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Why Golf Should Welcome Raucous Crowds like those at Bethpage Black

By John Dundon

The Barclays has come and gone at Bethpage State Park.

The Black’s reputation of being a tough play even for the world’s best golfers held true this past week. Perhaps the most talked about aspect of the tournament, aside from anything golf related, was the raucous crowd that flooded the out-of-bounds areas Thursday through Sunday for the PGA tournament.

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“[The crowd] was loud, it was a lot of fun. It felt like you were almost playing football, it just kind of sets the tone,” said tournament winner Patrick Reed after he completed his final round on Sunday.

Golf traditionally hasn’t been known to be a sport where crowd noise is a factor. Exactly the opposite, actually. Fans are expected to respect the rules of the course—no talking, yelling or chanting while a player is over the ball. Comparing spectators at a golf tournament and fans at an NFL football game isn’t something that happens every day on the PGA tour.

Reed wasn’t the only golfer who was outspoken on the topic last weekend. Needing a birdie to clinch a spot on the US Ryder Cup team, Rickie Fowler stepped up to the tee box on the 18th hole.

“It was a little loud up there on 18,” Fowler said semi-seriously. The resulting drive ended up way right in the high fescue. It pretty much eliminated any hope of him birdieing the hole, and Fowlers shot at being a Ryder Cup lock slipped away. And don’t even get started on the hundreds of mustache jokes directed at Fowler Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Some golfers, like Phil Mickelson, relish the chance to play at the Black exactly for what makes it unique—the highly inebriated and very loud crowds. It’s become the identity of Long Island golf’s crown jewel.

As one usher put it, “were you here for the US Open? Combine a New York crowd and beer, this is what you get. It isn’t like this in most places.”

You’d be hard-pressed to find a golf course that plays host to rowdier fans in golf than Bethpage Black. And, yes, maybe it is a little annoying for those participating in the events. It’s also something the players, if they haven’t already, will need to learn to deal with.

The majority of poorly timed, out of place shrieks and chants were committed by one particular demographic: young people. This is important to note because, whether golf wants to recognize it or not, the sport desperately needs to attract the interest of millennials to keep the industry alive.

Before the Tiger Woods days that propelled golf into the most popular and profitable place it had ever been in, it was a boring game that was played almost exclusively by well-off white men. Since then though, the sport’s horizons have expanded exponentially.

The industry is carried now not by old white dudes, but by a group of 20-something year-olds. In other words, the world’s best golfers right now are the same age as guys who are likely to get drunk, loud, and create lively atmospheres.

In fact, many of the tour’s best and most popular golfers like Jordan Spieth, 23, Rory McIlroy, 27, and Jason Day, 28 are all under 30. It could be that golf needs more of this, not less. The loud crowds and football-like atmosphere make the game more exciting, and certainly more attractive to perspective beginners. Kids don’t want to sit still and quiet. They want to make noise and chant for their favorite golfer.

We should welcome, not shun, the boisterous fans who line the fairways and greens. After all, it’s all about having fun. In the words of Jack Nicklaus: “This is a game, that’s all it is.”

(Featured photo credit: John Dundon)

Reed Overtakes Fowler to Win The Barclays at Bethpage Black

Patrick Reed The Barclays
Patrick Reed was crowned The Barlays champion after passing Rickie Fowler on the leader board Sunday.

By John Dundon

Texan Patrick Reed secured his fifth PGA Tour win Sunday, overtaking weekend leader Rickie Fowler to win The Barclays tournament at Bethpage Black golf course.

The front nine was a classic back and forth between two great golfers giving every shot their all. For Reed, a player who’s come so close to getting a win in so many tournaments this summer, the win felt good.

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“It feels amazing; I haven’t had that feeling in a while coming down the last couple with the lead,” Reed said after his championship round. “I felt like I did a lot of things well, it’s just great to finally be able to close one off.”

Reed’s jubilation makes the disappointment Fowler was feeling, after squandering a one stroke lead, seem all the more real. He finished the day three strokes over par and ended the tournament tied for fourth.

The start of the round wasn’t particularly bad for Fowler. It all unraveled on the back nine, starting with a bogey on the par 4 11th hole. Fowler then bogeyed on 15, and followed that up with a double-bogey on 16. At that point, it was game, set, match.

“I don’t know, I just made some bad swings at the wrong time,” a dejected Fowler told reporters after the round.

“Disappointing back nine. I didn’t drive it the way I needed to. It was just a little off here and there; you had to be playing out of the fairway. So yeah, just a little disappointing,” Fowler said.

It’s obviously a disheartening result for Fowler, as a win would’ve locked up a spot on the United States Ryder Cup team this coming September. Now, he’ll have to rely on being a captains pick—of which he remains in good standing for.

Jason Day The Barclays
World No. 1 Jason Day played well enough but couldn’t quite conquer Bethpage Black. He finished tied for third place.

The world’s No.1 golfer Jason Day, despite his best efforts, couldn’t quite put together a late charge to get back in the thick of things on Sunday.

“This week, I Don’t think there was a tee shot where I felt comfortable over the ball to be honest,” Day said after his round. “Every time I was standing over the ball, I couldn’t feel like it was going to be a good shot.”

His struggles at Bethpage aside, Day remained positive and said he relishes the chance to come back to Bethpage Black again for the PGA Championship in 2019.

“I love playing in front of New York crowds,” Day added. “It’s really cool to see how much they embrace golf here. They enjoy themselves here, very rowdy.”

