Friday, April 25, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 9

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

My beloved Apple iBook laptop computer has not worked properly for the last six weeks. I tried to get it repaired but there was no fixing it. I finally ordered a new MacBook that should be here by the time you read this. I feel like I owe the iBook a bit of a send off. It was my first-ever new-to-me computer and my first laptop. It launched the Buzzing Around Town column and started my freelance gigs for NUVO. The computer allowed me to do Second Helpings work at home and keep my life organized. I discovered social networking, blogging and the power of Google. I hauled that laptop all around the country and Ireland. Many nights I fell asleep with it at my side. It became a bit of a security blanket for me.

I’ve come a long way since I unboxed that computer over two years ago. For the first six months you could find me parked out side of the Newsstand or the Hostel at night, grabbing the wireless signal that wafted through the windows. I’ve become a better writer (practice, practice, practice) and a better photographer. I’ll remember the iBook fondly, just like my first record player, first car and my first apartment. But I can’t wait to meet the next version.

Chad Mills and Cliff Snyder
Second Friday, Second Helpings
Friday, April 9, 2008
The Upper Room

The thing about being computer-less at home is that the tenuous hold I have on organizing my life is stretched. When I write I build a nest around me. I like to have my resources close at hand. They include my black reporter’s notebook, a diet Pepsi, a calendar and Twizzlers at a minimum. I’m writing away from him, I gathered the soda and candy but managed to forget my notebook. So the upshot is- I loved the show, but cannot give you any details.

I’ve written about my love for Chad Mill’s music before and nothing has changed. I enjoyed his new songs and he played several of my favorites including Purgatory. His sister Megan joined him for several songs. They harmonize beautifully. I think that Chad is working on a new record, sign me up!

Cliff Snyder impressed the hell out of me. I’ve been listening to his CD and enjoying it, I was even more impressed with his live show than I was the first time I heard him.

Christamore House Guild Book and Author Benefit
Thursday and Friday, April 17 and 18, 2008

I’m a member of the Christamore House Guild. The Guild does amazing things and is a huge financial supporter of the Christamore House. I never thought of myself as a Guild type of woman. Of course, I was not quite sure what a Guild did, and I kind of thought you had to be blonde and live in Carmel. I was hooked on Christamore House Guild when I first went to the Book and Author Benefit three years ago.

The first Book and Author luncheon was held 28 years ago and supports the Frances Carter Coburn Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Fund has provided over $850,000 to 550 students from the city’s Haughville neighborhood.
This year’s authors were, Peter Carey, Hillary Jordan, Sue Miller, T.Jefferson Parker and Cokie Roberts. There was an author’s reception on Thursday evening. Cokie Roberts was not in town in time for this part of the benefit- the Guild was usurped by the Pope. The other four authors gave a little talk, mingled with the guests and signed books.

First time novelist Hillary Jordan has already won the Bellweather Prize for Mudbound. The award was founded by Barbara Kingsolver to recognize literature of social responsibility. Hillary was delightful and spoke about on the great work of the Christamore House. After hearing her speak, I went back for a second copy of her book. Don’t tell Mom what I got her for Mother’s Day.

Peter Carey has been called one of the greatest storytellers alive. His Illegal Self is his latest book and is set in New York in the 1960s. He is witty and charming. After hearing him speak I also purchased another copy of his book for a birthday gift.

Sue Miller latest novel, The Senator’s Wife is based on several of her friends of friends who have taken an estranged spouse in during times of sickness. She is teaching at an MFA program in California. I asked is she was getting to do a lot of great reading. She said that some of her students still needed to hone their craft. She was very gracious about her student’s talent.

T.Jefferson Parker writes about a modern Jesse James is his novel L.A.Outlaws. He lives in California and joked on Thursday night about loving the weather (it was 70 degrees that day) and the lack of earthquakes. He started his Friday speech thanking us “for making him feel at home with the nice gift basket and earthquake.”

