Sunday, August 28, 2016

Lazy Sunday #433: Pachelbel's Cannon

Yes, I'm aware that the correct spelling in the title should only have one "n" in canon, the correct name for a contrapuntal musical composition featuring a lead melody and a following imitative melody, but I'm trying to make a point here.

Johann Pachelbel was a relatively obscure German composer of the baroque era (approx. 1600 - 1750) who probably remained ba-roke throughout his life because his canon was about the only notable thing he wrote.

And even it disappeared for a couple of hundred years until a French orchestra recorded the piece in the late 1960's. That version was picked up by a San Francisco classical radio station in the 1970's and before long there were dozens of best selling versions everywhere.

I first heard it while rehearsing a play in Toronto sometime in the 70's because the director, who loved the tune, had decided it should background a lengthy monologue I had in the final act.

There's a thing about monologues in theatre, especially the long ones in shows that have really long runs. An actor prepares for a monologue the way a long distance runner maps out a marathon. The content and emotion dictate changes in pace, the same way a runner handles hills or being in the middle of a pack. 

But overtime, you can fall into a pattern of making a meal of it for a full house or being tired and speeding it up to get the damn thing over with, which aren't good choices.

So the background music helped me keep track of where I was and I could also place the more emotional moments where the music would swell or soften behind them, helping move the audience in the direction the playwright wanted them to go.

It got so I really like Pachelbel's Canon. Until the run of the play was extended. And then extended again. And extra shows were added on Friday and Saturday nights. Then it became this annoying earworm.

And even when I wasn't onstage, I couldn't escape it. Though I hadn't been aware of ever hearing this 200 year old composition before that play, it now seemed to turn up on CBC Radio a couple of times a week. They even used snippets for transitions on news programs and their jolly little quiz shows.

For all I know, the Program Director had been caught up in the success of the play or had found a version he didn't have to pay royalties on. Whatever the reason, I finally just stopped listening to the CBC to maintain my sanity.

Eventually the show's run ended. But Pachelbel's Canon didn't go away. To this day, I still turn off the car radio if it comes on. And yet, when other music plays, it somehow still seems to be there.

There have been times I've felt like the tormented killer in Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".

And then I learned it wasn't just me. That Johann Pachelbel had managed to use his canon to blow up the rest of music.

Listen and Learn.

And Enjoy Your Sunday...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 432: Thunder Road

Perhaps it was the lengthy eulogizing which preceded last night's farewell concert by "The Tragically Hip". Perhaps it was all of the passings of icons and friends which have marked 2016. Or maybe it was my own desire to avoid attending an upcoming funeral.

For whatever reason,  I was led this week to a lovely article by Deirdre Sullivan at NPR on the importance of turning up for those things.

I think a lot of people avoid wakes, final viewings and funerals because they're not sure how you're supposed to behave. Everybody grieves in their own way and it's tough to know if you're offending someone by appearing either too upset or not upset enough.

Walking that tightrope is especially tough for those asked to speak at a funeral. Your fondest memory of the departed might actually be the last thing they or their loved ones ever wanted revealed, let alone shared in their darkest hour. 

And appearing too flip or casual can make others wonder if you ever gave a damn about the deceased in the first place.

That fine line -- and what it reveals about us -- has been wonderfully captured in Jim Cummings' film "Thunder Road", this year's winner of the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at The Sundance Festival.

A long-time Indy producer, Cummings became intrigued by a Ricky Gervais quote "It's never too late. Until it's too late. And then it's too late." and decided to try his hand at not only producing an original short, but writing, directing and acting in it as well. 

The final product is not only a brilliant little film, it's touching and hilarious and encapsulates pretty much every emotion everybody feels at a funeral. It's also proof that being compassionate and considerate can be a truly miserable experience.

Enjoy Your Sunday...

Thunder Road from Jim Cummings on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 431: Courthouse Comics

Like most kids, I was addicted to comic books. If I went missing, my parents knew I could be found sitting on the floor of the Rexall Drug Store or Larry's Confectionery chewing a wad of Double Bubble and reading the latest from the circular rack.

I even drew my own comics which, since photocopiers hadn't been invented yet, were passed hand to hand among my friends.

Years later, by then an actor, I met a lawyer on a Scottish train who was defending a woman accused of murder and invited me to the trial.

