get home. This just in: vintage postcards are really heavy!?

This photo at a film fest bash was tweeted out and won Jessica a free iPad!

This photo at a film fest bash was tweeted out and won Jessica a free iPad!

When Norman Jewison is one of the first to say hi you know you are at a TIFF CFC BBQ PARTY!

When Norman Jewison is one of the first to say hi you know you are at a TIFF CFC BBQ PARTY!

Oh yeah…and I hit The Brantford Jazz Festival, went sailing, hit some Toronto International Film Festival parties and saw an amazing show by

Out-sauved by Jeff and Larry...again!

Out-sauved by Jeff and Larry…again!

Cirque du Solei….their best in years (or ever) called KURIOS. KURIOS is still on for almost a month (in a giant circus tent in the Portlands) so if you can get tix, checkitout!

What does a KURIOS fan look like?!?

What does a KURIOS fan look like?!?

It’s been an amazing couple of weeks… and I look forward to another two weeks of sailing before I truly admit autumn is here!

 

 

Dear Mother Nature: Just a few more sails please!

Dear Mother Nature: Just a few more sails please!

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End of Summer…uh, but not quite!

Sailing with Jane Bunnett & Maqueque. Cubans don't really get to sail back home!

Sailing with Jessica Pelchat, Jane Bunnett & Maqueque. Cubans don’t really get to sail back home!

Wow – time flies. This summer was busier than ever – seriously – I have never been so busy in my 51 years of summers! Festivals to emcee, safaris to host…so busy in fact that I’ve only gone sailing ten times! (I imagine your wee fingers are playing the worlds smallest violin for me right about now.)

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Star, Betty and Titan!

Star, Betty and Titan!

I spent my “last weekend of the summer” up in Muskoka staying at Deerhurst and enjoying time with Jessica and her son Hayden…as well as catching up with one of my best friends, Gil Blutrich, whose company, Skyline Investment, owns the place.

Deerhurst!

Deerhurst!

 

Muskoka magic.

Forest reflected and up-side-down-ified!

Gil showed us a magical forest, kinda off the grid!

Gil showed us a magical forest, kinda off the grid!

 

They are working on an impressive condo up there – and I look forward to sharing info about this in a future blog,

Magic Land

Magic Land

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I didn't see a Leprechaun per se...

I didn’t see a Leprechaun per se…

On the way back to Toronto we had brunch with Ross Porter and his wife Denise at their cottage. Jessica and Hayden loved their cute dogs and it was the best breakfast any of us had in many moons: lox and bagels, potato pancakes, fresh fruit – the table looked like a photograph and a foodie mag!

Two Nelsons!

Two Nelsons!

We also stopped by the home of Nelson Thall…my old pal. Nelson Jr. is a business man but I was glad to hear he still enjoys playing drums all the time. He studied with Great Bob Scott as a kid and I’m thinking anyone lucky enough to experience Bob as a youth probably stays excited about music forever.

Great Bob has always cracked me up!

Great Bob has always cracked me up!

One more thing happened on the way home…weird story…

Jessica knows me well; so after noticing a yardsale in Beeton she pulled right over. I jumped out and looked around…finding only a glass banana to purchase. I told the woman, “I have a friend who collects glass…it’s kind of a joke gift.” She says, “a guy who collects glass? What’s his name, maybe I know him.” I explained: “oh you wouldn’t know this guy…he lives in Toronto and I doubt he’s been around here”. She calls out to her sister: “What’s the name of that guy who collects glass? Remember that story you told me?” Her sister walks out of the house on to the yard and says “Arthur Dalfen”.

King Arthur!

King Arthur!

Jessica breaks up laughing (she knows Arthur too) and we both stare at each other and yell “Random!” (I think that word is over used but it was entirely appropriate on this occasion and we both knew it!) I explained that King Arthur is a very close friend and that I talk to him all the time and have seen his glass collection grow. She tells me she met him walking down the street and offered to help him carry some bags up to his Yorkville condo. They spent an hour chatting and she lost his contact info.” When I called Arthur to tell him he said “What are the odds of that? 50,000 to 1?

It's a real sweet treat to see sweet Janelle Monique!

It’s a real sweet treat to see sweet Janelle Monique!

 

Molly Johnson and Ross Porter meet the Jazz Safari donors at Poetry Jazz Cafe in Kensington Market!

Molly Johnson and Ross Porter meet the Jazz Safari donors at Poetry Jazz Cafe in Kensington Market!

