Monday, August 28, 2006

Cupcake, UpState, & Other Shows

Hi faithful followers of the cake,
I am reporting from the Scranton, PA library, so limited time. We arrived safely in Syracuse, as mentioned previously, and performed at the Empty Cup. Worth mentioning was the band The Scarlet Ending, composted of two talented twins who played guitar, keys, and violin (with outstanding vibrato I might add...I quit the violin after 2.5 years right when I was required to learn vibrato...vibrado? Crying may or may not have been involved). The drummer was also quite excellent, and the 3-way harmonies added to the whole mix.

We had a day to kill, so to speak, and leafleted at Syracuse U. We also saw An Inconvenient Truth and Wordplay while there.

Then it was off to play VegFest, under an overcast sky with threats of rain. Luckily we still were able to play, and I rather liked the outdoor venue experience. The breeze kept us cool (which balanced our inherant un-coolness out very well) and our hairs blew in the wind. We played there with a few bands, and I must say I was quite transfixed by
27, a band out of Boston playing rainstorm melody grooves in a cabin on fire.
We were also fortunate enough to sample a vegan mint- chocolate cupcake w/vanilla cream frosting created by (sweet teeth?). Very nice ending to a long, long day.

--mz b

Friday, August 25, 2006

Strawberry Shortcake, Boston, & NYC

I might just admit that this tour is really about cake from different regions rather than our band.
We did perform in Boston in a club with a similar feel to those located in Seattle's Pioneer Square, amongst sports fans and lovers of Aerosmith. Having the last slot is really underrated. I think it needs to be further underrated. We played at the Bulfinch Yacht Club, and the staff were quite nice. The bands who shared the bill with us were the Angelica Bombs, 1986 UK, and Fairmont. Playing shows involves a LOT of waiting around, so Rob and I have our trusty backgammon set. The problem is he accuses yours truly of cheating, while he is meanwhile moving his trusty chip 6 rather than 5. He contests this, naturally.

That night we drove onward to Rob's cousin's wedding in Vermont, and camped for a couple of days at Jamaica State park. The wedding was full of booze and love (they go so well together!) and we had a great time. slopes, but I wouldn't want to set up a permanent residence. I need a little trash in my landscape, a little dirt in my coffee. We went to the coop in Brattleboro, a nice place with tons of great sandwiches for the vegans. Kicking off the theme of uptight coops, one particular employee told us that because we purchased our sandwiches at the front register, we couldn't backtrack and eat in their seating area - we had to have purchased them there. I say, Vermont is infused with fresh air and hilly greenCan't we show them our receipt?!
To which she replies, importantly, NO, won't do, sorry, it's the rule. We go out the door and proceed to head right back to the seating area and hang out there anyway. What courage we displayed that day!

After Jamaica we headed to NYC which made me a little nervous due to never having driven with a 15 passenger shuttle van in Manhattan. We (Rob) pulled it fact, I saw a new Rob in this city. Gone was his normal careful and methodical driving style, and born was Rob the NY taxi. I couldn't believe the moves he was making with our van. Swerving in and out of traffic, cutting people off, not blinking a large eye at cars darting in front of us. Then the problem became where to find gas in the city since we were almost out and there didn't appear to be public parking. Chinatown was complete with gas ($3.20/gallon) so we put a little in to make sure we didn't stall on the Manhattan bridge or something.

In any case, we found our way to Bluestockings, a great activist bookstore/cafe in the lower East side of the city, and discovered they did not in fact have much food. Luckily, a vegan restaurant was next door and we ate there. On what we are now calling vegan row, we found Moo Shoes down from there and checked out the store we'd always heard about. Back to Bluestockings, which was now packed with about 60 people, and no extra seats, waiting to hear who we did not know. Since it seemed like a popular event we held on and stayed, somehow ending up in the front row when seats were added. Introducing the speaker was Calvin Johnson, who you know from his solo stuff and Dinosaur Jr. The speaker was in several punk bands througout the years and on Dischord Records (fugazi's label). He presented his new book, the Psychic Soviet, I believe, with much playing of the USSR's former theme music, if you will, upon a childrens' record player.

