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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mayor LaGuardia's Stomach

Mayor LaGuardia's Stomach
music by Chris Johnson
story by Esther Levine (grandma of Ari Dolegowski AKA Moby Dee)
interview by Lloyd Miller and Ari Dolegowski

appears on Strange Dees, Indeed by the Deedle Deedle Dees (release date: October 31, 2011) 

You want to hear about me bouncing off the stomach of Mayor LaGuardia?

Yes! Yes!

I was looking for an apartment. And I don't know why I was looking for an apartment on Mott Street! I must have seen an advertisement. And I wasn't looking... I was looking this way. I wasn't looking where I was going. And I bounced off this man's stomach... he wasn't much taller than I am. He was short! But I thought I was seven feet tall.

ULYSSES and MOBY laugh.

And he was walking with a guard. And they never stopped me! I bounced right off his stomach. And I said, "Mayor LaGuardia!" And he walked on and I walked on.

He didn't acknowledge you in any way?

I... we weren't having a conversation! I just bounced off his stomach. And he had a stomach.

musical interlude

I'm on TV?!

Not live.

Is my hair combed? Okay, my right side of my profile is my better side. (to Ulysses) You're good.

Esther, Ari's grandma, is a big part of our life. Her apartment is near the school where my wife teaches second grade and where I teach lots of lessons and do songwriting projects so it's a convenient spot for acoustic rehearsals during the week. She loves our visits and treats them as her own private concerts. She always spreads out far too much food and asks whether we would like her to order us a pizza -- an offer we always turn down. I'm usually on my way to swim laps after our rehearsal and everyone else... well, they're just not in the mood for pizza, I guess. Someday we'll say yes.

The story she tells here is one of her classics, one she has retold many times in many different ways. We spent an afternoon with Esther talking about her varied adventures and got most of it recorded. Maybe we'll post the complete interview on this blog sometime.

Who does what on "Mayor LaGuardia's Stomach"
Booker Dee (Chris Johnson): baritone ukulele, melodica, piano, electric bass
Otto von Dee (Ely Levin): drums
Moby Dee (Ari Dolegowski): interview
Ulysses S. Dee (Lloyd Miller): interview
Esther Levine: storytelling
Dean Jones: recording, mixing