I got to see Barbra Lica sing in Markham, Niagara and on my safari...three times in eight days?  I'm so lucky!

I got to see Barbra Lica sing in Markham, Niagara and on my safari…three times in eight days? I’m so lucky!

Two McLeans at one gig in Unionville? I'll take it!

Two McLeans at one gig in Unionville? I’ll take it!

I also was emcee of The Markham Jazz Festival (for the ninth year) in downtown Unionville and had a blast as always. I was emcee of The Niagara Jazz Festival just last week and for a first year effort, they did a great job! The best part of the festival was the gala at Jackson-Triggs Estate.

I'm getting a hi-res to replace this tomorrow! ;-)

I’m getting a hi-res to replace this tomorrow! 😉

The amphitheater on their property is now my favourite outdoor venue in Ontario! John Sherwood, Heather Bambrick, Barbra Lica and John Neudorf played the mainstage and other musicians played all around the property.

I hope they throw the same type of event next year in Niagara – it was brilliant!

THE EX!  Like most summers; I took in The Ex just once, but had a lot of fun. I always like to go with someone who is crazy about bad food, rides that make you sick, losing loonies to lame games and being lost in a sea of locals and tourists…and this year it was a couple of my gal pals from Cuba that were up for the challenge!

That's a lot of sugar for gals so sweet!

That’s a lot of sugar for gals so sweet!

IMG_7742 One gave sage advice after a dizzy ride: “Let’s look at the faces of people getting off the ride before we decide if we want to get on it!” They couldn’t believe the size of the pogos and tried cotton candy for the first time. It was surreal fun to see The Ex through their eyes.

Silver Elvis sighting at The Buskerfest Ball!

Silver Elvis sighting at The Buskerfest Ball!

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Also in the past wee while I finished a video with Don Francks for a new show Don Dixon is pitching called “Live at Asylum Artists”. I’ve never been so pleased with a live video shoot and I hope to have more news about this exciting project in the next month.

And now, Film Festival, more Jazz Festivals, sailing and a ton of Jazz Fm biz..I worked really hard this summer and I’m not complaining because getting back into the swing of things is a no-brainer…haven’t stopped swinging since April! 😉

Finally…on a sad note…I say REST IN PEACE to the great Reiner Schwartz. We worked at JAZZ.FM91 together a while and he was outrageous and brilliant as a broadcaster and a poet. He had a great influence on me and came out to many of my events to read, or just watch! 

 

 

 

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26 Concerts in 10 Days

feeling safe in Newport!

feeling safe in Newport!

 

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I intend to do this weekly, but as this is more of a “dear diary” than a job (uh, nobody pays me for this blog) I refuse to feel deadline pressure. This summer has been busier than any summer I can recall: Between hosting jazz safaris, researching some new hotspots and booking/promoting a bunch of concerts for JAZZ.FM91, it’s been a whirlwind and I can’t believe The Ex (signalling “end of summer”) opened just now. Wow.

Gregory Porter sang "Liquid Spirit" and the rain stopped!

Gregory Porter sang “Liquid Spirit” and the rain stopped!

 

I’ve had some good times in the past couple weeks, including seeing a ton of concerts! Most of these shows were at the Newport Jazz Festival; part of the JAZZ.FM International Jazz Safari to Rhode Island.

Speechin' it up at our Jazz Safari dinner at The Grace Vanderbilt.

Speechin’ it up at our Jazz Safari dinner at The Grace Vanderbilt.

There is no way I can pick a favourite act: Gregory Porter, Trombone Shorty, Jon Baptiste and Ceclie McLorin Salvant all gave stellar performances – and legends like Dick Hyman,

Dick Hyman and Jay Leonhart!

Dick Hyman and Jay Leonhart!

Lee Konitz (with Grace Kelly) and Ron Carter were as magical as ever. I was surprised how many tricks John Zorn had up his sleeve…he held a marathon concert with a diverse ensemble and went from experimental to mellow soundtrack music to progrock…it was really exciting!

JAZZ.FM91 donors know how to have fun! Charlie's Angels, anyone?

JAZZ.FM91 donors know how to have fun! Charlie’s Angels, anyone?

Sylvie also loved the scene at the Tennis Hall of Fame!

Sylvie also loved the scene at the Tennis Hall of Fame!

The most memorable show was at the Tennis Hall of Fame…where Deedee Bridgewater and Wynton Marsalis held “court”. The venue was gorgeous, the weather was perfect and the music was unforgettable.

