Patrick Long


In Floyd Harbor, Author Joel Mowdy Brings Mastic Beach To Page

Left: Joel Mowdy (Photo by Alfredas Motiejunas). Book cover courtesy of Catapult.

Author Joel Mowdy has lived many lives.

He is currently a teacher at Green School in the jungles of Bali, Indonesia where students learn, among other things, how to be environmentally conscious. It’s a career path dreamed up during time spent in his wife Simona’s home country of Lithuania, where he still owns a forest homestead and where his son, Oskar, was born. It came after unsuccessfully seeking employment in Nottingham, England while he and Simona lived off of dwindling savings. The two moved there a few years after meeting one another and falling in love in Southampton, where they both worked in the same restaurant after he graduated from Hofstra University.   

Mowdy’s post-grad life seems the stuff of novels, but his new book, Floyd Harbor, out May 14 from Catapult, harkens back to the time before all the journeying began. The collection of 12 short stories, set mostly in the 1990s, reflect his youthful days on the South Shore of Long Island.

The author was born and raised along with 12 brothers and sisters in Mastic Beach. It was a youth spent, “playing in the woods, camping on the Sound, crabbing, and swimming in the Atlantic.”

But the subject matter the book breaches is not that of warm summertime recollection. Its focus lies more in the perpetual struggle of the marginalized Mastic Beach residents Mowdy came to know in his teenage years. People living in broken homes and afflicted by poverty.

“I’d go to friends’ houses and never once see a parent around,” he recalls. “They’d have one parent working, one in jail or just gone, or their single father was working full time, going to weekly drug counseling meetings and taking a taxi to the clinic every day to get their dose of methadone.”

These are the same trying circumstances that arise in the world of Floyd Harbor, and its inhabitants deal with them in myriad ways. Some kick around in dead end jobs, some look for ways to game the system, most dream of a more favorable situation. They find themselves mixed up in drug use, money making schemes, sordid sexual experiences. They yearn for youthful thrills, cool cars, love, recognition.

The stories in Floyd Harbor present a number of weaving interconnections: characters reappear, events reoccur, and perspectives are subsequently altered.

“My plan was simply to write the kinds of stories I wanted to read, and the connections happened organically,” the author says of the book’s correlating narratives, “scene, setting, or character in one story would suggest another story. Two stories would suggest a third.”

When asked how much of the book is autobiographical, Mowdy is reluctant to tip his hand.

“Somewhere between zero and one hundred percent,” he quips, but there is no denying that his fictional world is based primarily in reality.

Characters cruise up and down William Floyd Parkway, Sunrise Highway, and Guy Lombardo Avenue. They shop at King Kullen and Handy Pantry. They dine at New Rooster Kitchen and John’s Pizzeria, both still standing on Neighborhood Road in his hometown.

Some of the experiences within are primarily his own, too. Much like many of the characters in the book, he once “took on whatever soul-sucking job” he could in order to make ends meet. He too felt the tightening grip of the post-high school hometown trap and dodged recruitment commercials like Will in “Salty’s.” He experienced firsthand the heart-wrenching effects of his Vietnam veteran father’s PTSD just like Sal in “The Shaft.”

The big difference between Mowdy and many of the people who inhabit the Mastic Beach portrayed in Floyd Harbor is that he eventually left. His experiences as an educator in Bali and on his forest homestead in Lithuania will be what informs his writing going forward, but his first book will stand as a tribute to that former life on faraway Long Island. Twelve true-to-life stories stemming from a revelation brought to him by his first English professor at Suffolk County Community College.

He learned that he didn’t have to write about, “a certain class of people who held enviable jobs, went to weekly therapy sessions, and had epiphanies in exotic locales.”

“Not that these were bad stories,” he says. “They were just not my stories. My characters too could suffer from broken hearts, disappointments, self-doubt, loss, trauma, and embarrassment, but with the additional pressures of rent or tuition due, unemployment, no phone service, an empty fridge, fractured family, addiction, and a lack of transportation,” he realized, “I could write about Mastic Beach.”

Floyd Harbor is out May 14 on Catapult. Joel will be doing signings at McNally Jackson Books on 52 Prince Street in Manhattan at 7 p.m. May 15 and at Brickhouse Brewery on 67 West Main Street in Patchogue on May 17.

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls Bringing Positivity to The Paramount

Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls play The Paramount on May 11.

English singer-songwriter and bestselling author Frank Turner, who offers both poetry and prose that is uncommonly uplifting, will be bringing his philosophy of optimism to The Paramount on May 11 along with his band, The Sleeping Souls. He recently spoke to the Press about his eastern European fan base, finding silver linings, and the creative process in both his new album, Be more Kind, and his new book, Try This At Home.

You’ve played on Long Island before, right? We have yeah, although I think it’s been a while since we’ve been through. We came through with Dropkick Murphys in 2012, I think playing the same venue actually. We’re all excited to come back again.

How did you like the Paramount? I remember it being one the best shows of the whole tour, and I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to you (laughs). We all had an amazing time. Somewhere in my wardrobe I have a Strong Island t-shirt that I got that day. I’m going to try and dig it out for the tour so I can wear it that night.

