The acoustic session began with my favorite Peasant song, "Icy Deep" from an earlier release, Fear Not Distant Lover. Its haunting lyrics are like a memory bank of images and feelings / Something sharp has cut my blood out, there's my blood now, there’s my blood now /. A special treat is "Tough" an unreleased song. Tough? This song is so tender it melts your heart away. / So many love songs unheard /
Welcome, Mr. President
I take pride in America. Yes, with all its faults, it is still an exciting and vital experiment. The inauguration of Barack Obama, our first black president is proof. At last, African Americans can see a reflection of themselves in our president and his family. For others, it represents the welcome evolution of our experiment.I am a white female who lived through the sixties and still harbors that enduring spirit of change. Idealism and hope were the longings of my youth. They were shattered with the realization that the powerful prevail and corruption is embedded within the system. Cynicism took hold, and frustration ensued. Slowly I saw change move forward only to be set back.Our youthful ideals can bring to fruition the changes in our thinking that will affect our society and culture. Collectively each one of us volunteers through our deeds, making a conscious decision to get involved in some way. With the unison of spirit, we, the people, can take on the challenges that await us.
This inauguration is about the spirit of hope and change. It is a spirit that can capture the imagination of the possible. Together we can activate the tides of hope and change with a common purpose and vision for our country and the world.
On Saturday night The Lisps concluded their two-night stint of Futurity the Musical at The Zipper Factory. Presented was the music, lyrics, and book by César Alvarez lead singer, and in collaboration, Sammy Tunis lead female vocalist, Jeremy Hoevenaar, bass guitarist, and Eric Farber percussion, all members of The Lisps.
The Lisps are a vaudevillian art/rock folk group. They maintained the essence of their music within the context of a musical. The sophisticated lyrics and Old Timey songs mixed with artfully inventive instrumentals were highlighted throughout the evening, making this night of theater unique and never cheesy. Only The Lisps could perform smart, intellectually verbose lyrics, acrobatic wordplay, and sound so light, airy, and entertaining.
The vocals combined the talk-sing approach that The Lisps are so good at. He sings, she sings, and basically, they have a conversation through song. César's penchant for the fast-word rant is remarkable. He played his guitar throughout the production, and in the upper loft of the theater were the remaining members of the band Jeremy Hoevenaar and Eric Farber and guest player on organ Kyle Forester. Farber fashioned an incredible drum kit assemblage of found objects. The twelve-member chorus of actors and musicians included the general Sam Kulik playing trombone and sergeant Elias Orling on banjo, rounding out the robust sound.
The seventeen-year-old mathematician Ada Byron Lovelace's life changed when she met the 42-year-old scientist inventor. His plans for an analytical engine inspired an exchange of ideas and a fruitful collaboration. In a series of letters between 1842 and 1843, the pair collaborated on seven notes. Her notes detailed how the machine could be programmed to compute a complex sequence of numbers. She is known as the first computer programmer.
Composer and now playwright César Alvarezchurns history upside-down with lyrical inventiveness.
César Alvarez's music, lyrics, and book take creative license with historical facts. He wove the correspondence of Ada Lovelace, a mathematician (played by Sammy Tunis), Julian Munro, a fictitious Union soldier in the Civil War, and an aspiring science fiction writer (played by César Alvarez) into song.
His inventive play spars between a writer's romantic notions and a mathematician's logistic concepts. Inventively he explores the juxtaposition of the envisioned possibilities of the all-powerful machine with the inevitable tides of war. Their altruistic visions are crushed along with the hopes of a promising future. Alvarez creates a black comedy with much room for contemplation.
“Oh the Spoils”Oh the spoils, the increasing mind can sketchFeel like de-fragmented points of turning back.Oh, the toil that the body will forgetThrough the callusing industrial design.
The Director, Melissa Firlit, does a fine job seamlessly staging the fifteen-member cast. The chorus of soldiers with muddied boots and war-torn uniforms are both men and women, adding a more diverse flavor to the vocals. Like a hat trick, they change into white coats, remove their caps, and don some glasses to become zany caricature scientists. They respond with over-the-top comedic dialogue to the scientific notes of Ada and grandiose visions of Jules displaying a geeky academic elitism.
The unveiling of the "all-powerful machine," a combustible contraption looking like a marvel of the futuristic assemblage, was the essence of the finale. The machine explodes and bursts into flames while simultaneously, the soldiers die on the field. This cemented the moral of the story told.
"Gravestones”Gravestones don’t knowThey mark the fallen teenagersStolen from Earth in a moment of flames.
Futurity marks a passage between the past and present. As we witness the technological revolution, we are always aware of cataclysmic events and impending wars that threaten our future. Yet we still hope and marvel at the visionaries who forge ahead and envision the impossible.
The young and talented cast only highlights how valuable the arts can be in mirroring and invoking thoughtful opportunities to understand where we are and where we are heading. I hope Futurity The Musical finds a home so that others can appreciate all it offers.
Kudos to The Two Man Gentleman Band for doing a fine job performing as the crowd was seated. Kicking off their five-month tour of the US, Andy Bean and Fuller Condon played lively old-time music interspersed with kazoos and witty dialogue. Their gentlemanly ways are a throwback to another time.
David Dondero Visits Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. This great video session features David Dondero playing some old and awesome new material.“There are four songs in this Tiny Desk Concert — listen to them all. Then tell anyone in love with true wordsmiths.” Bob Boilen NPR“Dondero’s songs compel me to cry, smile, laugh, and snicker concurrently. I often feel like he’s one of my family members as I affectionately appreciate the self-deprecating and sarcastic nuance of his humor and tender sweet nature of his being”. OCM 8/07
Set List: "We're All Just Babies in Our Mama's Eyes," "Rothko Chapel,""It's Peaceful Here""In Love With the Living and the Dead."Listen and See
The Lisps debut of their musical Futurity will be at The Zipper Factory this weekend on Friday and Saturday night. I am sure this ain't no typical musical. After seeing them perform at CMJ, I was blown away. They are smart, edgy, and entertaining.
"The foursome creates quirky cabaret folk-art-rock whose vaudevillian staging augments their stellar sound. They combine great vocal arrangements with off-center instrumentation. The guitar, bass, and drums are combined with snippets of melodica and spiced with eccentric percussion accents like the banging of a soft mallet on a metal cabinet or hammer on a drum kit."OCM 10/08
Futurity: It is about a Civil War soldier corresponding with a mathematician and writing a science fiction novel about an inventor creating a steam-powered artificial intelligence that he believes is the hope for humanity.
Luke Winslow King opens the show on 1/9
Two Man Gentleman Band opens the show on 1/10
I am not a Broadway kind of gal but off off is my kind of thing!
See you Saturday! tickets
This summer, I had the pleasure of seeing Viking Moses with Golden Ghost at a garage show. His travels took him to the Midwest to record Daytrotter Sessions. Accompanied by Laura Goetz(Golden Ghost) are four free download tracks. You can hear the voice and lyrics that got to me that cool summer night. Daytrotter Session
“His low voice can be soft, emphasizing his storytelling, but he brings songs to life with dynamic hard-core vocals that project a Missouri drawl of soulful fervor.” OCM 8/08Garage show review