Tag Archives: Capital District – NYS

PLEASE HELP Racing City Chorus’ $how to Benefit Saratoga Springs HS Music ♫ Department


THE RACING CITY CHORUS NEEDS YOUR HELP!!! (Yes, I am repeating myself!) The Racing City Chorus is Raising $$$ to Benefit the Saratoga Springs High School Music ♫ Department. PLEASE join us! Please help us make this a smash hit! (At the bottom of this you’ll see all kinds of ways you can share this.)

The Racing City Chorus (RCC) of Saratoga Springs, NY, is celebrating its 60 anniversary this year with a Diamond Anniversary Show on June 4thand we are going to donate 50% of the Show’s net proceeds to the Music Department of the Saratoga Springs High School.

I call this cause RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music.RCC Sings for Saratoga Springs 7

For our Chorus, this is HUGE (or as Billy Fuccillo would say, “You-jah!“) and we need  your help. We believe in our Barbershop music and in supporting music education for youth. Candidly, we’d like to raise a LOT of money to make a really large donation. (For some more information see Paul Post’s great article “Singing for a Cause” in the 4/12 issue of The Saratogian.)

AND PLEASE COME TO OUR SHOW! It will be an a capella singing lover’s feast! Here are the details:

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Maple Avenue Middle School 515 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs NY 12866. Two performances: 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

Maino2

Mike Maino

OUR PERFORMERS: Barbershop Harmony Society favorite Mike Maino will Emcee this fabulous LINE UP:

2015-NED-0456The Racing City Chorus and its four Quartets – Contempt of Chord, Elderly Brothers, Late Bloomers, and Primrose Lane!

VS 1Vocal Spectrum, 2006 International Barbershop Harmony Society champions! These four young men rock Barbershop singing, America’s original a capella art form!

SSCSD logo JCK 3Saratoga Springs High School Choraliers led by Kathleen McCarty (7:00 pm show)!

southgf_HP_bannerSouth Glens Falls High School  SGF Vocal Point led by Elizabeth Stambach-Fuller (2:00 pm show)! (Thank you SGF Vocal Point for helping!!!)

The Afterglow: Join Vocal Spectrum, Mike Maino, and all of us for a more casual sing. Pizza and wings to be served. (Starts after the Show at the Saratoga Springs K of C hall.)

  • TICKETS AND COST:

    • TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE: (Reserved Seating available, first come, first serve!)
    • OR CALL:  518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464) to buy Tickets through the Racing City Chorus.
    • NEED HELP ORDERING? HAVE A GROUP ATTENDING? HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS? Please Email pbaker1@nycap.rr.com.
  • Show Tickets:
    • VIP Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $23.00
    • Premium Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . $19.00
    • General admission: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $17.00
    • Non Reserved General Admission: .  .  . . . $15.00
  • Afterglow Tickets: Per person: . . . . . . $20.00

FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit the Racing City Chorus website OR Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464).

Join the  Racing City Chorus June 4th  as RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music“!  Thank you!

Joe Cutshall-King

  • Information on The Racing City Chorus:
    • The Racing City Chorus is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, chartered in Saratoga Springs in 1956 as a Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
    • Mailing Address: PO Box 713, Saratoga Springs, NY  12866
    • Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464)
    • Website: http://racingcitychorus.org/
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Do you think my ♫ cause is worth going viral?


I have a Music ♬ Cause and I am asking you this:   Should it go viral?

Here is my cause:  My Barbershop chorus, The Racing City Chorus (RCC) of Saratoga Springs, NY, is celebrating its 60 anniversary this year with a Diamond Anniversary Show on June 4thand we are going to donate 50% of the Show’s net proceeds to the Music Department of the Saratoga Springs High School.

