Congratulations to Sadie on Westminster Victory

Congratulations to Sadie and the Musser family for Sadie’s victory as Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show yesterday. Dan and Amelia Musser  Sadie’s owners, also own Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. I have often seen Amelia Musser walking her dogs around Grand Hotel, and Sadie often gets to enjoy room service at the hotel.

Sadie appeared on Good Morning America today and she will be on MSNBC at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow to open the New York Stock Exchange. President Obama should also invite Sadie for a visit to the White House and a play date with Bo. It would be only fair to reciprocate as in August 2008 the Musser family kindly contributed the use of the Gate House restaurant on the grounds of Grand Hotel for a Mackinac for Obama fund raiser.

Dee Dee Bridgewater at Grand Hotel and More Sunday Jazz

Above, Alex Graham opening for Dee Dee Bridgewater at Labor Day Jazz at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.

Dee Dee Bridgewater preforming at Grand Hotel following outstanding reviews for her appearance at the Detroit International Jazz Festival on Saturday.


If I wasn’t here on Mackinac Island, I would catch this show starting in a few minutes in Detroit:

7:30 Sachal Vasandani: The young singer, schooled at the University of Michigan, has attracted strong notices for his easy and honest versatility that begins with jazz but doesn’t end there. His second album for Mack Avenue, “We Move,” is to be released next month.

Sachal Vasandani is pictured below delivering a toast in August at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding of New York literary agent Joanne Brownstein and Steven Jarvi, Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony.


Dee Dee Bridgewater Performing at Grand Hotel Following Great Reviews in Detroit

Reviews were fantastic for Dee Dee Bridgewater’s performance at the Detroit International Jazz Festival on Saturday. She will be performing at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island this afternoon:

Jazz vocalist Bridgewater the best in the business

By Mark Stryker
Free Press Music Critic

When she is on her game, Dee Dee Bridgewater is the most commanding jazz singer on the planet. That’s a mouthful, of course, but her performance Saturday afternoon at the Detroit International Jazz Festival should settle any arguments.

Backed by a strong student big band from Michigan State University led by native Detroiter Rodney Whitaker, Bridgewater several arrangements from her late’ 90s recording honoring Ella Fitzgerald.

Songs like “Oh, Lady Be Good,” recast as a majestically swinging waltz, and the coquettish “Undecided” (both arranged by her former husband, Cecil Bridgewater), showed off all of her gifts: the honeyed clarity of her voice; the agility and accuracy that let her grab any note in any register that struck her fancy; a storyteller’s knack for drama; and a rhythmic authority that allowed her to swing taffy pull phrases or swoop down on a lyric like a hawk.

She took big risks and reaped big rewards, improvising freely and scat singing with an exuberance that never mortgages good taste.

But technique doesn’t begin to describe the dynamism she brought to the stage. Her presence was luscious — a combination of visuals, attitude and musicianship.

She wore a strapless black dress that accentuated her curves and a gossamer red wrap. Her pate was shaved, and her face sported a 1,000- kilowatt smile and ruby lipstick. Her patter was all sass, and, like her singing, toyed with the malleable border between flirtatiousness and salaciousness.

Earl Klugh at Grand Hotel



Earl Klugh performing today at Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island, Michigan).
Standard def and high definition videos below:

Sarah Palin’s Fate And The Liberal Values Summer Office

Ok, this is really weird. I was up at the Liberal Values summer office at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island last year when John McCain first announced Sarah Palin’s name as his running mate. Last week we decided to come up to have what should be a spectacular pre-birthday party tonight and this trip unexpectedly turned out to also be related to Palin’s career. Sarah Palin has just announced her plans to step down as governor. Damn–now who will be keeping an eye on Russia for us?

We can only speculate as to why she suddenly announced this on a Friday of a holiday weekend (assuming she was not waiting until I got back to the Grand). Maybe this is part of a plan to begin campaigning very early for the 2012 nomination–although an early start certainly did not help John Edwards. She will hardly reassure those who believe she is not qualified for national office by running with less than a full term as governor of Alaska as experience.

Maybe she is resigning because of the way she has played fast and loose with the law, with a bigger scandal being about to break. Resignation is one way to generally prevent impeachment.  I’ll be back at Grand Hotel for a long Labor Day weekend–maybe we will have an indictment by then.

Incidentally there is another connection to the Republicans with our trips to the Grand. While I was in the same suite on the day when  John Kerry chose John Edwards in 2004 and John McCain chose Sarah Palin last year, as this was a suddenly planned brief trip it was too late to get our usual suite. Instead they placed us in the Eisenhower Suite. The last time we wound up in a different room from our usual suite we were in the Nancy Reagan Suite. In some ways the Eisenhower suite is preferable. The walls are pink in here, while the Nancy Reagan Suite is very bright red.

While these two suites are tied to the Republican Party, last summer I just missed a Democratic event. A few days before coming up last summer there was a Mackinac Island for Obama event. There is also another connection to both the Democrats and scandal and our trips here. One time when we were also up for a second time the same summer and did not get our usual suite we checked out who was staying there. We saw Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow coming out of the suite we generally stay in. Her use of the room (presumably with her husband) was the first thing I thought of when her husband was later caught with a hooker outside of Detroit.