While Day enjoyed the boisterous crowds, the tournament champion Reed called them “obnoxious” earlier this weekend. He would go on to change his tone after his win was wrapped up, though.

“The crowds are crazy, but they’re awesome. You don’t go to golf tournaments very often and hear chants,” Reed said. “You can feed off of that energy that’s going on, then when people are starting to heckle you, you can try and prove them wrong.”

It seems Bethpage Black has left an impression on the world’s best, a good sign for the future of the PGA on Long Island.

Fowler Leads The Barclays Going Into Final Round

By John Dundon

Through three rounds of the Barclays at Bethpage Black, Rickie Fowler holds the outright lead at 9-under par.

Fowler’s weekend at The Black has been the epitome of consistency. At a course where the mental aspect of the game is just as important as the physical aspect, Fowler’s yielded just one bogey through his first three rounds—54 holes of golf at or under par. A big part of that? Remaining positive through adversity.

“The putter’s starting to show up a bit. I’ve always been a very good putter, I mean, you have to have the confidence and belief in yourself to be a good putter.” Fowler said.

“I enjoy that part of the game. Especially when you are making putts and it’s been bad, the past few months, just seeing myself hit good putts and not go in. To see it starting to come around, it’s definitely helped out the rest of the game,” Rickie professed.

Fowler, 27, like all of the golfers spending the weekend on Long Island, places the stash of FedEx Cup points up for grabs in high regard. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think the crowd out at Bethpage State Park had an investment in the standings themselves, as they’ve been a factor.

“It’s a lot of fun playing in front of loud crowds,” Fowler said. “We’re going to take care of our business and hopefully I’ll give myself a chance to celebrate with them tomorrow late.”

One of those who spent the day chasing Fowler (-9) was former world number one golfer Adam Scott.

Scott sits at 7-under heading into championship Sunday. The tour-veteran’s third round was one of the tournament’s best as he made up six strokes today alone. Scott’s been satisfied with his performance away from the greens, where, like Fowler, putts finally began to fall today thanks in part due to keeping a level head.

“When you’re not making them and they are always a little bit short, you start thinking about too many things, stroke, line, speed, all that kind of stuff,” Scott said after his round. “I just freed my mind up a little with the putter today and just thought, we’ll see what happens, and they went in.”

In a game as humbling as golf, there are sure to be ups and downs. Phil Mickelson’s round was encouraging—at one point he found himself 3-under—until he got to the 17th tee box.

“I had a good round going. I played a good front nine, and hit some good shots. The back nine, I didn’t play my best but I was fighting.” Mickelson told members of the media after the round. “Unfortunately the last two holes weren’t very good.”

That would be the understatement of the century.

Mickelson hit his tee shot on 17 fat. After chipping out of the front-left bunker, he missed a par putt that would’ve gotten the crowd so loud people would’ve been woken up in Montauk. On 18, disaster struck in the form of a double bogey. Again, this gaff originated in trouble off of the tee. The lefty had an opportunity to save bogey and missed a 15-foot putt, again forcing the grandstand into an audible groan.

The 18th hole would go on to be more of the same. Mickelson found himself in the sand off the tee. From there, another bunker. Mickelson, a noted master at saving par and getting himself out of trouble, couldn’t save himself when he needed it most.

Other notable names, including Jason Day, 5-under, and Jordan Spieth, 3-under, squandered opportunities to get back to the top of the leaderboard throughout the day. Conventional wisdom says they may have run out of time with just one round left to play.

Then again, anything can happen at Bethpage Black.

Affordable Housing & NIMBYism: The Encouraging Decline Of A Bad Attitude

Affordable Housing NIMBY
Illustration by Walt Handelsman

By Marianne Garvin

I’ve been involved in the effort to build affordable housing on Long Island for more than three decades–most of that time at the Community Development Corporation of Long Island. One of the most encouraging trends that I’ve seen is the increasing decline of the NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) attitude that has been far too prevalent on Long Island. I’m more hopeful than ever that its decline will now pick up speed.

I understand the instinct. LI is primarily a community of single-family homes. Our homes represent a sizeable investment for every property owner, and it’s natural to want to protect that investment. Local home rule also gives us residents the chance to participate in decisions about how our communities grow, and I’m part of that process in Stony Brook, where I live, as well.

The problem is that the Island is cutting itself out of the job market, because our housing is so expensive. Neighboring suburbs in Westchester, southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey are attracting the businesses and jobs that should be coming here and should be providing employment for our children and growing our tax base.

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Affordable housing now addresses a broader need than ever: young people who want to live here but can’t afford it, seniors who want to downsize, people in transitions of one kind or another, and others with lower incomes. The good news is that affordable housing—and the need for it—has evolved to a point where there is growing momentum behind it for a number of reasons.

First, there are more and more positive examples of high-quality affordable housing on Long Island that have now been in place for years and have proven to be an asset to their community. A great example is Patchogue village, which is thriving after about a decade. It’s attracting people who want to live downtown, and they are adding vitality to the area, its restaurants and performing arts.

Early supporters of affordable housing had to operate on faith. Later adopters can see positive examples and operate on proof.

Second, affordable housing is helping rejuvenate many downtowns, and those downtowns are growing in popularity, precisely because they offer added opportunities for dining and entertainment. Even in our single-family homes, we like having more choices when we go out to eat or attend art events and performances.

