45 rp(whee!)m Dance Party

“Whee!” is the first word I heard Moonie say on the first day we met. “Whee!” was his reaction to being lifted off the shelf of an antique shop and placed (after purchase) in my pocketbook. “Whee!” was his reaction to us walking a few blocks away to climb onto the Ghost Bridge amid strong wind gusts to enjoy the view. “Whee!” was his reaction to getting to see Cardboard Ox play in Dedham that evening. And “Whee!” was his reaction to me putting a record on the record player that night after we got home. He stood on the record as it played, enjoying being gently spun around, and to this day he calls records “whees.”

So you can guess that he was pretty happy about being invited by his friend J.J. to a 45 rpm (r-pWHEE-m, as Moonie would call it) record dance party at The Parlour last night. He had a whole entire room of whees!


He also got to stand near his beloved Marshall stacks. The Marshall stacks gods smiled down, bestowing a beam of light on Moonie.


And then he had himself a ball crawling into people’s food baskets to sample their sliders and pasta salads. He’s lucky he’s cute.

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Marshall Stacks

Last October, Chris Daltry of The ‘Mericans was looking for help from creative friends for a project. When I showed up to aid Chris and his artist wife Jennifer I also met two new people, J.J. and Renee, who’ve since become important to Moonie. It’s always nice to meet people through music or art, and in this case it was a combination of both!

The ‘Mericans were creating a set of Marshall stacks to decorate the walls of The Parlour, an excellent Providence venue that attracts fantastic local and regional talent, for an upcoming show where The ‘Mericans planned to pose as Spinal Tap. It turned out to be one of the funnest and funniest nights I’ve ever had, and you can catch a lot of their Spinal Tap set on YouTube.

But even better, the Marshall stacks that the Daltrys and Renee and J.J. and I helped make served not only as a backdrop that night (mostly thanks to Jennifer’s realistic touches – she is a talented RISD grad!), but for more than 14 months and counting. I get a little thrill every time I see photos of rock, folk, rap, reggae, comedy, and all kinds of other acts that have performed in front of our Marshall stacks over the past year-plus. The Parlour is in no rush to take the stacks down, and during dozens, maybe scores, of shows since 2014 I’ve overheard all kinds of people saying how great they look there.


Fast forward a year to November, when Renee called me and J.J. back together to make a new set of Marshall stacks, this time for The Wilbury Theatre Group‘s production of “Passing Strange.” I looked down and pint-sized Moonie was holding his paintbrush, grinning and raring to go.


So off we went to Renee’s.
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Tuesday Open Mic

Every Tuesday, Rhode Island musician Joanne Lurgio hosts an open mic at Pub on Park in Cranston. Moonie and I checked it out last week, when Moonie’s pal Marc Douglas Berardo was slated as the feature act.

It didn’t take long for Moonie to ask MDB to make him a cape out of a napkin (he likes when people fashion him clothing out of found objects). He giggled delightedly as MDB gently blew air, making his long cape flap.


Moonie repaid his pal but trying to steal MDB’s beer. He’s kind of a sneak sometimes.


But he cheered loudly for his pal when it was Marc’s turn to play his fun set.

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Moonie and I had a great afternoon at #CelebrateDowncity, a fun event our friend Chris Daltry curated in downtown Providence with a bunch of talented singers performing Christmas songs, plus all kinds of yummy food trucks. We stopped in all the local shops, enjoying wonderful wares, as we made our way to the action.

At Grant’s Block, Moonie got to hang with his little buddy Poco Loco while we waited for our tacos.


He wolfed his tacos quickly so he could go check out Allysen Callery and her daughter Ava. The two of them are super talented and so adorable!


Moonie also admired the little ears sewn into performer Chris Monti’s holiday hat. They were elf-eared twins!

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Brett’s Birthday

Today is Brett Davey’s birthday! Brett is a great guy who supports local music and makes fantastic videos. He’s funny and talented and he was nice enough to invite me and Moonie to his birthday party on Saturday, which was held at the gorgeous Columbus Theatre. Moonie was already giggling when we walked up and saw the marquee.


Then we got inside, and Moonie found some room for our cupcakes while drooling over all the other yummy-looking goodies on the table.


There is always some kind of artwork on the second of the Columbus’ three levels. Moonie found this sculpture that was part train, part animal-hide-upholstered bench.


He also admired the cake-topping photo of a young Brett. Tee hee!

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Cardboard Ox Album Release


Moonie was running in circles, exuberant arms flung in the air, shouting this over and over.

“What’s up, Moonie?” I asked as the kitty yawned and went back to sleep.


Here, I’ll translate: it was the last Saturday in October, and the incredibly talented duo of Tracie Potochnik and Steve Allain that makes up Cardboard Ox was holding its CD release show that night. And if you recall, all the way back in April – the very first day that Moonie came into my life – we’d attended a Cardboard Ox show in Dedham, MA for his very first outing.

