From Montauk to Manhattan and Back Again

For our first blog, we'd like to share a post from our friend and photographer, Ric Kallaher, who wrote touchingly about seeing Stoned Soul PIcnic at the Highline on April 10th.  Thank you, Ric, for your wonderful photos and for writing this.

On Montauk to Manhattan & Back Again . . . By Ric Kallaher

And "WHY?!?" you may well ask.  For a Magical Musical Mystery Tour into the past, back to the future, and beyond with Diane Garisto & Friends at The Highline Ballroom in a tribute performance to the incredible Laura Nyro, that's why . . . though of course, there's more to it than that..

Truly, there are not too many reasons why I'd make a round trip daytrip from out here in Montauk all the way to Manhattan but the chance to hear my longtime friend Diane Garisto sing is one of them.  And it was worth every mile.  Diane gave an amazing "Standing O" performance at her show which is based around one of her heroes, the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame member, Ms. Nyro who Di toured with back in the day.   

But the meat of the matter is this: not only was it a tour-de-force show but it was a testament to life and the reasons to carry on. 

Laura Nyro was incredibly influential.  In her day she was part of the "new" Brill Building tradition of songwriters that turned music on its ear and found new directions for many that were to follow.  She wrote songs that proved to be top hits for bands like Blood Sweat & Tears, 3 Dog Night and more plus she had her own standout career as a performer.  Sadly, she is no longer with us and though she has been inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, since her music was exacting and challenging she can be easily forgotten in today's soundbite world.   

But not if Diane can have anything to say about that.  I first met Diane when I was part of a music company working primarily in advertising.  She had just completed vocals on a really interesting album for the impresario Malcolm Maclaren entitled "FANS" that combined opera and hip-hop, et al based around MADAME BUTTERFLY. Diane would also work on another groundbreaking album, Paul Simon's GRACELAND as well as to tour with Steely Dan.  And she was a regular feature at our studio, working on any and everything that called for female vocals.  She was an ever fun, ever bright collaborator in those heady days.  

A couple of years ago we almost lost Diane, too.  We who know her are all blessed and grateful that she survived and it is a true testament to the force of life that she is back and doing what she does best, better than ever before. 

Life can be like that.  You are lucky if you get to carry on.  And the longer you do carry on, the more you realize just how lucky you are.  So, the more dedicated you become to doing as much as you can with what you do best for as long as you can.   

For my lucky self, I get to realize how fortunate I am to have the chance to now re-experience all of those wonderful people I was surrounded with so many years ago in the years before I realized what it was I was here to do: make photographs.  It's an awesome feeling to have these opportunities to hear and SEE all of these artistic lives playing on, and now with all of the extra depth and resonance that living life can bring to the craft.   

Yes, from Montauk to Manhattan and back again.  Into the past.  Back to the future.  And Beyond.  Take Two. 

But let's not forget the "and Friends" -- Backup vocals were by Carolee Goodgold, Emily Bindiger, Janie Barnett and Margaret Dorn.  The band was Elise Morris on keyboards; David Rosenberg on drums; Andy "The Rock" Huenerberg on bass; and the legendary Larry "The Sultan" Saltzman  on guitar. With special guest appearances by Martha Trachtenberg, Tom Griffith, and Robbie Kondor. Yay to them all.

Please check out Ric's wonderful photographs at:

Leave a comment

Add comment