GOOD OL' MONKEY GRINDS THE TUNE
It's actually been a good week for me, despite the horrible tragedy elsewhere in my country and even if workwise it's been nothing spectacular, a lot of busy work and catch-up. Finished "Yoga Girls," did some rewrites on "Send Me My Best Regrets," and did a ton of mailings of submissions and queries and the like. Yesterday (Thursday) was a great day where I met with a woman who may sign on to be the artist for 12 Reasons Why I Love Her. She's new, but she's really good and had come highly recommended by a couple of heavyweights. Weirdly, she lives three blocks from me and we clicked on a lot of things, like our cats, Audrey Hepburn, Pulp, and Suede (though she is the first person I've ever met who is a fan of the band and calls them the London Suede; I'll have to fix that)--meaning there will be no communication problems. So far, we understand each other quite well.
Then I saw A.J. & Kevin from the Backstreet Boys outside their hotel. I laughed at how old they looked and at all the blonde girls spying on them from cars parked up and down the street.
Yesterday also saw me e-mailing Wesley Stace to tell him I liked his book and send him a link to this place. He wrote back this morning to tell me he was in Portland and he was playing tonight (Friday)! He was on tour (as John Wesley Harding) with the Love Hall Tryst, the vocal group he recorded Songs of Misfortune with. That album is a companion to the novel Misfortune, and the songs feature in the narrative. They are done in a Rennaisance ballad style, often a capella. Some are Wes' originals, some are based on traditonal ballads, and one, "Joan of Arc (The Ballad of La Pucelle)," is Leonard Cohen Cover.
Naturally, I got myself on the bus and got myself down there. Karma seems to be sticking with me, as I purchased the last seat, and any that came after me would be standing room only. I had the second volume of Scott Pilgrim with me, and I am happy to report it's as excellent as everyone says it is. Believe the hype!
The show was nearly three hours and contained multiple sets. The first was the "opening act," which was essentially the three performers--Wes, Kelly Hogan, and Brian Lohmann (Nora O'Connor is on maternity leave)--trading the stage to do their own songs (Wes did "Miss Fortune" from 1998's Awake, which is the backbone of the novel, and the amusing "Goth Girl" off Confessions of St. Ace (2000); someday I'd like to say the latter's lyric, "I'm gonna kiss the lipstick off your mouth," to someone). The second set was mainly stuff from the Love Hall Tryst, with an interlude where Wes did material off of last year's Adam's Apple album, as well as some covers and his excellent retelling of "Hamlet" (available for download from his site). He also did one of my favorite songs of his, "The Red Rose & the Briar," from his first album (1990). "Sleeper Awake" was another a standout, as was "Sussex Ghost Story."
For the encore, Wes took another short solo set before closing out with the Love Hall Tryst. He started the segment doing another cover, an obscure song by Alan Davis (a compatriot of Cat Stevens) called "Little Black Dog." Apparently, it has always been a favorite of Wes', but he always found it too moving to sing without losing his composure. But given that the story of the song is centered around the narrator befriending a stray dog in New Orleans, with lines about the rain turning the streets to rivers and urging people to be kind, Wes felt compelled to finally perform it. The song was incredibly moving. If he can, he should record it and offer it as some kind of charity download on iTunes or somewhere.
The show closed on an up note, with what was dubbed a "punkapella" version of Songs of Misfortune's "Jack In the Green." They actually ran through it twice, as Wes' antics and constant interruptions to explain things had thrown the flow off the first time. Of course, his jumping around the stage disrupted the second perfomance more, with Hogan giggling her way through half her lines. It was hysterical.
I spotted who I am told really was Colin Meloy from The Decemberists in the audience (coming in late and leaving early, no less). It was hard to be sure because half the guys in Portland look like Colin Meloy. The other half look like Corey Lewis The Rey. And then there's me...
And tomorrow continues the bright trend with 2046 on the big screen.
FURTHER HURRICAN RELIEF LINKS:
* I donated a signed copy of I Was Someone Dead to the Brian Bendis Message Board auction. You can bid on it here, and check out the other stuff they're offering.
* My friend Jennifer de Guzman is offering installments of her unpublished novel Dead Links on her journal, and asking people to donate money in return for reading it. She's amazingly talented and worth the money. (I honestly felt a little weird about my recent request for tips on "Yoga Girls," since it was the next day that my e-mail began to light up with pleas for aid for the hurricane survivors. Needless to say, I've found the money to donate, actually exceeding the amount I've received on my own, lest anyone think I'm incredibly self-centered.)
* The ever-hilarious Go Fug Yourself girls have created a large compliation of various efforts to raise money. Get the info here.
Current Soundtrack: John Welsey Harding, Adam's Apple; The Editors, The Back Room both discs (an Interpol copycat band already?!)
Current Mood: optimistic
[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich