Friday, December 30, 2011

My 25 Favorite and Best in Television for 2011

Whether these programs were ratings favorites or on the Emmy ballot (and many were and/or will be), these 25 programs were my favorites that make my lists this year for the Best in Television. The list is in alphabetical order. I highly recommend these shows; some I think should be annual required viewing ie Kennedy Center Honors and CNN Heroes.

My List of the Best in Television Programming - 2011

A Very Gaga Thanksgiving -- ABC

All My Children -- ABC
American Masters -- PBS

America's Got Talent -- NBC

Boardwalk Empire -- HBO
CNN Heroes -- CNN

Downtown Abbey (Masterpiece Theater) -- PBS

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition -- ABC

Family Guy -- FOX
The First 48 -- A&E

Freedom Riders (American Experience) -- PBS

Good Morning America -- ABC

Keep A Child Alive with Alicia Keys -- SHOWTIME

2011 Kennedy Center Honors -- CBS

Lady Gaga Presents The Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden -- HBO

Live with Regis & Kelly -- SYN

Mildred Pierce -- ABC

Modern Family -- ABC

The Oprah Winfrey Show -- SYN

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel -- HBO

60 Minutes -- CBS

So You Think You Can Dance -- FOX

Spartacus: Gods of the Arena -- Starz

Undercover Boss-- CBS

Wheel of Fortune -- SYN

Friday, December 23, 2011

vendetta for a thief - a new poem by Antonio Cassone

When life happens, I put it into my art, my work. A lot of life has been happening lately. Some good, but the bad tends to outweigh the good and, while "at the end of the day I feel so blessed." It all sounds so cliche to me. My dear friend and roommate & I were robbed yesterday; our peaceful home ransacked. Diva and I have known each other 25 years, as most of you close to us and fans of my books and webisodes know. As much as the media talks about Detroit that never happened to us there. I guess I had to come down to sunny South Florida for this experience. So after salting the day away, counting our losses and blessings, I finished sweeping smatterings of debris off my bedroom floor and I slipped into the shower.

I tend to do a lot of thinking in the shower. I also sing and talk a lot too. I reached out to my deceased Sicilian grandmother; right off the boat, she was a slight woman with a big, giving heart, but she also knew about vendettas. Vendettas back home for her were not as commonplace as one would think. They were a necessity, though - and in her eyes they worked. So I scrubbed the derision of the day away, sang some Adele and spoke to Grandma Cassone about my very own little vendetta.

And then I wrote this poem... it is probably my darkest one to date and I have both the English and Italian versions here in this post (thank you Google Translate - this is a first for me).

I figure since I felt the spirit of my father's mother on my shoulder, it made sense to me.


vendetta for a thief

their rooted in evil provocation of fear spikes an anger
within me; from the pit of my soul, yes I rage
they stole from mine and I without consideration
of sentiment, or our cutting to the bone hard work;
no care at all

imagine everything you have worked for
being turned out, and over, and about
fleetingly; as if it were on the wind, nothing
not to mention…
your personal notes, mementos, timeless treasures

it could have been a note from a long ago friend, now passed on
or a memorial program from a beloved grandmother
your father’s flag, once draped over casket for his service and duty
that you wept and grieved over; having as a reminder

maybe it was your camera that captured some
of your best work and finest familial, friendly memories
or your deceased parents’ wedding bands that were a symbol
of the life of love they had for one another …and for you;
which sometimes brought you luck

while all of these things are just that = things
they are ours and for someone to just up on a whim
come in and swipe, rifle, peruse, seek, pick through, browse…
as if at a thrift or convenience store; damn them

damn them and their mothers who birthed them
their bastard fathers who failed to show them
the law that failed to catch them
damn them for the them that they are
the mere existence of them is now damned

and i feel no pity for the stake, circumstances and lot of their vivification
we all have issues, hardships, falls, ebbs, curves on the runway of life
some work hard all their lives; others live to rob them blind
well, may they go blind so they can’t see what their grabby hands can take

