Monday, February 28, 2011

Chinese New Year

Related Post: Lion Dance

Disappointed that I didn't bring my video camera for this, but at least I had the camera. Here are my snapshots of the exciting lion dance at a Chinese New Year's Party, in Palos Verdes Estates, California.
The lion dance is a traditional Chinese dance in which two performers (the lion's "head" and "body") mimic a lion's movements in a vigorous, martial arts stylized dance.
There were lights in the eyes of these lions, the eyelids could be controlled in order to "blink", and jaws could be manipulated by the front dancer inside the lion.
The lion performers wowed everyone in the crowd, and the kids especially loved it.

Related Posts: Lion Dance

--The Daily Fitchett, 2/26/11.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Story Behind "If It Ain't Broke"

Inspired by octogenarian couples who'd been together for over five decades, Canadian songwriter Mark Fitchett wrote If It Ain't Broke. Mark deeply admired his grandparents Joe and Dorothy, uncle Don and aunt Doreen, paternal grandparents Norton and Ann, great uncle Joe and aunt Tracy, and next door neighbors Howard and Francis. Here's the story behind the song:
"I just happened to be thinking about our neighbors Howard and Francis, who we used to see every day.  There were these little disagreements like she wanted the sawdust chips in the garden, and he didn't, but these were the little things that didn't matter.  Howard accepted his wife's wishes.  Everyone develops their own territory where they get to be "right", and the other person doesn't argue with that.  There are hundreds of unspoken agreements that develop between people over time.  The song is really about unconditional love and acceptance.
I don't really know if there are any quirks that my grandparents had, so I'm taking some artistic license in this song. The inspiration was more their attitude and togetherness after so many years. The message is: Get over these little things that bug you about the other person. Learn to live with it, don't get pissed off, and don't try to change the other person.
The song is not male or female oriented. The message is the same for either gender. Love the person for what they are, not for what you want them to be."
Related Article: "If It Ain't Broke" by Mark Fitchett

--The Daily Fitchett, 2/27/11.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"If It Ain't Broke" Preview From Mark's New Album

The second track off of Mark's upcoming Working Man album is here!

Click to listen: If It Ain't Broke, by Mark Fitchett

Mark Fitchett at the Palos Verdes Music Festival

If It Ain't Broke by Mark Fitchett

He leaves his socks
On the living room floor
Leaves the seat down
Every night he snores
She talks way too much
Or so he says
Makes them late
Every time they go someplace

Sometimes they will argue
Sometimes they will fight
But they always seem to
Somehow end up making things right

They’ve learned how to laugh
And love through it all
Admit when you’re wrong
And if you’re not
Apologize anyhow

And they say
If it ain’t broke
Why try to fix it now?

She might get on him
A little too much
Probably he don’t listen enough
But when push comes to shove
Before they say good night
They let it all go
Before they turn out the light

Sometimes she’s no angel
And he ain’t no saint
Sometimes love is perfect
And sometimes it ain’t

They’ve learned how to laugh
And love through it all
Admit when you’re wrong
And if you’re not, apologize anyhow

And they say
If it ain’t broke
Why try to fix it now?

They’ve both been together for so long now
You know things ain’t about to change
And when you ask them how they’ve managed to
Stay together for so long they’ll say

Learn how to laugh
And love through it all
Admit when you’re wrong
And if you’re not, apologize anyhow

If it ain’t broke, why try to fix it now?
If it ain’t broke, why try to fix it now?
If it ain’t broke, why try to fix it now?
If it ain’t broke, why try to fix it now?

Related Article:  Read The Story Behind "If It Ain't Broke" here.

--The Daily Fitchett, 2/26/11.

Friday, February 25, 2011

It Feels Like Pitch Black

Video excerpts of the 2010 dance performance It Feels Like Pitch Black, and documentary Sweet Spot: A Meeting of Two Worlds, with original modern dance music composed by Mark Fitchett, featuring The Regina Klenjoski Dance Company and the Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble. Both It Feels Like Pitch Black and the accompanying documentary Sweet Spot: A Meeting of Two Worlds were executive produced by Eric Linthorst and Jennie Linthorst, with support from the Chapman Foundation. Watch Video...

Photo: Regina Klenjoski Dance Company Rehearsal

--The Daily Fitchett.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Hikers Discover Igloo in Lower Yosemite. The Daily Fitchett.
While hiking in Lower Yosemite, we happened upon this igloo that someone had built.  While we were goofing around in the igloo, another hiker who had witnessed its construction came up and told us a family of three - mom, dad, and son - had built it in less than two hours. This particular igloo was tall enough at the center that a short person like me can fully stand up, and it is relatively warm in there (i.e. 32 degrees Fahrenheit inside as opposed to 12 degrees - and dropping fast - outside).

Related Posts: Half Dome Roadside Snapshot

--The Daily Fitchett, November 23, 2010.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

7th Annual Temecula Wine & Music Festival

Temecula Wine & Music Festival.
This year the 7th Annual Temecula Wine and Music Festival will welcome Grammy Award winning artists David Pack, Patrice Rushen, and Freddie Ravel; Jazz pianist Gregg Karukas, singer Kevyn Lettau, singer Lynne Fiddmont, drummer Harvey Mason, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., trumpeter Greg Adams, saxophonist Everette Harp, southern California's hot old school R&B/smooth latin jazz band DW3, Japanese saxophonist Kanzaki, and saxophonist Michael Paulo.

--The Daily Fitchett

Monday, February 21, 2011

"When" Preview from Mark's New Album

"When (Bury Me Lonely)" off of Mark Fitchett's new "Working Man" album

When does the heartache end,
And all the pieces fit back together again
When does it change, will it ever go away
Or will they bury me lonely in my grave?

Love comes so easily
Wraps you in a blanket of
Everything's perfect even when it's not
And when your seeing eye dog is blind
And the red light doesn't change
You never see that broken heart speed towards you
As you step in its way

When does the heartache end,
And all the pieces fit back together again
When does it change, will it ever go away
Or will they bury me lonely in my grave?

There's a someone, out there for everyone
At least that's the story I've heard
So many times don't want to hear it again
And when your train runs out of track
And you're not even half way home
That's when you realize you’ve got to make it on your own

When does the heartache end,
And all the pieces fit back together again
When does it change, will it ever go away
Or will they bury me lonely in my grave?

--The Daily Fitchett, 2/21/11

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Szechuan Ma Po Tofu

Continuing on with my (almost) daily cooking, I discovered this great tasting, easy-to-make dish based on a recipe originally posted by Linjo on

1/2 lb ground turkey
2 T cooking sherry
1 tsp cornstarch or Wondra

1/8 C black beans, mashed
1/2 T chili paste with garlic
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 T soy sauce
3 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1 package tofu (14 oz), drained and cubed
Dash sesame oil
1 C frozen green peas
1/2 C chicken broth
1 T cornstarch or Wondra
1 sprig green onions, chopped

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix ground turkey, sherry and Wondra. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine mashed black beans, chili paste, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
  3. In a Pyrex cup, combine chicken broth and Wondra.
  4. In a large skillet on medium high heat, brown the ground turkey mixture.  Meanwhile, in another large skillet on medium heat, simmer the tofu in 2 Tablespoons of soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil.  
  5. When the tofu has absorbed most of the soy sauce, pour the tofu in with the turkey, and add in the black bean mixture, peas, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes. 
--The Daily Fitchett

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Mom's" Lasagna

Usually Mark and I clash in the kitchen (he claims I'm "too slow"), but this time we teamed up.  The result is: Lasagna!

This dish is easy to make, and tastes great - full of flavor, well balanced, good texture, and substantial - not too meaty, not too cheesy, not too watery, and not too dry. The key ingredients indicated by a (!) give our version of this dish its taste and texture, and the real secret is don't be stingy with the organic parsley. * Time saver option: Replace the starred items with a jar of spaghetti sauce that contains basically the same thing.

1 lb. ground turkey (!)
2 tsp. crushed garlic (!)
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz) *
1 can tomato paste (6 oz) *
1 tsp. dried oregano *
fresh ground pepper to taste
12 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
4 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
organic parsley (!)

(!) Key ingredients

  1. In large saucepan, cook turkey over medium high heat until meat is no longer pink.  Stir in spaghetti sauce, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix ricotta cheese, crushed garlic, and minced organic parsley.
  3. Ladle one third of the meat sauce mixture into a large Corning ware baking dish.  Then layer as follows:  Noodles,  ricotta cheese mixture, shredded mozzarella, meat sauce, grated parmesan. Repeat layers twice. Towards the top layers, substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta cheese mixture.
  4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for approximately 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and lightly browned on top.
Serves 6-8. The wine pictured here is a 2008 Trader Joe's "Grand Reserve" Meritage from Napa Valley.

Buon appetito!

--The Daily Fitchett

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fennel Salmon

Mark Fitchett's fennel salmon with parmesan asparagus
I came home and Mark had fried up his own version of a lightly breaded fennel salmon with roasted Parmesan asparagus and new potatoes. Yum!

1/4 C. Cornstarch or Wondra
3 T. Olive Oil
1 lb. Salmon filets
1 bunch asparagus
8 new potatoes
1/4 C. chopped onion
1/4 bunch spinach leaves
1/2 C. grated parmesan

Serves 2. The wine pictured here is 2009 California Red Wine Menage a Trois (a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) - not necessarily a "correct" pairing for a salmon dish, but we like it anyway.

--The Daily Fitchett

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo with link to recipe on Epicurean web site
It was highly ambitious - you might say naive or even stupid - of me as a relatively new cook to even attempt to make this dish with it's dozen or so freshly ground spices.  Note: If you're going to cook Indian and Pakistani recipes, make sure you've got an electric spice grinder. I foolishly pushed on with this recipe with only a Japanese-style mortar and pestle, and it took over 4 hours.

In any case, it turned out great, and Mark was really surprised! He considered it an early Valentine's day dinner. Now I know when most people think of Valentine's day dinners, they don't necessarily think of Indian food, but I think Mark was impressed by the well-balanced variety of full flavors in this dish, not to mention the effort that went into it.

See for yourself...Here's the link for this particular Chicken Vindaloo recipe on Epicurean. This dish goes perfectly with sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt and Fu-Ki, a Japanese plum wine.

--The Daily Fitchett

Friday, February 11, 2011

Live at Alva's

Video footage of live performance at Alva's Showroom. The band are: Lisa Kato Fitchett (piano), Craig Roth (keyboards), Allen Ellis (vibraphone), Mark Fitchett (guitar), Stephanie James (flute), Gregory Scott Alban (drums), Anthony Alvarez (bass). Watch Video

Link to video performance of Mark Fitchett Live at Alva's

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rockwell Sheraton & Jim Hale

Entertainment producer Rockwell Sheraton (The Cinedicate) and jazz trumpeter Jim Hale goofing around at Brian Daly's Super Bowl Sunday party. --The Daily Fitchett, 2/6/11.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Claudia Krikorian

Snapshot at sunset: Claudia Krikorian, owner of Peninsula Montessori School, at a friend's party in Palos Verdes Estates, CA. --The Daily Fitchett, 2/6/11.
Claudia Krikorian

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett

Jam session on Super Bowl Sunday with Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett
Thanks to Brian Daly for hosting this party, and to Gregory Scott Alban (Morgan Stanley) and Rockwell Sheraton (The Cinedicate) for putting together the jam session! Pictured here: Mark Fitchett (guitar), Jimbo Ross (violin), Shari Puorto (vocals), Dan Malouin (bass), and of course Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett on drums. Read Modern Drummer's exclusive web interview with Jonathan Moffett here. --The Daily Fitchett, 2/6/11.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Starting a New Tradition

We've got a tradition at our house. Every Friday while I'm still at work, Mark decides on a menu, shops, and prepares a really nice evening meal for us.  Since our jazz cruise,  however, I feel compelled to cook. Part of the inspiration came from the variety of fresh food prepared daily on board the ship. But an even bigger inspiration was been my friend Claudia, an accomplished educator, business person, gourmet cook, and friend who was with us on the cruise.  Claudia has been gently encouraging me for some time to overcome my fears of cooking.  I'm letting Mark continue cooking on Friday nights, but I'm basically cooking every day now.

With thanks to Claudia for her positivity and to Mark for his patience, here's to starting new traditions...We'll see what happens!

--The Daily Fitchett

Thursday, February 3, 2011

David Sanborn at The Floridian

David Sanborn in Ft Lauderdale
At the end of the jazz cruise, we ran into David Sanborn on the way into The Floridian - the best diner in Fort Lauderdale, where all the locals go. Pictured here, left to right: Claudia Krikorian, Lisa Kato Fitchett, Jim Hale, Dorothy Axelrod, with David Sanborn (center).

--The Daily Fitchett, 1/30/11.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gerald Albright / Jonathan Butler Concert

Gerald Albright / Jonathan Butler Concert. Jazz cruise 2011.
The jazz cruise audience was on its feet at the evening concert headlined by Gerald Albright and Jonathan Butler, on the ms Noordam.

--The Daily Fitchett, 1/28/2011.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meditation at Sea

Mark Fitchett on Caribbean jazz cruise. The Daily Fitchett, 1/25/11.
Pictured here: Mark Fitchett relaxing in the piano bar on the third deck of the ms Noordam.

--The Daily Fitchett, 1/25/2011.