Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Open Mic, Monday, February 2, 2009

I arrived early and stumbled into a memorial for Ami, the former Manager at Sidewalk who died in Israel recently. I hadn't known Ami well, although did interact with him some around the time of my photo show at Sidewalk in 2006. At first I thought Ami was going to be this strict restaurant manager kind of guy, but it turned out he was really cool about what I was doing. After my show he put up his own exhibit of photos and art works. Anyway, the part of the memorial that I saw conveyed nice memories of Ami. I was intrigued also to learn that Adam, the current Sidewalk manager is an awesome singer. He performed a song from Rent, which it seems was Ami's favorite musical.

Speaking of photos, Ben Krieger encouraged people to post pictures downstairs on the long wall in the basement--the same place where Ami had previously put up a huge collage of snapshots of people who'd played or hung out at Sidewalk over the years. It will be interesting to see what people put up there in this current incarnation.

Swamp Luck kicked things off with "I'm Gonna Be a Big Ole Star" (don't know if that's the real name)--which I believe was most likely written by Jordan Levinson, who sang it. The song seems to be getting tighter as Swamp Luck plays it more. Alex P. on slide guitar. Isaac on Banjo, Ariel on bass. 

Leif Osborn, played a couple songs, including "Objects in the Mirror."

Waylan Daniel performed with Carrie (?) Terry (?) on violin. They had a nice full sound together. 

The Young Dads did "I Planned Stuff for Us" and a new tune, "Get the Most Out of My Membership." Very fun stuff. I like the idea of a song that has to do with old guys hanging out at the JCC. I seem to recall that both songs also had to do with dating. It seems as if The Young Dads go on a lot of dates. Or did, before they became dads.

Eli Maniscalco played a song that had to do with the cliff divers of Acapulco. I may be mistaken, but it seemed as if he was playing with a kind of Latin rhythm.

"Guitar Music" performed...The songs were "Michael" and "Oceans."

Constantin played with Sue Yung (?) on piano. He played Desert Love Song and Hollywood. 

A couple guys from this band The Press played last night (individually). I'm not sure of the name of the song exactly, but Alex Picca performed what might have been called "How Did Summer Come So Fast?" Nice stuff. 

Enid Ellen. It's taken seeing a few sets at the Open Mic to totally get into what Enid does, but I was very entertained by last night's performance. Enid said the song was called "In and Out" but it also had a line "I can talk to the animals." Anyway, Enid has an amazing vocal style which would be hard to describe. You just have to see it. It's a very stylized, dramatic kind of thing but quite compelling. Enid also has a unique fashion sense. Enid used two drum sticks on a second song, which was called "Lady Moon Mother Mother" (I think).

I'm not sure if it was right after Enid, but it was sometime right around then that I went on with the Sidewalk Talk Show. I had prepared some comic schtick to do at the beginning but on the way over to Sidewalk read that Bob Dylan had done a Pepsi commercial that aired at the Superbowl. I find this kind of amazing, really. I mean who am I to judge what a guy does...but I am judging. Without going into a long tirade, it just seems strange and wrong. How much money does the guy actually need? I hope he can buy that new Lexus he's always been wanting now. Anyway, that was about the size of my little monologue before I introduced Ching Chong Song. 

I kind of knew that interviewing Ching Chong Song might not be the most straightforward experience. Julie immediately diffused the question of the controversy over the group's name by bringing it up in an offhand way. I did want to talk about it somehow and, so, at least she got the question on the table, although I decided to come back to it later. We did talk about some interesting things, I thought, including the group's popularity in Germany and the idea of "obstructions" which they use as a way of refreshing or reinvigorating the performance of songs they've played many times. But they deflected several of my questions with jokey kinds of answers. It was fine, and I think entertaining. At least, I had fun. Pretty much you just have to go with the flow with these things. I'm looking forward to next week's show, with.....the man who started this whole deal in the first place.

More to come.....

Ok--just a quick rundown of who played during the rest of the time I was there....I caught snippets of David LK Murphy, Ben Sadock, and Alex Junk, who read story about a paleontologist, an astronaut and a detective. I also heard strains of Debe Dalton playing Pack Up Your Sorrows, and Isaac doing a couple new songs, including one about his father who watches too much television. 

And then Jesse came up with two drums and slammed out "I Just Want to Fuck" and another rap like tune. Cool and raucous. Jesse used to perform with Preston in a group called Don't Enroll in Public School and they were amazing together. Wish we could see more of that.

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