facebook  google grey  youtube grey

The 60thAnniversary of the Italian Kitchen has come and gone, but not without the great success of that night. The restaurant was packed. The Thompson family went all out to decorate the place in an Italian theme. They paid attention to every detail. As people came in they were given a plastic bag of a variety of pasta and they were to find the table that matched that name of pasta on their bag, how creative. The staff was dressed impeccably and the food was great. Disc Jockey Services provided John Smallie to perform his close-up magic during the cocktail hour. He was a big hit that evening.  He is professional and a great guy to work with for a full evening of entertainment.

Brian Thompson lead the MC duties for the program of events as he gave a history of the 60 years of the Italian Kitchen, then he let family and loyal customers tell their personal stories about the restaurant. There were people there who have been coming to the Italian Kitchen from the very beginning.  Some of the stories were funny, others touching as they talked of those who had passed away and told of fond memories of them and their experiences.with the Montecalvo and Thompson family. I personally have never seen that kind of loyalty, especially in this day in time. The Italian Kitchen has outlasted Ukrops, Circuit City, Clover Room and other Icons in this city. In this day in time with the likes of Cheesecake Factories, Applebee’s, TGIF and The Olive Garden, it is refreshing to see the family run restaurant flourish like the Italian Kitchen.

Inside DecorationsInside Decorations

In their way to recognize their family and customers, the Thompsons did not overlook their staff that helps make this restaurant great. Brian’s brother Jon who runs the front called all the staff out to be recognized, many who have been with them for years. The Thompson family knows how to treat their employees with respect that makes them enjoy working at the Italian Kitchen.       

After the program, the event was turned over to me to get the party going. I have to admit I was a little worried about how that was going to go over, after all it was a Monday night, people have to work the next day and let’s face it Monday night has never been known as party night.  I was pleasantly surprised as the guests got into it and danced the rest of the night away until I had to call it quits. A half an hour over the allotted time and they were still going strong when I closed it down. What a night.

Just before the big eventJust before the big event I just wanted to add this at the end.  I want to thank the Thompsons and Montecalvos for not only hiring Disc Jockey Services, but also treating me as one of the family during the course of the day. Many times I come in do my job and leave, but not the case here. During the course of the day we had as much fun setting up the place laughing and carrying on as we did during the event. Thank you for making my job so enjoyable. A special shout to my friend Jerry Huddleston for the use of his Bose system and his help that evening. It’s always great when I get a chance to work with him doing a gig.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Richmond-VA/Disc-Jockey-Services/149777031490?v=photos&ref=ts#!/album.php?aid=179665&id=149777031490    

It was early Saturday morning as the trucks came to unload the vintage buses  The newer ones came in under their own power. Everyone was busy setting up banners, displays and tents. Greyhound had their tent selling limited addition articles and an area where you could win prizes for the kids. I set up my equipment next to the traveling museum and boy what a bus that was. The history of Greyhound done to the "9's". Very impressive stories, pictures and uniforms of bus drivers through the years.

The buses themselves were impressive. They had the first vehicle Greyhound ever used the "Hupmobile" and then the 1914 bus. Then came the famous Scenicrusier and the newest one of today. That bus is too much! It has WiFi and AC outlets, comfortable  black seats and you feel like your riding in your own limousine. This bus you have to  make reservations. You truly are riding in style.

With a steady flow of people coming through all day, it was a stroll down memory lane. There were those who brought their kids to show them how people in this country use to travel  and to see real deals parked on the lot. I don't know how the kids felt as they came up to these mobile vehicles of a bygone era, I hope they felt somewhat the way I felt as I looked upon these behemoths that as a kid I was fascinated just looking at them.

Disc Jockey Services was hired to provide music for the 8 hour event playing the sounds of Benny Goodman, the Andrew Sisters and the big band area of the 1940's all the way up to the latest in 2014 from Sam Smith, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Pharrell Williams to name a few.

As we got closer to the end of the event and the crew came in to tear everything down and the trucks came back to pick up the vintage bus it was a good day for everyone involved.  Althrough we were all tired. I went to a friend's for a cookout and the others ready to go to their next stop in Raleigh, North Carolina. Thank you Greyhound for hiring Disc Jockey Services. Don't hesitate to call me for the 200th Anniversary. I'm penciling it in for 3014.

