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Friday Night in the Mansion - Riffs and Licks
steelbrassnwood
steelbrassnwood
Friday Night in the Mansion
The show with Frank and Nancy Moccaldi last night was a wonderful free-for-all, with an old-time string band, traditional Irish and Scottish tunes (the latter on electric guitar), and a surfeit of harmonicas and banjos.

The show was part of the Good Coffeehouse series, held at the Ethical Culture Society on Prospect Park West, a a gorgeous mansion built by the inventor of Bon Ami cleansing powder. We arrived early for a run-through, and I spent a little time wandering around the nearly empty building.




(You can click on any photo for a larger version.)




The downstairs parlor and performance space, looking towards the stage, at about 5.30. By 8.00, it was completely packed.


The front window of the parlor, looking out onto Prospect Park West.


The three windows at the back of the parlor, behind the stage. The inscription reads, "The Place Where We Meet To Seek the Highest Is Holy Ground." Which is a great thing to have over your head when you're playing music with good people.


Detail of one of the windows at the back of the parlor.


The upstairs library, with beautiful windows overlooking the park.


Detail of the windows in the library.

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rednoodlealien From: rednoodlealien Date: February 4th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
the Ethical Culture Society on Prospect Park West, a a gorgeous mansion built by the inventor of Bon Ami cleansing powder.

Well then at leat it was clean, I bet.

I'm more interested in what the Ethical Cultural Society is than its architecture, though it looks lovely. Sounds fascinating. "Ethical Culture," what a concept.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: February 4th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
You've never heard of it? It is fascinating. It's religion minus God, basically. From the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture web site:
Ethical Culture...
  • ...is a religion that looks toward a future where morality, spirituality, and science will no longer be at odds, but where each will deepen our understanding of the others.
  • ...is a forward-looking religion that embraces tradition and has its feet planted firmly in the present day.
  • ...recognizes the unique worth of every human being, and celebrates the strength that comes from diversity.
I've always meant to check out some of their meetings or "platforms" as they call them but have yet to do so.
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: February 4th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
First of all, that was a great gig last night, and a great (if rather crowded and kinetic) venue.

Kij and I were married by an Ethical Culture "minister," as you may recall. I've been to a couple of meetings at the Manhattan society on Central Park West. Interesting place and people: the ghost of Emma Lazarus was definitely in the house. In the early 1990s, when I was there, the congregants were a mixture of prosperous Upper West Side professional couples in their thirties, and rather more Postwar secular Jews in the Isaac Asimov mold. I don't recall the substance of the (sermon?) as very stirring, but it was an interesting experience. I suspect that Brooklyn meetings would have a very different character, though there were certainly enough folks in last night's audience who would be right at home on the UWS.
bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: February 4th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

PS

Can you see why I think Frank Moccaldi looks like Harlan Ellison?
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: February 4th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: PS

Frank jokes about looking like Donald Trump but Trump's ever-present smirk makes it harder to see.

An "authorized biography" of Harlan Ellison? I assume this will be in the fiction section?
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