October 7, 2010

Epilogue for "What's Up This Weekend?"

I’ve decided to put a frame around the picture of “What’s Up This Weekend?” I’m proud of the fact that I met the challenge every Thursday afternoon for almost five years. The most recent 94 editions are archived at http://therockandrolllawyer.blogspot.com/.

The phrase, “What’s Up This Weekend?” was a metaphor for searching to enjoy life to the fullest. Live music has always been a big part of that for me and I have been blessed to live in a town with a great local music scene. As my little email evolved, it became more of an outlet for my creative writing where I tried to give you something entertaining that was quick and easy to read. I got a lot of pleasure out of being able to share that with all of you and I really enjoyed it when you would write me back and let me know how it affected you. However, all good things must come to an end. Thanks for reading and thanks for writing. Have a great weekend and I hope to see you out and about. mark

P,S. If you need advice on what music to see, get on Joel Treadway’s email at cringe.com.

September 30, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I didn’t think twice about driving up to Marblehead on Lake Erie for my friends’ wedding. Just use Mapquest, right? I was locked into the directions on the printout like a smart bomb until I saw the little orange and black “DETOUR” sign that led down what looked like the rural equivalent of a back alley. In the seconds I had to consider just simply following directions, I imagined myself getting lost and losing precious minutes I didn’t have to waste if I wanted to get to the church on time. It must have been my own latent Tea Party tendency to distrust Big Government that led me to make the decision to just keep following the Mapquest mantra, figuring if I was wrong, I could always just turn around. Silly rabbit. Lo and behold, after navigating through residential Bucyrus, I discovered that the main drag completely disappeared behind construction barriers where just beyond it appeared the entire downtown was experiencing an extreme makeover. No problem, just turn around. Uh huh. The straight corridor I had followed into town with tunnel vision, when taken in reverse, transformed into a carnival funhouse maze of turns and angled intersections. Finding myself in a quiet neighborhood, far from any main artery, I rolled down the window and asked some guy on his porch how to get back to the detour. “Turn right at the light, then another right at the Krogers then a left then another left....” I wanted to ask him where those lefts might actually occur but I was afraid my brain wouldn’t be able to hold that much information anyway so I just took off and hoped I’d get lucky. I actually made it to the first left and began following a detour but not one that identified the road being detoured. All hope of making it to the ceremony vanished as I found myself driving through parts of Ohio that I was never meant to experience. I passed solid blocks of pale corn stalks textured as though they had been created by Van Gogh’s palette knife; roadside cemeteries filled with the graves of farmers who had always been anchored to the land, blanketing grassy hills that rose to the blue sky dappled with clouds; and every mile or so, a home, a modest human shelter, which seemed to me to be the real beauty of the Ohio countryside. Then it occurred to me that marriage is a shelter. It requires a real effort to build one that will last but once you have it, it is a place you can come into out of the cold and rain, a place to escape the madness of the world, a place to be comfortable, to be yourself, a place you can always come home to. Brian and Janelle, may you give each other shelter.

Thursday, tonight, Michelle Lewis, Angela Perley and Miss Molly do the happy hour at Shrunken Head, Dan Dougan's Listening Hour at Gateway features Whoa Nellie and Mark Sims, Jesse Henry & the Royal Tycoons do the happy hour at Rumba, Willie's son, Lukas Nelson is at Woodlands and Carabar has The Enfield Trio.

Friday, Jimmy Castoe is at Dick's and Super Desserts descend into the darkness of The Basement with Wye Oak.

Saturday, the Ninth Annual Summit on Walhalla Street Party kicks off with food at 6 PM then at 8 PM we continue our tradition of presenting the finest in local music with No. 1 Cat featuring the lovely and talented Nikki Wonder. The Alive's Rocktoberfest begins at 3 PM featuring the likes of Way Yes, Joey Hebdo, Super Desserts, Phantods and The Floorwalkers at the Gateway. Arson Wells is at Dick's, The Shunken Head has the Phillip Fox Band, Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band and Angela Perley. Lollipop Factory returns with a show at Kobo.

Drive By Truckers appear at Outland on Liberty Tuesday and at The Newport Wednesday.

Gimme shelter. mark

September 23, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

For a long time I had a favorite saying, one that I often pulled out to sound irreverent and iconoclastic while at the same time posturing in the guise of the wisdom that might come from decades of practicing domestic relations law. “I have two pieces of advice for people: Don’t get married and don’t have children.” As I delivered this pithy aphorism, I would always add dramatic visual emphasis by counting it out with one finger and then a second. It always made people smile because they knew that while it made sense as a strategy for avoiding all sorts of complications, heartache and financial distress, it was the kind of advice that no one takes seriously. Nevertheless, I delivered this cold calculation for achieving and maintaining happiness with the solemn conviction of a redeemed sinner who was born again after having married and had a child in my wayward youth. While there is an obvious irony in advice that would render you unable to give it if your mother took it, there is something to be said for the selfish simplicity of being able to focus all your resources on yourself and the mate of your choosing. I still believe that if you want someone to be your mate, live with them and stay with them. You don’t need a legal contract to sanctify your love. Marriage is proof of commitment only in a world that does not permit divorce. Commitment can only be measured a day at a time. But now I have two close girl friends getting married soon (not to each other), I just helped bring a baby into the world and my signature slogan is ringing pretty hollow. I’m happy for my friends and I’m happy for me. I may need to change my stock maxim to “Find one or more to love and make a family of.” On second thought, maybe I should just keep that catchy little banality to myself.

Thursday, tonight, Dan Dougan's Listening Hour at Gateway hosts the pre-reunion of Hank McCoy & the Dead Ringers, Woodlands Tavern has a Grateful Dead Tribute with 10 bands including the Salty Caramels who I saw at a house party this week and was impressed by their superfine, supergroup line-up of Bree Frick, Angela Pearly and Molly Winters. The show starts at 6 PM and the girls go on around 9 PM. Lohio and The Alwood Sisters are at Rumba and Descendre is at Dick's.

Friday, the actual reunion show for Hank McCoy & the Dead Ringers is at Ravari with The Mooncussers. Rumba features the fabulous Justin Townes Earl with Jessica Lee Mayfield. El Jesus de Magico is at Carabar and there is an Andy Davis Memorial Fund Benefit at Circus with, among others, The Wet Darlings. Jim Maneri claims that Brave Combo will be at Oktoberfest Friday and Saturday night. Not a better polka band in the world for my money! Van Dyke Parks performs at The Wexner with Clare and the Reasons.

Saturday, Carabar has Shin Tower Music, Two Cow Garage has a CD release at Rumba with Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and Ghost Shirt. The Lost Revival, Monolithic Cloud Parade and The George Elliot Underground are at Skully's.

Sunday, The Strange Boys show at The Summit sounds interesting.

There was a boy

A very strange enchanted boy

They say he wandered very far, very far

Over land and sea

A little shy

And sad of eye

But very wise

Was he

And then one day

A magic day he passed my way

And while we spoke of many things, fools and kings

This he said to me

"The greatest thing

You'll ever learn

Is just to love

And be loved

In return"

“Nature Boy” Music and lyrics by eden ahbez


September 16, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

An interesting aspect of Facebook is learning that some of your Fb friends have opinions that clash with your own. A hostile attitude about the Buckeye Fever that grips this town was expressed on my wall by an old friend and talented artist. I responded to his derision of my beloved Bucks with a short and snarky response, pointing out that while he was mired in feelings of hatred about this inescapable local phenomena, I preferred enjoying it. Beyond the arguments for and against college sports, I think some people claustrophobically reject anything embraced by the masses. I subscribe to that autoimmune response when it comes to wearing blue jeans, but my rebellious, independent instincts fade away when it comes to OSU football and basketball. The Buckeye Nation is a community and a family. I know it includes a lot of conservative yahoos and I enjoy being one of the members who adds some long-haired liberal diversity to the group, like the crazy uncle at the dinner table. Regardless of our differences, we all like to get together, party with food and drink and express our excitement and appreciation for the young people entertaining us. Whether the entertainers are musicians or student-athletes, opportunities for the community to come together, celebrate and give thanks satisfies a basic human urge. For an atheist like me, Comfest and the Buckeyes are my humanist religions. I love walking through the campus on my way to the game and sensing how our town comes alive with partiers covering the sidewalks, streets and yards like a teeming red ant hill. I sympathize with those who find living among the followers of this omnipresent sports cult to be oppressive and disgusting and I wouldn’t want to deprive them the satisfaction of their righteous indignation, however, I’ll reserve my religious intolerance for Christian and Muslim extremists.

Thursday, tonight, Dan Dougan's Listening Hours at the Gateway Film Center features Anna & the Consequences, Bernadette Frye and Illicit Kitty. Jim Maneri jazzes up Dick's, The Ooh La Las sex up the Circus with The Slang and the busy Illicit Kitty, Talisha Holmes performs with The Liquid Crystal Project at Vonn Jazz. I'm wondering if the Pavement show is still sold out now that it has apparently moved from the unlikely confines of Outland to the roomier LC. In any case, I hope Ben Hamilton cleans up.

Friday, there is a benefit for Matt Wang at Carabar featuring The Lindsay, Washington Beach Bums and the Guinea Worms. The Spikedrivers will create a crowded sauna at Dick's, the Treehouse has Fort Shame, Beatdowns and Whoa Nellie and there is a birthday bash for Willie D. at Ruby's with Wonder Power Twins, Jimmy & the Screed and Charlie Hussle. Mary Adam 12 does the happy hour at Rumba followed by The Salty Caramels and Playhouse.

Saturday, is Independents Day downtown on Gay St. and there is a band every hour beginning at noon with Karate Coyote, Miss Molly, Wet Darlings, Alwood Sisters, Derek DiCenzo, Town Monster, Way Yes, Ghost Shirt, Compressions and Kopaz. Later, Wonder Power Twins are at The Shrunken Head with Jovial Flow and Nesta.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end for Ohio.


September 9, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Sunday, almost exactly 35 years after my son Ruyd was born, my son Raad was born. I don’t remember much about Ruyd’s birth or taking care of him as a baby. I was 23. Who knows where my head was at? This time it will be different. I won’t have that much time to forget but also this time the memories are going to be indelibly etched into my mind. I’ll remember the brown, yellow and green colors of the countryside under a sunny morning blue sky dotted with clouds, driving down Route 33 to the hospital in Athens, bobbing my head to the Happy Chichester CD while she moaned occasionally in the backseat. I’ll remember standing in front of her while she sat on the bed with her head on my shoulder, watching the monitor, learning to spot when the next contraction would occur, and when they came, leaning into her, pressing my hands on her shoulders, feeling her grab and pull down on the sides of the open front of my warm-up jacket so she could control the pain and not make a sound. That type of teamwork only succeeded for an hour or so. If you want an idea of what most of it was like, just imagine watching a nine-hour version of “The Exorcist”. They explained the complication as “His head is tilted up as if he’s looking at the stars.” A poetically hopeful image that caused her many hours of constant excruciating back pain. I’ll remember seeing him emerge, a bloody, wavy-haired conehead with perfectly formed miniature hands, fingers flexing in slow motion, taking his first breaths and his large, dark eyes searching in wonderment. I’ll remember comfortably reclining in the vintage olive green leather Lazy-Boy holding my boy swaddled in a blanket tight as a burrito, warming my body and my soul, sharing a small private room with her and her friend, recounting the experience and feeling like I had all the time in the world to just be happy and content. The beginning of the journey was memorable. Now, will I be sailing away on a new ship or is there just a new sailor on board?

