So eventually I’m going to start posting about events before they happen, even reasonably far before they happen. But last night was Red Emma’s first ever art auction, and it was a grand good time. Basically, they collected donations of art from tons of local baltimore artists and then auctioned them off, most of them as silent auction. I made like 10 pieces for them, and they all sold. And I forgot to photograph the pieces, of course.
Red Emma’s is baltimores worker-owned radical bookstore/cafe/infoshop, and it’s actually my favorite infoshop in the world. They are really passionate people, working incredibly hard in what is a rather dangerous, dirty city. There are a lot of radicals working really hard here, as a matter of fact. You have to. In baltimore, poverty and inequity are just so prevalent. But yeah, Red Emma’s is a wonderful place, and whenever I’m in town I spend almost every afternoon sitting around reading their books.
While searching for Nicki Jaine videos on youtube this morning, I ran across this. At Eccentrik Festival, there were a few moments when I dragged a bunch of people out into the parking lot to play impromptu songs. Personally, these were the highlight of the event for me and really opened my eyes to collaborative music. Sadly, these videos are only 30 second snippets, but I think they’re fun. There’s another of everyone and then a third that’s just valerie and I playing accordions.
Eccentrik Festival was utterly magical, and downright transformative for me. Playing with the musicians I played with did something really good for my heart. I’ve met an unfortunate number of musicians who are kind of… aloof? arrogant? something like that. But these people, Nicki Jaine, Jill Tracy, The Ghosts Project, Hellblinki Sextet, who I got to hang out and play music with, these are good people.
Okay, so this is pretty damn last minute, as in, three hours before I play, but I’ll be playing a benefit show tonight for the RNC arrestees. These are the folks who are being charged as terrorists for organizing anarchist responses to the Republican National Convention, and whether you can come tonight or not, they need your support. The show is at Checkpoint Charlie, at 2638 N. Charles St. in Baltimore, MD. I’ll be playing with my friends Iris and Ryan Harvey, so check it out if you’re in the area. Doors are at 8.
Sorry about the short notice, but it looks like I’ll be on stage with a few bands tomorrow night at Eccentrik Festival in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I’m pretty excited, despite that I’m taking a bus tonight instead of sleeping. I’ll also have copies of my new demo there, which excites me, and if the weather is amiable I might find myself doing my own set outside.
I’m pleased as hell with these photos that came out of sunday’s show. Just as a word of warning, the show in question was at an erotic arts theatre, so like half the pictures of me have a painting of a lady wearing pasties (and not too much else) behind me. If you know me, you know that I would rather that not be the case. But at least it’s a well executed painting.
I don’t think I can really express how amazing last night’s show at The Little Red Studio was. The space, usually an erotic performance theatre, was rented and was well, a really comfortable place to be. (Everyone stayed dressed, however, for better or worse.) The crowd was wondrous. As the first act, it meant the world to me that people came on time. I haven’t asked the numbers yet, but I feel like I played to at least 50 people. And people laughed when I was trying to be funny and sang along when prompted.
But the other musicians… Schrodinger’s Cat was probably the most impressive celloist I’ve ever seen or heard. Up there in his black hoodie, clawing at his instrument like a madman… it was wonderful. The sound cut out halfway through one of his songs and the entire room went dead quiet, so we heard him regardless. I saw Jill Tracy a year ago at Convergence 13, but to see her in this more intimate setting was beautiful. She was joined by Nathaniel Johnstone of Abney Park and Paul Mercer of The Ghosts Project. I can’t get enough of her voice and songwriting.
And then The Ghosts Project came on. The best comparison I can come up with is the live album on Ummagumma (pink floyd) mixed favorably with Godspeed You Black Emperor! and a healthy amount of dark. To say it suit my mood would be criminally understating the situation.
After their set, Nathaniel led the group in some of his solo work, and then every musician of the evening climbed back on stage for two improvised songs. I tell you, it was beautiful.
The show was put on by the astoundingly talented duo Bl00 and Red. (Red, aka Libby Bulloff, is pictured above stalking about through the empty space during load-in.)
I’ve been invited to play my first real gig as a solo accordionist/song-writer. I’ve been playing on the streets for almost three years now, as well as at various parties and bars, but this is my first bona fide “show”. I’m opening for Jill Tracy, who I saw and heartily enjoyed last year at Convergence 13 in Portland, and for The Ghosts Project [warning: link goes to myspace], whom I’m excited as hell to see, and for my friend Nathaniel Johnstone (violin and guitarist for Abney Park) who is performing with his solo project for what I believe to the be first time. Also on the bill are Schrödinger’s Cat, whom I admit I haven’t heard.
It’s an early show, so if you want to hear me you’d probably best show up at 7:30.