Thursday, August 28, 2014

On the Beat with Tommy Else (The Madame Zuzu's Aftermath)

A couple weeks ago, a group of my friends watched our mutual friend Tommy Else live out his unimaginable dream. Tommy played an acoustic set at Madame ZuZu’s Tea Shop in Highland Park, Ill. Also in attendance was Billy Corgan, owner/operator of Zuzu’s, frontman for the Smashing Pumpkins and Tommy’s musical idol.  I wrote about the night in an online piece for Global Traveler magazine at A Night of Good Music and Good Friends.
I had interviewed Tommy before the show to get his pre-show thoughts.  That interview can be found at On the Beat with Tommy Else.  Last Saturday, I spoke to Tommy about that night, to get his post-show thoughts.  That interview is below.
Tommy's performance impressed all of us.  We knew that Tommy dabbled in music, but we had no idea how good he really was.
I am quite sure Tommy was nervous about the night.  It was his first public performance in a long time (other than random karaoke nights).  He was performing in front of his idol, Billy Corgan, at Billy's invitation.  I applaud Tommy for just having the guts to do this, let alone do it so well.
Tommy is a great guy and we were all so happy tat he got this opportunity.  This is beyond bucket list stuff.  Five years ago, Tommy would never even have dreamed of this possibility.  Yet, there he was weaving flawlessly through a two hour set of beautiful music.  It truly was a magical night and I am happy and proud to have been there.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Maybe Mabry

My friends feared there might be trouble when I got press credentials for a St. Louis Cardinals game last season.  They knew that John Mabry, my longtime favorite, was a coach for the Cardinals.  Could I possibly contain myself?
I admit, I kind of staked out Mabry on the field and was determined to get some sort of interview.  I eventually succeeded and the interview can be found at On the Beat with John Mabry.
Mabry had it all to be a Johngy favorite.  He was versatile (having played 6 positions, including pitcher twice).  He played for 8 teams, but most importantly he played briefly for the Cubs.  He also had three stints with the Cardinals.  This was my kind of player.
I am never guaranteed an interview, no matter how determined I am.  The boys wanted to have some fun and make sure I got a picture with him.  The result is below.
Okay, it isn't exactly a picture with him (but it is closer than I thought I would get years ago).  Best of all, I did not do anything embarrassing or get kicked off the field.
John Mabry and me in St. Louis, MO-Summer 2013.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On the Beat with Manager Shane Winkler of the Chicago Bandits

The Johngy's Beat-Justin's World joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits continues today with Manager Shane Winkler.  This is an interview I did not want to see happen.  It is the season wrap and therefore it meant that the regular season was over.
Winkler lead the Bandits to 2nd place with a 30-18 record.  The USSSA Pride finished in 1st with a 33-15 record.  The Bandits met the AkronRacers in the playoffs and unfortunately lost the best of three series.
It was a great season of watching the Bandits.  Winkler was very professional and friendly to us.  I really enjoyed this season and look forward to next season.
We will have several more interviews with the Bandits in the near future.  We were fortunate enough to talk to every player and we will run all of those interviews here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Friendly Encounters: Mike Cichowicz and Rod Stewart

This is a weekly series about friends who have met celebrities.

This is juts a really cool, old school Friendly Encounters.  It is somewhere around 30 years old, but the star is one of the biggest I have ever featured here.
I met Mike Cichowicz many years ago at AU Sports and Memorabilia   Back then, I had no idea the jersey-wearing sports nut was an excellent musician.  In fact, Mike had played with many of the greatest all over the music scene.
When I was growing up, Rod Stewart was pretty darn cool.  I am sure Mike had a lot of fun hanging with Rod and his buds.  At least in thee picture below, it looks like they are having fun.  I am pretty sure laying on a beach with Rod and his band would be guaranteed fun.
Mike has also put together a book series on Vincent Cichowicz (his father) with Mark Dulin.  The series covers the elder Cichowicz's trumpet teaching materials.  You can get more info on Vincent Cichowicz at Balquhidder Music.
Michael Cichowicz, Rod Stewart and the band in Switzerland-Around 1986.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

On the Beat with James Finn Garner and Paul Erickson at Wizard World 2014

I first met James Finn Garner and Paul Erickson separately last year.  Both did interviews with and I have followed them since.  A few weeks ago, Erickson told me he would be at Wizard World in Rosemont and that he would be sharing a booth with Garner.  I was excited about revisiting each.
I don't usually like to interview two people together, especially when they are not totally connected professionally.  After talking informally to both, we all decided it would make sense and be fun to do this twofer.
Jame Finn Garner is a New York Times best-selling author.  His clown noir book series featuring Rex Koko fascinated me.  I am not just giving lip-service either.  I bought the first two books in the series from Garner and I can't wait to dive into them.
Erickson is the best Tolkien parodist.  His passion (and humor) is evident as he is usually in costume at these conventions.  My nephew Matt bought his books last year and this time, I purchased the first book, The Wobbit A Parody (of Tolkien's The Hobbit).
I had a blast seeing and talking to these guys again.  I encourage everyone to check out their works after you watch the interview below.
This is one of the cool things about the comic con circuit.  I get to reconnect with people like Garner and Erickson.  Each time we get to know each other a little better (that's a scary thought for them).
I appreciate Wizard World granting me the opportunity and I thank Garner and Erickson for their time and consideration.  Check them out.  They are really interesting guys!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Celebrity Jersey Cards #186 Bill Cosby & Roger Waters

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong interest in baseball cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  The Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox find themselves in unfamiliar territory of late.  I don't really feel bad for them, but it was a good time to feature them.

