Wednesday, August 25, 2010


WHERE IS THIS YEAR GOING?It is hard to believe that it is August 25th! I am leaving Friday for Provincetown (where I open next Monday night...after an 8 year absence in P-town!). Then I fly out next Friday for Malibu (where I will be until the 12th!). I bought my first Lap top night before last. If all goes well, tomorrow everything will be synched up and I will be able to write my blogs from the road. Today & tomorrow is all about tying up loose ends. I'm sure most of you must know by now that we are in Mercury Retrograde. On some levels that explains the weird weather, the Long Island Railroad shutting down, and all the other strange occurrences of the last week.
I, for one, have been having all kinds of problems with appliances in my home (often attributed to Mercury Retrograde).

However, yesterday, my dear friend Maureen Taylor told me it is also a time for tying up loose ends SO, since I like to look at the positive side of things, THAT is what I am focusing on.
Friday, August 20th, 2010, Mercury the wise communicator—and universal trickster—turned retrograde at 19°01' Virgo, in the sign of the Virgin, sending communications, travel, appointments, mail and the www into a general snarlup! The retro period began some days before the actual turning point (as Mercury slows) and lasts for three weeks or so, until September 12, 2010 (the day I return from Malibu), when the Winged Messenger reaches his direct station. At this time he halts and begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac.
Everything finally straightens out on September 27, as he passes the point where he first turned retrograde. Three or four times a year for three weeks at a time, you may notice that your computers glitch more than usual, your fax machines and cell phones malfunction, messages and car keys are lost, and you ask yourself “What the hell is going on here?”
It is not unusual to run into someone who says, “Oh, Mercury must be retrograde.”
If you honor Mercury now, he just might be willing to rescue you. He did that for Odysseus, slipping him an elixir made from the magical plant Moly (which grows underground and can only be seen by the gods). Moly inoculated Odysseus against Circe's seductions. She couldn't turn him into a pig like the others! An amazed Circe figured she'd met her match in Odysseus and immediately released his men and served them all an amazing feast. You can have a good time during the retrograde too if Mercury slips you some Moly. First you must resist the seductions of your usual ambitions, habits and deadlines. Slow down: a perfect enterprise for this Pisces Full Moon. Don't think too much or take yourself too seriously. Just listen, play, and let the chimeras of your imagination soak in.

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Mercury normally turns retrograde three times a year, but this year he turns tail four times, which is unusual. The effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens.So fasten your seatbelts and enjoy the ride!
Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon. Although a powerful astrological influence, Mercury is quite a small planet that travels at a relatively fast speed through the zodiac. Despite being the closest planet in our solar system to the Sun, Mercury is not always in the same sign as the Sun. Mercury turns retrograde this time in Virgo while the Sun is in Leo, but the Sun moves into Virgo on Aug. 23 (with Mercury still in Virgo). Mercury turns direct in Virgo on Sep. 12 with the Sun still in Virgo, but the Sun enters Libra at the equinox on Sep. 23, while Mercury remains in Virgo till Oct. 3. I'm becoming an astrologer!
As a rule, retrograde planets mark a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events that relate to their sphere of influence. By fated events I mean those that circumstances thrust upon us, rather than matters we have consciously decided to implement or resolve. In particular, unresolved issues from the past tend to rear their heads and demand to be dealt with.
Retro phases present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no conscious control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs. For example, Mercury retrograde in Libra (relationships; tastes; harmony) awakened quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when he retrograded into Virgo (analysis; critical ability).
In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially those who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, consultants, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, salespeople, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves.
It is not exactly wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is likely that such decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!
Mercury sets out to restructure our thinking processes and for many of us this is painful and frustrating. Unresolved issues from the past tend to push themselves forward. Moreover, these experiences reveal flaws in our internal organization as well as our external planning, which can make us feel foolish and inadequate. Keep your eyes peeled; Mercury's retro period gives us the chance to find out just what has been missed!
When Mercury is retrograde, everyone's thinking is more introspective; we tend to think about issues and concerns that relate to the sign involved. With Mercury retrograde this time in critical, discriminating, intellectual Virgo, people with this sign prominent in their charts will be especially prone to such introspection. Virgo is both the night-sign and the exaltation of Mercury, so Mercury here is especially potent and significant. It is a Mutable Sign, so the other Mutable Signs, Gemini, Sagittarius and Pisces are also likely to experience considerable conflict between heart and head, along with a good dose of typical disruption.
This time, however, sexual connection will have a certain flavor of self-interest and looking out for Number One. Brooding, fantasy-prone Neptune is under severe pressure from both the ego-driven Sun and cold-blooded Moon, so deception and delusion are the order of the day. Chiron, the wounded healer, is also retrograde, receiving a difficult aspect from Mars and Venus. So the hope for sexual healing may not come to fruition, as the world lies under the shadow of the rare and stressful square aspect between stern Saturn, lord of karma, and obstructive Pluto, prince of the underworld, on Aug 21, just as Sun opposes retro Chiron.
It is also interesting that the conjunction of Mars and Venus is right on top of the Behenian Fixed Star Algorab, used for magickal workings and having the delightful reputation for signifying scavenging, destructiveness, repulsiveness, malevolence, fiendishness and lying, suicide, greed, and injuries. Curiously, this is conjunct Elvis Presley's natal Mars. And with Mars and Venus right in there, it does not sound so good for "lurve" (as Elvis might have it). Death by fire, perhaps..?
As Merc turns, the Moon is conjunct Vega, an important Fixed Star in the 16th degree of Capricorn (and this is conjunct Elvis's natal Sun!). Vega brings luck in politics, artistic talent, fleeting fame, associated with double dealing, generosity and practicality. It is the alpha star of the constellation Lyra, the Lyre, a musical instrument first invented by Mercury himself! That is hopeful, but only hours earlier, when the square to Mars and Venus was exact, the Moon was in tight conjunction with the very fortunate star Ascella, which brings lasting happiness, valuable gifts and love of women, though sadly when conjunct the Moon (as in this case) it tends to attract burning and poison. Ugh. More burning. Since it's square to Mars, the outlook is less than ideal, Mars ruling fire after all.
The Sun entered Virgo on August 23, leading up to the powerful Full Moon last night in soulful Pisces (conjunct Elvis's natal Moon!). This is a good development, because the early degrees of Virgo are by and large fortunate due to their association with fortunate stars, particularly since this year we have Regulus, said by some to be the most benefic star in the universe, in the first degree of Virgo. Fixed stars do not move across the ecliptic like planets, but they do change their places very slowly in the tropical zodiac due to the phenomenon of precession. This is the movement of the tropical (or moveable) zodiac against the background of the sidereal zodiac (for more about precession, see Stars and Signs).
Curiosity can lead us down many paths, mentally as well as physically. Exploring chemistry and diet are favoured, though be sure to maintain accurate and detailed records of anything you discover. It's not a good idea to start something completely new until after this phase is over. Drink adequate amounts of water (6-8 glasses daily) and especially a glass of water when the hunger sensation arises. This can offset those "sugar blues" and ward off excessive eating.
All areas of communication are affected by this phase, especially in matters connected with science, analysis, the teaching and healing professions, especially those covering the nursing and veterinary fields; fire prevention and other human services, including the military, police and all types of consultants—particularly the communications, routines and organizational issues connected with these. This period brings travel snafus, mail mishaps and missed appointments of all kinds. Documents can go astray. Be sure to carry a diary and refer to it often.