I call the cause RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music  (or RCC ♬ for $$$ for Saratoga ♬).RCC Sings for Saratoga Springs 7

For our Chorus, this is a huge undertaking and we need the public’s support. But we believe in our Barbershop music and in supporting music education for youth by 1) donating to our hometown school’s Music Department and in doing so,  2) drawing attention to music education for youth. Candidly, we’d like to raise a lot of money to make a really large donation.

Paul Post beautifully describes our efforts in his article “Singing for a Cause” in the 4/12 issue of The Saratogian. If you think RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music is a good cause, will you share this on social media and via email and help it go viral? (See: “Share this” below.)

And please come to our show! It will be an a capella singing lover’s delight! Here are the details:

WHEN & WHERE: Saturday, June 4, 2016, the Maple Avenue Middle School 515 Maple Avenue Saratoga Springs NY 12866. Two performances: 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.

Maino2

Mike Maino

OUR PERFORMERS: Barbershop Harmony Society favorite Mike Maino will Emcee this fabulous LINE UP:

2015-NED-0456The Racing City Chorus and its four Quartets – Contempt of Chord, Elderly Brothers, Late Bloomers, and Primrose Lane!

VS 1Vocal Spectrum, 2006 International Barbershop Harmony Society champions! These four young men rock Barbershop singing, America’s original a capella art form!

SSCSD logo JCK 3Saratoga Springs High School Choraliers led by Kathleen McCarty (7:00 pm show)!

southgf_HP_banner

The Afterglow: Join Vocal Spectrum, Mike Maino, and all of us for a more casual sing. Pizza and wings to be served. (Starts after the Show at the Saratoga Springs K of C hall.)

  • TICKETS AND COST:

    • TO BUY TICKETS ONLINE CLICK HERE: (Reserved Seating available, first come, first serve!)
    • OR CALL:  518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464) to buy Tickets through the Racing City Chorus.
    • NEED HELP ORDERING? HAVE A GROUP ATTENDING? HAVE OTHER QUESTIONS? Please Email pbaker1@nycap.rr.com.
  • Show Tickets:
    • VIP Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $23.00
    • Premium Seating: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . $19.00
    • General admission: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  $17.00
    • Non Reserved General Admission: .  .  . . . $15.00
  • Afterglow Tickets: Per person: . . . . . . $20.00

FOR MORE INFORMATION: visit the Racing City Chorus website OR Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464).

Join the  Racing City Chorus June 4th  as RCC sings for Saratoga Springs Music“!  Thank you!

Joe Cutshall-King

  • Information on The Racing City Chorus:
    • The Racing City Chorus is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, chartered in Saratoga Springs in 1956 as a Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.
    • Mailing Address: PO Box 713, Saratoga Springs, NY  12866
    • Telephone 518-504-SING (that’s 518-504-7464)
    • Website: http://racingcitychorus.org/

At Woodlawn Commons in Saratoga Springs


Last Friday, November 8, the residents at Woodlawn Commons, part of the Wesley Community in Saratoga Springs, had me as their guest to give a presentation on The Burning of The Piping Rock.  What a great group they were! Several had been to Piping Rock Casino in its glory days. They discussed how much they enjoyed dancing to the big bands at Piping Rock Casino and watching the hit stars, such as Sophie Tucker, Hildegarde, Kay Thompson and the Williams Brothers. (In those post WW II days, Andy Williams performed as one of the Williams Brothers.) When I showed them this photo of the entertainment revue at Piping Rock Casino, and other photos, they gasped in recognition of those times long ago. Thanks to Gina Mergel for the invitation to speak at Woodlawn Commons!

Piping Rock Interior  around 1946-B&W

Piping Rock Interior around 1946-B&W

Thank you Greenwich, NY, Senior Citizens!


Sara Idleman, Nan Fitzpatrick & Susan Frisbee with author Joe Cutshall-King Greenwich Seniors Lunch

Sara Idleman, Nan Fitzpatrick & Susan Frisbee with author Joe Cutshall-King Greenwich Seniors Lunch

Patrick Gilgallon takes “The Burning of The Piping Rock” to new heights!


