Author Archives: Vickie & Peter

TONIGHT Brooks Williams & Jeremy Lyons at Old Sloop!


Check out these videos:

And here’s a video of Jeremy Lyons playing and singing the Mark Sandman parts at a concert we produced at T.T. The Bears to benefit the Mark Sandman Project in 2009.  You can see Jeremy at 4:40.

PODCAST: Malachy McCourt says, “The best way to lose weight this week is to see A Couple of Blaguards. You’ll laugh your arse off!”

Malachy McCourt (L) with his brother Frank

In a very funny interview, earlier this morning, Dana & Mugs welcomed Malachy McCourt to their morning show on North Shore 104.9. Malachy regaled them with stories about growing up in Ireland with his Pulitzer Prize winning brother Frank (author of “Angela’s Ashes”), working on the docks in NY, 50+ years of marriage, meeting the Queen and the play that he and Frank wrote, A Couple of Blaguards, which you can see right down the road at Beverly’s Intimate Larcom Theatre tomorrow (St. Patrick’s Day) at 2pm and 8pm as well as Friday 3/18 at 8pm [GET TICKETS HERE]

Listen to the podcast below and join us tomorrow or Friday for a pint and some good laughs!

ShamRock & Roll – Saturday March 12th

ShamRock & Roll ~ Orville Giddings Band

this Saturday, March 12th

6:30 PM 10:00 PM

Tickets: $15 advance; $20 at the door

Call to reserve: 978-356-2560

Event includes a Can Food Drive for The Open Door

– Bring Can Goods with you-

Ascension Memorial Church, Dorman Gym

31 County Street, Ipswich

Free Snacks/Cash Bar (beer, wine)

PLUS: Irish-theme Raffle Items!

1st Annual Winter Beach Blast – March 18

1st Annual Winter Beach Blast


Shake off the winter blues and warm up at the first annual Winter Beach Blast to benefit the Spaulding Education Fund at the Manchester American Legion on Friday night, March 18th. Featuring the sizzling hot sounds of acclaimed local band, The Runaround Sound, folks can end their winter hibernation with some ice-melting camaraderie all while supporting a great cause!

beach_party flyer

The revelry will begin at 7 p.m. for this 21+ beach-themed party. Guests will enjoy live reggae and rock n’ roll music, beach themed snacks, a summer inspired raffle and a cash bar.  Flip flops are strongly advised and summer and beachwear is encouraged!  Winter Beach Blast “Beach Passes” to the event are $25 in advance at and $30 at the door.

As a part of the evening, winners of the organization’s Winter Beach Blast Raffle will be drawn.  This over-the-top raffle includes a chance to win a SUP package from Surfari ($1150 value), the Coolest Cooler ($500 value) and a $250 Travel gift certificate from  Liberty Travel.  A limited number of tickets will be sold and winners need not be present to win.  Tickets are available now for sale through the website.

All fun aside, this beach party has a serious purpose as all proceeds support the efforts of the Spaulding Education Fund, a local non-profit dedicated to making strategic investments in compelling educational initiatives in the Manchester Essex Regional School District.  Every dollar raised and every grant approved by the Fund helps to bring innovation and enthusiasm to our classrooms and help the schools continue to enhance the learning of each and every child. For more information about the Winter Beach Party and the organization, please visit http://www.


BREAKING NEWS Amy Speace Concert Cancelled for Friday Feb 26th

amy speace canceld

All tickets will be refunded.  Credit card charges will be refunded.  If you bought tickets at The Bookstore in Gloucester or Toad Hall Bookstore, please return to that store for your refund.  If you have questions, write to or call 978-309-9667.
Old Sloop Coffeehouse will try to reschedule – please check back!

“If you don’t have a good evening, you should have yourself checked to make sure you haven’t died during the day.” -Malachy McCourt

On St. Patricks day, you can mosey on down the road to Beverly’s intimate Larcom Theatre, and see the only Boston area performance of the critically acclaimed Irish comedy, “A Couple of Blaguards” by Frank McCourt (Pulitzer Prize winning author of the New York Times Bestseller “Angela’s Ashes”) and Malachy McCourt, author of New York Times Bestseller “A Monk Swimming.”

Called “Wickedly Funny” by Time Out New York, “Memorable” by the New York Times with “An unholy amount of charm!” (Washington Post). GET TICKETS HERE!

According to Malachy McCourt, This show is the result of Frank and me listening to the stories of our elders which in turn tunes the ear, the eye and the tongue to observe and give voice to even the most trivial of events. I think we had more fun than anyone writing and performing Blaguards, which has become an affectionate term for the rowdy, outgoing, and sometimes drinking sort of boys. If you don’t have a good evening, you should have yourself checked to make sure you haven’t died during the day.