Third, in communities across LI, residents and government officials are increasingly discussing their planning priorities for downtown development including greater density. That opens up the possibility of affordable housing, because density is key to affordability.

A great example is Wincoram Commons, which recently opened in a new hamlet center in Coram. Creating the hamlet center was a community priority. Wincoram Commons adds 176 affordable apartments as well as shops along the main street, bringing new vitality to the area.

Communities that have embraced these discussions—and the planning that results—have made clear their priorities. Those of us involved in creating affordable housing can then address them.

Fourth, more Long Islanders know people who want and need affordable housing. They may well include their own family members and even their own children.

Part of the change is generational. Young people want rental properties they can afford. They want a lively downtown, where they can live near a train station with easy access to New York City and can have dinner with friends and be entertained.

While the Island has the extraordinary infrastructure of the Long Island Rail Road, which serves many downtowns, affordable transit-oriented housing is far too rare. That reality poses a great threat to the region, because 70 percent of Long Islanders 18- to 34-years-old say they will leave Long Island by 2020, according to the Long Island Index. But that reality also holds great promise.

The housing that we at CDCLI develop serves people with incomes up to 120 percent of the area median income, because we want it to represent a broader mix of income levels. In the last seven years or so, nearly all of the housing that we’ve developed has been rental property that is transit-oriented and also removes blight. These developments are, therefore, a win-win-win–addressing a range of incomes, revitalizing downtowns and removing blight.

Similar victories are stacking up on LI, and their appeal is the reason that I’m optimistic about the future of affordable housing here. NIMBY must increasingly compete with the benefits of well-planned, well-designed, affordable housing and the added reality that building it will enable our children and grandchildren to stay in our region.

Marianne Garvin is president and CEO of the Community Development Corporation of Long Island and president of the National NeighborWorks Association.

Illustration by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Walt Handelsman

Day, Spieth Find their Footing at Demanding Bethpage Black

By John Dundon

As round two of The Barclays wraps up, some of the favorites coming into the tournament have begun to find their swings.

Jason Day and Jordan Spieth’s rounds looked a lot different, but yielded the same result. While Day opened the round by birdieing five of his first seven holes, Spieth started off with a double-bogey on his first hole—a potential sign of a tough day ahead.

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“It’s moments like on the 11th tee box where I really credit Michael (the caddie) a lot for stepping in and being a positive voice. Finally, I noticed that I was just angry,” Spieth said after the round.

After an inconsistent round one, in which Spieth bogeyed thrice on the back nine, an attitude adjustment was required. Spieth’s frustration was noticeable from behind the spectator ropes.

“On 17, I started smiling going to 18, and that was the difference maker,” Spieth said.

In the end, Spieth finished the day 4-under, leaving him right in the thick of things heading into the weekend. He lit it up on the front-nine, where the majority of the scoring has taken place through the first two rounds.

On the contrary, Day did a good job of taking what the Black would give him and not getting too high or too low emotionally. That was something that the current leader in the chase for the FedEx Cup stressed yesterday when asked about his round.

“This week is not only going to be physical, but it’s going to test the mental strength that you have and see how far you can actually push yourself through,” Day told members of the media after his round on Thursday.

Make no mistake about it though, the Black is as physically demanding golf course as any. One of the talking points amongst those competing? The long walks from hole to hole.

“It’s definitely a bit of a walk,” Day said.

The Australia-born Day scorched the front-nine, vaulting himself near the top of the leaderboard.

Phil Mickelson continues to be this Long Island-based crowd’s favorite golfer. One wonders whether the attention had gotten to the lefty early in round two, Phil’s first time this weekend playing the late afternoon slot where, generally, far more spectators are present. Phil three-putted what was originally a more than makeable birdie attempt—very uncharacteristic of Mickelson.

There will be no shortage of storylines heading into the weekend, as all of the major names participating are in line to make the cut.

One thing is for sure, after last summer where seemingly every major tournament saw a combination of Day, Spieth, or both duking it out on Sunday, we may be in line for such a treat yet again.

(Featured photo credit: PGA Tour/ Facebook)

More Snow Than Usual This Winter on Long Island, Almanacs Predict

snow
Snow plows clear Sunrise Highway in East Islip during a winter storm in 2015 (Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)

By Patrick Kelton

Enjoy what’s left of beach season, because Long Island is forecast to see more snow than usual this winter, according to recently released long-term predictions by the nation’s two oldest farmers’ almanacs.

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The Maine-based Farmers’ Almanac, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary in print, wrote that the Northeast will be “ice cold and snow filled.” And its 225-year-old competitor, the New Hampshire-based Old Farmer’s Almanac, wrote that southeastern New York will be snowy, but with mild temperatures. Both publications released their annual editions this month.

“Get the snow blowers ready in the East,” the Farmer’s Almanac wrote. “An active storm track will deliver above-normal precipitation to the Southeast, Northeast and New England states throughout most of the winter, especially February.”

The Old Farmer’s Almanac agreed that precipitation will be above normal in the North, which it wrote “can expect to be blanketed in white.” It added that “winter will be colder in much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation.”

Some meteorologists don’t agree. The three-month outlook for December through February has an equal chance of above-average, normal or below-normal precipitation and temperatures, according to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Climate Prediction Center. Accuweather, however, forecast that snowfall should be about normal in the East, and cautioned that New York could see “higher-than-normal totals this winter.”

