Halloween in Regent Square

COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down. I was curious to see how it would impact the neighborhood Halloween spirit. If you have never experienced the holiday in our neighborhood you are missing something. People travel from surrounding neighborhoods just to trick or treat here. While there will be no door to door trick or treating this year CPVID 19 does not seem to have spoiled the spirit,

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Ligonier—The Song Remains The Same

I had not visited Ligonier in over 40 years. Last time I was there on a fashion shoot for a Pittsburgh model. I remembered it as a quaint picturesque small Pennsylvania town, We actually didn’t take any pictures there. We opted instead for the Greensburg train station where I took this image and many others.

A Deserted Station

This time however we photographed the town which was pretty much the way I remembered it on a fall day long ago.

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Tales from The Oaks #1–Matinees

Background
In 1971 I married my soulmate and next year we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. In 1972 I lost my job as a credit manager and needed to reinvent myself. I decided to pursue my dreams and bought my first Nikon F camera. While learning my new craft I still needed to earn money. So in addition to becoming a teamster and driving a Yellow Cab, I began working as a projectionist at the Oaks Theater in Oakmont Pennsylvania.

With another projectionist we worked like doctors, three days on and three days off. It was fun and awful at the same time. Enjoyable to see new movies every week but also physically strenuous work. In that era movies were exhibited using 35mm film and the light source were Simplex carbon arcs projectors. An average movie had four to seven reels. Each reel weighed about 20 pounds. As the first reel got close to the end you would fire up the carbon arc on projector 2 and changeover from projector one to projector two. Then physically mount reel #3 on the first projector and manually rewind the first reel for the next show. After two years my right arm looked like Popeye The Sailor.

One of the owners was a colossal officious jerk. He was kind of like Ted Knight in Caddyshack. Sometimes his added stress would trigger us into some nasty pranks. We had no cell phones, TV or radio. There were no laptop computers so well we invented our own humor.

Episode One…The Matinee

We hated when they decided to have Saturday matinees. The person who pulled Saturday would essentially pull a double shift. Movies would normally start on Friday’s. We had no idea what would be waiting for us, so we had to arrive early on Fridays to carry the heavy containers up the stairs. We had to inspect the movies to make sure they were intact. Sometimes they weren’t rewound, and we had to rewind them.

The worst feeling was arriving Friday night and seeing 9 film cans rather than the normal 4 or 5. It mean there was a matinee on Saturday. Eventually we convinced our idiot bosses to provide a schedule but even so you could do nothing but groan when you saw all those heavy film cases.

There was a turntable and records in the booth so we could play music through the large Voice of The Theater Speakers before the show. Our boss insisted on playing Frank Sinatra before the Kids movies on Saturday. “No sense getting them all worked up” he said with his Ted Knight smile.

So, there I was on my third Saturday in a month, my partner was on vacation. I was pissed at missing another Saturday night anyhow and certainly aggravated that I had to be there on a beautiful fall afternoon. I locked the projection booth door and put on Frank Sinatra, yah don’t want to get them worked up. Hey wait, it occurred to me, I’m up here and idiot boss is down there…hmm fuck Frank Sinatra. I began to look through the albums. Hmm the United States Military Academy Band playing John Sousa’s marches. The kids should like this, right? It’s amazing how loud those big Voice of The Theater Speakers’ can get. As the theatre filled up, I cranked up the volume. I really didn’t hear the knocking on the door. Honestly, I didn’t. I was too busy watching the manager chase after the kids that were literally jumping on and over the seats. Oh well, it’s show time, I quickly dim the lights start the projector and lastly turn down the march music.

I didn’t work many matinees after that.

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The Oaks Theatre

Worlds Apart Kindle Sale Starts Saturday

Starting Saturday, September 5, 2020 at 8:00 AM PDT you can purchase the Kindle Version of Worlds Apart for just $1.99 . The sale ends on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 12:00 AM PDT.

Pittsburgh’s Jake Webber and Rose Youngblood provide some excellent escapist fiction as they battle evil across parallel worlds in this sequel to DreamMap . While Jake and Rose are jaunting through dimensions, Detective Janet Pizzutti tries to figure out a mystery at the site of the Greenfield Bridge implosion. The stories intertwine making for a fun adventure to help you escape Covid 19 and turmoil in the streets.

From our newest reviewer, “Great story with lots of mystery, plot twists, and even some chuckles. If you are familiar with Pittsburgh and its landmarks, you will really enjoy the tie-ins to many historic and popular spots of the city. This book does what every book should do —leaving you wanting more. Will there be third novel? Who knows, but don’t put off reading either of these gems — especially if yinz are from the Burgh.”

