Thursday, September 25, 2008


Black Cat EspressoWell, back from Chicago. My brain feels less comatose than it did when I first got back. I love the Old Town School of Folk Music, the location of FMC's Chicago event. Being there reminded me quite a bit of working at a dance school during college and having to thread my way through little kids in tiny tap shoes to get to my office. Trip and event were good and I was proud to have been a part of it.

We stayed at this wacky bed & breakfast, complete with pottery collection, photographs, collections of all sorts, and great breakfasts. The website makes the place look straight-laced, but in person it's more like The Real World should've been housed there. My photos here.

I caught the end of the second day of the Hideout Block Party - wished I'd seen more. I enjoyed Ratatat, who on stage weren't the same band that I have on cd; they were much better live. Saw the beginning of Hercules & Love Affair's set, but it didn't seem like the right timing or venue for them. DJs belong in sweaty, crowded clubs - not in half-empty parking lots on Sunday night.

As to the event, I didn't see more than 10 minutes at a time, but I gotta go check out some of the releases by the Numero Group. They had great stories and I would've loved to have let them keep talking! Also cool to meet Dave Harrell, proprietor of Digital Audio Insider, a smart, well-written blog about making money making music.

Anyway, before, during and after all that, diversions have been the name of the game:
Burn After Reading. Well, I wish it could've decided what sort of movie it wanted to be. Dumb guy comedy? Political thriller? Hmmm. Decide and all else shall follow. Without that fundamental question answered though, how do you make all the rest of the decisions?

Top Hat had some of the best dance sequences I've ever seen on film. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' "Cheek to Cheek" is a masterpiece.

Darjeeling Limited was navel-gazing but oddly affecting. I was sceptical at first, but by the end, I bought it.

The director's cut of Amadeus was a perfect slow quicksand of tragedy and left me wanting to violently wipe the smirk off Salieri's face.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Gorge

Professionally, I've always been a jack-of-all-trades. I've liked it since doing a little of everything saves me from boredom. However, the downsides are that a) it's hard to sell cohesively on a resume b) you're never quite qualified for any specialized position and, c) you're forever qualified for more similar positions at low-paying non-profits where they can't afford more specialized people.

When I took the Events Organizer job at FMC at the beginning of the year, I didn't think much of the future, only that it got me out of an assistant gig. Then we decided to have three events in the coarse of two weeks in two different cities this fall. It'd be an understatement to say that there's been a learning curve. I've had lots of help and I'll certainly do it better next time. But interestingly, I haven't felt ill-equipped for the job.

Most definitely, over the last six weeks or so, it feels like my world has gotten progressively narrower. I work. I sleep. And everything else gets third billing: eating, friends, running, whatever.

However, the unexpected part of this narrowing focus of my days is that while my world has narrowed, it's also gotten deeper. That's because a lot of the parts of my jack-of-all-trades experiences have come into play and they make more sense within the context of this particular job. All that that random stuff that's crammed into my head has coalesced this summer into a job and I've learned more about all of it along the way.

Learning so much so quickly has felt sort of like that dog sticking his face out the window of a car on the freeway and having to turn his head at times because sometimes the onslaught of smells is just too much. But notice he keeps turning back into the wind to get more? That's been me. And it's been fun.

Anyway, if you know any musicians in Chicago on September 22 or New York City on October 6, please send them the links to our websites. These events will be a great chance for musicians to learn more about making a living making music in the 21st century and some of the policy issues that affect the process. Come on out and and pack the house!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Moving On

My Morning JacketMy old boss Jenny once made the point that you shouldn't spend your time on the platform making the other side's case for them. That idea came back to me while watching the speeches at the two conventions. I know the Dems like to take the high road (and I love 'em for it), but that tack presumes there's honor in this season of silliness.

I had planned a comparison of the Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain speeches, but Cindy McCain only gave hurricane relief messages. Thank goodness there's less of a need for hurricane relief than initially expected. As for that other woman on the campaign trail who's unwittingly bringing new meaning to the word "sexist," I can't deal with talking about her anymore.

To add a necessary dose of levity to my life, I've been watching the first season of How I Met Your Mother. What took me so long? I heart Neil Patrick Harris.

Since I'm congenitally incapable of decorating, I'm in mild awe of Apartment Therapy. Boing Boing, however, hipped me to the Fish 'n Flush. Rad. Huh?

Caught My Morning Jacket this week at D.A.R. Constitution Hall. I've never understood what the big deal was with their live shows. I get it now: Jim James has scads of charisma, he's overflowing with the stuff. I couldn't stop watching. I still left an hour into the show since it's been long days at work, but was glad to go. I was curious that there weren't more hippy types and that there so many gray-haired folks. It was also definitely a night of bromance. I love that word.

I wrote about Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone a few months ago. This morning, I came across this NYTimes Magazine article about social networks and how they've changed as a result of Twitter and Facebook. The article in some ways could've been one of the chapters on the 21st century that was missing from the book.

How could I not smile?