Monday, December 31, 2007

Naked baby photos, no. 1

In the spirit o' year-end house-cleaning (and stock-taking), I offer up this "early" IJG video (made 5 years ago), which I just rediscovered in my vaults. Obviously, we were a kinder, gentler band back then -- those of you expecting the full-on sartorial buffoonery, circus skronk, or sprawling instrumental configuration of our more recent efforts will probably be disappointed. On the other hand, the production values on this thing (courtesy my good friends / long-time-supporters-of-the-group Matt Smith and Sarah Shute (and their friend Charlie Heath)) are much higher than anything I've been able to produce on my own. (Smith/Shute/Heath also edited/directed the final piece, though I have excerpted/pared it a bit here.)

The performance is decent -- especially given the fact that it took place on a Saturday morning (for reasons I don't fully remember). For those of you interested in the history of the early twenty-first century avant jazz scene in LA, the setting is Rocco in LA, which at the time was probably the most interesting venue for new music in the city (proprietor Rocco Somazzi has since had to pick up and move his presenting aspirations to other venues -- nowadays he mainly books at Cafe Metropol).

The tune is the aforementioned "Anger Management Classes," and the audio is a second or third live take in front of a casual audience of maybe ten people (we didn't have any time to mix or edit the recording, so the performance is pretty raw). The band: Evan Francis (alto), Cory Wright (soprano), Kris Tiner (trumpet), Garrett Smith (bone), Drew Hemwall (drums), Aaron Kohen (bass), yours truly (piano). Audio recorded by Michael Kramer.

Quite a serious buncha fellas, eh?

Saturday, December 29, 2007


As a rule I'm not too good at the whole "time off" thing. But I have forced myself (this holiday go-round) to step away from my usual routines (including blogging) for a few days.

I must admit it feels nice, actually getting to, say, read a book or watch a movie again.

I plan to hold on to this little hiatus until the new year. But don't get me wrong -- that doesn't mean I'm not also simultaneously scheming and pondering how the hell we are going to top some of the adventures we had in 2007 (by the way, the fact that I consider 2007 a high point in the life of the IJG is probably pathetic, given that the year's activities didn't bring me anything that even remotely resembled what you might call "material profit"). I'm still working on the problem of festivals and tours and such, but I had to dial it down a little, even if just for a few days (or until the guilt of "inactivity" kicks in).

Anyway, for what it's worth, Christmas week was sure exciting. We had a few "firsts." Thandie's first trip to the Emergency Room -- in an ambulance, no less (she's fine now, though it turned out she had pneumonia). Our first Portland snow (on Christmas day, in fact). And my first Christmas card from the kid. (Evidence below. Though there was a little coaching on the spelling of some of the words, this is entirely in her own hand, and the word "Thandie" was spelled without any assistance whatsoever. May I remind you that she is 3 years old?)

Alright, enough palaver. More news soon.

Happy whatever.

Friday, December 21, 2007

And I thought "avant garde party music" was a niche

Here's a guy who's really taking it to the next level.

Actually, just because we all know how temporal a Craig's List ad can be, let me quote the thing verbatim:

Tuba player looking to join NUBA all-nude tuba band

Very large, hirsuite [sic] male looking to join all-nude tuba band. I've played tuba for 10 years, and I've played in the nude before, so this is a logical progression.

Heavens to Murgatroyd!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Popping the balloon

Better than the original, methinks.

And this one is better than that (the horn transcription of the famous Jimmy Page solo is particularly priceless, as is the "Teddy Bear Picnic" quote at the end).

Don't get me wrong. I dig Led Zeppelin a lot. (As did most white boys growing up in suburban NJ in the 80s.)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Two of my favorite (probably unintentional) holiday children's film double-entendres

Are you ready?

1. The Year Without a Santa Claus

The scene: Jingle and Jangle (two of Santa's elves) and Vixen (you know, the reindeer) have traveled to "South-town" (which, if really in the South, is strangely devoid of any black people). They are stopped by a police officer.

OFFICER: I pulled you over for riding a -- riding a -- what's that thing?

JINGLE: This is Vixen.

