Monthly Archives: September 2023

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Song of the Day #2074

Song of the Day: Sanford and Son (“The Streetbeater”) [YouTube link], composed by the great Quincy Jones, first appeared on the artist’s album, “You’ve Got it Bad Girl“. It features some really fine musicians: keyboardist George Duke, saxophonists Phil Woods and Ernie Watts, and harmonica player Tommy Morgan. It is most famous, however, for its use as the theme song to “Sanford and Son“, the NBC sitcom that ran from 1972 to 1976. Check out the opening credits as well as an extended version [YouTube links]. As the Autumnal Equinox approaches in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, this Eighth Annual Summer Music Festival (TV Edition)—celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Emmy Awards (postponed to January 15, 2024)—concludes!

Song of the Day #2073

Song of the Day: Better Call Saul (“Address Unknown”), words and music by Carmen Lombardo, Dedette Lee Hill, and Johnny Mark, was recorded by The Ink Spots and went to #1 in 1939. But it experienced a resurgence when it was heard in the opening sequence of the series premiere (“Uno“) of “Better Call Saul“, which first aired on February 8, 2015. The show, which stars Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman (aka Jimmy McGill, aka Gene Takovic), was developed by Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould. It is a triumphant spinoff of the critically acclaimed series, “Breaking Bad“. The Emmy Awards were scheduled for tonight (and it’s the 75th anniversary of those awards that is being celebrated in this year’s Eighth Annual Summer Music Festival). But the ceremony has been postponed to January 15, 2024, due to the Writers Guild of America and SAG/AFTRA strike. “Better Call Saul” has received several Emmy nominations, including Best Drama, Lead Actor (Odenkirk), Supporting Actress (Rhea Seehorn) and two for Writing (Gordon Smith and Peter Gould). In its history, the show has garnered 53 Primetime Emmy and Creative Arts Emmy nominations and has only won 2 technical awards in the latter category. Whatever the results, this show and its predecessor remain among the finest achievements in television history, in my view. And to Roderick Tracy Long again: I promised I’d include this song at a future date! Check out the original recording and its appearance in the 2015 debut BCS episode [YouTube link].

#911NeverForget / Song of the Day #2072

Song of the Day: Rescue Me (“C’mon C’mon”), words and music by Jason Stollsteimer, from The Von Bondies, is the theme song to this FX TV series that ran from 2004-2011. The show, starring Denis Leary, centered on the personal and professional struggles of New York City firefighters, many of whom were suffering from 9/11 PTSD. It served as an homage to those brave souls who rescued thousands of people at the World Trade Center on this date in 2001. Check out the opening credits and the full version of this garage rock television theme [YouTube links]. #911NeverForget.

(Photo taken by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, from the Staten Island Ferry, May 12, 2001)

Celebrating the Life of Guitarist Jack Wilkins

This past Wednesday, September 6, a lovely tribute to the musical legacy of the late guitarist Jack Wilkins (3 June 1944 – 5 May 2023) took place at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan. It has been posted on YouTube. Back in May, I reflected on Jack’s life and work. My brother, guitarist Carl Barry, who was a dear friend of Jack’s, performed at the celebration (check out that performance here).

Song of the Day #2071

Song of the Day: Dawson’s Creek (“I Don’t Want to Wait”), composed by Paula Cole, first appeared on the artist’s 1996 album, “The Fire“. It was a hit across pop, adult alternative, and adult contemporary platforms long before it was picked up as the opening theme to this WB series, which ran from 1998 to 2003. The series starred James Van Der Beek, Katie Holmes, Michelle Williams, and Joshua Jackson. Check out the original music video and its use in the opening credits to the show [YouTube links].

Don Lavoie and the Knowledge Problem

I first met Don Lavoie when I was an undergraduate at NYU. We became very dear friends and followed similarly focused professional paths.

Sadly, in 2001, Don passed away at the young age of 50. But his important work on the “knowledge problem” is among his most significant legacies. Indeed, his insights are deeply appreciated by those of us who adhere to a dialectical vision of human freedom and personal flourishing. That was one of the reasons I welcomed Nathan Goodman​’s wonderful contribution, “Don Lavoie’s Dialectical Liberalism“, to The Dialectics of Liberty: Exploring the Context of Human Freedom, published in 2019, and for which I was a coeditor.

Among those very promising young writers who are carrying forth Don’s remarkable legacy is my friend Cory Massimino​. As Cory writes in his recent essay, “Don Lavoie on the Continuing Relevance of the Knowledge Problem“:

Lavoie considered himself a “radical” in the sense that he thought “our society is in serious trouble and demands a sharp departure from current policies” and affirmed the need to “transcend—through principled and concerted social action—war and militarism, political oppression, and special privilege, and to set in motion progressive forces that will begin to solve such difficult human problems as poverty, disease, and environmental decay.” … For Lavoie, the knowledge problem informed not just a radical critique but a radical vision, a lively, humanistic, cosmopolitan, and emancipatory vision of cultural, scientific, and economic progress through peaceful social cooperation, dynamic experimentation, and mutual exchange. As the knowledge problem continues to be misunderstood, underrated, or downright ignored, and as human freedom continues to be trampled on, it’s vital we keep the legacy and, more importantly, the ideas of Don Lavoie alive and well.

Amen. Check out Cory’s article!

Song of the Day #2070

Song of the Day: Only Murders in the Building (“Look for the Light”), words and music by Sara Bareilles, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul, is featured in Season 3, Episode 3 (“Grab Your Hankies”) of this show, which first streamed on August 15, 2023. This Hulu series began its run in August 2021; it has an incredible cast of characters, with a wonderful trio—portrayed by Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez—leading the seasonal investigations. I’ve enjoyed the show not only for its blend of hilarious inside jokes and touching poignancy, but also for its familiar New York settings. There are still four more episodes left to the newest season and we still don’t know Whodunit! Check out Meryl Streep and Ashley Park, who perform this lovely song in episode 3. OMITB has a nice title theme as well, composed by Sidhartha Khosla [YouTube link].

Elizabeth Ann Sciabarra (“Ski”): A Life

On September 2, 1952, seventy-one years ago today, my sister, Elizabeth Ann Sciabarra (aka “Ski”), was born. In loving tribute to her life, I culled together photos from the time of her childhood through her professional career. These are snapshots-in-time—of family, friends, colleagues, and beloved students. Creating this chronological collage was both fun and poignant. It is set to a medley of tunes from one of our favorite artists, Michael Jackson, whom we saw in concert twice (in 1984, with his brothers, on The Victory Tour; in 1988, solo, on The Bad Tour).

Our Love Eternal.

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