Monthly Archives: May 2010

Paul Hartman’s Update on Dirty Linen

In the comments section of my October 2009 interview with Paul Hartman, I was informed of some unfortunate changes that came about for the musical publication, Dirty Linen. Today Paul gave us an update himself in the comments section, but in case some of our readers do not read the comments, I thought it best to make this a standalone post as well. Here’s a direct link to Paul’s update.

Given the DIY foundation from which the magazine began, I’m hopeful the Hartmans have plans to move forward at some point soon in some capacity. Or as they put it at the end of the post: “Time, it will show the wiser.” I’ll try to keep folks posted. My thanks to Paul for the update.

Fran Snyder on Concerts in Your Home

Concerts in Your Home

A couple of months ago ConcertsInYourHome.com (CIYH), the largest and most active community of house concerts on the web, released its 48-page House Concert Guide and 2010 Calendar. As noted when the calendar was released: “The booklet is available as a free download, and hard copies are free for a limited time ($4 for shipping is the only charge.)…The guide, written by Fran Snyder [CIYH founder], provides all the basics for launching your own house concerts series, or simply hosting one show. It also shares tips and suggestions for experienced hosts to get the most out of the experience – how to engage your friends to attend, how to prepare for the evening, and how to attract the best talent possible.” The main goal of the website (which sports the fun motto of “Living rooms  were made…for live music”) is to connect musicians with house concert presenters.  I recently got a chance to do an email interview with Snyder about the guide and CIYH in general.

Tim O’Shea: When and how did you come up with the idea for CIYH?

Fran Snyder: At the end of 2005, my wife and I were contemplating another move (Texas to Kansas – for her job) and I needed a break from the gig-chasing rat-race. I had recently performed my first house concerts and was smitten with the idea of doing them on a regular basis, in different parts of the country. My online research turned up so many dead-ends and out-of-date information, that I decided someone needed to fix the problem. Someone, (me,) had to create a place where house concert presenters could form a community, inspire others to participate, and allow professional, talented artists to connect with them in a simpler way.

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Depression & Genius: David Foster Wallace

I recently interviewed a creative talent who was kind enough to be painfully honest about his struggles with depression. For every person who successfully tackles depression, there are some folks who despite their best efforts (and various  attempts to support them, through counseling or medication or other forms of treatment)  fall victim to crippling depression and choose to end their life. This September it will be two years since the writer David Foster Wallace committed suicide after battling depression for more than 20 years.

I’m just one of many folks that respects Wallace’s intelligence and lament his passing. He gave a hell of a lot of himself on the written page.  I was recently reading his thoughts on life, which he boiled down into a commencement speech, (and which later became the 2009 book, This is Water). Consider this thought on page 48 of the book.

“Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education, least in my own case, is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualize stuff, to get lost in abstract thinking instead of simply paying attention to what’s going on in front of me.”

I have to mull that one over for awhile. I may need to hang it on my wall.

I really have nothing else to say, except that–hey, if you know me–and if you’re ever suicidal: Please don’t. I’ll miss you. That’s not an effort to be glib on my part. I hope that someone in my circle of friends remembers that I wrote this sentiment, when they’re feeling overwhelmed. And if you have someone in your life that battles depression, support them. It can be maddening for all parties involved at certain points, but it’s amazing what a little simple moment of caring can do. We can’t stop all suicides. That’s impossible. But maybe if we all pay attention to what’s going on in front of us, we might help someone that we might not otherwise note.

Watching Jimmy Fallon Live with Jimmy: Initial Reaction

I’ll fully admit, when I found out Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was teaming with Ustream.tv to allow viewers a chance to watch Jimmy Fallon view a night’s episode of his show from his office, I was intrigued. It seemed to me a perfect variation on what the former Mystery Science Theater folks do with their respective (be it Cinematic Titanic or Rifftrax) incarnations at their live shows (via satellite at neighborhood movie theaters).

Unfortunately they need to rethink their execution, based on the first night. My problem with it, the audio from the Ustream feed was muddled–not because of Ustream’s technology but because Fallon had filled the room with his Late Night staff (too many folks, honestly). Few of them are used to being on TV, and some of them were on the verge of mumbling when they spoke, others speaking at the same time. I think it would work better if Ustream provided a screen in screen shot–with the actual NBC show in the corner, while the Ustream stays as the dominant screen. Even better, Fallon would be better off inviting three or four staffers to do the Ustream show, rather than the whole staff.

I still like the core concept, I just hope they improve things based on moments that worked (when Fallon pulled out a custom made guitar, using stained-glass, which lit up as he mock played and the whole staff sang the old WKRP in Cincinnati theme, for example). I’m willing to give it a second try, with hopes for a more enjoyable experience.

Coming This Fall: I Want My Google TV

The web on my TV, the ability to search my TV like the web. That’s what Google TV seems to be. And I cannot wait to see if the reality is as good as the hype from today’s announcement. In the meantime, consider this promo video to find out what has my pop culture mind so interested.

Of course, I realize the irony that this will likely make me want to watch TV even more than I already do now.

Peter Bradley Adams on His Music

I first became aware of Peter Bradley Adams‘ musical acumen back in 2005 when he was one-half of the musical duo, Eastmountainsouth, and one of the duo’s songs was featured on the Elizabethtown soundtrack.  More recently, Adams has pursued his solo interests, including (as detailed at his website)  “Gather Up, Leavetaking, and his most recent, Traces, in October 2009 on Sarathan Records“. If you’re looking to get a taste of Adams music for free, you’re in luck as currently Amazon is offering a sampler of three of his songs here. He’s currently back in the studio, recording his next release–and has established a Kickstarter page to collect funds for it. Before getting into the interview, one last tip–Adams will perform live on WUMB (Boston, MA) next Wednesday, May 26,  at 2pm. My thanks to Adams for his time and Sarathan’s Marc Ratner for helping to arrange the email interview.

Tim O’Shea: Over the past several months, your songs have appeared on CBS’s The Mentalist, WB’s One Tree Hill and ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. What do you think it is about your music and/or lyrics that makes it so clearly appealing to TV producers?

Peter Bradley Adams: I think the producers for those shows are just looking for the right mood from a song. And of course lyrics that fit but don’t describe the scene too literally. And I just happened to have a few songs which fit the bill and got in their hands at the right time. I’m lucky.

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Out Today: Claire Small’s How Do You Like Love?

Claire Small/How Do You Like Love?

A few months back, I interviewed Claire Small–as she was in the midst of recording her new album, How Do You Like Love? And I am happy to say that the CD was released today. Small was kind enough to send me an advanced copy of her new release–and I love it.

It’s more than just Small’s songwriting and voice that draws me in. It’s her guitar work–it’s David Boyle’s wurlitzer–it’s Matt Esky’s bass and so much more–the whole musical package.  You can buy the CD at Freedom Records website, or via iTunes or Amazon.

Bummer: ABC Cancels Better Off Ted

While it was widely expected and a surprise to no one, I was bummed to learn that Better Off Ted was canceled by ABC (as noted by Entertainment Weekly‘s Michael Ausiello). The show was well-acted, superbly scripted and scheduled horribly by ABC. How could the network that kept According to Jim alive for so long give up on this show so quickly (OK two seasons is not quickly, but it was too damn quick for me).

To observe the loss of a great show, I share with you a snippet from the Racial Sensitivity episode where Veridian installed a light sensor that did not recognize African-American employees. In this scene the employees try to confront Veronica, their boss. Enjoy.

You’ll be missed Better Off Ted.