Stuck

Last week I was crazy sick, but it gave me the chance to guiltlessly watch a ton of movies which I found somewhat inspiring in a few ways. Howl was pretty great. Some of the things I’m writing for Delicate Armor are graphically sexual, so it was cool to see that I am not alone in feeling guided to write about these things. Thanks Alan Ginsberg!

This video from Laurie Anderson grabbed me:

I just got a copy of the George (not Michael) Trow book she mentions in it, I think it’s going to help give a more universal vision to the ideas I’m writing about right now. I have all of these personal experiences to illustrate this idea that I am getting at (which I still can’t put simply into words) but this book feels like an extension of it. I’ll read it tonight.

She talks about the idea of individuals having lost their ability to be themselves because this middle ground– the space that once existed between an individual and mass media– has fallen away. This is really close to what I am writing about in terms of my own experience, but reading this book will give me a deeper experience of this idea. SO hard to put any of these thoughts into words, which is, I guess, why I am feeling drawn to illustrate them with stories and music.

All of that said, I am feeling super fearful and discouraged about my writing in this moment. I can’t seem to move forward and I can see in my behavior that I am finding any excuse to avoid writing, which puts me in a state of panic about not getting this stuff written in time so then my inner critics stop buy to ask me who the fuck I think I am to try to put together something like this anyway. They are assholes like that. I’m going to up the meditation and the inquiring of lady voices and stay open to receiving what is next to write down, but…ooooh lawdy! I’m afeared today.

 

 

Digging In The Dirt

I switched my writing focus this week to the last chapter of Delicate Armor (that’s still a tentative title). It has to do with my mom and the experience of caring for her this summer while she was dying. I guess it would be more accurate to say that I switched my focus to avoiding writing this part of the piece. I got a touch done, but it is so hard revisiting that time. I am really afraid of digging in. A little bit of progress there, but I want to make bigger strides this week. I guess I just have to accept that this is going to be hard but it has to be done to create this piece the way it needs to happen.

My friend and colleague Daaimah Mubashshir came over yesterday morning and I ran through for her what I have finished on the piece so far. It made all this feel real in a cool way and also highlighted for me how much work I have to do in order to get the show where I want it to be for my reading in April. Daaimah is going to serve as a dramaturg for the piece which excites me so, and I am just thrilled to have another human who believes in what I am doing here. I’m finding it really hard to get people engaged with what I am doing, but I think patience is what I am really lacking. My intuition is telling me to just keep it up with the sharing and the audience will come.

Karma and Blue Shirts

Our ATTACK.WAV show at Cameo Gallery Saturday Night was so much fun. The venue was really great, sound was superb and the bands with whom we shared the bill (little,big and Uncle Monsterface) were nice as hell. We were all being so nice to one another and then commenting on how nice we all were. It’s been a long time since I played with a rock band and I forgot how much I love it! It was a great night.

I had an interesting realization about my self-promotion skills/fears/ignorance that was inspired by the show and the fact that none of my friends showed up. My first thought was hurt feelings and pissed-offishness, which then morphed into thoughts of “if I can’t even get people to come to this band show, they’ll never come out to my solo show, therefore I shall jump in front of this oncoming train.” Slowly I realized that I have to work much harder and much more directly to get people to come to things. Not to mention make sure I am keeping my show karma in check by showing my face at my friends gigs. I am okay about that, but I’m feeling really motivated to be the guy that always shows up for his friends.

The other spot I missed was connecting directly with people to tell them I wanted them to be there. All I really did was post about the event here and on my Facebook page. I think it’s like they teach you in CPR class. You can’t say “someone call 911” because then people will assume that someone else is going to do it. You have to say “You in the blue shirt, call 911.”

It’s scary and awkward and feels so egotistical to self-promote, but I am going to have to get over it, I guess, as I pursue solo-artistness and I am still feeling guided in that direction, so here we go. Fumbling through as best I can. Learning and connecting along the way.

My writing for this past week has been mainly centered around a piece of the show that is tentatively called “Mango.” I am continuing to hunt down string players to perform with me in April and I have set up a preliminary meeting with my director, Adam Fitzgerald, to go through what I have written so far and see what is missing and what needs to go. In so many ways I am excited about validating this work by bringing others into the process, but there are those critics in my head screaming “YOU CAN’T” at the top of their imaginary lungs…to be honest, I still believe them about 75% of the time but there is some willingness and hope propelling me forward and I am so grateful for that.

Onward…

Oh, I posted a new podcast this morning over at mikeypod.com, an interview with Katie Mullins. Please check it out and let me know what you think. She’s a peach.

 

 

Mocha-Champa

Champa Moore came by my studio last Saturday for some experimentation and Ableton Live chat. We worked together at an iconic Houston coffee shop back in 1992(ish) and hadn’t seen each other since then. Through the powers of Facebook and the fact that we both live in NYC now, we managed to finally get together. What resulted was a quick run through of each other’s workflow followed by some inspired improvisation. Here’s a sample from our first jam:

Champa + Saw

Champa composed percussion and sampled sounds from his own body, then manned the APC40 while I improvised on the digital piano. I wish we had videoed this. Kinda funny to see the two of us squished back in my tiny space. My mind was blown, especially when he started tweaking and looping segments of what I had just played. The collaboration was magic and we are gonna do it again with hope for a live set at some point. So fun.

