Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tour complete; Back to Real Life

It's now been a few days since the end of my two week tour with Joe Lally. I think it may have been a strange dream... I got to play music with Joe and Ricardo every single night for two weeks straight. Did that really happen? Yes, I think it did...

The last few nights of the trip were strange, in different ways. The DC show was odd for Joe, he said he was nervous about it - playing to a room full of people he really just wanted to sit and talk to, rather than be on stage playing songs. Turnout was a little bit lighter than I expected, but there was certainly a nice size audience and the set went just fine. Ricardo was disappointed with his playing that night, but Ricardo on an off night is still pretty awesome. Philadelphia was a strange one because it was an early all-ages show at a venue in an odd neighborhood. A 7pm show on a weeknight feels odd to me, but we had a roomful of people listening - and they were there to listen. Very quiet. The soundguy was very stoned, which made me nervous but he did a fine job. There was some unfortunate lighting at the end of the show - and then we had to hustle and get our gear out so the club could switch over to DJ night which began immediately when we were done. Baltimore was strange too. The club recently moved into another club. There was a dance party upstairs and booming bass rumbled the room where our show was going on. This proved to be distracting, but not an insurmountable obstacle. In the end, our final show felt anticlimactic. I made a handful of mistakes which seemed extra frustrating since we'd been playing together so intensely for weeks - I thought I would've been able to get it right. Then we said goodbye and that was that.

Returning to home life was abrubt - and wonderful. I am eating about four million calories per day now. Hopefully that will get back to normal. Home cookin' rules. Vegan desserts are also nice. We made asparagus lemongrass risotto last night for Cameron's birthday and it was mighty delicious. I'm a little bit jet lagged. I had gotten onto a late night schedule and now it's back to the land of the workin' folks. Except that I need to find me some work now... which is strange since I'm as busy as ever, only I'm not getting paid for most of my work. I have a batch of grant proposals to write, so hopefully that will bring in something later on in the year. But that won't help me get out of debt now.

I got some great news yesterday: I had applied for Creative Capital, which is a very competitive national grant program for individual artists. Turns out I made the first cut, and I've been invited to submit a full proposal. This is very exciting. But now I need to clear a few days to sit down and get the proposal done.

I'm also supposed to be working on a new piece for the Source Festival. They set up a series of "interdisciplinary mash-ups" (their term, not mine). I'm performing in early July with two dancers: Laura Schandelmeier and Stephen Clapp. (What an exciting mash-up! Music! and dance!) We're supposed to create a new collaborative work that is 15 - 30 minutes in length. If they sell 60% of the tickets to our three performances, I will get paid about $300. That means we need to create this new 15 - 30 minute piece in approximately zero hours, but I suspect this will not be possible. Especially since I would like the piece to not suck. Not sure why I said "yes" to this gig. Probably because it was by invitation only, so I was all flattered to be invited. I am such a sucker.

Now I'm also supposed to be finding another day-job because I owe Cameron a bunch of money for our household bills over the last few months. When I am actually going to work at this new job is a bit confusing to me at the moment, but I guess I need to figure out how to make it happen... because I really need the money.

This new as-yet unnamed day-job also needs to be fairly flexible. Joe invited me to do some more touring in September, and Step Afrika is supposed to hire me for some work in the fall as well, so I might be a full-time musician again in September / October. For a little while anyway.

Relationship-land is going nicely. I was worried about how touring would play out, with Cameron stuck taking care of everything at home while I was out having fun and not getting paid enough to cover my share of the bills. Money aside, I think we were able to discuss the various issues that came up and not have things get ugly at all. Realistically, I won't be touring much at all in the near future since I don't have any road-ready or seaworthy ensembles at the moment. Maybe in 2009 I should get the Low End Quartet out of DC to start building audiences elsewhere, but we'll see. I probably have to hire a whole set of new players for that, so it seems difficult, if not unlikely. So, I think it's actually much simpler than I had feared. I do enjoy living at home, in a house, with only one other person (and a pet). I do enjoy having a car, and a yard, and health insurance. Since I'm not really in a position to even try to make a living as a touring performer, the real issue to be solved is only money. What I want for myself, and what Cameron wants for herself, in terms of creature comforts, are really pretty similar. There's only so much lower I'd be willing to drop my overhead expenses... so I don't think there's going to be any conflict there.

Being away only helped to highlight how much I miss being at home. Even though I did reaffirm that I'm a sucker for acknowledgment and validation, I also reaffirmed that I'm super lucky to have what I have at home and I don't want to trade that for anything...

Now to figure out that money problem...

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