May 012012

As anyone who has ever tried to take pictures of a band knows, the hardest shot can be the drummer.  First, he (or she) is usually blocked by two or three other band members.  Sometimes, I need permission to either go on stage or climb on top of a speaker or stool to get high enough to get a good angle on the drummer.  Often, they are on risers which makes them stand a little higher than the rest of the stage, making me even more creative with my attempts to get a glimpse of their faces.

Then, there’s that cymbal that is positioned at exactly the same level as the drummer’s face!  On top of that, drummers are not always looking up so their heads are often burried in a sea of snares.   Often, the camera’s light is either blocked by the drum-set or bouncing off the shiny cymbals, resulting in a dark shot.  So you have to either take that shot at just the right time or take as many as you can get until it comes out right  – which is my strategy!

Here are a few of the many shots I took this past month that I shared recently in an online album called That Elusive Drummer.

Robert Darmanian of CRT

Robert Darmanian of CRT

CJ Wereski of Riverdown

CJ Wereski of Riverdown


Kent Blakenship of Soulicide

Kent Blankenship of Soulicide


Chuck Doty of The Double Standard

Chuck Doty of The Double Standard




















Find the complete album of both good and bad drummer shots I took in April, on the WeekendBroward Photos Page on Facebook.

I would not feel good about writing a blog about drummers this month without mentioning a local artist who was brutally murdered only 1 year ago while trying to calm a situation at a local bar in Fort Lauderdale.  I’m referring to a guy who was a friend to all musicians who live for the joy of playing to crowds large and small – Jimmy Pagano.  Here’s a picture I took of him only a few weeks before his untimely death.

Jimmy Pagano jamming with friends

Jimmy Pagano jamming with friends

Last year, thousands of his friends and friends of friends attended a memorial jam at America’s Backyard in Fort Lauderdale.  This year, a 2nd annual jam will be taking place at the same venue on Sunday, May 20th starting at 1pm and going on for 10 straight hours.  More information can be found on the Facebook event notice.

As with last year, I will be there snapping pictures of musicians, friends of Jimmy Pagano, fans of great live music, and of course, that elusive drummer!

‘see you there!

Rob, The Weekend Concierge

 May 1, 2012  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Apr 092012

I asked my friend if he believes in tip rounding and he said “Yeah, I do it all the time!”.  I said, “I’m not talking about rounding the tip off to the nearest dollar by choice – I am talking about the server doing it for you when they only give you dollars back and assume that they should keep the coins portion of the change!”  My friend was appalled and so was I when this happened to me recently at a local restaurant.

Should restaurants assume that consumers don’t want the coins portion of their change when they are paying using green backs instead of plastic or should that choice continue to be left up to us, the consumers?  The manager of this particular restaurant explained to me that when the busboy cleans the tables and picks up the folder with the tip inside, very often, the change spills out all over the floor.    He continued to explain that most people these days are not carrying big wallets to hold change so they really don’t want it back.  His policy is to round up the change given to customers if the change is more than 50 cents and round down if it’s less than 50 cents.  In my opinion, if the server short-changes me, I blame it on the waiter, not the restaurant, and that does not sit well with me – when it’s management’s policy.  In fact, during my research, I learned that this may even be illegal in some cities throughout the United States.

Surveying my friends, nobody seemed to mind the “round up” part of the restaurant’s policy, however, being short-changed purposely lends suspicion to either the server or the restaurant and can leave a “bad taste” behind after what should have been a good meal.

This topic lends itself to other discussions such as “Should we be forced to leave a certain percentage as a tip even if the service sucked?”  Another comment on the topic of tip rounding was “Why not include the service charge, otherwise known as The Tip, in the cost of the meal, as they do in Europe?”  One friend commented that when he used to be a waiter years ago, he would always carry extra change with him so that he could quickly deal with any customer’s request to break a large bill to leave him a tip – it’s all part of the good service that people expect!

While some people did mind being short-changed to the nearest dollar, would they care so much if it was just to the nearest quarter?  If this restaurant does not want to chance pissing people off in an area where there are so many other places to eat, I would recommend only rounding up and asking the serve staff to carry a buck’s worth of change with them in case anyone complains.

And that’s MY TWO CENTS for today!


The Weekend Concierge

 April 9, 2012  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Mar 052012
Rob & Judy at Bostons

Weekend Concierge with Judy Blem

During a recent conversation on Facebook regarding restaurants and bars that pay lots of money to hire bands, yet spend very little money to let people know about them, we had the honor of local talent agent, Judy Blem, chiming in to the conversation and sharing her two cents with us!

