Tag Archives: Nick Checker

Roger’s Rave Reviews: Jay Black, Nick Checker, and CT Sun

by Roger Zotti

Jay Black

With sixties’ icon Jay Black, you get two shows. There are his big hits from the sixties. There’s also his comedy. The man is genuinely funny. Accompanied by an eleven-piece band, Jay performed on May 25 at the Mohegan Sun Casino Wolf Den.

He opened with a vigorous cover of “Pretty Woman,” Roy Orbison’s huge sixties’ hit. In the music business, Jay said, “Orbison [who died in 1988 at 52] was one of my closest friends. So I open all my shows with that song. It’s a tribute to him.”

Jay told the audience he will be seventy in November. “Look at me,” he said, “because this is what happens.” Later, after mentioning Neil Diamond’s stage fright, he said, “There’s always that fright. I’ve been at it forty-six years. I mean, take Barbara Streisand.” Pause. Then: “You take her. I can’t stand her.” He told the audience that he loves performing for senior citizens and recently did a show in Florida, “where I was the youngest person there. They thought I was hot.” His best remark came when he talked about one of his three wives who, he noted, had a lot in common with Marilyn Monroe: “She looked like Joe DiMaggio.”

Highlights: For most of the crowd “Cara Mia” was the biggie. “I sang it when I was 25, then 40, then 50, and now at almost seventy, and I can still do it in the same key.” Well, with “Cara Mia” Jay proved why he’s called “The Voice.” The number earned him a well deserved standing ovation, proving that Jay, like Roy Orbison, is a pop singer with an operatic voice.

The concert’s highlight for me was Jay’s cover of a song, he said, his mother loved: Dean Martin’s “Sway.” Then too, he was on the money with “Magic Moment,” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”

Nick Checker and Firesite Films

When Quaker Hill’s Nick Checker screened “The Curse of Micah Rood” for 35 senior citizens – all members of the Lifelong Learning program – at Three Rivers Community College, May 24, he was asked about the vines that play such a crucial role in the film. Credit goes to the film’s “greens” person, Erica Angello of Stonington. “I watched her make those things,” Nick said. “They’re so authentic-looking that Bob Whittle, owner of Whittles Farm, where some of the film was shot, thought they were real bittersweet vines.”

“I was very much into the special effects and absolutely enjoyed the work,” said Erica, a floral designer. “I was pulled in by the crew for my expertise. I took the dead pieces and made them kind of come alive.”

Speaking of “come alive,” veteran stage actor Joe Gramm, one of the key supporting actors in “Micah Rood,” certainly gives life to his character, Sheriff Blaine. Joe told me about his role: “I caught the small boy who has stolen Micah’s apples and I bring him to apologize. In the course of the scene, Micah is acting so strangely I know something’s wrong.” The longer Blaine watches and listens to Micah the more he’s convinced Micah is hiding something.

Joe added that “Nick’s screenplay was wonderful,” and Alec Asten, who directed “Micah Rood,” is “a terrific director.”

“The Curse of Micah Rood” will be one of the films screened, August 15, at the Garde Arts Center’s Independent Film Festival. Stay tuned.

CT Sun

As of May 27, the CT Sun’s fans, opponents, and reporters were surprised with a 3-1 record.

The first game I saw this season was against the Sacramento Monarchs on May 24, and after a shaky fifteen minutes, the Sun put it all together. Final score: Sun 84, Sacramento 64. The Sun’s top scorers were Lindsay Whalen (a game-high 21 points) and Barbara Turner (17 points, including five three pointers). CT won the rebounding battle, too: 35-30.

But then there’s the May 27 contest against the Indiana Fever. Final: 75-46, Indiana. A drubbing!

Embarrassing! Sun guard Lindsay Whalen put it this way, “…where it’s a 30 point game [on national TV], it is unfortunate from a market stand point but it happens in sports…you just move on.” Sun forward Asjha Jones said, “…right from the beginning they came out and they just made shots, and we didn’t have an answer for their defense…We are going to look at it the only way we can [and] not lose our confidence.”

The game marked the return of former Sun star Katie Douglas, and she certainly let everyone know she was back: 23 points. It also featured the debut of highly touted Sun rookie Sandrine Gruda. Make no mistake, Sandrine is the real deal. She played 14 minutes, scored two points, and hauled in six rebounds.