Another reviewer said, “I am a non-fiction guy; I prefer my books to be solidly grounded in reality. But reality has become overwhelming in these days of pandemic and political hyper-polarization. I needed something to take me away, to transport me to some alternate reality – or realities. “Worlds Apart” by Richard and Hinda Burke has done just that.”

Read a sample or order your copy by clicking here.

One World of Music Festival 1972

Like today, 1972 was a great time of social unrest in the United States. In August of that year there was a two day event at Pitt Stadium in Oakland sponsored by the NAACP. The festival was a celebration joining the forces of African Americans and young, socially conscious activists around the commonality of music. Bill Preston, Taj Mahal, Savoy Brown and Quicksilver Messenger Service were among those performing.

I had recently purchased my first Nikon F camera and an event occurred at the concert that shaped my entire photographic career. While listening to Billy Preston, I noticed Gary Duncan and Dino Valenti of Quicksilver Messenger Service sitting behind us. I turned quickly and captured this image of Valenti kissing a young lady. I entitled it Caught in The Act. It was my first photojournalistic image and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Since then I have dedicated my artistic photography to trying to capture perfect moments. This was my first one.

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My beautiful picture

Early Reviews of Worlds Apart

Pittsburgh’s Jake Webber and Rose Youngblood provide some excellent escapist fiction as they battle evil across parallel worlds. While Jake and Rose are jaunting through dimensions, Detective Janet Pizzutti tries to figure out a mystery at the site of the Greenfield Bridge implosion. The stories intertwine making for a fun adventure to help you escape Covid 19 and turmoil in the streets.

From our newest reviewer, “Great story with lots of mystery, plot twists, and even some chuckles. If you are familiar with Pittsburgh and its landmarks, you will really enjoy the tie-ins to many historic and popular spots of the city. This book does what every book should do —leaving you wanting more. Will there be third novel? Who knows, but don’t put off reading either of these gems — especially if yinz are from the Burgh.”

Another reviewer said, “I am a non-fiction guy; I prefer my books to be solidly grounded in reality. But reality has become overwhelming in these days of pandemic and political hyper-polarization. I needed something to take me away, to transport me to some alternate reality – or realities. “Worlds Apart” by Richard and Hinda Burke has done just that.”

Read a sample or order your copy by clicking here.

My Virtual Vacation Day 15—Monaco

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is Monaco.

Monaco is one of the richest places on the planet. An estimated one-third of residents are millionaires, and the GDP per capita is $165,420 — the second-highest in the world. From the palaces to the casinos to the yachts, everywhere you look you see the wealth. Montecarlo is also home of the Grand Prix and everywhere you turn you see race cars. Hotels and private residences overlook the raceway and during the race people sit on their balconies overlooking the mayhem.

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Monaco Palace

Changing of The Guard

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

Casino of Montecarlo

Casino of Monte-Carlo

Casino of Montecarlo

Casino of Monte-Carlo

Missing the Phipps

I miss my friends and relatives but also just miss people in general. Each season we would make a visit to the Phipps Conservatory, The Aviary and Pittsburgh Museums. As members you begin to recognize the staff members. I hope they are all OK. Here are some pictures from previous visits to the Phipps Conservatory of Pittsburgh.

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Phipps Spring Flower Show

The Phipps Summer Garden

A Perfect Bloom

The Phipps Summer Garden

My Virtual Vacation Day 12—Praha (Prague) Czech Republic

We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is Praha (Prague) in the Czech Republic.

One of the most beautiful and historically important cities of Europe, Prague, capital city of the Czech Republic and was once the home of the Kingdom of Bohemia and the main residence of several Holy Roman Emperors, most notably of Charles IV (r. 1346–1378).[10] It was an important city to the Habsburg Monarchy and its Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1989, after the riot police beat back a peaceful student demonstration, the Velvet Revolution forced the split up of Czechoslovakia and the current Czech Republic was formed.

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Color Guard

Praha CZE

Candidate #12…Prague Castle

Autumn in Praha

The Charles Bridge

Wien (Vienna) in Monochrome

Since I am traveling virtually this year I am revisiting places I have been and editing some my images in Monochrome. One of the best images I have ever produced was taken in Vienna in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. It was part of my exhibition, Moments and Souls and is entitled Doppleganger. In revisiting Wien I found a few more images well suited for treatment in monochrome.

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Doppelganger