Thursday, October 22, 2009

Monday Night Open Mic, October 19, 2009

OK--I'm finally getting around to posting something from last week. I stopped by the Open Mic just briefly. I was already running somewhat late from the Apple Store where I am taking this cool, free class using Aperture, their souped-up software for photographers. Now I know the information about where I was before the Open Mic is not too relevant, except to say that it kept me running late to get to Sidewalk.

When I arrived, a Japanese fellow named So (?) came on and played a song called "Incantation for Nature Progress" I'm not sure if I got the title exactly right, but the song was definitely an incantation for nature.

Jenna Friedman performed some comedy. I've seen her at Sidewalk a few times and she has some fairly funny stuff, although I wonder in general why the comics at Sidewalk always seem kind of all over the place. Maybe it's just that in general comedy is really hard. The couple times I've tried it the stuff that I thought was uproarious went over like lead. But anyway, I did like Jenna's joke about why the Germans don't get Seinfeld.

Pete Scalzetti pulled out some of his piano pyrotechnics. He played standing up, which he said was inspried by seeing Jason Trachtenberg.

"Rob" played. Rob are you really Rob? Rob is a guy I've chatted with but never got to see play until the other night. Nice song, hope to hear more.

Kid Lucky did some cool beat boxing--the first song was a piece that had the lyrics "Hippy Girl Come Fly with Me.' Then he did some freestyle stuff. Kid Lucky blends beat boxing with singing/rapping. I am always a little dubious about beat boxers, but I got to admit Kid L. has some skills.

Terran (?) got on stage and did some loop machine singing. She seemed a little thrown off/discombobulated, but had a good attitude, saying she was going to keep coming back and putting her stuff out there. I think that's about the right way to think of it. To not be so sensitive about how stuff goes over, but just to keep doing it and get better all the time and use it as a platform for whatever you're doing/working on.

Oh, yeah. Slithor, the puppet reptile, kept things interesting between sets.

I chatted a bit with Maya Caballero and Bernard and then took off kind of early.

I know this report is ultra brief.. but hey it's a little taste of what happened. More next time.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sidewalk Cafe, Saturday, October 17

A nice night organized by Barry Bliss, which included performances by Barry, Major Matt USA, Toby Goodshank and Bryan Copeland, who had all just returned from touring together, plus Purple Organ and Joe Crow Ryan.

Bryan Copeland played acoustic bass throughout the night including in the evening's opening set which featured his band Bryan and the Aardvarks. The group featured, in addition to Bryan, drums, vibraphone, and keyboard. It was a kind of keyboard oriented jazz set, with Bryan as leader.

Matt, Barry, Toby, and Brian in various combinations accompanied each other during their individual sets throughout the evening. It was cool to see that while on tour they'd melded into, if not an official "group" at least a comfortable corps of collaborators.

For example, I've heard Matt play Tripping Yourself many times, but it was cool to end it with a bass solo. Sounded really great.

I always love hearing Purple Organ. Doug's set was different in tone than the ones I'd heard in the past. Much less or almost none of the surface-level sexuality that has characterized the sets I've seen of his. Nan commented that the set was "romantic" which I think it was. He called up Toby, Angel, and Daoud to sing this song that had the beautiful and catchy refrain: "no stick, no cage, no electric sock can stop love. Doug's voice is beautiful and his whole one-man band type set up deal is amazing. I still don't understand how he plays all that stuff at once.

Toby Goodshank peformed with a She-Devil poster hung on the curtain behind him. He also had Bryan, Barry and Matt guest on a couple songs. Bryan used his bow on this plaintive song "It's Amazing, It's Amazing--I have you now." It turned out beautifully.

Barry did a great set, switching off from piano to guitar. There were some emotional high points where I thought he was totally consumed by the music and expressing it straight from his soul. There was one spot where he did a bit of whistling too, something I've been wanting to integrate into my performances. Barry also made an announcement about certain very personal nocturnal occurrences that afflicted him while on tour. Thanks for sharing Barry.

By the time Barry played it was quite late and I was already drooping before Joe Crow came on and I still had the long schlep home ahead of me. I always seem to miss out on Joe Crow's sets. Hope he plays an earlier slot next time.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I keep having to miss Monday nights. Maybe it's not bad to take a break for a while, but I still miss hanging out. Anyone got any wonderful stories of what's been going on at the Open Mic the last few weeks? Free free to post comments or contact me directly if you want to post something here.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009, Bushwick Book Club

Last night the Bushwick Book Club performed songs inspired by the novel Confederacy of Dunces. I loved the book which is a hilarious and rich tale set in New Orleans. The main character, Ignatius Reilly, is one of the more unusual and extreme characters I've encountered in a novel.

Anyway, I have a mild infatuation with New Orleans and was excited about writing a song based on the book. The thing about these Book Club assignments is that the deadline definitely pushes you to get the song done. Yet sometimes you also wish you had a bit more time to refine what you've written and also to practice. I liked the direction of my song yet felt it had further to go. Ignatius is basically a misanthrope, yet my song focused on how there are qualities of him in just about everyone and how he should be celebrated rather than hated.

Other performers on the bill included Preston Spurlock, Maria Sonevytsky, and our hostess, Susan Hwang (of course) who wrote a musical theatre number about the strip club act that is a scene in the book. Also: Matthew Varvil, Laura Brenneman, Ben Berlin, and Isaac Gillespie who performed remotely by telephone.

As I suggested in regard to my own song, some of the pieces last night seemed as if they still were in a stage of development, yet it was interesting to hear all the different takes on the book.

The Tuesday Teacup open mic followed, as it does each Tuesday, hosted by Joe Crow Ryan. For a low-key open mic experience, the Tuesday Teacup is someplace to think about. Plus, they have a piano!

Next month is The Origin of the Species.