Did you get to spend any time here outside of the venue? Passingly. You know it’s the nature of the beast on tour that I only see a lot of car parks and dressing rooms and hotels. I try my best to make time to have a look around and take advantage of my privilege of being in different parts of the world, but I also have a job to do.

Are there any spots you’ve gone to on tour that took you by surprise? Yeah, I think one of the things I would say is that quite often the places that are further off the beaten path on the touring scheduling can be the more exciting places to play because there’s this sense of appreciation for you actually having made the journey out there. I’ve toured in eastern Europe a lot, particularly in the Baltic states in Latvia and Lithuania, and the crowds there are just bananas, and a big part of it is that the kids there are just like, “We’re so glad that you took the time to come.”

Can you tell me about the new album, Be More Kind? Well, one of the interesting things about this record from my point of view was that for the first time pretty much ever in my career I had the time, the money, and the inclination to really take my time in the studio. In the past quite often I’d arrive in the studio with my band and we know exactly how the record is going to sound. There’s not really a lot of experimentation. This time around, when we arrived at the studio in Fort Worth, Texas, I had the songs written but the arrangements were still kind of nebulous in my head, so we really spent a lot of time kind of messing around with different sounds, different textures, different instruments, that kind of thing. It was a really rewarding and creative experience. I’m not sure I’d want to do that every time I make a record but certainly it was a fun thing to do one time around.

A running theme of the new album and in much of your music is maintaining a sense of optimism in spite of harsh realities. Is voicing that idea something you have to make a conscious effort of or is it just your natural disposition? It’s a funny thing. It’s not something I sat down and planned in any way…but it’s definitely true looking through my songs, particularly over the last four albums or so, that there is a kind of optimistic angle in a lot of it, but I think that that’s normative as much as it is positive in the sense that I’m not entirely sure that I am inherently all that optimistic. It’s more just that, if I’m going to spend the time and the energy singing about something, then I want to try and make something positive out of it.

When we interviewed Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly, who you’re doing the Salty Dog cruise with this year, he described you on a previous cruise walking around with an acoustic guitar doing impromptu poolside shows. Don’t you do that sort of thing when you’re on tour as well? (laughs) Yeah, well I mean at the end of the day I love to play, you know what I mean? I’m so lucky to do what I do because playing songs on guitar is my favorite thing in the whole world. I understand the necessity for us to have shows in a venue that are promoted ahead of time but pretty regularly, when we’re on tour, if there’s an opportunity for me to grab a guitar and just go to a bar and play some more I’ll do that, too.

Can you tell me a bit about your new book, Try This At Home? It’s a book about songwriting. I wrote a book a few years ago about touring and to everybody’s surprise, including mine, it went over really well and it was a successful publication and all this, so everybody was interested in me writing another one. I didn’t want to repeat myself, I felt like I’d said what I had to say about touring, and I hadn’t written anything about songwriting. I’m always thinking about songs so there was plenty to write about, shall we say. It came out in the UK a few weeks ago and it’s done very well this time around as well so, yeah, I’ve got two books under my belt, I guess that makes me an author.

The Paramount, 370 New York Avenue, Huntington, $25-$70, 7:30 p.m. May 11

Flogging Molly Guitarist Dennis Casey Talks Up Long Island Roots

Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly has local ties.

L.A.-born Celtic punk band Flogging Molly has been blending traditional Irish sounds with politically conscious punk rock since 1997. They’ll be bringing their notoriously frenetic live act to the Paramount in Huntington on February 26 in support of their new album, Life is Good. Guitarist Dennis Casey took a moment out of the European leg of their world tour to talk about life on Long Island, the birth of the new album, and the state of modern music.

So you’ve spent some time as a Long Islander? Yeah I lived in Greenlawn. I married a Long Island girl so that’s what brought me out there.

Any interesting observations about the Island? It’s a beautiful place with the beaches and then out east and being close to the city, although Greenlawn was just far enough that it wasn’t so easy to get in. There’s a lot there. I had the same complaint I think everybody does: property taxes. That was the only bum out.

Do you have any favorite places out here? My favorite place is Long Beach. I spent a lot of time there and that’s a really beautiful beach. Reminds me of California.

You guys have played the Paramount a few times before. How do you like it? I’m not just saying this because I lived there but it’s one of the better venues. They really take good care of us. The backstage is so cool and set up great and there’s a pool table and lots of room. What’s the brewery that brought us a whole keg of beer? I think it’s called Long Ireland. And you know, the promoter and the people who own the venue, they take really good care of you, and then you’ve got the Founder’s Room downstairs, that’s a cool hangout.

Are there any little underrated spots that you love to visit on tour? There’s a city called Rothenburg in Germany that was spared being bombed [in World War II]. One of the top general’s grandmother was from there, I guess. He instructed not to bomb the city. It’s absolutely gorgeous; surrounded by a medieval wall and the architecture is almost a thousand years old. It’s so beautiful, it’s like a little fairy tale place. We played a festival there a couple years ago and that’s how I found it.

Can you tell me a bit about the newest album, Life is Good? It sounds a bit more rock ‘n’ roll than the others. Yeah, it’s funny. It’s interesting how people perceive our music because I think since the day we started this it’s been “this one sounds more punk rock than the other one” or “this one sounds more Irish than the other one.” It’s hard for me to tell, you know, we don’t sit down and intend to do anything like that, it’s just kind of what happens. This record is kind of a document of a band that’s been together 20 years, touring all over the world. The way I would describe it is more mature perhaps, tighter, and more. I don’t know, I always like to say a record is like a document of the band at this point in our career. I think the music we make and the experiences we have are just reflected on it. Like [singer Dave Best’s] mom died during it, my father passed away while we were writing it, so that’s all reflected in it.

You started out a Zeppelin and AC/DC guy, right? Yeah when I first started out of course guitar music is what turned me on. I don’t come from a musical family so I discovered stuff on my own. When I discovered Dead Kennedy’s I was like “oh my…” and that changed my whole trajectory.

Dead Kennedy’s have a lot of politics in their music. You guys do too, maybe not as aggressively, but it’s all in there, right? Yeah, Dave always seems to address that. I think coming from [Ireland], a country that was occupied for many years, I think he’s really more sensitive than some, or most, others on that.

Are there any big influences that may not be directly reflected by the sound of the record? I don’t think there was anything new, but there are seven of us and we’re from all over the place. We weren’t like The Ramones who grew up in Forest Hills together. We’re from all over and we’re different ages and I think there’s a lot of different influences that are always peeking in and out.

Life is Good came out in June 2017 but you’ve since released a few new songs (“Going Home” and “There’s Nothing Left, pt. 2”). Is that in keeping with the modern music landscape? Yeah, the music business has been changing rapidly for what now, 10 years? 15 years? You have to kind of go with it. Having said that I think we will always make full length records. I think that’s just something us and our fanbase is into. I think, as well, we did that this time because there was a six year gap between records so there was a lot of extra material. Instead of putting 19 songs on a record you can, with Spotify, sort of put out 12 and then release some other stuff.

How do you find the musical landscape today as opposed to 20-something years ago when Flogging Molly began? Have internet and social media and streaming services made it worse or better or something in between? I mean we’re obviously selling less records but we’re also selling more tickets than ever so I would say it’s helping. The old days are not coming back so I don’t think someone should really wish or try to make that happen at this point in their careers. Putting out a great live show is very important.

What can we expect from the show with Lucero on February 26th? Yeah that’s a great lineup. You can expect a party-your-ass-off-have-a-great-time Flogging Molly show. Lucero is also a great band so I think it’s going to be a great night of music.

Flogging Molly with special guest Lucero will be at the Paramount, 370 New York Ave, Huntington, $37.50-$79.50, 8 p.m. Feb. 26

11 Questions With PUP Guitarist Steve Sladkowski

Toronto-based punk rockers PUP have racked up awards, been lauded by Rolling Stone and have performed on Last Call with Carson Daly. In anticipation of their Dec. 28 show at The Paramount along with Thursday and Frank Iero and the Patience, we spoke to guitarist Steve Sladkowski about endless touring, old school video games, his connection to Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, plus sports, music and life.

Long Island Press: You guys have actually been out here to the Paramount and Jones Beach before, did you get to see Long Island at all?

Steve Sladkowski: Yeah a good friend of ours actually lives on Long Island and we’ve stayed with him a couple of times, we stayed with him after that Paramount show, and we were able to just hang out, you know get bagels and just sort of chill out. Yeah it was great. Paramount is a beautiful theater, the staff was great, I’m really excited to be back it’s nice to play kind of old historic theaters.

LIP: So you guys tour all the time, I saw in an interview you’ve done something like 600 shows?

SS: Yeah a couple of years back we did like 250 in a calendar year, which was a bit suicidal. I think at this point it’s sort of been so much of…how you grow a project and how you really connect with fans is by taking the project on the road, you know? People aren’t buying records kind of anywhere these days but especially not for bands that sound like us, because we are more album driven rather than single, and you know I’m cool with that, and it’s nice to tour and kind of grow a project that way. It’s very organic and there’s more people at every show we play so it doesn’t feel as rough as it could feel.

LIP: Yeah it’s interesting, no one buys records and that industry has declined but there is definitely a more grassroots feel to it now and it’s cool in its own way, although maybe there’s not quite as much money in all of it.

SS: Yeah if you’re looking for money then maybe you should be in finance…and I think the way it’s kind of broken has benefited bands like us who are willing to work hard and be dedicated to a project and a band for all the right reasons.

LIP: Are there any smaller towns that surprised you or impressed you at all?

SS: Yeah there are a lot, you know one of the places that we’ve consistently had great shows that we never would have expected is in the state of Iowa believe it or not. We’ve had a lot of really cool little shows there. You know any place you play where bands don’t come through as often as, you know, the coastal regions or some of the major cities…are always very, very appreciative. But yeah I feel like some of the small Midwestern states often are some of the most surprising. They’re very punk rock, you know, they take care of their own. You never have to worry about the mosh pit getting out of control because the people who control it are the ones who are in it.