Greyhound 100th Anniversay (1)Greyhound 100th Anniversay (1)Greyhound 100th Anniversay (3)Greyhound 100th Anniversay (3)Greyhound 100th AnniversayGreyhound 100th Anniversay

Update to this letter to the class of 62. When I first started doing school reunions, I just came to the event and maybe talked to the person who called and hired me. I soon realized after doing a number of these reunions, from those that had money to spend to those that didn't have to nickels to rub together, there was more work involved than the committee was aware there was. Reunions be it school, college or family usually fall to a few dedicated people. Pass the initial work of getting the logistics down, the biggest concern is getting in touch with everyone in the class and tracking them down. This is an on going job. I have done a number of reunions where the party was poorly planned and executed because with all the work that had to be done the committee overlooked the the events of the evening and it was chaos. When hired I want to sit in on some of the committee's meetings dealing with the party and the flow of the evening. I offer my hands-on services because of my years of experience. If you can afford to have the DJ you hire do this, I believe it will pay off in a more professional run event. The letter below went out to the class of '62 to give the reunion a more interactive feel by being able to get their request, personally to the DJ.

 

To The Class Of 1962

Greetings, Class of ‘62, let me introduce myself, I’m Larry Bernstein and I’ll be the disc jockey for your class reunion in October. What we want to do is make this party so much fun by playing the music that will bring back those memories of crusin’ around Bill’s Barbeque, Shoney’s and going to the Clover Room for the Frosteds or Club Sandwiches. How about after the movies at the Capital and you would go right next door to Julian’s for the best pizza in town.

How many remember the Escorts, Johnny Houston and the Charmers, Doug Clark and the Hotnuts, The Jarmels and Tommy Edwards.

I just want to take a minute to share what happened at the Class reunions of ‘65 and ‘66. Can we taulk! I DJ’ed that party and was concerned that there would not be a lot of dancing and fun times after all we’re not 17 year olds. I figured that after a full day of activities that people would be just to Pooped To Pop. I was worried that people would start to leave early, BUT boy was I wrong! Not only did the event go the full 4 hours but an additional 2 hours. Well we showed everybody we know how to party and as a generation we are not going to go gentle into that good night! We were doing the Bop, Cha Cha, Electric Slide, Shag and the Stroll. There was so much electricity in the air that we could have powered a city block. People were dancing that told me they don’t dance and others who said they don’t like to dance.

Now this brings me to you, the Class of 1962. This is the kind of event that I want for you and just between you and me; I think your class can do better than the class of 65 and ’66. Shhhhhh, don’t mentioned it to anyone you know in the class of 65, I’ll deny I said it!

We have a great party planned with great music, great lights and effects, and prizes for some contest if we can get them in. So those of you that are coming and I expect that to be 99% of the class, you’ve got time to practice your dancing and to help you get in the spirit. We want you to send in requests for your favorite songs of that era and to make it a little more personal, send me your dedications too. Make it to your wife, old boy friend, old flame or anybody you want.

 

Your DJ For The Evening

Larry Bernstein

Sunday, 17 April 2016 17:31

Music of Our Class of 1961-1965

Written by

We are one of the luckiest generations to experience the birth of so many different forms of music. Being born at the end of the swing and big band era and the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chubby Checker, American Bandstand, Richmond’s own Teen Dance Party on Channel 12, Teen Tempo on Channel 6. The rise of the British Invasion, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Billy J. Kramer, Dave Clark 5 and so many others. America fought back with the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Tommy James and the Shondells. As we went off to college we saw the rise of folk music and hootenannies, Bob Dylan, Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. With the growth of music concerts we saw Monterey Pop, Woodstock and the death nil, Altamont.

And during all this time R’n’B continued its rise from Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and the whole stable of Motown Stars.

Richmond had its own music scene with the Escorts, Panics, Johnny Houston and the Charmers and the Barracudas. TJ had its bands like the Morticians and Sound By Four. And how many remember the Hullabaloo Club on W. Marshall, Huh?

