Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me.
Today's show features never-before-heard audio from the 2010 Mermaid Parade. You'll have a front-row seat as the parade passes by, recorded in thrilling stereo sound by my old Edirol R-09 flash recorder. Thrill to all the unique sounds of the parade, including myself and co-MC Richard Eagan on the PA, Chief Justice Mark Alhadeff, the Unofficial Mayor of Coney Island and Parade Founder, Dick Zigun, antique cars, local dignitaries, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson as King Neptune and Queen Mermaid and SEA CREATURES GALORE!
Sit back, put on some sunscreen and join me in Coney Island! Click on the video below for 2010 highlights shot by yours truly.
Click to see my footage from the 2010 Mermaid Parade,
including Lou Reed & Laurie Anderson's speeches.
Nat Sound & More
Last weekAerial View brought you an omnibus show featuring lots of "natural sound" and different audio odds & ends gathered by yours truly over the years. I hope y'all enjoyed it!
FATHER'S DAY TALK WITH DAD
“Hi. It’s me.”
“How are you doing?”
“Okay. How’ve you been?”
“I’ve been okay. What’s new? Anything?”
“Not a heckuva lot. Working away.”
“What’re you working on?”
“I have this carport and the town is asking I take it down.”
“Why? Is it considered unsightly?”
“Apparently, some of the neighbors have said it’s… that it’s unsightly.”
“I don’t think so. I originally had a silver… a silver canvas…”
“A silver tarp on it, over a frame I built pipe…. I replaced the silver tarp with a brown canvas one, to match the shingles on the roof. And I enclosed the frame in cedar…”
“And someone is still complaining?”
“Yeah. I don’t know who it is but I think it’s the guy two doors down.”
“I know how you can shut him up…”
“Replace the brown canvas with a huge American flag…”
My father laughs.
“…and anyone who complains, you can call them un-American…”
He laughs again. I like making my old man laugh. I perform for him sometimes. I pretend he’s a guest on my radio show and I interview him. I try to put on my best New Jersey face – the cynical guy who’s seen and heard it all, the prankster searching for straight lines. The smart-ass.
“How’s your writing going? Anything developing with that?”
How does he know about the writing? I can’t remember telling him. Did I send him a short story? He doesn’t have e-mail. So how does he know? Did one of my sisters tell him?
“Well, I met a literary agent back in July that a friend of mine turned me on to. She liked some of the things I wrote and said she thought I could have a book in eighteen months….”
“On… what kind of subject?”
“On the family.”
“The stuff she liked best was the writing I did about the family.”
“She thought that was the strongest stuff. So it would probably be a fictionalized account.”
“Of your family or a family?”
“Of my family. I don’t know about other people’s families.”
“Fiction writers make up stuff all the time….”
“That’s what you think. Usually it’s just a thinly-disguised version of things they’ve been through.”
“Unless you’re Stephen King and you have a brilliant imagination or something…”
My father says nothing.
“I’ve been working on it but I don’t think I’ll have something to her in eighteen months...”
“I hope something works out for you in that area. I don’t know if you’ll have enough material from your simple family. Nothing ever happens in that family. Right?” My father laughs again.
“Why do you say, ‘your family’?”
“Our family… You were talking about writing about your family, meaning the family you come from. Okay?”
“Right. You don’t think there’s enough material there?”
“I’m kidding you.”
“Oh. You were being sarcastic?” My father laughs. It sounds forced. “If you think nothing ever happens you should try to keep up with what your brother’s up to. You’d have enough for a book right there.”
“Yeah. I can’t keep up. But – uh – to get back to you and I here for a minute… and the Christmas card. I was wondering how you saw this…”
“I think it was – it was something fairly specific. When… so we don’t mince words too much - we sent you the pipe and I thought we’d hear from you and you’d say ‘Gee thanks it was nice’ and “I liked it” or something. But we didn’t hear from you and when I did speak to you – you may have been out of it that day, you may have had a bad day - I don’t know…”
“You may have been miserable at work or something but you sounded very curt and like… I don’t know… like you thought that I expected something… all I expected was you to acknowledge that you got it and whether or not you liked it. That’s all.”