LIP: What do you listen to?

SS: We listen to Sword and Scale obviously, there’s a current events podcast I listen to when we’re on the road, you know it’s hard to keep up with what’s going on in Canada, it’s called Canada Land. It’s just like a current events and media criticism podcast, and we were lucky to, we hung out with Roman Mars who does 99% Invisible in Oakland last time we were there. He’s super cool he’s like an old D.C. Dischord punk, which was an insane thing to find out, so we listen to that podcast and you know obviously This American Life is a great one. And you know music too, we try to listen to new music or stuff that we wouldn’t necessarily be encountering all the time in clubs. So that’s anything from you know your Kendrick Lamar to your Waxahatchee to Devo to all kinds of stuff.

LIP: It’s interesting how hip hop kind of influences any [genre of] music today.

SS: Yeah and it’s kind of the great, in my opinion, the great, like, cultural movement and artform of our generation…I’m 29, I’m almost 30, and hip hop has been such a significant part, and I wouldn’t even consider myself. I’m a bit of a head but I’m by no means a super big connoisseur and I love hip hop and I know a fair amount about it. But even just being on the periphery, it’s so influential and in Toronto now especially you know R&B and Hip Hop are such a force from Drake on down…our guy Daniel Caesar who we’ve played a couple of gigs with just got two Grammy nominations, which is amazing.

LIP: The DVP and Old Wounds videos are old school video game based, they’re awesome, do you guys still play those 8-bit and 16-bit games at all?

SS: A little bit, I still have an OG Sega Genesis but I want to get one of those new consoles that have an actual port for the cartridges. But you know I don’t have a ton of time for video games now, just because when we’re on the road I’m actually trying to, you know, stare less at screens? Trying to read just to kind of balance myself out, but I do really love the classic SNES and Sega Genesis. I still think that those are some of the greatest games ever made, I like games that feel like you can finish them.

LIP: Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things is in another two of your videos and that inspired him to start his own band, Calpurnia. Have you had a chance to see them perform at all?

SS: Yeah I saw them a couple weeks ago at the Horseshoe tavern, which is a legendary Toronto venue [currently] celebrating its 70th anniversary. It’s like an old country bar but sometimes there will be an unannounced gig like Spoon and it’s like an 180 cap venue.

LIP: I have an amazing quote from Finn: “PUP is probably the most influential band in the last 10 years of my life – them and the Beatles.”

SS: He’s way more influential and successful than we probably ever will be (laughs). I can’t wish success on someone [more]. We as a whole band have been able to watch him grow as sort of an artist and he’s passionate and hardworking and, like, kind of nerdy, you know? He just loves music and comedy and acting and I honestly do think he’s going to be that rare example of someone who finds success as a kid early and will translate it into something far more meaningful and powerful for people.

His parents are amazing which I don’t think always gets out. His parents are always around and helping out and looking out for him and making sure he has, as much as possible, a regular teenage experience which I think is important. Yeah,he’s a good kid, man, I’m really, really glad that we were able to help him out and he’s obviously helped us out a lot.

LIP: I know you’re a huge fan of the Blue Jays and the Raptors, so, game 7, Rogers Centre, behind home plate or game 7, Air Canada Centre, courtside seats?

SS: Oh god…wow…the Jays have been around longer and that would be bigger for me. But if you asked my girlfriend it would be Raptors (laughs) so maybe it should be that. Yeah, that’s a hard pick but I’ve been a Jays fan since 1991, my earliest memories are of begging my dad to take me to the game when the Jays were in their first big championship push.

LIP: On your Instagram that you have a signed Michael Jordan baseball photo with a really interesting caption on it about “the impermanence of glory and success.” Can you elaborate on that?

SS: Yeah, I think part of that is a reminder to stay humble. There’s nothing more humbling than the greatest athlete to ever a play a sport failing spectacularly at another sport, and I think it’s a testament to the fact that you need to work hard. It’s very rare in this music thing to find people that are so prodigious that they just can get by on raw talent, and it’s just a reminder to keep your head down and keep working and not get trapped or wrapped up in your own bullshit and not let success define you.

PUP will perform with Thursday and Frank Iero and the Patience at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave., Huntington. $20-85. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28.


Long Island Oktoberfest Events 2017

The centuries-old, 16-day traditional German festival known as Oktoberfest starts Sept. 16 in Munich, but those unable to fly to Bavaria for it can join in the beer-soaked festivities on Long Island.

From authentic German restaurants serving up mouthwatering Bavarian delicacies such as sauerbraten to massive outdoor festivals under tents big enough to fit a circus, there are dozens of Oktoberfest-themed events across Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Sure, a few on this list are local pubs offering special Oktoberfest menus and others are simply fall-themed pumpkin beer and cider parties, but they’re all worth raising a glass to!