Thursday, tonight, Joey Hebdo and Rent Party do Dougan's Listening Hour in the Purple Box at Gateway. There is a Nile Carpenter Benefit at Kobo with Phantods, Kuan and Steamboat. Dick's has Brett Burleson, Ruby's has Miss Molly, Kyra Show and The Funky Roots and Rumba has The Wet Darlings and The Andy Shaw Band. Wooden Ships and Times New Viking will be at Columbus Discount Records headquarters at Oak Street and Parsons.

Friday, the Hot Times Festival at Parsons and Main begins featuring Megan Palmer at 7:15 and The Mendelsonics at 8:15 and ending with the Willie Pooch memorial show with Dave Workman. It is also Comfest Volunteer Appreciation Night so wear your 2010 Comfest Volunteer Shirt and get lots of free good stuff. Wonder Twin Powers and Chickenhawk are at Ravari and Skully's has Love Culture and The Receiver. The Lost Weekend Records Summer Spectacular at Ruby's features Daycreeper, Eye, Puh-leeze, Total Foxx and Lo-Pan.

Saturday, Hot Times continues and I recommend checking out No. 1 Cat at 1 PM. They will be doing my street party in about a month. Los Straightjackets and Vegas 66 are at Rumba. New City Gypsy has a CD release at Skully's with Phantods and Shin Tower Music.The Lost Weekend show at Ruby's continues with Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers, a Media Whores reunion and The Skilletlickers.

Sunday, Hot Times finishes up with CJ Chenier at 6:45.

Monday, Jesse Henry and Happy Chichester join Jason Quicksall in the Cowtown Round at Rumba.

Sail on sail on sailor


September 2, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Some people enjoy getting their thrills riding roller coasters. I'm planning on driving a woman in child-birth labor from Columbus to the hospital in Athens. Even scarier is the possibility that the call might come during the football game I'm going to tonight. There's already been a bit of seismic activity. Now, I've asked the little guy to hold on but you know how kids are. There are a couple of coincidences that worry me. My first son was born almost exactly 35 years ago during the Penn State-Ohio State game but I was able to listen to that one on the radio while I watched his little chest heaving up and down in the premie incubator. A little closer in time is the interesting fact that this boy's name-to-be, when googled, comes up as the Persian word for the God of Thunder and Ohio State happens to be playing the Marshall Thundering Herd tonight. It's going to be an exciting Labor Day weekend, that's for sure.

Thursday, tonight, Six Gallery is at The Basement and Suckers, Maza Baska and The Phantods are at Circus.

Friday, Hopa! Its Greek Festival time. Love the food. Kobo has Burlesque-a-Billy festuring the Sex Kittens, Apple Bottom Gang and Slick City Ramblers. Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers and The Resisters are at Ravari, Woodland's has Bucktown Kickback and The Floorwalkers are at Ruby's.

Saturday, Dick's has Fox 'n' Hounds, Rumba has Vug Arakas & the Stallions and Treehouse has Alert New London.

Monday, The Cowtown Round at Rumba features Joey Hebdo and Stephanie Nilles along with host, Jason Quicksall.

It's like thunder and lightning,
the way you love me is frightening.
You better knock, knock on wood, baby.

Lyrics by Eddie Floyd


August 26, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

The truth is starlight
Pure, focused
traveling at the ultimate, constant speed
unchanged through Time unimaginable

And yet
when we perceive the truth
the gravitational pull
of the mass of our desire
packed into the world we build
around ourselves
bends the truth
to the curvature of our self-deception

Thursday, tonight, there is a John Lennon Tribute Show at Kobo and a facebook rumor that Andrew Graham will participate. The Summit has Titus Andronicus and The Compressions. The Kyle Sowashes and Rosehips are at Treehouse and Wonder Twin Powers and the George Barrie Trio are at Woodland's Tavern.

Friday,The Muzzleloaders are at Ravari, Megan Palmer has a CD release during the happy hour at Rumba followed, naturally, by The Spikedrivers. Dr. Kenny Delicious, Descendre and G Finesse are at Woodland's.

Saturday, The Town Monster, The Loyal Divide, The Phantods and George Elliot Underground are at the Basement. The Shrunken Head has Vegas 66, Skully's has Jared Mahone and The Wet Darlings. Ghost Shirt is at Treehouse.

Sunday, Woody Pines does an early show at Rumba followed by Hoodoo.

Star Light, Star bright
The first star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight


August 19, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I’m a firm believer in taking personal responsibility for celebrating the day of one’s birth. I got the momentum started by choosing the Banana Bean for the traditional Sunday family birthday brunch and having fried oysters and soft-shell crab. My pregnant baker brought a butter cream coconut cake inspired by my request for Hostess sperm cupcakes. Afterwards, I took advantage of my Mother’s odd refusal to join the family women for a “Wicked “ matinee. This fortuitous opportunity was a gift of healing redemption for someone who had been kicking himself over losing his opening night tickets.

Since August 16th fell on a Monday this year, I had scheduled the day off but another last minute twist of fate landed me on stage in a Judge’s chamber for a short, early morning matinee where domestic disaster dramatically hung in the balance. I had compared my task of changing the Judge’s mind to quickly changing the course of an aircraft carrier but, like an unexpected gust of wind, the facts of the case turned the sails of Justice toward victory. Blind luck had allowed me to smash a scary pinata for my client and I could feel the endorphins raining down inside. Triumphant, I shed my pinstriped armor to revel in the frenzy of shopping for a picnic at the pond.

At the deli, my picnic partner-with-child and I ordered a few slivers each of five exotic salamis, the ones to which I usually pay a wistful glancing homage, right before ordering the ham or turkey that’s on sale. Like a kid allowed to go shopping for his presents in a toy store, I loaded up with a fresh baked batard, triple cream brie, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, black Mediterranean olives and an orange fleshed honey dew. Finally, I allowed myself to be seduced by the gooey strawberry, whipped cream and yellow cake strumpet that I would normally pass by with Puritanical restraint.

Down on the farm, the pond was a glittering private oasis surrounded by impenetrable bands of leafy green in brilliant sunlight and black shade, guarded by stiff, silent regiments of soft, brown-helmeted cattails. We floated between the cool wet surface and the solar-energized air saturated with a micro-toned chord of chirping crickets that slowly rose and fell, bubbled and burst, shifting back and forth across the water, punctuated by the birds’ short horn lines. This classic, sunny August day in Ohio was worthy of being called a gift from God. Time stood still as I eschewed the remainder of my clothing, walked down to the end of the splintery wooden dock and paused in quiet contemplative preparation for a dive into the refreshing layers of descending liquid temperatures.

All semblance of propriety and civilized demeanor were surrendered during our naked lunch on the blanket in the grass as I tore into the mountainous open-faced sandwich that exploded like a volcano spewing delicate, smokey spiced greases, slightly pungent, melting buttery brie, salty olive oil and the watery blood of a freshly picked tomato all over my face and body. On this fifty-eighth anniversary of my birth, in the presence of the sun-kissed freckled pink tumescence of my unborn son, I dove into the amniotic fluid of basic pleasures and reemerged from the womb of innocence.

Thursday, tonight, The Floorwalkers do the happy hour at Rumba followed by JPS Brown and an incredibly good band from Cincy, The Sundresses.

Friday, The Columbus Discount Records Anniversary party is at Bourbon Street with Guinea Worms, Sandwitch and many more. Dick's has The Randys and Kobo has Moon High, Mt. Carmel and The Phantods.

Saturday, The CDR party continues at Carabar with Times New Viking, Mike Rep & the Quotas, Black Swans and more. Wonder Power Twins and G. Finesse & the NS are at Scarlet & Grey. The Athens Community Music Festival will feature over thirty-five local acts at seven uptown venues. All proceeds go to grant opportunities for local musicians and music education. Admission is $10 for an all-venue wristband or $5 per location. Visit myspace.com/athensmusicfest for a complete schedule. Hint: Stella and The Lennon Orchestra are at Jackie O's.

Sunday, Flypaper ends the Goodale Park Summer Music Series at the Gazebo.

We've got to get ourselves back to the Garden. mark

August 12, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I went to my 40 year class reunion last Saturday night. I skipped the formal dinner the night before because I still suffered from a significant aversion to, or fear of, my past life in Whitehall. The only loyalty I ever showed my hometown was to its music scene including the school orchestra where I played the french horn. Otherwise, I had no feeling for my school or neighborhood, just my friends and our insular little substance-abusing, rock and roll-exploring world which I didn't leave until ten years after graduating from high school. So when the first class reunion rolled around, I got together with a fellow female classmate and staged a counter-reunion with a half gallon of cheap red wine in the party house parking lot under the raised hatchback of a white AMC Gremlin. Maybe, subconsciously, I wanted to be there but I couldn't allow myself in. I skipped the next reunions completely and then the 30th rolled around. I guess I was finally of the age to have enough self-confidence to be myself in any group, even the ghosts of my past where we all knew who we used to be in our former lives. I had an absolute ball. The dancing was frenetic, sweaty and constant. This was a fun bunch after all. Sure, I stuck out like a big epileptic, red-shirted thumb with flailing strands of not-yet white hair but I felt accepted and I accepted them. I even made some new friends including the girl who use to live on the other side of the world at the end of my street. Ten years later, I still couldn't bring myself to join everyone at the Friday dinner but the Saturday night party was another blast. I'll always remember a circle of us with arms around each other swaying and singing together with gusto to the band's excellent version of " A Whiter Shade of Pale". I regretted not taking advantage of that rare moment in the passage of my life to be with them Friday night too. I'd forgotten I had nothing to fear. Maybe next time.

Thursday, tonight, Pecha Kucha is Under the Stars at Junctionview Studios in Grandview, 889 Williams Ave. Super Collider Theater will present skits in between the power point presenters and Shin Tower Music will perform. Jeni's and Pattycake will serve refreshments. I went to the last one and it was really entertaining. BYOB and chair. 8 PM.

Friday, The Treehouse has Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers and Whiskey Daredevils. Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band and Eric Nassau are at Woodland's. The Summit has Wonder Twin Powers but beware of Marvin the Robot. I will being doing the annual stroll down Elvis' Memory Lane at Skully's with The Randy's and The Sons of Gladys.

Saturday, The Flashing Clock is at Ruby's and The Wet Darlings are at Rumba. Roadtrip?

Sunday, Dick's has Bop du Fway and Kobo has Six Gallery.

Monday is the day of my birth and I hope to be picnicking at the pond. Later at 10 PM, my good friend and best pet cop this town ever had, Jenn Kulina, will be starring in a documentary on Animal Planet entitled "Gang Dogs".