I wish I could tell you this was my hotel suite!

I wish I could tell you this was my hotel suite!

I rented a bike and cycled all over Newport…I enjoyed checking out some of the mansions and also had the best tuna steak of the past five years at a place called 22 Bowden’s Wharf.

Backyard of Rosecliff, where the film "High Society" was shot!

Backyard of Rosecliff, where the film “High Society” was shot!

Abdoulaye live...thanks for the photo, TIBI!

Abdoulaye live…thanks for the photo, TIBI!

Normally after a trip I have a day to decompress but not on this occasion – I returned to Toronto to stage manage (and often emcee) five shows in a row at Hugh’s Room for The JAZZ.FM World Music Festival.

A 101 year old lady got up and danced to Lorraine Klaasen at Hugh's Room!

A 101 year old lady got up and danced to Lorraine Klaasen at Hugh’s Room!

Emma and I both loved to see how busy Hugh's Room was all last week!

Emma and I both loved to see how busy Hugh’s Room was all last week!

Abdoulaye Alhassane Toure put on a remarkable show! He had a delay at the border so the band had to rehearse three hours before the show and they nailed everything! Complex rhythms don’t scare Mark Kelso, Artie Roth or Ernie Tollar. These musicians are as fearless as they are talented. Wonderful concerts from Minor Empire, Lorraine Klaasen and Nomadica followed. Finally to wrap up the series, Harold and Ruy Lopez-Nussa came up from Cuba for a show.

Lopez-Nussa Brothers jammed at my loft after a BBQ with my awesome neighbours!

Lopez-Nussa Brothers jammed at my loft after a BBQ with my awesome neighbours!

They were joined by bassist Roberto Riveron and blew the roof off of Hugh’s Room. I’m so happy they are coming back to do three nights at Jazz Bistro (www.jazzbistro.ca for tickets) in October cuz everyone wanted more! I’d met them in April when I booked them for Jazz Lives (the biggest JAZZ.FM concert of the year) and invited them to stay at my loft instead of a  hotel.

Sailing can be sweet and mellow, but in this case...what a riot!

Sailing can be sweet and mellow, but in this case…what a riot!

That included a free breakfast at 25 Liberty, sailing and a BBQ with my neighbours. The brothers performed in my loft before heading to Niagara Falls and then back to Cuba.

Between Newport and Toronto that’s 26 shows in 10 days. And now…off to The Markham Jazz Festival for…you guessed it…IMG_7409

more live music…

and also coming up this week…MORE SAILING!

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Cardboard City!

Schram chills in the pool, guarded by his faithful servant, Cardboard Man!

Schram chills in the pool, guarded by his faithful servant, Cardboard Man!

I have the best room mates! (Well, we all have our own places but we're "beyond neighbours".

I have the best room mates! (Well, we all have our own places but we’re “beyond neighbours”.)

 

 

 

I live in a very magical land…a rare building in Liberty Village where everybody gets along and where people take turns coming up with wild ideas, theme parties and unforgettable events of all kinds. Dom hosts a painting party, I provide occasional salon nights, Craig has his dungeon, Desh his Armoury Collective events and Cheryl…all manner of happenings! The Cardboard City party was as memorable as our Mini Golf Challenge years back. IMG_7178If only I knew how big and organized it was going to be, I’d have invited a bunch of friends!

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

The few I knew with kids weren’t free and only a couple pals dropped by…still…there were way over a hundred people having a surreal time! It began in the morning and afternoon with people of all ages making objects and art from a few tons of cardboard Cheryl had procured. As the sun set, the kids split…the garden tiki bar opened and the projection art kicked into full gear.

My old pal Keram is in town from L.A. and loved the party! He has a new CD www.keramsongs.com

My old pal Keram is in town from L.A. and loved the party! He has a new CD http://www.keramsongs.com

Cardboard City Crewe

Cardboard City Crewe

Deglazer Laser is from Montreal and I think Max and Cheryl should get booked next year at all kinds of festivals…

Lazar Cardboard, anyone?

 

IMG_7192Desh threw a great bash as always; every band rocked – but I was particularly excited to see “Fitness” perform a disco set that kept me dancing. I was up at work at 6am and by 2am I was ready to call it. By Saturday night the driveway and garden were cleaned up and cardboard delivered to Turtle Island Recycling. I suppose it was a green party but I could’ve sworn it was mostly beige!

Lunchtime Barbie.