“Well, I apologize for that.”
“But uh… I guess that’s what I meant, mainly.”
“I guess I felt hurt. Like you do about stuff that I’ve done in the past.”
“Right. Yeah. You’re right about that. I apologize...”
“Because I was making an effort. I thought I was making an effort.”
“And I should’ve acknowledged that… so you’re right and I apologize for not calling you up right away and saying it was a nice pipe and I liked the pipe…”
“Yeah. Even if you have to lie.” He laughs.
“No, I do like the pipe and I’ve used it. It’s a nice pipe. And it really was an oversight because generally I try to acknowledge gifts and at least do the right thing.”
“Maybe I was… maybe it was an unconscious thing and I was… like I said, there’s been a lot of anger and I’m sure you can understand why…”
“I don’t always agree with it… but I understand.”
“Yeah, well… of course you don’t agree with being made the villain…”
“No, unless I don’t deserve it. But that’s okay. Like I said, I’m not perfect. And I don’t know anyone who is.”
“Uh huh. Yeah.”
“But only if I deserve it. When I deserve it.”
“Right. I understand. It’s just that this whole thing has been… a cluster… I’m not gonna use that word. But it’s been – right from the beginning – just kind of a very difficult situation for everyone…”
“And I just sometimes don’t know how to feel about it. There are things I would’ve like to have had from the relationship with my parents that I know I never will, that never were forthcoming. I know we’ve talked about discipline and how to keep kids from misbehaving… that’s all well and good – but I think it’s gotta be combined with some feeling on the part of the kids that they’re loved. And I try to think back to that feeling ever emanating from you or Mommy and I’m really hard pressed to find it. And it just doesn’t seem like there was enough of ‘You’re good kids, you’re okay, we love you, we’re gonna take care of you’. There was always this feeling that any day everything was gonna utterly collapse because the money was gonna run out and that any day you’d been living somewhere besides where you were living. And maybe that wasn’t coming from you so much but especially after you left there was this ‘You know, I could’ve sent you kids to live with the state.’, ‘How’d you like to go live with your father.’ There was this feeling like…”
“Okay, let’s straighten some of that out right now. When we divorced I wanted to take you kids. And I was told by your mother and by an attorney and your mother’s attorney that wasn’t gonna happen because in those days the mother always got custody no matter what was going on. Okay. But I had wanted to. For several reasons. I had wanted to move you kids away from that element that was developing in that end of... that part of Long Island. I wanted to move you where schools – at that time at least – were better and there was less problems in schools and so on. And she had refused for a long time. So when I got divorced I thought now’s my opportunity to do that and that I could… I could afford – on what I was making – to move everyone and get a place and so on. But that required selling the house the house we lived in and splitting it.”
“But I was warned and told in no uncertain terms that she would fight me and so on. Suddenly, she decided she wanted the kids after me hearing for years about what a lousy situation it was that she was saddled with five kids.”
“See, I never felt that way.”
“Whether you realize it or not. I never felt that the kids were a burden…”
“…or that I was saddled with them or that I was sorry it happened…”
“…that we had them. But she felt that way.”
“And she used to express it – and express it in front of you kids, too.”
“Oh no, that I remember… I remember…”
“And I always said… that really upset me. But anyway…”
“But what kind of things would she say… because I’m trying to…”
“That’s what I’m saying. She used to scream and holler that she never wanted a little bunch of bastards and…”
“…that’s being mild.”
“But the fact is I was more than willing to take the kids and raise them myself in another location, away from there - where I did have work - and she was definitely against it. So she got the kids and the house and the furniture and everything…”
“And I got sometimes three, sometimes four, sometimes five jobs to maintain everything, pay for whatever I could pay for – which included dental bills, doctor bills as well as child support. And I paid child support until the youngest one was eighteen. I don’t know if you realize that. I found out your mother lied and told people – including some of you kids - that she wasn’t getting child support. She got child support – more than what the court ordered – until the youngest one was eighteen.”