Well, as your DJ for the evening, I want to bring those memories back of sock hops, dedications of songs to our friends and steadies. I want the entertainment to be the best ever done at a reunion and that other high schools would like to duplicate what we have done. Will we have the best dance music, but we have some great retro prizes for the contests we have planned After all, I have a personal stake in this because I’m a member of the class, too. So your homework assignment is to:

1.     Study you pop culture and music from the 60’s for the crazy contests we’re going to have

2.     Look at the list of top hits from Billboards list below. This is just a sample and by no means is the only songs we will pick. Hopefully it will jog your memory to think of other songs from that era you would like to hear and then send in you requests and dedications to your high school friends to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. By the way, we will also be playing music from all eras, not just the sixties, so send those requests in also.

3.     Come to the Reunion

4.     Talk to everyone and catch-up on the last 20 years and partake of the activities

5.     Take a nap Saturday Afternoon, so you can be rested for the “muther of all dances” Saturday night

6.     Practice up on your Watusi, Stroll, Shag, Locomotion, Swim, Twist and the Hully Gully and dance your feet off and have fun, fun, fun, till your daddy takes your T-bird away!

7.     And after the dance go to the Clover Room for that sundae or frosty (if only it were still there) or dogwood dell to make-out (and then to the clover room.)

 

This article appears on the Thomas Jefferson's website for their reunion party. Written by the DJ for the class of '65.

Thursday, 28 April 2016 15:30

Performing For the Harlem Globetrotters

Written by

It was Thursday morning when I pulled into the Greyhound Bus Terminal and started to pull my DJ equipment out of the van to play for the Harlem Globetrotters. They would be arriving at 11:00 am to put on a special show for a classroom of kids who were lucky enough to be picked from Carver Elementary School. 

Let me back up a minute and explain how we got to this point. I received an e-mail from the Greyhound Bus Company out of Dallas, Texas. Disc Jockey Services two years earlier was asked to provide music for Greyhound’s 100th Anniversary which was held at the Short Pump Mall in Henrico County. After a full day of music out there and packing up, I figured that would probably be the last time I would hear from them after I submitted my invoice to get paid. Jokingly I said I enjoyed doing it, could I put them down on my calendar to do the 200th Anniversary in 3014. Fast forward (but not to 3014, but to 2016) to February 2016 I get this e-mail, would I be interested in doing an event with the Harlem Globetrotters in Richmond. Well you didn’t have to ask me twice. I think Greyhound really, really likes me.      

Now back to the show. The kids arrived first and I must say they were very well behaved. They were treated to some refreshments before the show began. I had a talk with the MC that travels with the Globetrotters on the timeline for the event. We went over the songs to play and when to play them. About 11:45 am, “Globie” the Mascot came out with his act and did musical chairs with the kids and did some fun interaction with them. The MC kept the show going and then it came time to introduce the Harlem Globetrotters to (my queue) “Sweet Georgia Brown.” The team came out and went through their famous routines and then talked to the kids about “bullying” and how to deal with it in school.

As the show ended the kids got autographs and pictures taken with the team and back on the bus for the kids and back on their bus for the Globetrotters and back to the hotel and to rest up for the game that night at the Coliseum. All in all it was a great event for the kids and the Globetrotters enjoyed it, too. The staff of the Greyhound Bus station were great to work with and helped with the logistics of me setting up. I left with a nice feeling that I was able to contribute something to the event with the music. That’s why I love playing music. Hope the Globetrotters win tonight!( they did…..they always do.)

Home

Disc Jockey Services plays at the Grand Opening of Dick's in Willow Lawn July 14th

Sunday, 20 May 2012 00:00

Last Dance-Donna Summer

Written by

It’s the 17th of May and I’m in my car. It’s cloudy and a little humid. Nothing unusual about the day.  Pretty much like the day before and I expect pretty much like it will be tomorrow. I switch the radio to the Dennis Miller Show and he’s playing a Donna Summer song. Nothing unusual, Miller during his broadcasts will pick out an artist or group and use it as bumper music, but then he cuts in and says, “Rest in Peace”. What, what did he say! I don’t believe it! Then it came up on the hour and the news blurted out, Donna Summer dead at 63 from cancer. What a knot in the pit of my stomach. A sadness descended upon me and all of a sudden the cloudy day seemed drearier.    