Fest biers, a Ceremonial barrel, traditional German accordian tunes and dinner specialties. This traditional Beer Garten offers German and craft beer, and is known for their award winning Pig Wings. They serve 24 beers on tap, and 19 bottled beers. Prost Grill and Garten, 652 Franklin Ave., Garden City. Sept. 16.

Celebration of German-American heritage with lots of music including bands from Germany and Austria. Plattduetsche Park Restaurant and Biergarten 1132 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square. $10. 11 a.m. Sept. 17.

Authentic Bavarian restaurant serving German specialties. Performance by accordionist Frank Rapuano. Oak Chalet, 1940 Bellmore Ave., Bellmore. Prices vary. 6-9 p.m. every Thurs., Sept. 21-Oct. 26, plus Weds. Oct. 11 & 25.

10th Annual Oktoberfest
German beers under a giant Oktoberfest tent. Buy a beer, get a free one-liter stein. German food, music and stein-holding contest. TJ Finley’s, 42 East Main St., Bay Shore. 3-9 p.m. Sept. 16.

This authentic Bavarian Biergarten billed as “home of Das Boot” will have BB & The Polkas performing, plus raffles, giveaways, a special menu and, of course, German beer. Das Biergarten, 1148 West Beech St., Long Beach. 12 p.m. Sept. 23.

Oktoberfest at Resurrection Lutheran Church
A day of German festivity to benefit the missions of the Resurrection Lutheran Church. Seven-piece Oktoberfest band die Schlauberger provides the music, the church provides the German food. Beer and wine purchased separately. Advance tickets sold thru Sept. 22, $35 for adults, $10 per children ages 4-12. Children under 3 are free. Day-of tickets are $45 at the door. Resurrection Lutheran Church, 420 Stewart Avenue, Garden City. 
6:30-10:30 p.m. Sept. 23.

Oktoberfest at Black Forest Brewhaus
A nearly month-long celebration of Oktoberfest including German food, beer, and music every day. Artists include Die Spitzbaum, Frank Rapuano, Bud & Linda, the Austrian Boys, and the Bratwurst Boys. Black Forest Brewhaus, 2015 New Highway, Farmingdale. Sept. 29-Oct. 21.

9th annual Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck Oktoberfest
Support this camp for disabled children at their 9th annual Oktoberfest celebration hosted by the Rotary Club of the Moriches. Festivities include traditional German food, vendors, and live entertainment. $10 admission includes a complimentary beer or soda for anyone age 21 and over and goes to benefit Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck. Free entry for anyone under 21 and a carnival for the kids. Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, 2 Chet Swezey Rd., Center Moriches. 6-11 p.m. Sept. 29, 12-11 p.m. Sept. 30, Oct. 1.

Oktoberfest at the Mansion
A weekend Oktoberfest celebration including German food and seasonal craft beers. Music from Eddie Forman and Josek Kroboth. Contests held by Sam Adams on Saturday and Sunday. Broadcast live with Uwe Riggers, host of 90.3 FM’s German Hit Parade. Family fest on Sunday with face painting, a clown, and shuplatter dancers. Glen Cove Mansion, 200 Dosoris Ln., Glen Cove. $60 all you can eat and drink 1-8 p.m. Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Street fair on the main drag, beer garden at the gazebo in village square. Wellwood Avenue, Lindenhurst. 12-5 p.m. Oct. 1.

Oktoberfest Celebration
Dine on beer-glazed bratwurst, sauerbraten and German chocolate cake, and wash it all down with German-style brews in a communal atmosphere. Post Office Café, 130 West Main St., Babylon. Prices Vary. Oct. 5-7.

Oktoberfest Celebration
A special Oktoberfest menu will be available, featuring Bavarian pretzel bites, sauerbraten sliders, potato soup, slow-cooked German short ribs, wurst platter and more! Maxwell’s, 501 Main St., Islip. Prices vary. Oct. 5-7.

Folksbier will be providing the entertainment. Hoptron Brewtique, 22 West Main St., Pachogue. 4-10 p.m. Oct. 7.

Featuring tractor rides, a pumpkin maze, live music, German food and beverages, bounce houses and vendors. Eisenhower Park Kite Field, Hempstead Turnpike, East Meadow. Free. 12–5 p.m. Oct. 7-9.

More than 20 different varieties of pumpkin beers on tap and casks including local brews from Long Ireland, Fire Island Beer Co., Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. and Blue Point Brewing Co. First 200 guests drink out of mini-pumpkins. TJ Finley’s, 42 East Main St., Bay Shore. Free. 6 p.m., Oct. 14.

Oktoberfest Montauk 2017
Zum Schneider Bavarian Bierhaus and German Restaurant in Montauk invites you to come enjoy pork shank, broiled chicken, giant pretzels and a host of different imported Oktoberfest beers on two separate weekends in October. Music from Mosl Franzi and the JaJaJas from 2-11. Zum Schneider, 4 South Elmwood Ave., Montauk. Oct. 14, 15, 21 & 22

Great South Bay Brewery holds their annual punk rock themed Oktoberfest celebration in their tasting room, in the brewery, and beneath an outdoor beer tent. Five TBA live bands, local vendors, brewers and several food trucks. Great South Bay Brewery, 25 Drexel Dr., Bay Shore. 1:30-5:30 p.m. Oct. 21.