The almanacs, which are both published annually ahead of the harvest season, also offer guides to gardening tips, recipes, fun facts and astronomical data. The two are but a few remaining from a bygone American era when almanacs were more commonly used for weather prognostication. An NPR analysis of the almanacs’ long-term forecasts found them to be about as reliable as a Groundhog Day prediction, although the publications stand by their accuracy.

The average amount of snow to fall on LI from October to April dating back to 1947 is 32.5 inches. The record for most snowfall in a single blizzard on the Island is 33.5 inches that fell in Medford during Winter Storm Nemo in February 2013.

Do This: Long Island Concerts & Events August 25–31

Wild Belle Surf Lodge Montauk
Psychedelic jazz-reggae-electronica rockers Wild Belle invade the Surf Lodge in Montauk on Aug. 28. (Photo: Wild Belle Facebook profile)

Psychedelic jazz-reggae-electronica rockers Wild Belle invade the Surf Lodge in Montauk on Aug. 28. (Photo: Wild Belle Facebook profile)

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Heffron Drive
Hailing from Burbank, California, Heffron Drive was formed after the chance encounter of two Kansas natives on a street of that name who began jamming and creating sweet, beautiful music together. Talk about serendipity. Fate again knocked on their door a short time later, and they joined the mega-popular Nickelodeon show/band Big Time Rush. Following the series’ monstrous run, the melodic duo resurrected Heffron Drive and recorded Happy Mistakes: Unplugged. This is a rare chance to catch these TV/music warriors all up-close and personal, in a killer venue. Don’t miss out. Warming up the crowd are This Is All Now, Sarah Barrios, Kenzie Moore, Jenna Rose and Jesse Sheppard. Revolution Bar and Music Hall, 140 Merrick Rd., Amityville. revolutionli.com $20. 5 p.m. Aug. 25.

Suzanne Vega and Duncan Sheik
Eclectic folk goddess Suzanne Vega unleashes her ’90s storytelling bombshells “Luka” and “Tom’ Diner” in the gorgeous, enigmatic Natural Preserve (key word being “nature” and the protection of it), surrounded by lush, unadulterated wilderness populated by sacred precious critters. Her captivating delivery transposed atop mesmerizing guitar strumming is enough to entrance any music fan. storytelling to he strums of her acoustic guitar has earned her a loyal following. Duncan Sheik will undoubtedly serenade all those in attendance with his 1996 hit “Barely Breathing,” and other tunes, including “Summer Morning,” “Photograph,” “Half a Room,” and tracks from the Tony Award-winning musical Spring Awakening, for which he composed the soundtrack. Wow. Sands Point Preserve, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point. sandspointpreserveconservancy.org $45-$125. 5 p.m. Aug. 25.

Pina LoGiudice
Dr. Oz declares her as a “world expert” in the field of natural medicine. She’s a member of the Holistic Moms Association, and a slew of other groups whose mission is you and your family’s well-being. Big Pharma probably isn’t too happy with her, either. Come and meet this incredible person, who has dedicated her life to restoring the life and vitality of all who are in distress, the natural way, free from harmful chemicals and pharmaceutical byproducts. (Yuck.) This extraordinary natural health expert will be speaking about, and signing, her new book, The Little Book of Health and Beauty. Tell her your natural health story, too, and let’s keep this important dialogue alive! Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington. bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 7 p.m. Aug. 25

Jimmy Buffet & The Coral Reefers
Nothing signals, nor encapsulates, the end of summer quite like Buffet’s legendary gigs at Jones Beach. Phenomenal vibes, infectious grooves, a massive “ParrotHead” tailgate in Jones Beach’s endless parking lots are just the warmup. The musician best known for his paradise-themed songs is the summer, and his healing tunes always lead to group sing-a-longs and thousands of fans dancing’ along in the theatre, smilin’ and laughin’ and sharin’ the love. Unite and celebrate, grab your George Forman grill, and sway along to “Margaritaville” all night long. Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre, Jones Beach, Ocean Parkway, Wantagh. jonesbeach.com $56-$156. 8 p.m. August 25.

Dave Koz & David Sanborn: Side by Side
Big news arrived in the jazz world last month when acclaimed saxophonists Dave Koz and David Sanborn announced their first-ever tour together. Both saxophonists have had remarkable careers. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dave Koz just wanted to play the saxophone as a way to gain entry into his big brother’s band, but it became a life-long obsession. Koz went on to become a nine-time Grammy Award nominee and chart nine No. 1 albums on Billboard’s Current Contemporary Jazz Album Chart. David Sanborn started playing the saxophone at age three to treat his polio, and by 14 he was able to play with the legends. Sanborn has released 25 albums in his three-and-a-half decade career, including eight gold and one platinum, and won six Grammy Awards. He has been accredited for reintroducing the sax to pop music, through his works with greats like the Rolling Stones and the Eagles. This duo is sure to impress! Don’t miss this gig. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $49.50-$109.50. 8 p.m. Aug. 25.

The Wailers
After Bob Marley’s untimely passing in 1981, his backing band, The Wailers, continued on, performing his soul-satisfying tunes to audiences all across the globe. Although you could never replicate Marley’s distinctive sound, The Wailers are literally the next best thing. Bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett was not only recognized as the musical leader of the group, but was Marley’s most trusted band mate, performing and arranging countless hits in the 1970s. This is an extraordinary chance to witness these soul-soothing music greats in the intimate setting of a truly phenomenal venue. Don’t miss out! The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St. Amagansset. stephentalkhouse.com $75. 8 p.m. Aug. 25.