The Friday luncheon was at the Indiana Roof. The event was a sell-out at 960 people. Vera Bradley gave each person an amazing book bag. It makes my canvas bags look a little plain. If you’ve ever been to an event at the Roof you know that they start the program with a faux thunderstorm complete with thunder and lightning. That just happened to coincide with the earthquake after-shock. It was very exciting!

Cokie Roberts spoke about her book, Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation. She talked about the women that helped shape our nation and the surreal experience of joining President and Mrs. Bush in greeting the Pope on the airport tarmac in New York earlier in the week.

Friday, April 18, 2008
Punkin Holler Boys
Gary Wasson + Cara Jean Wahlers
The Historic Melody Inn

My timing has really sucked lately. I worked late to make up for being gone three hours for the Book and Author Luncheon. I totally missed Gary Wasson and Cara Jean Wahlers set. I did hear that they’ve settled on a name for their duo- The Breakups.

I did get to hear the last couple of Punkin Holler Boys show. They sounded great and had everyone playing attention. They left us all, especially me wanting to hear more.

I was admiring the cool flyer/maze/artwork reminding folks that The Punkin Holler Boys play the third Friday of each month. It is a really piece of art…except the gentle poke at singer/songwriters and coffeehouses in the corner. As it turns out it is the art work of band member Jon Sheets. Is there no end to his talent?

You can see them again at the Melody Inn on Friday, May 16th.


Wayne Bertsch, the very talented artist behind the Barfly Comix featured in NUVO started a Music Scene 101 series last month. The first installment gives great suggestions about getting publicity for your band. Have a professional looking press kit, including a band biography, a press photograph and a demo CD. Write a press release if you have a special event coming up. It needs to cover the basics: who, what, when and where. Don’t forget to include what time the gig starts and how much it costs. Make sure you have the information available at least three weeks before the show, and the sooner the better to meet deadlines. You don’t need to do anything fancy or spend a lot of money. You can have all of that stuff available on your MySpace page, and email a link. I cannot tell you how many times I start to write about a band and cannot confirm names, venue information or hear bit of their music. Having basic information available goes a long way, especially for someone like me that writes in her spare time, as a hobby.

I got the perfect promo packet in the mail last month. It was sent in plenty of time for me to listen to the demo several times and the basic information was printed on each piece. They used labels, genius! They included a three song CD, a photograph and a postcard/flyer for the show. Each label included the band member’s names, contact information, a blurb about the band, release date of the album, date and addresses of the gigs and listed the bands joining them for the CD release show. I’ve been bragging about how clever it was for weeks, and I’m sure it didn’t cost them much money. So in honor of best promotional material I’ve ever received….

Eisenhower Field Day
Friday, May 2, 2008
CD release extravaganza
LUNA music
5202 N. College Ave
6:00, free, all-ages

The Melody Inn
3826 N. Illinois St.
9:30, $7 admission includes CD, 21+

I first heard Eisenhower Field Day at an in-store performance at Luna a couple of years ago and remember really liking them. I made a mental note and didn’t do anything about it; it was before I started writing about music stuff. The band is made up of Noah Butler (guitar and vocals) Holly Butler (bass and vocals) and Phil Kitchel (drums and vocals).

Their new record “Tyrants and Spies” is fantastic. The trio sounds bigger than three people. Beautiful harmonies, melodies, smart songwriting and enough rock to be truly called power-pop. The fact that the cover art is by one of my favorite painters, Kyle Ragsdale is just icing on the cake.

The first of their CD release shows will be an acoustic in-store performance at Luna Records. If you’ve never been to an in-store at a record store it is a perfect way to get a taste of the band. The record store shows are all-ages so bring your children. Your teenagers will think you’re cool, even if they don’t stand anywhere near you.

They play a plugged-in show at the Melody Inn later that night. The line-up includes the bands Hey Hey Melodica, Win With Willard and an appearance by The Naptown Roller Girls. I have a feeling that all of the cool kids will be there.

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