Category Archives: Jazzi

Hey DJ, Keep Payin’ That Song

Radio is known as the necessary playground for all aspiring artists.  It may not determine who the best are but it certainly dictates who is popular.

1984 Disc Jockey (via EOS_Boy of Flickr)

As of now, radio has a few different ways of determining who gets played the most.  The first is by demand.  The second way is by the deejay’s discretion.  The third, though the most prevalent, is essentially illegal.  Payola, the unlawful practice of record companies paying deejays for artist play, is something that has been going on for decades.  Since the 1930s and the 1940s with jazz big bands taking over, on down to the 60s and 70s with the emergence of rock ’n’ roll, record labels have hired promoters to do their dirty work of getting their artists heard by any means. 

 The payola scandal of 1959 was one of the biggest bangs to hit the music industry of all time. After Congress announced its plan to begin holding hearings on payola after a television game show scandal, radio stations began a major sweeping of disc jockeys engaged in the act.  

 The entire event blew up after one of the performers’ rights organizations, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI), was subjected to investigation by their rival PRO, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) of using payola to secure their artists’ spots for airplay.  

 Phil Lind, a deejay in Chicago, revealed that $20,000 had been given to him to play a record.  This caused uproar from the industry and the public, resulting in him receiving death threats and being granted police protection.  Other deejays accused of this act eventually lost their career and their respectability, such as Alan Freed.  Freed, the legendary deejay that coined the term rock ‘n’ roll, plead guilty to his accusations, became blacklisted from broadcasting and died penniless and miserable ten years later.  

 Why so much drama over paying deejays?  Continue reading


A ‘Stache for a Stash

What is a mustache to you?  A figure of patriarchy?  A reminder of your thirst for milk?  A symbol of world dominance?  For two friends, it was the focus of one simple bet: “Who could grow the best mustache in a month?” said Jeff Matthews, founder and coordinator for the New York Chapter of Mustaches for Kids.

Originally, the organization began in Los Angeles in 1999.  The two guys were Allen ‘Big Al’ Ewald and Dan Strange.  Given the length of one month, they made a bet to see who could grow the best mustache between the two of them.  After they both shaved off all of their facial hair, the bet began.  “After about a week or so,” Matthews recanted, “they realized that neither one looked better than the other.”  Instead of supplying the winner with a prize, they decided that the loser- the one with the worst mustache- had to give money to charity.

It was then that they came up with the concept of Mustaches for Kids.  As its popularity grew, the organization began to inflate with “growers” or participants.  Along with the laughter that is easily generated from the contest is the seriousness o f which the organization exists to contribute to society.  Beginning with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Mustaches for Kids slowly began to contribute their funds to other charities created specifically for the betterment of kids around North America such as Children’s Hospital of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and this year’s which supplies funding to teachers who are not met with the proper means for educational projects and school supplies for their students.

Jeff Matthews involved himself in the project soon after its creation.  “I was a friend of Allen’s from college.  I heard about the work they were doing in 1999 and thought it was funny, but at the same time, it was also a great idea.  I had moved to NYC at the time, so I couldn’t help them in L.A.  so I asked if I could expand it into the city.”  Today the organization exists in over 40 cities around the United States and Canada.

As the idea developed beyond their immediate group of friends, they came up with a few ground rules to govern the process of becoming the ‘Sweetest ‘Stache’.  Here’s to name a few: Continue reading

Jersey says “GO?”/Brooklyn says “NO?”

Photo taken from The Daily News

“How does one obtain 18 losses in a row?” a teenage boy playfully asked his friend. Using his hand as a mic, he waited for a reply.  “Uhmm… you call yourself the Nets and miss all of ’em in sight?” “Correct!”

The two boys passed by my stoop laughing, but for many sports fans around Brooklyn, this is a serious matter.

With the extensive planning by Bruce Ratner, the Atlantic Yards Project includes the creation of Barclays Center, the projected new sports stadium for the New Jersey Nets to call their new home. This center is expected to bring more to the community than just “concerts, fine arts performances, circuses, college basketball games, ice shows, and music award shows.” It also promises the return of an element of Brooklyn that had been dismissed for over 50 years– the spirit of fanatic pride.

The last time Brooklyn was home to a sports franchise was in 1957, when Walter O’Malley announced the end of the 67 years run of the Dodgers in the city.

Originally, Walter O’Malley, owner of majority of the Dodgers, planned to keep the team in Brooklyn. It was the stadium Ebbets Field – worn down, rigid, and old – that caused the lack of sold tickets at home games.  Due to these conditions, the 32,000-capable seating of Ebbets Field was only being filled to about 13,000 per game.  The only resolve was a new stadium. Continue reading

Possibly The Best Yet

October 1950, the Brooklyn Promenade opened in not only accord with Robert Moses, but also, the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights.

In 1940, Moses attempted to design construction that would rip the neighborhood apart for the sake of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.  Moses usually faced no opposition, but due to the complaints of the wealthy and powerful residents of the nieghborhood, construction was delay for four years until they reached a compromise.

If Moses would create a “cover” for the neighborhood, to protect the residents from highway noise and automobile smoke, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway could be done. And so was the story.

Known as the “to-go” place for first dates, it may not be so much for the time being. Though the view is not blocked, the mission to “enhance” it is temporarily taking away from the serene scene. This enhancement is known as the Brookyn Bridge Park.  Projected to be completed “by the end of 2009,” the nearly incomplete product is to include large lawns for “playing and sunbathing,” “salvage granite ‘river steps’,” a dog run and sand volleyball courts.

With the intent on becoming one of the best tourist attractions for New York City, it has even been awarded a national honor by the Washington, DC-based non-profit Waterfront Center for Comprehensive Waterfront Plans.  Of the many pitfalls Moses has accomplished, this definitely has to be the best of them all— although that may be due to the fact that this was not an “original” idea of his in the first place.

Dating back to 1827, New York pioneer Hezekiah Pierreponte imagined a place for his neighborhood that could rival Manhattan’s Battery Park.  He “lived and died in the belief and desire, that the Heights some day be made a public promenade,” reads a 19th century history book of his passion.  In the end, he gave up his dream in the light of keeping a valued friendship, of which his proposal had began to deteriorate due to heavy opposition.

Possibly Moses didn’t come up with this idea on his own– but it definitely can be considered one of his most successful designs yet.

Jews to the Rescue

View of the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters (Eastern PArkway & Kingston Avenue) via

Surrounded by the Jewish Children’s Museum, the popular Hasidic-based store Judaica World of Crown Heights, and the Albany Bake Shop (which caters all kosher food), there’s no doubt you will come to the hypothesis that you are in Crown Heights.  Straight off the 3 train stop at Kingston Avenue, the first sight of 770 Eastern Parkway, known as the Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters, quickly gains any visitor’s attention. 

With the steady presence of two to three colorful emergency medical trucks that quietly lay along the side streets of the synagogue every day, many first-timers guess that an incident of grandeur details may have occurred; some assume some of the ambulance workers simply live on the street; and a few of the neighborhood (such as myself) anticipate another unexpected parade or celebration is readily to occur—all of which are incorrect. Continue reading

For a Cause….

Annual Ground Zero Charity Motorcycle Ride

Annual Ground Zero Charity Motorcycle Ride (09/17/09)

This is a bit old … When i did find something cool, my camera’s battery was dead 😦 Sorry.


1)   Interesting NYC Blog  and 2) a very cool blog, visually ….


That is All