Jaeger Schnitzel, apple strudel and other German menu items and beer. Library Café, 274 Main St., Farmingdale. Sept. 28-30.

Oktoberfest Sunday! Music Fest
Enjoy homegrown food and home-brewed libations, including Roasted sweet corn and squash, fresh-squeezed lemonade, organic hot dogs and more. Plenty of family entertainment including hayrides, family fun fields, pedal kart track, maze, lavender labyrinth, farm animals, and pumpkin picking. Buddy Merriam and the Backroads provide live bluegrass music. Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market, 4558 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. 10-5 p.m. Oct. 29.

Lawn Island Farms: Babylon Couple Turns Yards Into Crops

Jim and Rosette Adams of Babylon are on a mission to bring locally grown food to Long Islanders tables, by growing it in their front yards.  

The Adams’ fledgling company, Lawn Island Farms, has been growing produce and selling it to farmer’s markets and local businesses for about a year, but their unique approach has attracted national media attention. They tout the health benefits of locally grown vegetables.

“Unfortunately too many people don’t even realize how corrupted or compromised [their produce is],” Jim said, noting cancer-causing pesticides as one of the most pressing concerns related to factory farming.   

Jim got the idea for the company after he met his wife, Rosette, in her home country of Uganda 10 years ago. There, he came to appreciate how she grew up in a culture of self-sustained farming. 

“She has the experience from growing up in Uganda and I got to see, kind of, the world through her eyes when she came here and that changed me a lot,” Jim said. 

This fresh perspective also alerted Jim to the perils of not knowing exactly where our food is coming from and how it’s being produced. After reading The Urban Farmer, he was inspired to begin farming locally. The book details how people can convert their property into a sustainable and profitable food source. 

“There are over 40 million acres of lawn in North America,” the book’s website states. “In their current form, these unproductive expanses of grass represent a significant financial and environmental cost. However, viewed through a different lens, they can also be seen as a tremendous source of opportunity.”

Jim and Rosette brought this idea to Jack Jack’s Coffee House in Babylon, where owners Mike Sparacino and Vanessa Viola pointed them to a community farm behind St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, effectively giving them the idea to launch Lawn Island Farms. 

The Adams’ then hung a sign in that same coffee shop asking for anyone with enough land to let them convert their lawns into crops, which led them to Bay Shore resident Cassandra Trimarco.  

For the price of $30 of produce a week as well as free landscaping, Ms. Trimarco allowed the Adams’ to transform the front lawn of her Hyman Avenue home into a miniature farm. The reactions of the community were varied, with some neighbors complaining that the lawn was now an eyesore. 

“We did get, in the beginning, a lot of gossip going around,” Jim said of the initial controversy surrounding the converted lawn. But that attention was what would eventually raise their profile. 

“That’s when CBS News and Fox came by,” he recalled. “That was the story, because it was controversial.” 

Currently, the Adams’ hyper-local farming endeavor consists of the land behind St. Peter’s and Trimarco’s yard, with the produce being sold to the Bay Shore Farmer’s Market and the Sayville Farmer’s Market, as well as Henley’s Village Tavern in Bay Shore, Empowering Goods in Lindenhurst, as well as Jack Jack’s, where it all began.    

Jim and Rosette have also begun to take a more tech savvy approach to their business. Lawn Island Farms can now be found on the Farmzie app, which seeks to create a network of small farmers and increase small farm sustainability. Users can connect to Lawn Island and buy produce directly from them. They also offer restaurants a grow-to-order option in order to better suit their specific needs.  

Lawn Island Farms’ approach to local farming has garnered interest from people all over the island, with inquiries coming in from Patchogue, Port Jeff, Middle Island, Wading River and elsewhere. But at the moment, the Adams’ simply can’t meet the demand on their own. 

“My plate is full, I’ve gotten a lot of offers which is amazing, but I hardly have time to even go look at them,” Jim said of the outpouring of requests they’ve received. That’s why they want others to take action and begin growing food on their own. 

“I want more people to do it, because it’s not just about us and our business,” he said. “It’s about local food for the people.”

To learn more about converting your lawn into a sustainable food source check out the website of Jim and Rosette’s friend Linda Borghi, 

18 Times Rock History Was Made on Long Island

The Doors have a few moments in local rock history.

There is certain music lore that is common knowledge: Billy Joel went to Hicksville High School, Paul McCartney likes to spend his summers out in the Hamptons, Lou Reed grew up in Freeport.

But here are a few bits of our Island’s rock music history that many may not have known.

Bring these tidbits to your next Jones Beach tailgate and use them to distract that guy selling bootleg t-shirts while you plan your escape.

18. Frampton Comes to Town
On Aug.24, 1975, British rock star Peter Frampton recorded the live version of “Show Me the Way” that appears on the album Frampton Comes Alive! during a gig at the now-defunct Long Island Arena in Commack. The album went eight times platinum and yielded multiple hit singles that remain classic rock radio staples to this day. “Show Me the Way” charted at No. 6, making it the biggest among them. The most interesting part? Frampton wasn’t even headlining, he was one of two opening acts for blues-rock band Ten Years After.

17. Who Does That?
The Who played Long Island Arena a number of years before Mr. Frampton, but with decidedly less triumphant results. After their set, a herd of fans stormed their dressing room and began pilfering all of the trendy mod clothing they had hanging around, even going so far as to pluck the gold spangles from guitarist Pete Townshend’s matador suit while he was still wearing it.

16. The Stones in Montauk
In preparation for their 1975 American tour, the Rolling Stones hid out in Montauk, holding late-night rehearsals and disturbing the locals with their decadent lifestyles. During their stay, they gained the inspiration for their famous song “Memory Motel”. But it wasn’t at the Memory Motel where Mick and the boys spent their nights. It was at the Montauk Church Estate of pop artist Andy Warhol, which they rented for $5,000 a month.

15. Groovin’ on The Barge
New Jersey-based blue-eyed soul band The Rascals had a number of hit singles in the 1960s, including “Good Lovin”, “Groovin” and “People Got to Be Free”, which all went to No. 1 on the Billboard music charts. But in the summer of ’65, before they ever hit the charts, they were best known as the house band on The Barge, a floating nightclub on Shinnecock Bay in East Quogue.

14. Up In Smoke
The Vagrants, featuring Long Island Music Hall of Famer Leslie West of Mountain, spent that same summer down the road as the house band for The Castaway in Hampton Bays, but it wasn’t until they took a residency in Island Park’s The Action House in 1966 that things became list-worthy. The mob-connected Action House was paying The Vagrants an exorbitant $1,500-a-night fee for a grueling 28-day-a-month schedule. This led the garage rockers to get creative with their performances. They incorporated pyrotechnics into their act, having fireworks explode as one of their songs reached its peak. One night after a performance, however, a leftover explosive wound up torching the stage along with all of the band’s instruments. This somehow did not throw them off schedule; the booking agency had them equipped with new instruments and ready to play the very next day.

13. Groan of The Lizard King
The following year, The Doors came to The Action House for a two-night stint and brought with them all the rock & roll debauchery they are remembered so fondly for. Singer Jim Morrison reportedly commanded the bartender to procure 15 shots of Jack Daniel’s prior to taking the stage. He consumed them all. Sometime during the set, Morrison ordered up another 15 shots and put them away with ease. At this point the Lizard King began to show signs of heavy intoxication and, before being dragged off stage by his bandmates, he attempted to remove his clothes, a wild party trick that got him arrested at a Miami concert that same year. The following day was even uglier: the band had to remove Jim from the stage once more, this time after a prolonged period of groaning into the microphone that he had crammed into his mouth.

12. The House of The Jim Morrison Boogie
The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett is nationally known for its unique ability to attract some of music’s most legendary figures into its tiny 200 person main room. Rock luminaries such as Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Sting, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, David Crosby and countless others have all performed there. Things got particularly wild one night when Eric Burdon of the Animals was performing and the entire bar, spurred on by the owner himself, did the Jim Morrison Boogie and got totally naked. Not to be outperformed, Eric Burdon joined in on the festivities, turning “The House of the Rising Sun” into the Talkhouse of the falling skivvies.

11. Not Just A Learning Institution
SUNY Stony Brook University is one of Long Island’s best venues for higher learning. But it was once one of the best venues for great rock music as well. The list of bands that played on campus in the late ’60s and early ’70s is its own lesson in rock ‘n’ roll history. The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Santana, The Allman Brothers, Joni Mitchell, U2, even the godfather of rock himself, Chuck Berry, have all plugged in at the university at one time or another.

10. Jimi’s Double Premiere
The Jimi Hendrix Experience played their one and only gig at Stony Brook University on March 9, 1968. That same day their legendary front man made his debut on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine issue no. 7. This was the only time Hendrix would play on Long Island, but it wasn’t his last Rolling Stone cover, he’s had 16 to date.

9. New Name, Same Sound
Ever hear of The New Bohemians? If not, it’s probably because the Huntington-based ska band sold their name to Paul Simon’s wife, Edie Brickell, for $500 in 1988. Instead you know them as The Scofflaws. The newly branded third-wavers used the money to buy themselves some real instruments and equipment and it was upward from there. As for the new New Bohemians? That same year they went on to record “What I Am”, a one hit wonder that peaked at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100.

8. VU on LI
As previously mentioned, it is well known that legendary musician Lou Reed grew up in Freeport, but did you know that some of his Velvet Underground bandmates are also Long Islanders? Original guitarist Sterling Morrison grew up in East Meadow and drummer Mo Tucker was raised in Levittown. Their massively influential rock group gained notoriety in the late 60s with the help of none other than the Rolling Stones’ landlord himself, Andy Warhol.

