Thursday, November 27, 2008

November 25, 2008-Liv Carrow, Cornhole Connection, Phoebe Kreutz's Gilgamesh

We had a nice Thanksgiving down here in Miami. But even with the parents (and me) falling asleep on the couch after the big meal, my thoughts still drift back to Sidewalk. Just a few words on Tuesday's show with Liv Carrow, Cornhole Connection, and Phoebe Kreutz's Gilgamesh musical.

Listening to Liv lately, I realized that her songs remind me of what I consider real "Antifolk" (although on the other hand I still deny that there is such a thing as Antifolk). But anyway, she seems to fit in with the Moldy Peaches-ish, Jeff Lewis-ish, style that is still associated with Sidewalk in many ways. There was one song in particular where she was repeating over and over "you'll keep it to yourself" that particularly made me think about this. She got in a good number of songs the other night...I particularly like one that she does about Red Lentils. She also did a cover of a Roy Orbison tune, which I think was "In Dreams."

Julie LaMendola and Nan Turner made a return engagement in their improvisatory extravaganza "Cornhole Connection." The gals started the show side by side at the piano. They soon launched into a long piece about Hemingway. They also covered Stairway to Heaven in a very free style, and I know that I remember seeing Nan on the floor again in one moment of passionate expression. Julie sang a long rendition with several false endings of a song that went "Let the sun shine in/face it with a grin/frowner's always lose and smilers always win/Let the sun shine in/face it with a grin/open up your heart and let the sun shine in." Julie also rocked out on a guitar solo at one point. The gal is multitalented for sure.

Interestingly improvised acts have shown themselves with a bit of frequency recently. I remember that Lach used to improvise songs at his late night sets at the end of the Antihoots, and Crabs on Banjo has been holding down the Wednesday nights for a while now. And Cornhole Connection seems to be mostly improvised. It takes some guts to put yourself out there like that, and I sometimes wonder myself how it would be to try something like that. But on the other hand my actual writing method is just the opposite--to labor and labor and rewrite and rewrite.

Phoebe Kreutz's musical Gligamesh tells the story of the Sumerian King who battles the feral Inky Do. Eventually the two team up and become friends, but Inky dies. Phoebe explained that she wrote most of the musical quickly, like in four days. I was impressed with Phoebe's songs, particularly her lyrics. For one thing, she has a very strong sense of rhyme, and manages to find ways to get to them without straining. Phoebe drew on a big group of friends to play the different parts in the musical (and some parts were played by multiple performers)...I probably won't remember them all, but Preston, Matt, Liv, Amos, and Nan appeared. I hope to hear the songs again sometime. A cast album maybe? (Thanks to Wikipedia I've just discovered that the character is named "Enkidu" not "Inky Do" so let me stand corrected.)

By the way, seeing Phoebe's musical reminded me that I've often wondered why there isn't more theatricality in the presentations at Sidewalk. Maybe it's just that my own tendency seems to be to gravitate toward spectacle whenever possible. I'm always imagining costumes, backup singers, and follow spots. I know it can be hard to pull this kind of thing off, but I think there could be more collaborations that head in this directions. For sure we need more choreography and a Sidewalk dance corps.

By the way Sidewalk's waitress Adi (sp?) told me the other night that she is moving back to Israel. That was a suprise. I'll miss her.

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