Cardboard Ox

The duo has held a special little place in Moonie’s heart ever since. We weren’t going to miss the release of their six-song EP for the world.

The release was being hosted by Ross Lenzing of Lion Recording Studio; Ross had recorded, mixed, and mastered the EP. Other audience members included guest musician Amato Zinno, who’d contributed on upright bass. Moonie loves meeting new people, but after saying hello to a bunch of folks he immediately zeroed in on one of the cardboard oxes that decorated the walls in honor of the Cardboard Ox album release.

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Sidy Maiga and AfriManding

One sunny August evening, Moonie and I were supposed to be running a quick errand downtown when we were both suddenly filled with joy. The sounds of drumming in Burnside Park were calling us, and we answered.

Sidy Maiga and his group AfriManding were playing an extremely spirited set at the Burnside Park Music Series. It’s one of several annual summer music series in and around Providence, and how could we resist its charms? Especially with Sidy’s winsome, welcoming smile to the dozens of people who, like Moonie and me, had followed the sounds of joy to the park.


In no time we’d joined the crowd enjoying summer evening Trinity and Sam Adams brews and bopping to the energetic drumbeats.

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Saturday Sing-along

I didn’t think Moonie could top our lovely Friday night, but he had plans for three different musical events on Saturday. How does my little dude find these things?

First, he had me drive us over to Doherty’s East Ave in Pawtucket, where it turned out Moonie’s friend Jennifer Jane was hosting a “Beatles and Beer” event. I’ve never been to one, but clearly others had; it was the 40th B&B Jennifer Jane has hosted, and the crowd took up the entire back room that’s used for special events. Dozens of people went around the room introducing themselves and saying where they’d driven from for this meetup (not only far-flung parts of Rhode Island, but Massachusetts and Connecticut as well). Everyone took turns choosing a Beatles song for the group to sing, while others provided guitar and percussion to accompany the big cheerful chorus.


As the attendees sang and cheered, one nice lady at the next table suddenly handed me a plate of sweet potato tots. I thought she meant for me to pass them around, but she said they were for Moonie. Apparently my sneaky littleĀ sidekick had climbed onto her table to tell her just how much he loved sweet potato tots – all with his hungriest expression – and she’d caved.

If she only knew he’d eaten a whole cake before we’d gotten there! But she wouldn’t take no for an answer, and Moonie was thrilled with his bounty of tots.


They didn’t take long to disappear into that round little tummy.


We couldn’t stay for the whole sing-along, but we enjoyed the cheerful spirit of all these different folks brought together by a mutual love for Beatles songs. We’ll have to pop into another “Beatles and Beer” events…And Moonie will be asked to leave his begging face at home.

Ben and John and Ian, Oh My!

Moonie has great taste. When his eyes gleamed as he mentioned that he was planning our Friday night, I figured it would involve some kind of junk food. Instead, our plans involved tasty, hearty food for the soul: a house concert starring Ben Stalets, John Faraone, and Ian Fitzgerald. It was held at a cozy home in East Providence with a respectful audience, and it was such a wonderful night of beautiful tunes.

Ben was the only one Moonie and I hadn’t yet seen perform, although we knew he’d been touring with Ian and were more than a little curious about the guy described thus: “His shit-eating grin gives way to a Hank Williams howl, a knack for storytelling reminiscent of your grand pappy, and a level of honesty only shared amongst life-long friends.” The description turned out to be 100% true. Ben was a great storyteller and fingerpicker, and he wasn’t shy about making us groan a few times with bad jokes, either. Moonie’s pipsqueak little voice howled across the room when Ben introduced a song written while dating a blind woman and joked that at least he hadn’t had to worry about her seeing other people. All in all, wonderful music from the grinning storyteller.


Next up was Moonie’s pal John Faraone, who is always enjoyable for his lovely songs – many of which invoke scenes of nature that invite you to revisit scenes in your head of similar places you’ve been and breathed – balanced with a witty sense of humor. With his slightly rounded feet, Moonie had a little trouble climbing up and balancing on John’s guitar, but John was patient and waited for him to stand just where he wanted so we could take this great pic of the two of them. John didn’t even mind that my phone blinded him with its flash.

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At last, Moonie’s favorite day in the whole wide world was here. It was time for PRONK!

He’d been up all Sunday night making himself a PRONK headpiece, but he’d gotten carried away and forgot how little he was. He looked a little silly trying to balance it on his tiny head, so he made himself a PRONK sign to carry instead and ordered me to wear his headpiece. Yes, sir!


Off we went to Burnside Park for music and merriment!


Ooh, the PRONK sign. Moonie approached it with reverence. A beam of light shone down on him as he posed for a photo, approving of his pronkiness.

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