Now I never met Donna Summer, never saw her in concert but I fell in love with her music when I heard “I Feel Love” Up until then I did not care for Disco. The fusion of Rock and Big Band with Latin and R’n’B. What kind of mishegas is this? I was hooked. That’s right I love Disco music!

 A little background, it was the mid-70s and the country was coming out of the Vietnam War, Nixon’s resignation, the implosion of the Yippies, peace and love. People were tired. They needed some kind of diversion from everything. Actually Disco was dying until a guy on a sitcom about the Sweathogs crossed over to movie called “Saturday Night Fever” and Disco was on. People were dressing up again. The guys in slim fitting bell bottom pants, slick tight fitting colorful shirts and the ladies in Danskin wrap around skirts, clingy tight dresses in high heels and various form of Farah Fawcett hairdos. People were learning the Latin Hustle, Bus stop (Pre Electric Slide), New York Hustle and the Cha Cha.  Man, women looked so sexy and here comes Donna Summer from Boston via Germany in a version of “Hair.” She was discovered by Giorgio Mauroder and had her do a song “Love to Love You Baby” which had her simulating groaning during making love in the song. Never mind that this religious lady from Boston was so embarrassed, she recorded it in the dark so no one in the studio would see her as she moaned and groaned. Summer became the sex symbol of the seventies and the title Queen of Disco.

 As a DJ, I love it when someone requests a Donna Summer song. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a party or a wedding and Hot Stuff and Bad Girls still gets the wedding party up and dancing at any wedding reception

Donna Summer did not rest on gimmicks and flash. She was all class, terrific voice, great looks and hot songs that just made you want to dance. She even slipped in a small part in “Thank God It’s Friday.” She became an avid painter to add to her talents.

Maybe it’s the passing of someone we grew up listening to her music that reminds us of our own vulnerability or the innocence lost to an era we remember fondly, but the world was a better place with Donna Summer in it and a little less with out her. She’s had her LAST DANCE taken too early. We will miss you.


 Larry Bernstein runs a Disc Jockey business in Richmond, Virginia and blogs on pop culture and music.

Thursday, 26 April 2012 00:00

Dick Clark’s Passing

Written by

Dick Clark, I could say was one of my inspirations for being a disc jockey. When I was very young I would watch his show from Philadelphia everyday after school because my sister was into American Bandstand. I liked watching the teenagers dancing on the show and seeing the popular artists of the times doing their hits. After Dick Clark moved to Los Angeles and continued American Bandstand, he expanded to all the other shows that carry his Dick Clark Productions logo like $20,000 Pyramid Show, Bloopers, So You Think You Can Dance, AMA Awards and Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year’s Eve.

 

I was fortunate to hear Dick Clark speak in Richmond Va. at the Landmark Theatre. He covered the payola scandal, which he was caught up in the late 50’s, and how he ended up doing American Bandstand and stories of rock and roll legends. It was one of the best evenings I had spent. I had just started my new business Disc Jockey Services and felt I was listening to one of the greats in the business.  As a young kid I would watch the show everyday after school and later after Clark moved to LA, I would watch him on Saturday afternoons.                                                             

I will surely miss him and his contribution he made to the music industry and to the disc jockey profession. Everyone who is a DJ owes Dick Clark a debt of gratitude. I never liked the term “Oldest Teenager” I rather think of him as just “Ageless.” He has earned his place in the history books of music and pop culture. You will be missed Dick Clark.