Reckoning
Do you love the Dead? Consider Jerry Garcia a demigod? Wear tie-dye as much as you possibly can and relish dancin’ with your friends and loved ones, hand in hand, the music just overtaking your very soul!? Then you likely have experienced this amazing band. Reckoning originated on Long Island in 1990, capturing the spirit and emotion of Grateful Dead songs by creating a new take on classic tracks through innovative techniques and improv. Jerry and Pig Pen are both surely smilin’ down from that great, big, jam session up in the sky. Wow. The Space at Westbury, 250 Post Ave., Westbury. thespaceatwestbury.com $10. 8 p.m. Aug. 25.

Prentiss McNeil of The Drifters
Prentiss McNeil was a longtime member of the legendary Drifters, dubbed as the least-stable of the great vocal groups by Rolling Stone. After performing with the group for 15 years, McNeil decided to split off from the group and form his own band, Prentis McNeil and Friends. Known as the Lonely Drifter, Prentiss McNeil continues to perform, often with guest singers. Get ready for a night of sublime music. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $15-$35. 8 p.m. Aug. 26.

Tracy Morgan
The former Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock star amazingly survived a devastating car crash and has made a miraculous recovery. He made his first public appearance at last year’s Emmy Awards, and is now ready to hit the stage once again. We expect Morgan’s sense of humor hasn’t changed all that much. Definitely for a mature crowd. He’ll also be performing back-to-back shows at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown the following night. Morgan is absolutely hilarious! McGuires Comedy Club, 1627 Smithtown Ave., Bohemia. mcguires.govs.com $40-56. 9, 10 p.m. Aug. 26.

Patty Smyth & Scandal
This singer/songwriter/siren is back fronting her killer band and will undoubtedly deliver all the hits that made them both a celebrated act in the ’80s. Expect unforgettable performances of “The Warrior,” “Goodbye to You,” “Love’s Got A Line On You,” “Hands Tied” and “Beat of A Heart,” among many others. Hot damn, son. The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St. Amagansset. stephentalkhouse.com $50. 8 p.m. Aug. 26, 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

Randy Jackson Acoustic Show
The legendary Zebra guitarist will rip through all of his phenomenal licks and hits to help benefit Jill Fazzolare, a local woman who needs HSCT Stem Cell Treatment in her battle against Multiple Sclerosis. Fazzolare will be traveling to Pueblo, Mexico to undergo this life-saving procedure in December, and has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise much-needed funds. Come out and enjoy absolutely amazing music from a true rock legend while raising awareness about this brutal disease. If you can’t make it to the gig, visit Fazzolare’s GoFundMe and share the love. KJ Farrells, 242 Petit Ave., Bellmore. kjfarrells.com $15. 2 p.m. Aug. 27.

United Ink Flight 816 New York Tattoo and Arts Festival
Your skin is a canvas, and your soul is reflected in the fantasmic swirling colors conjured from artists’ transcendental visions. Wow. Pretty heavy. But also very true. This multi-colored ink fest features body art enthusiasts of all shapes, sizes, and designs, united in their undying thirst for creative expression and transforming the human body into absolute masterpieces! There are opportunities to be tattooed by one of 100+ of the country’s best tattoo artists, or simply just hang out in the same room with them, no pressure. All Weekend. Yes. Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City. cradleofaviation.org $12-$60. Aug. 26-28.

Shark Research Lecture
Chris Fischer of OCEARCH, the organization that conducts shark research expeditions off the coast of Long Island, will discuss their current endeavor: tagging and studying juvenile white sharks. Dedicated to the advancement of science surrounding white sharks, Fischer has pioneered more than 24 excursions, in order to better understand these mesmerizing aquatic giants. Come and learn how important these saber-toothed beauties are to the marine ecosystem, and why it’s so important we respect them, too. Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, 200 Main St., Sag Harbor. sagharborwhalingmuseum.org Free. 2 p.m. Aug. 27.

Mary Lee was tagged by scientists off Cape Cod three years ago (Photo courtesy of OCEARCH)
OCEARCH tagged a shark off Cape Cod three years ago (Photo courtesy of OCEARCH)

Blu Mojo
These Long Island blues-jazz hellraisers have been wowing audiences since 2013, leaving showstopping performance after showstopping performance in their wake. Five integral pieces combine to form this musical masterpiece: Paul Curcio on vocals and harmonica, Chuck Russell on guitar, John Giordano on bass, Mike Drums on drums, and Vic Delgado on saxophone. This band loves the blues with a rock infusion and it shows as they put a personal spin on songs from the ’40s and ’50s right up through today’s current artists. Known for an upbeat, funky presentation, and an absolutely brilliant live show, this band delivers, and you don’t want to miss this gig! Treme Blues and Jazz Club, 553 Main St., Islip. tremeislip.com $10. 7 p.m. Aug. 27.

John Pizzarelli
Jazz encapsulates life, in all its tragically impossible beauty. It has the extraordinary capabilities of lifting you up to a higher plain, reaching deep within your soul, and igniting passion and furious inspiration you never quite knew existed. This renowned jazz guitarist/singer/songwriter and bandleader will play mesmerizing, melodic, simply gorgeous tunes that are guaranteed to move you up out your chair, dancin’ along, raising your hands and celebratin’ celebratin’ celebratin’ all of this realm’s enigmatic glory. Hell yeah. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach. whbpac.org $50-$70. 8 p.m. Aug. 27.