Veteran actors Howard Platt (“What About Joan?” “Sandford and Son,” “The Bob Newhart Show,” “The Rock,” “Nixon” … many more) and Jarlath Conroy (“True Grit,” “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue,” “Putzel,” “The Art of Getting By,” “Across the Universe,” “Kinsey,” “Stay,” “Day of the Dead,” “Heaven’s Gate,” to list but a very few) portray Malachy and Frank McCourt in this extraordinarily moving and “Wickedly Funny” stage production.

Can you imagine a better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

BEWARE: Best Buy & GeekSquad Phone Protection Plans are not as they seem

brandA couple of years ago, we got a new phone at Best Buy and they urged us to get the GeekSquadPlan Warranty for $9.99 a month. We were told that if anything happens to the phone (lost, stolen, damaged … anything), it will be replaced. “Really, anything? You mean if it’s dropped and the screen breaks, you’ll replace it?” we ask. “That’s right.”

Sounded like a decent plan, so we went for it. Now we’ve been paying $9.99 a month on our Best Buy bill for about 2 years and guess what, the screen cracked when the phone was dropped. So …. we walk into Best Buy and ask for it to be fixed or replace.


Turns out there is a $150.00 deductible we were never told about. Now, we’re fairly careful people when it comes to signing contracts. We read them and we have lawyers read them if we’re not quite sure what they mean. But when you’re standing in a Best Buy store and the guy says they’ll replace the phone if anything happens to it and then there’s a little spot on a tiny checkout screen with a check box next to it asking if you agree, are you really going to say, “Hold on a minute, let me have my lawyer read this?”

But it gets worse. Having been scammed already by Best Buy and GeekSquad, we decided to check the fine print on-line for other protection plans and for the $8.00/month phone lease plans you can get through various carriers. As we expected, all of them have complex paragraphs that basically say you are gonna pay full price for this phone (around $600) unless you return it in 2 years in perfect condition.

Do you know anybody with a 2-year-old phone in perfect condition?

Caveat Emptor!




Don’t make the Bowie Mistake I made in 1973, 1974 & at least a dozen times since…

When I was a teenager it felt like I’d live forever.  By 18 or 19 I had lost that feeling of invincibility, but transferred some of its essence to a select group of celebrities whom I admired.  David Bowie was one of those lucky few. Brilliant, enigmatic, mysterious … in my mind, mythical … it felt like Bowie would live forever.

I had a chance to see the Ziggy Stardust tour in NYC, but for some reason it didn’t work out. Funny how I can’t remember what kept me from going, but if I had seen Bowie in 1973, I’m quite sure I’d have no problem recalling THAT experience today.

Then in 1974 I had a chance to see his Diamond Dogs tour when he came to Indianapolis. “But I want to see Ziggy,” I thought. (A friend who had gone to the show I was too “busy” to attend told me how “completely blown away” he was.)  I’ll just wait until he comes back around with that show.

Here’s the thing: Bowie never came back around with anything. Rather, he broke barriers and blew our minds for another 42 years … and every time I might have seen Bowie live there was always something keeping me from going, any sense of urgency lulled to sleep by my fabricated assumption that he’d be around forever.

When I saw “The Man Who Fell to Earth” (I think at the Harvard Square Theatre — still one of my favorite movies) I remember saying to myself I MUST see Bowie live someday.

Monday morning when I awoke to the news of Bowie’s death (which felt shockingly untimely) reality hit: “Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do …” I’m never going to see Bowie live.

Vickie and I were just saying last week that we had to see Bowie on this next tour … and I was confident that we would because, even as recently as last week, it still felt like Bowie would live forever.  And he will through his music.  We still have that … here’s his latest masterpiece.

What are you doing for New Years Eve? Rockport has a great lineup


Advance Buttons are only Adults: $15.50 Youth $10.50 & Child $5.50 available online or At Store Locations:


        Bean & Leaf Cafe, 12 Bearskin Neck

          John Tarr Store, Main Street

          Rite Aid Pharmacy, Whistlestop Mall

          Smith Ace Hardware & Lumber,   Lumber Desk,3 Station Sq.

          Toad Hall Bookstore, Main Street


        Building Center, Harbor Loop

          Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Commercial St.

