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"rapture Room" Post-Mortem (Sort Of)...


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I like the “Rapture Room.” That’s the big performance space in downtown Nehalem, next door to (and upstairs from) the Rainbow Lotus. (Its real name is the Nehalem Center for the Creative Arts.) It has great acoustics—we amplified only voices for the 45 Degrees North concert, and left everything else unplugged—and the living-room-cum-kitchen in the next room emphasizes the intimacy. Audience was small—which begs the question, “How do you market something like this?” Every way (and any way) you can, I think; I recommended Michael and Sedona contact the local “Fencepost” columnist for the paper, and also Tommy Boye at the Tillamook Cow Internet station; posters (which they’ve done), and the Internet—you never know what stimuli people are going to respond to. Printed out for them my “Yes! You Have Come to the Right Place!” sign we’ve used for the Failed Economy Show concerts at City Hall.

And word of mouth. The more the space can get used, the more people will know about it, and have ideas what it’s good for. With enough publicity, the “Rapture Room” could become a community center of sorts—in a way the North County Recreation District, which is in the same town (and bigger, and tax-supported, but a little exclusive) hasn’t been able to be.

45 Degrees North were the Inaugural Concert, Saturday afternoon—Michael and Sedona plan on doing one of these a month—and it was good. The tiny crowd was probably the result of the hot, sunny weather—but we still got tips. I think everything worked well, actually: everybody in the band has their own particular strengths, and the mix shows them all off, and audiences seem to like it. Our best tunes are still Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel” and my “Armadillo on the Interstate” (with the trademark 3-part Heavenly Chorus), our standard opening and closing songs, but there are others that are becoming close contenders.

I played a short set at the “Hoffapalooza,” too—the day-long “here’s what we can do” show at the Hoffman Center in Manzanita. Gave them 5 songs: “Dead Things in the Shower,” “Pole Dancing for Jesus,” “When They Die, I Put Them in the Cookies” (for the kids), Stan Good’s “Un-Easy Street,” and (because I had a little time left) “The Termite Song.” Sold a CD at the “Hoffapalooza,” got names for the mailing list both places.

The coming week is Deathgrass Week; Deathgrass plays Garibaldi Days on Saturday, and I’d like us to have one practice opportunity beforehand. I myself am doing the solo gig in Portland for the Willamette Writers Group Thursday, so Thursday’s out for practice.

After that, I get to obsess about 45 Degrees North’s performance at the Manzanita Farmer’s Market—3 hours worth of music, on Friday, Aug. 12. We’ll need about 12 new songs for that. We should do our Jimmy Buffitt parody, “Manzanitaville,” and my “Earwigs in the Eggplant” (since it was written with the Farmer’s Market in mind), and the Scottish fiddle tune “The Red-Haired Boy” (which has a fascinating history); Kathryn is working out an arrangement to the old jazz tune, “Coconut Grove,” and I think “The Termite Song” would be popular, too. Uptempo; must be uptempo. They want (shall we say) happy, upbeat songs for their customers to shop for vegetables by.

Got two weeks to prepare for that, but no weekends—I’m in southern Oregon for the Southern Oregon Songwriters Assn. concert Saturday, Aug. 6. Since I’m still unemployed, it’d be nice to hang out a couple extra days and play more music. I wonder if that’s possible? The crowd of writers at the Wild Goose in Ashland haven’t heard “Pole Dancing for Jesus,” “Selling Off My Body Parts,” or “Blue Krishna.” It’d be nice (and fun) if they could.

Joe

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