 Q & A with Judy Blem

Judy – What’s even worse are the places that DON’T spend “a lot of money” booking bands yet STILL get upset when a band doesn’t “bring a following.” Funny how in college business courses they teach you how to order food & beverages, deal with payroll, permits, insurance, etc., but they teach you NOTHING about dealing with live entertainment. One of MY biggest pet peeves are the owners/managers who decide to have a band pack up after two hours ‘cuz “it’s not busy enough” and offer 1/2 the band’s agreed pay. WHAT!!?? Pro-rate at 50%? Umm, how about the fact that a gig is NOT 4 hours long if you count the hours it takes to set up and break down your gear, not including the travel time, and not to mention the fact the same band probably turned down a gig somewhere else on the same night that would have paid in full without a problem. My contracts do not allow for this to happen; there is no “pro-rating” allowed. If the band holds up their end of the deal, so should the venue. Bands who book themselves should just refrain from “promising” a crowd when even the most popular bands in town can’t always guarantee their friends and fans will show up as this leaves a gray area for negotiation- and usually ends up not favoring the band.

The fact is that the business has changed from the days when we had 12 killer rock places in town and you didn’t need to know WHO was playing. You just showed up and the band was great! With live music in every strip mall in every wing place & sports bar in town, this has driven down the prices bands get paid as well as exhausted and spread out the “following” of music lovers. But it IS a two-way street in the “business of cover gigs” – Bands should play SOME part in show promotion, but the venues DEFINITELY need not only advertise but to offer decent prices, good service and create a fun atmosphere that MAKES people want to come to their establishment.
Judy Blem Jimmi Robinette

Judy Blem with Jimi Robinette of Riverdown

Rob, your website and relentless promotion truly does help the bands AND the clubs. But I’m with you… the venues need to ADVERTISE more and NEVER rely SOLELY on any band for customers. For over 20 years as an agent, I have watched those kinds of places open and close in six months. I won’t even take on a client whose first sentence is “I need bands with a following.” Can you say “red flag?” There are some really well run places and there are some places run by folks who mean well but are often clueless. Maybe we can help them learn. Maybe not. But I’m not going to stop trying.  Alright, that’s my two cents for the day.
Note: Judy Blem is the owner of Main Event Talent Agency
 March 5, 2012  Posted by  Weekend Blog No Responses »
Feb 072012

Mark and NancyLast week, I had the honor of speaking with Mark Pirolli, co-owner of Cagney’s Saloon and asked him a few questions which I would like to share with my readers.

WC: Mark, how long have you been the owner of Cagney’s?

MP:  3years

WC: What made you buy the place?

MP: ‘thought I would build something for the future as a sideline.

WC: Is it everything you ever hoped and dreamed about?

MP: (Not entirely) I had to quit my job to keep up with the demands of owning a business

WC: What is the most difficult part about running a bar?

MP: You have to work 7 days and 7 nights a week.

WC: What is the most fun you have working at Cagney’s?

MP: Seeing what you are doing is making people happy and come together as a community.

WC: So,what do you do when you are not working ?

MP:  Sleep

WC: Any future plans that you would like to share with my readers?

MP:  I will save that as “Yet to be Seen”. I work hard to giving people what they want or need, so I am not willing to divulge plans that take a lot of work developing. It would take away from the “WOW” factor.

WC: Lastly, what advice would you give to anyone looking to manage a bar such as yours?
MP: Be prepared to work day and night, 7 days a week. You better have a stash of cash for the hard times because the bills never stop coming in!
WC: Thank you Mark for taking the time to answer my questions with all your honesty and integrity – that’s one more reason why your place is one of the best around!
Cagney’s Saloon is a neighborhood bar that caters to the local biker community. Like any good local bar, it is also a place where old friends love to gather and share stories. Many people have come and gone since its inception. Located on the corner of Stirling and University, Cagney’s was originally called Wet Goods Bar and Package Store in the late 1980’s. The “store” was later sold to the Dukes until namesake Jimmy and Leigh Cagney took it over.
When the economy started to deteriorate, Cagney’s was sold once again. Unfortunately, the new owners fell on hard times and had to close their doors.
In 2009, Mark Pirolli and Nancy Olesen became the proud new owners. They renovated and upgraded the place to make it a safe, clean and comfortable environment for their friends to gather for drinks, celebrate good occasions and enjoy their favorite bands.
Find out more by visiting: 
Keep up with the band schedule via:
 February 7, 2012  Posted by  Weekend Blog Comments Off on Who is Mark Pirolli?