Photos: Rockin’ Good Times at Andy Suzuki’s Summer Show!

Throwback Thursday to the wonderfully fun time we had when “Andy Suzuki & The Method” performed on our Plaza on August 9th.

Our last dance (of this summer only!) will be “Bollywood Extravaganza” on Tuesday, September 5th (new date). (Register)

And our last film for the summer will be “Alice in Wonderland” (2010). Register for both on Eventbrite (Movie, Dance).

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Andy Suzuki at Waterside, NYC - August 2017

Photos: Joyous Jazz at “Dancing Under the Stars”!

We had a grand time last week with Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra.

Join us for our next concert: Wednesday, Andy Suzuki & The Method will be at Waterside!

With soulful lyrics, lush sounds and fantastic instrumentals (as showcased in their  infectious tune “I Can’t Live“) Andy Suzuki and The Method will bring their upbeat energy to your evening & get you dancing!

Register for that free event here.

(And feel free to register for our summer movie series).

Here are some lovely pictures from last week’s swing night!

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at Waterside’s "Dancing Under the Stars"

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at Waterside’s "Dancing Under the Stars"

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at Waterside’s "Dancing Under the Stars"  Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at Waterside’s "Dancing Under the Stars"

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra at Waterside’s "Dancing Under the Stars"

Thank you for joining us! See you Wednesday.

A Boogie Good Time!

We had a boogie good time last Wednesday (photos below), and we’re looking forward to a night of joyous jazz tonight!

Join us for Dancing Under the Stars accompanied by a live band: Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra!

7pm tonight. Register on Eventbrite.

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Last week was wonderful! See you all tonight!

A night of disco dancing - at Waterside, NYC
A night of disco dancing - at Waterside, NYC

A night of disco - with Disco Unlimited - at Waterside, NYC  A night of disco dancing - at Waterside, NYC

Jazz at Your Door: Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra comes to Waterside!

(Photo by Ted D`Ottavio)

Wednesday, the jazz age beckons!

Join us for an evening of Dancing Under the Stars accompanied by a live band: Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra!

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra is the world’s premier Jazz-Age dance orchestra, steeped in the hot-dance band tradition of the 1920s and early 1930s.

The orchestra’s presence invokes the vibrations of something unmistakably timeless.

No dance skills needed, come learn the steps with our instructors and dance the night away while enjoying the ageless melodies.

(Register here)

We spoke with Michael about his music and the upcoming Waterside show.

Your music seems incredibly unique and appeals to people of all ages.  How do you describe it?

We play the pop jazz of the Prohibition Era, so that would be the ‘20s and ‘30s.

It’s a timeless sound and has a very vibrant energy that has stood the test of time.

I think that’s why we get such a wonderful variety of different age groups and all different walks of life that are big fans of our music.

On your site you state that you and your band “capture the essence of what this music and times were all about: Joy, romance, modernity, and possibility.” Those are wonderful qualities to bring back!   

Yes, I think that in the 1920s people were a bit broken and looking for a reason to celebrate life again, and to find joy in the everyday once again.

And now, similar to the ‘20s, we’re looking for a return to the simple pleasures of life and a reason to just go out and be among friends and remember the simpler, kinder type of life.

I think that’s part of why people love to come to our event today.

What was the impetus to create a full orchestra that played jazz?

That was a standard band size in the 1920s, an 11-deep orchestra, and I wanted to recreate that sound, and I went back and I found the old recordings, the 78 recordings on shellac and vinyl, and I listened to those recordings and I transcribed everything they were playing, note for note, for all the instruments.

So what I have, and what my orchestra presents, is a one of a kind transcribed songbook of music that you won’t hear anywhere else in the world because nobody else has found those records that I found – and if they have found them, they surely haven’t transcribed them.

We have a very unique musical experience for people that they won’t hear anywhere else.

Tell us your favorite part of entertaining.

What really gives me joy is playing music, and I feel that music is a sort of medicine. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a physicist, it’s nothing that important but I feel that music is its own very special kind of medicine for people and I feel very lucky to do it.

It’s a real gift to bring people merriment. Entertainment is often escapist, which is one of the best parts: For a while you’re transported somewhere different, outside of your immediate reality and life.

Speaking of different, how do you feel about playing on a huge plaza overlooking the water? Have you been here before?

Standing on the plaza right now – it’s breathtaking!

It’s a beautiful viewscape of Greenpoint and Long Island City and Williamsburg. You can see the Queensboro Bridge, you can see up at Harlem. It’s breathtaking. It’s a very unique viewscape and the breeze coming off of the river is most refreshing.

That’s fantastic. We love it too!

This show is open to the public – and it’s especially fun for our residents: They can just step outside and have the jazz age waiting for them.

Right at your door.

Exactly.

Where else have you played that’s been memorable?

We play all different sorts of venues, both indoors and outdoors. Our largest event of the year is the Jazz Age Lawn Party which is held on Governors Island. We do speakeasys and restaurants, clubs throughout the city, and throughout the world. We’ve just returned from Cannes, France.

Fantastic!