It was a fascinating case, filled with as much emotion and drama as the play I was touring, but with far higher real life stakes. That experience turned me into a more than occasional visitor to courthouses, witnessing human conflicts that informed the fiction I was writing.

A couple of years ago, my experience of comic books and courthouses combined when I was hired to write a comic book  that's now used in every Canadian University and hundreds of American law schools to teach Aboriginal law.

But none of this prepared me for what the creators of Cartoon Network's "Rick and Morty" were able to come up with from a brief Floyd County, Georgia preliminary hearing

The real court transcript can be found here.

But the animated version will make your day.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 430: How Hollywood Uses You to Sell Movies

This week, a fairly crappy movie entitled "Suicide Squad" opened in North America. The reviews and early word-of-mouth on the $200 Million film hadn't been good.

Now in another time or with another movie, that would've been that. Those who had no interest in the film wouldn't have gone anyway. And those who wanted to see it would've gone anyway, or decided to spend their money on something else realizing a poor box office showing would mean it could be on Netflix before Labor Day.

Instead, we heard a lot about mobs with torches and pitchforks marching on Rotten Tomatoes and other movie review sites. The fanboys had been moved to action and were taking to the barricades to save a beloved comic book franchise while convincing the rest of us we just had to see this picture.

But were they? Or was all that entertainment news and social media activity thunk up by some Hollywood publicist to generate interest in a film that couldn't generate any interest in itself.

Well, it just might be the latter -- and no matter which side of the argument you were on, you were used by corporate Hollywood to make sure nobody at the studio loses their swimming pool or Tesla Model X.

And you need look no further than an earlier Summer flop, the "Ghostbusters" reboot to find proof.

For those not paying attention, Sony recently released a female cast version of the iconic 80's film, investing $144 Million in resetting a beloved tentpole.

But reaction to the film's trailer was decidedly tepid.

And some of those reacting negatively used the film to trash the general idea of women ghostbusters or women in general.

Suddenly, a social media storm arose in which many sprang to the defense of a film they hadn't seen while simultaneously defending feminism or damsels in distress -- concepts which don't exactly share the same ballpark.

Supporting "Ghostbusters" became synonymous with being a strong independent woman or an intelligent and progressive man.

But what if that was all a ruse?

What if the whole debate had been a marketing tool to get people to go see a film that everybody at the studio knew was kinda crappy?

Would you feel used?

Well, you should.

Because you were.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 429: The Shining Star of Losers

I was watching the Democratic National Convention this week as Bernie Sanders made an eloquent speech, stoically acknowledging that his run for the presidency had come to an end. TV Cameras panned the tear-stained and disconsolate faces of his followers, none of them accepting the reality that he had lost.

While it's well known that everybody loves a winner and I wasn't personally a fan of Senator Sanders, I couldn't help being moved and I started wondering -- why do we all have such a soft spot for losers?

Being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, you'd think that I'd've figured this out by now. 

But I think it comes down to the fact that we've all experienced losing. We've all failed to achieve something that mattered to us. And we all know how much that hurt.

And no matter how much we disliked, maybe even hated, the person we see being defeated -- a part of us shares their pain, maybe even appreciates how hard they struggled or how they hung onto their ideals in the process.

And part of it too is the fact that they tried. 

No matter how often they were knocked down, no matter the odds, they kept trying.

There's something especially admirable in that.

And maybe no better example than a Japanese race horse named Haru Urara, a horse with a pink "Hello Kitty" mask, an unbroken record of losing and a nation of millions cheering him on.  

Everybody may love a winner. But I think we identify more with the losers.

Enjoy Your Sunday...

The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere from The All-Nighter Room on Vimeo.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Lazy Sunday #428: Spooks-A-Poppin'

All the kids (and a lot of the adults) in my neighborhood are playing "Pokemon Go" hunting enhanced reality creatures near the local parks and soccer field. It's a fun evolution of video games that's taken most of the country by storm.

And the possibilities this offers for those of us in show business are endless. 

I heard a local DJ map out a version of the game that could be marketed alongside "Ghostbusters". First you'd see the movie and then you'd head outside to hunt for ghosts. When you found one, you'd turn on your mobile phone's "Proton stream" to capture it. But you'd need a couple of other people to launch their proton streams as well (being careful not to cross them) and then somebody else to open up their cell phone "trap". 

