Archive for June, 2011

Since the late 1970s, Geri Jewell has established herself as both legendary and miraculous. It’s not just because of a life spent afflicted with cerebral palsy and overcoming its obstacles, or the fact that she managed to become the first breakout star on network television with an obvious disability (as Blair’s cousin Geri Warner on The Facts of Life for four seasons), but because her life has been a roller coaster as rocky as any of the involuntary physical movements that are a part of her daily existence. And her recently-published autobiography, I’m Walking As Straight As I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond (written with Ted Nichelson), takes the reader on a roller coaster of our own. Which, though often wracked with sorrowful tales and stories of abject disappointment, also transforms us into an indefatigable squad of cheerleaders as we witness her triumphs and stupendous growth, from a long-suffering tomboy-child into a woman in complete control of her past, her present, her future, and her sexuality above all else.

Jewell’s story begins in the mid-1950s in a sleepy suburb of Buffalo, New York, where her mother was injured in a car accident during mid-stage pregnancy, and which led to the child’s early delivery and subsequent three-month incubation period before her CP diagnosis. After the family’s relocation to Southern California (including older brothers Fred and David, prior to the birth of baby sister Gloria) to seek special educational and medical resources for the girl, Jewell never ceases to entertain with such tales of her youth as her unexplained aptitude for skateboarding, getting into trouble in school for an attempt to shampoo the hair of another student (it defies description here and would give it away to say anything more), or her family’s battles with evil next-door neighbor Mrs. Bismuth. And her anecdotes of the red tape involved with trying to be a student with disabilities in both high school and junior college are alternately riotous and regretful. But by the time her career officially kicks off in the late 1970s, both as a standup comedian at the very start of the comedy boom and in her first television appearance in a memorable spot on the PBS series The Righteous Apples, we who are reading this impossible-to-put-down memoir are not merely riveted, but positively jubilant and thrilled for her success, and even more so when The Facts of Life places her firmly and forever on the international cultural landscape.

Unfortunately, and this is by no means a reflection on Jewell’s marvelous abilities as a raconteuse, the story is at times so fraught with sadness and bad choices on the lady’s part through a mix of professional and personal innocence and insecurity, as well as sexual ambivalence, that the reader may actually find themselves internally screaming at the pages, “Geri, no!! No!! Oh, honey, WHY did you do THAT??” These include her first manager and his butchery of her finances, her friendship with two women who managed to completely pull the wool over her eyes in different ways, and her extremely stormy marriage to Richard Pimentel, a man so volatile as to make the Marquis de Sade look like Little Boy Blue. We’re also taken through the agony of her eventual addiction to both the sleep-aid Restoril and the painkiller Soma, and her harrowing rehabilitation period. And of course, the unconscionable way she was dismissed from The Facts of Life hangs over the entire story like an ominous black cloud, waiting to explode with soaking rain. Plus, the accounts of the passing of her mother is truly heartbreaking, followed by the death of her father some years later after remarrying and distancing himself from his children, not to mention the spectre of the infamous “orgasm joke” that got her into such hot water with mainstream America. However, whenever Jewell manages to score a success within the telling of her life, and especially those involving her interactions with such celebrities as Carol Burnett, Liza Minnelli, Patty Duke, David Cassidy, Robert Goulet, Flip Wilson and Steve Allen, or such colleagues from the comedy world as Robert Schimmel and Bob Nelson, it becomes a moment brimming with satisfaction to see her live in a way that most people, aspiring entertainers or otherwise and with or without disabilities, can only dream of.  Equally joyous are the chance to learn about her close and refreshing friendship with Facts of Life co-star Lisa Whelchel and fellow disabled comedian Kathy Buckley, among many others. And by the time she stumbles onto a chance meeting at a pharmacy with television powerhouse David Milch and he offers her the chance to make a comeback, on HBO’s hit Western series Deadwood in the character of Jewel, one literally wants to applaud.

It should also be noted, if it wasn’t already pointedly clear, that another lifelong struggle for Jewell, and much more of a secret, has been with defining herself as a gay woman or even bisexual. This is complicated not only by a sexual molestation at the hands of a male while younger, or a much more severe assault by a perfectly odious actor named Jack King when she was a young standup comedian, but by both her guilt and the possibility of being even more different than previously thought. An invitation to a dinner party at the home of Rita Mae Brown nearly gives her a much-needed breakthrough towards coming out of the closet, but it isn’t until nearly the very end of the story that Jewell is finally granted the serenity to accept something ELSE that she cannot change. And her palpable relief at that fact absolutely bursts off the page.