Were you born in New York?

I wasn’t, no. I was actually born in Texas. But I’ve been in New York for 20 years and both of my parents are native New Yorkers. So I could even argue that I’m a New Yorker once removed.

It’s, of course, amazing to have been born in New York – that is a unique experience. But if you come to New York, as an outsider, there’s a whole other component in how you experience the city.

Many of our residents are from around the world. So, as someone who also wasn’t born in the city, what are the things you love about New York? What made you stay?

Well, times have changed and it’s now a much more difficult place for an artist to make it than when I came here in ‘97 and so when I perform, I also try to reach younger folks who might not have had an opportunity to get up close to live music or live orchestra.

I take the opportunity as often as possible to play in public, places where people can see us free, so that young folks can also be exposed to what we’re playing without having to pay a premium for it.

New York is still so full of beautiful art and a beautiful energy, and I think that’s what draws people here and continues to draw people here.

It’s an ever-evolving city and it’s constantly kind of working itself out and it’s an honor to be a part of its tapestry.

Is there a particular thing that you’re most excited about in terms of playing at Waterside?

I’ve never played here before and I’ve never had the opportunity to touch the East River from this exact point.

It’s a discovery for me. That’s one of the cool things about New York, that you can have been here for a long time and maybe even your whole life, and still discover something new every day, and it’s a lot of fun for us to discover this new venue, and bring the jazz age here.

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Register for this event on Eventbrite.

(Via @madreamland on Instagram)

 

Delight in Disco – Wednesday at Waterside – with Disco Unlimited!

Get ready to Boogie! Disco Unlimited will be here at Waterside this Wednesday! (Register here.)

Disco Unlimited has become the hottest disco show and dance band on the East Coast. Capturing a time in music that to this day has not been matched, Disco Unlimited will exhilarate you with their powerful vocals, tight harmonies and dance grooves, and instantly transport you to a time when Saturday nights meant white suits and platform shoes and the best music.

Disco Unlimited - Performing at Waterside in NYC on July 19th, 2017

We have a fantastic summer line-up– all free of charge – so please feel free to invite your friends.

For Waterside residents, just step out your door – and the entertainment will be right there for you!

We spoke with Michelle Amico Licata, owner of MLicata Entertainment, and the booker and manager of Disco Unlimited to find out what to expect on the 19th – and why Disco music is so universally appealing.

Disco Unlimited’s site has: “Capturing music that to this day has not been matched.” Why is it so unparalleled – and why does it appeal to people of all ages?

Disco music takes you to a happy place – that’s what it does. And people remember the songs. Whether they heard it from their parents playing it or they heard it from an older brother or sister, or in recent circulation, it makes people happy

Once you hear the music, you can’t help but tap your feet and move to it – it’s such upbeat, happy music. And the hustle – the dance that came along with it – was a great dance.

Then they brought salsa into it – that era really captured every audience.

In fact, it seems that in the past 5 or 6 years, Disco’s become really popular again. And now it’s the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever! They released the album again; they did a CBS special with Barry Gibb and John Travolta – so it’s huge this year.

Speaking of which: Disco Unlimited is playing at that 40th Anniversary of Saturday Night Fever in Coney Island! That’s also huge!

You have been working with the band for many years. How did you get involved with them?

I’m a band person and I started out booking bands. I wound up listening to not even a full verse of one of the songs they were doing and I called them up and asked, “Are you guys playing anywhere?” and they were playing at a very small park, and I went to see them and I was blown away by the voices of the two lead singers.

The whole band is great – and the two female singers were just phenomenal. So, at first I thought, “Are they lip syncing? Because they sound so much like the artist or better.” And I found out that they don’t lip sync at all.

Then it started to snowball: They were doing larger shows at the NYCB Theater in Westbury and resorts, casinos, opening for the artists whose music they play. And now they have a fan base that follows them around! It’s crazy.

How do the artists feel about them performing their songs?

They worked with these artists sometimes over and over, and now I have the artists saying, “Can Disco Unlimited back us up…” Like Tavares and France Joli, they say, “Can you back us up on one of our songs? We want you on stage with us.”

And it’s an honor. It’s an honor when you get an artist asking you to play with them.

There’s no bigger compliment!

What kind of songs are they going to be playing at Waterside?

They’ll probably do some Donna Summer, they’ll do some France Joli, they’ll do some Tavares –they have so many.

New York City is very much linked with Disco, in part because of Saturday Night Fever.

Yes, Disco was very big on the east coast between New York, Florida, all up and down the east coast. It was huge back in the ’70s and it still is. And of course, yes, New York is most powerful because of Saturday Night Fever.

And Disco Unlimited has a special niche – they come in costume of the Disco era, they play all the songs from that era, and people love to dance to the music as much as they like hearing them sing.

What should people know about your show at Waterside? What should they expect that night?

What I would tell them is to make sure they have their boogie shoes on and ready to dance!

Be prepared to dance; that’s what I would tell everybody. As soon as the first person goes out onto a dance floor everyone tends to follow after that.

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Register for this free show on Eventbrite.