1960s Advertisement

Here is an advertisement for Day’s Jewelers and Appliance store from the late 1960s. Days is still running in Portland today, though they only sell jewelry now. Back then a color TV was $379.95 while a diamond ring was $150.00

PortFringe 2015 Summary

Holy wow. It was an exhausting week filled to the brim with great new plays.

Standouts include Dolphinephilia, a trippy farce based on the true story of Margaret Howe Lovatt. It was presented by the mysterious Marine Mammal Communication Project. Also in the realm of the absurd was Aliens vs. Beckett, a spin on the classic Waiting For Godot, and presented by the always slimy Crowbait Club. And The Green Room, a hilarious one-man show featuring a man arguing with his sock puppet.

And those were only from the shows that I saw. The festival featured dozens of acts, and after soldiering through this week, I commend all who gave the effort for their art.

Megan, as per her usual mode, outdid herself. She acted in three plays, and wrote/directed one as well.  I really enjoyed the perky conversations of Take the Long Way home, and the excellent set designed by Carl Currie.  And Megan’s performance in the poetic Boy Come Home was perhaps the best of her career.

I also acted in my first PortFringe show. I shared the stage with my wife, as well as the talented Adam Ferguson and Kristina Balboa in Allie Munier’s comedy I Can’t Take You Anywhere. It was an honor to act in such a well-written and humorous play. I hope Allie submits it to more festivals.

I shaved my beard for my art. Most people liked it, while others, myself included, found it strange to see my bald face. One person said that I looked like a creepy pedophile, and that hurt a bit. I’ve never quite understood that comment. How does one look like a pedophile? Perhaps it says more of the describer than it does of the described.

I’m glad the week is over and that we can get a break. Enjoy some photos.

A win for equality and human dignity

Great news everybody! Today the US Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples around the country are free to get married. Woot!

I was happy to see my company celebrate by adding a rainbow menu bar to WordPress.com.

Screen Shot 2015-06-27 at 11.26.42 AM

It’s been a great day fo’ sho’!



Rocco Loves Phish part 3

Hello, and thanks in advance for reading part 3 of Rocco Loves Phish, a series of posts in which I share my favorite songs from the neo-grind-core band Phish. If you haven’t read part 1 in which I cover the early 1990s, or part 2 in the late 1990s, please do so now. I’ll wait.

In this post, we’ll look at the band in their post hiatus days from 2009 – present. They are of course more mature, as you’d expect them to be after creating music together for 30-ish years. They’re also fresh off a break in which they’ve had time to do their own things and reflect. It’s impressive that they can still inject energy into their old crowd favorites like this “Cavern” from 2009.

Or this “Twist” from 2014 with a fantastic long-form jam.

They were also writing some great new music. “Kill Devil Falls” sounds like it is about a person fresh out of rehab, reflecting on addiction. Here is a ripping version from 2010.

And it’s always nice to hear from Page on the keys, who rarely writes songs with words. Here is a beautiful “Halfway to the Moon” from 2014.

They also debuted an album by playing 8 of its tracks for the first time live on stage before it ever hit the record stores. Here is the title track “Fuego”.

And finally, one of my favorite new tunes from this era, “Alaska” from 2011.

I hope you enjoyed post-hiatus Phish. As always, Phish is best experienced by listening to an entire concert. Here are a few great, full-length shows from the post-hiatus era.

And please follow along with my ever changing Spotify playlist, Rocco’s Ultimate Phish Concert.

Rocco Loves Phish Part 2, The Re-phishening

In this, the second in  a series of writings to express my love for the band Phish, I present favorite songs from the late 1990s. This is their epoch of super stardom, when they were playing three days of music for 85,000 folks. This era was a bit different from the early 1990s which I covered in a previous post. You should definitely start with that article if you haven’t read it already.

They were still playing their standards, becoming classics now with the passage of time, with more gusto and with tighter precision. Take for instance “The Curtain” from 1996 at their first multi-day festival, The Clifford Ball.

Or this epic Julius from later the same year:

And they were also creating a great deal of new songs. Try this “Cars Trucks Buses”, a keyboard driven instrumental from 1997.

Or this “Birds of A Feather” from the same year:

And finally here is one of my favorites from this era, “My Soul” from 1998. I was lucky enough to catch it at The Great Went.

I hoped you enjoyed Phish from the late 1990s. As always, to fully appreciate the band and their endurance, you should try listening to entire show in order. Here are a few reccomendations on Spotify.

Rocco Loves Phish

This post is a response to Analyze Phish, a podcast in which Harris Wittles tries to convince his friend Scott Aukerman that Phish is a great band, which they are. Scott proves to be a hard man to persuade, and the podcast stretches hilarious on through 3 or 4 years. But was Scott really hard to persuade? Or was Harris just not doing it right? The show opened the door for Phish heads around the world to ask themselves the question: “If I was the host, what songs would I pick? What information would I provide?” So here is my own version of that. I’m not feeling very confident that I could convert you to the Phish fold, but at the very least, I’ll have a chance to write about a band that has always been like a close friend, and the reasons why I love them.

Phish is a live band. While they’ve released tons of studio material, they are at their best experienced raw and live. And no, you do not need to be stoned to enjoy them! So here is a live track from 1993, when they first started gaining popularity.

The early 1990’s is a great place to start with Phish. I chose “Rift” as my first song because it demonstrates all the aspects I love about them. Phish’s vocals, which Aukerman frequently rails on, are best when shared by the entire band. This song is sung by Page McConnell, the keyboardist, and Trey Anastasio, the guitarist. The whole band chimes in occasionally with harmonies. The song also features a nice mix of tight composition and loose improvisation. The musical break in the middle starts with a composed, energetic guitar solo, followed by an improvised piano solo ( Paige’s playing is amazing ), and finishes off with a blazing fast guitar riff!

In this tune, the improvisation starts the groove, and the song segues into a great instrumental melody. It’s “The Landlady” from 1991.

And of course you’ll need a signature, long-form jam. Here is a perky “Split Open and Melt” from 1993.

I’d be remiss if I did not include a song featuring The Giant Country Horns, a frequent collaborator during this era. Here they are with “Gumbo” in 1991.

Phish also has a deep love for bluegrass and American roots music. Here is a ripping fast “Uncle Penn” from 1994, originally written by Bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe.

And finally, a Bluegrass version of the prog-rock “Foreplay/Longtime” originated by Boston. I love the crowd’s energy once they realize what they are hearing!

I hoped you enjoyed Phish from the early 1990’s. I tried to pick tunes that best represented this era, when the band was first starting to emerge as musically relevant. In the next article we’ll look at the late 1990’s when the band hit super stardom.

And to be honest, to fully appreciate Phish, you should listen to one of their concerts in its entirety. Here are a few choice shows on Spotify:

Pride Portland 2015

Today was my first time catching the yearly Pride Portland parade. SPOILER ALERT: it ends with an enormous rainbow banner carried by hundreds of people through the streets of downtown Portland. The overall mood was one of enthusiasm and support, a nice thing to see during these troubled times. Here are some photos to give you an idea of the vibe. Also some of my favorite posts from around the ‘net.

Folks all over the web were posting about Portland Pride

Happy #pride #prideportland #maine

A post shared by Matthew Leavitt (@matthewleavitt) on

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