Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I sang a duet with Kami Lyle the other night - tra la, tra la, tra la

After talking about the possibility for probably a couple of years now and mostly coming up dry on ideas for what to sing, I finally joined the fabulous Kami Lyle on stage for a duet. Of course, we waited until her last gig at Harvest Gallery Wine Bar before they closed for the off-season, so who knows when we'll get a chance to do it again.

Oh, and we never got a chance to rehearse it, so it's certainly rough around the edges (key change is a little wonky, I flubbed the entrance to the first verse I sang, and we decided at the last minute to scrap the Ray Charles/Betty Carter ending for a simpler "cha cha cha"), but I really think it's a pretty good first pass! You can really hear us both getting more confident as the song goes on.

Here it is, in all its glory:

Kami Lyle & Fred Boak - Takes Two to Tango
Harvest Gallery Wine Bar
December 28, 2008
Kami Lyle - vocal, trumpet
Fred Boak - vocal
Tad Price - guitar (incl guitar solo)
Steve Shook - guitar
Joey Spampinato - bass
A big special thanks to Steve Shook for suggesting this song.

This was a real treat for me; I can't wait until we get a chance to rehearse it a couple of times!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That was a real nice Cavalcade, I'm mighty glad I went

... No vittles to et, but the company sure was good, you bet!

OK, enough of that falderol ...

My father was a minister (at Freedom Plains Presybterian Church, very close to Poughkeepsie, NY); pretty-much as far back as I can remember, while he was alive, I had something to do with the Christmas services or festivities at the church. I believe my first singing performance outside of our house was a rendition of "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" performed for the senior citizens group that met at our church - that would have been either our first or second Christmas in Freedom Plains, so I was either 2 & 1/2 or 3 & 1/2. Starting when I was 5, I sang in choirs at the church. When I got older and moved away from the area, I would always try to be home for my mother's birthday (12/23) and Christmas Eve. I would help out around the church however necessary, lighting candles, dimming lights for the candlelight services, moving chairs, cleaning up, whatever needed to be done to help. Christmas Eve dinner was a peanut butter & jelly sandwich eaten in the half hour or so of down time between the two early evening services (there was a third service at 11pm). The first two services on Christmas Eve were filled with singing, lots of carols and a few songs from one or more of the various choirs in the church; also, these services were filled with little kids. My mother called these services, especially the earliest (5pm) service, "the screamer services", and would sometimes give them a miss because they got so loud, but I really loved it. For me, the hustle and bustle and helping my dad and restless kids and all that singing just got me in the mood for Christmas, no matter what the rest of the year was like.

In recent years, a new Christmas tradition has come into my life, another one which involves music and helping others.

A couple of weeks ago brought our two Christmas Cavalcades, at Johnny D's in Somerville on Thursday night and at the Jailhouse in Orleans on Sunday night. These are annual events, where Chandler pulls out most of his Christmas music. Chandler has MANY Christmas songs; to do all of them would leave little time for any special guests, and as the Philharmonic is all about the pagentry, the Cavalcades are all about the special guests.

Oh, and helping the homeless at Christmas ... yeah, we do that, too.

Quite well, as a matter of fact - this year, with the two shows, we raised around $6000 for the Somerville Homeless Coalition and the NOAH Shelter of Hyannis. I'll tell ya, it's good for the soul to do shows like this.

Especially when the freakin' music is so good and so much fun!

For these Christmas Cavalcade shows, Chandler augments the Philharmonic and June Trailer Dancers (our horn section) with several female backup singers, whom collectively he refers to as the Athol Thingerth (The Athol Thingerth name comes from Chandler's song "Chrithmath in Athol") In Somerville, the Athol Thingerth were Jennifer Kimball, Merrie Amsterburg, Anne Heaton, and Rose Polenzani - all of whom are phenomenal singers that you should all check out ASAP. One of the highlights every year is the Athol Thingerth singing the hymn "In the Bleak Midwinter" - they sound so lovely, and it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. This year they added another hymn to their repertoire, "On This Day, Earth Shall Reign". Geez, I could listen to them all night long.

Another highlight was the Boston Typewriter Orchestra - yes, they play typewriters - they get some really cool rhythms going - it was pretty freakin' cool.

Chandler always manages to get some cool Boston-area legends to show up at the Cavalcades up in Boston. A couple years back we had Jon Pousette-Dart, Robin Lane, and Frank Rowe (from the Classic Ruins). Last year we had Andy Pratt and were supposed to have Willie Alexander and T. Max, but our Boston show was rescheduled due to snow and they couldn't make the rescheduled show. This year Chandler managed to get Livingston Taylor, comedian Jimmy Tingle, and Sal Baglio (from the Stompers). All did a fantastic job. Sal was a big highlight for me, playing "Run Run Rudolph" with Dinty, Chandler and Rikki as his band.

The big finale featured Jen D'Angora (Downbeat 5), who had already kicked ass with a fantastic version of Darlene Love's "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" with her new band Jenny Dee & the Deelinquents, and Shaun Wolf Wortis singing the Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva song "I Wish You a Very Merry Christmas", which Chandler segued into his Christmas-ized version of Huey Smith's "Don't You Just Know It".

The more a write this, I realize that it's coming across that practically everything in the show was a highlight for me ... and I suppose it was all one big highlight ... really, it's such a fun show.
Hell, and I haven't even yet mentioned the Greenheads playing "Santa Rolling Stone" (Steve Wood's Christmas-ized version of "Daddy Rolling Stone") and "Merry Christmas Baby" (based on the BellRays' cover of the Charles Brown song, which Sarah Swain just sings the hell out of). Oh, and Chandler's duet with Jen Kimball on "Baby, It's Cold Outside". Geez, and the three interpretive dances by Jessica Schroeder (Cabaret du Somerville) which were scattered among the other performances. Or our new annual tradition - trying to keep from laughing too hard when Shaun sings Nat King Cole's "Toyland" with crazy background singing by the Athol Thingerth plus Chandler, Dinty, and me. Or "We Three Kings" as performed kinda country style by Merrie Amsterburg, with a whole slew of us singing on the chorus and guest "king" performances by Dinty, Chandler, and me. Heck, there was Dinty Child singing Mark Sandman's "Snow", too - I'm tellin' ya, everything was a highlight in its own way, and I bet I must've forgotten something else cool.

Really, if you haven't been before - be sure to try to make it next year if you live anywhere near Boston. It's the best night of the year.

Except for maybe the Cape Cod Cavalcade, that is.

The Boston Cavalcade always has a sort of metropolitan feel, I think - although it feels more like a community event every year, as we have our own traditions and many of the same special guests. There's a hipster element to the event, which I really love. The Cape Cod Cavalcade really feels like a small town, community production. A few years ago we outgrew Joe's Beach Road Bar & Grille, a little bar in Orleans, MA, and moved the event to the Jailhouse Tavern, also in Orleans. The event is held in a function room that's also used for wedding receptions, reunions, that sort of thing. In the past we've had folks who read Christmas stories from books, a clown from Ringling Bros Circus, and performances by local actors in addition to the various musical acts.

The general consensus is that this year Chandler may have put together the best Cape Cod Cavalcade yet. The pacing of the show was good, the performances were all sound, and it was just plain FUN with a capital "FUN".

And that was without 3 featured performers who had to cancel due to weather or illness, Livingston Taylor, Merrie Amsterburg, and Link Montana; and with a version of the June Trailer Dancers that was put together that afternoon because none of our scheduled horn players was able to make the trip from Boston - oh, and one of the Boston guys had the horn charts, too (thank goodness for Berke MacKelvey, who knows this stuff from previous years); and without our multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Dinty Child (though Tim Dickey did a fine job filling in, of course).

Special guests Patty Larkin and Philo Rockwell King made it, though, and both were great. It was a great treat to hear Patty again, as it's been a long time (since some big anniversary show for Passim's that was held over two nights at the Orpheum Theater in Boston - 20 or 25 years ago, maybe?) Rock King did this really hysterical Cole Porter comedic medley, which was probably the biggest highlight for me, as I've always wanted to see him and had yet to have the chance (though I did once make it to the parking lot one night he played at O'Shea's Olde Irish Inne, in Dennis, but there was no place to park!)

