Think of U$ Thi$ Tue$day

Becau$e we’re thinking of you.

We’ve always hated asking for money, and today it seems especially ludicrous for us, a small arts nonprofit (like, REALLY small) to hit you up when so many people around the world are displaced from their homes, under armed attack, hungry, denied basic rights, and suffering from the effects of climate change. No argument: Those people need your money more than we do.

But we decided not to feel guilty about asking you to pony up. You can make donations to help all those people and still keep a few bucks aside for us. It’s all about the kind of world you want to live in, and the kind of New York that’s worth the trouble of living in. We work hard to bring you joy of a kind you can’t get anywhere else, and we have to spend money to do it. It seems fair to ask for your help with the money, since you probably can’t help us memorize all those lyrics.

It doesn’t have to be much (though it’s good if it is); our budget is small enough to get good vibes from even a small donation. Click the Donate button to use PayPal or plastic. We’re also on Venmo: @artmob.

Every Day Is Giving Tuesday

Give us some giving.

It’s us again! We know, we know; we’re pestering you constantly for money. The ratio of Art Mob emails begging you for cash to those from the political party of your choice is up to, let’s see, about one to a bazillion. We apologize, and we know you’re being hammered by inflation along with everyone else, but what can we do? Jeff Bezos is giving away billions, but we get nothing. Zero. Nada.

Instead, we rely on people like you, who believe in us. We work hard to bring you joy, and we’re well worth your small investment. We do what no other music group does, singing you songs you never heard before, and we’ve been doing it through thick and thin (except COVID, which was a bit too thick) since 1979. And we do it all with love.

As if all that weren’t enough, your donations are tax deductible.

There, are you convinced? Our expenses keep going up, too, so please donate whatever you can by clicking the Donate button.


Or Venmo us at @artmob. 

And don’t forget our upcoming concerts, December 16 and 18 at The Center on 13th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. Tickets Here! Thanks, can’t wait to see you in December.

We’re Still Singing

The Art Mob has wintered well, and, once restarted, we’ve just kept on singing. But not all news is good: We suffered the loss of an important member of the Mob, Sven Hartmann. Here’s a message from Dean:

We are deeply saddened by the death of Sven Hartmann, husband of Art Mob soprano and assistant music director Connie Beckley. Sven passed away at home on his beloved upstate farm on December 17th, hours before the Mob went onstage for our first concert in two years. He was 89 years old, and had been in declining health for some time, cared for unstintingly by Connie.
Several of us were fortunate enough to have known Sven for many years, and to have spent indelibly memorable time with him at the farm during the Mob’s annual weekend-long Roadkill Barbecue. (The menu was meatless; it was Sven, with his wintry-dark, Scandinavian sense of humor, who named the event.) In the 1990s, Dean McNeil—another late, great Mobster—anointed Sven, for reasons best known to himself, the Art Mob’s spiritual advisor. Spiritual or not, Sven loved us and we loved him, and it is painful to lose him.

Barry Talesnick (l) and Sven Hartmann (r), laughing it up back in the day.

We really miss Sven’s presence in the front row at every concert, not to mention his laugh. Sven was an amazing person; read more about him here and here.

But onward we go, to our Spring concert weekend, presenting Slings ‘n’ Eros (Same as it never was!) May 13, 14, and 15.

So, SAVE THE DATES, WATCH THIS SPACE, and hear all about it … soon.

Please Put the “Give” in Giving Tuesday

What’s the most fun? Going to an Art Mob concert. (That’s only if you’re not singing in it, which is even more fun.) On December 17, 18, and/or 19, you’ll have a chance to do that for the first time in two whole years. Hurrah! We have an exciting new director, Cynthia Shaw; we have some great new singers added to (most of) the old ones; and we’ve programmed a kick-ass bunch of songs. We’re pumped for this!

What’s the least fun? Asking you for money. We really don’t like doing it. Maybe it’s just false pride; we’ll check with our therapist. For a long, long time—starting in 1979—we didn’t do any asking. We were such a no-budget operation that we were able to keep going on whatever money the singers were able to toss into the pot, plus the (meager) box office.

Now we have expenses! And, due to COVID restrictions, we can only invite a small audience. We’re asking them to pay more, this one time, but that still won’t cover us. Ay ay ay! We still kick in most of the funding ourselves, but our budget (yes, we have one now) will balance only with your help.

Go to and click on the Donate button to use a credit card or PayPal. If you’re more of a phone app person, Venmo us at @artmob.

The Art Mob deserves to be around forever. But we’ll only last as long as our fans want us to, so give us a hand. Thank you!

Give us some giving.

And, We’re Back!

Art Mob as sunflowers
We feel great!

The Fall ’21 season is happening and we couldn’t be happier!

The Art Mob is rising, with a new music director, new and returning singers, and renewed energy for those old, old songs.

The inspiring New York actor/musician, Cynthia Shaw, is pulling us together for “Vaccinatin’ Rhythm,” our curated program of pre-pandemic oldies that sound so fresh to our post-pandemic ears. She gets us!