their eyes, may they go dark and fail them sharply
may their legs quiver and break into tiny little shards of scorching pain;
their hunger, may it cut and gnaw them at their gulch ribs perforating their sides;
their hands burn off slight and slow to the quick from acid rain…

may their children starve and struggle and curse him into oblivion;
their mammy’s grow old till their flesh smells stank and foul,
after burying all her young
and the guts of their bastard pappy suction from the end of gangster’s gunshot
may life shit all over them, as if a haze following them for all their days

may they end up just another dead, statistical son of a motherless goat’s ass
may the anger of their victims fury and haunt their sleepless nights
and the weight of prying eyes keep them busy and moving by day
and they have to struggle and run, struggle and run all the days of their lowly life,
until I can spit on their grave…

Copyright ©2011 Antonio Cassone – All Rights Reserved


and now the Italian version...

vendetta per un ladro

le loro radici nella provocazione male di picchi paura una rabbia
dentro di me, dalla fossa della mia anima, sì io rabbia
hanno rubato dal mio ed io, senza considerazione
del sentimento, o il nostro taglio al lavoro osso duro;
non frega niente

immaginare tutto quello che hai lavorato per
di essere scoperto, e oltre, e circa
fugacemente, come se fosse il vento, nulla
per non parlare ...
le note personali, ricordi, i tesori senza tempo

avrebbe potuto essere una nota da un amico molto tempo fa, ora trasmesso
o un programma memoriale da una nonna amata
bandiera di tuo padre, una volta coperto sopra scrigno per il suo servizio e del dovere
che piangeva e addolorato, avendo come promemoria

forse era la macchina fotografica che ha catturato alcuni
dei vostri lavori migliori e più familiare, ricordi amichevole
o fedi tuoi genitori defunti ', che erano un simbolo
della vita di amore che avevano uno per l'altro ... e per voi;
che a volte ti ha portato fortuna

mentre tutte queste cose sono solo cose che =
sono nostri e che qualcuno solo su un capriccio
entrare e swipe, fucile, sfogliare, cercare, raccogliere attraverso, navigare ...
come se in un deposito di risparmio o di convenienza; li maledica

Accidenti a loro e le loro madri che li hanno partorito
i loro padri bastardo che non è riuscito a mostrare loro
la legge che non è riuscito a catturarli
Accidenti a loro per il loro che sono
la mera esistenza di questi è ora dannati

e mi sento nessuna pietà per il rogo, le circostanze e gran parte della loro vivificazione
tutti abbiamo problemi, sofferenze, cadute, riflussi, curve sulla pista della vita
un lavoro duro per tutta la vita, altri vivono di derubarli ciechi
bhe forse vanno ciechi modo che non possano vedere ciò che le loro mani possessiva può prendere

i loro occhi, si può andare buio e non riescono loro nettamente
possono loro faretra gambe e rompere in piccoli frammenti 'di dolore cocente;
la loro fame, può tagliare e loro a rodere le costole burrone perforare i loro lati;
le mani bruciare leggera e lenta sul vivo da piogge acide ...

possono i loro figli morire di fame e di lotta e maledirlo nel dimenticatoio;
la loro mamma è invecchiare fino alla loro carne odori puzzava e fallo,
dopo aver seppellito tutti i suoi giovani
e il coraggio di aspirazione bastardo loro pappy a partire dalla fine di arma da fuoco gangster
può merda vita tutto loro, come se una nebbia che lo seguivano per tutti i loro giorni

può finiscono solo un altro morto, figlio statistica di culo di capra madre di
può la rabbia dei loro furia vittime e perseguitano le loro notti insonni
e il peso di occhi indiscreti tenerli occupati e in movimento durante il giorno
e devono lottare e correre, lottare e correre tutti i giorni della loro vita umile,
fino a quando posso sputare sulla loro tomba ...