The last couple of years we've added a few very cool local groups to the regular mix. Last year it was Tripping Lily, who overwhelmed many of us with their choice harmonies and sparse arrangements. This year we were lucky enough to get both them and the Parkington Sisters, a quintet of Wellfeetian sisters who play various stringed instruments (guitar, cello, mandolin, violin) and sing beautifully. Tripping Lily plays around a single microphone, moving in closer to it when they sing a lead vocal or play a part that needs emphasis. After playing together the previous night at W.H.A.T's "Yule for Fuel" performance, the Parkington Sisters decided to give the single mic approach a try. It worked pretty well, I thought, especially for trying it for the first time after being used to individual mics in the past.

Another new band for this year was Toast and Jam. Though all three members of the band (Tim Dickey, Julie Wanamaker, and Laird Bowles) have played past Cavalcades. In fact, last year Tim & Julie sang together on Toini & the Tomcats' "Christmas in July" (which they did again this year, with Chandler & Rikki augmenting on bass & drums), but they hadn't yet formed the current group. Julie also joined forces with the three members of the Ticks to form the Cape Cod version of the Athol Thingerth.

Speaking of the Ticks ... well, if you've never seen them, you're missing out. I'll admit it, I have had crushes on all three of them since I first saw them at their 2nd ever gig, 7 or 8 years ago. All three of them write songs and sing, and I think they have a great sense of arrangement and harmonies. They don't play quite as much as they used to, what with two of them having had two babies each in the last couple of years, but when they do play, it's such a treat. I think they just keep getting better. This year, they wrote a little play, a 5 minute or so version of the Grinch, which opened & closed with the "fahoo foray's" of the TV special, included a Grinch rap, and featured the Ticks as various Whos from Whoville, me as Max the dog, and Chandler as narrator and Grinch. Not to crow too very much, but I was told by several people that it was one of the big highlights of the show. Special thanks to Ticks drummer Julia Randall for the costume:

Brown oven mitts, a do-rag, and a little brown makeup ... the smirk is all me!

A couple of years ago, the highlight for me was a performance by Stephen Russell (of W.H.A.T.), who did a monologue as one of Santa's elves filling Christmas wishes for then Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. I thought it was a very Robert Benchley type of performance. Unfortunately, Stephen couldn't make it last year, but he did this year, and did not disappoint. This year his performance was an oil company representative's side of a telephone conversation with Barack Obama. Very reminiscent of some of Bob Newhart's one-sided conversations and very funny.

And the comedy continued with the Shook Fambly Singers (Liz Shook, accompanied on guitar by her father Steve) and their rendition of Robert Earl Keen's "Christmas From the Family". This has become an annual tradition at the Cape Cod Cavalcade, and I think this year's performace might have been their best yet. Really, you haven't heard this song if you haven't heard Liz sing it.

At the end of the evening, the chairs in front of the stage were moved off to the side and the dancing music got started. The Ticks, augmented by Julie Wanamaker, Chandler, and me on vocals and Philharmonic keyboardist Phil Clements, backed "Ticky" (a/k/a Rikki) Bates for Elvis' "Blue Christmas". The Greenheads rocked the house as they always do, playing Steve's song "Smokin' Euphoria", "Santa Rolling Stone", and "Merry Christmas Baby" (local contractor and Johnny Cash sound-a-like Randy McDonald and I helped out on the "Jingle Bells" sections). The Rip it Ups brought their big sound and Jody's big growlin' voice to the stage and tried to warm us all up with the Hawaiian "Mele Kalikimaka", Elvis' "Santa Claus is Back in Town", and "Sleigh Bell Rock". The Incredible Casuals, slipping briefly out of their winter hibernation, played their surf instrumental version of "Sleigh Ride" and played a Christmas song new for them, the Del Lords' "Merry Christmas Baby" (Aaron sang it). Ruth Condon sang a mariachi version of "O Come All Ye Faithful", sung in Spanish and made complete for me by having NRBQ's Joey Spampinato wearing a very touristy sombrero:

(potential blackmail material, perhaps?)

For the finale, the Philharmonic took to the stage once more, augmented by the June Trailer Dancers and the Athol Thingerth. Kami Lyle and Chandler sang a delightful "Baby, It's Cold Outside", the band played "Wanna Rock Christmas", and Julie Wanamaker sang a duet with Chandler on the Big Dee Irwin & Little Eva barn burner "I Wish You a Very Merry Christmas" which, as in Boston, morphed into "Don't You Just Christmas/Silent Night", and just for the fun of it, back into "I Wish You a Very Merry Christmas".

We play most of these songs two or three times a year, we have maybe one rehearsal per show, we get people to sing songs they've never heard before. Then it all goes into the back of the songbook until next year. It really is insanity, but it sure is fun, and I know I wouldn't miss it. It's the party of the year, it fills my personal desire/need for Christmas music and service to others, and we make some pretty darn good money for a couple of deserving charities, too.

Thanks to Chandler for putting these together every year. I sure hope this tradition continues for a long time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Movies I've Seen: 95 (movie geek meme)

Movies I've seen: 95 (movie geek meme)
It’s been said that allegedly if you’ve seen over 80 movies (from this list, apparently) you have no life.

Mark the movies you’ve seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, go to your own blog/MySpace page/Facebook account, paste this as a blog entry/note (you get the idea). Then, put x’s next to the films you’ve seen, add them up, change the header adding your number, and click Publish at the bottom. Have fun!

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
() Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
() Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
(x) The Princess Bride
(x) AnchorMan
(x) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
() Saw
() Saw II
() White Noise
() White Oleander
(x) Anger Management
() 50 First Dates
() The Princess Diaries
() The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
(x) Scream
( ) Scream 2
( ) Scream 3
() Scary Movie
( ) Scary Movie 2
( ) Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
(x) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
( ) American Pie Band Camp
(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
( ) Resident Evil 1
( ) Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
() The Village
() Lilo & Stitch
() Finding Nemo
(x) Finding Neverland
() Signs
() The Grinch
(x) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
( ) White Chicks
() Butterfly Effect
() 13 Going on 30
() I, Robot
( ) Robots
(x) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
( ) Universal Soldier
() Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
() Along Came Polly
( ) Deep Impact
(x) KingPin
() Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
() Meet the Fockers
() Eight Crazy Nights
() Joe Dirt
() King Kong
() A Cinderella Story
(x) The Terminal
() The Lizzie McGuire Movie
() Passport to Paris
() Dumb & Dumber
() Dumber & Dumberer
() Final Destination
() Final Destination 2
() Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween
() The Ring
() The Ring 2
() Surviving Christmas
() Flubber
(x) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
() Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
() Ghost Ship
(x) From Hell
(x) Hellboy
() Secret Window
() I Am Sam
() The Whole Nine Yards
() The Whole Ten Yards
(x) The Day After Tomorrow
( ) Child’s Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
() Ten Things I Hate About You
() Just Married
() Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
() Remember the Titans
() Coach Carter
() The Grudge
() The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
() Son Of The Mask
() Bad Boys
() Bad Boys 2
() Joy Ride
() Lucky Number Sleven
(x) Ocean’s Eleven
(x) Ocean’s Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremecy
(x) Lone Star
( ) Bedazzled
(x) Predator I
( ) Predator II
() The Fog
() Ice Age
() Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
() Curious George
(x) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
(x) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) E.T.
() Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
() Maid in Manhattan
() War of the Worlds
() Rush Hour
() Rush Hour 2
( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
() She’s All That
( ) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
( ) Event Horizon
( ) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
() Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
() The Terminator 3
() X-Men
(x) X-2
() X3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
( ) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
() Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
() The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
( ) Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
(x) Old School
() The Notebook
() K-Pax
() Krippendorf’s Tribe
() A Walk to Remember
() Ice Castles
() Boogeyman
() The 40-year-old Virgin
(x) Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings: Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
( ) Base-ketball
( ) Hostel
(X) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
() Elf
(x) Highlander
() Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) Three
( ) The Jacket
(x) Kung Fu Hustle
(x) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
() Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
() Willard
( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
() Hulk
(x) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
( ) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
(x) Kill Bill Vol. 1
(X) Kill Bill Vol. 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) The Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave
( ) The Last House on the Left
(x) Re-Animator
(x) Army of Darkness
(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks: Caravan Of Courage
( ) Ewoks: The Battle For Endor
(x) The Matrix
(x)The Matrix: Reloaded
( )The Matrix: Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
() Evil Dead
(x) Evil Dead 2
() Team America: World Police
() Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
(x) Hannibal

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The power of Christmas compels you!

I just got back from a Wassail party/Christmas sing at Trout Towers. This has become a great annual tradition for this amazing circle of friends we have here on the cape. We eat, drink, sing - it's really a fantastic time - thanks, Trouts!

But here's the really, really cool thing about it ... we're in the house, singing along to the music played by Skip Winter, BerkeMac, Thurston Kelp, and another fellow whom I didn't get a chance to meet, and we ended the evening with Lady Trout's favorite ending song "Let There Be Peace on Earth". At the end of the song, someone yelled out "it's snowing!"

