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