Save the date! Art Mob’s Concert Weekend December 17-19, at our favorite venue, Tenri Cultural Institute. COVID safety rules will apply, seating will be limited, and we’ll all have to plan ahead. So mark your calendars and be ready to receive more information from on high, (the Internet), as we all do when we sing “Turn Your Radio On.”

(Vaccinatin’ Rhythm, you got us on the go … )

The Art Mob Is Not Ignoring You

Our blog has been in hibernation, but we’re all good.

Hello, followers of the Art Mob. How’ve you been? We’re all good. In context, of course: Our lives, like yours, have been upended, but you knew that. What you want to know is, is the Art Mob still in business? And are we, the fans, going to be able to hear them sing again?

Yes, and Yes! Make that Hell, Yes! We keep meeting, virtually, every week. (For you punctuation fans, the placement of those commas makes the sentence mean that we are meeting every week—not virtually every week, but literally every week—but we’re meeting virtually, i.e., on a digital platform.) We enjoy this a lot, but we’re all eager to get back to singing.

Art Mob meets virtually
At our weekly virtual gathering; we’re laughing, not singing.

And we will! Some of us are vaccinated already, and the others will be soon enough. No, we didn’t skip the line by virtue (that word again!) of our fame as Mobsters, though that’s always a temptation. Joe Biden is saying there’ll be enough vaccine for everybody by the end of May, so we think we’re in good shape to start rehearsing again in the fall.

In fact, so cocksure are we that we’ve—you’re gonna love this—BOOKED A PERFORMANCE SPACE for December!!! That’s right! And it’s one of our all-time favorites: Tenri Cultural Institute. We’ve got it reserved for two shows in December 2021; more details to come. We’ll be looking for a venue for a third performance when we get a little closer to the time, and as more spaces decide to open up.

But be assured: If it’s not safe, we won’t do it. That will depend on what the Governor says, how Tenri’s policies evolve between now and then, and also on how we feel, individually and collectively. Our crystal ball tells us that it will be OK, but it has been known to be guilty of wishful prognosticating from time to time, so we’re keeping our eyes open, our ears to the ground, our fingers in the breeze, and our (masked) noses up in the air. We’ll see you in December, fingers crossed, and you’ll be hearing from us along the way.

Stay safe, keep wearing that mask, and get your vaccination as soon as you can. The arts are essential to life, the Art Mob is essential to the arts, and you are essential to the Mob.

P.S. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of “The Art Mob Tops 40,” the first and only Art Mob book, what’s the matter with you?

[su_button url=”″ target=”blank” background=”#9ef5fb” color=”#17181a” size=”9″ icon_color=”#feeaea”]Order your copy now![/su_button]

The Art Mob: Still Together

Art Mob meet-up
Central Park, safely spaced

We’re ecstatic to report that the Art Mob is still together. The group shows every sign of surviving the pandemic, despite being separated by miles, and by the high risk of choral singing in an age in which “aerosols” has become a four-letter word.

Monday night is Mob night.
Actual proof that Bree ate a bug.

We’re together every Monday night, in a virtual meeting. (I’ll call it a Zoom meeting. It’s not actually on Zoom.) Mostly, we chat, catching up on the state of each other’s relationships, health, hair, and knitting/sewing projects. Sometimes we have trivia contests, make up poems, or watch our newest and bravest member, Bree, eat freeze-dried bugs. (She’s a vegan; this was just a fling.) We can’t sing as a unit because of the limitations of the software, but we sometimes sing to each other. Music is, needless to say, a central element in the Mob’s existence, but the personal connections among our members are no less important. So we’ve been using the available technology to keep those in as good a state of repair as anyone could expect.

The biggest thing to happen recently, though, was that we got together in the flesh. Taking advantage of the (at least temporary) return of several singers who’d been hiding out from COVID in various far-flung regions, we met at Sheep Meadow in Central Park on the bright afternoon of October 10. We all wore masks, and we did a reasonable job of staying six feet apart, despite an impulse among many of us to hug the others and never let go.

Mob meet-up 1
A fair representation. More next time!

And we sang! You gotta say, singing with a mask on and standing no closer than six feet from anybody else isn’t exactly the aesthetic ideal, but it was emotionally thrilling. We sang some old favorites and some new favorites from our most recent concert: “Africa” (of course!), “Amazing Grace,” “David’s Lamentation,” “The Old Crossroads,” and “Dark as a Dungeon.” Nobody wanted to stop, so we sang them all two or three times.

Then, alas, we had to part. But it was a gladdening preview of things to come. When they’ll come is still up in the air, along with the infectious droplets, but we’ll be ready. See you then!

P.S. If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of “The Art Mob Tops 40,” the first and only Art Mob book, what’s the matter with you?

[su_button url=”″ target=”blank” background=”#9ef5fb” color=”#17181a” size=”9″ icon_color=”#feeaea”]Order your copy now![/su_button]

Bound and Determined! The Art Mob Gets Published!

