Category Archives: Featured

Spotlight on Darren Solomon

Spotlight on Darren Solomon

1) You just released some new mash-ups. What’s your creative process? Also, any chance we can get you to guest DJ a Punk Rope mash-up class?
I keep my ears open for interesting tunes, from any genre. I’ll scan through radio stations when I’m driving, or listen to the music playing in restaurants. I keep a folder of potential mashup tunes on my laptop, and I play through those when I’m working on something. There’s even a few songs in there that I heard in Punk Rope class – I’m still trying to do something with “All The Young Dudes.” And I would love to be a guest DJ for Punk Rope!

2) You’ve played bass for high profile musicians such as Ray Charles and Barry Manilow. What was it like to tour with those guys? Any good gossip?
Ray was very demanding, with an amazing ear. He could hear if the 2nd trombone player was out of tune, and he would call him out for it, on stage. The first couple months of the tour were really challenging – I was still figuring out what he wanted. After that, it was easier. It was a great way to see the world and learn from one of the greats. Barry’s tour was smoother – the music wasn’t as difficult from a bass-playing perspective, and the touring wasn’t as brutal. He’s a truly nice guy, super-smart too. He would get the Sunday NY Times in whatever city we were in, and do the crossword puzzle in half an hour. He told me that several times he’s been one of the clues.

3) You’ve been an avid Punk Roper for around a year. What attracted you to the class in the first place and why to you keep coming?
I read about the class on the blog for the Hype Machine, one of my favorite music web sites. It sounded fun, and different than anything I tried before. I have a terrible track record of unused gym memberships, so I was hoping to find something I could stick with. Once I came, I was hooked immediately by your welcoming attitude, the friendly vibe in the class, and the music, which is not the usual stuff I listen to. I consider that a plus!

4) You work as a composer of music for TV commercials. What are some of your favorite ads you’ve worked on?
It was really fun writing the music for the MnM’s commercial “Nothing Rhymes With Orange”. The song had to change genres every few bars, which was a good challenge. And it gave me the chance to work with Megan Mullally, who’s amazing. I’m also proud of “Buried Treasure” for SSGA. I like writing in retro styles. I tried to make it sound like an authentic French tune from the 60’s.

5) We had the pleasure of jumping one evening with your two boys. They’re great kids, which made it clear that you’re a great dad. How do you balance all the competing demands in your life to be the best dad possible?
Awww, thanks. When I’m with them, I really try to be present, which is not always easy with all the distractions available for both kids and grown-ups. One thing that helps is that they share some of my geeky interests. We’ll be at Comic Con and Maker Faire this year, for example.

6) If you could only jump rope to one song from here on out what would it be?
This may be an unlikely choice, but I remember during a Broadway-themed class, you played “Age of Aquarius”. Something about the tempo, and the cowbell playing on the quarter notes really kept me going. If I can pick an alternate, it would be Clapstero by Pilchard, an odd but very groovy mashup of The Clapping Song, Ravel’s Bolero, and Toxic.

7) Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
Well, I’m starting a new project, and I really need a soulful, gospel-influenced female singer – Jennifer Hudson-ish. Know anyone?

Learn more about Darren at

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Spotlight on Bengey Asse

Spotlight on Bengey Asse

Dancers around the city are waiting for you to return to DJing. Have you picked a DJ name yet? If so what is it? Where would your dream gig be and name 3 songs you’re psyched about playing.
I’m happy to be making a DJ comeback after a 5 year hiatus. Still haven’t picked a new DJ name, but am open to suggestions. My old DJ name back in the day was “D.J. Benny Ben”. My dream gig, would be DJing anywhere period. Rocking a Friday or Saturday night would be great. I like too many songs to pick just 3. As long as I know the song moves the person, makes them tap their feet, or break it down on the dance floor, then it’s good. Stay tuned for a holiday dance house party for my first practice DJing gig.

You didn’t get to defend your Punk Rope Cup title in 2012. What are the chances you’ll be back in 2013?
The chances of me coming back are great. I’m up for a challenge. Would love to reunite with the Bone Jumpers and see if we can make another run.

Word has it you’re an actor…and a dancer…and a model…What types of leads should our readers send you? Are you going to be appearing in any plays, films, etc. in the near future?
I’m into comedic and dramatic roles. I’m currently appearing in a web series called “Math Warriors,” which you can check out on Youtube. Season 1 is up and we just released Season 2. If we get 10,000 hits then we’re going to pitch the show to a network. So please watch! There are 5 episodes in all. Here’s the link to the latest: I’m also going to work with an acting coach for the fall to expand my talents and will be auditioning for more projects.

You’re a Punk Roper. You’re a Beast. You’re doing Tim’s 5K running program. What are your top 3 fitness goals for the remainder of 2012.
1) being consistent 2) getting fitter 3) pushing myself

You’re a native New Yorker, but even natives need to chill sometimes. Describe your favorite “chillout” day in the city.
My favorite “chillout” day in the city would be hanging out on any rooftop or pier facing the Manhattan skyline with good company or by myself. Even as a native New Yorker I’m still amazed at the beautiful buildings/lights of the Manhattan skyline.

For more awesome pics of Bengey visit:

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Spotlight on Kimmie David

Spotlight on Kimmie David

Meet Kimmie David, a Punk Roper in New York City. The photo above was taken at the 2012 Punk Rope Games. Kimmie was a member of the silver medal winning Asian Contagion team.

Word has it Tim helped advise you when you were an undergrad at Hunter. Did his advice have any effect?
Tim wasn’t assigned as my advisor, but I did meet him in the advising office, and the only thing he advised me to do was to check out Punk Rope, which I finally did, four years later.

We’re eagerly anticipating your burlesque debut. Any ideas for a stage name? And what makes you want to take your clothes off in public?
Noooo! Pressure on the burlesque front! If anyone can christen me with a fitting stage name that references Queens, you get five dollars and my undying, glittery love. And to answer the second question: the world needs more beauty.

You have a really unique look and style. How do you describe it? What are your influences?
My style comes from: having worked my way through college at the Hot Topic in Queens Center Mall and stocking up with my employee discount, going to Catholic school for thirteen years, fitting everyone’s hand-me-downs, owning too many T-shirts and a sewing machine, and a fancy dress addiction. The more vintage, the better.

You’re a Buffalo Bills fan. That’s so random. How did you get hooked on the Bills?
This is not random! Buffalo, as I recall, is in New York, and I live in New York. I also have a penchant for underdog teams and disappointment and the big upset. I live for the moment of Big Upset.

Any thoughts on what you might do next after leaving Bluestockings? Looking for any leads or connections from our readers?
Ok, guys. Check this: I co-owned an amazing bookstore for close to five years, and I just hung up my hat there. But bookselling is one of those things I live for (along with removing articles of clothing while watching football), so if anyone knows of a bookselling position with a small-to-mid-sized independent in NYC…or something in the publishing universe…or anything else that lets me roll around in piles of books without having to go back to school…do let me know.

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