          Common Crow, Eastern Avenue

          House of Raven, Main Street

          Wally’s Blackburn Bistro, Blackburn Center


National Christmas Tree & Mass Christmas Tree

Had a wonderful time walking around DC last night in short sleeves.  Temp as about 65 degrees.  The Lincoln Memorial was as inspiring as ever — this monument never loses its power.

We thought FOBs might like to see a shot of the National Christmas Tree and the smaller Massachusetts tree that was among trees from all states surrounding the National tree.

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Shop Local for a New Orleans Experience & a Holiday Tribute to a Music Icon

Henri Smith for the New Orleans Peoples Project – taken after Allen Toussaint’s funeral in New Orleans.

Vickie and I applaud everyone who promotes shopping locally and truly appreciate people who buy tickets to local concerts as gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.  This Saturday at 7pm we present our third New Orleans Christmas concert at Beverly’s fully-restored, acoustically stellar Larcom Theatre starring Gloucester’s Henri Smith and featuring renowned trumpeter Stanton Davis (who performed with Henri at Celebrate Gloucester 2010) and Grammy-winner Amadee Castenell on Sax & Flute.  This year, Henri’s full brass band (complete with Tuba) will perform a special tribute to one of Henri’s mentors, Allen Toussaint, who died last month while on tour in Madrid.  Tickets are available here.

Check out this video of Henri with Allen Toussaint that I shot last year in Allen’s dressing room at Berklee Performance Center. Allen explains how Henri serves as a New Orleans ambassador — and also has very kind words for Amadee, saying “When Amadee was in New Orleans we didn’t leave home without him.  He’s our favorite saxophonist!”  Then he reveals why Amadee no longer lives in New Orleans.

This will be an emotional show for Vickie and me.  We hope you’ll join us in a Christmas Second Line Parade through the aisles of Beverly’s Larcom Theatre.

SELL OUT ALERT: Cape Ann Symphony Holiday Pops TOMORROW (SAT)!

Once again, we’ve got you covered with a sell-out alert while you can still get tickets. Sunday is sold out, but if you act fast, you can get into tomorrow’s Cape Ann Symphony Holiday Pops Concert. BUT … they won’t last long so CLICK HERE and get them now!


Tomorrow the Gloucester Meetinghouse will toll the Paul Revere bell in the Meetinghouse tower at 2:45pm, 15 minutes prior to the Spectrum Singers concert.  We will do this in honor of those who died or are suffering in Paris, the worldwide victims of terrorism or intolerance, and affirmation of our precious heritage of religious freedom.

The concert was planned before the tragic events in Paris but speaks to our common humanity through musical settings of the psalms and prayers of the 3 Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – including the premiere of a choral piece by Mohammed Fairouz.  It concludes with the hauntingly beautiful setting of Psalm 90 by Charles Ives with the full chorus, soloists, bell choir, chimes and organ.

Whether you subscribe to a traditional religious practice or simply find a divine presence in nature…we hope you will join us for this meaningful community event.

Gloucester Meetinghouse, Spectrum Singers, letter flyer

SRO Seats Available for Yardbirds with Gloucester’s KBMG Opening

As always, we alert our GMG friends when a show is about to sell out. Gloucester’s KBMG (Dan King, Dave Brown, Dave Mattacks & Wolf Ginandes) are opening for The Yardbirds, right down the road at Beverly’s intimate Larcom Theatre this Friday 11/20 and there are 8 single seats left, but we added 8 more standing tickets behind the last row in the Orchestra.  The standing tickets are only available by phone on a first-call-first-served basis, so if you want them, please call 978.525.9093.  You can leave a message if you get voice-mail and one of us will call you back.

You may know that Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton were all former lead guitarists for The Yardbirds.  Malden, MA native Johnny A is their newest lead guitarist and by all accounts is carrying on the tradition in stellar fashion.  You may have also heard the story of when Jimmy Page left the Yardbirds to form his own band, he was going to call it “The New Yardbirds” and his friend Kieth Moon quipped, “Well that’ll go over like a led zeppelin.”

Here’s a video of a Yardbirds show from a couple of days ago.  They are HOT!

VIDEO: Henri Smith with the Great Allen Toussaint

Last October, Gloucester’s Henri Smith chatted with Allen Toussaint in Allen’s dressing room at Berklee Performance Center.  Check out Allen’s reaction to Henri’s song.  Plus you’ll LOVE what Allen says about Amadee Castenell!  You can see Henri and Amadee along with award-winning trumpeter Stanton Davis (who performed with Henri at Celebrate Gloucester) on December 5 right down the road at Beverly’s fully-restored, acoustically magical Larcom Theatre.  Tickets available here.

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