believe

Swing Into The Holiday Season With George Gee's Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra

George Gee- for the Grateful Web

This Holiday season, The Edison Ballroom and producer Mickey Marchello, former guitarist from the legendary New York Rock Band Good Rats, will welcome the swing era sounds of George Gee and his Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra as they entertain guests with a new show that evokes a golden era:  "Sleigh Bells Swing."  George Gee and his 22-piece Big Band offer the perfect Holiday treat for not only swing and jazz music fans, but also for tourists and tri-state area residents looking for an incredible Holiday entertainment experience.  The Edison Ballroom poses as the perfect backdrop for George Gee's musical extravaganza with its plush leather walls and sophisticated art deco accents in tones of whites, blacks, shades of grey, and platinum juxtaposed against illuminated glass tiles.  Combined with the décor of The Edison Ballroom and a presentation of classic Holiday songs, guests will feel as if they are re-entering a fantasy world of 1930s/1940s retro era of glitz and glamour that no longer exists – until now.
 
A world-renowned professional swing band leader, George Gee is also the only Chinese-American one. He has compiled a hip and cosmopolitan big band show fully equipped with 22 tuxedoed musicians, captivating singers, rhythmic tap dancers and gravity-defying lindy hoppers, punctuated by a custom-tailored bandstand to complete the look of this elegant evening.  "Sleigh Bells Swing" will begin with an interactive and multi-media floor show with the full swing orchestra and complete cast during dinner, MC'ed by the seasonal anecdotes of Mickey Marchello.  After the show and four course meal, the complete 1,700 square feet dance floor will open for dancing to the swingin' big band sounds of George Gee and his orchestra.

Edison Ballroom's "Sleigh Bells Swing" will run straight from December 20th, 2008 through January 3rd, 2009 (with no performance on December 24th, 2008).  Tickets for the floor show and dinner are $190.00 per person including all drinks and dancing; tickets are $75 per person for general dancing, include open bar and hors d'oeuvres  (post-dinner and floor show).

ABOUT THE EDISON BALLROOM

The Edison Ballroom, first opened in the 1930's, reopened June 2008 following a $5 million renovation targeted to make it the premiere venue for a wide variety of private events and celebrations. Located at 240 West 47th Street in the heart of Times Square (between Broadway and 8th Avenue), the Edison Ballroom boasts a long and illustrious history that is still visible in the details of its restoration.  The new renovation is meant to highlight the room's art deco flair of the 1930's.  Owner, Allan Wartski (Christo's Steakhouse and Hakata Grill) hired Glen Coben of the award winning New York-based architecture and design firm Glen & Company to design the interior.  A neutral palette was used to play up the architectural details, spotlighting their beauty. The main floor houses a 700 square foot stage framed by elegant and traditional silk curtains. Upstairs is a balcony that has its own bar.

ABOUT GEORGE GEE

Nearly three decades ago, in an era when punk, new wave and heavy metal ruled, a Chinese-American musician named George Gee launched his imaginative big band vision.  A native New Yorker, George Gee has always loved the syncopated jump styles of the Big Band Era and his career was propelled by the support of  swing giant Count Basie.  He grew up with rock 'n' roll, R&B and disco – but also developed a powerful passion for swing. At renowned Stuyvesant High School, George Gee wowed the crowds with his flashy showmanship on bass in the school's jazz band.  After an extended stint on the road, George returned to his hometown of NYC in 1989 to make his big band dream a reality.  He  summoned top notch musicians – (young and old), including veterans of legendary bands such as those led by Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and also Latin and pop music giants – all to continue living his big band dream.
 
With each performance, George Gee's powerful and entertaining swing orchestra continues to set new standards and reach for loftier heights.  George Gee and the band were recently invited to the Middle East to perform for an audience including The Prince of Jordan and musical impresario Quincy Jones. Gee also served as a primary expert for the nationally broadcast and DVD distribution of the documentary "The Joint is Jumpin'" and was also a featured appearance on PBS's "Live at Lincoln Center" for 11 million viewers.  George Gee continues to tour the world spreading the Gospel of Swing and is ecstatic about his collaboration with The Edison Ballroom.