Richard and Dana, thanks so much for inviting us to perform at The Iguana August 11th, 2010. It was an especially smooth and enjoyable evening with wonderful fresh talent among the mix of wonderful familiar guests who are always entertaining. Richard, you were extra "on" that evening and had many of us in stitches. Dana, your song was great and you were gorgeous as usual. I spoke to two sets of new comers at intermission who said you both make people feel so warm and welcome and they plan to return. Kudos to you both. There is no stopping you, and nobody plans on it, so keep it up! We had a blast.
Mary & Jim Lahti
I had the best time at the Iguana last night. It was a night to remember. Where else can you go and get that vast variety of a show? ) It was without a doubt the most entertaining night of my year! Thanks, DeOnzelle Green
Thank you so much for hosting such a wonderful show at The Iguana, which I experienced for the first time last night. I've attended many cabaret shows, but never (yes, I mean never) before have I heard such a wonderful variety of music and such excellent vocalists with great performance abilities. God willing, I will definitely be back! I recommend this event to anyone looking for a great night out in NYC.Richard, I also want to express my appreciation for your generosity of spirit; you [and the very-funny Dana!] unselfishly promote all the performers' shows and CD's, not to mention the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs, a most admirable trait! Sophia Niarchos, Upper Brookville, NY

Aug 25
IGUANA VIP LOUNGE, 240 West 54th Street, NYC
Barry Levitt on keyboard & Saadi Zain on bass.
Tonight's guests include: FRAN LEONARDIS, HELENA GRENOT, Alicia Littman, Barbara Porteus, ...and a few other surprises as well! $12.00 Music Charge/No food or drink minimum!
Reservations a must (212) 765-5454

Here's to an ARTS-filled week! Don't forget to contribute to the DR. CAROL CHANNING & HARRY KULLIJIAN FOUNDATION FOR THE ARTS:

If you would like to join the Channing-Kullijian National Coalition for returning arts education to public schools, email your contact info to to be added to our elist. With grateful XOXOXs for your support!

Richard Skipper

Follow me on Twitter @RichardSkipper


As always, a top-notch performance at St. Luke's (7/27/10). Dancers Over 40 is honored to have Richard Skipper as one of its friends. I'd say Richard is a consummate performer, but some may confuse him with the soup..., so I'll just say, PLEASE continue to channel Ms. Channing, and continue to work with DO40 on our projects! All of Dancers Over 40 LOVES Richard Skipper! And we look forward to working with him on our Agnes De Mille panel/event on October 11th at St. Luke's Theater and our DO40 Legacy Awards (which he will be hosting...for the second year in a row!) on December 12th at SWING 46 in NYC, honoring DO40 members Harvey Evans, Fred Curt, Richard Korthaze, Ken Urmston and Stuart Hodes. Sincerely, John Sefakis, President, Dancers Over40

Richard,MUST have Carol Channing's's a scientific miracle!!! And he makes the most of it all with his musical extravaganza and quick repartee!! I was recalling his equally smashing performance at my 60th Birthday Cabaret, and how our Board Members commented after about how wonderful Carol Channing looks and performs for 86!!!!! So happy that I was there to enjoy it on the 27th. It was all very exciting.....luv him......Anarene Barr, Boynton Beach, Fl

With grateful XOXOXs for your support!
Richard Skipper,

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