My ongoing collaboration with Misty Roses brought me to Joe McGinty‘s Carousel Studios in Greenpoint yesterday. We recorded Robert Conroy’s lead vocals along with some backing vocals by Anna Copa Cabanna for this cool tribute single we are all working on. The session was great and Joe’s studio is chock full of vintage synths that were so cool to check out. Dinner with Robert and Anna followed during which time I fell in gay love with Ms. Cabanna.

In podcast related news, I posted MikeyPod 164 which features an interview with Corey Dargel. I caught his set at (le) poisson rouge this week, too. Brilliant. I’m so looking forward to his new album.

This weekend promises lots of quality time with my ATTACK.WAV bandmates as we get ready for our gig on January 19th (check out the shows page for more info on that) and mouth related healing as I am having my last remaining wisdom tooth extracted today. Send love.

 

 

 

twenty thirteen

This is my year. I have declared it so. I am writing. I will be performing my original work, starting with a work in progress performance on April 17th at Judson Memorial Church’s legendary Magic Time (perhaps you’ve noticed it mentioned on the new “shows” page of this site).

As this piece reveals itself, I am getting closer and closer to being able to define or at least give a name to this type of work I am doing. Piano, stories, synths, sounds, and static. Maybe it will have a name soon.

This year holds more work with ATTACK.WAV for me, along with some new projects with Robert Conroy and Misty Roses.

Join me, won’t you?

 

 

Zen Palate

Last night I found myself with about an hour to kill before a 9:15 meeting in Hell’s Kitchen and decided to run by Zen Palate for something to eat. I almost always go there when I am in the neighborhood. I have such fond memories of sitting at their counter during my first year in NYC. I didn’t really have a problem eating alone when I moved to New York, but now It’s a required skill. I’m often roaming the city alone with hours of hungry down time to kill between events, eating alone just happens. And it happens frequently.

Last night, however, I hesitated and almost didn’t go for the oddest of reasons: my phone battery was about to die.

That’s the interesting thing about dining out alone. I always want to be busy with something else. Some activity that says, “I just happen to be eating while doing this” instead of “I am a perpetually single, unloveable loser.”

5%.

“Just go eat.” I said this out loud as I wove through meandering tourists on 8th Ave and headed West. How bad could it be to just eat and be there alone?

It wasn’t terrible, but when that screen shut off and I was left facing an empty chair, a plate full of sesame medallions and the two page program from my friend’s (decidedly brilliant) one man show as my only companion I that the time had come to admit it:

I was alone.

I mean, I already knew it, but it hit me then how hard I try to avoid acknowledging this fact throughout the day. Text messaging my way down the sidewalk to the train. Facebooking a photo of the dinner I just made for myself. Searching #walkingdead while watching TV. I spend a lot of energy pretending not to be alone most of the time.

About a year ago (honestly, I have no concept for how long ago this was, but that sounds good) I was heading to Zen Palate in a similar situation (minus the exhausted phone battery) and there was a reasonably hot guy eyeing me on the street. I was flattered but kept moving, as I am want to do. Goddess forbid I should let anyone know I am even remotely interested. I went inside and sat at the counter and when I glanced outside, there he was. Cute. He stood there and I goofy smiled and then looked away. Then down at my well-charged phone. I looked up again and he was still there! Then back at the phone. And….

gone.

I don’t know if I was expecting him to just stand out there in the cold all night waiting for me, but I was a little offended that he was gone. I know, right?

So last night I faced that same window and kept thinking that he might come back. What? The thing is, I didn’t really expect that he would–not even in the slightest, I mean…come on. But still, every now and then I would see a person hesitate by the window and my heart would kind of jump and I’d think, “There he is! That one guy that thought I was hot enough to stand outside of the window and cruise me even though I looked way more interested in my iPhone.” There was something really sad to me about seeing myself like this.

I need a Kindle.

rephrase

I can’t share the now finished short film “Rephrase” yet, but I can share the trailer. So excited to see my music used in this film. I loved the process of working with the creators of the film to write something that fit perfectly with their vision of the film. Any random folks out there who need music for something like this, just say the word. I’d love to do it again! This is my music you hear in the trailer.

into action

“Shadowing” had its first public performance this past week at Dixon Place and I am so delighted. I’ve been talking about and visualizing this move from “pianist-and-sometimes-composer” to “solo performer”for quite a while now. Though my energy has been used appropriately in terms of writing new material and rehearsing it, it wasn’t until I woke up Friday morning that I realized that I am now doing it. Right?

I’m going to put that piece on the shelf for now and get to work on a new one, it’s such a little embryo, I don’t think I’ll even mention more about it than that. I want to dive into some video work for this one though.

On the gear front, I bought an Akai APC40 last week and I’m having visions of improvising more er…. imporvisationally with Ableton. Still learning more and more about this brilliant software and so excited about it. I have a couple of pieces of music in the work for various other projects.

Life feels good and I wanted to check in. I have a video of the Dixon Place performance, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it yet. Once I do, I think about sharing it. I’m really thinking, though, that this work isn’t ready to be seen in such a permanent state. Allowing it to exist in the memory is perfect for now.