from Friday, August29th of the year2008.
ï»¿We just played the second-to-last show of this tour, in Toronto. We compressed our show (which, in its ideal format is two sixty-minute sets) into a lean, mean, 75-minute set of highlights all in the service of being a good opening act for Final Fantasy, which is a one-man band and some of my favorite music being made today.. He played some new material, which is really, really exciting to me always.
One of the totally fascinating things about doing these shows has been the various interpretations of start times, end times, set lengths, curfew etc. All of this is new to me; I’m used to the formality of seated concerts that start either at 7:30 or 8. An example of this chaos: we rolled into Montréal. On our little sheet that the booker sent us, there was one start time, something like 8 PM. A girl who was interviewing me for CBC Radio texted me and was like, “are you crazy, nobody in Montreal goes out before ten!” “” whoops! Then, through a series of phone calls, questions, all that, we decided to push the show back ninety minutes. Nobody seemed to mind this; the venue is in the same building as the most delicious tapas I ever et.
Another fascinating thing is the idea of people Promoting Shows and the whole idea of there being somebody whose job it is to make people buy tickets. I guess I always assumed that the venues or institutions took care of this kind of stuff behind a veil of secrecy that the artists never have to think about (as would be the case with, say, Carnegie Hall or whatever). We had a very interesting (albeit unfortunate) situation happen to us in Washington DC which is, I think, illustrative of this cultural difference. About a week before we were meant to play there, we started getting phone calls from our booking people in Chicago talking about, “the promoter in DC is anxious because he hasn’t sold any tickets.” Now, what is one supposed to do with that sentence? Is it not the promoter’s job to sell tickets? Is it our failing as musicians, is that the problem? Is it a PR issue? Is this man’s anxiety my issue? Has it become my issue now that it’s in my inbox? It’s a fascinating moment for me: should I have been more performatively aggressive on my Webternet Spaces about getting the good people of our nation’s capital out to this man’s venue, for to relieve his anxiety? Should I have FedExed him an Ativan?
What ended up happening is even more amazing, though. The man became convinced that we were not going to be able to be worth his while, so he paid us One Thousand USA Dollars to not play. Genius, right? We figured out that Sam and Thomas and I were each worth $333.33 of awful; we’re going to take each other out to dinner when we’re back in the city. And then drunk dial that venue. Anyway, we changed the show to a great church in Silver Springs, Dan Bora, our Soundguy pulled the show out of his ass in a truly heroic fashion, with the help of the Contradance community of greater DC. It was a much better feeling than dealing with even the specter of Anxiety Dude (hope you’re feeling better!) “” it felt like dealing with a community of people who were excited to see the show, rather than these amounts of money floating around that directly influence people’s happiness. We were happy because we were staying in a big old house with WiFi:
Some other promoters, on the other hand, were completely laid back. We played a show in Philadelphia in a beautiful church, and our promoterdude was this totally laid back blondie (pictured) who was so nice that we offered him our Signature Backstage Cocktail (a Coriander Cervix, which is Hendricks Gin muddled with cucumber, coriander, a lot of limes, and poured over ice with a pinch of black pepper; at my momma house this is modified to include cracked dried juniper berries, but we didn’t take a mortar or its attendant pestle on the road). Thanks, Philly Blondie! A relaxed team of people behind a show makes for a better show; I ended up playing their beautiful old pipe organ during Keep in Touch which was such an emotionally appropriate addition. We were all really happy. We had bought Dan Bora celebratory wine as a thanks for the DC show, including Trump Brand Vodka. The vodka actually ended up coming into play the next day, on our drive from New York to Boston, when Dan & Nadia had the ingenious idea to buy V8 and put the Trump Vodka in it: Bloody Merritts! The perfect way to acknowledge Sunday. I listened to plainchant psalms on the subway ride up to Thomas’s house, where I interfaced with Putney the Dog:
I celebrated my birthday on the tour, and Nadia and Dan gave me an amazing gift which occupies the vesica pisces between Edutainment and Sex Toy. Behold:
I have a bunch of pictures that require captioning. With a trip like this, and with the company involved, most of the fun we had related to language and not to, like, funny stuff we saw. That said, here are some images:
My score for The Only Tune and Sam’s score for The Only Tune are two very different objects:
My mother tried to do Modern Dance with me and Sam:
She picked an unreal amount of mushrooms for this party:
Nadia and I are sisters in draped clothing:
Thomas and Sam don’t partner well together in the Modern Dance:
But are good at being mad Country:
Sam and I continue refining the artform:
Check out this review of our Boston show, with good pictures.
Back to New York tomorrow, back to reality.