Copyright © 2011 Antonio Cassone - Tutti i diritti riservati

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Her Way - Celebrating the Life of Ramona Miles

I received very sad news today of the passing of a very dear friend. We hadn't been as much in touch in recent years, but when we would talk we would always immediately start up right where we left off before and it was like no time had gone by at all. I spoke with her last early this past summer. While she had told me of some bumps in the road of her journey health wise, she was still the upbeat, vibrant, jovially spirited friend from days gone by. Ramona Miles passed away November 15, 2011. I had sent a Christmas card to her and her mother, per usual and got back a letter from her mother and her memorial program. To my fans, you may remember Ramona for her wonderful vocals in my dramatic, audio play Tears and Thunder (1996) where she sang with me on Amazing Grace for the funeral scene and did an awesome acapella version of The Lord's Prayer. Ramona was an amazing artist and I am so thankful to her now, more than ever before, because I will always have her voice as a gift to me, and her friends and family. I have included links to those videos later in this post, as well as a poem for and in memory of her.


a poem for and in memory of Ramona Lavette Miles
Sunrise: August 10, 1968
Sunset: November 15, 2011

You may be gone in the physical, my angelic friend
But you will never be too far away from me
With a steady hand and steadfast devotion to those you held dear
You always were a protector, a doer

When I think back on our friendship I smile, even though
Missing you, tears fill my eyes that I wipe away
Honestly, I want to thank you
For your candor, your laughter and simply, very simply, your way

You just had a style and grace that made you so unique
Set apart from any other I have known really
You were a find so rare and genuine
I knew it straight out, right from the beginning

There you were, laid out and decked to the nines
That first meeting was all about business
But from that point forward we were thick as thieves
Friendship was instant and ones like that you don’t question

Like two spirits moving through this world,
You showed me who I could be and to never feel shame or fright
You told me to embrace all that God has given
And how to seek out and shine that inner light

You always had a presence, an aura …a way
About you, that made me feel welcome
And everybody who we’d meet along that path
Would bask in the brightness of your beautiful smile

You are in Heaven, that I already know
For you wouldn’t have it any other way
I know you will watch over us left behind
Just as sure as tomorrow will follow today

My one singular moment with you that I remember the most,
It was a very dark day for me and I felt like I couldn’t go
I had made myself sick, felt unworthy and filled with nothingness
You took me by the chin and told me I had to do my show

There was no getting out of it,
That I was stronger than whatever negative thing bringing me down
Then you told a silly joke and we both laughed
Turning up a smile that seconds before was a mere frown

You pushed me to always keep going, that was the norm for you and I
It was nothing for you to show me a brighter side, a better way
If something doesn’t work at first, do it again, give it another try
That was just you, your spirit and essence of it; your fabulous, wonderful way

Copyright ©2011 Antonio Cassone

Pictured: Ramona and I out and about celebrating some sort of thing, which is what we would tend to do. A lot of laughter was involved for sure... Good times with a very good friend.

to hear Ramona with me singing "Amazing Grace (Funeral Scene)" from Tears and Thunder go to

to hear Ramona's version of "The Lord's Prayer" from Tears and Thunder go to

both recordings produced & engineered by Scott Sumner, The Disc Ltd (1996)

Friday, December 9, 2011

GRAMMY Watch - Classical Music Categories - Picks & Predictions for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards

Year by year, not much really, truly stands up to the classical music recordings. It is almost as though these artists are truly in a league all their own. Always very highly competitive and usually my picks are also my predictions. I allow myself this easy way out (lol) because a lot of these categories are too close to call. Some years are easy, as a lot of bloc voting seems to be the norm here. Sometimes it is obvious, like the one year the San Francisco Symphony won five awards. This is nearly impossible this year though, as there was really no one album with that many multiple nominations - and I haven't figured out if it is due to the scaling down of categories and rule changes or if it is the fact that the field truly is wide open.


My Pick & Prediction:

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
[Deutsche Grammaphon)

With two nods of the 5 from the BBC Philharmonic & Orchestra, I figure these two will cancel each other out beaming the trophy to LA.


