How I Got to Madison Avenue. And beyond.

As with life, this blog is developing and changing. It began with a lot of stories that occurred on my career path from Albany to Madison Avenue and back.

There were some similarities to the AMC series "Mad Men," and then I went even farther back in time with a somewhat fictionalized version of growing up in Troy's Little Italy.

And now, a new development. As my free lance advertising and marketing career winds down, I'm becoming more interested in the theatre arts that my father and his 3 brothers helped instill in me as I grew up.

As a result, I've volunteered to help promote the Theatre Institute at Sage, and now, to continue a long-interrupted desire to be behind the proscenium, I've joined the newly formed Troy Civic Theatre, and was actually fortunate enough to appear in their first production.

So, I hope you'll enjoy the new stories that will develop from this latest turn.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

House Hunting Advice

Spring. The time when thoughts turn to moving up in the world, to start looking around and deciding it's time to move to a bigger/smaller/warmer/better in someway house.

If you're getting the itch to start looking around, I've got the perfect place to start -- you can check it out here. There's an open house from noon to 2 today at 228 Forts Ferry Road in Latham, a unique house in the center of the Capital District, with a view that could start a new school of painting to rival the Hudson School.

See what I mean? (The view from my deck.)

But wait -- it's a gloomy, showery day. Shouldn't you wait for a sunny, blue sky day, when the sun is glittering off the Mohawk as it wends its way a couple of twisty miles to spill over the Cohoes Falls?

The best house hunting advice I ever got was from my father -- always look at a house in the rain, or just after the rain -- how else will you know if it leaks or not?

I can give you this advice with complete confidence, because the roofs on my rambling house are less than ten years old. And overhead in the original part of the house, the rain sounds lovely as it plays upon the metal.
Besides, my view is even spectacular on a misty day, as you can see it this photo.

So plan your drive and visit as many open houses as you can today. You can thank me at the closing.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Million Dollar View For Sale

Today, I present just three of the many moods that I've seen in the past quarter century.

Yes, this view can be yours, and believe it or not, there's a beautiful and unique four bedroom house that goes with it.

Even harder to believe, it's smack-dab in the middle of Albany, Troy and Schenectady, and only 20 minutes to Saratoga Springs.

Watch this space for news of an imminent open house.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

In The News. Again.

Thank goodness for my peaceful view.

There's been a lot of activity lately at my home in Latham, between the Colonie Bike Path and the Mohawk River.

And some sadness, too, as I'm clearing out 23 years of accumulated treasures and having the interior painted and cleaned and staged.

If that sounds like getting a house ready to go on the market, you're right. The first open house will be in a couple of weeks, with an estate sale to follow. Details will be forthcoming.

In the midst of all this, as I was reading the online version of the Albany Times Union last week, I noticed this blurb asking for pictures of interesting stained glass in area homes. I happen to have a very interesting piece, custom-made and designed as a surprise for my wife's 50th birthday, about a dozen years ago.
I photographed it, sent it to Tracy Ormsbee at the TU, and to my happy surprise, it was #3 in today's real estate section cover story, with this caption:

"Frank LaPosta Visco sent us a photo of the stained glass window made for his late wife, Eileen, for her 50th birthday. A group of friends commissioned artist John Domanico to create it to look like one of her favorite Tiffany windows."

It would have made "Ei" very happy to see it, as would the fact that, although the window will be on display during the open house, it will be staying with me wherever I go.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Technology, Then & Now

I've been having some interesting discussions with friends recently, about how technology has changed and advanced over the years.

One friend/client who has worked for a couple of leading tech companies based in the Albany, NY area, and doing business on a world-wide scale, has suggested that I write a book about the changes I've seen in just one lifetime of working in radio and advertising. And I will take on her challenge.

A locally-based artistic couple I know have begun an exciting venture to engage the art world in the world of business, to the benefit of both. Their ideas are taking shape and they've already had successes that have brought them to the attention of major corporations.

That's a long intro to something that may seem completely off the point: A movie made in France by a true auteur in 1948, when I was just a boy.

The movie is “Jour de Fete,” the first full-length feature by Jacques Tati, who is more famous for his tour de force, “Mr. Hulot's Holiday.” Years ago, I managed to find an old vhs copy of the black and white version, and was enthralled.

Like Tati's later work, “Jour de Fete,” or “Festival Day,” or “The Big Day,” has no plot. It's simply a charming recreation of the day that the carnival comes to a rustic town, with spot-on characterizations of the inhabitants, including a technology-obsessed postman, played by the writer/director himself.

It's postwar France, and in the film tent that the carnival brings to town, they're showing a newsreel about the latest advances in mail delivery in the United States. Hilarity ensues.

But the best reason that “Jour de Fete” fits my theme today, is the fact that way back in 1948, Tati filmed the movie two ways – black and white, and color. Unfortunately, he chose a color system that didn't catch on, called ThomsonColor. In fact, it was impractical, if not impossible, to process back then, so Tati released the film in black and white, with a few spots of color, which he himself painstakingly hand-painted, frame by frame, in the same manner that Georges Melies used at the turn of the 20th Century. I imagine that Tati himself must have seen Melies work when he was a boy, and was metaphorically standing on Melies' shoulders. (Scorcese pays homage to Melies in his award-winning recent film, “Hugo.”)

Here's the kicker: A few years ago, it became technologically possible to convert Tati's full color version into reality, and his daughter, Sophie Tatischeff, oversaw it. Here's a teaser.

A Tati fan in Europe has created comparisons between the versions, which you can see here.

And so, yes, it exists today, although not commercially available for those of us on this side of the Atlantic to see. Unless, of course, you know someone with enough tech know-how to find it online, and copy it so that you can see it on your computer. Thank goodness, I do.