Entertainment. Enhanced movie. Community. All combined to create a fun, feel good adventure.

Like a lot of things in show business -- Pokemon Go is copying what's gone before while revealing a wildly profitable future.

Back in my day, we only had movies. But once in a while, somebody like Producer William Castle would come along to sell something like "13 Ghosts" -- where you were handed a special viewer as you entered the theatre which would allow you to see the ghosts in the movie. Ghosts invisible unless you used Castle's special device.

Castle would later go on to make films like "The Tingler" in which seats in the theatre were wired to shock audience members into believing they were being attacked by the titular character.

But these highly successful marketing schemes were really just an enhancement of something that had been going on in movie houses since the 1930's -- "The Spook Show".

I went to my first Spook Show when I was about 12. A local movie house was screening a couple of classic Frankenstein films on Halloween. But there was more to the show than that. 

There was a magician doing spooky illusions, Dracula and the Mummy wandering the aisles looking for victims, and best of all -- between the two movies -- a woman in a cage who transformed into a Gorilla before our shocked eyes -- said Ape then breaking from the cage to chase us all into the lobby to buy more popcorn.

This was a sideshow attraction accomplished with lighting and skrims that's still around today and still sends shocked rubes scrambling for the safety of the midway at its climax.

Over the last while, I've blogged about 3D and VR and other ways films are marketed. And while you might be able to come up with an enhanced reality app for your own film, perhaps the way things are going is actually back where they've been before -- offering audiences something more than just going to the local multiplex to see a film.

Maybe your rom-com should be introduced by a set from a local stand-up comic. Perhaps your audience could have their own laser blasters to fire at the invading aliens in your sci-fi, CGI epic.

And what would be the harm of augmenting your horror film with a live spook show.

It might ensure that you get a longer theatrical run (and more publicity) before you disappear into the Netflix back catalog.

If you want to see the future, it never hurts to glance back into the past.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 427: Black Sunday In The Magic Kingdom

I don't think my family owned a TV set during the Summer of 1955. But if we had, I'm sure it would have been tuned to the same channel 50% of televisions were tuned to the night of July 17th -- the live broadcast of the opening of Disneyland.

From the moment we did get a TV set (maybe a year or two later) the Sunday night Disney hour was sacrosanct. I owned a "Davey Crockett" coonskin cap, dressed as "Zorro" on Halloween and followed the adventures of "Johnny Tremaine", "Texas John Slaughter" and "Elfego Baca". 

Interspersed with these were Mickey Mouse Cartoons, wildlife documentaries and Werner Von Braun explaining how we'd get to the moon -- as well as Walt Disney himself extolling the charms of his Magic Kingdom.

I didn't make it to Disneyland until I was in my mid-20's and visiting friends in Los Angeles. They promised to take me there my first Saturday in town and even fixed me up with a "beautiful California Blonde" named Bambi as my date.

Bambi turned out to be quite beautiful and blonde -- and was also 12 years old. But any disappointment I might've felt was short lived because -- because the company of a kid (especially one who knew how to get past the lines for "E" Ticket rides) helped the magic of the place come alive.

As of today, 61 years later, 3/4 of a Billion people have visited Disneyland. But what a lot of people don't know is that it almost didn't make it past opening day -- a day that became known as "Black Sunday".

Disney's skill at promotion and the popularity of his films and TV show had raised interest in the park to a fever pitch. And despite a carefully chosen guest list of family and friends, more than 30,000 people arrived at the front gates. Most with forged tickets.

People were seen literally tossing their children over the heads of early arrivals to make sure they got to the front of the line. Overwhelmed ticket takers had no choice but to open the gates to anyone who wanted in.

Food ran out. Rides broke down under unexpected traffic and the Paddle-wheeler "Mark Twain" ran aground from the sheer weight of its passengers. 

Sleeping Beauty's castle was pillaged for souvenirs and restrooms couldn't handle the overflow -- partly because a Plumber's strike had forced Walt Disney to choose between building the number required and making sure the plaster elephants on the African Cruise ride could shoot water from their trunks.

And the entire fiasco was broadcast live, with various celebrity hosts cutting back and forth to maintain the feeling that nothing was wrong, while everything collapsed around them.

That broadcast is still with us, a reminder of just what it's like to do live television and a testament to how professionals behave in a crisis.