Legends of the Art Mob, Part I

One reader cried all the way through it, for all the best reasons. Another laughed out loud, and we hope that she had the right reasons for doing that. A third praised it as “witty and wise,” while yet another said he liked it a lot, and not only because of the nice things it said about him. The author—veteran Mobster Dean Rainey—says that he started writing it simply as an expanded version of the concert program, but it grew into a history, a series of portraits of our singers, and some reflections about the Mob’s place in the world. And there are pictures!

It’s The Art Mob Tops 40, the first book ever about the Art Mob, available now at

Looks like this on the outside …

The author of The Art Mob Tops 40 is the same guy who writes the program notes for our concerts, and he tells us how he got that enviable job. The notes for our 40th anniversary concert series, in fact, are included in the book and provide its structure. From this base, it wanders down sinuous pathways of Mob lore and expands into chapters like “The Marcia Mystique” (on Marcia Tucker, the group’s founder) and bonus features such as a comprehensive listing of Art Mob singers since 1992.

…rollicking stories on the inside!

There are rollicking old stories, and there are hopeful looks into the future. You’ll get a longtime insider’s view of Mob goings-on, and you might learn things about some of the singers that you would never in a million years have suspected!

While you’re waiting for the end of the pandemic, when we can sing together again, The Art Mob Tops 40 makes for an entertaining and informative read about your favorite a cappella group. What’s more, the Art Mob gets $5 for each copy sold on Blurb, so you’re helping us survive by getting yourself something fun to read. If you’re an Art Mob fan, you want this! Get yours now!!

—Dean Rainey

The Heart of the Matter

Quarantine Cuisine, from Bass Richard H.

I regret to say that I did more experimenting when the lockdown started, and I didn’t photograph anything. I roasted a whole duck. I tried making doro wat, the fiery Ethiopian chicken stew, twice, using two different recipes. (Fortunately, I’d bought berbere spice at Kalyustan’s just before this whole mess started.) I modified a soup recipe I’d found that used broccoli stems as its base. I roasted a whole rabbit for our birthday*.

I did record the latest experiment. While shopping at my local Foodtown, I found whole beef hearts on sale. I had purchased sliced beef heart a couple of weeks previously and used them to make chili (along with regular beef, turkey, and bacon), but a whole heart made such a striking picture that I had to buy it and make something with it. The “something” turned out to be stew: I cut the heart into small pieces and simmered it with onions, garlic, poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, and fava beans (which went in because they were on the edge of going bad, and who wants to waste food?) Some instant beef broth was involved. The result was quite satisfying.

Which dish was my favorite? Hard to say. It’s probably a tie between the duck and the beef heart stew. Broccoli-stem soup is good but kind of lightweight, and rabbit suffers from too many small bones*. The doro wat was also really good; now I have to try segu wat (same basic recipe but with beef).

I’ll keep you posted on new culinary explorations.

—Richard Haas

*Richard and his wife, Christie Robbins, share the same birthday! (No birthday-forgetting in this marriage!)—Ed.

What the Food?

Quarantine Cuisine, from Tenor Frank

If you are like my husband Andrew and me, this quarantine has opened up the possibility of trying to make food you might not otherwise have made. Everything from homemade pasta to bagels, ice cream to biscuits, and of course, dessert! Below is a selection of the food we made during our enforced isolation. I’m willing to trade recipes if you’d like! —Frank Donno

Asparagus quiche—so delicious for brunch, or lunch the next day with a fresh salad. 
Flatbread pizza—Made with left over naan dough, this flatbread was crispy and delicious! 
Chicken Parmigiana (or “Chicky Chicky Parm Parm” for those Parks and Recreations fans)—Even though I am Italian, this is not something I have made before. It was therapeutic to tenderize the chicken with a rubber mallet first. 
Taralli (or biscotti scaldati) —My nonna and mom used to make these by the kilo! With all their imperfections, these were a close approximation of a southern Italian treat from my childhood. My sister wants more!!
Broccoli soufflé —Mistakenly, I ordered more broccoli than we would normally eat in a month. After a little research, I stumbled on the recipe for this soufflé. Wow!! What a great meal —and the leftovers were great the next day for breakfast!
Mexican fiesta —Pretty regularly, my husband Andrew makes a Mexican feast but this one surpasses anything he had made before. With chicken molè and all the trimmings—a taco Tuesday celebration for Cinco de Mayo! 
Olive loaf bread—Some friends mentioned that they love olive loaf bread and I happened to have some olive tapenade in the fridge … voila! Crunchy and salty and just a joy with some olive oil for dipping.
Carrot cake—My sweet tooth demanded satisfaction and we had an abundance of carrots in the fridge, so why not make a carrot cake. The cream cheese frosting was light and fluffy and utterly delicious.
Bagels—As a New Yorker, it felt like blasphemy to even consider making bagels at home. But my craving got the better of me so I thought I’d give them a try. I’ll definitely be making these treasures again. 
Apple cake with a cinnamon glaze—What can I say … it’s apple cake!! Yummy!! 
Dutch oven bread —I couldn’t get enough of this delicious loaf! Butter and strawberry preserves —YUM! 
Blueberry scones—I thought these would be difficult to make. They are not. And I’ll be making loads more of them in the future. 

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of our culinary adventures. Please share your creations, and be warned—I will ask for a recipe!!