Thursday, November 18, 2004 at 11:15:08 (EST)

But don't forget it's me who put you where you are now
Freddy's Karaoke show is tons of fun, and dare I say, the bloggers present ruled the roost. This low-tech karaoke presents many unforeseen problems. Beyond the usual karaoke pitfalls of songs being out of your range or the muzakification of the music, it's often really tough to to know where the cues are. Karaoke screens prompt you to sing at the right time, and even give you a sense of the rhythm. Not so at Big Ham Karaoke, it's all up to Tony (the guy who patiently sits there with a laptop full of tunes) to conduct the proceedings and wave when you're supposed to start. He threw Josh for a loop when he kept signaling him to start the opening lines of "Under the Bridge" a phrase too soon. But luckily, starting the song over was just a mouse-click away.

There were a couple of ringers last night, people who might be professional singers, like Marlene who did her signature song, "White Rabbit" and a woman from Denmark who sang "Fever" and another song whose name escapes me. That's always entertaining, but what I think I like better are the folks who get really nervous and try to talk their way out of it once they're up there. The audience urges them on (in a friendly way of course), getting so worked up the singer either gains the needed self-confidence or realizes that after all the hubbub they have no choice but to complete the song.

Last night's show was a fundraiser for Develop, Don't Destroy, the main activist group fighting Bruce Ratner's lame arena plan for the neighborhood. Ratner's hype machine still talks about it all as though it's a done deal, which probably makes some people think the fight is over (the Bush administration also works along these lines). But the truth is, they still haven't won approval and things could still go either way. Ratner has even been quoted saying there is a possibility he might just keep the Nets in Jersey. Sounds good to me.

The ladies performed Ratnerized version of "Little Red Corvette" which included a bizarre spoken word verse I forgot this guy's name, but he actually sang a song of his own composition, also about the arena issue
Patti Hagan, one of the most active, uh, activists, finally graced us with a rousing "King of the Road" Karaoke Mastermind Tony at the end of the Bohemian Rhapsody finale

I couldn't find a song I really thought would be good besides "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League, so I made Heather do the female vocal part. We kicked that song's ass! As a reward for our efforts, we were given "Eminent Domain Abuse" stickers. Now, there seems to be some disparity when it comes to the prizes. There are t-shirts, buttons, stickers and of course the big ham, but there is no rhyme or reason as to how they are distributed. Well almost none.

Heather sang solo on "Superstar" by the Carpenters which finally gave us a chance to hear her sing without that choir holding her back. I don't think she noticed but a bunch of people in the back of the room were singing backup with her, but it was a nice touch. And when it came time to award the ham, Heather walked away with the top honors! Now, what's a vegetarian gonna do with a ham?

Posted By Jimmy Legs | Non-PermaLink

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004 at 14:09:22 (EST)

You don't see us, but we see you
How is it any of us manage to get anything done in this town? There's always so much stuff going on I sometimes long for the doldrums of Labor Day weekend, one of the few times of year nothing much happens. Then again we had that big BBQ this past Labor Day, but there's not a lot of stress in having a party. Anyway here's some stuff I may be doing in the next few days. Just imagine how busy I would be if I had any interests beyond music and amusing readings?

This week there's a full complement of stuff I'm trying to keep straight in my head. I already missed the latest WYSIWYG Talent Show last night. I thought those things were always on Wednesdays, but apparently I'm wrong. Tonight is another installment of the hilarious How to Kick People reading series, whose theme ("I am Not a Mistake!") is similar to that of WYSIWYG's (which was "You Can Go Home Again, But You Probably Shouldn't"). People like to get all riled up about their family around the holidays.

Tonight is also karaoke night at Freddy's. This is a fairly rudimentary affair, without the bells and whistles of a real karaoke joint. This means they don't have any video screens or synched subtitles; you get a lyrics sheet (if you're lucky) and you're on your own! They also have scripts from famous comedians that you can perform if singing doesn't suit you. Apparently everybody gets a t-shirt for performing, or a canned ham. But nobody ever actually takes the ham.

Thursday and Friday are both good nights at The Hook. Thursday it's USAISAMONSTER, Pterodactyl, Langhorne Slim, Books Lie, and Guns Fire Mayhem. Friday it's Electric Turn to Me, Gibby Haynes and the Jackofficers, Versus the Sun, and Klimpter. Are they still running shuttle buses from the Carroll Street station? Otherwise just walk. It's really not that far.

This weekend BAM is running a tribute to Jim Henson and the Muppets, screening just about everything the Henson crew ever did. Admit it. You love the Muppets. I know I do. I'm just sorry that I probably won't be able to get up for Sunday's 10 AM showing of Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas. At least I should be able to catch The Great Muppet Caper on Saturday morning.

And of course, Saturday night you can see Motico for free at the party where we shall perform. The lower-pressure atmosphere of such an event means we'll be able to do some of our more, um, experimental work. Yeah, it's experimental. Remember that when you see us.

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Tuesday, November 16, 2004 at 12:19:30 (EST)

These are the times that try men's souls
Hey, Motico just added a November show, at a loft party in south Williamsburg this Saturday! Check out the show details and try to stop by if you can!

Here at Chez Legs we like to keep busy with many divergent projects to keep us distracted until it's time for band practice. I'm trying to learn how to play the saxophone, which has been pretty frustrating for a couple of reasons. Having played clarinet for most of my life I mistakenly believed that the transition to sax would be a simple one. This was incorrect. Although the fingering is generally simpler and the embouchure more relaxed, when one has been playing the same way for over 20 years (!) it's tricky to get your mouth and fingers to do something similar but significantly different. The keys are more or less in the same position, but the notes are all different. Then there's the fact that I bought a baritone sax, which is like three times the size of the clarinet. It's heavy as hell and requires the fingers to really stretch compared to the clarinet. Also the sax's mouthpiece comes at you horizontally, where the clarinet is more at an angle. It all adds to up the kind of irritation that comes with having little patience coupled with the intense need to actually learn something new.

But I'm making progress. Buzz found a very handy online reference site, and I purchased a book that will become useful once I get used to where the damn notes are on this thing.

Meanwhile, Buzz has been hard at work taking tiny little electronic components and soldering them together in various ways. He's building guitar effects pedals as well as some other weird top secret projects. Building electronics requires work on such a tiny scale it baffles me how he can actually do it. It is reminiscent of Orr from Catch-22, who drives his tentmate Yossarian nuts because he is constantly working on a tiny gas stove. Every time he puts the thing together, it's not quite right so he disassembles it into a microscopic bits, and puts it back together again. He does this for like half the novel, when he's not purposefully crashing his plane into the ocean. So far Buzz hasn't started any such self-destructive behavior yet, but I'm keeping an eye on him just the same.

Meanwhile, Mr Bones and Hubcap are of course beehives of activity as well.

See? He's a very active cat.

The Thousand Yard Stare

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Monday, November 15, 2004 at 00:44:56 (EST)

Tossing and turning and freezing and burning
Lotsa stuff to report but no energy to report it. You'll have to just look at the pictures and piece it all together. Suffice it to say I hit the Chengwin Homecoming, the Mighty Robot show, the New Taafe dace party at Asterisk, and a choral concert at St. George's Church (one of these things is not like the other ...)

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Week of November 14-20, 2004

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