Comic legend Bill Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia, yet he appears in a Red Sox uniform on his Celebrity Jersey Card.  Nobody can question Cosby though.  The man has broken barriers and set his own course for decades.  He is a Hall of Fame performer.
Roger Waters is a native of England.  Not to second guess my Cosby comments, but maybe these two should have switched uniforms.  Anyway, Waters is a Hall of Fame musician.  On his Celebrity Jersey Card, he is repping #10, which for that era jersey would probably be Darren Daulton, although I listed him as a shortstop, in honor of another #10, Larry Bowa.

Friday, August 22, 2014

On the Beat with "The Ego" Robert Anthony of Resistance Pro at Wizard World

My coverage of Wizard World Chicago 2014 began today with an unexpected interview.  I ran into "The Ego" Robert Anthony of Resistance Pro wrestling, who was accompanied by Diz.
Ego is right in the middle of the tag team title situation at RPro.  He was tag team champion with Jocephus Brody, but his wedding and honeymoon kept him away from RPro last month.  Jocephus successfully defended the titles with Eve.  Who exactly are tag team champs?  We will find out on Sunday at "The Real Thing."
Diz contributed a bit during this interview, but I could not understand him.  Ego's "translations" seemed a bit suspect to me.  Ego claimed Diz was badmouthing
In any case, Ego was just one of several friends and celebrities I encountered on Day One at Wizard World.  The rest of the weekend promises to be even better.  You never know who you might see.  I even saw another guy in a Johngy shirt.  Go figure!
Wizard World runs through Sunday.  My advice is always to go before Sunday.  That way, on Sunday, you can go to "The Real Thing" and find out what is happening with the tag team scene at RPro.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

On the Beat at Resistance Pro's "The Mob Rules"

Every Resistance Pro Wrestling show is a fun event, but "The Mob Rules" was a special night and not because of the wrestling.  This night belonged to Emily Anne Lundvall.
Emily is a friend of RPro and a Special Olympian.  She recently won gold and silver medals and the folks at RPro decided to honor her with a special award presentation.  The applause for Emily rivaled that of any wrestler and brought chills to everyone there.  It truly was a wonderful night.
I was proud to get interviews with Kathy Lundvall, Emily's mother, and Aaron Hirthe, Emily's coach.  Each spoke of what this all means to them and Emily.
I got my first interview with "Simply Sexy" Shawn Blaze, a relative newcomer to RPro.  Hopefully this is the first of many as he climbs the RPro ladder.
Marshe Rockett has been climbing the RPro ladder for a while and he is poised near the top.  Special Correspondent Jonathan McMahon interviewed Mr. M80.
I also finally got an interview with "The Inspiration" Brady Pierce.  The strong, quiet member of Body Magic seems to have a bright future at RPro and we discussed plenty of topics.
RPro's very own Eric St. Vaughn took over the interview duties and landed Chicago Bliss coaches John Witte and Ryan Andrews, along with Bliss star Dana Lorraine.  The RPro-Bliss connection has been a fun one for all.  We are looking forward to celebrating their next LFL title at a future RPro show.
Lastly, I got a special interview with Justin King of King Cobra.  Justin gave me a rare calm look at his career to this point.  All was going well, until his brother Head Referee Robert King appeared.  Then things got real interesting.
I hope you enjoy these videos.  I hope you come to "The Real Thing" this Sunday.  You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On the Beat with Tammy Williams of the Chicago Bandits

The Johngy's Beat-Justin's World joint coverage of the Chicago Bandits resumed with Justin's piece on Tammy Williams.  I talked to Tammy a couple weeks ago and that interview can be found at Tammy Williams interview.
Tammy, the fifth year shortstop is certainly one of the leaders on the team and one of the best players in the league.  She hit .341 with an OBP of just under .400, 9 home runs, 30 rbi's and 27 runs scored.  Overall, it was her best season of her career.
I had the pleasure of witnessing Tammy start a rare triple play a couple weeks ago.  She snared a low liner to her left.  A flip to second and a relay to first put the triple play in the books.  It was the first triple play I ever saw on any level.
The Bandits start the playoffs today and I will be watching and cheering.  I really grew to love this team and the sport.  Stay tuned for continuing coverage soon.
Tammy Williams and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2014.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On the Beat...On the Andy Derer Show

Andy Derer and I share an interest in celebrities.  I have Johngy's Beat and interviews on YouTube, while Andy has and his podcast.  At a recent Resistance Pro show, our paths crossed.
I was very happy to interview Andy.  That interview can be found at On the Beat with Andy Derer.  It was a cool change of pace to interview someone who does similar stuff to what I do.  Actually, Johngy's Beat strives to be something like The Andy Derer Show.
He has met a lot of great celebrities and has done many interviews.  Heck, he even interviewed me (and it did not kill his show).  That episode can be found at The Andy Derer Show Episode #121 You Can't Resist The Bliss With John Wroblewski.
Andy is a good dude.  It is another case of meeting and befriending good people at Resistance.  Further proof that Andy is a good guy is that Colonel Jesse Corgan gets along with him (and we all know Col. Corgan doesn't get along with many people).
I highly encourage everyone to check out and listen to his podcasts.  You might even be able to meet him at an RPro show.
Andy Derer and me in Willowbrook, IL-June 2014.