All-night Horror Movie Marathon
Six retro slasher flicks will be screened back-to-back in the 12th annual “Pay To Get Out” Horror Movie Marathon that includes prizes, giveaways as well as a $10 discount and free breakfast to anyone that survives the night. The lineup of disturbing, demonic classics includes The Hidden, The Brood, The Company of Wolves, Vampyres, The House by the Cemetery, plus a surprise mystery film1 Get ready to be scared to the bones! Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. cinemaartscentre.org 10 p.m. Aug. 27.

Montez De Durango
Formed back in 1996 in Chicago, Montez de Durango is one of the United State’s premier durganese bands. (Durganese is genre of Mexican music that is a faster version of banda, fyi.) While the grooves of Montez de Durango are deeply influenced by the music of traditional Mexican music, the influences of their hometown Chicago add an American flare. Their infusion of Mexican music into American culture has been nothing less than extraordinary, achieving gold and platinum status for their album De Durango a Chicago, and even namesakes of their own day in Chicago. Their most recent drop, De Vuelta a la Sierra (Return to the Mountain), as hinted at in the title, returns to the origins of this group’s music. Known as “The Kings of Durganese Music,” Montez de Durango is guaranteed to unleash tunes that will enthrall, and inspire. Get ready for a phenomenal show! The Emporium, 9 Railroad Ave., Patchogue. theemporiumny.com $40. 10:30 p.m. Aug. 27.

Charles Esten
Born in Pittsburgh, Esten merges his extraordinary theatrical skills with his unbelievable singing prowess, starting in London when he portrayed Buddy Holly in the West End musical Buddy. From there, he sprung to many other television roles, including recurring spots on Big Love and The Office along with bit parts such as playing the father on Disney Channel’s Jessie and Kelly Bundy’s fiance on the series finale of Married with Children. He is best known, however, for his role as Deacon Claybourne on ABC’s Nashville. Many of the songs he has performed on the show are available on the extremely successful Nashville soundtrack, but he has also produced hit singles, such as “Through the Blue.” Don;t miss this talented actor and musician live, in all his glory. The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. paramountny.com $27- $62. 8 p.m. Aug. 28.

Dick Dale
Casual listeners may recognize his name as the performer of “Misirlou,” the opening track in Pulp Fiction. Fans bow to The King of the Surf Guitar, who invented surf rock—a reverb-laden, speed-picking sound he invented as a mimic to what he heard while surfing. It’s not every day one gets to see a live show by a legend that inspired the likes of Jimi Hendrix. Don’t miss this chance. The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amagansset. stephentalkhouse.com $55-$70. 8 p.m. Aug. 28.

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals
In 1965, Felix Cavaliere formed the famous “The Young Rascals” with Dino Danelli, Edddie Brigati and Gene Cornish. Their rise to stardom actually came in an elite Long Island club, Barge, when promoter Sid Bernstein saw their high-energy performance. After signing to Atalantic Records and changing their names to “The Rascals,” they released several hits including “I’ve Been Lonely for Too Long,” “How Can I Be Sure” and “People Got to Be Free.” The Rascals disbanded in 1972, but this didn’t stop the band from becoming a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and Grammy Hall of Fame. Felix’s Rascals are touring even today, 50 years after their biggest hit “Good Lovin,” and they occasionally merge with another ’60s hit maker, The Zombies. Wow. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach. whbpac.org $65-$85. 8 p.m. Aug. 28.

Wild Belle
Psychedelic rock/ska/reggae/jazz-electronica doesn’t even come close to describing the euphoric sonic nirvana unleashed when this sister-brother duo of Natalie and Elliot Bergman perform live, and this gig, far from the noize of the city and hubbub of suburban chaos, out along the rocky sea-swept shores of enigmatic (Read: “5 Real-Life ‘Stranger Things’-Montauk, Long Island Parallels“) Montauk, will undoubtedly be surreal. Yowzler. The Surf Lodge, 183 Edgemere St., Montauk. thesurflodge.com 6 p.m. Aug. 28.

Ben Langer
This 17-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist performs deeply moving, uplifting songs that tug at audience’s heartstrings and showcase a much older soul. His guitarwork is impressive, and its emotional conjecture is real. Definitely worth checking this rising star out, especially at a venue as storied as The Stephen Talkhouse. The Stephen Talkhouse, 161 Main St., Amagansset. stephentalkhouse.com $10. 8 p.m. Aug. 30.

Culture Club
The name “Culture Club” will be forever known as one of the biggest and best known ’80s bands, performing the difficult feat of obtaining seven straight Top 10 hits in the UK and nine Top 10 singles in the United States. The key player in Culture Club was the flamboyant Boy George, known for his biting wit and, well, boyish features. Success eluded the band until their massive breakthrough “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me,” and from there, it was a steady climb to the most popular pop group in the world. Boy George’s long battle against drugs led to a breakup in 1987, but the band was reunited by 1998, releasing a No. 4 hit in the UK called “I Just Wanna Be Loved.” With literally too many hits to count, this performance is a must-attend for all music lovers. Opening the  show is Groves. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com  $69.50-$199.50. 8 p.m. Aug. 30.

-Compiled by Michael Bakshandeh, Timothy Bolger & Zachary B. Tirana III

Long Island Golf Fans Flood to Bethpage Black for Barclays Tournament

The Barclays
Phil Mickelson during the first round of The Barclay's - PGA Tour Playoffs / FedEx Cup at Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, NY August 23, 2012 (Photo credit: Kevin Kane)

By John Dundon

Spectators flocked to Bethpage Black in forces for the opening round of The Barclays professional golf tournament on Thursday.