“That meant that I was paying for five of them while some of them were already twenty-one, twenty-two years old. You understand what I’m saying?”
“It’s not that when each one turned eighteen I stopped paying child support. I continued to pay the child support for five of you until the youngest one was eighteen. So she was lying to you – to everybody – about not getting enough to live on.”
“Number two, there was no reason why – once you kids were old enough – that she shouldn’t have gone out and gotten a job.”
“I mean, you know, there was nothing in the agreement and no reason why I would have that I was going to give her alimony on top of everything that had happened.”
“So, she should have – and she did – go out and get a job. And between what I was paying and what she was earning it should’ve been adequate.”
“It should’ve been adequate. Not the Life or Riley maybe…”
“…but it certainly should’ve been adequate. So this bullshit that anyone was gonna be put out on the street was nonsense, number one, number two – for her to say such a terrible thing I could’ve made you a ward of the court, the state or something…”
“’I didn’t have to take you kids, I could’ve left you with the state’. The other one was ‘How’d ya like to go live with your father? You think you’d get away with that kind of shit with him?’ What was the other one? Her top ten included things like ‘There’s the door – use it.’”
“’If you don’t like it, get the fuck out… this is my house.’ Just a constant litany of the kind of stuff that didn’t make a person feel very welcome. I always felt like I was in the way and underfoot. And that - if she had her choice - she’d be in the living-room getting drunk with her boyfriend.”
“And that’s really what she wanted to do.”
“And I’d have to sit there in my room with my goddamn headphones on and try to make the music loud enough so I couldn’t hear the two of them. And it never worked. Maybe I couldn’t afford very good stereo equipment when I was seventeen….”
“Well, listen… that’s not something I would ever have hoped to have, as a kid. We didn’t have our own things, my brothers and sisters and I. The idea of a personal… your own radio, for instance – unheard of. So it wasn’t like you kids were going without…”
“I was out and working at your age. I was working when I was fourteen…”
“What did you do?”
“I was a messenger in Manhattan. I ran all over on a bicycle… I always had a job. My brothers were in college and someone had to contribute to the household.”
“Was your father already dead?” I know so little about any of this. Why do I know so little about any of this?
“Yes. He died when I was thirteen. He was a fairly young man – fifty-four.”
“I heard it was a heart attack.”
“Yes. Back then they didn’t save people from heart attacks. Or they couldn’t. Maybe today it wouldn’t have been fatal.”
“Did you get along with your father? Did you like him?”
“I don’t know if I… it wasn’t… my father was strict. But he could also be a lot of fun. He liked to keep us entertained, he liked to joke around…”
“Wow. Somehow I never thought of him like that…”
“He and my mother didn’t always get along. They would fight…”
“Like you and mom?”
“Your mother and I didn’t… we didn’t want to fight in front of you kids. We didn’t fight like that until… until the last year we were married. When she would say that stuff about not wanting so many kids…”
“She actually said that? I seem to recall it somehow. But I always wondered if I got it wrong.”
“No – she used to say that and the thing about ‘youbastards’. The funny thing is we were trying NOT to have so many kids. We were using… birth control… what was available at the time. Protection.”
“Yes, condoms. But she kept getting pregnant anyway. The doctor used to joke, ‘Gee, Mr. Carbonaro, all you have to do is LOOK at her and she gets pregnant.’ I remember him saying that.”
“Mom used to use the same line…”
“Well, we were using condoms. So I don’t know… I think she might have been putting holes in them…”
“Really? You’re kidding.”
“I don’t know. I was using them. And she would get pregnant anyway… like when you came along…”
“It’s either that or…”
“At the time, I was working for her boyfriend… and he would drive me to the north shore of Long Island, drop me off at the jobsite and then we wouldn’t pick me up until, I don’t know, five o’clock. At the time we only had the one car, your mother and I. So I didn’t want to take it and leave her stranded, in case there was an emergency with you kids…”
“I found out later where he was going. Back to the house.”