And so it was - such a wonderful end to a great evening.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mmmm ... burritos

I read this restaurant review the other day, and I have to say that this place sounds pretty good. I have a few questions:

Have any of you been to one of the Boloco's?
Would any of you like to meet me in Boston and give it a try?
How can we get one here on Cape Cod?

Not that our burrito options are bad here on the cape - far from it, really - but we don't have much in the way of the more non-traditional options offered by Boloco's.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tour-ette Wrap-up Saga (Everything Can Go Wrong So Easily)

Hard to believe it was almost two weeks ago that our car brokedown on the way to the first stop of our Chandler Travis Philharmonic mini-tour, at the Rodeo Bar in NYC ... but sure enough, it will be two weeks this Thursday. I think I've finally readjusted to what semi-reality there is in my life to report on it. Hoo doggy, that was something else, that weekend!

Warning/apology/guarantee: this is a very long report!

Thursday, November 13, 2008 - Rodeo Bar - NYC, NY

Everything was going pretty well on Thursday - we (Chandler, Rikki, and I) got off to a bit of a late start, but there was still plenty of time to get to NYC and stop by our friend Bear's place in Mystic to wish him a most happy birthday. Next stop after Bear's house was to be the truck stop Popeye's about 10 miles or so East of New Haven. Boy, was I psyched!

So, we stopped in Wareham and Chandler got birthday hats & not-horns (you know those things with the roll of paper that unfurls when you blow into it - usually it has a reed of some sort that makes a fairly ugly HONK!? - well, these were just like that, only without the reed for some bizarre reason) . After getting stuck in a nasty backup around Providence, we got to Bear's, sang happy birthday out on the porch, went in for tasty cake and fried dough treats (deliciously prepared by his sweetie Snow's mom, Rada), and eventually bade them all a fond farewell as we hit the road.

Just down the road from Bear's house, all hell broke loose, as suddenly there was no oomph when Chandler hit the gas - the engine revved, but nothing was grabbing - we were pretty certain it was something having to do with the transmission. AAA was called, and we tried to find a local or semi-local car rental place so that we could get back on the road and down to NYC. Amazingly, all car rental locations in the Mystic/Groton/New London, CT area close at 6pm ... and we brokedown at about 6:15 ... oy vey. The closest open car rental was either 45 minutes or so back the way we came, at the airport near Providence, RI, or 45 minutes or so ahead of us, in New Haven, CT. Unfortunately, we had a car full of music equipment and there were three of us, so even if we *could* get a ride to one of the car rental places, we were going to have to come back to wherever our car ended up to transfer the gear. Though we held out hope for a while longer that we'd come up with a solution, we were pretty resigned to the idea of staying around there for the night. We got a tow to a local business that works on transmissions, and we managed to get Bear to come get us and drive us to the motel that our tow truck driver recommended, the [*cough*] lovely [*cough* *cough*] Flagship Inn & Suites. For a cheap motel, we thought it was pretty expensive, but it did have free wireless internet access, which was good, as Chandler & I figured that since we were stuck there, we might as well watch the Jets/Patriots game, and we were unable to find an open bar within walking distance. Fortunately, it turns out that NFL Network games are streamed live at NFL.com, unfortunately, we didn't realize that until the game had gone to overtime (D'OH!).

Meanwhile, we had another group of musicians driving down to NYC from Boston in Dinty's van.
There was Dinty (mandolin, mandocello, guitar, accordion), Whitey (bass), Phil (keyboards), Mark (clarinet and tenor sax), and Bob (trombone). As far as I know, their drive was fairly uneventful, with the exception of our increasingly dire and decreasingly hopeful phone calls. The club was notified that we might not have a full contingent and were given at least some opportunity to find another band but instead told Dinty "nah - you know what to do." Bob, our trombone player, knew a sax player in town, and it turns out that he was able to find a drummer for the band. Unfortunately, after the band got setup, keyboardist Phil fell ill and spent the rest of the night sleeping in the van, giving the band a lineup of guitar, bass, drums and a four-piece horn section. Now, Dinty has experience fronting a horn-based (mostly covers) band, the Funky White Honkies, and he knows plenty of Philharmonic songs, but the drummer had never played any of this stuff and the horn chart book was in our car, in Connecticut! Well, they made it through the night - I'm told the drummer did a great job of following along - but I guess to call it rough around the edges would be a bit of an understatement. They left NYC and drove to Bethlehem, PA, where we were performing the next night and where they had a place to stay for the night.

Friday, November 14, 2008 - Godfrey Daniels - Bethlehem, PA

The next day Chandler arranged for an Enterprise rental car and we were ready to leave the motel at 10:30 am. You know those commercials for Enterprise where they show the car being delivered right to you? Well, I can tell you that sure wasn't what happened in Groton, CT! We were picked up in a van or something and driven to the rental place, which was probably 10 or 15 miles away. It took a while to deal with paperwork at Enterprise, too. All of this put us on the road probably an hour or more later than what we originally planned (more like the original 10:30 delivery!) Oh, and of course, once we got our SUV from Enterprise, we still had to go back to our original car, at the repair shop, and transfer all of our gear. We thought we had plenty of time to make it to the 4 pm radio concert promo appearance/performance in Bethlehem, PA.

Except, we soon found out that the appearance was, in fact, at 3pm.

Oh, and did I mention we also had to stop in Brooklyn and pick up John, our trumpeter?

Yeah ... well ... we still thought we could make it to the radio appearance, if everything worked out ok ... maybe not right at 3, but probably before it ended.

Of course, not everything worked out ok ...

We arranged with John to pick him up near the entrance to the Holland tunnel in Manhattan, so that we wouldn't have to negotiate our way in & out of Brooklyn. John gave us great directions how to get to him. Now, I think in a prior tour writeup, I mentioned that Chandler has a nifty GPS which he & his lovely wife have named "Bianca". Well ... let's just say we should have listened to John a whole lot more than we listened to Bianca ... Bianca just doesn't understand the ins & outs of NYC traffic, like ... you know ... rush hour on a Friday. We ended up picking up John at about the time the radio show was starting.

But we still had plenty of time to make it to the real gig that night, which started at 8pm. In fact, we made it to the club at about 6pm, giving us plenty of time to setup and get in a soundcheck that included running through a couple of new songs. Not quite enough time to get a full meal before the show, though (more on that later).

In Bethlehem, Dinty led the van portion of the band (including a fully recovered Phil - thank goodness!) in a 3 song performance on the local independent station, WDIY. I haven't heard the recording of the show, but I heard they played the instrumental "Mid-morning in Moscow", Pete Labonne's song "The Driving", and our standard closing song, "Bob What's-Is-Name".

Godfrey Daniels
is a great little club - it's more wide than deep, so most of the people are to one side of the band or the other, but there's room for tables in front of the band, too. Chandler said that it reminded him of a club called the Main Point, an old Philadelphia club that he and Steve Shook used to play at back in the Travis & Shook days. The sound in there was really great - both on stage and in the audience. The show went really well, too - not a huge audience, but they made a good dent in the seating, and were very appreciative. We played two sets for them and even sold quite a few CDs. I'm hoping we can get back there again, because I think word of mouth may get us a really good crowd next time.