It was as beautiful a day for golf as you’ll get in the dead of summer. Just enough breeze to keep everyone comfortable, and not a cloud in the sky for most of the morning at Bethpage State Park. Among those in attendance were golf fans of all ages—including some youngsters who were pumped to get their first chance at watching the pros up close.

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“It’s so cool here, my favorite golfer is Jason Day, well and Dustin Johnson,” 9-year-old Kyle Kurjiaka enthusiastically told the Press as Day and Johnson’s group made its way through the 15th hole.

Golf’s horizons have expanded, as has its following, which seemingly gains in popularity every time the sport makes a stop on the Island. It’s something the PGA has recognized, as four more events have been scheduled at Bethpage Black, a public course, through 2027, including the PGA Championship in 2019.

“It’s his first year playing, so we figured we’d come out and get an appreciation for it, get a feel for Bethpage Black,” Plainview native Brian Powers said on behalf of his grandson, as he watched a Lucas Glover tee shot in awe. “It’s terrific here.”

Seated atop golf’s pinnacle are Aussie Jason Day, 23-year-old phenome Jordan Spieth, and five-time major champion and fan favorite Phil Mickelson. For sure, Long Island loves its golf—and those who make the sport what it is.

“New York loves you, Phil!” one spectator shouted as Mickelson watched his tee shot soar on the par three 17th hole.

Mickelson is no stranger to Bethpage Black. He’s played in each of the three tournaments that the Black has hosted, which includes two second place finishes at the US Open in ’02 and ’09.

As Mickelson was staring down an approach shot, the result of a shanked drive on the outskirts of the 16th hole, spectators relished the chance to come within feet of the world’s 13th ranked golfer.

“Phil, you need to go left of the pin here,” one spectator whispered as Mickelson sized up his shot. “I agree,” Mickelson replied with a smirk.

And as 1 p.m. approached, anticipation for the aforementioned Spieth’s Bethpage premier did, too. He walked to the tee box and was serenaded by fans chanting his name.

Spieth’s Bethpage Black christening is one of the main storylines of the weekend. At 23, Spieth has won two majors, came within inches of winning a third at the Masters in 2015 and is the reigning FedEx Cup champion.

For Spieth, a win at Bethpage Black, which he said was “up there with the hardest, probably, top five courses I’ve ever played in my life,” would be another notch in his already impressive belt.

Judging by his following on the course Thursday, the fans wouldn’t mind seeing that result.

The Barlcays concludes Sunday.

The Fascist & The Scarecrow: If Only Donald Trump Had A Brain

Donald Trump

By Arnold Dodge

“When somebody hurts you, just go after them as viciously and as violently as you can.”
Donald Trump

“If I only had a brain!”
The Scarecrow, “The Wizard of Oz”

At the recent Republican National Convention, former New Hampshire Sen. Gordon Humphrey had submitted a petition from delegates like him to force a roll call vote in a last-ditch attempt to derail the Donald Trump juggernaut. The negative reaction from the podium reminded him of another era.

“I sought to be recognized to raise a point of parliamentary inquiry and was immediately drowned out by people I would refer to as ‘brownshirts,’” he told MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff. When asked what he meant by “brownshirts,” the conservative Senator, who’d served in Congress from 1979 to 1990, replied: “I mean people who act like fascists.”

With Humphrey’s accusation in mind, let’s examine Trump’s quest for the White House now that the billionaire has ascended to the top of the GOP food chain as the standard bearer of his party. His newest campaign team swears that he will pivot to become presidential timber.

Presidential? Hardly.

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Trump continues to binge on adolescent tantrums, engage in personal attacks, lob incendiary salvos at will. Among the cringe-worthy moments were an attack on a Gold Star mother and a ghastly suggestion that “the Second Amendment people” may be able to stop Hillary—a not-so-veiled call to arms for gun owners to take matters into their own hands.

But the most troubling of all these outrages could be Trump’s assertion that the only way he can lose Pennsylvania in the general election is if the Hillary Clinton camp cheats. Here he crosses a new boundary, no mean feat for a serial boundary-crosser. This time he is looking to breach a firewall, one that is a bulwark against tyranny. This time he is signaling the end of democracy.

Not too long ago another self-centered, self-styled demagogue (who had no regard for the commonweal) used this playbook to transform a nation and pursue world domination. Lest we forget, on August 19, 1934, Adolf Hitler was elected the absolute ruler of Germany through a democratic process, receiving 90 percent of the vote in a plebiscite.

Here is the Nazi dictator in his own words:

“The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered.”

Read more about the rise of totalitarianism in 1930s Germany and brace yourself. Here are some ideas about the period from Haig Bosmajian, a scholar of rhetoric and freedom of speech and the recipient of the 1983 George Orwell Award for his book, The Language of Oppression:

“Hitler and the Nazis recognized that if the German people had a group mentality, they would be much more receptive to Nazi ideology and propaganda. To reinforce this mindset in the German people…the Nazis held events that required mass participation and did not invite individuality… Anyone who did not openly participate or share the emotion of the rest of the crowd was easily identified and dealt with by either the crowd itself or by security personnel.

