Saturday, August 29, 2009
So I’m revamping the page slightly. I added an element over on the right side I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. I call it “Name Dropping,” since it’s all about people I’ve met on my random journeys through life. The name’s a bit ironic, since I’m limiting it to people who would also say they know me (although, y’know, by my real name, so if you walked up and said, “Hey, you know Geds, right?” they’d be all, “Bwuh?”), so I figure there’s pretty close to a 100% chance you’ve never heard of them unless I’ve mentioned them on this very blog in the past. It’s also a list that’s going to tend to skew towards storytellers and people I’ve met while they were busy singing for their supper in some bar somewhere. Those are often the best people to meet. I like artistic people and folks who are out pursuing and living out their dreams. So with that, I figure I’ll introduce these folks to you. You “know” me, I know them, and I figure should you run in to any of them anywhere, you’ll be that much more likely to support them. That’s what I love about the internet. It’s kind of the interconnectedness of the universe in digital form, y’know? Anyway, I’ll start with the group I’ve probably mentioned the most. Seneca. They just finished a six month serpentine route through the United States playing at venues big and small, including a couple bars just down the street from me. That’s the only reason I even know they exist. Last Friday they were in Downers Grove, which ain’t too far from me, so I went to see them one last time. They told me they were going to go have one last drink at Irish Times before they headed out. On Monday, the day I was scheduled to see Pearl Jam. I left the United Center at about 11:30, pretty much intending to go home and sleep. But I decided to check Irish Times on my way home. Sure enough, they were still there. I left at 1 am, then had a real fun Tuesday at work. But, hey, you’ve got to say goodbye, right? One of my buddies from college is in Innerfall. Actually, now it’s two of my buddies from college, since the original lead singer is no more. Well, I assume he’s still alive, he’s just no longer with the band. They’re playing clubs and bars in the ‘burbs and working day jobs and doing those things bands do in an attempt to get a piece of the dream right now. They’re developing a pretty loyal following and look like they might just make it. A couple months ago I went to see them for the first time in a while at a place called Penny Road Pub out in, um, Batavia or something. Before they went on a woman named Jessi Lynn got on the stage by herself with an acoustic guitar and started singing. It’s a little known fact, but I’m a sucker for a bit of a twang and an acoustic guitar, so she got my attention. I ended up spending most of the Innerfall set talking to Jessi and we started emailing back and forth afterwards. Jessi plays right on the country side of that line between country and rock that I love so much.* She was up in Madison on Thursday playing with her band and I figured it was a good excuse to take a four-day weekend and a road trip.I ended up hanging out with her and Sarah Peacock. Sarah was also at the Penny Road Pub that night when I decided not to pay attention to Innerfall. She bought me a beer in exchange for me buying her CD. Well, she used one of her free beers, since she was driving to Indianapolis that night. Either way, she’s a bit more on the pop end of the spectrum than I usually go for, but she more than makes up for it by having one hell of a voice. She’s also going to be at the Beat Kitchen up on the North Side next Friday, which is one of my favorite venues in the city. I haven’t been back since Local H’s release party for Twelve Angry Months, so I figure it’s about time to head up there again. Meanwhile, on to the storytellers end of the stories… I first saw Megan Wells telling the first chapter of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the inaugural Ray Bradbury Theater event put on by Jim May. I was astounded. She’s theater-trained and more or less amazing. Last summer I found out she was in Naperville doing a one-woman show she wrote called “Helen of Troy,” which is the story of the Trojan War from Helen’s perspective. Sue Black and a couple other storytellers I kind of knew were there. So afterwards I ended up having dinner with Sue, Megan, and a few other people. Then I went and sang karaoke at a bar. Yeah, you heard me. I kicked ass, too. Anyway, back at the Northlands Conference I couldn’t sign up fast enough for the intensive Jim May and Megan did on Friday. I wrote about it back here, so I won’t labor the point. Anyway, Megan Wells lives in the town where I do about half my grocery shopping. She and Janice Del Negro do a monthly open mic night that’s a hell of a lot of fun. September 12th & 13th are going to be interesting. It’s Celtic Fest in Chicago and there’s a storytelling tent. Megan is going to be telling at noon, Jim at 1. I’m planning on going at least for that, then skeddadling out of the city to get to the Guild set we’re doing at Stage Left in Woodstock, which has been mysteriously switched from the 19th to the 12th. It’s good times. Back a couple of years ago I went to the Illinois Storytelling Festival and told a story at the story swap. The older couple running the swap were apparently impressed. I was deeply fortunate to walk in to the Fox Valley Storytelling Guild for the first time a couple months later and find Jim and Karen Decker sitting there. I couldn’t be doing the storytelling thing without the support of my Guild. They’ve taught me a great deal and been excellent examples of exactly how to go about doing the storytelling thing. Sue Black, Linda Gorham, the Deckers, and Mike Speller are on my list because they’ve been massively helpful to me. The storytelling community is wonderfully supportive. I’m sure that there are conflicts and issues just like with any other group of humans who get together to do things, but I have been fortunate to avoid them so far. Mostly I just feel incredibly lucky. So I’ve decide to introduce my little cloud of witnesses on the internet to some of the people I’ve met. If you happen to run in to any of the storytellers or musicians whose names I’ve decided to drop, stop by and see them. Oh, and my blogrolls are starting to look a bit long in the tooth. I’ll be updating those soon, too. ------------------------------------ *The intersection between rock and country is interesting. I mostly prefer what I call “Dirt Rock,” which is mostly defined in my world by the Peacemakers, Dead Hot Workshop, Gin Blossoms, and, for reference more than actual appreciation, Lynryd Skynryd. There’s Alt.Country, that land of Cross Canadian Ragweed, Wilco, Son Volt, and, um, a bunch of other bands. I keep think I should like it, but other a brief flirtation with Cross Canadian Ragweed and a couple others, I’ve pretty much been underwhelmed by the genre. Then you’ve got your actual country, which I spent about a year in high school listening to exclusively. I’ve still got my Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Tim McGraw, and Pat Green floating around. I’ve even put some of it on my Creative Zen:Vision W.** I likes me some country. **Speaking of, I’m getting prepped about upgrading. Specifically to the Zii Egg. Ho-ly shit is that thing awesome. An Android compatible multi-touch capable unit with 32g of onboard storage space and room for 32g SDHC cards? An on-board GPS chip? 1080p video output capability? Sign me the hell up. I have no idea when it’s coming out, though. Soon. Very soon. I hope. Although it’s confusing as hell, since Creative has built an official iPod Touch killer and may only release it as a developer tool. Which would be kind of like Chevy building a new Corvette, then saying, “Eh, fuck it. We’ll just sell it to aftermarket parts manufacturers. I mean, who the hell wants to buy a Corvette?” My hope is that they’ve been coy and they’re just saying, “We’re gonna keep this in-house to build up a buzz and a public clamor. Pleaspleaseplease tell me that’s what’s going on.” Me wantee. And, seriously, Creative Labs haven’t put out a compelling portable mp3 product since the Zen Vision M/W (well, except for the credit card sized mp3 player. That thing’s cool. Ish). I mean, I don’t want a fucking X-Fi or a Pebble or whatever else they’ve got. If you want to make it against the iPod you’ve got to go big. The Zii Egg is fookin’ ‘uge. Hell, I’d be tempted to sign up for the $400 Plazma developer thing just to get the Zii Egg. That should tell you everything you need to know.