For any who are interested, here are the set lists for the show:

First Set:
  • We're From Fruitarama
  • She's Filthy
  • Bad Bad Boatie
  • (You & Me) Pushin' Up Daisies
  • Must Be Love
  • Everything Can Go Wrong So Easily - a new Chandler-written instrumental which may eventually have lyrics by David Greenberger. I really find this one catchy, and Rikki's drumming on it is really cool - lots of different sounds from his small drum set, he plays all over the surface are of the drumskins
  • Don't Blame Me - crazy drumming from Rikki on this one - Dinty and I were almost giggling it was so loud and energized
  • Two Cents Tops
  • Sometimes I'm Happy
  • Vasco da Gama
  • Taoist Vacation With Mashenka
  • My Bonnie
  • I'm Chandler's Butterfly - oh my oh my, did Rikki play loud on this song that weekend!
  • Get Right Back Where We Started From

Second Set:
  • All My Good Luck is Gone
  • This is Home
  • Softly in the Night
  • Graciously - a new Travis/Greenberger song that's turning into a real barn burner - oh so very much fun to sing - I think this one may stick around for quite some time
  • Other Thing
  • Mid-morning in Moscow
  • Not in Service - a new Chandler song that's a love song to the recorded voice that tells you "I"m sorry, the number you have dialed is not in service" - there's a demo version up on our Song of the Weak!!! page
  • Brooklyn Bridge - a fairly new "apology" song from Chandler with a nice twist at the end. I think there might be a version of this up on our Song of the Weak!!! page, too
  • Calling Me Back Home
  • Never Never Land - the song from "Peter Pan", with an extended piano intro by Phil Clements
  • Grand Route St John - another newish song from Chandler, it gets its name from the street in New Orleans where his sister once lived. Alt-Dixieland at its finest!
  • Nature Boy
  • Bob What's-Is-Name
Encore:
  • Eje Ka Jo

After the show, I'm afraid I got a little pissy ... remember I said we didn't really have time to eat dinner before the show? Well, it had to do with which vehicle was the "smoking" vehicle, how many smokers there were, and which vehicle was stopping for food, likely at the nearby Waffle House. It turns out that the smoking vehicle and the food stopping vehicle were one in the same and was fairly crowded with smokers. They offered to make room for me, but it would have been crowded, and I got a little disappointed and pissy, mostly because I didn't find out until we were getting ready to go. As it turns out, the other ("non smoking", non stopping for food) vehicle said they would stop for a bite (drive-thru or something like that), and they had plenty of room, so that was good enough for me, and I went with them, and all was just fine. We pulled off the highway after spotting a sign for White Castle on the highway, but didn't spot it and ended up getting food to go from a Dunkin' Donuts, which was just fine with me. Though I have to say, a bag of sliders would have been just about perfect!

Still, my apologies to anyone with whom I might've been short when I was being pissy.

We got to our hotel in Tom's River, NJ at about 2:30. It was a quite nice Comfort Inn, the same place we stayed when we played the area in May, and I had a very nice sleep.

Saturday, November 15, 2008 - Ocean County Library - Tom's River, NJ

Saturday's gig was in a performance/lecture hall connected to the Tom's River branch of the Ocean County Library. In May, we played at another of their branches, only that time we actually set up amid the stacks of books, in a wide open area between magazines and (I think) fiction. To be honest, I think being amongst the books sounded a bit better - it was certainly more surreal, but this was another fun gig - heck, they're almost always fun for us! There were several people there who had returned after seeing us in the spring - several very brave, brave people! A highlight for me was seeing a woman way in the back of the room dancing up a storm - I think I noticed her first on our new song "Graciously" - she was really getting into things.

We got setup for the show with plenty of time to walk around the town a little. I even managed to snag a new can of (unfortunately quite stinky - perhaps they all are) hair spray to use as part of my valet duties. Chandler's hair looked absolutely fabulous, with a great tuft sticking straight up, front & center, like a horn - until he put a hat over it and smushed that sucker right back down! I don't know if anyone in the audience found that funny, or even noticed, but I sure did. For a band that works as "BIG" as the Philharmonic does, there are quite a few more examples of subtlety than many people would expect. That's one of the things that first attracted me to the band.

Again, for those of you who care, here's the setlist for the show:
  • Kramat
  • All My Good Luck is Gone
  • (You & Me) Pushin' Up Daisies
  • Graciously - man, this song is so much fun to sing
  • Bad Bad Boatie
  • Everything Can Go Wrong So Easily
  • Two Cents Tops - there were TWO penalty flags at the beginning of this one!
  • Anne
  • Taoist Vacation With Mashenka
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Calling Me Back Home
  • Not My Fault
  • I'm Chandler's Butterfly
  • Other Thing
  • Mid-morning in Moscow
  • Sha La La (Lover's Heart)
  • When the Roses Shine in Picardy
  • Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening - our big rap number - the kids all love the hippity hop
  • Grand Route St John
  • Nature Boy
  • Bob What's-Is-Name

After the show, we stuck around a bit and chatted with folks from the audience - I sold a few CDs, too, which is always a good thing. Then it was time to load up. Chandler had saved a little space and given Dinty a few things to bring down to the gigs ahead of time, but he wanted to get as much as we could back to the cape. Rikki & I were packing the rental SUV when suddenly, the "puzzle" came to me, and I saw just how to get things arranged. I try to be humble most of the time, but I gotta tell you - I packed that thing like a mo-fo champ! There was only one thing I couldn't get it, the bathrobe bag, and looking back on things, I think I gave up to easily on it.

After loading up the vehicles for the drives back to Boston and Cape Cod, we all had a really good dinner together at a bar/restaurant just up the street from the library. Finally, we all hit the road.

I wish I could report that the drive home was fairly uneventful - but I can't. Nothing as dramatic as the drive down on Thursday, but it had its moments. Torrential rain, missed exits, wrong exits, it was definitely another adventure. But we really didn't lose all that much time, and right about midnight, there we were, pulling into my driveway.

And all was good.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Brokedown!



Chandler, Rikki, and I are stuck with a busted transmission in Mystic, CT! It sounds like Dinty & Co will soldier on without us tonight - sure wish we could be there to hear THAT!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our long national local nightmare inconvenience is over

Yes, Harwich Center has a breakfast spot again! And in the same place that housed our previous breakfast spot, the "Stewed Tomato" - o frabjous day! callooh! callay!


[OK ... in all honesty, we've had a breakfast place in the area for a little over a year, since Harwich Central Cafe opened ... but for whatever reason, they never really seemed to quite fill the loss of the Stewed Tomato ... don't get me wrong, it's a great place - hell, they even have free internet access there - but it's definitely more of a funky coffee house than a diner-style breakfast place.

Hey, allow me a little artistic license and cut me some slack here, OK?

Whew. Glad we got that over with.]


Anyway, back to the new restaurant in Harwich Center. It's called "Shenanigans" and I hear it is run by the folks who run Katie's Homemade Ice Cream in Hyannis. They are open from 6 am to 3 pm, serve breakfast the entire time, and add lunch items to the menu at 11 am. There's probably around 8 counter seats (I didn't count), along with several tables. I went there for the first time the other day with Lady Trout, Princess Pinky, and Prince Stinky.

The restaurant has a very nice menu - for breakfast, there are the traditional egg/toast/bacon/homefries combos, various omelets (including make your own), breakfast sandwiches, a couple of benedicts (standard and one with, if I remember correctly, hash), pancakes, french toast, and even fruit-filled crepes.

The two young royals split an order of chocolate chip pancakes, which they both liked quite a bit - and you don't even have to go to the children's menu to order them! Her Highness Lady Trout ordered a veggie breakfast sandwich, which came with a little veggie patty in place of bacon or sausage. I had two eggs with bacon, toast, and homefries. Good bread options for toast, including a multigrain, which is what I got - nice and nutty! The homefries are just potatoes, and were pretty tasty, if not all that exciting. I prefer mine with some onions, but they were quite good. Adding some hot sauce would probably help - next time, I'll see if they have any. My only real complaint with my order was with the bacon (quel surprise, I know!) - there were only two pieces. I guess I'm used to 3 or 4 pieces to an order at other restaurants - the 2 pieces just seemed. Certainly not a deal-killer, and next time, I'll know and order an extra side of bacon. Breakfast prices were all in a reasonable range, too.

The lunch menu looks good as well. They have various types of sandwiches - panini, wraps, traditional sandwiches, almost all of which were $7.50 a pop. Bargain on the lunch menu at first glance looks to be the grilled cheese for only $3.99.

I'm definitely looking forward to going back to Shenanigans and trying out more of the food there. It looks to be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

If you're in the area and want to give it a try - call me, I can usually be there in 5-10 minutes!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Look out, here we come!

Warning, the Chandler Travis Philharmonic has a mini-tour later this week:

Thursday, November 13th
Rodeo Bar
9:30 pm or so - FREE!
375 3rd Ave (corner of 3rd Ave and 27th St)
New York, NY
212 683 6500


Friday, November 14th
Godfrey Daniels Coffee House
8 pm, tickets $18.50
7 E 4th St
Bethlehem, PA
610 867 2390


Saturday, November 15th
Ocean County Library
EARLY SHOW - 2 pm!!
Mancini Hall
101 Washington St
Toms River, NJ
732 349 6200


Hopefully, we'll have some new Chandler Travis Philharmonic pins available for sale at the gigs, in addition to our CDs!