Lunchtime Barbie.

Three Babrie Lica sightings in a week cannot be a bad thing. Barbie and I dined with some contest winners from JAZZ.FM91 out for lunch at Barberian’s Steakhouse.

Try the wine!

Try the wine!

I gave them a tour of the wine cellar

Late Night Barbie.

Late Night Barbie.

Barbie also attended the Cardboard City party later that night and I saw her perform at The Beaches Jazz Festival. She entertained the crowd with hilarious introductions to her songs and the weather held out just fine.

Lou Pomanti congratulates Barbra Lica on a fun show!

Lou Pomanti congratulates Barbra Lica on a fun show!

IMG_7210I don’t really have a weekend brunch routine but I often hit 25 Liberty on Saturdays and Dale Percy agrees…it’s amazing food!

Hisaka loves Harry's!

Hisaka loves Harry’s!

Hisaka was in town from Japan for a few days, so she joined me at Harry’s (we hadn’t brunched there in almost a year), along with Dave Howard and Dave Statham.

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Also this week, I hit a promo event for the Scotiabank Carribean Carnival and lo and behold, I matched the Queen of the party! I had to stick to beans and rice…not much in the veggie department. (I once had Vegan Jamaican food in Monterey and wish it caught on up here!) I enjoyed a perfect piece of fish at Barberian’s this week and an incredible halibut at Jazz Bistro on Sunday when I joined Lisa Particelli, Ori Dagan and other fans of June Garber. Her set with Mark Kieswetter and Pat Collins was superb. I still have “You’re My Thrill” in my head!

Watch for June Garber! Oh yeah, and go eat Halibut at Jazz Bistor; you can thank me later!

Watch for June Garber! Oh yeah, and go eat Halibut at Jazz Bistor; you can thank me later!

 

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Adventures with Kiran in Caya Coco Cuba!

This one is for my mom. She prefers when I don't mug for the camera...which I admit is not very often!

This one is for my mom. She prefers when I don’t mug for the camera…which I admit is not very often!

Gorgeous sunsets!

Gorgeous sunsets!

I just flew in from Cuba, and boy, do I love rum! This was my sixth trip to Cuba and was, by far the mellowest. On this excursion I knew I wanted to do nothing since I’ve been a workaholic in 2014 so far. (I know it looks like all I do is sail and party but that’s only because I don’t think many people want to know all the details of my business life.) It was a perfect vacay, much to the credit of my travel companion, Kiran Friesen.

Kiran makes me feel young and sexy. (OK, epic fail with photoshop!)

Kiran makes me feel young and sexy. (OK, epic fail with photoshop!)

The funniest thing about the trip was that Kiran rarely drinks alcohol; and in an all-inclusive resort where booze runs free – people were often confused. “Champange? You don’t want champagne?” was asked constantly. I mixed biz and pleasure – I’d like to use this resort for a Jazz Safari next January – so I had the staff show me all the ins and outs of the place. The flight down was speedy and effortless. Sunwing has better food and friendlier service than Air Canada, and also offers the most flights of any airline when it comes to a Cuban holiday.

Everyone is friendly in Caya Coco...and these girls really know how to dance!

Everyone is friendly in Caya Coco…and these girls really know how to dance!

The Memories Flamenco in Caya Coco also has wonderful employees. They cared so much that everything was perfect.

IMG_0235I’ve known Kiran for over a decade and we share some pretty amazing memories together…the most recent of which was at Massey Hall when she danced for a Bonzai Suzuki concert. IMG_6567Kiran is a pole dance artist…and that’s artist with a Capitol A. DSC_5821Her performances are breath-taking (beautiful) and awe inspiring (athletic).

 

It’s good that most people are finally getting their heads around to the fact that while pole dancing is super sensual, it’s not merely an act for strippers. IMG_7070She’s invited me to some brilliant competitions over the years and she always places in the top three. She couldn’t find a pole but I once dared her to do the splits on a palm tree (while wearing crocs) and she did!

Don't try this at home. Actually, DO try this! Let me know how that works out for you...

Don’t try this at home. Actually, DO try this! Let me know how that works out for you…

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Artistic with a capital A and Beautiful with a capital B!

Artistic with a capital A and Beautiful with a capital B!

I have never spent more time in the ocean than on this trip. Usually twice a day we’d jump in the ocean – the warmest and clearest water I’ve ever seen. We were surrounded by the cutest little fish. You could see through them and they had a tracing of neon blue around them. BAR-There were also cute little “Nemo” fish too. We only saw a few really large fish, and they seemed to mind their own business.

