Tag Archives: Stevie Wonder

PIANOMAN- Master Piano Tuner Aart Markenstein Keeps Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and other Music Legends On Key

By Sally Deering

In Hoboken, on the 4th floor of the Neumann building on Observer Highway, Aart Markenstein tunes some of the most beautiful and unique pianos ever made. During his career as a professional piano tuner, Markenstein has kept the pianos of some of the world’s greatest music legends in tune. Taught by a master tuner – like Luke Skywalker learning from Yoda how to become a Jedi – Markenstein’s tunings have been considered “perfection” by music professionals.

Markenstein has worked with music legends including Beyonce, U2, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Cher, The Eagles, K.D. Lang, Cyndi Lauper, the Black Crowes, Aerosmith, James Taylor, Ringo Starr, Chuck Berry – and so many more. He tuned the keyboards for Aretha Franklin’s performance at the 53rd Inaugural Ball and when Bob Dylan played in Hoboken last year, Markenstein tuned his piano, too.

Markenstein owns his own business Aart in America Piano Company in Hoboken and his office is a large space filled with an array of pianos from a Steinway Grand to a small upright brought to Markenstein for repairs by a member of John Mellencamp’s band. Aart in America is a full-service piano company where Markenstein repairs and rents out pianos and if you’re a lucky visitor, he might even play a tune because not only is Markenstein an accomplished tuner, he’s a stellar musician.

Helping Markenstein with Aart in America Piano Company is his wife of 32 years, Eileen, who were childhood sweethearts growing up in the Marion section of Jersey City (right behind Journal Square). Continue reading PIANOMAN- Master Piano Tuner Aart Markenstein Keeps Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and other Music Legends On Key

Artists and Childhood Friends Exhibit ‘Little Wonders’ at LITM Lounge

Gregory Stone and Fermin Mendoza among Artists Exhibiting in Holiday Art Show

By Sally Deering

rminMendoza,ArtistswithWorksinLittleWondersExhibitatLITM Artists Gregory Stone and Fermin Mendoza grew up in West New York and met each other in 1968, two young artists following artistic pursuits through the turbulent 60s. Through the years, Stone and Mendoza remained friends while continuing their artistic journeys and each artist has several works in LITMs 6th annual “Little Wonders” exhibit of small works by many local artists.

More than 20 artists’ works – nothing larger than 14 inches – are on sale for the holidays. Stone, an Impressionist who works in several mediums including computer software, has 7 works in “Little Wonders” with titles like “Snow, after the Dogs and Cats get through with It”, “Wedding Ceremony” and “The Crossing Guard.”

“I sold a piece at ‘Little Wonders’ an old pencil portrait of me, put color to it on the computer and had it printed on canvas,” Stone says. “It became a totally different piece of art. I refer to it as ‘Mixed Media’. I think if Da Vinci had a computer, he would have used it, too.”

Stevie-9byFerminMondozaMendoza chose to run with the exhibit’s “Little Wonders” theme and created 10 portraits of music legend Stevie Wonder at different stages of his career. Each is 6 inches-by-6 inches and made with stencil, spray paint, colored pencil and oil paint on corrugated cardboard. Mendoza says he was surprised when some exhibit visitors didn’t know Stevie Wonder, but he takes it as a sign of youth, not relevance. That perspective also applies to exhibiting pieces that were created years back.

“Art is eternal,” Mendoza says. “It doesn’t matter if it’s old it doesn’t matter if it’s new, you can show it now.”

LITM, a restaurant/bar/lounge/gallery on Newark Street in Jersey City opens its walls to artists giving them the opportunity to showcase their work to appreciative audiences. LITM changes exhibits monthly and hosts group and solo shows presented by emerging contemporary artists.

Mendoza exhibited at LITM in its 2011 exhibits, “Who” “When” and “Where”.

“I called Gregory and told him ‘you gotta submit a piece’ and he got into the ‘Where’ show, too,” Mendoza says.

“I hadn’t shown my work since the 80s,” Stone says. “I had to work; raise two children.”

Married 37 years, Mendoza also raised two children. He then went back to college and took art classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

“I went back to my inner child,” Mendoza says, “That’s what you’re creating from.”

Snow,aftertheDogsandCatsGetThroughwithItbyGregoryStone Stone met Mendoza in 1968, the year Stone graduated from Memorial High School in West New York and Mendoza was entering as a freshman. They both were encouraged by the school’s art teacher Ellen Marchant, who helped Stone get into the Phoenix Art School in New York. She also mentored Mendoza whose art training began with the Famous Artists School that sold correspondence courses in art and advertised on matchbook covers

“They would have a pirate or a dog on the matchbook cover,” Mendoza says, “and my sister did the ballerina and I did the pirate and we both got accepted. My father didn’t want to pay for two courses. ‘I’m paying for one course and you two share the books,’ he told us. Officially it was hers, so every week she had an assignment and after the first couple of months she started missing a week and would say to me, ‘here, you do it.’ I started doing her stuff and she was getting the credit. Then we got a letter from our teacher. ‘What’s wrong? Your style has changed. It’s totally different. Are you under emotional stress?” Continue reading Artists and Childhood Friends Exhibit ‘Little Wonders’ at LITM Lounge