My Pick & Prediction:

Antonio Pappano, conductor; Joseph Calleja, Renee Fleming & Thomas Hampson, principal cast; James Whitbourn, album producer; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Royal Opera Chorus.
[Opus Arte]

I have two words for you: Renee Flemming. I think it is no contest, but I could be wrong - and I don't care. That, plus Verdi, plus La Traviata, plus the Royal Opera Orchestra AND chorus... plus, plus, plus!


My Pick:

Patrick Dupre Quigley, conductor; James K. Bass, chorus master; Justin Blackwell, Scott Allen Jerrett, Paul Max Tipton & Teresa Wakim, principal soloists; Professional Choral Institute & Seraphic Fire, chorus.
[Seraphic Fire Media]

My Prediction:

Stephen Layton, conductor Choir of Trinity College Cambridge
[Hyperion Records]

This was very tough for me. Something about American A Cappella, for me, will give it an edge over the competition with Grammy voters. However, Brahms' Requiem is so classically classical - it just feels worthy and right.


My Pick & Prediction:

Patrick Dupre Quigley, conductor Seraphic Fire.
[Seraphic Fire Media]

What can you say? Seraphic Fire had a banner year and it just seems like they may be a lock here.


My Pick:

Leif Ove Andsnes; Antonio Pappano (London Symphony Orchestra)
[EMI Classics]

My Prediction:

Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Christopher Lamb (Nashville Symphony)

THIS is a very, very, very competitive category. The solo classical ones always are. For my pick, I was torn between the two Rachmaninov pieces, which I think may cancel each other out (for my prediction), but that leaves three very rich performances and all sort of themed in a way with Nashville Symphony's Christopher Lamb tackling percussion for orchestra (and Nashville Symphony has been a Grammy darling in recent years), Copenhagen Philharmonic's Michala Petri's take on Chinese Recorder Concertos - East Meets West and Ursula Oppens sublime piano adaptations on Winging It - Piano Music of John Corigliano. Like I said, a very tough choice indeed.


My Pick & Prediction:

Natalie Dessay (Emmanuelle Haim; Le Concert D'Astree)
[Virgin Classical]

Hands down: One of the best OVERALL performances of the year. I know there is competiton here somewhere, I just didn't want to see it after witnessing what I did of Dessay's nothing short of a tour de force. Brava Diva!


My Pick & Prediction:

Robert Aldridge & Herschel Garfein, composers

The Nashville Symphony Orchestra... need I say more. I think they will have another stellar Grammy showing - and with this American classic being adapted for the Opera. Bravo!

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards will be telecast live on CBS on Sunday, February 12, 2012 on CBS at 8pm/EST. For full coverage and complete list of nominees visit

Pictured: Natalie Dessay in the Le' Concert D'Astree production of Handel's Cleopatra; credit to the photographer

Sunday, December 4, 2011

WINNERS - 2011 Cassone Channel Honors - Season 14

I am proud to present the winners for the 2011 Cassone Channel Honors for Season 14 of the videos that premiered on my YouTube Channels during the eligible time. Thank you to all who voted.

Pictured is "Mother Caldwell" from the Best Special Class Video Winner In Memoriam: A Lifetime of Love, Loss and Tributes. The only video to capture multiple wins was the somewhat controversial, yet very funny season finale Getting Ready webisode 334: The 'Gays,' which took home Best Webisode and Best Guest Star - Jennifer Diane. The formula of Cassone meeting up with a female friend and hashing out the events of the day seems to be working in the eyes of subscribers and voters, as this combination has happened in season's past with AnnMarie Battaglia (two times). This will be kept in mind for future plans for the series, so stay tuned.

Both videos in the top two categories were also the most viewed for Season 14.

Nancy Ross joins Diva Kingsley (with 13 career wins) in the 10+ club. These two artists are in a league of their own in the eyes of my channel subscribers. They are the darlings of the awards. Nancy Ross adds two more wins under their belt (for a total of 12 career wins) winning Season 14's Best Supporting Player prize for their appearances on Getting Ready and also shares the Best Special Class Video award, as one of the prop masters/location producers. A total of 44 individuals share that prize, which is a new record for the awards.