7. Zappa Gets Burned
In 1968, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention opened for Long Island’s own psychedelic rockers Vanilla Fudge at Westbury Music Fair. The ever-irreverent Mothers entered the theater in white hooded robes playing eerie dissonant sounds on various woodwind instruments. The crowd was understandably disturbed by this, prompting one audience member to shout out: “Yous guys stink, bring on The Fudge!”

6. Farewell, Frank
Speaking of Frank Zappa, the final North American show he played before his death in 1993 was on Long Island. On March 25, 1988, he took the stage at Nassau Coliseum in what would be his last gig on this side of the Atlantic. Highlights of the show included a rendition of classical composer Igor Stravinsky’s “Royal March” accompanied by the Long Island Ballet and not one but two encores alongside Frank’s son Dweezil that included covers of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Allman Brothers and, finally and fittingly, a soulful, Zappa-fied performance of “America the Beautiful.”

5. The Dead Comes Alive!
The Grateful Dead hold the record for most shows at Nassau Coliseum at 42. Some of those notoriously epic shows have been preserved for posterity in their 2002 album Go to Nassau and their 2014 album Wake Up to Find Out. The final track on Go to Nassau is a more than seven minute long version of “Good Lovin”, a tune made popular by The Barge’s old house band, The Rascals.

4. Axl Gets Bent
Guns ‘n’ Roses were slated to perform at Nassau Coliseum on June 17,1991 at the reasonable hour of 9:00 pm, but mercurial front man Axl Rose had other plans. The temperamental but talented singer decided to stay out west to party in the city, leaving management no choice but to fly him in via helicopter in order to get the band on stage right around the same time that parents of young fans were arriving to pick them up.

3. Doin’ Time on the Island
When Vans Warped Tour first came to Uniondale in 1995, its aim was to provide fans with an alternative to music festivals like Lollapalooza that were more entrenched in the mainstream sounds of the time. What they didn’t realize was that they were giving concert goers a glimpse at a man who would one day become a mythical musical figure: Bradley Nowell. The Sublime guitarist and front man played his one and only Long Island show that day. He would tragically die of a heroin overdose less than one year later, just as the band was set to release the eponymous album that would catapult them into the pantheon of rock music.

2. A Lovin’ Homage
Folk-Rock pioneers The Lovin’ Spoonful have some roots on Long Island. Drummer Joe Butler met bassist Steve Boone in Westhampton and formed their original band The Kingsmen in 1963. After becoming a mainstream success as The Lovin’ Spoonful they still found their way out east to party with the likes of Steven Stills and Mama Cass, and in ’66 they immortalized their love for the East End on the final track of their album Daydream entitled “Big Noise From Speonk.”

1. See Floyd Play
Pink Floyd has been known to extend the boundaries of rock music into the visual realm, both with their elaborately orchestrated live performances and in films like ’82’s The Wall and ’83’s The Final Cut. But it wasn’t until 1989 that they brought both mediums together with Delicate Sound of Thunder. This multi-platinum concert film, consisting primarily of performances from a string of five straight nights at Nassau Coliseum in August of ‘88, was made during their Momentary Lapse of Reason tour.

Hallock State Park Preserve Debuts on Long Island

Officials marked the grand opening of Hallock State Park Preserve on the North Fork this week, making it the first New York State Park to be added to Long Island in years.

The park’s facilities include a 3,000-square-foot visitor center with a classroom and interactive educational displays as well as new hiking and equestrian trails, fishing, non-motor-powered boating and even scuba diving. The 225-acre plot of land was originally purchased from Keyspan Energy for $16 million in 2003, but wasn’t officially opened to the public until Tuesday.

“Good things come in good time,” Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State parks department, told those gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The park is the 27th state park on LI, but is only one of four on the Island that have the distinction of being a park preserve, which offers the highest level of protection in the state parks system.

“Opening Hallock State Park Preserve reflects the history of the area and the Hallock family, who owned the property for centuries, and is the last piece of this momentous preservation effort,” said Suffolk County Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue).

“It’s really half the game to save the land,” added Harvey. “So now how are we going to develop it?”

That question was answered in part by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Parks 2020 initiative, which seeks to allocate $900 million over seven years to the restoration and beautification of all 215 of state parks.

The initiative provided $2 million to the Hallock State Park’s development. The Trust for Public Land donated another $2 million as well as a $1 million that will go toward operating costs.

The visitor center was developed with a focus on environmental sustainability, using geo-thermal heating and cooling, cutting edge nitrogen-reducing sanitary wastewater treatment in the restrooms and high-efficiency LED lighting throughout the facility, officials said.

“This is an exciting day for all of us, the newest state park in the oldest state parks system in the country,” said Brian Erwin, chairman of Long Island State Parks Commission. “My little girls, who are sitting there, when they start to travel and someone asks them, ‘tell me about the North Fork, tell me about your agricultural history, tell me about the beauty, tell me about your maritime tradition, tell me about the new methods and how you’re mindful of the environment, tell me about sustainable farms,’ they can come right here, to the old North Road, to Hallock State Park Preserve.”

Hallock State Park Preserve is located at 6062 Sound Ave. in Jamesport. For more information, call 631-323-2440 or visit