OFFICER: Riding a Vixen the wrong way down a one-way street.

Hilarity ensues, and etc.

2. Rudolph's Shiny New Year

The scene: Rudolph and his friends have finally rescued Happy, the baby New Year, from the clutches of the evil Eon. But they need to get Happy back to Father Time before the bell that signifies midnight stops ringing.

RUDOLPH: There must be some way to get back to Father Time's
castle before the twelfth bong.

This one turns into a bit of a running gag for the last part of the film. For instance, when Rudolph & Co. finally do make it to the castle (courtesy of Santa Claus), Father Time informs us that they did so "without a bong to spare."

And so say we all. (Well, except for me I guess.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Don't bother me, I'm surfing

Just found this (while looking for something else, of course).

I think my favorite of these questions is this one: "How often do you block out disturbing thoughts about your life with soothing thoughts of the Internet?"

(There are lots of adjectives I would use to describe the Internet, but "soothing" is not one of them.)

And what about the poor schmucks (like me) who work in areas in which (nowadays, at least) "success" seems somewhat dependent on being online much of the time? Are we addicted?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Three days


Daphne was in Omaha this morning. She was actually thinking about doing some Christmas shopping before getting on the plane. Thankfully she decided against it.

Is this the new norm, then? Every few months someone new takes a turn at the whole rampage thing?


Took Daphne and Thandie to hear Nancy King and Glen Moore this evening (so no, we're not only about exposing the kid to the old European music). Even with all the distractions (people milling about in the lobby, people coming and going, people conversing -- none of which was as offensive as I'm making it sound -- this is Portland, after all) there was something undeniably bright and fantastic about the performance.

My friend Tim DuRoche explained to me that King actually started out as a drummer, and you could certainly hear it in her sure-footed time (no mean feat when your only accompaniment is a bass-man). But there was other stuff to love too. Lots and lots of it.


Beautiful things started happening at 9 PM.

Attack of the Crab Monsters, The Killer Shrews, and The Green Slime.

Back to back. Uncut. Commercial-free.

Totally unexpected.

Turner Classic Movies, how I adore you.

As Daphne said when I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning: "No wonder you're so tired!"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My favorite is the yellow pepper trumpet near the end

Hopefully this won't inspire someone to start a meat orchestra in response.

Wait, it's already been done?!

(Sorry, I'm running on fumes at the moment.)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Ballbreaker

Sorry, I find this rather hilarious (both the initial argument and the response to it). I know it's not supposed to be. But I'm a degenerate.

Anyway, I thought I was going to have enough Tchaikovsky to make me sick yesterday when I took Thandie to see Portland's own CBA do their version of the Nutcracker (giving Mommy a much-needed afternoon off). If I had been there by myself, that surely would have been the case (though at least this wasn't the Nutcracker on Ice). I still think the show is too long by about twenty minutes (okay, we get it: every freaking toy and piece of candy has got to have its dance!). And yes it was possessed of some of the typical problems of the classical rep.

But there was something about being there with a three-year-old who has never been to a full-on theatrical production before, and who has been growing more and more interested in music and dance (especially over the last year) that made the experience -- forgive the maudlin here -- pretty goddamned touching. (Especially after we spent the morning listening (and dancing!) to fresh-out-of-the-oven near-final mixes from her Dad's group's forthcoming CD (more about that soon). Said CD will be kind of different from Tchaikovsky, you might say.) Several times I caught myself watching her fascination with the thing, and for a moment, I had such a rush of hope and happiness that I almost couldn't stand it. Or something like that.

The production prided itself on using all pre-professional dancers (apparently most academy-based productions will bring in a ringer or two when it's time to put on show like this). That was sort of endearing (at least half of the cast was made up of children not much older than Thandie). What wasn't so endearing was the use of canned music -- a money-saving choice, no doubt. I for one would have preferred (if no big band were available) to have had accompaniment by a wind quintet, say, instead of being occasionally able to hear shuffling ballet slippers over the sound of the recorded orchestra.

But I guess that wouldn't be "classical" enough.

Oh, well. 'Tis the season, mofos!