Just a fresh reminder that Tom Lehrer stands among the great artists of all time for, among other things, relinquishing copyright to his life’s work as he nears the end of his time here rather than having his clutching, wealth-hoarding estate or some atrocious corporate creeps hold his “intellectual property” behind a locked door to generate never-ending revenue as long as possible rather than to give his work to the culture that helped him create it. So McCartney, Springsteen, Dylan and all the other money-grubbing famemonsters sell their catalogs to monstrous LLCs to make the pile of obscene wealth they sleep on each night a few feet taller, while better humans give back. The guy’s a mensch, and his music is fun.
Visit his site to download his wonderful work, and share some the generosity:
I’m a fervent enthusiast of audio media, from old radio drama to modern radio drama and audiobooks of all stripes, and despite being a voracious reader of tattered paper books in my youth (and still, though more on digital readers lately), I’m increasingly of the opinion that, in contrast to the nostalgic claims that books are the grand tradition of literacy and stories told aloud on tape/disc/data are the brash upstart, oral storytelling is innate to humans (obviously with allowances to be made for reasons of hearing/neurodivergence) and has been for a hundred thousand years, while books available on scale to the masses are more or less a mostly post-20th century phenomenon.
The full video of my live stream of an improvised score and off-the-cuff telling of several stories about the anxieties of youth, as originally broadcast on 4 December 2020 via Nick’s International Virtual Garage 2020, an excellent Twitch channel for the work of electronic and electro-acoustic musicians.
If you’re interested in an audio recording of the performance, it’s available on Bandcamp on a choose-your-own-price basis [and I’m content with zero as the price as long as you let people know about it].
I was delighted to be invited to perform once more at the North-East Electro-Music Festival held at the Center for the Arts in Homer, NY. It’s a three-day festival of electronic and electro-acoustic music that brings together some of my favorite artists in the field for a diverse selection of genres and instrumentation. This was my sixth performance at one of these events, created by the Electro-Music community, now celebrating fifteen years of bringing artists and audiences together, often in a diffuse way in which players play, coalesce, and recombine into both planned and spontaneous ensembles that challenge and engage.
The event includes performances, unstructured time to just gather with other performers and composers and talk shop, and a variety of workshops ranging from the technical to the historical and instructional. We were lucky this year to have Bill Vencil, known on Youtube as Chords of Orion, with us to perform, share his technique, and conduct a great session on how to get established as a performer on Youtube.
There’s a openness and forgiving quality to audiences at EM Fests that really push a person to open up more, and experiment more, and to try new ideas and modes on an audience that is both one of the smartest and most forgiving in the field, and I’ve been gradually drifting from doing tightly scripted, fully orchestrated combinations of stories and live, improvised soundtracks that are my best approximation of what you’d get if stand-up comedy and digital jazz got together and made a noisy, chatty baby on stage. This year, I took on unresolved plotlines, half-told tales, and ruminations uncertainty and endings.
Performed a couple stories last weekend with live electronic accompaniment (using the smallest rig I’ve used to date for a minimalist invocation of mood) at the Center For The Arts in Homer, New York, as a participant in a two-day festival of electronic, electro-acoustic, and experimental music. I’m always honored to share a bill with so many amazing artists, and this year’s festival was my first outside of the previous venue in Huguenot, NY.
I’ll be performing as a part of the wonderful Electro-Music Northeast Festival in Homer, NY, on 9 September 2017 (I’m in the 4:20 PM slot on the second stage). The festival is a two-day coming-together of fantastic players, composers, video artists, experimentalists, and other electro-acoustic explorers, and I’m honored to be participating for my fifth year with the group. It’s an absolute bargain for the diversity and density of work on tap, and there are seminars and a synthesizer petting zoo to get your hands on the greatest and latest gear in the field.
For years, the Electro-Music festival was held in the Catskill region of Upstate, NY.
For the first ever Northeastern Electro-Music Festival, a new location has been discovered at the Center for the Arts in Homer, NY. This year’s gathering features two full days of innovative electronic music concerts, seminars, workshops, demonstrations, jam sessions, video artists, and a mini swap-meet.
There will be a hands-on “Synthesizer Petting Zoo,” with various rare and odd synthesizers, drum machines, and other pieces of electronic music gear you hadn’t known existed.
Please bring your own headphones for the Petting Zoo, otherwise a community set of headphones will be made available; iPhone/iPod headsets work well, too.
I’ve been experimenting with ways of telling stories on stage. I’m drifting away from the scripted, the cut-and-dried, and the composed in favor of the kind of stories you tell around the campfire or in a bar, surrounded by new friends and old. I’m using improvisational electronics to score these stories and stepping up on stage with just a single index card with a collection of waypoints to remind myself where I am in case I drift off the subject, and I’m increasingly happy to work in this loose and natural mode. Stories come in and out of focus, I find the point, lose it again, and work my way back. It feels like the kind of thing I’ve been trying to do ever since the first time I set foot on a stage with a synthesizer and a microphone, nearly thirty years ago.
This time around, I was thinking about stories from outside, from just off the beaten path, just beyond the edge of the highway, where we find meaning in unexpected places.
I’ll be performing a piece for spoken word and electronics on Sunday, 6 August 2017 at 2:30 PM as part of the 13th Annual Electro-Music Festival at the Irving Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana [directions]. The entire weekend is a long-form celebration of electronic, electro-acoustic, and experimental music that runs the alphabetic gamut from the abrasively new to the zestfully soothing, with a three-day bill jam-packed with amazing musicians I’ve had the pleasure to work with and otherwise revel in for several years now. I’m bringing my combination of left-field storytelling and digital atmospherics to the party, and I get to spend the rest of the time enjoying and educating myself in how it’s done.
All ages show – tickets at the door Weekend pass $25, or by day: Friday $10, Saturday $15, Sunday $12
I went acoustic for the first time ever for the 2017 Queering Sound spoken word show hosted by Sonic Circuits and Rhizome DC, performing a version of my story about a particularly awkward career move to the accompaniment of live banjo instead of my usual consort of digital instrumentation.
It was an interesting venture into more traditional storytelling for me and a big break from my usual obsessive need for control of every aspect of the sonic underpinning of my stories…and it went particularly well. Looking forward to more events of this type in the future, and am grateful to Sonic Circuits and Rhizome DC for hosting and inviting me to be a part of this show. If you’re unfamiliar with either of these organizations, I’d encourage you to check them out—good art comes from here!
Told a story as a part of the Stoop Storytelling Series – The Sex Show. The theme of the evening was sex, so I naturally shared a story of my own in which there was no sex at all, at least on my part, as I’m generally inclined to approach everything sideways, dealing reality a glancing blow.
I was honored to be invited to share the stage with nine amazing storytellers for an evening of lurid tales of the lascivious side of life, though my tale is less about actual sex and more about the tragic excesses of one’s early thirties, odd career choices, and the things you’ll do because of a crush.