The Glorious Corner: WOR Live, 12-Year Old Rock Prodigy Kjersti Long, Debbie Gibson, Woodstock and More

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WOR’s Scott Lakefield; Len Berman; Rosanna Scotto and Ernie Anastos and Steve Walter.
G. H. Harding

WOR LIVE— 710 WOR/New York morning show co-host Len Berman (Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning, 6-10am weekdays) hosted a live listener event last week at The Cutting Room in New York City.  He was joined by veteran Fox 5 (WNYW/New York) anchors Rosanna Scotto and Ernie Anastos for WOR Live, a panel discussion on the changing face of news coverage today.

Berman, Scotto, and Anastos are a powerful trio: between them, they have spent more than 115 years on New York City television screens, and have won or been nominated for more than 40 Emmy Awards.  

KJERSTI AMAZES— We’ve seen numerous new acts over the years; sneak previews with bands and artist poised to hit it big. Monday night we witnessed one of the first performances of 12-year old rock prodigy Kjersti Long at NYC’s Bitter End and we were simply astonished by her poise, presence and passion. 

Kjersti Long at NYC’s Bitter End. Photo: Jeff Smith/Reflections

Fronting a five-piece band, who were just excellent and three backup singers, Long performed several of the tracks from her first album, on Van Dean’s Broadway Records titled Stronger Than You Think I Am.

Long’s cover versions of Aerosmith’s “Dream On” and Heart’s “Barracuda” were just sensational, but her take on Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield,” with her father Jeremy, on a sizzling acoustic guitar, was just spot-on. In fact, it was the highlight of her show.

She also performed a song from Broadway’s Matilda, “Quiet,” that suited her just perfect; I’ve always loved the song and her take on it was sensational.

While the band was excellent and powerful, most notably on “Roller Coaster” and “Love Blind”(great track), I enjoyed her voice more on the softer performances. It’s rich and melodic, yet blistering when needed as demonstrated on her cover of “Piece of My Heart.” Her voice has already been compared to Janis Joplin in print previously, and I’m here to report first-hand you the comparison is apt.

I’m always in awe of young performers like this, yes, young , but talented beyond their years.

With a team of professional around her, she’s destined for big-time success and after this presentation, I can say she well deserves it.

Broadway Records has a hit on their hands for certain. Terrifically impressive.

David Salidor and Debbie Gibson

SHORT TAKES — 31 years ago yesterday, Debbie Gibson’s song “Foolish Beat” hit the top of the charts and Gibson became the youngest writer/producer/performer of a number one in history. Adds Gibson, “I’m still the youngest female to this day which I find surreal! It is my distinct honor to perform this song, which is a piece of my heart, nightly on the Mixtape Tour. It’s an extraordinary adventure to fill it in with my emotion and life experiences in this modern day and to see all of you receive it with all of who you are today as well.” Her Mix Tape Tour with NKOTB hits Nassau Coliseum in Long Sunday. PR-pasha David Salidor, who oversaw Gibson’s media back-then is equally impressed. “A good song, is a good song,” he adds. “Gibson’s exceptional performance was and is still compelling. A proud moment for sure.” … Watch Micky Dolenz and his band on this Friday’s (6-28) FOX’s Good Day LA/KTTV – … Honey West returns 9/24 at Steve Walter’s Cutting Room … Still loving CBS’ The Good Fight, now on CBS proper. Just sensational writing … And, from our Anthony Pomes at Square One Publishers

Honey West

June is LGBT Pride Month, and with the fate of the Woodstock 50 festival still undecided and the world on the brink of total cosmic chaos, we all could do with a little laughter and happiness. Well, another word for “happy” is “gay,” and a lot of laughter can be found in the life—and books—of Elliot Tiber, the late great gay man who saved Woodstock from cancellation fifty years ago in the sleepy town of Bethel, New York. Before he passed away at age 81 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida due to stroke-related complications in August 2016, Elliot Tiber had done a great many things in his varied and often quixotic life. During much of the 1960’s, he was a successful New York City interior designer. He has also been, both in the US and Europe, a filmmaker; a playwright; a humorist; a college professor; a best-selling author; and, as a proudly gay man, an activist for LGBTQ rights throughout the world. In the summer of 1969, his life intersected dramatically with the Stonewall Inn riots in New York’s Greenwich Village (where he took part in what became known as the Gay Liberation Movement) and the legendary Woodstock Arts & Music Festival. The iconic concert might never have taken place at famed Yasgur’s Farm up in Bethel, New York if Tiber had not offered festival producer Michael Lang the crucial legal permit that allowed him to stage the event. These two pivotal moments in Tiber’s life were the focus of his first book, Taking Woodstock, which was also made into the acclaimed same-name film by two-time Oscar winning director Ang Lee released ten summers ago. The Tiber Trilogy, as the books are known unofficially and of which Taking Woodstock is the middle title—is also comprised of both a “prequel” memoir, Palm Trees on the Hudson, and a “sequel” memoir titled After Woodstock (with a richly appreciative Foreword by Ang Lee). Both will be released this summer in first-time audio productions narrated by Chicago, Illinois-based veteran actor/director and voice-over artist Edwin Wald. (Tiber was portrayed in Ang Lee’s 2009 film by multi-faceted comedian Demetri Martin.)

Elliot Tiber
“Taking Woodstock”

If the new PBS Woodstock doc is any indication, it would seem that Elliot’s vital and life-loving part in what made the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Festival so special and so fun has been swept under the proverbial rug. By recalling him and his unique role in world history as “the gay man who saved Woodstock,” we hope that folks both gay and STR8 will want to take a good look at his hilarious books and remarkable life.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Van Dean; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Randy Alexander; Julie Machover; Susan Hathaway; Rudy Shur; Greg Messel; Leesa Csolak; Jeremy Long; Anthony Curtis; Deb Caponetta; Tony King; David Steel; and, CFS.

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