61 years ago today.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 426: And The Horse You Rode In On...

"You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink"-- which Dorothy Parker re-jigged to "You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think" -- which brings us to actors, who are often considered the whores of the culture because they'll do just about anything to make a buck.

Now, having been one (an actor) for a big chunk of my career, I can confirm that actors lie a lot. Mostly to get hired. Not that they lie any more than writers and directors do to get hired or producers do to come up with production money or simply to get laid. But only actors will admit they lie. 

The reason is simple. The root from which the word actor derives is "action" -- he who does something. And actors are always being asked if they can do something most people can't. 

Can you ride a horse?

Can you water ski?

Can you play tennis?

Nobody ever asks "Can you act?" since that's supposed to be a given. But this myriad of other skills which might be required of fictional characters takes up a lot of most actors lives. In addition to acting classes and voice lessons, actors spend a lot of time learning to do things most people can't -- and which they likely will never have to do either.

At the bottom of all resumes you'll inevitably find a list of unique things each individual actor can do. Juggle. Kick-box. Ballroom dance. Make paper airplanes.

When I was in high school I was into gymnastics, so that was on my list. But I soon learned that knowing how to do something might get you the job, but it didn't necessarily mean you'd get to do the job.

Allow me to explain. 

I got a call from my agent about a commercial where they needed somebody who had some gymnastic skills. Okay. I could probably do that. So I get an audition. At the audition somebody asks me if I have any gymnastic experience and I go through the list of what I can do. They seem happy. So happy I get booked for the job.

A week later, I turn up at some gymnasium with a whole crew and some ad agency guys. In the middle of the floor is a mat and hanging from the ceiling are a set of gymnastic rings. Now, I know Olympic athletes make those things look easy. But they're about the hardest thing you can do in a gym. 

I'd never been on a set and the director had a whole choreography he'd designed based on being in Munich in 1972 or something. After he laid out a routine only about 8 guys in the world could probably do -- moving from a Giant Swing into an Iron Cross and then a Kip Over to whatever. I politely explained that the rings weren't on the list of gymnastic events at which I was skilled and in addition nobody had ever asked if I was some kind of ring expert.

Everybody freaked out. And I was suddenly another lying actor and dispatched from the set while they frantically tried to reach their number 2 pick at his day job.

I'm pretty sure they couldn't reach him, or number 3 or number 4, because by the time the commercial aired, the poor guy they hired was doing somersaults -- and not doing them very well either.

This experience served me well later in life, when as a producer I would ask if an actor could ride a horse, knowing full well he or she would swear they could. Whoever we hired was them immediately dispatched to a riding school to "brush up" their abilities while the riding instructor was told he was getting somebody who'd never even seen a horse in real life.

Nobody got embarrassed. The production stayed on time and on budget. And the next time the actor was asked to ride a horse there wouldn't be any need for lying.

Which brings me to this lovely little anecdote from Sam Shepherd, a fine actor, superb writer and all round nice guy, who honestly does know how to ride a horse.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 425: Please Get Over Yourself

The Brexit vote just might be the straw that finally broke this camel's back. Although it had been coming for more than a year, it somehow wasn't on anybody' radar because -- well, because who would be so stupid as to do something like that, right?

And then the minute the people of the UK made their decision, there was a momentary gasp and then a flood of "What the fuck were they thinking?" and "Oh my God, the sky is falling!". Not to mention a million people in my Facebook feed alone spewing venom and worse on anybody connected with the "Leave" side, branding them as racists, xenophobes, anti-LGBTQ or anything else that might get somebody else to be pissed off at them too.

The Media were pissed off. The Politicians were pissed off. Stock Brokers were pissed off. Bookies. British Ex-Pats who made their own Brexits a generation ago. Hell, anybody who just needed something new to get jacked up about.

Things got so bad, CBC Radio had a panel of academics claiming some things were far too important to allow ordinary people to make decisions about them. Of course these were Canadian Academics, unable to come up with anything original on their own, so they culled their thesis from British Sources.

Isn't it interesting how some people suffer a loss and decide to suck it up and move on, while others come to the conclusion that their defeat is proof that Democracy isn't such a good thing after all? I mean, it was while their side was winning, but now -- well...