 

Thursday, 26 December 2013 00:00

Disco Is Not Dead Nor Will It Ever

Written by

 Disco Ball

Well, here we are at the end of 2013 and as I look back, there was quite a phenomenon that took place in the vast wasteland of "Pop" music. Disco has raised it's head once more to prove to all those "tragically hip" that demean this genre of music that it still lives. Disco continues to seep back into our culture every time the "hipster dufuses" relegate it to its place in the history of irrelavance in music history. Thanks to such artist as Parrnell and the elusive group Daft Punk with their mega-hit "Lucky". When did anyone think that Daft Punk would be influenced by Disco and yet Nils Rodgers, the leader of the 70's and 80's group Chic, had a hand in helping Daft Punk on their album. There is no song that is more set in the Disco style with the sound of the 70's than "Lucky". If you don't feel the beat and want to get up and dance to this song, then you must be dead and just haven't been put in the grave yet. Next comes Justin Timberlake's, "Coat and Hat" with the smooth sounds of the big band but with the sophisticated sounds that was prevalent during the Disco era and Justin's other song "Take Back The Night."is so reminscent of Michael Jackson in his hey day. What a great song. Next we have Bruno Mars with his Disco influenced song "Treasure" I almost forgot Pharrell who does the singing on "Lucky" and his follow-up hit from the GIRL album, disco inspired "Happy."

What is my point to this you say?  I'm tired of the bad rap Disco gets and I know "How Cool" it is to bad-mouth Disco but the fact is it has made a major contribution to music. Rap artist have ripped it off and used it for their samples because they can't come up with anything original.

There is no music that could beat Disco for dancing. The fusion of every type of music style could be found in Disco. From Vicke Sue Robinson latin flavored "Turn the Beat Around " to the hard driving beat of Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel, Mighty Real" which by the way, was released in a club version in 2013 by Promo Only, the company that supplies music to the Disc Jockey industy. There are so many songs this article would be a book. There is one mention of a group that never made it to the states(what a surprise) from Spain "La Bionda". Their song is "One for Me, One for You" could raise the dead .It's bass driven beat is so infectious and the words so simple, it was a song that should have made the charts and be number one.

Now to turn to another area that may floor you, TV. On the Fox network is a show called Brooklyn Nine Nine with a great line-up of stars from Andy Samburg (Saturday Night Live), Andra Braugher (Homicide:Life on the Street, Men of a Certain Age)and Terry Crews (Everbody Hates Chris, Bridesmaids, White Chicks and Are We There Yet). The intro music to this comedy is straight out of the 1970's black action movies. It has that scratchy sound like a well played vinyl record with a funk beat and could easily fit into Foxy Brown, Super Fly and Dolamite movie and the list goes on and on. So don't tell me Disco is dead. It's got more lives than a cat.

We are constantly updating this page as I find more things that keep using music, styles and fashions from the Disco Era. Now  "The Goldbergs" on ABC in their 4th season, Episode13, 2017, Beverly Goldberg helps her daughter get over her lost love by dancing and that's where the disco music comes in.but over a NBC's "Chicago Fire's" Season 5, Episode 17, 2017, "Babes and Fools" the guys from the fire house get down to Disco music being played at the bar that a couple of the firefighters now own. All Ican say is, "And the Beat Goes On."

So when someone you know starts to bad mouth Disco you can read them the "riot act" and you won't be a "hipster dufus"

Update: Daft Punk walked away with the album of the year at this year's(2014) Grammy Awards. Nil Rodgers was up on the stage with them when receiving their awards.  It was so good to see Nil Rodgers playing during the Grammys that night. That guy is as good as he every was in the 70's.

Also, as I was watching TV the other night amid the thousand commericials that interrupt a TV show to the point that I would like to file criminal charges against the networks for assault, there caught my eye from Target stores a line of clothing they were hawking by Pialotto and the music they used was Sylvester's "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" This commercial started in January of 2014.

 Another update.May 22, 2014. Maya Rudolph of "Saturday Night Live" fame had a variety show on TV and her first number was so Disco influenced, it sounded like it was lifted from "Saturday Night Fever" During the routine a quarter moon was lowered down harkening back to the days of Studio 54 in New York City and like the song sez, "And the Beat Goes On" from the song of the same title by the Whispers.

I like to update this page as more info comes in. It's 2016 and Disco rears it's head again through a group made up of one of the Jonas brothers(whoda thunk?) called DNCE. Their hit is "Cake by the Ocean" and it is similiar sound to Daft Punk's hit  "Lucky" from 2013. Go back and listen to Disco and see for yourself if "Cake by the Ocean"does not have similarities reminiscent of the 70's. Check it out

Written by Larry Bernstein owner of Disc Jockey Services in Richmond Va.(not a hipster dufus)

 PS. If you every go to ME TV you will see the "Love Boat." It is being shown again. This was being broadcasted during the Disco Era and the title song written by Paul Williams is a disco stylized song.