Consider yourselves warned.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Yes We Can

Up to now, I've mostly refrained from any politics here, but this link combines my favorite speech by Barack Obama, my choice for President, with the Leo Dorsey tune "Yes We Can" (penned by Allen Toussaint) ... and well, I just think that's groovy:

Yes We Can

Don't forget to VOTE on Tuesday. I'm supporting Obama/Biden, and I sure hope you do, too. Really, though, I think it's important for everyone to vote - I'm still idealistic that way.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Life imitates Art (comic absurdity)

Up until now, my favorite example of life imitating art was the increasing # of blades in multiple-blade razors, which was parodied in a Saturday Night Live commercial in the first ever episode of the show, in 1975 (at the time, there were only 2 blades in multiple-blade razors, and they proposed the then-absurd premise of a THIRD blade!)

But now ... well, just check out this 1993 Onion "fake news" headline!

Unrelated, I'm sad to hear that Studs Terkel died today - not surprising, since he was 90 or so, but he is another great one who is now gone - fortunately, he leaves an amazing legacy in his writing and recorded interviews.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apparently, my ancestors had very weak stomachs

I have a Google search for "boak" that sends me updates whenever it finds a new web page that mentions the word. Mostly, I'm just curious about other people named "Boak", because it's just not that common of a last name. There are a few people that come up fairly regularly: a writer for the Chicago Tribune named Joshua Boak, a senior designer for Martin Guitars named Dick Boak, and a few others.

The last couple of days, there has been quite a bit of activity on the website of The Herald Online, "the website digest of Scotland's leading quality newspaper"; read 'em & weep (for me, from laughing, whatever floats your boat):

War of words

Sick joke

Dutch boak

The Full spectrum of boakery


Did you read 'em all? Comments, too?

Now, I can't say I'm at all surprised by this, though that was really a whole lotta boak in those pages! Over the years, I have heard tell that my last name, "Boak", meant "to retch" in Scottish - mostly an old usage, from what I was told. A few years back, I even heard a friend of mine from Pennsylvania say "oh, I don't drink Rolling Rock anymore - I drank too much and boaked behind the barn at parties way too many times in high school" (at the time, she didn't know my last name). However, until I read those pages from The Herald, I'm pretty sure I had never seen quite so ... umm ... colorful a discussion of the word.


I leave you with excerpts from the wikipedia dictionary entry for "boak":

Etymology

From Proto-Germanic (not attested in Old English); cognate with Dutch bulken ("bellow") and German bolken ("to roar").

Verb

to boak (third-person singular simple present boaks, present participle boaking, simple past and past participle boaked)

  1. (obsolete) To burp.
  2. (Scotland) To retch or vomit.

addendum, October 23, 7:05 pm:

But wait! There's more discussion of "Boak" at The Herald:

Enough to give you several boaks

Sunday, October 19, 2008

that'll do, pig

Earlier today, I emailed the following to a couple of baseball buddies of mine:

I think the Sox bats are awake now, and tonight they'll get more than the two runs they got off of Shields in game 1. If Beckett can pitch well (admittedly, that's a big if in this post season), I think the Sox take tonight's game. I bet Beckett is on a short leash tonight - maybe they go to Wake if things get tough? His knuckleball can be pretty magical inside a dome.

I like their chances with Lester on the mound for game 7.

Final score tonight, Red Sox 4, Tampa Bay 2. I thought the Sox would score a few more runs than that, but they did just fine, and it was great to see Veritek contribute to the cause, since he's been in a mostly year-long slump. Beckett allowed 2 runs on 4 hits (2 solo homers), a walk, and 3 strikeouts over 5 innings - not dominating, but damn good enough to get the job done tonight.

Oh, and check out this blog post about Game 5 by one of the all-time masters in writing, Roger Angell. As my buddy Joe commented, "Damn-- who else actively writing these days can mention something that happened in 1929 and then say, in all seriousness, that he remembers it well? I guess we should treasure Angell while we have him." Really, folks - read all the Roger Angell you can - there's an amazing collection of his baseball writing that came out maybe 7 or 8 years ago, called "Once More Around the Park: A Baseball Reader" ... Joe-Bob says check it out.

And yes, I still like the Sox' chances with Lester going on the mound for game 7.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Great Googly-Moogly!

The Boston Red Sox, down 7-0 to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 7th inning, score 4 in the 7th, 3 in the 8th and 1 in the 9th to win the game 8-7 and keep their chances alive in the American League Championship Series - that's just plumb crazy!

After the first run by the Sox, my buddy the Hollywood property master texted me "at least they scored" - he's kinda bummed about the Dodgers not getting into the World Series, too. Soon thereafter, David "Big Papi" Ortiz hit a 3-run home run, and I texted back "right where we want them". Semi-joking, but boy, when it got to the 8th inning and they had Wheeler (Tampa's relief pitcher) rattled ... geez, it really felt like they were going to get the job done tonight.

Thanks, Red Sox - that was fun tonight!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

He's a Cat - Flushing the Toilet

I double-dog dare you to watch this and then try to get the tune out of your head ... g'head ... you know you're curious ... could it really be all THAT catchy? ... warning: it's faux-They Might Be Giants catchy ...





(I got it from Neatorama)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Rollercoaster

I just had quite a weekend.

It started off with too much driving in really awful weather, but worth it because I heard some absolutely wonderful music.

It started off Friday night with two shows by the Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet. Terry is best known for his keyboard work with NRBQ, one of my favorite bands ever. Terry has been playing with this new band for just over a year now, playing a few short tours with the band. I've been lucky enough to see them several times, and have been very impressed by the way they play and by how Terry seems to really enjoy playing with them. Friday's shows were great - NRBQ drummer Tom Ardolino sat in on drums in place of regular drummer Conrad Choucroun and former NRBQ sidemen The Whole Wheat Horns (Donn Adams and Klem Klemick for this show) sat in, too. As a result, the setlists were filled with horn-based songs I hadn't heard this band perform before. There were also several newly written Terry songs and new-to-the-band cover tunes. I'm always amazed that, even as often as I see Terry perform, I almost always hear something that I've never heard him do before. If you get a chance to see the Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet, do whatever it takes to go.

Saturday night I saw Geoff Muldaur perform. Geoff played with the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and Paul Butterfield's Better Days, and is just a wealth of musical knowledge. He told great stories between songs, amazed guitar players in the audience with his picking style, and blew my mind with his singing. What a wonderful performance.

To top it off, my fantasy baseball and football teams had great weekends. My fantasy baseball team (Men of Leisure) finished at the top of the league - 2nd time in the last 3 years (and last year I finished in 2nd place)! My fantasy football team looks likely to be the only undefeated team in the league after this week (depending on how things go tonight, anyway).

Unfortunately, when I got home Saturday night, it was obvious that there was something wrong with my cat, Fox. She was listless, not moving, and just not herself. Sunday I took her to CARE, the 24 hour emergency vet center here on Cape Cod. They noticed immediately that she was breathing with her mouth (apparently an indicator of respiratory distress) and took her in the back to start looking at her. She was dehydrated and her temp was low, so they kept her in kitty ICU on an IV drip and with warm water around her to try to get her temp up. They also drew blood, to see what might be wrong with her, but the vet noticed jaundice in her mouth and told me she suspected something referred to as fatty liver disease (I forget the tech name for it right now). I left her in good hands. Last night, I got a call that the blood work confirmed liver issues, and she seemed to have stabilized. Unfortunately, I got a call early this morning that she had taken a turn for the worse - her temp had dropped significantly, even though they were trying to keep her outside as warm as possible. Also, while she had been able to stand up for a few seconds, now she could not even do that. I got dressed and headed to the vet's office (fortunately, very close to my house) and spent about 1/2 hour or so with Fox. It was obvious she was miserable and the treatments had not helped, so I made the decision to have her euthanized.



She was a sweet, sweet cat with a wonderful, expressive face. She never liked to be picked up or held, but always wanted to be near me. I'll miss her terribly.

RIP, sweet Fox.

Friday, September 12, 2008

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

One of my many guilty pleasures is reading snarky celebrity blogs, and one of the snarkiest is Dlisted. Here's a great example of why I lurv it so.

In an entry reporting that singer Pink is looking into Scientology, reportedly because of her depression after the breakup of her marriage, Michael K wrote:

If Pink is blue because of her heart being broken and all, why doesn't she deal with it the way most of us deal with it? Watch a lot of porn, eat a lot of shit food and get yourself a Tickle-Me-Elmo. Those things always make me laugh. I mean, he giggles when you touch him in the belly! What's better than that?

What can I say, that just made me laugh this morning ...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Everyone present and accounted for?

None of you got sucked into a black hole today?

Good.

