Monday, May 14, 2012

One More Week to Vote! Louis Lives!

Hello dear readers. As predicted, once this Partners in Preservation campaign got under way at the end of April, I pretty much kissed my free time good-bye, creating some silence around here for the last couple of weeks (and I know, I know, I missed the 85th anniversary of all the Hot Seven's....don't worry I'll make it up!). If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can see my previous post, but here's the quick lowdown: the Louis Armstrong House Museum is one of 40 New York City cultural organizations vying for three million dollars in grant money to given away by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. All the money is being awarded through the results of a competition that started on April 27 and is going through May 21. Every day, you can go to, find the Louis Armstrong House Museum and cast a Vote. If you're on Facebook, it takes seconds, otherwise, you can create a free Partners in Preservation account with your e-mail.

Since it began, we have been the leader in the Borough of Queens and we've hit as high as tenth in the overall voting. I know that Pops has a bigger international following than most of the other sites so I'm asking for one last push as the competition ends at 11:59 p.m. on May week away!

Any grant money we receive is going directly to the beautiful garden at the Louis Armstrong House Museum. This is where Louis celebrated his last birthday on July 4, 1971 and it's where we continue to spread his message with concerts through the warm weather months. So if you love Louis Armstrong, taking a minute to vote could go a long way in helping preserve his legacy.

To spread the word, we've been doing some great things with some of New York's finest--and youngest!--Armstrong worshippers. And I've been doing my best Michael Steinman impersonation to document some of it. (Of course, being a novice, some of these videos were the first time I shot with an iPhone and I held it vertically making for an awfully narrow shot....but the sound comes through!) The minute the competition was announced at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we were ready with a "Flash Mob" of musicians ready to play and get attention on the steps of the Met. In these next videos, you'll see Bria Skonberg, Gordon Au, Mike Davis and Jason Prover, trumpet; Emily Asher, trombone; Jared Engel, banjo; Peter Ford, box bass; Elizabeth, washboard; Evan Crane, bass; Eddy Francisco, tap dancing; and more, including Armstrong House staff and Owen and Chris Skonberg waving signs and rallying the troops. Let's start with a little "Swing That Music":
They followed that with "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" (watch out for Eddy Francisco's tap dancing!):
Next up, "Bourbon Street Parade" led the band on a march down steps over to the fountain:

If you prefer your videos a little wider, we had a professional videographer on hand to film, too, so here's an edited mash-up of "Bourbon Street Parade" and "Barbecue":
On May 5-6, we held a two-day "Garden Party" with free House tours and lots of great music. I was doing a million things so I didn't get to film much but I did get some great stuff by Mona's Hot 4 with Dennis Lichtman, clarinet, Jon-Erik Kellso, trumpet, Nick Russo, bass, Dave Speranza, bass and Tamar Korn, vocals. Here's "Weary Blues":

And I couldn't resist filming the dancers during the finale of "When You're Smiling":

The next day, Emily Asher's Garden Party swung the Garden into bad health with Emily, trombone, Mike Davis, trumpet, Will Anderson, clarinet, Nick Russo, guitar and Rob Adkins, bass. Here's their opener, "Marie": 
Great stuff, right? I love obsessing about old Louis Armstrong records but it's nice to see Pops's music and message being carried out by this younger generation.

So thanks for watching and thanks for voting. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter,a s I've been sharing never-before-seen photos on there to drum up publicity. And as  a closer, how about a little "What a Wonderful World," sung by the elementary school kids at New Grace School on the front steps of Louis's house. Ohhhhh yeah!