You ain't nuthin' but a hound dog. mark

August 5, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I went to The Ohio State Fair yesterday. As a life-long resident of Columbus, I've been to the Fair many times over the past half-century. The oldest memories I have center around musical experiences. Back in the 60's, my rock and roll band, The Side Effect, played on the grassy island where the giant red cardinal sculpture used to perch. I also remember seeing James Brown and Sly & the Family Stone in the outdoor arena. I used to take my son, Ruyd, there who always forced me to ride the rides like The Zipper even though I inevitably got sick and we always tried to catch the the explosively-loud tractor-pulls. After those days of taking the kid there, I rarely went back because...well, let's face it, the Fair is kind of tacky. But that ignores all the things I do enjoy at the Fair. The art show at the Janis building is always good. One of my favorite things to see is the baked goods competition at the Arts & Crafts building. I just love looking at all those cookies, pies brownies and cakes. I enjoy visiting all the farm animals which are just as exotic as any at the zoo to a city kid like me. Of course, the people watching is always amusing. The one thing that drives me crazy every time is figuring out what to eat. I have to walk up and down the fairway and look at everything and then I still can't decide. One of these days I'm going to learn not to get the french fries. They are good on the top but when you get closer to the middle they are a disgusting greasy mess. Corn dogs, roasted ears of corn and funnel cakes are usually safe bets. The chocolate covered wedge of cheesecake on a stick was geometrically tempting. DEVO was the reason that I and a lot of people I knew showed up there last night. It was reassuring to see these plump old guys pumping out that classic music like a well-oiled rock and roll machine. In between sets, they showed a spacey video that talked about how earth was a hundred trillionth of a grain of sand in the Milky Way and our life here is just an immeasurable fraction of time on our speck of the universe. The long voyage through space ended with them thanking us for spending a brief moment of that time with DEVO. I felt it was a good use my precious wisp of time and space in the vastness of the Universe to be enjoying something as absurd as DEVO at the Ohio State Fair.

Thursday, tonight, Flugge, DiCenzo & Castoe are at Dick's, my favorite gypsy punks, Gogol Bordello, are at The LC. Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba and Cowboy Hillbilly Hippie Folk do the happy hour at Woodland's followed by Pleased to Meet You, Funky Roots and New Water Moonshine.

Friday, The Dublin Irish Festival begins. I should go there some year. Carabar celebrates its 5th anniversary with This Moment In Black History, Blueprint and Shin Tower Music, Circus has Two Cow Garage and The Lost Revival, Kobo has Old Worlds and Jon Burgess, Superdesserts do the happy hour at Rumba followed by Ghost Shirt and Trains Across the Sea, Miller Kelton and Billy Zenn do the happy hour at The Shrunken Head. Skully's Treehouse and The Summit are all doing Andyman benefits with tons of great music.

Saturday, Carabar has The Kyle Sowashes, Your So Bossy and The Compressions, Dick's has Derek DiCenzo, Ruby's has Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band, Candye Kayne and The Mendelsonics are at Rumba, Soul Satyr is at Woodland's. Kobo and Treehouse have more Andyman benefits with similarly stellar line ups.

Sunday, The Spikedrivers do the Goodale Park Music Series at noon.

Use your Freedom of Choice. mark

July 29, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I've been through a couple unusual experiences the past 24 hours. I just spent the entire day trying a case to a Judge which I rarely ever get to do. And last night, I was one of the Judges. I was asked to join a sound engineer and a record company veteran on a panel to critique the performances of a dozen singer-songwriters in an American Idol-style competition at The Woodlands Tavern. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but it turned out to be fun and my beers were free! The other two Judges were much more qualified than I was to give these performers some worthwhile advice so I tried to be as witty as possible while saying something that sounded like I had been listening. I thought one contestant was really good and most of the rest had some redeeming qualities. The difficult part was confronting the inevitable one guy who was just awful. His bright, shining face just beamed behind a big set of perfect white teeth. He gave a passionate performance of two songs that sounded like he had been listening to too much Dave Matthews with unimaginative chord changes, unsophisticated lyrics and uninspiring melodies for which he rarely sang a note on pitch. I felt like I was hurting a cute little puppy when I told him he needed to work on his intonation but he let me off the hook when he admitted he couldn't sing. He wasn't the best but he was the bravest.

Thursday, tonight, Jim Maneri & Friends are at The Gateway Purple Box. Andrew Graham & the Swarming Branch are one of the most exciting new bands in town and they are at Rumba with Vug Arakas & the Stallions.

Friday Love Culture, Wet Darlings and The Spruce Campbells are at Circus. Wonder Twin Powers come out of hiding for a show at Fats Billiards of all places. Rumba has The Kyle Sowashes and Ghost Shirt and Vegas 66 is at The Shrunken Head. Trains Across the Sea and Couch Forts are at Treehouse and Donna Mogavero is at Woodlands Tavern.

Saturday, I would personally appreciate it if you would stop on down to Rumba after 8 PM to support a benefit for Colony Cats & Dogs whose primary mission is to spay and neuter our furry little friends. Joyce Rice and myself have organized this event and the following musicians have very graciously offered their services: Anna & the Consequences, Ned Wreckman, Joe Crump, Andrew Graham, The Wahoos, Whoa Nellie, Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers, Tin Armor, Earwig and The Bygones. Each band plays a couple songs hopefully with at least one cat-related theme. Earlier at Rumba, the amazing Hamell on Trial does the happy hour. If you come to see Hamell, you can stay and throw a little money in the kitty for us. Derek DiCenzo and Ned Wreckman's alter-ego, Jimmy Casote will be at Dick's, The Bygones will move over to Ruby's and Skully's has The SoHud Supershow with The Floorwalkers, Max Power Trio and Joey Hebdo

Sunday at the Gazebo in Goodale Park members of Yumbambé will perform from 12:30 to 2:00 and Taco Trucks Columbus will host a Street Food community potluck.

Wednesday, I'm pretty excited about seeing DEVO at the Ohio State Fair.

What's new, Pussycat? mark

July 22, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I was left to divine the message in a tale of two men who died this week and whose lives, like mine, were shaped by rock and roll.

I didn't know "Andyman" Davis that well. Since 2005 my office was on top of his and we often met in the parking lot. He was a passionate supporter of local music and so of course he loved Comfest which is what we usually talked about. I always got treated with his trademark warm hospitality at his Treehouse. The smile on that big bear of a man is one I will always remember. The rest is public knowledge. He was a legend in this town for his work establishing a successful independent alternative-rock radio station, the only one of its kind I believe, and the marathon Christmas shows for children's charities. He earned the happiness and satisfaction that comes from working at what he loved to do and building a loving family.

David Getreu was my best friend from high school through my twenties. He was a musical genius who taught himself to play the Hammond B3 organ as well as anybody in the world. He hard-wired my brain to appreciate good music and initiated me into the rock and roll lifestyle. Nobody had more of an influence on the person I became, for better or for worse, than he did. I helped lug his B3 and 2 Leslie cabinets around when he played with the Dave Workman Blues Band. He wrote the music and I wrote the lyrics for six songs on an album that was released by Columbia Records in 1978, the highlight of my creative life. I'm not sure why he was so unhappy and had to anesthetize his pain with drugs. After many years of trying to get him to write songs with me again, I left him behind. He was in a methadone program for more than 20 years. The last time I saw him, he was practically unrecognizable, wearing an orange jumpsuit in court. He died without family or friends.

Andy Davis led a life to be celebrated and his untimely death is a tragedy. David Getreu wasted a life that was full of promise and his death brings a tortured existence to a peaceful end. Tonight, I will be at the LC gathering for Andyman which will be filled with just some of the many people who loved and admired him. Alone, in my heart, I will mourn for an old friend whose flickering flame, once so strong and bright, has finally been extinguished.

Thursday, tonight, the "Andyman" Davis remembrance at the LC. Doors open at 6 PM. Later, the Circus has Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers and Joe Ong is at Dick's.

Friday, Circus of Cool is at Dick's, The Shrunken Head has Joshua James & Erika Carey, The Muzzleloaders are at Ravari and You're So Bossy is at The Summit.

Saturday, Jen Miller is at Dick's, Ruby's has Fort Shame, Rosehips and Curtis Cole, Rumba has The Wet Darlings and Bourbon Street has Mike Rep, Ron House, Cheater Slicks and Guinea Worms.

Monday, the Burlesque-A-Pades show at Skully's might be fun with the Potaini Sisters, Viva Valezz and Lady Monster.

Children are playin' on their way home from school
Keep the blankets on the windows, that's my only rule.

From the song "Congratulations". Music by D. Getreu. Lyrics by mark

July 15, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Here is an excerpt from my Comfest article that will be published at cringe.com:

It was still light out but Saturday night was over at the Main/Bozo Stage. That felt really strange. I headed over to the Gazebo for the Thatcher Ely memorial service. I knew Thatcher as the Iron Man at the Gazebo Stage. Like a mother hen, he always took care of the Entertainment Committee’s tee shirts and doled them out to the stage heads. After taking over Scottie McBeans, he became Mr. Coffee Roaster and he always smelled of the various coffee flavors. I particularly remember the hazelnut odor that would emanate from him. He was a hard worker and generous with whatever he had to share. Yeah, he was a character who would drive me crazy at times but you knew he was a guy who would always have your back and that’s important when you’re on the Comfest team.

The service behind the Gazebo at the glittering pond’s edge was very beautiful. Two of the most popular performers he took care of at the Gazebo, Megan Palmer and Donna Mogavero, played guitar and sang. And then, as Candy started to speak, a huge bolt of lightning crashed from the sky. A storm was on its way as ghostly breezes swept around us. The speakers bravely continued and, just as Thatcher’s ashes were being spread on the lawn, the raindrops began to fall. I left and made my way over to the Clean Up and Recycling Headquarters to begin my volunteer shift.

Doing the Saturday night Clean Up shift had been my way of trying live up to my personal Comfest mottoes, “Don’t ask anyone to do anything you’re not willing to do.” and its variant, “If you want something done, do it yourself.” I had done just about every other type of job at Comfest but I had fastidiously avoided Clean Up. And Lord knows, I didn’t want to work on a Comfest Saturday night. In the old days, that was the big party night where a hundred or more people would gather at the Maneri/Dougan/Scheiber house on Norwich and, among other things, drink kegs of beer and get crazy. But as the wild parties faded out and my Comfest fervor evolved to new heights two years ago, I jumped in and discovered the joy of walking behind a garbage truck at 2 AM alongside a grimly determined army of 20 or so strangers slinging plastic bags of leaking, disgusting trash into the compactor that would occasionally cause the bags to explode and spew garbage juice all over you. As far as Comfest experiences go, it’s hard to beat the feeling of camaraderie I feel with these anonymous volunteers who come from many different backgrounds in every size, age, sex and color.

This year, my favorite Comfest moment was working at headquarters and watching all the people coming up and volunteering to help clean up the park as the lightning cracked and the rain poured down in the darkness of night. That is what Comfest is all about. Fortunately, there are still some small Saturday night parties that go real late and at the end of my shift I was able to drag my aching body over to a friend’s house in the Short North and dump it in a hot tub occupied by three beautiful women. Ah, the Agony and the Ecstasy of Comfest.

Thursday, tonight, Derek DiCenzo does his annual Bastille Day celebration of all things that sound French at Dick's. C'est tres manifique!

