Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jazzing It Up with Jon Corzine and Max Weinberg

So, last night our whole family went to a fundraiser for The New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community, otherwise known as COSAC. (For my previous post on COSAC, see Two of the Faces of Autism). My wife is a member of the COSAC's Board of Trustees, I should add. So we got all dressed up and headed over to the East Brunswick Hilton for "Jazz It Up For Autism" which was this year's theme.

Here's a picture of my daughter (she's the one with autism, in case you haven't been keeping up with every detail of my life), and my son. There's an amazing bond that they have between them, although at home, more often than not, he makes her shriek at the top of her lungs by annoying her left and right, which is what siblings do, I imagine (being an only child, I can't state this for a fact).

This year's event was a really big deal in no small part because the Governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine, came by and gave a little talk. I didn't get to meet him myself, I'm low priority at these things, but he did have a photo op with my daughter. They love having my daughter around for these things, because she's photogenic and fairly well behaved. This would be her second picture with a New Jersey Governor, as she had her picture taken with now disgraced ex-Governor Jim McGreevy years ago. One of these days I have to try to find a copy online, or scan it from the newspaper it appeared in. I also don't have the photo of my daughter with Corzine, as it was taken by one of the staff photographers. But I'm sure we'll get copies eventually, and I'll post it here as soon as I can. In the meantime, here's a picture my wife took of my daughter waiting for her photo op with the governor. In case you're not familiar with him, Corzine's the one with the beard, glasses, and bowtie. And that's the back of my daughter's head in the bottom foreground.

Okay, but here's the kicker. My son, who was supposed to be waiting with me, instead ran off to the VIP room to hang out with my wife and daughter, so my wife got a picture of him with Governor Corzine.

Now, is that cool, or what? Anyway, the other big attraction for this event was a special guest, Max Weinberg. Weinberg is famous for being the drummer in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, and also the leader of the Max Weinberg 7, the band for the Late Night With Conan O'Brien TV talk show. Again, I was the only one who didn't get to meet him, but I'm glad that my wife did (she worships Springsteen), and that my son did as well (he's gotten into Springsteen lately). Springsteen is the official state religion of New Jersey (that's not a joke, I am absolutely serious here), and after all, I am the only member of our family who is not from Jersey (I'm a native New Yorker, and I like Springsteen, but he's not God, man!). Anyway, here's a picture my wife snapped in the VIP area of Corzine and Weinberg talking.

So, aside from all this, there was a big fancy dinner, and here's a shot of my son and me at our table.

Gov. Corzine gave a very heartfelt speech. Everyone was commenting that he really does seem to care about the autism epidemic. There were a few other speakers, and a special presentation made to Max Weinberg, and to Robert and Michelle Smigel, who had a great deal to do with the success of the event. Robert Smigel also has a Conan O'Brien connection, as a head writer and as Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. He was also a writer for Saturday Night Live, and is best known for his TV Funhouse cartoons. And no, I didn't get to meet him either. In all honesty, after all the high profile stuff with the Media Ecology Association this summer in Mexico, it's a pleasure to settle back into comfortable anonymity. Anyway, they had a dance band performing, and for one set Max Weinberg sat in on the drums, and they played a few Springsteen numbers. And I got up to dance with my daughter.

We were doing the little bit of the Lindy Hop that I know there. She loved it, I almost plotzed. It was quite a workout. Oh and here's some pictures of Max Weinberg playing with the band, and I have to say that that guy is really, really good!

And once the set was over, it was back to the table for some recovery time.

And that pretty much sums it up. It was a rare night out for us as a family, and a memorable one. Thank you, COSAC!


Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

There's an autism epidemic? That's really interesting. Does anyone know why? (I have an autistic godson.)

Anonymous said...

What great photos of dad and daughter dancing! That's really the joy of living, isn't it? We have our families and those close friends around us to cherish and to love, to pour into and to care for, we go through ups and downs, and we share a life . . . together.
Thanks for sharing yours, Lance!

From one former Jersey girl to a hometown friend,

Stephanie B.

PS: Everything you said about Springsteen is true. He is idolized in Jersey. My first year teaching at Shore Regional High School, I taught with Max's wife when Springsteen was just starting out. Whew. Way back.

Ann (Lady Lazarus) said...

awww, Lance your kids are gorgeous

(I finally made it here to check out some of your blogs)

Lance Strate said...

thanks, Ann! you are always welcome here!