Onward to my cousin's home which we finally found in a nice brooklyn neighborhood with plenty of Italian families. We explored NYC in the next couple of days, treating ourselves to both Peanut Butter cake at the Atlas Cafe (3 stars out of 6) and Strawberry Shortcake with fluffy white frosting at Teany (Moby's Cafe) made by Vegan Treats I believe (6 stars, pic to come soon). NYC folks are very friendly and more ready than mapquest to give you good directions when lost. As a new band, however, do not expect to make any money, including sympathy money, playing the town. At the place we performed, each band must draw 10 people for their act in particular before making any % of the door. Sounds like a low number, but when you are unknown it is insurmountable. Again band order is critical, and we played right after the local act The Ordinary, who had drawn about 40 people, but these people were not going to stick around on a Tuesday night to see a band they didn't know. We also shared the bill with The UnTied States, a great band out of Atlanta who will be playing our favorite pub Joe and Jo's soon, so check them out. Nice fellas and interesting music, changes, etc.

Though the crowd was minimal, the sound at the Trash Bar was excellent, and the club is located steps away from one of the best lil' vegan fast food places, Food Swings. I had the "fish" sticks, and Rob had some sort of meatball parmewhatever sub thing. Quite good. The butterscotch soymilkshake was crazy thick and tasty, perfect after a hot day and before a show.

Before leaving NY, we went up to the ParkSlope area and explored the neighborhood. We were happy to find a "Food Coop" on Union because we wanted to buy a rice dream chocolate rice-cream bar. We walked in, but did not get far before accosted by the coop staff. "Hey! Wait a minute! You have to be members to shop here." We explained,
We're from out of town but are a member of a coop in Seattle.
That doesn't matter, they explain. You have to be a member of this one. We explain that normally coops recognize each other in other parts of the country, as part of their being COOPS and then they cut us off saying, "must be nice to be in Seattle. I'll have to go there." Not listening to us saying that it isn't just Seattle, this is a nationwide thing, they offer us literature on why they won't let us shop there and send us on our way. Luckily, we found a less militaristic "coop" down the road, where we made our purchases and left. We also found a great bookstore and bought a few used books.

We moved along to Syracuse, where we'll be playing at the Empty Cup tonight and the Veg Fest the day after tomorrow at 3 pm. My time on this computer is running out, so over and out for now,

=mz binge

Friday, August 18, 2006

Vegan Radio, more cake, & Brass Cat

The transmission fluid, not the brake fluid. A slight reddish color, a slow drip. We're all stocked up on fluid (thankfully it is a small leak) and ready for the rest of our trip (hopefully). There is a slight noise that occurs upon driving over bumpage, that I have determined to be an A flat, approximately, but the van still performs its essential operations: stopping, starting, and turning. Even reverse! (as a bonus).

Yesterday we began our day at Vegan Radio, run by the wonderful photographer Derek Goodwin and typically Megan Shackelford who runs Oh Sweet Mama's. Scott co-hosted the show in Ms. S's stead since she was on vacation. He was a very nice person who has not owned a car in 16 years. We all walked to a new vegan restaurant, Evolution Cafe. Needless to say, following a taste of OSM's lemon frosting cupcake delight at Cafe in Northampton, they are all my new vegan heroes (Derek & Scott for guiding us to the cupcake and Ms. S for making it). We also had chocolate pie.

Feel free to download the show by clicking the link above and then clicking on "download show" (the orange box). Or go to Not only will you hear our stunning interview ( was our first time on radio so we {I} were/was a bit nervous...), but Peter Singer, the infamous father philosopher of the animal rights movement, is also on the show. Amazing stuff folks.

After the show, and the cupcake, we headed to Northampton and flyered with the Even if You Like Meat brochures. Very effective and we found a lot of vegans there...some of whom had heard the show earlier.

Then it was naptime at what we thought was a park but it turned out to be a cemetary. Peaceful place to catch some z's.

Onward to the Brass Cat, where we shared a stage with 1986 UK, who remind me of the Dudley Manlove Quartet. Fun band and nice people...a good combo. We'll be playing wtih them again in Boston tonight...speaking of which, I'd better get going so we can beat the traffic heading there from Connecticut.

Signing off, and miss you all (well, except for you, and maybe you) ,

mz binge

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Brake Fluid & Cake

Greetings fellow inhabitants,

Well, BB has made it as far as the fine State of Connecticut with minimal incident.
Following DC, we drove up to Philadelphia, and parked on South street. We were determined to find Gourmet to Go, a veg restaurant reputed to have great vegan desserts. I found it, but it had closed up and had no sign of redirection. Luckily, upon further exploration, it was in fact open down the street, and we had our hoagies and tremendously huge slices of cake prior to the show. The cake was amazing...they made the frosting incredibly creamier than frosting I have made (see previous postings below). It was like a huge ball of delicious fluff. I'm not sure if that is a result of beating it longer or some secret ingredient I'm not aware of. The cake itself was rich and moist as my grampa's hankie.