“Wait a minute. Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“I’m not saying anything. I’m probably just speaking out my hat…”
“Are you saying… that you might not be my father?”
“I probably shouldn’t… I’m not saying anything. It wouldn’t make any difference to me,…”
“What do you mean?”
“I would still love… I would still love all of you kids…”
“So… alright. I should probably get going…”
“Well, it was good to hear from you…”
“Alright. Take care, Dad.”
Led Chris T. Zeppelin
The Aerial View Ocean
June 14, 1977
Led Zeppelin, Madison Square Garden
I saw Led Zeppelin 39 years ago, today, June 14, 1977 at Madison Square Garden. It turned out to be the last time they every performed in New York City. I was one of the lucky ones who got tickets at face value through a lottery. I went with my friend Billy K. and his sister's boyfriend (Billy and I were fourteen years old and he was our chaperone). We had seats up in the nosebleed section and the four members of Led Zeppelin appeared like tiny figures in the distance.
I remember waiting forever for the show to begin and hearing later that it was due to Plant looking for exactly the right jeans to wear - who the hell knows. I know I was going out of my mind seeing my favorite band tearing through their "hits". My favorite highlight was seeing Jimmy in a triangle of light formed by lasers for his solo "violin bow" moment. Each time he hit the strings with the bow he'd point to a different section of Madison Square Garden and the triangle of light would shift! It was an amazing effect.
When the show was "over" we braced ourselves for another hour (at least) of encores, as we heard about from friends who attended one or more of the six nights previous. From my memory, the band had just gotten back on stage when some asshole threw a firecracker near Jimmy Page (who knows if it was an M-80 or cherry bomb?), which either bounced off the bass drum skin or hit Jimmy Page directly on his right hand, making a very loud report and bright flash when it blew up. Their was a collective OH MY GOD! throughout the place as we all thought we were seeing Jimmy's career end before our eyes. Honestly, I thought "They blew his hand OFF!" Moments later, Jimmy was hustled offstage and I watched through binoculars as someone - a doctor? - examined his hand.
After an interminable amount of time Robert Plant walked onstage and stood fuming at the main microphone. I've committed his words to memory: "We've had six nights of peace and music and now some joker has to go and spoil it. I hope whoever is sitting next to that person takes care of him. We're going to do an encore but you people don't deserve it." The rest of the band came out and limped their way through half of "Whole Lotta Love" and then LEFT. We got cheated out of God-knows-what by one asshole with a firecracker. And I hope whoever WAS sitting next to him DID take care of him.
The Mermaid Parade
On Saturday, June 18 I will once again serve as "The Voice Of The Mermaid Parade" from a podium in front of the reviewing stands on Surf Avenue, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York. This will be the 34th Annual Parade and my 27th consecutive year as MC. The Mermaid Parade has become a New York tradition and has to be seen to believed.
I began MCing the same year Aerial View went on the air, 1989, and to see what the parade has become is truly impressive. We've had attendance as high as half a million people and it's essentially an art parade. The creativity on display is something to behold and I urge you to get your ass down to Coney Island early on parade day, even though things don't kick off until 1 pm. Grab yourself a viewing spot near the PA and you can hear everything me and my co-horts will be saying about the acts you'll be watching.
Here's a recent Time Out NY guide to this year's Mermaid Parade and below is a picture our 2016 Queen Mermaid, Sports Illustrated2016 Swimsuit Edition Cover Model Hailey Clauson:
Send feedback by clicking the pic above.
Obligatory Throwback Pic
My Mermaid tattoo, which is now 25 years old!
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ON DEMAND ARCHIVES: The Aerial View Archive page features archives going back to nearly the beginning of the show in RealAudio and MP3 format.ON THE WEB:Listen from the playlist page aeriaview.me.OVER THE AIR: Aerial View is currently off the airwaves of WFMU until further notice.PODCAST: Aerial View is available on iTunes as a podcast.