The Shapiro Files

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Lewis Brothers: For the Record

Marcie's Uncle, Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, and her father, Dr. Sherwin Lewis, have been making beautiful music together ever since they were kids. The Lewis twins have been lending their two-part a cappella harmonies to Shabbat and High Holiday services for more than 50 years — over 30 of which have been at Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto, where Shelly has been serving as Rabbi since the early 70's. Yet after a full half-century of singing together, the Lewis brothers have never endeavored to make an official recording of their singing.

Until now.

With much gratitude to Marcie for handling all scheduling logistics, I now have the honor of being the Lewis Brothers' first record producer. Reminiscent of the way The Beatles recorded their very first album in 1962, in just one day (Friday, November 25), we gathered at "Shapiro Studios" (i.e. Marcie's and my little home studio) and laid down the tracks for their first full album, which we're taking to calling For the Record (a bit of a play on words there). In just a handful of hours, we recorded a full 19 tracks encompassing all the Lewis Brothers' High Holiday and Shabbat selections that have been enjoyed by Kol Emeth congregants for years. All performances were recorded a cappella, direct-to-digital on two tracks (one for each singer), in complete single takes.

I'm now in the process of mixing all the recordings and mastering them to CD. I'll also be making all the recordings available online in MP3 form so all non-local family and friends can easily download the recordings without having to fuss with getting a CD copy (although I'll happily send CDs to any family members that request them).

In addition to the 19 tracks recorded last Friday, I'll be including a bonus track, "Love Song" as performed live at Sharon and Akiva's wedding, which I'll be extracting from their wedding DVD. And if I have the chance, I might even do an additional "club mix" (complete with thumping drums and bass) of one of their recordings just for laughs.

Mixing/mastering is taking quite some time, so it'll probably be several weeks before I'm done. However, I'll try to post a few sneak previews in MP3 form along the way. So keep checking back!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Comedy

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here's my all-time favorite Thanksgiving cartoon:

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Headed for the Big Screen!

Nightmare on Film Street (that short film I acted in a few months ago) has just been accepted into the Hollywood DV Festival in Hollywood, California. Even better, it has one of the very best slots you can ask for: Friday, December 9 at 8:11pm. Here's the complete festival schedule and here's where tickets can be ordered. Congratulations to our director, Jerry, on the first of what I hope will be many festival acceptances!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Melody: From Two Weeks to Two Months

Melody turned two-months-old last Saturday. In honor of this latest milestone, I've created a new online photo album covering the period since her last album. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Let's Hear It for Moms!

RattleFor the first time since being out on maternity leave, Marcie has come to visit her coworkers with Melody yesterday. We both work for the same excellent company, so I was able to tag along. During the visit, several of our coworkers asked about how much I help out with Melody. Marcie explained that as soon as I get home, I hold and sooth Melody as needed, change diapers, and in general, do whatever I can to help out. Marcie also explained that I encourage her to go out and do things for herself whenever she can (over the weekend I took care of Melody while Marcie got a haircut on Saturday and a pedicure on Sunday). Upon hearing all this, our coworkers very kindly extended praise to me for my "dedicated" parenting and other nice things.

Yet as nice as it is to hear such kind comments, the fact is that fathers get too much credit for involvement with their children and mothers never get enough. I think that what I do with Melody is what any father should do — things I consider basic requirements for the job. What Marcie does, on the other hand, is by far much more difficult and exhausting. As Melody's primary source of nutrition (via nursing), Marcie spends an insane amount of time each day (including those wee hours of the night) in the feeding process. And for those who don't know, nursing can be incredibly draining, painful, frustrating, and practically all-encompassing. And on top of all this are the other usual parenting duties and responsibilities. But despite such hardship, Marcie is incredible in the way she interacts with Melody and in every way, demonstrating what it is to be a wonderful mother.

So as much as I enjoy hearing nice things said about my role as a father (who wouldn't?), let's give credit where credit is due: to the Mommy's of the world!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Finding The Shapiro Files

Other than knowing of a handful of regular visitors (special gratitude to Brad and Irina!), I've been very curious how people come across this little corner of cyberspace called The Shapiro Files. So for several months now, I've been using a web hit/referral tracking system to monitor traffic to my blog. Here are some highlights:
  • Most people find my blog via other blogs (again, thanks Brad and Irina!)
  • I reached an all time high in single-day traffic the day after Melody's birth
  • Of all the different search engines referrals, over 50% have been from MSN Search (who knew?)
  • About 1/4 of my visitors are Apple users
  • I get more visits on Mondays than any other day of the week
  • My average daily hit count peaks at 4:00-5:00 p.m. (maybe people make a point to check in before leaving work?)
  • Since May 23, I've had 1006 unique visitors
Here are some of the more interesting recent search engine queries that have brought people to this blog:
  • MSN Search: baby due date photos
  • MSN Search: love mix tape culture
  • MSN Search: commentary about Oprah Winfrey
  • MSN Search: psycho parody
And my very favorite...
  • Yahoo: 80's hairband playlists
It looks like I must be popular among Whitesnake and Quiet Riot fans out there. I guess you learn something new every day!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Ready for the Big Screen

I've just learned that Nightmares on Film Street post-production is finally complete and that the film festival submission process has begun. Check out this nifty website our director put together to promote his project.

Of course, if the movie makes it into any festivals, I'll certainly be sure to post all the pertinent details on this blog.

Movie Poster