You survived the super collider, now get the t-shirt (click on the image to go to the order page):



(of course, today was just the first beam test, the first collision isn't scheduled until October 21 ...)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

farewell, o clothes of summer

I was going out to dinner last night with my friends The Berkshirites, and realized that it was my first night out after Labor Day, and as such, it was time to find something else to wear other than linen or seersucker.

*sigh*

*big, heavy sigh*

I hate bowing to the fashion police.

To be honest, the weather does seem to feel more fall-like these days, but I bet it's still warmer than some of the June days when I was wearing my summer clothes. But in those days, I think I wear them more to get myself in the mood for summer, rather than wear them because they're needed to keep cool.

So ... goodbye, seersucker; hello, chinos.

I'm still wearing flip-flops if I want to, dammit.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Zombie Goodness

Is it Zombie month, or am I just drawn to links about zombies these days? I don't know, but here's another one:

Toward a Cononical List of Zombie Rhymes

Enjoy?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Have you seen this bowl?


I've been meaning to write this up since Memorial Day weekend, when I first went to Mac's Shack in Wellfleet for this season, ordered the tuna poke, and met the perfect rice bowl. Unfortunately, I was sans camera that trip, and I wasn't sure if I could adequately describe the perfect rice bowl in all of its perfection, so I decided to wait until I went back and remembered to bring a camera. Well ... that was ... oh ... three weeks ago ... and I did get some pics ... I was just too dang lazy to do anything about writing this up ... until tonight, anyway.

So ... here's the deal ... they have these great bowls at Mac's Shack this year ... they're flat on the bottom, so they sit just fine on the table, but they're also just a little off-center so that they rest comfortably in your palm, your fingers cupping the straighter edge of the bowl, and have an indentation for your thumb ... in short ... perfect.

[what looks like milk in those wine glasses is unfiltered sake - really!]

Well ... almost perfect ... the problem with them being ... I CAN'T FIND THEM FOR SALE ONLINE!!! I even got the name of the vendor where the restaurant bought them, but it's definitely a wholesale vendor in New Jersey without any online ordering capabilities (and almost certainly not in the lot of 4 or 6 that I want).

If any of you faithful readers have any bright ideas (other than liberating a bunch of bowls from the restaurant), please let me know. Especially if you've seen these bowls for sale somewhere with your very own eyes. I was thinking of offering some sort of reward, but I don't know if there's anything I can really offer other than my eternal gratitude (and a public thank you via this here blog thingy).

If all else fails, once summer ends, I suppose I just might swing by and ask Mac if he'd order a few more if/when he next places an order with the vendor.

Thanks!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Juice

"Crazy-stupid good" - this is the phrase I've been using this summer for food which, in a snootier time, I might have called "sublime". I've run into a few examples of crazy-stupid good food this summer, and last night there were a few at the Juice, in Wellfleet.

I've been to the Juice several times, both last summer and this summer, and every meal I've had there has been great - and several items on the menu are most certainly crazy-stupid good (the clam fritters for absolute sure - they're purt-near perfect). Last night, I tried three things I hadn't had there before:
oysters in the rough (a half dozen raw oysters)
spinach & mushroom quesadillas
chocolate ganache tort

The oysters are local, Wellfleet oysters, and are served with a housemade cocktail sauce which was tasty. The really cool thing about the dish was the little leaf of fresh cilantro added on each oyster. Damn, that really made things great! Also, the price practically can't be beat - $9.95 for a half-dozen oysters, where most restaurants on the Cape charge *at least* $2.00 an oyster.

The oysters made a nice appetizer, and then came the quesadillas - holey schmoley, where have these been all my life?!?!?! How have I skipped over them on the menu all the other times I ate there?!??! Every bite brought a smile to my face. Really tasty, meaty mushrooms, and the cheese they use was gorgonzola, so there's a nice blue-cheese bite to it (though not super-strong). Definitely a new fave dish for me, and something to go into the rotation of meals to eat there.

While the quesadillas brought a smile to my face with every bite, the chocolate ganache made me positively giddy - I swear, I actually giggled as I was eating this, it was so damn good.

There are many fine restaurants to choose from in Wellfleet - there's Mac's Shack, the Wicked Oyster, Sol, to name a few - just be sure to keep the Juice on your list of possibilities when you're there - try anything on the menu - it's all good, and a whole lot of it is crazy-stupid good.

update (later Sunday, around 2pm): I forgot to mention a couple of things about the Juice.

First of all, the building housing the restaurant - let's just say it looks as if there's a right angle in the place, I think it just might be a mistake.

Second - if you're hippy-phobic, don't let the look and name of the place scare you - sure they have funky pizzas and great smoothies and the staff is filled with surfers and hula hoopers (seriously - at least a couple of waitresses are members of a hula hoop group - look for them around town and at this year's WOMR "Boogie By the Bay")

Third - they have Rain organic vodka - I don't like it as much as my fave vodka of all time, Tito's, but it's pretty darn good. Also, when beets are in season (we're getting into beet season now, I think), they make this really amazing beet martini with local beets and the Rain vodka.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Without the capacity to provide its own information, the mind drifts into randomness." (*)

I have been selected by MDF ("my dear friend") Lady Trout to participate in a meme in which we are each asked to list six (6) random things about ourselves and link to six (6) more people who are then supposed to do the same.

*sigh*

OK ... WTF ... I'll play ...

Six random things about me:
  1. When I was about 20, I was almost arrested (along with a few friends) for sleeping in Mount Royal Park (Montreal, Canada).
  2. My maternal grandfather was President and Chairman of the Board of AT&T.
  3. My father was a Presbyterian minister.
  4. My name is Elmer J Fudd, millionaire; I own a mansion and a yacht. I have a shopping problem.
  5. When I was a baby, my parents and I lived in a New York City apartment which was next door to the building where John-John Kennedy went to nursery school.
  6. A lot of people ask me why I wear a hat.

Tag, you're it (sorry, folks!):

THE RULES:
  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules on your blog.
  • Write six random things about yourself.
  • Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
  • Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
  • Let your tagger know when your blog entry is up.


* Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, 1990
(I found it on The Quotations Page)

I am a Cranky Old Man

Oh, it's summer on Cape Cod, and that means so many things to those of us who live here.

The other day I was on Route 6, in Eastham - I was in the left lane and passing someone in the right lane - I was probably going about 45, maybe a hair over (in a 40 zone), and the car behind me flashed his high beams because, apparently, even though I was passing a car at the time and driving over the speed limit, I just wasn't going fast enough for him.

But it's not just the tailgaters ... there are those that drive so slow as to make me understand why the speedfreaks might be so ornery ... the slowpokes, the timid drivers ... they drive well under the speed limit (30 in a 45 zone? is that really necessary?); they tap their brakes whenever a car is coming in the other direction ...

For the last few weeks, it seems as if I'm constantly either behind a car that's going 10 mph under the speed limit or in front of a car that wants to be going 10 or 20 mph over the speed limit - what ever happened to just driving the posted limit or at least fairly close, one way or the other?

Next time on "I am a Cranky Old Man": "When I was a kid ..."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Woo Woo

Steve "Woo Woo" Wood and the Incredible Casuals playing Link Wray's "Jack the Ripper" at the Wellfleet Beachcomber on Sunday, July 13, 2008

video

(also available on YouTube)

I shot the video and pics with my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5 camera and sync'd in an audience sound recording I made of the show, then added the still photos at the beginning because I didn't grab my camera in time to get the whole thing. The "Endless Summer gig" poster at the beginning was designed by Rachel Jarvis.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

All-Star Game opening ceremony

"The greatest collection of baseball All-Stars ever assembled on one field."

Really?

I'm sorry, but the best they could do for catchers was to get Yogi and Gary "where's the camera?" Carter? I certainly understand Yogi being there, but if Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk aren't there, too, what's the point?

And is Willie Mays really the only great living center fielder left? I was thinking maybe he was, but according to baseball-reference.com, Duke Snider is still alive.

Also should've been there: Yaz, Sandy Koufax, and, of course, Stan Musial

I thought that introducing HoF managers and executives was a great idea, but it suggested a big improvement to me ... they should have used a Hall of Fame announcer (my choice would be Ernie Harwell) instead of Joe Buck, or at least along side Joe. Heck, they have possibly the greatest living stadium announcer right there in Bob Sheppard - let him introduce everyone!

Oh, and I thought it was great that Sheryl Crow played the National Anthem live, but that it was too bad she had such trouble with it (looking at the fingerboard when making chords, trying to hit that silly high note at the end) ... still, it could have been a whole lot worse!

Just my 2 cents ...