Friday, Trains Across the Sea do the happy hour at The Shrunken Head and The Mendelsonics do the happy hour at Rumba. Later, Skully's hosts The Main Street Gospel's CD release with Mount Carmel.

Saturday, Madlab holds the Volatility Festival at its new location, 227 N. Third St., from 3 to 11:30 with, among others, Woosley, Ghost Shirt, The Bush League All-Stars, Bookmobile and Earwig. Jim Maneri and Joe Blow are Dick's, Kobo has Town Monster and Vug Arakas & the Stallions, The Alwood Sisters and Moon High are at Rumba, Miller Kelton is at The Shrunken Head and the Surf Ohio Beach Party hangs ten at Woodlands Tavern with Miss Molly, Jim Volk, Apocalypso and more. I may head down to Athens for Brewfest and The Lennon Orchestra at Jackie O's.

Sunday, The Goodale Park Sunday music series at the Gazebo features The Mooncussers.

Aux armes, citoyens. Formez vos batailions. Marchons, marchons! mark

July 8, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Another Doo Dah done did. The hallowed anarchical traditions were shamelessly indulged. Preparations included the Hunt for the Perfect Frock which led me from the second-hand stores of Cleveland Ave. to hip vintage boutique, Rag-O-Rama, to the desperately dull Volunteers of America and Goodwill. A plain little red, white and blue number caught my eye early on but I left it behind. After shopping everywhere else, I had to come back for it. Something told me this conservative, full length, work dress had possibilities, and after cutting out the skirt, its inner-sluttiness was revealed. This year’s special maternity design concept was completed with a monkey head pillow and my first bra; a brown 44 D. My pregnancy was in solidarity with my friend Claressa who is with my child and who paraded in a patriotic tube top allowing His Protuberance to literally hang out with the band. The running joke was that we were having twins. As we marched, I tried to imitate the wide-stepping pregnant waddle in my red fishnets and short black boots. Occasionally, we would belly-bump to the delight of the crowd. It’s been nice to experience the high holy days of Comfest and Doo Dah with the little one in uterine. I can only hope that we imprinted him with a sense of the exuberance and joy that we felt during these celebrations of Life.

Thursday, tonight, Old Hundred begins 3 gigs in five days at Carabar, Brett Burleson marks his return from California at Dick's, Couch Forts and Terribly Empty Pockets are at Woodlands Tavern and Envelope and The Compressions are at Kobo which is not a Japanese Steakhouse but it was formerly Oldfield's on High.

Friday, The Drowsy Lads are at Byrne's, Tom Davis is at Dick's, Park Street Tavern has The Floorwalkers, Skully's has The Spikedrivers and The Hot 17 Launch Party begins at 6:30 at Rumba with Envelope, Ghost Shirt, The Receiver, Two Cow Garage and many more.

Saturday, here comes your 5th Annual Parking Lot Blowout next to the Surly Girl beginning at 3 with Old Hundred followed by The Randys and later at 6:45 an awesome nostalgic lineup of New Bomb Turks, Gibson Bros. and Scrawl. Later, I recommend The Madison Square Gardeners at Rumba. The Summit has The Oblivians, Cheater Slicks, Bassholes and Dexter Romweber Duo, The Shrunken Head has The Floorwalkers unplugged and Skully's has Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, The Kyle Sowashes and Tim Armor.

Tuesday, Old Hundred does it again at The Summit with Phosphorescent and Vug Arakas and the lovely Za Unitt is at Treehouse.

I love a parade. mark

July 1, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I like this retirement thing and I took full advantage of it. In fact, I probably went a little too far in pushing my privileged status at Comfest to the limits. I knew I had no business accepting the Main Stage supervisor’s last-minute offer to do my regular Friday night MCing in his place, but I was unable to resist knowing that no one could do it better than I could. The fact that I did a good job or that I am a retired organizer with an honored past might not be a good enough excuse considering my recent media over-exposure at Comfest’s expense. I rationalized that my free-wheeling behavior was a product of Comfest’s volatile atmosphere, where the unexpected might happen, where rules might be discreetly broken, where barriers let down, clothes come off and spirits fly. Comfest is a well-run production organized by seasoned veterans but it isn’t executed in a strict professional or corporate manner. The work is done by volunteers who can be flexible and loose. For all the planning, a lot gets done on the fly and I remember often thinking that we got by on a wing and a prayer. The stages are so intimate and seemingly permeable to interaction with the audience that it seems electricity could be spontaneously created as if inside a thundercloud. The Brownian movement of the crowd, through the light and shade, between the trees, flowing around the village of booths, colliding in hugs, radiating with happiness, spinning, dancing and hula-hooping, creates an atmosphere where the release of energy feels unpredictable and just a little beyond control. Maybe that is what freedom feels like.

Thursday, tonight, I will be heading over to the patio at Hyatt on Capitol Square to see The Randys at 6 PM. At 7 PM, Paul Brown will be appearing at the Purple Box in the Gateway Center as part of The Creative Strings Festival put on by Chris Howes. The CSF will also be at Dick's tonight. Circus has Darynyck, Monolithic Cloud Parade and Alert New London and Rumba has Couch Forts.

Friday, The Drowsy Lads are at Byrne's, the CSF returns to Dick's, The Wet Darlings are at Outland, Righteous Buck & the Skull Scorchers are at Woodlands Tavern and Rumba has The Woosley Band, Erika Carey & the Calamities and The Wells. The Ooh La Las present "Stars & Strips" at Ruby's that will benefit Operation Homefront of Ohio which serves the military and their families. They've got a lot of stuff going on including Apocalypso and some out of town burlesque artistes. Veterans get in free!

Saturday. the CSF is at Dick's once again and I don't see anything in the way of competition so if you haven't supported Chris and his wonderful Creative Strings Festival yet, Saturday night is the night!

Sunday, Doo Dah, Doo Dah! Join the Doo Dah Marching Band by rendezvousing at Chez Maneri, the carriage house behind 1031 Highland Ave. around noon. Bring something with which to make noise or music, dress as outrageously as possible, be prepared to party hard and march in the best parade Columbus has to offer. It's all about having lots of fun and celebrating this crazy, crazy country of ours.

Freedom Freedom. mark

June 24, 2010

What's Up This Weekend? Special Comfest Edition

My lost weekend has arrived. I've always wondered what it would be like or if I would ever get to experience it. Now that it is happening a bit prematurely, I feel pretty good about it. I'm relaxed and looking forward to experiencing retirement at Comfest. Of course, I will be volunteering to do a clean-up and recycling shift Saturday night and early Saturday I will be doing a "copwatch" shift with my best friend and fellow retiree, Mac. I sincerely hope the "copwatch" will be extremely boring work but, whenever I'm with Mac at Comfest, I'll be enjoying myself. This year, I will be going as a journalist, taking pictures and notes for an article in cringe.com, so, in a sense, I will still be working but you better believe I will take some time to lie on a blanket in the grass and just soak it all in. I hope I get to see all of you there and that you will say "Hi" if you see me and remind me of your name if I don't say it. I apologize in advance for not remembering. I also hope that you all have signed up for volunteer shifts or will do so at Volunteer Central. Comfest is still the best thing we have in Columbus and everyone should do their part to make it happen. Remember, no glass or cans, don't park in the neighborhood and, this year especially, be discreet.

Thursday, Dick's Den has Derek DiCenzo and Benco presents Frog Eyes at The Summit. I reviewed their CD for the Invisible Hits Hour last Sunday and it sounded really interesting.

I'll begin each day of Comfest with my picks. OR-Off Ramp, G-Gazebo, M-Main/Bozo Stage, LA-Live Arts, J-Jazz, Solar-S.

Friday, Town Monster 2:15-OR, Lydia Loveless 2:55-G, Liquid Crystal Project 3:35-J, Sons of Gladys 5:00-M, No. 1 Cat 6:10-G, Moon High 7:30-OR, Max Power Trio 8:10-G, Ooh La Las 8:30-LA. My don't-miss pick-of-the-day is Foley 9:05-M, Flypaper 10:00-J. After Comfest, Nick Tolford is at Carabar, Jimmy Castoe is at Dick's and there is a Comfest Hootenanny with Megan Palmer, Eric Nassau and Jason Quicksall at Treehouse.

Saturday, be there early for Super Desserts noon-M, Derek DiCenzo 1:50-J, Megan Palmer 1:55-G, Trains Across the Sea 3:00-OR, Donna Mogavero 3:40-M, Cowboy Hillbilly Hippie Folk 4:55-G. It might not be a bad idea to position the blanket just outside Off Ramp from 4:45 to to close with the great line up of Flu Faker, The Receiver, Adult Fiction (who unfortunately appear to have changed their name to Dead Indian), Daycreeper and Mt. Carmel. Otherwise, Miss Molly 6:10-G, The Floorwalkers 6:15-M. My don't-miss pick-of-the-day is Hayseed at 7:05-S. Paul Brown 7:55-J, Nick Tolford & Co. 8:15-M. I'll be cleaning up but you can check out two bands that should have gotten in Comfest, Ghost Shirt and Bookmobile at Carabar, Moon High at Rumba, Dottie & Clyde and the Ooh La Las at The Shrunken Head, Love Culture and Lost Revival at Skully's and The Main Street Gospel at Treehouse. I'll check in after my shift to see if anyone is still in the hot tub at Lee's Chillaxin' and Jammin' after-party.

Sunday, it's really important to get there early, Joey Hebdo 11:30-OR, OpenheartART 11:40-LA, The Spikedrivers noon-G, The Randys 1:00-G, Couch Forts 1:50-S. My don't-miss pick-of-the-day is Old Hundred 4:00-G, Dane Terry 6:25-OR. If you are just not ready to quit you can pretend The Spikedrivers are the final headliners at nearby Park Street Tavern or go see Joey Hebdo at The Shrunken Head.

Monday through Friday, Christian Howes presents The Creative Strings Festival at Dick's and other locations. Go to Christianhowes.com for details. It's always good.

When we all come together / it feels like the world's gonna be allright
The Festival Song-Tim Easton

Happy Comfest! mark

June 17, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Bonnaroo was like an episode of Survivor for me. It began a couple freeway exits early with the torture of stop-and-go driving at one mile an hour for three and half hours just to get in. Then followed three days of a brutal afternoon sun and heat index of over 100 degrees, walking and standing around for 12 or more hours at a time and, as I dragged my carcass back to our campsite, repeatedly getting lost in the tent city maze. Yes, I had a great time. I enjoyed the camping and the music and the whole scene. When I got home, I noticed how civilization mesmerizes us with smooth trips in air-conditioned cars, back and forth on the same highways, up and down the same stairways and elevators to the same office with the same view, day after day. Not much thought or effort is really needed to find cold drinks, a hot, inexpensive, healthy meal, a private shower, a clean toilet, a temperate climate or mindless entertainment while ensconced in a soft, old couch. We can be anywhere in the world without leaving our den and hear any sort of music at the touch of our finger. At Bonnaroo I stood at 2 AM, bone-tired, near a stream of mud, shoulder to shoulder with an endless throng of young people and watched The Flaming Lips perform "The Dark Side of the Moon". At home, I was comfortably numb.

Thursday, tonight, The Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba followed by Moon High and Mark Sims.