Ergo, I’m Walking As Straight As I Can is one of those rare nonfiction reads that can evoke every emotion under the sun from the first page to the last. It exists to be savored. And then shared. And then savored again. By all means, get thee to an online bookseller and order a copy as soon as possible.

Ready, Fredde!!

Posted: June 17, 2011 in Entertainment, Music, Performance

YouTube and the Internet have a bonafide new star, and his name is FreddeGredde. Well, that’s what he calls himself, but his real name is Fredrik Larsson, a twenty-five-year-old hailing from Sweden, and who may well be one of the greatest new vocal and instrumental geniuses of our time, aside from being a stupendous giant of filmmaking and graphic design. In an extremely short amount of time, he’s managed to become the most awe-inspiring and visible artist to emerge from Scandinavia since ABBA or Sissel, and his YouTube hits are numbering into the millions. His debut album, Thirteen Eight, will be emerging in August, and therefore it gives The Andrew Martin Report the most singular pleasure to have caught him for an interview before he heads for the superstardom that will most certainly be his.

ANDREW MARTIN: Where did this all begin for you? Did you study music as a child?

FREDDEGREDDE: It really began with my own increasing interest in music around the age of fourteen, and friends trying to play guitar. So I started trying to do that as well, along with an old keyboard I got as a Christmas present sometime around there. I’ve never studied music, though. Except on the Internet, by myself.

AM: How did you become adept at so many different instruments?

FG: Practice, patience, and an interest in understanding things. It’s not exclusively musical instruments. I’ve been interested in understanding; I try to learn most things that spark my curiosity. Like math, languages, video games and sports!

AM: Were you always such a talented vocalist, or did that take time?

FG: People around me have always been singing, badly, and that scared me from even trying to sing at all. It wasn’t until I was nineteen or twenty years old that I started. And it was difficult! It takes a lot of practice to learn how to control the pitch and timbre of your voice. It took years until I dared to post the first video of me singing.

AM: Do you prefer playing music as opposed to singing, or does it make a difference?

FG: It doesn’t really matter. Honestly, I don’t like either! I’m all about composing and creating, coming up with ideas. The actual playing and singing isn’t much fun. It’s a necessity in order to “save” the ideas.

AM: When did you begin implementing your filmmaking/graphic design skills into your work?

FG: I’d say it’s the other way around. I’ve always been making short movies with friends, and I’ve been animating and drawing a lot. More so than I’ve been playing instruments. Although, now that I’m making music videos, I’m completely focusing on the music instead, and the graphic design is just a small bonus, to do something extra now and then. But I try to keep my videos simple and laid-back. Just me on the couch, and an occasional animation or “clone” popping up now and then.

AM: Were you surprised at all when your YouTube videos started getting so much attention?

FG: Not really. The attention increased so gradually that it never really jumped out on me. I was always just thinking, “Okay, this is better than before, but it’s still not better than [someone else’s video that is slightly more popular].” My first video (Für Elise on guitar) only got a couple of views per day, and I remember being really happy when it managed to do a hundred views in one day! And after that, I made “Mega-Man 9 Rock Medley,” which got some recognition on video game forums, so it did slightly better. I think it reached thirty thousand in a week or so, and that was great! I figured that a hundred thousand was when a video was good for real. But when my third video, “Wind Waker Unplugged,” reached a hundred thousand in three days or so, I had already changed my mind, that a million views is what makes it decent. And it has continued like that. I know that my videos are good, but it’s impossible to know which ones will turn out to just “click” with people, and since there are much WORSE videos on YouTube that have ten times as many views as mine, I don’t get surprised. I don’t think too much about it these days.

AM: Who are your inspirations, both in music and in filmmaking?

FG: There aren’t really any people that I’m inspired by. It’s all about the works in themselves. If I hear something interesting in a song, I get inspired to understand it, and use its “essence” to do something original. I wouldn’t say that I work with filmmaking these days, but probably Disney and Pixar in general. I love animation!

AM: Tell us everything you can about the Thirteen Eight album.