'Piping Rock' at LG 09-13 - photo by Patrick Gilgallon.

‘Piping Rock’ at LG 09-13 – photo by Patrick Gilgallon.

This photo was taken by Patrick Gilgallon, a fellow devotee of Barbershopper music, who sent it in an email, saying: “While at my cabin on Lake George I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED READING The Burning of the Piping Rock! I couldn’t stop thinking about the story line when I put down the book periodically. So much could I NOT put down the book, that upon departing for a hike, I packed it in my backpack. At the summit, I read for 2 hrs.  What a beautiful day that was!!!”

To prove his point, Patrick attached this photo he took at the summit.

Thank you very much, Patrick, for your totally unexpected and totally appreciated email!

145 people attend Brown Bag Lunch program on “The Burning of The Piping Rock”!


Brown Bag Lunch

Brown Bag Lunch

Saratogian article (9/8/13): “Author to unravel ‘Piping Rock Arson’ at brown bag lunch”


Check out this article from The Saratogian about my upcoming program for the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center’s Brown Bag Lunch Lecture  Series held at Saratoga Springs Public Library! Saratogian (9/8/13) - Author to unravel 'Piping Rock Arson' I’m looking forward to seeing you this Thursday (Sept. 12 ) at noon in the Community Room of the Saratoga Springs Public Library! (Thanks to Chuck Packevicz  for this clipping!)

Article courtesy of The Saratogian (9/8/13)

“Piping Rock Arson” by Joe Cutshall-King: Brown Bag Lunch Lecture (9/12) at Saratoga Springs Public Library


Brown Bag Lunch

Brown Bag Lunch

“Piping Rock” book reading this Saturday at the Shirt Factory


Just a reminder that I’ll be doing a Book Reading/Signing for The Burning of The Piping Rock this Saturday, July 20, at 2 p.m. Please join me at The Shirt Factory Gallery in Glens Falls, Corner of Lawrence & Cooper Streets (map). Open to the public free of charge. I’ll be with Mystery/Suspense writers Vincent Palazzo and David Cederstrom. (A big “Thank you” to author Maury D. Thompson [Facebook]). Visit the Shirt Factory Gallery website at http://shirtfactorygf.com/gallery.

Hope to see you there!

Piping Rock Casino

Piping Rock Casino

“Gangster Squad”: No Academy Award, but, ooooh, we our love our criminals!


Seen the new Sean Penn film Gangster Squad about the end of mafia member Mickey Cohen’s crime career.

Scheduled to be released last fall, Gangster Squad‘s release was held back until this January because of the Aurora shooting. January being a traditionally poor month for openings, along with the initial bad reviews, might well keep it from getting next year’s Academy Award. That in mind, you might not believe what I’m about to tell you!

Set in the late 1940s, Gangster Squad is a “True Crime” film based on the LA Police Department’s “Gangster Squad unit” that set out to get Cohen. Box Office Mojo defines “True Crime” film as “movies based on real crimes or criminals.” Box Office Mojo rates Gangster Squad NUMBER 6 on its list of the top 47 True Crime movies from 1980-Present. This is by sales, but still, despite some negative reviews (and some were pretty bad!) Gangster Squad ranks up there with such hits as Goodfellas and American Gangster.

Why, oh why, do we love anything and everything about organized crime? And why another B-movie about the mob of long ago and this psychopath Mickey Cohen?

Easy. Because we love royalty and organized crime is a kind of perverted royalty, with all royalty’s lineage, pedigrees and idiosyncrasies. Cohen was mob royalty—of a sort—tracing his lineage to New York mobster kingpin Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein was accused, though never convicted, of orchestrating the infamous Black Sox Scandal, the fixing of the World Series of 1919. Because of the Black Sox Scandal, organized crime rocketed from being fascinating to being a full-time obsession for Americans.