Friday, Gay Pride kicks off at Goodale Park and Wonder Twin Powers are there at 8 PM. Megan Palmer does the happy hour, without the Spikes this time, at Rumba followed by Woody Pines. Town Monster and Wolf Ram Heart are at Ravari, Dead Indians, The Obviouslies and Vug & the Stallions are at Carabar and Wet Darlings are at Ruby's. My friend Lee will be kept busy pickin' the mandolin at Woodlands Tavern (fka Thirsty Ear) where he plays with Grassinine joining the bill with Blind Corn Liquor Pickers and The Salty Caramels early (7PM) followed by his other band, Cowboy Hillbilly Hippie Folk.

Saturday, Flypaper does Gay Pride way too early, 12:30 PM at the Gazebo in Goodale Park, but it will still be fun. The Randys are at Dick's. Wonder Twin Powers is at Ruby's, Couch Forts is at Rumba and Anna & the Annadroids join a bunch of bands for a Rock the Cure breast cancer benefit at A & R in the Lifestyle complex on Neil Ave.

Sunday, there is a John Boerstler Benefit with many of his old and current bands at Rumba.

Monday, Carabar has Times New Viking, Psychedelic Horseshit and Cave.

Tuesday, Holly Golightly is at The Summit,

Wednesday, there is a Foley Pre-Comfest Review Show at Rumba which sounds like a good way to start the festivities.

The child is grown. mark

June 9, 2010

What's Up This Weekend? Special Bonnaroo Edition

I'm writing you all today because I'm Bonnarooing tomorrow. As a result, I won't be able to tell you what's up this weekend in Columbus but I can tell you what I will be trying to see in Tennessee based on this schedule which looks to be official. http://mindreader.bonnaroo.com/bonnaroo-2010-schedule.html Hopefully, I will discover a musical surprise somewhere along the line up.

In the meantime, if you enjopy reading my stuff, I wanted to take this opportunity to invite you to peruse what I've been writing for cringe.com including a massive article on the Nelsonville Music Festival and less daunting ones on Couchfire Collective's Agora 7 show at Junctionview Studios and the New Music Concert in the shelter house at Goodale Park. They all include photography which is my new modus operandi. I'm obviously not good with deadlines and my notes are piling up on stuff about Hookahville, The Neil Young/Beach Boy Tribute at Rumba, The Rama Lama Fa Fa Festival and The Last Party at Monkeys Retreat. Maybe I can tackle those during the car ride. As you might suspect they are not music reviews as much as they are my experiences written in my personal "style" so even though they are a little dated, I hope they are fun to read.

Thursday, tomorrow, is a travel day during which my mind will be at ease about the cats since I have a good friend house-sitting.

Friday, I want to see Trombone Shorty, Mighty Clouds of Joy, Carolina Chocolate Drops, She & Him, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, Tenacious D, some Flaming Lips and Black Keys.

Saturday, I want to see Baaba Mal, Norah Jones, Jimmy Cliff, The Avett Brothers, The Melvins, some Jeff Beck and John Prine, Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z.

Sunday, I want to see Colexico, Martin Sexton, Lucero and finish up with John Fogarty.

I hope you all have a beautiful and fun weekend in Columbus.

I'll Tennessee you in my dreams. mark

June 3, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

In the continuing saga of man versus machine, my latest nemesis is the automatic garage door opener, which is anything but automatic. Now, I don’t mind so much the upstairs television losing vertical control and resisting the repeated pushing of the power button on the remote control because once I go to all the trouble of turning it on by pushing the button on the TV, I can always just listen to the sound and try to make some visual sense out of the flickering images. Nor is it too difficult, occasionally, having to open the back of the toilet to make sure the recalcitrant flapper has formed a seal over the flush valve after jiggling the handle. The electric garage door opener is a much crueler taskmaster. Like the other devices, there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to when it will work as expected. So I have to break into the garage and reprogram it each time it refuses to lift open. When it kept working for about a week, I hoped it was the result of exercising it regularly but I eventually realized that its performance problem was more mental than physical. In order to get my bike out this morning, I had to venture through the rain forest that is the small dew covered tree and tall weeds on the side of the garage and pound out the window with my fists, catching it before it crashes to the floor. Then comes the part that is gymnastically challenging, dangerous and ridiculous as I jump into the small, two by three foot rectangular opening, lower myself, head first, into the garage putting my hands on the pre-placed wooden stool and slowly attempt to do the splits upside down as I bring one leg to the floor at a time. I’m getting better at it with practice.

Thursday, tonight, Ghost Shirt does Dan Dougan's Listening Hour at the Gateway Film Center and Jim Maneri is at Dick's with a cavalcade of Columbus' finest jazzbos.

Friday, One of my faves from Brooklyn, Hamel on Trial, does an early $9.99 show at Rumba, Wholly Craft on N. High in Clintonville hosts the CD release of Super Desserts at 7 PM. Skully's has Mojoflo's CD release with The Floorwalkers and Stretch Lefty. Grassinine does "Guiness and Grass" at Byrne's, Bourbon St. has Dane Terry, Coltrane Motion and Wolf Ram Heart. There is a benefit at Circus for Alix Reese with Vug Arakas & the Stallions, The Razers and Stucco Jones.

Saturday, From Noon to 9 PM Monkeys Retreat, 1202 N. High, has its final party and sale, pot luck & grill, with music all day including The Mendelsonics at 5 and No. 1 Cat at 8. The Arts Festival in the Discovery District has The Randys at 1:20, This Is My Suitcase at 3:10 and Miss Molly at 4:55. Bourbon St. and The Summit tag team to present the Rama Lama Fa Fa Fest with what promises to be a great collection of underground "DIY" bands and Necropolis.

Me and my machine. mark

May 27, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Mom offered to come over and help me clean my house. It was an unsolicited offer but one I didn’t even consider not accepting. That is what Mom does. She loves to do housework and she loves to do things for her children. Even at the age of 85. Don’t let her age fool you. She works out at the spa for a couple hours four days a week. And she doesn’t look her age even with the pure white hair. I’m sure I get my indefatigable energy from her although something tells me I won’t hold up as well as she has if I should ever reach that age. She is a former Navy Wave, dietitian and dental hygienist who, other than having 5 children, has never abused her body in any way, quite unlike her dissolute son. She loves housework but she has been using someone to do a lot of it at her home so I suspect helping me was partially a way to satisfy that old feeling. Also, she had purchased these bargain steam cleaning devices which her helper uses at her home and I think she wanted a chance to use them herself somewhere. It was comical when we tried to figure out how to use the hand-held fabric cleaner gun and it unexpectedly shot a hot steamy stream of water across the room. And then she left the floor steamer standing in a couple spots that caused white marks in the wood. It was amazing to see her time and again bending over with ease to pick stuff up off the floor. And it was fun working with her as I moved stuff around, followed her orders and consulted on the best way to do things. But what really made me feel like her little boy again was when she came in the den, sat down beside me on the couch and we just talked about my life. My mom, she’s always on my side.

Thursday, tonight, Jim Maneri & Friends doing Salsa, Brazilian and American Jazz plus an Irish Tenor at Gateway Film Center's "purple-box", as Jim likes to call it, for Dan Dougan's Listening Hour. Many great musicians in a great performance space. The George Elliot Underground, Love Culture and Alert New London are at Circus and Miss Molly is at The Shrunken Head.

Friday, I'm going to catch my buddy Lee performing with Cowboy Hillbilly Hippy Folk as they open Hookahville followed by that great band from Colorado, Oakhurst, then hopefully get back in town in time to see The Washington Beach Boys comprised of Jesse Barr, Happy Chichester and Joey Hebdo at Rumba. Lovely vocal harmonies are promised. The Summit has Guinea Worms, Ravari has Muzzleloaders and Hoodoo Soul does the happy hour at Rumba.

Saturday, Moon High and The Alwood Sisters are at Rumba. I think I will go back to Hookahville to see Government Mule and maybe stay late for a reprise of Oakhurst. They are that good.

Sunday, Michael Franti & Spearhead and ekoostic hookah round things out at Legend Valley. The place to be between 4 and 8 will be Alana's restaurant for the John Boerstler Benefit. Alana is serving up a delicious Italian meal for $20 to benefit our good friend who is still recuperating at the Cleveland Clinic. The Derek DiCenzo Trio will be providing the music.

Your mother should know.


May 20, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I found it hard to believe that it had been 4 years since I had been to the Second Annual Nelsonville Music Festival when it was located behind the Rocky Boots factory in the relatively small field bordered by the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Station and the Hocking River. Back then our posse had gotten in on the pretense of helping John Boerstler with his equipment (he was performing with Megan Palmer & the Hopefuls, I believe) and I vaguely remember enjoying Leon Redbone, Brave Combo and Todd Snider at what was clearly a fledgling festival just getting off the ground with one stage and a handful of vendors. I’d actually been at the first one the year before when it was in the village square and I hold dear the memory of sneaking into an empty Stuart’s Opera House singing and cavorting on the stage with a girl friend who shared my state of mushrooming silliness.

Friday Night

This year it took another promise of a free ride in by way of volunteering to “work” the beer tent 10 AM to 1 PM Saturday and Sunday. With no must-sees in Columbus, I decided to take advantage of my volunteer status on Friday night and check it out. Any money I might have saved on admission ($60 for a 3 day pass) was blown on an incredible gourmet dinner at Zoe’s in Athens which began with a roast turkey and duck proscuitto slider, ended with my first Baked Alaska and, what else but a wild mushroom crepe in between, all washed down with a vanilla bean mojito So I’m feeling pretty primed for further pleasurable sensory indulgences by the time I turn the down the road to the Hocking College campus and pass by the Main Stage, lit up in the twilight against a creamy blue and orange swirl of clouds, sitting with its backstage on the edge of a sunset pink pond and the retro-rock sound of the Detroit Cobras filling the air.

This is how I begin my article on the Nelsonville Music Festival that I hope will be published on cringe.com soon. If you want to read about the rest of my Friday night experience, I will be sending a follow-up email and Facebook link. Hopefully, I will get around to writing about the entire weekend which was really nice.

Thursday, tonight, Joey Hebdo is at The Basement. Dan Dougan's Listening Hour at Gateway Plaza has Cur Dogs with Matthew Hoover. Fox 'N Hounds is at Dick's, The Shrunken Head has Miss Molly & Friends featuring Miss Tess with the Boki Quartet and Chase Potter and Treehouse has Erika Carey and Elisa Nicholas.

Friday, Dick's has Jesse Henry & the Royal Tycoons, Hal & Al's has Tin Hearts, The Wells and Miller-Kelton. Hells Fire Sinners and Vegas 66 are at The Shrunken Head, The Kyle Sowashes and Wussy are at Treehouse, Wexner has Go Analog and Bonneville and Summit has the Dangerous Curves burlesque bump-n-grind national tour.

Saturday, This Is My Suitcase at Carabar, Brasileira is at Dick's, Mary Adam 12 is at Rumba, The Spikedrivers are at Skully's, Treehouse has Number One Cat and, speaking of cats, Summit hosts the Cat Welfare Association Benefit with Flu Faker, Adult Fiction and Daycreeper.

Sunday, Nick Tolford & Co. and Mt. Carmel are at Carabar.