Meeting crazy tourists is also fun...these three are from Germany!

Meeting crazy tourists is also fun…these three are from Germany!

I wasn't wearing aligator shoes or crocs on this day - me and the little reptile got along fine!

I wasn’t wearing aligator shoes or crocs on this day – me and the little reptile got along fine!

One day we went out for an adventure. We visited the nearby town of MORON (more-OHN, note MORE-on) and stopped by a crocodile farm and horse ranch.

I'm glad this fella was recently fed!

I’m glad this fella was recently fed!

Kiran and I enjoyed the horse ride so much! It was through a path in a forest, almost jungle…and afterwards asked if we could ride the bull. IMG_6990IMG_6995This reminded me immediately of the movie Blazing SaddlesIMG_7009 (which I think I’ve seen more often than any movie ever made) with Mongo!

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"Hey Lobster! Where is your better half?"

“Hey Lobster! Where is your better half?”

You might have heard that food in Cuba isn’t great but you really just have to snoop around and find the right stuff. There are many places to hit at Memories Flamenco and while my afternoon lobster was tail-less, the best meal of my trip was grilled lobster tail – not something I’ll forget any time soon!

Memories Flamenco Resort in Caya Coco...I'll be back!

Memories Flamenco Resort in Caya Coco…I’ll be back!

There is no beer in that thar tourist mug!

There is no beer in that thar tourist mug!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a very healthy holiday and I look forward to more fun in January if my idea for a JAZZ.FM91 Cuban Jazz Sfaari works out. Stay tuned! 🙂IMG_7129IMG_6881

 

 

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Trius Winery 25th Anniversary Party

After the show at Trius Winery.

After the show at Trius Winery.

Wow – Trius don’t just make some of the best wine in the country they also throw some of the best concerts! This was the first time emceeing the festival and because they are celebrating 25 years they pulled out all the stops. What a line-up!

Drummer (and sometimes singer) Mark Kelso was music director and was joined for most of the day by Robi Botos on piano, Ted Quinlan on guitar and Mike Downes on bass. George Koller played bass with several acts including The Shuffle Demons and Julie Michels, Kevin Breit created some inspirational improvisations with the guys and even invited Lily Frost up to jam. It was a huge list of many of the best musicians in the country.

Perfect wardrobe for such a colourful afternoon of music!

Perfect wardrobe for such a colourful afternoon of music! Lily Frost made a ton of new fans!

Liberty!

Liberty!

Liberty Silver wailed like a perfectly possessed Diva and Heather Bambrick punched out some perky numbers that went perfect with the bubbly. The green room was stocked with Trius product and I found the lobster roll stand. Suffice to say it was dreamy!IMG_6707 Elizabeth Shepherd, her husband Johan and Bay Sanna hung for the day and it was so great to see them! If there is ever to be another girl as talented and sweet as Shirley Temple, Sanna is in the running.

Sammy C!

Sammy C!

I managed to do a fair amount of sailing this week and also hosted two local (classic) Jazz Safaris of Toronto and saw 8 bands Thursday and Friday night.

I like using this bus for tours in the summer!

I like using this bus for tours in the summer!

One night, I met with Jessica and Jenica at Reservoir Lounge to enjoy Mary McKay. Great dancing, laughing …and…what was that again…oh yeah, drinking! I also put in a gazillion hours at JAZZ.FM91, booking upcoming shows that I am not going to tell you about right now.

Jazz...and classical fans!

Jazz…and classical fans!

Some people find it odd that I’m booking shows from now to late April but I think it’s not only smart business, linear time keeps speeding up and it’s really not that far ahead! I took some contest-winners sailing on one evening. They were all cello players! I also got to see Sammy for the first time this season for a quiet sail and after the World Cup, Captain Paul and a slew of us took to the lake for a few hours.

On the way to the boat we met Son of Spock!

On the way to the boat we met Son of Spock!

Speaking of the World Cup…I don’t follow a lot of sports but this thing is just too big too ignore. I was impressed with Costa Rica (and bummed when they lost a kicko-ff) but that last game…Germany deserved the win. Argentina played their asses off and it was a good game to watch….especially because we watched it at David Clayton Thomas’s condo on a big screen with drinks. The sail after the game was easily as much fun as the game…quite the weekend!

This is what it takes to get me to watch sports.

This is what it takes to get me to watch sports.

 

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