FG: I don’t want to tell you too much at this point, because it’s not finished yet, and I want to keep some details secret! But it’s the first album I’ve made, and there are only original songs on it, composed and recorded all by myself. Except for drums, performed by David Schlein, another young YouTube musician. The songs are all very different from each other, but I like variation, creative chord progressions, odd-time signatures and unusual song structure, so most songs will be quite experimental! I’m still trying to maintain accessible and catchy melodies though, so I guess it will be sort of similar to the more popular “prog rock” songs in history, like “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “The March of the Black Queen” (both by Queen), “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin, some Genesis and Yes songs, and also like more modern Dream Theater. But everything in my own way of seeing things. The plan is to release on the 13th of August, but the album is titled Thirteen Eight for other reasons than that. I guess mostly because I noticed that most of the songs include the time signature 13/8 at one point or another, that they’re thirteen songs and I’m playing eight different instruments on it. It’s also mentioned in the lyrics at one point or two. So it’s sort of a concept album, even though the lyrics are separate for each song.

AM: What would you suggest to other young people who would like to begin doing the kind of work you do?

FG: Basically, that they have to understand that you need a lot of patience and practice to become good at things. You can’t just pick up a guitar and expect to play advanced stuff in less than a year. Also, to become famous or popular, you can’t just imitate what other people have already done. You need to be creative, and come up with new exciting things, because otherwise you will never stand out from the other millions of people that people have access to on the Internet these days.

AM: What are your ultimate goals?

FG: To find “true love”, and to get rich enough to be able to spend my time on my future kids. And to be creative without feeling the pressure of making money.

It’s a pretty safe bet that FreddeGredde has a secure future regardless of anything. No matter what your musical genre of choice may be, make it your business to pick up a copy of Thirteen Eight when it emerges later this summer. You certainly won’t be disappointed in the slightest. In the meantime, enjoy his YouTube videos, because they are simply brilliant.

Thirty-four years in show business, folks. Thirty-four. Thirty and four. One score and fourteen. And I’m still here. And why?

Because I may be many things. Some of those things may be somewhat cowardly, some of them may be somewhat undignified. But I am not a quitter and never will be. And some may argue that thirty-four years is a long time to continue chasing a dream. But I will not stop. It’s MY dream, and if I want to keep chasing it, that’s my business.

I come from a showbiz family. Several forebears on my mother’s dad’s side were in the Yiddish theatre, and her mother (my sainted Nana) was the first woman in New York to own and operate a chain of dance schools. Nana had two sisters; one was Barbara Stone, who amassed the world’s largest private collection of original opera recordings (now archived at Lincoln Center Library), and the other is Estelle Aden, who was for many years the Adjunct Dean of the Drama department at Hofstra University and a great theatre actress in her own right. My mother was a child star during the Golden Age of Television as a ventriloquist and singer, and among other cousins there was the concert pianist Joan Steinberg and the violinist Barry Finclair, who played with the New York Philharmonic for several seasons before joining the chamber music group L’Ensemble. And my grandfather was an incredible vocalist who made many cantorial recordings and appearances, along with the Kadima choir, backing up the legendary Moishe Oysher.

In my own case, and for whatever reason or whether genetics had anything to do with it, I got bitten by the acting bug when I was nine. I have no idea why I felt it so imperative to become an entertainer, other than the fact that I love an audience and I think I have a reasonable enough amount of talent. That’s when I started class, as Sheila sings in A Chorus Line, followed by three summers as a Musical Theatre student at the Usdan Center on Long Island, and my first professional job in ’84 as a founding member of the TADA! Youth Theater. I have some basic musical training on both piano and guitar although I was honestly never very good at either one, but I did excel at violin when I was a student at Suzuki for five years, and I can still (excuse the pun) fiddle around quite a bit. But being a musician was never really my bag. What I wanted was to be a STAR. ON BROADWAY. That was the goal.