Monday, Ruby's has Pirates of the Scioto and Rumba's Cowtown Round features Sam Brown and Josh Kayser with Jason Quicksall. Good one!

Wednesday, The OSU New Music Collective and Carpe Diem Strings perform Charles Ives and similar modern fare at the Goodale Park Shelter House, free admission and Jeni's ice cream from 7 to 8 PM. Sounds tasty.

Next week on the twentieth of May, da-da-da-da-da-da-DA,
I proclaim Eliza Doolittle Day!


May 13, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

My attention was drawn to a thread on Craigslist discussing new festivals in Columbus where one anonymous person took the opportunity to write some pretty nasty things about me. He must have been a disgruntled member of a band that never got into Comfest who was obviously unfamiliar with the real me when he assumed that I would make any new festival "no different from Comfest" and alleged that I manipulated the local music scene for my ego. If, as he stated, "the best bands in Columbus don't play Comfest because they don't want to be associated with a guy like" me, I can only wonder which bands he was talking about and how far underground they must exist. He also made a reference to my reputation for being "creepy" and said I was known for using Comfest to "feed young ladies drugs and booze". I couldn't help laughing out loud about that one. I've always thought that a good epitaph for me would be "He was surrounded by beautiful women." It seems that when you put yourself in the public eye, as I have, you lay yourself open to unfounded rumors, innuendo and just being generally misunderstood. I can handle that. I just don't want to look creepy.

I'll be volunteering at the Nelsonville Music Festival beer booth early Saturday and Sunday and I'll probably even go down Friday since I get in free as a volunteer. Lots of acts I don't know and I'm hoping to find some pleasant surprises.

Thursday, tonight, The Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba followed by Megan Palmer with Luther Wright and the Jack Grace Band.

Friday, Daycreeper is at Carabar, Joey Hebdo Band is at Ruby's, Couch Forts is at The Shrunken Head and Treehouse has Alert New London and Love Culture. Nelsonville has Detroit Cobras, Black Joe Lewis and Man Man.

Saturday, JD Souther is at BoMA and Jen Miller is at Dick's. Ruby's hosts the Annual Black Box event featuring Mike Rep + Friends. Whoa Nellie, Flu Faker and Mors Ontologica. Skully's hosts a benefit for the Challenged Athletes Foundation with Main Street Gospel, Brainbow and Eye. Nelsonville has Lydia Loveless (I hope she gets to meet the Coalminer's Daughter), Southeast Engine, Moon High, Woody Pines, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, The Spikedrivers, Billy Joe Shaver and Loretta Lynn.

Sunday, Nelsonville finishes up with JD Hutchinson, Todd Snyder and Swell Season.

They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're all together ooky,
The Addams Family.


May 6, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

The oil well eruption in the Gulf of Mexico is a national disaster that will be stuck in our collective memories for a long time. Hopefully, it will bring back to life the public concern for saving the environment the way the California spill 40 years ago did, resulting in the creation of the EPA and Earthday among other things. Some people I dearly love live on the coasts of Florida and it sickens me to think how greedy and negligent corporations might foul their little stretches of paradise. Here in Ohio, the slick won't spread past my television screen but I've noticed two little ripples. It is a joy to know that I won't have to watch one more BP commercial with the smug, bearded hipster extolling the virtues of finding energy "right here beneath our feet". That was one of the commercials that used to infuriate me enough to change the channel whenever it came on. If only the drill-baby-drillers were capable of feeling shame, I might experience some satisfaction from seeing the black oil slick dripping from their hands and faces. On a more personal note, The Girlfriend said she hadn't gotten around to purchasing a plane ticket to come home for a visit because she was obsessed with trying to figure out how to use her company's expertise with robotic subs to fix the leak. Over the past 2 years of separation there have been dozens of reasons she's had to cancel or the delay her trips home, usually involving her job or the weather or sickness. I just thought this one was particularly fantastic. Fortunately for me, I'd already given up any expectations that she's coming back so I didn't explode with indignation but just calmly expressed my hope that she might find a moment to work on making arrangements. I've accepted that ours is relationship that lives in an unpollutable hydroponic sea of love.

Thursday, tonight, it's -a-thon night with the Tom Waits-a-thon Benefit for Red Cross Haitian Relief at Circus and the Neil Young Marathon at The Shrunken Head.The Lions Rampant from Cincy and Moon High are at Bourbon Street.

Friday, Byrne's has Death by Banjo, Main Street Gospel and Wing & Tusk are at Circus, Carabar has The Godz (are qualudes back too?) and Nick Tolford and Co. Magically Delicious is at Dick's. I will be at Rumba to see Tim Easton and Sam Brown.

Saturday, Happy Chichester and Couch Forts are at Rumba, (Tim Easton one night, then Happy the next? I'm having a good weekend!) The Floorwalkers are at Skully's and Lydia Loveless is at The Summit.

Come with me, my love
To the sea, the sea of love


April 29, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Last Saturday night was a real smorgasbord of experiences. Started out at the Music In the Round in the banquet hall home of immigrant-German choirs, The Maennerchor. That's always a fun place to roam around and check out all the enormous beer steins, old photos and 19th-century interior decoration. Willie Phoenix, Eric Nassau and Heidi Howes performed. Heidi's operatic voice is just amazing. My companion and I left during the intermission to get some dinner at The Tip Top Kitchen and then walked in the drizzle to the new location for MadLab at 227 N. Third which had the Seeing Red art exhibition. The new quarters are much nicer but parking is a little more problematic. The new theater is awesome and I witnessed what is apparently a once-a-year performance by lovely, zaftig chanteuse Sarah Stout. Her renditions of old torch songs were a delightful surprise from a performer hitherto unknown to me. The next stop was Dick's for The Rick James Stone City Band's tribute to Sly & the Family Stone. Not only is that a mouthful, it was a clubful of people. How many bodies CAN they shoehorn into that bar? I couldn't count or even see all the members of the band most of whom could not fit on the stage. The joint was ready to explode with good vibes as everybody grooved to that treasure chest of Sly tunes. I sympathized with my companion's desire to stay and exonerated her from accompanying me when I had to leave to make an appearance at Ravari to introduce the Direct In promotional video. The Phantods were still performing their Gothic alt-rock and when I finally got the chance to speak to the packed house, I was so hyped-up on emotion about our project that I morphed into my angry-man mode, angry-at-who I don't know, and started yelling to the point where my voice started cracking even though I had taken care to lubricate it with a cold beverage. Well, the crowd response was enthusiastic and my compatriots loved it, so I guess I needn't be embarrassed but I was.

Thursday, tonight, Hells Fire Sinners at Circus, The Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba and Wonder Twin Powers is at Thirsty Ear.

Friday, Circus has The Town Monster, Blastonaughts and The Loyal Divide returning from their new home in Chicago, Dick's has Brett Burleson, Alert New London is at the Newport, there is an "Erotic & Roll" at Ravari with Anna & the Annadroids, the Ooh La Las and the Cellar Hounds.The Floorwalkers do the happy hour at Rumba followed by Andy Shaw Band and Los Caminos. Skully's has The Receiver and The Lennon Orchestra presents a full night o' Beatles at the Thirsty Ear.

Saturday, Jim Maneri, Randy Mather, Josh Hill and Cedric Easton are at Dick's, Crime & Punishment do a benefit for Huckleberry House at Ruby's, Old Worlds is at Rumba, Long Tall Deb & the Drifter Kings are at Thirsty Ear and Willie Pooch makes a comeback at Vonn's.

Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah mark

April 22, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

flies by the corner of your eye
like the second hand rounding past a numeral
on a clock that appears to inform you
with all the predictability of a ghost.

I've developed the reflexes necessary
to immediately grasp the vanishing arm
and bravely allow myself to be pulled
into the dimension of imagination
where the elusive meaning
of the specter’s appearance
will be revealed.

Hence, when the words I had texted
beckoned me in a beguiling voice
to follow them to the piano
just as I was about to step into the shower,
I had to sit naked on the wooden bench
framed in the curtainless bay window
in order to capture this song for you.

Can’t wait but I will
Its late but I still want to see you

Can’t wait for the thrill
I feel when I finally get to hold you

The time will move ever so slowly
But I’m going to keep myself holy
The night is so dark and lonely
Your light is my one and only

Thursday, tonight, Dan Dougan's Listening Hour at The Gateway features
Whoa Nellie and ...Local Color? Really? Rumba has Black Swans Solo
with Jerry DeCicca, Eve Searls and Sam Brown. The Rumpke Mountain
Boys, Waterband and Cowboy Hillbilly Hippy Folk are at The Shrunken
Head and The Summit has This Is My Suitcase.

Friday, Miss Molly is at Dick's, Wolfgang Parker, Mors Ontologica and
Ghost Shirt are at Skully's, Adult Fiction and Vug & the Stallions are
at Treehouse and my pick of the week is the show at Rumba with The
Madison Square Gardeners and Aaron Tasjean.

Saturday, At 6 PM, I will be attending Music In The Round at the
Mannechor with Willie Phoenix, Heidi Howes and Eric Nassau. It
benefits the Flying Horse Farm which brings sick kids together with
horses that fly, I assume. You can still buy tickets at the door or go
to http://www.musicintheround.com/ . Dick's hosts the Sly & the Family
Stone tribute, Love Culture and The Lost Revival are at Skully's, Soul
Satyr does Thirsty Ear, You're So Bossy is at Treehouse, The Shrunken
Head has Vegas 66 and Miss Misery & Co. and Rumba has Playhouse and
Max Power Trio. Ravari has Six Gallery, Phantods, Stretch Lefty,
Karate Coyote and around midnight, yours truly, will introduce a
minute long video about "a bold new plan" for the new festival that
I've been working on with a great group of people. Don't blink or
you'll miss it.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! mark

April 15, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I was out for a beautiful Spring day bike ride, tooling down the usually serene Walhalla Ravine, when from behind, I heard some kids shouting obscenities at someone referred to as "bitch". I didn't look back to check it out figuring it was probably just a group of kids verbally jousting with each other. But as what turned out to be just the two of them got closer, I realized that I was the "bitch" being challenged by their invective. They were riding one bike together and the mouthiest of the two looked to be about 12 years old with long greasy blond hair. He appeared to be having a grand old time verbally abusing me and the wicked smile on his face reminded me of the ultra-violent Alex of Clockwork Orange, except this was merely ultra-insolence. At first, I felt a twinge of animal instincts ranging from "run and hide" to "stand and fight" but I quickly regained my sunny-day equilibrium and engaged the young hooligans in a little friendly banter while allowing their slings and arrows to bounce off my shield of insouciance. "Alex" asked me "How fuckin' old are you?" and I calmly responded "57". When he observed, "That's really fuckin' old, Man.", I assured him that I was "hangin' in there." I think my calm demeanor either threw them off or bored them and they turned down a side street leaving me with a few more puerile insults. I was left with a feeling of relief that I wasn't their parents because if I had been, I would have gone Homer Simpson on them.

Thursday, tonight, is the Funny Money Benefit for Madlab with Matter of Planets, Cellar Hounds and Black Spyral Dancer.