Local Flare | You Have To See It To Believe It: Gregory Alan Isakov & the Freight, Bela Karoli, Paper Bird & The Wheel

Thursday night was an exhibition of local talent at the Boulder Theater, and Yours Truly does what he can to get the word out about local talent.  Four Denver area bands heated up the stage, each bringing a unique and innovative flavor that I find to be too often lacking in the Big Name touring company bands.  True to the Indie Rock tradition, you'll probably never hear any of these guys or girls on mainstream radio, but their ever-growing fanbases reminds us that media att

I Believe

- for the Grateful Web

My earliest memory of feeling connected to spirit (or God, as I call that wonderful force in my life), happened far away from any man-made church.  It happened when the noise of the world was (literally) drowned out by the noise of my motorcycle, and my feeling of peace and stillness was exaggerated by the confines of the helmet on my head.  I felt alone, as if I was the captain of my destiny, setting my course and making my own decisions.  And strangely, at the same time, realizing I was not alone.  That there would be something, some force, some life-giving force that would travel the road with me.  Offering me unconditional love, counsel and encouragement; helping me to understand the paradox of my insignificance and significance, my sameness and my uniqueness.  I began to sing and pray and simply commune with God and have not stopped in my twenty-five years, though I would be challenged with guilt, shame and fear for seeking out my own answer to the question you are asking me now, "What do you believe and why do you believe it?"

Growing up in a conservative Christian environment has been both a blessing and a burden.  I never felt compelled to question the beliefs laid down by that community's interpretation of the Bible, in part because the main tenet that It was based upon, God and His love for the world, has never been something I've questioned because of my epiphany whilst riding my bike in the woods.  But the larger feeling that kept me from questioning the doctrines of the church and whether they were what I really believed was that I had been instilled with the impression that it was basically ludicrous not to believe the way we did. Thus, growing up I was heavily burdened (in addition to my inherent know-it-all-ness) with self-righteousness, harshly and overtly judging others and deeming them not worthy of Heaven (which I equated with the ultimate reward), simply because they did not share my religious views.  I believed in God and His love for the world, and yet felt that love was given more readily and freely to us, His chosen people.  When I prayed and sang at church or in school, my heart would bubble and just about burst with faith in my beliefs.  I was so sure that my beliefs were the RIGHT beliefs (as if there is one right way to believe) that I was smug and insensitive.  Sadly, I was the one suffering.

Thank God I have seen the light. The light that makes me feel happy, challenged, inspired and connected. The light and love of God that allows me to happily acknowledge my imperfectness and accept the grace that is mine, and that my heart has known ever since that moment years ago on a backcountry trail.

I do not concern myself with thinking about things such as the reality of Heaven or Hell, what happens when animals or people die or even bother trying to define my beliefs in any standard terms (i.e. Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Muslim etc...).  I feel that I would be wasting my time, since I've already dealt with the guilt and fear that accompanied the practically sacrilegious thoughts that it doesn't really matter if I believe in Heaven or Hell, lay claim to Jesus or Buddha.  I am trying (and doing) to live fully in the moment, with integrity and in accordance with my moral fiber, which is to say, in truth and love.  On my personal journey I've come to the conclusion that what is most important is to be continually open to whatever lessons life has to offer, to respond thoughtfully and compassionately, and to have an open heart.  Everything else seems superfluous.  Because much of what I did or did not do in my younger years was either for the reward of Heaven or to avoid the consequence of Hell, my actions were for appearances' sake and little else. I feel that I'm now living and striving to live a more actualized, genuine, spiritual life. I treat others well because that is what feels right in my heart. So I guess I've come (in a roundabout way to be sure) to what I believe:

I believe in keeping an open heart and mind, letting things marinate and resonate within my heart (my most trusted friend), letting that be my guide, trusting it will take me where I need to go.

To borrow from the Indigo Girls, "the less I seek my Source for some definitive, the closer I am to fine."

This may seem simple and naive to some, but truth (your truth, my truth and the truth), is never complicated.  And to trust in and have faith in something is one of the greatest blessings in the world.  Children know how to believe; we adults have just forgotten that we know.