Rothstein came from a wealthy business family and used Prohibition, which started in 1919, to make crime a major American industry. He was vilified and glamorized in the press. He was so well-known that, when F. Scott Fitzgerald thinly disguised Rothstein as the racketeer Meyer Wolfsheim in The Great Gatsby, everyone knew Fitzgerald meant Rothstein.

“King” Rothstein had many knights at his crooked round table—gangsters such as Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello , Joe Adonis and Mickey Cohen. Rothstein was deeply involved in illegal gambling in the East. In the 1920s, he brought Lansky, Costello, and Adonis to Saratoga Springs, where they eventually controlled most of Saratoga’s illegal gambling casinos. One was Piping Rock Casino, which I feature in my historical mystery novel, The Burning of The Piping Rock. Rothstein was gunned down in 1928 and his proteges split up his empire and “blossomed.” Lansky became regarded as the financial brains of the mafia. Mickey became an enforcer.

America was deeply split over crime in the 1920s. While Americans voted for Prohibition, they lived evading it. While they condemned lawlessness, they found “little crimes” weren’t considered all that bad. Very soon “bigger crimes” weren’t considered all that bad, and quite quickly many criminals became celebrities. In the 1920s, people devoured the endless newspaper coverage about rum running, gambling, rival mobs and violent crime. Cities like Chicago became crime havens. Many magazines and books also featured true crime stories and detective fiction. In the late 1920s Hollywood started a decade-long string of films about racketeers, the underworld, and the mob. When the “Talkies” entered in 1929, audiences saw and heard mobsters speaking and their sub-machine guns blazing. They idolized Jimmy Cagney, Edward G. Robinson and Humphrey Bogart portraying demented murderers and thugs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Damon Runyon began publishing his humorous stories about gangsters in the 1920s. Those left a legacy of a gentler, even kinder gangster. Think of Sky Masterson, as portrayed in Guys and Dolls.

Of Rothstein’s many proteges, Meyer Lansky could be considered as the respectable type of gangster. Mickey Cohen definitely could not. Cohen came to crime as a child, barely avoiding his first arrest in 1923 at age nine for selling illegal alcohol for his older brother. With the exception of his years spent as a professional boxer, his career was all crime, all the time. Cohen ended up working for Lansky and Lou Rothkopf. They sent Cohen to Los Angeles in the mid-1940s to watch over Bugsy Siegel, another Rothstein protege. Cohen helped Siegel establish the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, a hotel Siegel managed. It is said Cohen murdered Siegel, following mob orders.

By the late 1940s Cohen had come to “own” crime in Los Angeles. This is the period of Cohen’s life described in Gangster Squad. The City of Los Angeles and the US government delivered Cohen a one-two punch. In 1949, the LA Police Department set out to destroy Cohen’s empire. In that same year, US Senator Estes Kefauver started his “United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce Committee”—the Kefauver Committee. America watched the Kefauver Committee hearings on TV (a first) as it grilled mobsters, crooked politicians and police, and anyone else involved in organized crime. By 1951, Kefauver had severely crippled the mob in America, shattering its  kingdoms, including those of Rothstein’s knights—Cohen, Lansky and others. Cohen spent four years in jail; Lansky a few months.

But the mob’s crime dynasty survived and has lived on—along with our fascination of it. From the 1950s on, there have been thousands of books, TV shows, and movies about the mob, some True Crime,  some fictional. The pendulum has swung back and forth between glorifying law enforcement officers (The Untouchables) to glorifying the mob (The Godfather).

And now, for good or ill, we have Gangster Squad. Why? It’s the power organized crime possesses. It fascinates us, just as we’re fascinated by other centers of human power—politics, religion, corporations, or royal families. Think of Shakespeare. He turned Richard III into a monster. Gangster Squad tries to turn Mickey Cohen into a human. Where’s Shakespeare when you need him?

The mob will probably always be with us, like death and taxes—or, as Mickey Cohen might have said, “like death and protection.”

J.A.C.K.