Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trentonian TV Production Notes: L.A. Parker Show Episode 15


TRENTON -- L.A. showed up to the set just 18 minutes before Go Time. On top of that, he did not provide a guest list so that I could do some pre-production work i.e. find and familiarize myself with guest Facebook and Web pages, type up the show title and guest list for the segues and do a sound check. And then L.A. began the show with a 5-minute screed about moving back to the Burg and blah-blah-blah. And yet viewer Aimee Ford Foster said she loves L.A. and his rants. When L.A. is properly motivated and focused, he can argue with anyone. Mesmerizing even. But when he's not properly motivated, like today, I'd rather listen to the squealing of cats fucking on a wet summer night.

That said, L.A.'s second guest, Tom Zmuda of Ewing, brought beautiful musical squealings in the form of his saxophone. The first thing I asked before the show began was "Can you play Baker Street?" "Baker Street" is as intoxicating as music gets, especially those sax solos. Tom's a great kid. Super gregarious. Full head of hair. Happy smile. A kid whose energy bubbles with life, a kid who never missed a day of school, K through 12. Dedicated to the cause. But poor Tommy. He hadn't heard of Baker Street or Gerry Rafferty. His dad, Jan, enjoyed my request, though, so it was cool to have a connection with Mr. Zmuda. Tom said he'd learn "Baker Street". Great kid. He played 2 songs to become the first musician (outside of Pup Bolding) to perform live on Trentonian TV. Tom agreed to perform live on Trentonian TV on a Sunday morning in June.

The band Thursday Night Jazz was born at Fisher Middle School with Tom Zmuda on the horns, Tommy Heutmaker on the drums and Joel Nygren on the piano. They got the bug the first night they performed live at the first Ewing Talent Show. The band still performs but not as much because Tommy Z. is at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Tommy H. is at Drexel in Philly, and Nygren is at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Of his experience at Berklee, Zmuda said "I'm in a great community of diverse musicians. I wouldn't trade it for the world. Life is great." He has performed in clubs with Barbara Walker and Barbara D. Mills and Will Brock Jr. and Marion Meadows and Tim Hudson. He also has taken his horn into the street to play for coins that he gives to the homeless. He's the kind of kid you hope your daughter marries.

Also on the show were Judy Levy of Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing to tout their 20th golf fundraiser, and a politician by the name of Dan Keelan, the communications chairman of the Hamilton Democratic Club. He talked about Hamilton Mayor John Bencivengo, and right about then is when I tuned out like I did for the first 5 minutes of show when L.A. ranted about moving into the Burg and blah-blah-blah. At least Aimee liked it.

From a production point of view, things went pretty well -- especially Tommy Zmuda's live performance. He went out playing Grover Washington's "Let It Flow". Next time, Tommy, you'll go out playing "Baker Street." My photos weren't super crisp. It's rather difficult to take super-sharp photos with a smart phone, especially indoors when a guy is blowing his horn. On days like this I need a 35mm camera, which is as natural in my hands as a single-reed mouthpiece is between Tommy Zmuda's lips.


Judy Levy, L.A. and Tommy Zmuda during L.A.'s rant that Aimee Ford Foster loved


L.A.'s hand, Hunter Thompson and Tommy Zmuda


Judy's and L.A.'s shoes


Tommy Zmuda

Tommy's sax and left hand

Tommy Zmuda on the sax

L.A. in heaven

Flesh, brass, denim

Tommy's Toy

Fingers and buttons

Tommy in action

Keelan waiting for his turn to blast Bencivengo

Tommy plays Grover Washington

Jan and Tommy Zmuda

Dan Keelan's and L.A's shoes

Bloviation this, blather that

One more Tommy Tune


And here is the 57-minute episode chock-full of Tommy Zmuda goodness: