My ears are killing me — and I’m certainly not ready to rumba — because of this horrible music they insist on playing on “Dancing with the Stars.” I mean, why are they forcing these great stars to dance to music that doesn’t have a beat! No wonder some of them look foolish. It’s ridiculous!
And I know exactly who to blame for this ear-splitting mayhem: the conductor of the “Dancing with the Stars” orchestra himself, Harold Wheeler. Tell me, where exactly did this guy get a license to practice music?
Fact is he could use a few lessons, Brooklyn style! That’s right, I know how to improve that show in a minute: make ol’ Harold get some lessons from James Chiarello, the conductor of the Boody Jazz Band Orchestra, whose talented kids play music with a beat you can to dance to.
I know this because I had the pleasure of listening to this group of sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders during Community District 21’s “Education With A Purpose” gala at the Aquarium in Coney Island last week or something like that.
Wow, was I mesmerized by these talented kids — make that talented musicians! — whose rendition of “Evil Ways” by Carlos Santana had me dancing the cha-cha in my scooter, Tornado. Smarten up Harold, because your renditions and interpretations of dance music spoiled the show.
Look, you all know I love the Aquarium in Coney Island, because it’s the one place I can see mammals heavier than me sing, dance, swim, and eat all for the enjoyment of the humans watching (while we eat, of course). But you know something else? I think me and Oscar the 500-pound Sea Lion have a lot in common — I’ll just let you figure out what those things are.
And I’ve got a history with the place, too. My dear-old-dad used to take me to the Aquarium to see the “dog fish” back in the ’40s when it was in Battery Park in Manhattan. He used to get paid over at Bowling Green, and we’d head over. I can still hear those “dogs” (that’s seals for youse not in on the joke!) barking. But I digress.
So when I learned that this year’s District 21’s “Education with a Purpose” gala event was being held at my old haunt, I signed right up.
And I wasn’t the only one, because 350 parents and kids showed up, too.
This was the second “Thinking Out of the Box” event I attended, spearheaded by Lottie Dobson-Shannon, the robust District 21 Family Advocate, and this time around I was stunned by the audience, incredible beautiful ambience, and talent that made the evening a rousing success.
It was a great party held smack dab in the Aquarium with both fish and mammal enjoying the aforementioned band from IS 228 as well as the Funtastical SurfSide dancers from PS 329. All joining in to pay tribute to the honorees.
Of course, it wouldn’t be the aquarium if there wasn’t some show featuring Oscar — and he was not to be believed. Hey Kate Fitzgerald, you got the best show in Coney Island; Oscar, the exhibits, the fish, the reef, the mammals in their pools … incredible educational opportunities for everyone and a fun, fun, fun experience. You and your staff are to be commended.
And by the way, readers, Kate mentioned to me that on Fridays during the summer at 3 PM, there is no admission; just donate what you can afford. So here’s this week’s shameless plug: go to the Aquarium on Fridays at 3 pm to get in on the cheap! But don’t be so cheap, donate!
Kudos alert! This is the point in the column where I give a shout out to all those people that helped make this spectacular event spectacular. So here’s a big screech to Council 21, District 21 President’s Council and others who fed the huge crowd; the distinguished speakers who made up the panel: NY State Board of Regents Member Dr. Kathleen Cashin, PS 188 Principal Fred Tudda, Borough Director of Family Education and Action Raymond Pierre-Louis; and, as usual, our gracious chairwoman, District 21 Superintendent Isabel DiMola. This District 21 event is an example of their commitment to the community.
Now, I’ve been to Prince Ranier’s Aquarium in Monaco, Sea World in Florida and California and other aquariums throughout my travels all over this world, I can tell you this — none are as educational, informative and fun to be at as our Aquarium.
The Aquarium celebrates its 100 years and I’ve been lucky to be part of that celebration for three quarters of its existence. I guess my dear father’s introducing me to the dogfish instilled in me an everlasting love of the animals of the sea, which we common uninformed folk refer to as fish. Better get yourself to the Coney Island Aquarium — and make sure you bring the kids — it’s education, with a porpoise!
Screech at you next week!