“[Another tactic Hitler used] was convincing his audience that the rest of the world thought of Germany as inferior, second-class citizens. This angered the crowd, who had been comprehensively indoctrinated to believe that they were the master race.”

Sound familiar?

Where to now?

There may be hope yet.

While Trump accuses Hillary of playing the woman’s card, sane people may have their own card to play:

Trump doesn’t have a brain.

If he were intelligent, he would be able to coherently express an idea without bombast; be aware that he contradicts himself from one speech to the next; understand that he repeatedly reveals his ignorance about domestic and foreign policy; change his pattern of doubling down when caught in a lie, and realize that he offers a juvenile’s simplistic response to the most complex and important issues of the day.

If Trump somehow were to stay on message and deliver even a modicum of rationality in his remarks, then the fabric of American democracy as we know it might become unraveled.

That’s not to say that, whether Trump wins or loses, there won’t be domestic instability. His followers are in such a lather that they can’t help but continue the ruthless onslaught begun by the Donald—and they don’t care in the least that he is completely witless.

“Hitler and the Nazis recognized that if the German people had a group mentality, they would be much more receptive to Nazi ideology and propaganda.”

But let’s trust—for the moment—in the ability of those who have been smitten with Trump fever to calm down when they can take a deep breath. If they begin to realize that their champion is clueless, maybe they will come to their senses. For those thinking of voting for Trump, perhaps the sheer magnitude of his ignorance will steer them toward a wiser choice.

Trump’s advisors would be of service to their boss if they had the guts to penetrate the implacable redoubt that he has erected to keep out advice. Unlike the Scarecrow, Trump doesn’t realize he is brainless. The Scarecrow, on the other hand, laments throughout his journey on the yellow brick road, “If I only had a brain.”

At the end of the tale, the Wizard comes to his rescue:

“Back where I come from, we have universities–seats of great learning–where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts, and with no more brains than you have. But they have one thing you haven’t got: a diploma! Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the University…I confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D.: Doctor of Thinkology!”

Too bad for The Donald that his diploma will be issued by Trump University.

Trump as Hitler? Maybe a bridge too far.

Trump as fascist? Getting closer.

For now, let’s go with Fascist Lite.

And hope that the better angels of our fellow citizens will win out over the dark energy tapped into by the Trump machine.

But let’s be vigilant. Let’s be on the lookout for an unrepentant narcissist who manages to capture public attention through hate-filled rhetoric.

The next one may have a brain.

Arnold Dodge, PhD, is an associate professor of education at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University, where he serves as the chairperson of the Department of Educational Leadership and Administration. Dr. Dodge is a former teacher, principal and superintendent. In his 45th year in education, he is particularly focused on the effects of high-stakes testing on schools.

(Featured photo credit: Michael Vadon)

Leonardo DiCaprio & Nina Agdal In Hamptons Fender-Bender

Leonardo Dicaprio Nina Agdal
Oscar-winner Leonardo Dicaprio and swimsuit supermodel girlfriend Nina Agdal were involved in a minor car accident in the Hamptons. (Photos: Leonardo DiCaprio and Nina Agdal's Facebook profiles)

By Sylvia Durres

If you were stuck in traffic en route to the Hamptons this weekend and thought you spotted Hollywood hunk Leonardo DiCaprio chillin’ with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model on the side of Montauk Highway as you rolled by, you weren’t hallucinating.

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Oscar-winning megastar DiCaprio and his Danish supermodel girlfriend Nina Agdal were involved in a minor car accident this past weekend in the Hamptons, according to the New York Post‘s Page Six and DailyMail.

DiCaprio, 41, and Agdal, 24, were riding along Montauk Highway in Wainscott in a Range Rover on Sunday when their car was rear-ended by a Mini Cooper, say the tabloids, and were temporarily stranded on the side of the road while police investigated the scene and a tow truck hauled away the Mini Cooper.

The acclaimed actor, his gorgeous squeeze, and the driver of the Mini Cooper were all uninjured, the outlets report, and DiCaprio (ever the gallant gentleman and forever my Jack Dawson) was seen by witnesses checking to make sure the other driver was okay, while lovingly comforting Agdal as she affectionately nuzzled into her main man’s chest—PDA galore, actually, show the photos!

DiCaprio, who first melted hearts around the globe alongside Kate Winslet in 1997’s Titanic and won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in his portrayal of creepy Long Island financial fraudster Jordan Belfort in 2013’s The Wolf of Wall Street, brought home an Academy Award earlier this year for his performance in The Revenant. He’s also been an activist for animal rights and the environment, particularly speaking out against global warming.

You might say it’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Tinsel Town heartthrob. Besides the fender-bender, he recently got tangled up in a U.S. Department of Justice corruption investigation ironically involving allegations The Wolf of Wall Street was bankrolled by misappropriated funds from a multi-billion-dollar Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund. (DiCaprio is not named in the DOJ’s complaint, but referred to as “Hollywood Actor 1.”) Read The DOJ Complaint HERE

Related: “Skinning The Wolf Of Wall Street: Victims Speak Out

Agdal graced the 50th anniversary cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and has modeled for Victoria’s Secret and Billabong, among many other fashion mags and campaigns.

No word yet on whether DiCaprio, who’s dated plenty of models before—including a five-year romance with Brazilian bombshell Gisele Bundchen—will do as Queen Bee suggests and finally “put a ring on it.”

Either way, my heart will go on.

(Photos: Leonardo DiCaprio and Nina Agdal’s Facebook profiles)

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