Housekeeping Notes

I’m heading out to the Liberal Values summer office for a long weekend (ie returning to Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island) so posting will probably be lighter. Hopefully the recent problems with moderation picking up far more than it should have been fixed so comments should continue to provide weekend entertainment. As long as the WiFi is working ok I should be posting intermittently.

I can’t resist a note on the June traffic numbers. Last year there was a huge increase in traffice as the primary campaign heated up. This calmed down by May when it appeared that Obama was going to win (plus blog  traffic always tends to decrease as the weather gets warmer). Traffic picked up again September through January for the general election campaign and inauguration. (Interest at the end of football season in posts with pictures of girls rumored to be dating Tim Tebow also picked up traffic.) While down from the election, traffic began to pick up again later in the spring. June turned out to be the fourth heaviest month ever (and wasn’t very far behind November 2008). June traffice was also up 35% from last year.

Eartha Kitt Dies at 81; Photos of Kitt at Grand Hotel 2005

Eartha Kitt, well known for singing Santa Baby, died of cancer on Christmas at age 81. Gawker’s headline refers to her as Eartha Kitt, Seductress. That fits well how I recall her from the one time I saw her perform live at the Grand Hotel Jazz Festival over Labor Day Weekend in 2005.

Kitt appeared with other jazz greats including Chuck Mangione, and Ramsey Lewis. While I went into the concerts more interested in hearing them, I felt Eartha Kitt had stolen the show. Pictures may tell a thousand words, but they cannot fully capture the greatness of a concert appearance. While recognizing this, I will still present a few pictures taken of Eartha Kitt during this performance.

Obama and McCain Tie In TV Audience for Acceptance Speeches

Now that the PBS numbers have been included in the ratings it looks like a tie between the audiences watching the acceptance speeches by Barack Obama and John McCain with each estimated at having 42.4 million viewers. There is no count for C-SPAN. Obama’s speech was also given at the start of a holiday weekend, possibly reducing his audience. (I watched with a small group in our suite at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island as we knocked off a bottle of Bailey’s. Thanks to picking up a Slingbox bofore leaving on vacation I also managed to catch other parts of the convention on line over my Palm while out of the room.)

Fox had the highest ratings for the Republican convention while CNN had the highest ratings for the Democratic convention. Bill O’Reilly received his second highest ratings ever for the first night of his interview with Obama.

Interest of this magnitude in the race is encouraging, suggesting large numbers will also follow the campaign through the fall. Hopefully they will also watch critically, noticing that John McCain’s new slogan might be “American First, Truth Second.” has exposed many of the untrue statements in McCain’s acceptance speech. McCain has distorted the truth so badly about Obama’s proposals that even Fox News has pointed out McCain’s dishonesty on two occasions that I’m aware of.

Jazz Time

As has been the case each year at this time since before the birth of Liberal Values, this is time to head up to our northern Michigan offices. Liberal Values will once again be coming from the Jazz Weekend at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. (OK, so I’m heading up a couple days early. They will still be playing jazz in some of the bars). Unfortunately I’m a couple days too late for the Mackinac Island for Obama fund raiser at The Gate House. I will make sure to work in Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night, and Michigan’s opening game on Saturday. (We won’t talk about what happened the last time Michigan opened the season while I was at Grand Hotel).

This means that for the next several days posting might be down from usual. I’m certain to be on line from time to time. Our suite has a desk along a circular stretch of windows which gives a panoramic view of Mackinac Island and the Straits of Mackinac. Sitting there and blogging from time to time is certainly not a hardship. To appreciate the atmosphere in which the blog will be written, I do recommend that readers put on a jazz CD while reading the blog–and sipping a glass of wine might not be a bad idea.

And yes, this is elitist. If any PUMA members object while I’m drinking wine or cocktails at the nightly receptions on Grand Hotel’s porch with everything from cheese and crackers to shrimp, you are welcome to sit on your porch with a can of beer and some Cheese Whiz. Do you think that is how Bill and Hillary will be spending their weekend?

Mackinac Island for Obama

I was quite surprised upon looking at a copy of the Mackinac Island Town Crier which arrived today. There is a half page ad for a fund raiser for Barack Obama which includes the names of some people who I would not expect to be supporting a Democrat for president. The Mussers, owners of Grand Hotel, have even contributed the use of The Gate House restaurant for the event. (For the benefit of those who have been to the island in the past but not recently, this was the French Outpost until purchased by Grand Hotel in 2005).

The event is to be held on Monday, August 25 from 4-6 pm (which unfortunately is a couple of days before I will be arriving for the Labor Day Jazz Weekend at Grand Hotel). Further contact information is available in the ad.

Maybe I overestimated how Republican some of the people on the island are. Perhaps the backers of the event include former Republicans who, like much of the country, are now disenchanted with GOP rule. I also wonder if some are opposing McCain due to his role in blocking the renewal of the H2B visa exemptions which resulted in preventing many people who have worked on the island for years from returning to work this summer. If this is the case and Michigan business owners are considering this issue, perhaps Michigan is not in play to the extent that many Republicans believe this year.