Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March is over already?

That was quick. This past month I kept busy with some music projects, and probably blew off a little too much day-job work, but hopefully that will come back when I need to pick up some more. We'll see.

About a week ago, DCIC had a fun show at Galaxy Hut with Altamira. I hadn't played there in a very long time. I think the place has changed owners multiple times since my last show there. Seems like they're doin' it right... it's still a fun place to hang out and hear music. Altamira was fantastic. Those guys have mad skills.

I spent this past weekend at Dance Place, performing with Daniel Burkholder's dance company, The PlayGround. It was a split bill with Jane Jerardi. The split bill concept worked really well, there was a nice turnout for both Saturday and Sunday night. Ginger Wagg was back in town to perform in Jane's half of the show - that's always good news. She did this really really simple, short solo piece that was quite effective, in my opinion. I've been working on this piece with Daniel's company for something like three years now. It's been evolving very slowly. I think this latest version is a bit longer than it should be, but other than that, I think this may have been the best version so far.

Spending the weekend at Dance Place was only mildly disorienting. We did Daniel's piece there (with Ginger, before she moved away) two years ago. I've barely been in touch with Jane in the last three years. On Saturday night, I talked to Lucas Zarwell for a few minutes in the lobby. I don't know how long it's been since I've talked to him. He's got a kid and got promoted at work and is all grown up and stuff. Not that he wasn't grown up before, but anyway, there was something weird about the whole thing. What year is it now? Ok, 2009. April of 2009. Got it.

I did my taxes, and it turns out that 2008 was a pretty good year for me, money-wise (relatively). I did lots more day-job than I had the two previous years, so it wasn't hard to beat my annual income from 06 or 07. Funny how it worked out, though... since I was totally broke after touring last spring with Joe Lally. So even though the year started out slow, it worked out well in the end. Mostly due to the fact that Cameron got me a nice consulting gig with her employer. Working as a sub-contractor for a government contractor is the secret to financial success apparently.

Now the important stuff: what are you doing tomorrow night? Well you oughtta be going to Solly's Tavern on U street for the big debut of my instrumental rock band, Reversal. We will math-rock you. Show starts at 8pm. We're on second, probably at 9pm. Get there early, our set is, um, short. But awesome.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A dream about scales

I recently started taking guitar lessons (again). That means I'm practicing every day now, including thirty minutes of playing scales daily.

Last night I had a strange dream about playing scales. The key of F had recently passed away. Apparently, musical keys were like people who were among us and then departed. I was setting up for a DCIC show just after F's passing and we wanted to play something as a memorial. The dream quickly turned into an anxiety dream where I was desperately trying to decide what scales I could play that would somehow evoke F, even though F was gone so I couldn't play anything in F. I never did come up with a good solution.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

February 2009

Cameron and I spent a week in Costa Rica, which was awesome. We were at a resort in a little out-of-the-way beach town called Montezuma. We lounged in hammocks hung between palm trees looking at the ocean. Monkeys played in the trees. It was ideal.

Work-wise, I had occasion to learn the basics of SQL because I got an interesting job from the Future of Music Coalition. The project was a preliminary study of the state of jazz radio in the US. We put together a database of playlist data and crunched some numbers. The findings will be released soon.

I started taking guitar lessons. It's been a long time since I had any formal instruction, and it's about time! Now I'm playing scales for 30 minutes every day. Fun. Too bad I didn't take care of this a long time ago.

I've been playing in an instrumental rock band for a little over a year. Progress has been steady, but slow. Now we have a name and a gig! The debut performance of Reversal (I'm not crazy about the name, but let's not get into that) is coming up on April 2nd at Solly's Tavern on U Street. Mark your calendar now. We will rock.

DCIC has been active. We had a fun show in Silver Spring a few weeks ago, at Kefa Cafe. Very small venue, but a nice turnout - and we were well received which was nice. I feel like we are often met with indifference, but that night there was an audience of interested listeners, which felt great. We're performing again soon - Monday, March 23 at Galaxy Hut in Arlington. We're opening for Altamira from Philadelphia.

The Low End String Quartet was awarded a "small projects" grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, for the purpose of developing a program that we can take to elementary schools. Now I just have to raise the rest of the money we need to do that project...

The Maryland State Arts Council "Individual Arts Awards" have been awarded, and I didn't get one. Again. Rejected for eight years straight. Awesome.