The Ginchiest

After her stunning, hip shaking, shimmying performance of Don Gardner's "My Baby Likes to Boogaloo" with the Incredible Casuals at the Wellfleet Beachcomber this past Sunday afternoon, I hereby nominate Sarah Swain as "the ginchiest"

Unfortunately, this is the only pic I got of her on stage (but that's because I shot video once the song started!):



Holey Schmoley, that was totally groovy - thanks, Sarah!

Update 7/23: Chef Tony sent me another pic of Sarah on stage with Los Casuals:



I think that must be mid-shimmy ... ginchy, I'm tellin' ya, ginchy.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oh ... my ... Gawd ...

Two words: Zombie Kickball


This weekend in Portland, Maine - pre-party was last night, but there's still time to make it to the big event tomorrow afternoon (2pm) - just follow the smell of brains.

Monday, June 23, 2008

So long, George

Through my gig as valet to Chandler Travis, King of the World, I had the honor and pleasure to meet George Carlin. Chandler was kind enough to invite me along when he & Dinty opened for George several times over the last 4 or 5 years.

The first time I got to meet George, we were doing two shows in one night at the Cape Cod Melody Tent - we were introduced before we went on for the first show. I was heading out after our opening set for the second show and before he went on stage, George shook my hand, said "nice to meet you, Fred". Damn - he remembered my name. Also at that first gig, when we were eating a quick dinner between shows, George said something alliterative and then repeated it to himself, mulling over the way the words ran together - I imagine that if he liked the way it sounded, he would write it in his notebook or something, saving it for a later day. It was cool to see that his mind was always working, always looking for potential new material.

The last time we opened for George, at the end of the night, he hugged Chandler goodbye, hugged Dinty goodbye, then shook my hand and said something along the lines of "you're still kind of new - but next time, you get a hug"

Here's a video clip of George talking about death - this is fairly recent, and I remember seeing him do this stretch of material at some of the gigs where we opened for him.

update: Chandler wrote a piece about George for local Cape Cod weekly newspaper The Cape Codder. It's a remembrance of George unlike most others you're going to find on the good ol' world wide interweb. We have it up on the SonicTrout site in the Kelp on Kape section. Here's a direct link to the piece.

update zwei: Bill O'Neill, Lifestyles Editor and Music Reviewer for the Cape Cod Times, has a little online remembrance of George which includes a great quote from Chandler, circa 1999:
"Here's a simplification of what I appreciate about George C: how much he produces, how little he panders, and what a fine friend he has been."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Friends

Tomorrow is the 46th anniversary of my birth. Today, a whole bunch of friends came over and helped out with a bunch of chores and projects around the house and yard that I've been putting off for far too long - taking newspapers and boxes to recycling, putting up my new mailbox, some yard cleanup ... oh, and they washed & waxed my car, too! Ms Greentwig organized the whole shebang - I had no clue until she showed up this morning.

Various friends brought me flowers (ladies, I'm here to tell you that there are many of us guys who love to get flowers from time to time ... of course, I like to give flowers, too):

and cupcakes (mmm ... chocolate, with a white sugar frosting, each with a simple yet lovely garnish of a blueberry and a mint leaf):

and fresh eggs (yes ... three different colors ... white, brown ... and green! I'm told that Prudence is the layer of the green eggs):


Oh, and the other day, Chef Tony gave me a jar of his ancho chili and coffee rub that he uses on the steaks at Terra Luna. Also on Sunday, MDF Linda & I went gallery shopping before going to da coma and she got me these really cool tiles made by Ed & Kate Coleman.


Tonight, a bunch of us are going out for Thai food at the fairly new place in Orleans. I'm hoping to convince some group to go out for breakfast/brunch tomorrow at either Grumpy's in Dennis or Bonatt's in Harwich ... I want me some birfday bacon & eggs!

I have some of the best friends in the whole freakin' world. I hope you all know that I don't take you for granted ... not one bit.

post-dinner update: Chandler swung by the house as I was getting ready to head out to dinner. He couldn't make it to dinner, but he asked if he could take me out for a cocktail on the way ... I had my first and second Irish Car Bombs tonight ... mmm ... tasty.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Young at Heart

Music is a pretty amazing thing - for me, it's probably my one true passion.

The day after my father died, my ex and I went to see our favorite band, NRBQ; they were playing in Woodstock, NY, very close to my parents' place in Poughkeepsie, NY, and I knew that it would be a few sure hours of pleasure/relaxation during what was to be a trying week before we had his memorial service. I couldn't tell you what songs they played that night, and I sure didn't feel like dancing, but I remember sitting at a table with my vodka tonic and just letting the music wash over me. At times that night, the music actually made me feel happy, and I was reminded that in spite of my sadness about my father, life goes on, and there would be happiness ahead.

A similar event occurred after my mother's memorial service. My mother had been a member of a local chorus, the Camerata Chorale, for over 20 years (I had been a member for several of my high school and college-age years), and I asked them to sing several pieces at her memoral service. Later that evening, the group had a concert of their own. My mom had been planning on going to the performance, pretty-much come hell or high water, and I had told folks in the group that I really wanted to try and make it to the concert. However, once my mother's service was over, my adrenaline level just dropped. Still, my aunt and uncle and I made it to the concert and I was so glad that I did. Music, once again, proved itself to be a healing power for me.

Tonight I went to the fabulous Cape Cinema in Dennis with my friends Chef Tony and Kate the Weaver tonight to see the documentary "Young at Heart", about the Young at Heart chorus of Northampton, MA and their preparations of new songs for a 2006 concert tour. What a fantastic, well-told film. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, that had me laughing heartily at times, grinning from ear to ear at others, and still others weeping until tears were running down my face all the way to my neck.

The Young at Heart chorus is a group of 70+ year olds who sing various rock/pop/soul songs. Many members of the group are in their 80s, some are in their 90s. With folks in that age range, they have to deal with all sorts of health issues, which are covered in the film. Some are kind of funny (one group of members carpools to rehearsals in a tiny little car with paint scrapes on the sides, always driven by Lenny, not because he's a good driver - he's not - but because he's the only one of the three of them who can still see to drive) some poignant (one retired member comes back to sing a song in the local Northampton concert and has an oxygen tank with him that adds an additional "percussion sound" to the song during his performance), some positively devastating (during rehearsals, two members die).

There was one sequence that I thought was just wonderful, where the group is performing at a local prison. At first, during an upbeat song, we see lots of smiles and laughter from the inmates, but it's not clear whether or not they are laughing at the old folks singing. However, by the end of the peformance, when the group dedicates their final song, Bob Dylan's "Forever Young", to a member of the chorus who died the night before, there are shots of the prisoners crying, and after the song, they meet the chorus with hugs.

What comes through in the film is the spirit of the chorus and the power of music: they're willing to try anything, and they have a real "the show must go on" attitude, and performing is a catharsis for them.

By all means, see it - but have plenty of hankies at your disposal.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Andale! Andale!

One of the saddest things to happen here in this little burg this winter was the indefinite "closed for vacation" of mexican cafe Ay Caramba, a fave of many of my friends and a regular stop on on the usual suspects' birthday party train. Ay Caramba opened very soon after I bought chez valet and was a welcome addition to the neighborhood. They always took a couple of weeks vacation in the winter, so when they first closed this winter, there was no big concern. Then we started to hear rumors that they weren't re-opening, and the sign in the window changed from saying "closed for two weeks" to "closed until the end of next month" and then stories appeared in the local newspaper that they were looking to transfer the business and liquor license.

Well ... early Tuesday morning, on my way into town from the CTP tour ... there was a sign in front of the restaurant ... "Andale Cafe opening May 20" ... that was that very day, Tuesday! For the rest of the drive home (fortunately for the rest of the guys in the van, only 1/4 mile), I kept singing "Andale Cafe - Opens Today" and doing a bit of a "happy dance" along with it.

Thursday night, Ms Greentwig & I swung by to check things out - as it turns out, the place is now run by a former waiter of Ay Caramba and the menu is very, very similar to that of Ay Caramba - o rapturous joy! It looked like the dessert menu was a little bigger, and tacos are now sold by the pair rather than individually. Also, tuna tacos look to have a different sauce. Oh, there are now several bean choices: black beans, pinto beans, refried beans, and refried beans w/ chorizo. The only semi-bad thing is that they have yet to get their liquor license, but they hope to within the next month or so - and they have glass bottles of Jarritos, so really, who cares if they have a liquor license or not?!?!