Friday, Dick's has The Spikedrivers and they are taking donations for beloved-guitarist John Boerstler to help him cover some medical expenses. Muzzleloaders are at Ravari, the happy hour at Rumba starts with another Boerstler band, Hoodoo Soul followed by the evening show with Bucktown Kickback. Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band and Jason Quicksall are at The Shrunken Head and Treehouse has Dottie & Clyde.

Saturday, Descendre descends on Dick's, Mors Ontologica has a double LP release at Ruby's. Gil Mantera's Party Dream celebrates the 2010 Spring Dream at Skully's and Wonder Twin Powers and Miss Molly are at Thirsty Ear.

Sunday, please stop by the The Shrunken Head from 5 to 9 for the Ben Hamilton Benefit with Eric Nassau & Friends, Grassinine, Adult Fiction and Two Cow Garage. Columbus Jazz All-star legend Gene Walker is at Dick's.

Tuesday is Tony Monaco B3 jazz night with Bobby Floyd and Dane Terry is at Treehouse.

I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love

Lyrics by Jamie Cullum


April 8, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I feel like I found the most delicious Easter egg this past week. I was sitting on a bench in Skylab Friday night waiting to hear Andrew Graham and Swarming Branch, thinking "How can I keep doing the things I loved doing for Comfest?" when the thought occurred to me to create a data base of local music with a calendar, similar to what I worked with on the Entertainment Committee, but which could be accessed by the public. Well, once I cracked that egg open, it was like a damn broke loose and the ideas just kept coming. I didn't sleep a wink that night. I realize that there was a wind blowing through my life and I had the choice to either huddle up and let it flow around me or spread my wings and use it to fly. I had to leave in order to do something new but in order not to be the hypocrite who goes from being Supervolunteer to the Biggest Quitter, I needed to find a way to serve my community and Comfest from the outside. I left because I wanted to get the community to buy into Comfest and take responsibility for keeping things under control as opposed to closing early. Actually one of the great traditions of Comfest is relying on the crowd to behave and look out for each other. Now I'm free to spread that message. I want to be a model for people who come to Comfest, who aren't organizers but who are willing to do their part. I thought of name for us. Citizen Comfester. Just put your hand over your heart and repeat after me: "I pledge allegiance to the Community Festival and to the Statement of Principles for which it stands. I will not bring bottles or cans. I will pick up trash and recycle. I will not park in the neighborhood or trash it or bother the people who live there. I will volunteer. I will be cool, I will look out for others and help create an atmosphere of peace, love and happiness for all." It may not solve their growth problem, but isn't it a great way to try?

Thursday, tonight, Dan Dougan's Listening Hours at the Gateway Film Center's Black Box features Jesse Henry and Megan Palmer, The Floorwalkers are at Ruby's, Black Swans Solo with Jerry DiCicca, Andrew Graham and Milan Karcic at Rumba and The Thirsty Ear has Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band.

Friday, Carabar has The Lindsay, Main St. Gospel and Adult Fiction, Mendelsonics and No. 1 Cat do the Happy Hour at Rumba followed by Lohio and This Is Your Suitcase. Jason Quicksall and Matt Monta are at The Shrunken Head and Low Men and Bookmobile are at Treehouse.

Saturday, Jesse Henry & the Royal Tycoons with Casey Velker do the happy hour at Rumba followed by Lollipop Factory's EP release with the The Phantods.

Sunday, The Summit has Surfer Blood and Tin Armor (S. B. pre-party at Bodega) and Moon High and Alwood Sisters are at Wild Goose Creative (BYOB).

Tuesday, Joey Hebdo & Friends are at The Shrunken Head and Dane Terry is at Treehouse.

Wednesday, Chris Howes is at Dick's and Oakhurst and Fox & Hounds are at Thirsty Ear. Oakhurst is from Colorado and they are worth checking out if you like 'grassy music.

I am now flying through the Infinite. mark

April 1, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Its been a rough week for me, suffering the guilt and regrets that come with second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-guessing my life-changing decision to retire from Comfest. And today my infamy reached the general public thanks to one of you, Dear Readers, who apparently turned The Other Paper on to my little venture into social media. My effort to "no-comment" the reporter was in vain but I can't complain too much about what she chose to quote although she mistakenly concludes that I was primarily concerned about "the upped security" as opposed to losing the night. The one line she did get from me on the phone was understandably misquoted. I actually said "Long live Calmfest". Its a homonym I made up to illustrate my feeling that Comfest will "sound" the same but it will be different. Hopefully, it will be calmer so that the organizers will feel they have gotten control of the growth and we can all learn to appreciate and enjoy this new incarnation of a tradition that we all love. In that spirit, here's a good quote from Sting's blog on the Huffington Post about ending the drug war. ""To me, it all adds up to a clear message of exactly the sort I've always tried to heed in my life: It's time to step out of our comfort zone and try something new."

The dearth of local music that I can recommend this week makes me feel like my musical cognition is disappearing already.

Tonight, Thursday, there is a WCRS SmplyLiving benefit at The Shrunken Head early and late with lots of local musical variety.

Friday, Couch Forts are at Carabar and Andrew Graham and the Swarming Branch are at Skylab.

Saturday, The Black Swans CD release is at Rumba.

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do.
I'm half crazy all for the love of you. mark

March 25, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Did you notice that Health Care Reform was passed by Congress on the first day of Spring? I partied pretty hard that night while watching it happen. And when Obama signed it, I went out and modified the sign that had been standing in my yard since last summer and through the long snowy winter. See attachment. It's a new season for America and, at the same time, it is a new season for Mark. I retired from Comfest. There were some "reasons" like the fact Comfest decided to close down the festivities early each day, even closing some stages earlier than others. But there also seemed to be some "signs" that this was the time for me to go. I lost my notebook where I made my notes for my band reviews, I got involved in a new music festival project and Comfest even demanded that I give up my license plates. There has been a lot of seismic activity around the world recently and I'm just feeling like the ground beneath my feet is quaking too, changing the world around me. I believe with the coming of Spring that the pendulum is swinging back in the right direction for our country and I'm hopping aboard for the ride.

One of the downsides to leaving Comfest is that I will no longer be seeing all the new bands that apply to play. As a result, I'm not sure I will remain qualified to offer up my suggestions for weekend music listening. Not sure what I'm going to do about that. For now I will just have to go back to keeping my ear to the ground. So if you have any tips or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, tonight, at The Gateway Film Center, the Dan Dougan Listening Hour features Jim Maneri & friends, Wonder Twin Powers is at Circus, Dick's has Magically Delicious and The Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba.

Friday, Ghost Shirt shares the stage with The Phantods and The Lost Revival.

Saturday, Megan Palmer & the Hopefuls and Joey Hebdo are at Rumba and Skully's has quite a collection with Two Cow Garage, Mt. Carmel, The Compressions, DJ Detox and the Christian Howes Trio.

Don't let the past remind us of what we are not now. mark

March 18, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

The rumors are flying about Comfest. I would love to tell you all about it because, as you might guess, I have very strong feelings about what is going on and I've put a lot of thought into it. I will some day, but as long as I am still an organizer, I'm going to go along with the "No comment" party-line as far as the details go. I will say that there will very probably be a festival in June, 2010, in idyllic Goodale Park that will be known as Comfest. Comfest has gone through many changes in the past and it will probably be different this year also. It will still have the same purpose as outlined in the Statement of Principles. http://comfest.com/ . It will still support community organizations and will attempt to educate festival-goers about important issues. There will still be music, food, alcoholic refreshments, an eclectic street fair and admission will still be...FREE! Walking through Comfest on a sunny summer day or seeing the twinkling lights of the Village of Joy that we create at night are the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. I've said many times that "Comfest is my religion." The 3 days of the festival have been a spiritual experience for me because it brings my people together to celebrate our humanity. I consider Goodale Park to be hallowed ground. My share of my son's ashes were buried beneath a pecan tree that we planted beside the shelterhouse in his memory. When my time came, I wanted my ashes spread in front of the Main Stage for dancers to pound into the grass with their bare feet. I always imagined that Comfest would outlive me. On the other hand, another one of my favorite sayings is "All good things must come to an end." Comfest may go through changes this year that will cause me to lose my religion. Over the past 20 years, I've allowed Comfest to define me, right down to my license plate. Leaving all that behind will be difficult but it might be liberating.

Happy Birthday, AnnMarie.

Thursday, tonight, Dan Dougan's Listening Hour begins 7 PM at the Campus Gateway Theater Black Box featuring Mark Sims, Miss Molly, Claire Pollard and Erika Carey, Dottie & Clyde and Time & Temperature are at Bernie's. Saintseneca is at Bourbon Street, The Floorwalkers do the happy hour at Rumba, Andrew Graham is at Treehouse, and Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band are at Circus.

Friday....uh...Hoodoo Soul does the happy hour at Rumba.

Saturday, the locally-made film, "Taco Odyssey", featuring well-loved bartender and musician, Donovan Roth and music by local bands, screens at The Summit at 9:00, 10:30 and midnight. Wonder Twin Powers accompanied by the Superfriends Hip-hop Orchestra are at Skully's and Bush League All-Stars are at Treehouse.

Sunday, Couch Forts is at the Shrunken Head.

Oh no, I've said too much/ I haven't said enough. mark

March 11, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

My journalistic duties took a back seat today to my filial responsibilities. My 88 year old dad got his leaky aorta coated with foam yesterday at OSU and he was still recovering from the procedure this afternoon. Mom had spent the night but she'd gone home and it seemed like a good idea to spend my unscheduled afternoon with him. He wasn't very happy. They had given him pain medication that made him nauseous and brought up anything that went down. His biggest complaint was feeling so weak and helpless. He didn't have much fight in him and said he didn't think he would ever leave the hospital. We watched some basketball while he dozed in and out. I knew he didn't even want to talk so, like his publicist, I answered all the questions he was asked from the constant stream of hospital personnel. I got him to take the pills they kept bringing in and tried unsuccessfully to make him laugh. He's going to be okay I think in the short term but we all know his race is almost run. Dad's lucky. He has a devoted wife, five kids who all live in town, a great daughter-in-law who is a nurse and many other family and friends. There have always been and there will always be someone with him. No matter what brings you to the end, that's all you need.

I know it's late but...

Thursday, tonight, soon, Moon High and Vug & the Stallions are at Circus and Jim Maneri is at Dick's.

Friday, Death by Banjo at Byrne's, The Muzzleloaders re-emerge at Ravari, Old Hundred is at Rumba and This Is My Suitcase and Super Desserts are at The Summit.

Saturday, I must see the Peloton showcase with Andrew Graham & the Swarming Branch and Lydia Loveless at Rumba.

Sunday, Paul Brown is at Dick's and Bush League All-Stars are at Rumba early. A Sunday happy hour, eh?

