Sorry to hear that Rembrandts is closing after 32 years. I started to jot down some thoughts about how much the place and people in that place meant to the Ukulele Orchestra. Then I realized that I was repeating a lot of the same thoughts that I had when former owner and founder Jan Zarkin, passed away last December, so I’m just reposting that. I can’t thank Jan and Joann Frezel Zarkin, Gail Seygal (the current o...wner), or the staff enough for the hospitality and support that they’ve shown us over the years.
When we were just getting the Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra off the ground, I needed to find a place to practice that a) could accommodate 10-12 people, and b) was close to home because I was feeling guilty about starting a second band and neglecting my child rearing duties while my kids were still so young. My first thought was to see if we could practice at the Ukrainian Social Club at the end of my block. I was heading down the street to see if they would be up for it when by chance I happened to walk past Jan. On a whim, I asked if we could play upstairs at Rembrandt’s (at the other end of the block). He didn’t hesitate for a second to think it over, he just gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up. If there was an event taking place in the room in which we normally practice, Jan would always find a space for us somewhere, even letting us use his office on occasion. We’ve been there ever since and it’s always felt like home for us.
I think that a lot of people probably have similar stories about Jan. Nothing hugely heroic like rescuing orphans from a burning building (although he may have done that too, I don’t know), but just everyday examples of a kind heart, a good nature, and a day to day enthusiasm for amusing ideas, even if those ideas are occasionally a little left of center. He always seemed to one of those guys who said “Why not” rather than “Why”, and that’s why on any given day there might be a poker game in one room at Rembrandt’s, a knitting circle in another, and a ukulele orchestra in a third.
I don’t know if he appreciated the extent to which he helped make things incrementally better for people in his orbit but maybe that’s part of his charm as well.
RIP Jan, and thanks for everything.
This Friday and Saturday!
Vaudeville! Burlesque! Drag Queens! Beautiful Songs! Inappropriate Jokes! Ukuleles! It's an embarrassment of riches. Join us this Friday and Saturday.
The Ukulele Orchestra joins the Big Mess Cabaret for an R rated evening of Vaudeville, burlesque, torch songs, drag queens, theater folk shenanigans, etc. Lots of fun last time. Don't miss it!
Tonight! We'll be strumming away at the Haddonfield Baptist Church (124 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ). Bring your own uke and join us for a special strum along section. The show starts at 7:30.
Haddonfield, we're heading your way in two days! Meet us at the Baptist Church (124 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ) on Saturday night. Bring your own uke and join us for a special strum along section. The show starts at 7:30. Tim Zerone Squared opens the show. Not to be missed!
This Saturday! The Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra will be back at the Haddonfield Baptist Church (124 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ). Tim Zerone will be opening the show with another guy also inexplicably named Tim Zerone. Bring your own uke and join us for a special strum along section. The show starts at 7:30.
Also, we are very excited to announce that we are going to be taking part in this year's Big Mess Orchestra show at the Trocadero on December 16 and 17! More details to follow but save the dates!
Don't forget we'll be back at the Haddonfield Baptist Church (124 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ) on October 29th at 7:30. Bring your own uke and join us for a special strum along section. Opening the show will be Tim Zerone and that other Tim Zerone.
Gig Alert! We're heading back to the Haddonfield Baptist Church (124 Kings Hwy E, Haddonfield, NJ) on October 29th at 7:30. New songs, old favorites, and, if you bring your own uke, even a few songs that you can strum along. Join us in this yearly custom that is fast becoming an annual tradition. Opening the show will be not one, but two Tim Zerones.
Thursday night: come check out the choose your own adventure 1940s live radio show with accompaniment by a subset of The Philadelphia Ukulele Orchestra! Was a seriously fun time last time we did this, excited to be invited back!
Tomorrow night! We're up at about 7:45. https://www.facebook.com/events/1029338307152707/
Well, it’s that time of year again! You know, the time where we play a song at the annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash? The show is at Rembrandts on Tuesday, May 24th 7-11PM and we go on in the first set. 40 different performers, 40 different sings, lots of fun!