After eating, we headed over to The Fire to take a nap in our van before the show. The club was located right next to the fire station, appropriately, so we had no fear of our pyrotechnics getting out of hand (did I mention that we added an act where Rob jumps through a flaming hoop?) That night we performed with Joe Jack Talcum (ex-Dead Milkmen), Kablammo, and 1986. We enjoyed the show and recorded most of it (except our own set). The staff at the Fire were extremely thoughtful and even provide an upstairs apartment for bands where email may be checked, the antique road show or other TV may be viewed, or the toilet/shower may be plugged/used. Thus far it has been the best-equipped club we've played. Though a house was offered, we parked our van in one of the band's neighborhoods and slept soundly. I was wondering what the upscale folks thought of us in our blue-curtained van, waking in the am in front of their well-tended lawns. But no one said anything.
We returned to Gourmet to Go and got another slice of cake for post-breakfast. We leafleted a bit at U Penn and walked around the campus there. Lots of trees and brick. Pictured here in this blog is the building on South street which an artist created and took mosaic to a whole new unbelieveable level. Sprinkles of this type of art are found on other buildings and walls of South Street as well. It completely transforms the area. You can also see an inner view of the courtyard below (the artists garden).

Onward to Trenton NJ, a city we are told not to leave our van unattended in. Luckily the club has a restaurant attached, and not only a restaurant, but a vegan place...I had "fish" & chips and Rob had "chicken parmesana..." (sp?). The food was delicious and we're hoping they expand to NC. Also pictured are Indianburn, a cross between Guided by Voices & Mother Love Bone (with MLB providing the dominant characteristics). Check them out! Prior to their act Come Dionysius performed...a Kurt Cobain w/curly hair and a little funk.

We headed toward Providence, RI the next day to visit Rob's dad a couple days. I made an amazing discovery that made life worth living again (at least for a day or two) - soy whipped cream spray! I had just been telling Rob, I can't wait for soy whipped cream in a can to emerge, and there it was in Whole Foods. We used it all up in one night and morning on our rice dream mint & chip ice cream and then in our lattes.

Onward to New Haven, where traffic held us up for over an hour. Our van started to make a clunky noise, or so we thought, when a man told us "it's your brakes probably!" We pulled over, and everything seemed ok so we continued without a tow. Rob discovered some brake fluid leakage, so we're thinking we need to tape that up somehow with whatever tape thing they use to keep brake fluid in. Luckily, Rob's cousin arrived at our show with a bottle of the stuff, and we arrived here safely.

Please note our matching outfits and Rob's new suspenders (available for $5 after the tour!)

The show went pretty well, Cafe Nine is a good establishment and the staff were friendly. School is out so the Yale crowd is missing but we had fun. Also performing were the Furors, a great duet that have been performing together for over 20 years.

I was complaining about loading in and out, disassembling, etc., when Rob's cousin pointed out that it only took us 21 minutes total, and we were going slow too. Ah, logic...I'll have to remember that next time I complain. Also, a very nice person that we had met at Veg Summerfest last year showed up. He works for the company Zaadz... check them out at It is like Myspace with a soul, he reports.
I need to sign off now...stay tuned tomorrow we'll be on Vegan Radio then at the Brass Cat later on. We're looking forward to it, now that I know loading is only under a half-hour....thank you everyone for your support!
--mz binge

Oh - PS - note to the Bull City BoardGames crew! Rob's cousin highly recommended that we consider the following games for BCBG's:

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thank you and goodnight!

What is is that is so intimidating about a start? All unproven and yet to be known. That is why those beginning life have more of a need to prove their part in it. This newness applies to all youth, not just those in age - new drummers, new job, anything yet to be experienced. This being our first tour (yes, I am getting to the point) makes one wobble with the instability of no foundation. Once we're proven, mistakes aren't as glaring, and can be accepted with part of the greater whole of experience.

And so I may apply these grand thoughts to our van. Hope it pulls through. The check engine light is still on, but we've made it to DC thus far.

Our show in can be summed up as the owner's comment before our set was through: "I think we're all done here." (insert delayed clapping here).
DC was great - if you get a chance, check out the band we played with, Airport Blvd - they are amazing (and I don't report that easily): We're off to our Philly show now, signing off...
mz binge