But what the Brexit "discussion" really brought home to me was just how wrapped up so many of us have become in needing the things we believe in, or don't really know much about but they really seem to matter to people we either like or look up to -- needing those things to be what EVERYBODY believes in.

And meanwhile the same people wonder where ISIS comes up with its cockamamie "Everybody has to see the world our way" shit.

Lately, I've had a long Saturday morning commute. Normally the news junkie in me would use that time to catch up on the latest headlines and commentary. But since all that newscasters seem to talk about these days are Trump and Hillary and I can't stand either of them, I've had to surf the dial.

A few weeks ago, I discovered a Canadian Money Show called "Money Talks" hosted by business analyst Michael Campbell. It's likely syndicated to a local station near you. And if it's not you can find it online here.

Now, shows about the economy aren't everybody's cup of whatever you're mostly drinking these days. But what I like about Campbell's approach is -- he kinda cuts through the bullshit. You might not like what he has to say, but it invariably makes sense -- and that doesn't just apply to your retirement portfolio.

What follows is some of what he had to say a couple of days ago about Brexit. Which is mostly about getting over yourself and your holier than thou opinions.

It's worth a listen.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 424: The Free State of Jones

The night before the Brexit vote, I went to a screening of a new film called "The Free State of Jones". Written and directed by Gary Ross, and starring Matthew McConnaughey, it promised to tell an untold story of the American Civil War.

24 hours later as I watched the reaction to the British decision to leave the European Union, I realized it was as much about the truth of today's world as the one which existed a century and half ago.

It's a flawed film on many levels, but powerful in the way it clarifies the difference between most of us and those who strive to control the events which impact our lives.

It's a film about doing what's right as opposed to what the world around you deems appropriate.

Please see it. At the very least, it will help you understand the Brexit. And...

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lazy Sunday #423: The Joke Police

Last week a little boy watching fireworks at Disney World was killed by an alligator. An unbelievably tragic event by any measure of tragedy.

Being a guy who grew up on the Disney classics, however, the first thing that crossed my mind was "How come nobody heard the beast ticking as it came ashore?".

That's of course a reference to "Tick-Tock the Croc" who swallowed Captain Cook's hand as well as his watch in "Peter Pan". And of course, the second thing to cross my mind was "Too Soon", that term which seems to have been at the forefront of comedy since 9/11 and dictates that a certain amount of time must pass between a tragedy and when it's okay to joke about it.

A couple of guys either braver or dumber than I am, posted their own versions of the same joke and were immediately pilloried by that incredibly fast growing demographic known universally as "The Joke Police".

We're definitely in a time when those who don't appreciate either humor or ideological difference or that some people have an alternate take on life or are simply unaware that "shit happens" quickly take offense. And I'm not really sure what benefit that is to anybody except those who want the world to be absolutely clear on what they find offensive.

Friday night, Bill Maher did his own Disney Alligator joke which offended many in his audience and later did some Muslim and Gun jokes they also didn't appreciate. And by the growing disgust I see on Maher's face, I can tell that one of the Left's most admired comics is frankly wondering what happened to the openness and acceptance that used to typify the Leftist audience he cultivated.

We've all got jokes we don't get or find funny. Most of us just shrug, offer a weak smile and move on. But the Joke Police want humor stifled and silenced. And going down that road inevitably means the joke will one day be on them.

For further insight into this, I offer conservative pundit, climate change denier, gun rights supporter and otherwise thinking speaker most of the Joke Police would consider a right-wing wing-nut. I say that only because I don't want anybody watching what follows without knowing he's somebody they're not supposed to find funny from the get-go.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 422: Heavy Metal Parking Lot

There's an old adage stating: "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American Public." And you can substitute "American" for just about any other audience on the planet.

Therefore the essential rule in entertainment is  -- "Know Your Audience". Because to be truly successful, you've got to appeal to what it is they want, not what it is you want them to like.

Oh, you can claim you're leading them to some better place, or improving their tastes. But if you do, you're either kidding yourself or courting disaster. 

Which brings me to the current kerfuffle over people not being able to get tickets to see the final tour of "The Tragically Hip".

Now, a lot of bands retire. The players get tired of touring or choke on their own vomit. Albums stop selling, the lead singer opts for a solo career, or what they were doing simply goes out of fashion.

