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Monday, July 04, 2011

Mike Fontana

Part 2 - Surrender to the Music (see Part 1 here)


Immersion took on a new meaning for me when virtual reality technologies were developed and became surrounded by media buzz. The operative phrase became total immersion experience. For something to truly feel real, input to all five senses must reach a level where the user perceives them to be real.

In on our non-virtual world, I believe we have an analogous situation. When we reach sensory overload and the stimuli are positive, we feel euphoria, exhilaration, or pure joy. We lose the ability to intellectualize, analyze and stand outside the experience as observer. You are fully IN the experience.


My first meeting with Mike Fontana was short but exciting. Here was a working artist on St. Marks Place between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, the historical nexus of the East Village. A brief moment standing on his 2nd floor balcony connected me with that past. While there, friends dropped in, seemingly unannounced, reminiscent of my childhood, where making rounds visiting relatives (often unannounced) was de rigueur. I was informed by the friend who made the introduction that Mike hosted regular music jams and every first Wednesday of the month, there was a open megajam.

On Wednesday May 4, 2011, I went to Mike Fontana's, armed with cameras and camcorder. Mike is disarmingly cordial, convivial and generous. His home is your home. There is an openness rarely found in New York City. He welcomed me to make use of his loft bed which had a windowed opening through a wall, permitting a treehouse view of the living room which was filled with musicians. Many of the photos for part 1 of this story were taken from this aerie.

In short order, the entire apartment was teaming with musicians. This was a full-fledged rock and roll extravaganza, the likes of which I have never seen in a private home:



Mike assured me that the neighbors were not always as pleased as the jam participants. The living room is well outfitted with amplifiers - guitarists only need to bring their axes and plug in. Mike was busy on his drum pads with all the enthusiasm of a boy who just unwrapped his first set at Christmas.

It is easy to get caught up in an urban life filled with agendas and completely lose touch with your own humanity. As I wrote in Duffy - see here, when life's routines begin to take over, it's time to recharge your batteries. Grab a surfboard and jump in. Immerse and lose yourself. Take off your armor. Fall in love, head over heels. Find a music jam, sing out and surrender to the music

Note: You can find Mike Fontana's website here.

Related Posts: I Got Caught, New York Is Bluegrass Country, Pockets of Joy, The Conductor, Duffy, Paddy Reilly's, Park Night

2 comments:

Karen said...

Great piece Brian! Happy 4th by the way!

Jimmy said...

Happy Independence Day, a bit late. :) Thank you for the amazing pictures, they really give the feel you want us to get. It's pretty arty, but the rooms are too full for my taste. Thanks!

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