I’ve had exactly eight close brushes with getting to Broadway after multiple callbacks. The first was a very ill-fated production of Macbeth, directed by and starring Nicol Williamson and featuring Sigourney Weaver as Lady Macbeth. I was up for the role of Son to Macduff, which is more or less an ‘under-five’ in theatrical parlance, and Williamson loved my acting, but in the end they decided to go with some unknown kid named Christian Slater (whose mother just happened to be the casting director, which was very convenient). The second was something called Almost an Eagle, which starred James Whitmore as a Scoutmaster and his troop of Boy Scouts, and they wanted me to play the fat kid, but I guess I wasn’t chubby enough in the long run, because John Navin got the part. The third and fourth respectively were the revivals of Oliver! and Mame; in the former I was being considered for Dodger but I was a little too tall (first time that ever happened), so they gave the role to Cameron Johann (no big surprise, since he was just coming off his success as Little Guido in the original Nine) and in the latter I was seriously considered for Young Patrick, but they gave the part to a kid whose parents had put three-quarters of a million into the show, and who shall remain nameless. My fifth chance was with Rags and they gave it to Josh Blake (well, why wouldn’t they? The kid was a TREMENDOUS talent) and the sixth was Roza and they gave it to Max Loving (a kid who was NOT a tremendous talent, but I guess more so than me). Then came Big Deal; I am so not a dancer, so I don’t even know what possessed me to go to the open call, but I went and had three callbacks for a small role in the chorus because they needed a young’un. Didn’t get the part but it made me happy to know that Bob Fosse actually knew who I was, and they later cut the part out of the script. The last was Carrie, for a role in the chorus.

ALL of those shows flopped on their faces, and while I’m not one to gloat over the empty triumph of the fact that eight battleships sank without my being on board, a part of me is left to wonder if they might have lasted if I’d been part of the proceedings. But this shows why I possess what psychiatrists call a “complex ego.” My ego is gargantuan. Absolutely enormous. But it’s also extremely fragile. One put-down can absolutely sever me. At the same time, and for whatever reason, my ego is extremely resilient; once I fall apart, I’m right back on my feet a few hours later and fighting again on the front lines. Which I’m told is a wonderful thing if you want to be in show business.

And I’ve had my brushes with fame in other media as well. One in particular was back in ’95; NBC was looking to develop a prime-time show with a comedy troupe based on Kids in the Hall, and they decided I was absolutely perfect for it. Unfortunately, Brandon Tartikoff died unexpectedly, and nineteen shows died with him, including that one. And the shot I was given to possibly be on the team for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. More recently there was talk of my getting a syndicated broadcast on BBC Radio, and then the woman who was going to produce it got stricken with cancer and is clinging to life as I write this, poor thing.

The reason I’m bringing all of this up is a simple one. For the last three weeks, I was under the impression that I’d be moving to California, to start work on an animated series. Today I woke up to discover that the whole shootin’ match has been canceled. And all day long, people have been asking me, “Are you very upset?” No. I’m not upset. I’m just very angry. And very scared. And getting very tired of ALMOST getting there and then the rug being pulled out. But I can’t quit yet. I used to tell myself that if I wasn’t a household name by the time I was thirty-five that I would just give up and go into a safe profession. Then I turned thirty-five, and I was like, “WAIT a minute. I can’t quit NOW. We’re just getting started!!”

So I’m not quitting. I’m not a quitter, and I have no choice but to keep going. Whatever’s meant to be will happen. And I can’t wait to see what’s next, because this phoenix still plans to rise from the ashes and soar to the skies.

It’s obvious that Queens-based congressman Anthony Weiner has had a lot more to tackle lately than his debates with members of the Tea Party and the extreme right-wing, ever since his sex scandal unfolded virally on the Internet on Monday, June 6th. Accused of showing a photo of his genitalia on the social network Twitter, which may or not actually be his, he’s run up against opposition by such personalities as former president Bill Clinton, and seemingly-cooing admiration by Barbara Walters on the daily panel show The View. New developments have erected themselves within the last few days, including a request for a leave of absence to enter a rehab program for sex addicts.  But what must be considered are the thoughts of his constituents in the Central Queens neighborhoods represented by the 9th Congressional District. The biggest question most are being asked is exactly what the gentleman should do.

“He should admit he made a mistake, and state that he is getting counseling for his problems and his lapse in judgment,” says Janet Arnold of Rego Park.  “He’ll be as effective as he was before. His work is absolutely separate from his foolish mistake. If he was doing a good job before, he will continue by all means.”

Ava Barzvi, also of Rego Park and a community leader with her Rego Park Group on Yahoo, says, “He should resign with his head between his legs. He can’t be trusted, because he admitted he is a liar. I feel he should not be representing us, because the young people learn from him. He has given speeches at Forest Hills High School, and he is not a good role model. People who do this type of thing should not get away with it. It is embarrassing for our district, and this neighborhood has so much good in it that nobody talks about. There should be only people of high moral integrity and compassion in politics who want to help our community, and the future generations. This is something that has not been talked about enough. The whole event is private between him and his wife as far as I’m concerned, and I feel so bad for her.”

Meanwhile, Peter Schiftan of Kew Gardens contends, “He should do nothing. He’s just as effective a representative of my district as always. But that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily happy with his representing my district. He lied to the American people, and that’s just wrong.” And Maryjane Heyer of Richmond Hill adds, “I’m fine with him representing my district. But if he can stay on and keep representing us, I think it will be a wonderful example of fortitude against American prudishness.”

Joe Lara of Forest Hills goes further to say, “Honestly, I think the media influences all too many times the court of public opinion, forcing public personalities to have to rigorously apologize for everything they do, no matter how meager or insignificant. Anthony Weiner’s office is literally down the block from where I live, and I truly believe that this is a matter to be handled between him and his wife. He did something stupid out of being drunk with power, but in the end, who are we to judge? We all make mistakes. That’s why it makes me sick to see members of Congress, who have the dirtiest hands and even dirtier souls of anyone, passing judgment on him. I can almost guarantee that each and every person in Congress who comments on this have done much, much worse; they just haven’t been found out yet.”

And Victoria Steinberg, a Forest Hills resident and Harvard graduate who was raised in Elmhurst and has spent decades devoting her energy to Democratic causes as a volunteer, offers her take. “I didn’t know about him taking a leave of absence to seek treatment, although that bothers me, because I thought his unrepentant, ‘I’m a jerk and that’s that’ stance, was far more genuine than any great show of repentance. That being said, it may be the best way to salvage his career, since a lot of people love the whole repentant-sinner thing. Not that I’d ever believe it, but someone might. As I’ve said previously to others, I’ve always thought Weiner was annoying, but I liked his policy stances and his forthright way of conveying them. I do think, in the short run, that he’ll be less effective, since he won’t be getting booked onto any news-talk shows as a fervent advocate for liberal policies. But, I do think it can blow over in time. I do not want him to resign, particularly in light of people like Senator Vitter who, unlike Weiner, actually had sex, and with prostitutes to boot, not resigning and being re-elected. Or Senator Ensign not resigning until it was clear he’d be severely reprimanded by the Ethics Committee. I don’t mind Weiner representing me, since I thought he was an appalling personally before this.” She adds, “I’m not sure I consider this strictly a private matter, since he was Tweeting quite publicly, but the only wounded party is definitely his wife, since he did nothing untoward to his constituents.”

Nothing adds to the confusion more than the fact that Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, who promptly left town for Abu Dhabi after the scandal hit the Internet, is pregnant with their first child. “This whole thing should be between him and his wife,” says Forest Hills resident Gary Dobkin. “I don’t think he should resign, but I also don’t think he’ll ever be considered a responsible representative of our area. He’s a very gifted politician, but there’s something extremely narcissistic about him. And the need to be such an exhibitionist is very unusual.”

Whatever the next step happens to be for Anthony Weiner is anyone’s guess. But he clearly has a very large community of people in the borough of Queens who feel very strongly about the entire matter, either pro or con. Which is probably just as it should be.

Chris (left) and Jeff

Every once in awhile, the Internet gives rise to a brand-new star or company, one whose video clips go viral in a mere matter of seconds. So it goes with the duo referring to themselves as PunchyPlayers, whose impeccable parodies of the greatest female and male stars of today are matched only by their flawless and, one will daresay, genius ability to bring their vocal impressions to life through side-splitting animations generated by computer. The two will only disclose themselves as Chris and Jeff, and this reporter was fortunate enough to reach them via e-mail from their home in Texas recently, on the heels of their side-splitting new video featuring Julia Child and Julie Andrews in a cooking segment, which is displayed below alongside other previous clips.

Chris hails from New Orleans, and Jeff is a Texas native, and while the latter is still a proud card-carrying member of Equity and pays his union dues faithfully after five years of living in New York City, the former’s only true exposure to a life in the theatre was a brief period spent designing scenery for theatrical productions. And neither had the slightest idea that anything like PunchyPlayers would happen. “When I was in school,” Jeff tells me, “I got a lot of laughs because I could sound like some of the teachers. But I’ve never done impressions onstage.” He adds, “PunchyPlayers grew out of our collective sense of humor. We laugh a lot together about pop culture and performers we like, especially the stars of older Hollywood. We talk back to the TV a lot, and we invent dialogue. We also play ‘What If?’ a lot, such as ‘What If Lucille Ball Played Mary Poppins?” and that kind of thing. Eventually, I recorded some of them on audio. But it’s Chris who said he that could turn the audios into videos. I suppose you could say this is a private thing that went very public.”

Chris adds, “Long before Jeff and I started making our videos together, I mentioned to him that he and I should work on something together. I knew his wonderful talent, and felt that our combined abilities could produce something fun. One day we were on the subject of Cream of Wheat (which I love to eat, and he doesn’t), and he said he knew the old theme song and he sang it to me. Later on he sang it as Judy Garland which just floored me. I died laughing. Then I urged him to make a recording of it, since I knew it would make a wonderful skit, to which I could put some visuals.”

How exactly do the videos come together? “Well,” Jeff chuckles, “I do the recording and Chris does the animation.The audio comes first. It’s almost like improv when I record them. I don’t know what Chris will do with it visually, so the finished product always surprises me, and makes me laugh. A good example are the little Mary Poppins hats he puts on the screen testers in the recent video with the screen tests. I had no idea they would be so funny. Chris’s part takes much longer, of course, but is certainly worth the wait.”

Chris quickly counters, “One of the reasons that Jeff and I make a good team is that we have strengths in different areas, and we both share a similar sense of humor. We do collaborate on much of it, and laugh A LOT. On building the visuals, I usually have a general idea and theme at the start,” he continues, “but most of the specifics and details happen as I get to that particular section. Sometimes they surprise me.”

What is the ultimate goal of PunchyPlayers, and what do they hope to accomplish? Chris replies, “We’re huge fans of the celebrities we parody. It’s our way of paying tribute. I feel that the goal is to share the affection we have for our subjects with those who appreciate them as well, and hopefully bring some laughs. Another large part of my drive to do these projects is to share more of Jeff’s talents and humor with everyone. He keeps me and all of his friends in stitches. I wanted to have a vehicle to share that with more people. PunchyPlayers is a way for me to do that, and to share my passion for showcasing these icons through my abilities as well.”

Jeff chimes in, “Originally the goal was just to entertain ourselves. I would say to Chris, ‘Nobody will get this but us.’ Boy, was I wrong! But,” he continues, “I don’t think there is a master plan except to entertain. But it would be wonderful to get paid someday to do these things. One thing we do accomplish is to celebrate these personalities and not slam them.”

Have the two ever considered using other celebrity impersonators and voice-over artists? “At this point,” Chris replies, “we’re keeping PunchyPlayers ‘in-house,’ so to speak. But we are open to other possibilities for projects in the future.” Jeff adds, “We finally employed Chris for some voices in the Poppins video, but at this point it will stay between us. It’s such a personal collaboration. But we do listen to friend’s ideas. One of our videos, called Audrey Airlines, was inspired by a friend mentioning Audrey being at an airport.” And what’s their favorite collaboration so far? “My answer,” Jeff says, “was Judy’s Cream of Wheat until we posted the Poppins one. The public has certainly liked Cream of Wheat. But we are a ‘you either get it or you don’t’ proposition; we hope the others out there in the world who know the work of these stars will share in our humor and affection for them.”

Finally, what advice would they give to those who wish to have a similar success as PunchyPlayers? “My advice would be to go with what you are passionate about,” says Chris. “Invest time in whatever is in your heart, and means the most to you. Experiment and play. That is what we’ve done, and it’s brought us lots of joy. And it’s an honor that others find joy in it as well.”

Jeff concludes, “If you are a performer, looking for an outlet, this is a way to perform and have a day job, too. If someone is creating parody, don’t forget to celebrate the subject. For me, it is less about trying to sound exactly like any of these people…or poking fun at them. We are really trying to share our admiration and love for these stars of a bygone era.”

Share the love they do, in copious amounts. Keep an eye on PunchyPlayers on YouTube and elsewhere, just for the mere joy of saying you knew them when. Because Chris and Jeff are, without question, going places.

Note: This article was copied in part from a previous interview the author provided to the website NiteLifeExchange while still employed therein, and is signatoried thusly.  Since his termination from same, he retains the legal right to reprint, according to legal guidelines.