So ... if you were a fan of Ay Caramba, I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed by Andale Cafe. If you never went to Ay Caramba but thought about it - what the heck are you waiting for? Get over there and spend some $$ - ANDALE!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

CTP Tour Wrapup

I admit it, I like lists ... I just can't help myself. So, what else was I to do but compile a list of all the songs we played on our little five-show tour and the frequency of each song. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
  1. Air Running Backwards
  2. All My Good Luck is Gone (performed 2x)
  3. Anne
  4. Ball the Wall
  5. Bob What's-Is-Name (performed 5x)
  6. Born Again
  7. Bongo's Summer Cottage
  8. Broadway (performed 2x)
  9. Brooklyn Bridge
  10. Brown-Eyed Girl (performed 2x)
  11. Candle
  12. Chandler Travis, King of the World
  13. Charlie's Prelude
  14. Crab Napkin (performed 3x)
  15. Dance School
  16. Delaware
  17. Did You Ever Know?
  18. Do the Don't
  19. Don't Blame Me
  20. Eje Ka Jo
  21. Fluffy
  22. French Toast Man (performed 2x)
  23. Fruit Bat Fun
  24. Get Right Back Where We Started From (performed 2x)
  25. Hello Mrs Nussbaum
  26. Honeydripper
  27. I Know
  28. I'm Chandler's Butterfly (performed 3x)
  29. Ivan in Paris
  30. King of the Road (performed 2x)
  31. Kramat
  32. Last Thing I Needed
  33. Mayor of Drunktown
  34. Mid-Morning in Moscow (performed 5x)
  35. Milk Truck on Fire
  36. Money Won't Buy You Happiness
  37. Must Be Love
  38. My Baby Likes to Boogaloo
  39. My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
  40. Nature Boy (performed 5x)
  41. Never Never Land (incl. Phil's keyboard solo/intro)
  42. Not My Fault
  43. Not Unhappy (performed 4x)
  44. Other Thing
  45. Rich Woman
  46. Ronald (performed 3x)
  47. Sha La La (Lover's Heart) (performed 2x)
  48. She's Filthy (performed 2x)
  49. Softly in the Night (performed 5x)
  50. Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
  51. Taoist Vacation With Mashenka (performed 2x)
  52. Thank the Lord (performed 2x)
  53. That's What She Said (performed 4x)
  54. Theme from "Dr Kildare"
  55. This is Home (performed 4x)
  56. Ticky Don't Do That
  57. Two Cents Tops (performed 3x)
  58. Vasco da Gama (performed 3x)
  59. We're From Fruitarama (performed 4x)
  60. When the Roses Shine in Picardy (performed 2x)
  61. Where's My Glasses (performed 3x)
  62. Yo Tomo Mi Mano (performed 4x)
  63. (You & Me) Pushin' Up Daisies (performed 2x)
  64. You Asked, I Came
five shows, sixty four songs, only four of which were performed at all five shows (five performed at four of the five shows) ... and there are a bunch of CTP standards/regulars that we didn't even get to (a few examples, just off the top of my head: "Jazz Dazzlers", "Family's Family", "Time Marches On", "Stay Like That", "Llama Rhymes With Mama", "Got To Let Go Sometime", "Bad Bad Boatie").

I think we all had a pretty great time on this tour; I know I did and would gladly do it again. From what I hear, feedback from the venues has been very positive as well. Hopefully, we have some new places to play in the future.

It's hard to believe it was just a week ago that we hit the road.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

CTP tour, Stop Five: Rodeo Bar, New York, NY

We hit the road Monday morning - Newark, DE to New York, NY - there was some debate as to where we should get breakfast, and we ended up at ... Waffle House ... YES! Funny enough, I never get the waffles at the ol' WH, but I do love the hash browns; Monday morning I got them scattered (the potatoes), smothered (onions), covered (cheese), and peppered (jalapenos) ... mmm mmm ... good! We didn't play any WH songs on the jukebox, but I think Grayson got a picture of the songlist and Chandler now has a new goal - somehow, we want to try to record a single that gets sent out to Waffle Houses! Anyone have any ideas/connections?

After breakfast, we had a fairly uneventful drive to New York ... that is, until we got close to New York City ... as it turns out, Bianca (our GPS unit) doesn't differentiate between Brooklyn and Manhattan when you tell her you're going to "New York, NY" ... and as a result there are two "376 3rd Ave" listings when you get to the address area ... the menu of addresses also included 3rd St's and 3rd Places, and as a result, the 2nd "3rd Ave" was on another page, so it wasn't obvious that there were 2 of them ... so we chose the first one, which was in ... yes .... Brooklyn. Fortunately, we had PLENTY of time, so it was just a minor inconvenience (and really, gave us something to giggle about) ... oh, and as a result of this error, we ended up coming into Manhattan over the Manhattan Bridge, which brought us up to Houston St ... so we just HAD to stop at Katz' Delicatessen, right?!?! Especially when there was a free parking spot on the same block as the deli! Mmm ... Katz' pastrami sandwich, half sour pickles, knish, and Dr Brown's black cherry.

New York on a Monday night - we really weren't sure what to expect. What we got was a really receptive club and audience - a few familiar faces in the audience, some we hadn't seen in years and from far away, and a bunch of new faces, many of whom even stayed into the wee hours of the night. The band was in rare form - we were feeling loose and playing tight - it was great stuff. Lots of "opa!"'s from the band as we channeled our greek friend from the night before (I may not have mentioned him yet - that's coming soon!).

During the break, a spanish speaker came up to me and told me how much he loved "Yo Tomo" ... he seemed to think Chandler's spanish was perfect, but I suspect he might've been a bit drunk. My voice was beginning to go - and I forgot to bring water up on stage - I actually squeaked on the first really high note of "I'm Chandler's Butterfly"! We got one of the best receptions ever for "Brown-Eyed Girl" - at one quiet point, right before the "shalalalalalala" section, I heard some guy saying "that's just harsh", and another guy up front was laughing throughout the entire thing. We played "Ronald" again - I think maybe it'll stay in the rotation, we'll see.

Tour premieres: "Air Running Backwards", "Bongo's Summer Cottage" (requested by Chandler's nephew Jeremey, partially played as an illustration of why we wouldn't do the whole thing), "You Asked I Came", "Milk Truck on Fire", "Fluffy" (finally - it's been on almost every setlist so far!), "Charlie's Prelude", "Dance School", "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening", "Brooklyn Bridge", "Candle", and "Born Again" (which we did after Chandler started band introductions to the "Bob What's-Is-Name" bassline).

Here are the setlists [I'll update earlier show posts with setlists very soon, too]:
Set 1:
  • This is Home
  • We're From Fruitarama
  • That's What She Said
  • Softly in the Night
  • King of the Road
  • Air Running Backwards
  • Bongo's Summer Cottage
  • You Asked, I Came
  • Milk Truck on Fire
  • Fluffy
  • Not Unhappy
  • Sha La La (Lover's Heart)
  • Two Cents Tops
  • Charlie's Prelude
  • Yo Tomo Mi Mano
  • Broadway
  • Crab Napkin

Set 2:
  • (You & Me) Pushin' Up Daisies
  • Dance School
  • Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
  • She's Filthy
  • Get Right Back Where We Started From
  • Brooklyn Bridge
  • Taoist Vacation With Mashenka
  • Candle
  • I'm Chandler's Butterfly
  • Brown-Eyed Girl
  • Mid-Morning in Moscow
  • Ronald
  • Vasco da Gama
  • My Baby Likes to Boogaloo
  • Nature Boy
  • Born Again
  • Bob What's-Is-Name

It was fantastic to see our friend Frank Goodman from Nashville - he happened to be in NYC, figured there was nothing to do on a Monday night but checked the listings anyway, and low-and-behold, there was a listing for us! This was his first time seeing the whole band, having only heard a skeleton crew in the past. We met Frank at the 2004 Folk Alliance conference in San Diego - he has a great ezine called Pure Music and is a talented singer and songwriter - we featured him on our "Love to Turn You On" page a while back.

After the show, we took it easy packing up - sold a few CDs, chatted with new and old friends - eventually, once we had the vans all packed up, we took a little break in the club, chatting with the Jack the booking agent about other NY state ideas and having a last drink of the tour (thanks for the scotch, Jack!). And then it was hugs on the sidewalk and into our vans for the drive home - the sun came up around Providence, RI and an hour & a half or so later, I was home. I'm happy to be home, but sad that we're not doing any shows for close to a month. Fortunately, I have the opening of the Wellfleet Beachcomber this weekend to keep me from being bored!

[Sorry for the delay posting this - after we drove back to the cape of cod, I got a little bit of sleep, but was mostly useless for the day.]