Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Confessions of the Starving Artist - 4/30/08 - SUPERBLOG
Peel back the layers of life
to our love
At the core of it
you and I fit like a glove
The SUPERBLOG. Last week for some reason seems to have slipped away from me as far as time for blogging goes. I set aside a small amount of time needed to write it and then some friends come over and the guitars come out and so it goes. My apologies to any one who has been looking for it.
The Starving Artist Cafe is a family of overlapping circle of friends. This is good. This is very good. Friday, April 18, Jules and some of the family came to visit. Julie Corbalis is a fine singer-songwriter whose lyrics betray a gentle, tender sensitivity, while her delivery reveals brass balls, if you will. She is charming to boot! She was joined on stage by her great guitarist JL (Jonathan Lloyd). She is many things at once and generous is one of them. She gave the stage to her Irish friend now living in Belgium, Pat Kelly. Kelly's songs were a treat. Witty and insightful. His voice is good, and his stage manner is humorous. It was a surprise fun evening and the family grew and the circles overlapped.
Saturday, April 19, my friend and legend (do I sound like Sammy Davis Maudlin?) Lou Volpe came to the cafe with his Starving Artist Jazztet. Lou has probably been in this blog series more than anyone. He is a very generous musician, sitting in and helping out others, including me. This, though, was his night. He was joined on stage by sidemen Fish on bass and drummer John Clay. Fish is the dream bass player, just a hypnotic groove right in the pocket. John Clay on drums is the same. These three guys are my dream band (but I can't afford them). Lou put these guys through all the right moves. Forget Hendrix! Forget Clapton! Forget Benson! This guy owns the notes and tunes of your very soul. A man in the audience requested a Santana song right after the first song. Lou is a jazz man but... Well, he said, I guess I'm taking requests and ripped into an unrehearsed version of "Black Magic Woman." Forget Santana! Volpe set this song on fire. I saw the man who requested it on his feet. I saw everyone else, including me and my staff, locked in a trance. Yeah. The whole evening just got better from there. Don't believe me? Come and see Lou Volpe's Starving Artist Jazztet. You'll forget everyone else. Look him up, he's got the creds to go with the sound.
Sunday, April 20, yet another member of the family came to visit. Peter C. North and his old Martin guitar played two hours of the American Songbook. He served these songs up deliciously grouped into categories, such as "the West." He seasoned his performance with a lifetime of knowledge and spiced it up with fun trivia about the songs. He includes the original introductions to the songs. Something you don't hear anymore. HE called to the stage a friend of mine Bob Adams to play the "alternative metallic diaphragm bass instrument." It was really a washtub bass. A washtub, a broomstick, and a length of clothesline was what he had there. Bob beguiled everyone with not only the spectacle of it all but also the amazing accuracy of his playing. At one point a washboard was handed out to an audience member to play. So what we had here was a jug-band party cooked up by Peter. Bob, I happen to know, plays many instruments and I hope we get to hear more from him on stage. Peter C. North wears many hats onstage anyway - an old straw hat, an oversized cowboy hat, why I've even seen him with a tea-towel and rope sing the "Shiek of Araby." A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. (My wife, Monica, regrettably missed Peter's performance; she was at Yankee Stadium at the papal Mass that Sunday. Read about her experience in her blog.)
During the week, my daughter Hannah was off from school for spring break. We wanted to go to the Central Park Zoo and the famous Manny's Music Store. Usually I drive into Manhattan and park midtown, and later we meet my wife Monica and go out to dinenr. I started to think that parking in midtown is now $40 and gas is probably another $10 and, if I don't want to take the Third Avenue Bridge and hit the bottleneck before 125th Street, I take the Triboro and that's $5 or so each way. That's $60 to go into Manhattan by car - before we do anything: zoo, lunch, shop, or dinner. The middle class in this country better wake up to what's happening here. Better start voting our best interests. 'Nuf said - and we did go to Manhattan, by public transportation.
Friday, April 25, 6:30 p.m. The room was filling up early. It could only mean one thing. The Starving Artist was giving away free caprese panini? No. No. Here's a hint - it was the last Friday of the month. That's right! (You are so smart.) It was Open Mic Night. Cover artists, songwriters, comics, poets, all in a row. Novices, pros, intermediates, all levels for all reasons. People love to come and watch and listen as well as participate. This open mic marked the return of my poet friend Alex. See him through that link to his MySpace and friend him. You'll get poems and they will make you think and feel. Welcome back Alex.
Saturday, April 26, at 4 p.m. we opened the doors on another art exhibition. This time it's the photography of my friend David Ramirez and and the pottery of Robin Kline. David's photography is very appealing, and Robin's pottery is the right blend of form, function and beauty. Both artists sold pieces that afternoon. And David Ramirez put together this slide show of the afternoon's event; click here to view it. Cheers!
Saturday night, Two Guitars. Kind of misleading. There are two guitars plus Brian Conigliaro and Gus Wieland. They make those guitars sing and they both sing and they both write. Brian plays blues harp like nobody's business. His solo on "She's Complicated" was as funky and jumping as anything I ever heard on any instrument. Brian also plays seven-string guitar. Gus plays the sweetest jazz and blues riffs. When they sang "Walk Away Rene" I was beside my self (make room). Go run and buy their CD. In fact, the new one comes out in time for their next gig at SAC&G, Saturday, August 23. I'm throwing them a signing party. I'll even buy the sharpie. Watch for the date.
Sunday afternoon, April 27. the anticipation for this performer runs great. Theresa Sareo is the "sweetheart of the Starving Artist." We all fall in love all over again each time she comes 'round. Not just me but the whole room full of people that come to see and hear her. Alright so she's sweet, and she's pretty, and we all get the warm and fuzzies but nobody can pack the vocal punch of this woman. She has a voice so powerful and crystal clear and she has such control over it that it's astonishing. I've heard many female singers in my life and I have never heard any one that can sing like Theresa. This should be enough to rocket her to the top but she's also a great songwriter. Hear her new song, "Through a Soldier's Eyes" on at Neil Young's Living With War Web Site. Hear it everyday. I'll tell you how powerful she is. She sang her original song "Take Me Down" with a voice from somewhere so deep inside her that I almost cried. I've been married twice and both women will tell you how insensitive a lout I am. And yet, there I was trying NOT to cry. THAT is singing and writing! She was supported by percussionist extraordinaire Ethan Hartshorn who also plays guitar and uke.
Look, I say a lot of good things about the people who play the place. You might say, "Well, what else is he gonna say, duh!" I try to maintain a standard of quality to the entertainment at the Starving Artist and still encourage the improbable, as they say. Ask anyone if all these descriptions are not true. Anyone who's been there will concur. I'm blessed with the best. Click the links to these artists and hear for yourself. Nothing will replace live music in front of a live audience. It is important to support it and all the arts.
The Starving Artist will celebrate its 11th year on City Island on Saturday, May 3. A history already exists on the web site so I won't repeat it here. I just want to thank you all. Come celebrate with us this Saturday!
Check the calendar; make reservations. Click the links to the performers. "Click on Glick" at Neil Young's Living With War Web Site and "click on Glick" (#94 - Bitter Tears; #98 - Baby This One's For You). Keep downloading my songs on iTunes, CD Baby, Napster, Verizon V Cast and others. Many have. My apologies to Bob, Mary Lou, Frank, and Cheryl for the late blog and for the cupcakes, conspicuous in their absence. Most of all, come in, and live right. Oh, and fasten your seat belt. It makes it harder for aliens to suck you out of your car.