Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Open Mic, Monday, January 26, 2009

Ben kicked things off Monday with a song from Sting-ra. He played a cool recorded intro and also promised that at Wednesday's show he would have a stage full of synthesizers to provide us with the full Sting-ra experience. Actually that's tonight, when Ben and several others will be performing their rock operas and concept pieces at Sidewalk. Most everyone on the bill played Monday to plug their slot and give us a taste of what was in store tonight.

It was nice to see Eric Wolfson at Sidewalk. It feels as if it's been a while. He played Buddy Hackett's Niece and Sleeping is a Sucker's Game. Is it just me or did Eric sound even more Dylan-influenced than usual? Maybe it's sort of like when people from the South say that their accent comes out when they go home to visit their families for the holidays. Maybe coming home to Sidewalk has brought out Eric's inner Dylan. Anyway, I enjoyed his set and it made me remember many good times of hanging out with him and the very energetic crew of folks who were part of the core group at that time.

Level II--songs from his musical....first he played "The Social"...yikes it brought back every frightening moment of 7th grade dances. Next up was "It's Chlymidia." That also brought back the 7th grade.

Joe Bendik did his foot stomping rendition of "There's No Place Like Home."

Casey Holford mentioned that his residency was going to finish up on Tuesday. One of his songs was this one I like a lot called "Home Song."

Andy Junk sang a song and read a funny story called "Debbie Sheehan." In the story the main character has the Heimlich maneuver performed on him by Debbie Sheehan and as a result ends up spurting a big glob of food on his mortal enemy. It's sometimes hard to listen to stories when they're read, but everyone seemed to enjoy this one.

Josh Fox did "Walking With Strangers." Very nice.

Roland Beto played....some nice work with the Ukelele....sorry I can't remember the names of the songs, Roland.

Ariel did some of his Zelda-related material, which will also be on the bill at tonight's show.

Domino played her song about the tip jar and also Fuck the Mice. I don't know if she based that on Ben K's catch phrase, "Fuck the Mice," but I liked the song.

Brian Speaker and Amos performed Brian's song from HIS musical. The song was called...I think..."I'll be Landing Soon." Man, that dude Amos can sing. Then Brian did everyone's favorite sing-a-long tune, The Bird. Nice Burl Ives cap, Brian.

Ben Sadock sang a cool new was something about a "hard landing." Looking forward to hearing that one again sometime soon.

About this time was when I was called on double deck and started getting antsy about my slot. Monday was the second presentation of The Sidewalk Talk Show and I started trying to make sure at this point that everyone was set and we knew how we were getting things and people on stage.

In the meantime Susan Hwang performed. She played Shaz Butter, which is a song inspired by Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions." I can't believe I've never read that novel, but evidently Shaz Butter features in it and Susan's song is kind of like a jingle for it. She also played "Devil Song," which is one of my favorites of hers.

Next up was Christine (?). By that point my mind was totally focused on what the heck I was going to do no stage in a few minutes, so I only tangentially absorbed Christine's performance, BUT...she did seem to have a lovely voice and I could tell there was something interesting going on with her songs, so I look forward to hearing her again soon.

OK, so we kicked off the Talk Show with a bit of fumbling around with chairs and microphones. That transition is something worth smoothing out in the future. I did some schtick about a bunch of ties that I inherited from the dead grandfather of someone in my office and then introduced and interviewed Schwervon!. Leading a conversation while on stage is taking more practice than I thought it would, but it's a lot of fun working on making these discussions better each time. I think there can be a kind of artistry to conversation, and I want these to be real interactions, not pre-planned. There are a lot of factors working against that, namely nerves, the short time frame, and the fact that fifty people are watching. But I think it is entirely possible to get to a point where the conversations rise to a level of discovery and creation of their own. Schwervon! and I spoke a bit about their era at Sidewalk and their style of performance. After the interview the played Balloon, off their new album.

Mike Baglivi and Ariel played.

Lola sang with Seth Shapiro

Three G Crewl played....huh? I think they were being satirical...not sure.

Brook played Black Spot on the Pavement.
Andrew Duncan did a song with background harmonies from Ben Sadock and Josh Fox. Josh ripped off a real nice acoustic guitar solo.

Learn Burn Build played and then Lisa from Argentina did a lovely song in Spanish.

And then it was time for me to say Hasta Luego, myself.

Till next time.

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