Monday, March 27, 2006

Open Mike

A good night at the Folk Center. A big crowd that stayed big until the bitter end. A few people left, but there lots of people at the end of the evening.

Many talented acts also. Do and her fam brought her boyfriend-in-law to play one of his songs with them playing back-up. They had quite a band going with Jimbo on keyboards, Do on uke, Lins on sax, and bfil on accordion. It was a novelty song with a lot of one-liners crammed together and delivered in at rapid speed. Funny song. Talented bfil. Talented family.

Billy C played Space Oddity on his uke and was among the best of the night. He actually had a nifty little solo that he worked out.

Leemy C did a sad Dylan song. He's voice is getting stronger as is his guitar playing. He was good, but there's this kid about his age that also attends these things and performs. He's sort of attached himself to Leemy. All during Leemy's song he kept singing lines ahead of Leemy, who was trying to interpret the song. This kid was not loud, but could be heard. I guess when Leemy would pause he assumed that Leemy forgot the words or something. Hey, let the guy do his own song.

I performed Little Red Riding Hood, a song that I have been threatening to play for almost a year now. I made a couple of mistakes, but the crowd got spontaneously rowdy and didn't seem to notice. After my first howl, they started howling on their own. At the end, they started making random animal noises. I guess it's my new audience participation song.

The koto playing Chinese girl was there again. It's not really a koto, but the Chinese version of a koto. Similar, but maybe not the same. She was magic.

This one guy who sat in front of me kept making comments at inapprpriate moments that were meant to be funny but weren't and I wanted to tell him to can it, but it wouldn't have done any good.

So, the two high points of the night were Billy C in the first half and koto-babe in the second.

The Folk Center is sponsering a silent auction to benefit victims of domestic abuse. One of the items on the block is a ukulele with one free ukulele lesson. The ukulele in question is a cheap Mahalo. This tiny lady who is running the auction asked me if I would be the free ukulele lesson guy. I'm not sure. I'm afraid my first lesson would be to tell the pupil to go buy a better ukulele.

It's strange to me that the Folk Center wouldn't put up a better uke, like one of the flukes or fleas at least--or even a Sunlite. It's strange that they would invest money in what amounts to cheap toys.


vivage said...

Demand a better uke! It would be good if you did the benefit thing, maybe you can write off the value of the lesson?

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim said...

That was the most fun evening I've had in a long time! All the canaries did great, there were some very good musicians sprinkled through the evening, and no Paganini crash-and-burns!

About the auction, since she asked you to provide the second part of that prize, it can be argued that you are entitled to place the condition that you'll do it only if they replace the uke IN THE AUCTION for an acceptable instrument and not a toy. That way, if they accept it, you'd be able to give the lesson without telling the winner that their prize is disappointingly stingy.

It has always annoyed me that toy instruments often fail to correctly represent the instrument they look like. Cheap toy keyboards, for example, often have non-functional black keys. So, at the moment when they are likely to be the most receptive to learning about an instrument, beginning child players are being lied to, mocked by the shortcomings of the toy. Why can't they play accidentals? Or why won't their uke stay in tune long enough to find a chord? Not because of a failure of the learner, but because of the instrument. Yet it LOOKS just like a fully-functional instrument. Tragic and wrong, in my opinion.

I think that the same guy that was interfering with L. Canary's performance was sitting in front of me a a couple of months ago, playing random notes on his harmonica while others performed. Do finally asked him to stop. Rude.

Anyway, enough ranting. That was an awesome evening! If you come next month, you should get to see TV's Kyle and us (nee the Treehuggers, but some new name) present another original tune by Kyle.

Billy Canary said...


PS Luigi wants to be a Canary.