This is the end, my only friend, the end. mark

March 4, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Sunday I attended a little bi-monthly get-together called The Family Jam out on the Near Eastside that brings together mostly jazz musicians and friends for a little soul food and music. It was a nice mixture of African-Americans and Caucasians, a social mix I don't get to experience enough. I enjoyed the company and ate some perch that had been marinated in lemon juice and yellow mustard and fried into a crispy Cajun shell. The host, a well-known veteran on the Columbus music scene, began the show by singing a bluesy number and playing acoustic guitar. Then the mic was handed to to a guy who might have just walked out of the neighborhood church that was next door. He launched into a friendly sermon built around the theme of of Black History Month of which we were in the last day. There was a lovely rhythm to the call and response punctuated by the occasional affirmation from the audience. He intoned the memories of many with whom I wasn't familiar and a few that I recognized like Martin Luther King, Jr., Eunice Johnson and Malcolm X. Then he moved into the subject of economic injustice suffered inside his community and the tone took what seemed to me to be a jarring radical turn when he repeated a number of times the thought that we may need to exchange "bullets for the ballot". I went back and read the 1964 speech by Malcolm X that coined the phrase "The ballot or the bullet." http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/malcolm_x_ballot.html. It was a fascinating and powerful speech given at a time when blacks couldn't vote in the South and when Democrats, the "friends" of blacks, were filibustering the Civil Rights Act. He definitely walked a fine line in his explanation of what he meant but I think it is fair to say that he wanted African-Americans to use the ballot and he only advocated violence when met by violence. With that said, Malcolm used the repetition of the phrase, I think, as angry code for "Be proud of who you are and stand up for your rights." The Civil Rights Act passed 90 days after he gave that speech and Americans of all colors elected an African-American president 44 years later. At the time. when he said blacks shouldn't be afraid to use an expression like "The ballot or the bullet", Malcolm couldn't conceive of either of those events happening. I have to wonder if he would still feel that a person shouldn't be afraid to use that phrase in 2010. Do we still need to say "The ballot or the bullet" to assert pride and bravery or is it just a relic from another age that gets waived like a ceremonial talisman to relieve the stress felt by those who continue to face social and economic discrimination?

I opened the sun roof on the car today.

Thursday, tonight, The Main Street Gospel is having a SXSW fundraiser with Vug & the Stallions and Trains Across the Sea at Hal & Al's. Wish I was heading for Austin. Rumba has Dane Terry, Jonathan Hape and Dottie & Clyde. The Sundresses, The Jellyhearts and Chris Burney are at Treehouse.

Friday, Carabar has Couch Forts and The Town Monster. Gerald A. & the Humans, Southwest Engine and Black Swans are at Treehouse. Woody Pines is at Thirsty Ear. I always say this when he comes to town, but if you haven't seen Hamel on Trial, it will be the best $10 you've spent in long time. He does the happy hour at Rumba and he's followed by The Spikedrivers.

Saturday, its Evil Queens and Pretty Mighty Mighty at Ravari, Two Cow Garage at Rumba, Hell's Fire Sinners at The Shrunken Head (fka Victorian's) and The Wet Darlings are at Thirsty Ear. Ruby's has The Racecar Reunion with the Ooh La Las and others.

Sunday Dick's Den hosts the annual Townes Van Zandt Tribute benefiting WCBE featuring Miss Molly, Andrew Graham, Jesse Henry, Eric Nassau, Casey Velker, Erika Carey and many more. Ghost Shirt is at Rumba.

Gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day. mark

February 25, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?


Watched your favorite comedy shows
Ready to run up to bed

But instead
The involuntary
Nervous system
Directs feet
Cold ceramic
Kitchen floor
To activate
Security alarm
Even though
Since disconnecting
The phone

If the little habits
Used to gain control
Of the chaos
Are breached
The screech
Will only be shared
By you and your intruder

Thursday, tonight, Daycreeper and The Lindsay are at Bourbon St., The Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba, Adult Fiction is at Treehouse and Victorian's has national act Larry Keel and the Natural Bridge, accompanied by locals such as One Under, Cowboy Hillbilly Hippie Folk and others. By the way, Vic's made the unfortunate decision to change its name to Shrunken Heads.

Friday, Derek DiCenzo returns from the road to do his thing at Dick's. Six Gallery is at Ravari and Treehouse has Terribly Empty Pockets, Bookmobile and Kyle Sowash. Jesse Henry & the Royal Tycoons do the happy hour at Thirsty Ear. I will be begin the evening with The Randys at Rumba's happy hour and then later I am MCing the SoHud Music Collective show at Skully's with The Floorwalkers, Joey Hebdo and The Max Power Trio. They all get together at the end for some Led Zeppelin numbers.

Saturday, I will be out scouting bands for Comfest and it doesn't look like I'll be missing much.

Each night before you go to bed my baby
Whisper a little prayer for me my baby


February 18, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

It is a cruel irony that the only obvious indication observable by everybody, other than polar bears, that global warming is real is the fact that it creates huge storms that dump tons of snow on us. Unfortunately, that irony is lost on most tea baggers, Republicans and the rest of the intellectually challenged in our country who, inexplicably, don't also believe the sun circles the Earth. The sad thing is that this lack of public enlightenment will probably actually hinder the effort to pass effective energy legislation that will just result in even more snow! My driveway is 120 feet long up a hill and don't even think about parking on the unplowed wasteland that is my street. Snow shoveling is a bit of Zen experience but enough with the fro-Zen already! My BMW refuses to navigate through the stuff so I've been using the front-wheel drive Saab even though it acted like it was choking on any amount of moisture and died on me in the middle of the freeway and downtown traffic a couple times before I was able to clear its throat. Driving it on all these snow days has been quite the stressful adventure. I can't tell you how relaxing it is to drive that car after my brother finally figured out what the problem was and got it fixed. Positively endorphin-producing. The only fun I've had with this "global storming" is knocking down the icy stalactites off my gutters. One was at least 7 feet long and when I hit it, the shovel clanged like it had hit an iron pole. Most of them came down like a tinkling glissando across a xylophone. It's fun being a bull in an icy china shop.

Thursday, tonight, Wet Darlings at Circus and Daycreeper and Washington Beach Bums are at Oldfileld's on High.

Friday, The Kyle Sowashes and Ghost Shirt are at Carabar, Oldfield's on High has The Resisters and the Maryannes, Rumba has The Floorwalkers, Thirsty Ear has a Beatles tribute with Miss Molly and the first evening of the Lost Weekend Record Store's 7th anniversary show at Ruby's includes Fort Shame, Mors Ontologica, Main Street Gospel, Bush League All-Stars and finishes with New World Vultures.

Saturday. Lost Weekend continues with Mt. Carmel, Nick Tolford and Deadsea among others. Jesse Henry & the Royal Tycoons are at Rumba, The Loyal Divide and Town Monster are at Skully's, the happy hour at Thirsty Ear has Heidi Howes followed by the Josh Krajcik Band and Dr. Kenny Delicious. Eric Nassau, the Tin Hearts and the John Turk Trio are at Vic's.

Tuesday, quite the line-up for the Alana Howard benefit at Rumba including the Spikedrivers, The Floorwalkers, the Andy Shaw Band, Matt Monta and the Hot Coal Band, Joey Hebdo, Wet Darlings and others.

Walkin' in a winter wonderland. mark

February 11, 2010

What's Up This Weekend? Special Valentines Day and 4th Anniversary Edition

I was listening to Garrison Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" on CBE as I parked in front of the dry cleaners. He was telling the story of Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, who had gotten himself incarcerated for two years at hard labor on the charge of "gross indecency". Keillor read Wilde's flamboyantly rapturous and beautifully poetic love letter written from prison to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. In the cold isolation of the "deepest abysses", his passion seemed to burn like a pure white hot flame. "Pleasure hides love from us but pain reveals it in its essence." Listening to the reading of this letter was one of those moments when you just sit in your parked car until its over. I remember the nagging feeling that I was missing some connection to me in the reading of that letter. It wasn't until I laid my head on my pillow that night and descended into the mental twilight where my mind blissfully wanders so freely, that it came to me. The theme of the triumph of love over pain and separation in Oscar's letter was the same theme of my most recent Valentine poem, the synchronicity of which compels me to share it with you at the bottom of my musical almanac along with a copy of Wilde's entire letter for your Valentines Day reading enjoyment. I would attach a scan of the pencil and watercolor painting that illustrates the poem on each of the Valentine cards but one of the many traditions associated with the annual production and dissemination of my little art project includes a prohibition on sending them to men. Oscar would not have approved.

It is also the 4th anniversary of "What's Up This Weekend?" and another of my traditions is to ask my readers to let me know who is actually reading this self-indulgent crap by simply hitting the reply button and adding a message if they are so inclined. Thank you for reading and, for those who have been so inclined, your support is what keeps me embarrassing myself each week.

Thursday, tonight, Dick's has The Boki Quartet hopefully including the lovely Betsy Pandora who I have yet to actually hear sing.

Friday, Moon High, The Songbirds and The Alwood Sisters are at Rumba.

Saturday will be a Valentines Day Eve with lots of choices. The Broken Hearts and Broken Strings showcase at the Basement features Lydia Loveless and her great new band, Two Cow Garage and many others. Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band and Bombing Mansfield are at Bernie's. Carabar has two of the best rock bands in Columbus, The Lindsay and Bookmobile. Wet Darlings is at Ruby's, Mary Adam 12 and One Under are at Rumba and The Spikedrivers are doing a CD recording show at Skully's. Treehouse has Ghost Shirt, SPD GVNR and Mt. Carmel.

Sunday, you can spend Valentines Day with Girls, Girls, Girls, a collection of our most talented local female musical artists including Linda Dachtyl on drums, Elisa Nicolas on Bass, Nicole Rachelle on Sax/Flute, Lindsay Ciulla on Mellophone, Bree Frick on Cello, Molly Winters on guitar, and the sweet vocals of Za Unitt. Beautiful!

In the space between our stars
I see the lines of a constellation
I may not feel the warmth of your skin
But my passion is a fiery sensation

I wish the taste of your sweet lips
Could replace the flavor of a tear
There may be only silence between us now
But love is all I hear


"My sweet rose, my delicate flower, my lily of lilies, it is perhaps in prison that I am going to test the power of love. I am going to see if I cannot make the bitter warders sweet by the intensity of the love I bear you. I have had moments when I thought it would be wise to separate. Ah! Moments of weakness and madness! Now I see that would have mutilated my life, ruined my art, broken the musical chords which make a perfect soul. Even covered with mud I shall praise you, from the deepest abysses I shall cry to you. In my solitude you will be with me. I am determined not to revolt but to accept every outrage through devotion to love, to let my body be dishonored so long as my soul may always keep the image of you. From your silken hair to your delicate feet you are perfection to me. Pleasure hides love from us, but pain reveals it in its essence. O dearest of created things, if someone wounded by silence and solitude comes to you, dishonored, a laughing-stock, Oh! You can close his wounds by touching them and restore his soul which unhappiness had for a moment smothered. Nothing will be difficult for you then, and remember, it is that hope which makes me live, and that hope alone. What wisdom is to the philosopher, what God is to his saint, you are to me. To keep you in my soul, such is the goal of this pain which men call life. O my love, you whom I cherish above all things, white narcissus in an unmown field, think of the burden which falls to you, a burden which love alone can make light. ... I love you, I love you, my heart is a rose which your love has brought to bloom, my life is a desert fanned by the delicious breeze of your breath, and whose cool spring are your eyes; the imprint of your little feet makes valleys of shade for me, the odour of your hair is like myrrh, and wherever you go you exhale the perfumes of the cassia tree.

"Love me always, love me always. You have been the supreme, the perfect love of my life; there can be no other..." Oscar Wilde