I've never been a huge fan of "The Hip", but I've liked some of their stuff and understand the attraction. And if they had simply announced they were calling it quits, I'm sure they would have enjoyed a successful and celebratory farewell.

But concurrent with the announcement of the tour, the band also let fans know that Gord Downie, their lead singer, was dealing with a terminal Cancer.

And, of course, the demand for tickets went nuts. 

In my current hometown of Victoria, where the tour will kick off on July 22nd, the arena sold out in 30 seconds and StubHub is offering pairs of floor tickets for $10,000 -- US -- which puts them at $12,800 Canadian.

Why would people pay prices like that?

For the same reason they gawk at traffic accidents. They want to see the dead guy.

The Promoters knew the real money wasn't in directing sales at fans of the band, but in appealing to the geek factor in the rest of us. 

People weren't purchasing a last chance to watch Gord sing "Bobcaygeon" or "Blow At High Dough", they were paying for the opportunity to gawk at a dying man, perhaps getting a chubby at the possibility he might do a Jackie Wilson and gack right in front of them while warbling his biggest hit.

30 years ago, filmmakers John Heyn and Jeff Krulik borrowed a video camera from a local access station to document the arrival of fans at a Maryland "Judas Priest" concert. It's as fine a depiction as you'll ever find of most of those for whom you are creating what you consider works of art or entertainment and has been named to Rolling Stone's list of "Best Rock Documentaries".

I've appended it with a video of "Judas Priest" in performance. Those of you willing to spend a few grand for Hip tickets may enjoy it simply for the fact that some of these guys are now probably dead as well.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot from Jeff Krulik on Vimeo.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 421: 3D Inferno

Writing a blog is a little like being the artistic director of a little theatre company. You can pretty much program to fit your own mood and hope it strikes a chord among those who happen to notice the marquee.

A few weeks ago we tried sharing some virtual reality around here and boy, did that seem to get a lot of people excited.

So today, I'd like to take a small technological step backwards to one of my favorite movie going experiences -- 3D.

Now modern 3D gets a lot of knocks. It's too dark. It's not properly used. I don't care. I probably saw my first 3D film when I was 9 or 10 and loved it.

Remember the first time you saw a Hi-Def hockey game or something in 4K? Well it was like that. You might still be watching the Leafs play the Canucks. But it's better. 

It's more like real life and thus knocks down one more of those subtle reminders that what you're seeing is "only a movie".

Less disbelief has to be willingly suspended -- which, for me, makes the experience far more immersive.

There's a ton of 3D on-line already. There's even a place where you can turn 2D images into Anaglyphs, which is the tech term for a 3D version.

The one drawback with 3D, of course is you need to wear special glasses. If you haven't already scammed a pair from your last visit to the multiplex, there are people who will send you free ones. You can find them here.

Drop them a line and a couple of days later you'll be able to watch what follows. Or clearly make out this image.

And after that, check out the massive libraries of  3D content on Youtube and Vimeo.

Not only is there stuff that feels like you can reach out and touch. There are films that will touch you deeper because they have an added dimension.

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lazy Sunday # 420: Willy Chirino

Every year, I mark the beginning of Summer by selecting my album of the Summer, the record that I'm probably going to listen to the most while enjoying the Sun, the sand, the cold beers on the patio.

This has nothing to do with my having great taste in music or anybody's idea of what's going to be hip and cool in the coming months. It's just the way I keep track of the Summers in my life.

This year's selection is an album which was released in 2011. I don't know why I've never heard it before. Maybe it got lost of the seat cushions of the car or something. But if you're as equally unfamiliar with Willy Chirino's "My Beatles Heart" as I was, you're in for a treat.

Chirino was born in Cuba around the time Fidel Castro turned it into his own little prison fiefdom. In 1960, he was spirited to the United States as part of  "Operation Peter Pan" a mass migration of children from the island by those who feared the revolutionary government was going to take them from their families.

Years later, having risen to the top of the Latin music scene in Miami, he would write a song about the experience that has become an anthem for Cuban exiles, entitled "Our Day Is Coming".

A perennial nominee and winner of Latin Grammy's, Chirino has released 20 Platinum albums. If you're into Salsa, you've heard him. If you're not, you need to.

Some of my first "Summer Albums" were those of "The Beatles". So it's a particular pleasure to combine that music with what Chirino brings to it.

Enjoy Your Sunday...