What makes a song “classic”? We will skip the dictionary definition and just say a classic is something that is older and has been around awhile and seems to have a style about it that keeps it alive beyond it’s years. Unfortunately music has a certain life expectancy because it follows trends. Much like a gallon of milk or a package of cheese some songs have a relative short shelf life. You’ve all heard of the “One Hit Wonders” like “Gangham Style” by Psy, “Louie, Louie” by the Kingsman.

Playing so many gigs and dealing with everyone from old to young, I deal with so many requests for songs. There are only two groups, the ones that wants to hear the familiar and those who want only to hear just the new stuff. Years ago I attended a DJ convention in Atlantic City where I met the spokesman for Pioneer. His claim to fame was that he was a DJ who had appeared on MTV’s Real World, London. His name was DJ Lars(I always give credit to those I use in articles). Lars, I believe Dj’ed in London in the trendy clubs there. We got onto the subject of songs he played and he said that he played songs only until they broke through to the Top 40 and then he stop playing them. His clientele did not bother with the Top 40. They wanted the avant-garde and the hip. I on the other hand play many of the same songs over and over again at my events. Two different styles for different audiences played by different DJ’s.

Lars will never say, “here’s an old favorite” but I will. There are songs that have stood the test of time. There’s something about the lyrics, the “hook” or the beat. This makes a song seem to go beyond it’s expiration date and is put into that category of “classic” Songs like “Hotel California”, “My Girl”, “Sweet Caroline”, “Brown Eyed Girl” and now add to that list, “Uptown Funk.” I don't want to delve too deeply or dissect the song too much, that takes away the essence and just leaves the parts. All I can say thank God that there are classics and I will continue to play them when asked.

It makes no difference to me if the song is old or new if it has a great beat and people like it. I would play Spike Jones if people danced and enjoyed the songs. I have a saying, “If you have never heard the song, then it’s new to you.” So you shouldn’t care if a DJ puts on “Johnny B.Good” by Chuck Barry or “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers or even a song from the Bee Gees. If it makes you tap your feet and it makes you want to get up and dance, then that’s all that matters!

I’ve picked one song from each decade going back to the 1950’s. If you would like to check out more one hit wonders head on over to Wikipedia, they have an in depth look at the songs and artist from each decade that rose like the Phoenix only to crash and burn.

!950     Eddie Love     Teen Queens                 Good slow make-out song

1960     Tip Toe Thru the Tulips   Tiny Tim     Need I say more

1970     Makin’ It     David Naughton   Song followed his successful movie “American

             Werewolf in London”

1980     Whip It         Devo     Short lived techno song

1990     Nothing Compare To U       Sinead O’Connor         Prince gave her that song

2000     Smooth Criminal     Alien Ant Farm     Remake of Michael Jackson’s song

2010     Harlem Shake       Baauer       I sneezed and the song was gone!

Page 2 of 2

Providing Professional Disc Jockey, Wedding Music and Entertainment Services for

Richmond, Chesterfield, Centerville, Hampton, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Petersburg, Amelia, Abington, Altravista, Chester, Chilhowie, Hopewell, Mechanicsville, Midlothian, Powhatan, Charles City, Dale City, New Kent, Kilmarnock, Tappahannock, Louisa, Ashland, Williamsburg, Enon, Colonial Heights, Martinsville, Lynchburg, Surry, Montpelier, Fort Lee, Fredricksburg, Charlottesville, Farmville (the city, not thr game!), Triangle, Stanton, Portsmouth, Beaverdam, Walkerton, Yorktown, Manakin-Sabot, Doswell, Quinton, Manquin, Studley, Weems, West Point, Bon Air, Chester, Sandston, Suffolk, Greenville, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Orange, Roanoke, Centerville, Yale, Glen Allen, Oilville, Rappahannock and Laurel, Harrisonburg, Warrenton, Waynesburg.