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The Arts Center Open Mike...


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Bay City open mike was good. Between the attendees at Eric Sappington’s Artist-of-the-Month reception and those at the open mike, they polished off nearly six dozen cookies, so we either had a big turnout or a very hungry one. Besides Eric (who was our featured performer) and 45 Degrees North, we had a couple of cute singing toddlers, some poems, a short story, and a segment of a very interesting science-fiction novel. Good practice for me being emcee. Had the sound set up in advance so I didn’t have to worry about it.

I probably do the open mike a bit different from other hosts. As far as I’m concerned, everybody gets their 15 minutes of fame, just like Andy Warhol promised, no matter what they’re doing. (I myself thought what the spoken-word people were doing was fascinating. I hope others did, too.) Nice that nearly everybody was doing original stuff—without, be it noted, anybody telling them to. This could turn over time into something like the Wild Goose’s open mike in Ashland, which has become a forum for writers to show off new material.

Charlie videotaped the whole event, using two cameras—and I do want to see how he merges the two films. I want to learn how to do that. (And I want to configure the film—2-1/2 hours worth of it, I think—so we can have pieces on the Arts Center’s Website.)

I think 45 Degrees North is getting the Professional Performer Routine down (something Eric and I had talked about—if you act like you know what you’re doing, people will believe that you do). No sound check necessary (it had been done ahead of time)—we could just step on stage and play. Good setlist, showing off our best material—and practiced in advance. We didn’t use a single music stand, even for the Celtic song (and people do notice things like that). I do the Rap—I’m comfortable behind a mike, and I have it all worked out ahead of time anyway.

One couple, as they were leaving, said 45 Degrees North should be the featured performer(s) at one of these open mikes. (That could be arranged. It is good to have an open mike following the Artist-of-the-Month reception—it increases the crowd at both events—and not all artists are also musicians like Eric is. In those situations, you can have somebody else be the featured performer.) They also liked “The Road to Lisdoonvarna,” our latest foray into Celtic music—a fast-paced Irish love song.

Could do another open mike Saturday, August 6—but I can’t host it: I won’t be here. I’ll be in southern Oregon, performing at the Southern Oregon Songwriters Summer Concert. September’s a possibility; that’d be Labor Day weekend, but I don’t see that as any more of a problem than Independence Day weekend was.

Deathgrass is on for the Wheeler Summerfest (also Garibaldi Days at the end of July and the Rocktoberfest in September); now we need to find time to practice. I have warned everybody I might have a job soon (I may find out this week), and if so, it’ll reduce my availability, like (though not as badly as) last year. One of my tasks over Independence Day weekend is to nail down what we’re going to play at Wheeler, and make copies for everybody. I wasn’t happy with my first draft of a setlist—it was really high-energy (good), but I didn’t think it allowed enough “wailing room” for the blues harp. We need slower songs for that, I think. I want, too, to depart a bit from country music—this isn’t really a country band we’ve got here.

Video class Tuesday night, a city council meeting to be at Wednesday night, and the Writers’ Guild Thursday night. Upcoming weekend is the last gig-free weekend for an entire month. Concert Season has started…

Joe

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