Congratulations to all of the Season 14 winners.

And the winners are:




334: THE “GAYS”

Jennifer Diane, performer. Antonio Cassone, performer, director, producer, concept, sound mixing & editor.

Watch this award winning webisode at



A.D., Paul Miller, Bob Drews, Pat & Carol & Brian Bragg, location producers/props. Doris Petroski, Alvin Davis, Marie Villapondo, Arva Thomas, Andre Streeter, Petronella “Grandma Anna” Cassone, Larry Vara, Donald & Sandra Cassone, Raymundo Guzman, Ophelia Prado, “Rose” Marie Gibbs, Danny Turner, Rita Southers, Kenneth Dix, Rosemary Conroy, Cecil Gibbs, Christy Philyaw Harrison, “Mother” Peggy Caldwell, Darlene Jones, Moldavia Ishtar, Melba Moore (a.k.a. Robert Brunner), Louise Fritschen, Doris Blackwell, Genevieve Jedro, Ralph Fritschen, Shawn Abraham, Reggie Thompson, Irene Fecko, Dennis Ashby a.k.a. Rita Porter, Sharon L. Cassone, Robert “Rocky” Cassone, William “Billy” Earl Gibbs II, Walter McCoy, Elizabeth “Liz” Patrick & Margaret “Googles” Dickensheet, honorees. Sia, song recording artist. Antonio Cassone, photographer, photo editor, video slideshow director, producer & editor.

Watch this award winning video at


JAMIE PAGE, “326 & 327: Daybreak,” “Edge of the World” & “Prince of the City”

Watch Jamie's award winning performances at (webisode 326), (webisode 327), (Edge of the World) and (Prince of the City)


NANCY ROSS, “315: Don’t Leave Me Greyhound Bound” & 320: Power Ballad le Deuces”

Watch Nancy's award-winning performance in webisode 320: Power Ballad le Deuces at - NOTE: I did have to swap the audio on this video, so as not to bare copyright infringement and to keep with the terms of use on the host site.


JENNIFER DIANE, “334: The ‘Gays’”

Watch Jennifer's award winning performance in this webisode at


TONI HEDGES, mini stage & cake design, “319: The Gift a.k.a. Judy’s Birthday Surprise”



Watch the video presentation for this category at

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween - Photography by Cassone October 2011 Feature

My October 2011 photography feature.

Check out the video slideshow for this feature at

Location Producer/Decorations: Gus Sanchez
Set Decorators: Dee Dee Van Carter, TheVanity Flair
Stage Lighting Design?Decoration: Lee Schuco, Dee Dee Van Carter
Stage Lighting Operator: William "Sunshine" Ott Frederick
Photography, Editing, Effects, Video Slideshow Producer, Director, Sound Design/Mixing & Editor: Antonio Cassone

Hallowed Hall

Hallowed Hall Profile

Sir Skelt

Sir Skelt II (B&W)

Sir Skelt II

Hallowed Hall Chandelier


Lucretia II

Mutt and Jeff

A Bit of Face Time



Lurking from the Shadows

Where's My Mummy?

Red Demon

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Backyard Bicycle - Photography by Cassone September 2011 Feature

The second half of my September 2011 photography feature is simply my former roommate's bicycle inspired me one day - and here we are.

Watch the video slideshow at


Location Producer: A.D.
Props: L. Franco
Photography, Editing & Effects: Antonio Cassone

Backyard Bicycle (asphalt)

Backyard Bicycle (asphalt - sepia)

Backyard Bicycle (chalk)

Backyard Bicycle (original b&w)

Bentley - Photography by Cassone September 2011 Feature

Part of my September 2011 photography feature is of my good friend, David's, adorable yorkshire terrier (yorkie), Bentley.

He is definitely an attention grabber.

Watch the video slideshow at



Model: Bentley

Location Producers: David Bork & Diva Kingsley

Groomers: Bitches 'N' Studs Grooming; Wilton Manors, FL


Bentley the Bashful

Bentley the Poser