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Vignettes...


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The truck has brakes now. Considering how they feel (the stopping, and all), I don’t think it really did before (with a standard transmission, it’s not like you use the brakes much). The brake job cost so much money I’m probably committed to keeping the truck for a much longer time than I’d planned.

I didn’t make it to Manzanita for their little weekly “Occupy” demonstration (gotta watch that gas expense, now), but I still might be able to get footage of the “Occupy Portland” encampment. I understand it’s still in business, after some 5,000 people (a lot of them with cameras) showed up Saturday night, along with all four TV stations, to film the presumably-gonna-be-violent “eviction” from the Portland Park Blocks, the forcible dispersal didn’t happen. If the encampment’s still there next weekend I’ll go by.

Sent my submission off to the new Manzanita literary magazine, The North Coast Squid (squid generate ink—hence the title). Had to be poetry; they were accepting prose, poetry, and photography, but my non-work related prose (like the plays) is all too wordy for a literary magazine, and my photography, while occasionally pretty (it did get exhibited at a couple of art shows), is really nothing special (nobody ever bought any of ‘em). Sent the Squid “The Cat with the Strat,” my only real poetic effort in several years (2006), and we’ll see what they do with it. Not a contest per se (though getting published could be characterized as “winning”)—it’s just part of the effort to become a household word.

The big Relay for Life “summit” was seeking donations for a silent auction next Saturday, so they’ll get a copy of the Deathgrass album. I’ll do that for the Bay City Arts Center’s big fundraiser in December, too (where the album might actually get some attention because people in this area know me).

I could include a Deathgrass T-shirt, too—that’d make the prize seem really special. I don’t have the design on computer any more—it’s one of the things lost when “Alice” the ‘puter’s hard drive failed—but I do have a printout, and it will copy onto T-shirt transfer material. (Ought to scan it while I’m at it so the design is preserved electronically.)

Roughly 10 days in which to assemble the Leftovers Day setlist, record a setlist CD, and practice. (I lose two days next weekend with the trip to Portland.)

How do I put together setlists? Or the past couple years I’ve been able to just refer to old setlists, but I can’t do that now—those were all on Álice” the ‘puter’s hard drive, and are lost now. Have to start from scratch. “Envisioning,” first: I imagine what the hall will be like, and what kind of people will be there, both those I know and those I don’t, and I guess what kinds of stuff they’re going to be interested in hearing.

I have certain “defaults” I can work with. Leftovers Day (aka Black Friday) is the traditional kickoff for the Christmas Shopping Season, so we’ll want to do Christmas songs; I have four—six if I dare to include “I Want a Man for Christmas,” which really shouldn’t be sung by a guy, and my rendition of “Santa Baby,” which was my most-requested song a couple of Christmases ago (a cover song is okay here, I think, since we’re not being paid). Food songs? (It is Leftovers Day, after all.) I’ve got three of those, including Stan Good’s “Take-Out Food.” Local color is probably important; we could do the “Welcome to Hebo Waltz” and “Tillamook Railroad Blues.” For the rest, I’ve got lots of love songs (defining “love” loosely, of course) and some “religious” ones, too.

And then we mix ‘em up. Start with an attention-getter—that’s an application of Pete Seeger’s rule: get the audience’s attention with the first song, hold it with the next, and after that, you own them and can do what you want. “Pole Dancing for Jesus,” I think. After that, something faster—“Santa’s Fallen and He Can’t Get Up,” perhaps. I usually alternate faster and slower tunes, sometimes mixing in different styles and keys. The basic rule is two songs next to each other should never sound alike. Lots of room for lead breaks, ‘cause Jane is a tremendous fiddler and we should strut her stuff.

Music tonight at the Rapture Room. I can talk to folks about “The Occupation Song” recording and video (they all should be there this time), maybe set something up for the next two weeks. Can I get a Leftovers Day setlist done too?

Joe

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