Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Beloved Binge is Sleepwalking and Bull City Vegan Challenge

Bull City Vegan Challenge! Thank to the Herald Sun for the feature. Thanks to DL Anderson for the press photo!

Beloved Binge has been playing in our practice room-style...excited about experiments and new songs and bouzoukis and loop pedals. We hope to emerge sometime in the winter when the bears are hibernating.

For now, Eleni Binge has been involved in the October challenge -- hope you can make it out for the month of October to vote on your favorite dishes. Like here if you want! Also stay tuned for two screening announcements.

Bull City Vegan Challenge

Promote Your Page Too

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Careers and Touring

Rob on WQFS with members of Mr. Free & the Satellite Freakout & Silver Bullet in the background.

For the past eight years, though I've been working, it has been largely part time since '02 when I left HR management to travel with Rob for six months, and, following this, formed Beloved Binge in '03.

Since '06, we've been touring every year and have met so many different bands and musicians that I cannot keep track of them all, except for our CD collection, pictures, and of course my spotty memory bank.

We have, however, made friends throughout the US which I refer to as band cells. It's a tight network of people that you can call on when you need something in their town and vice-versa. Just last week we received a CD from an Omaha musician we met on our '08-'09 tour, and we regularly keep in contact with another guy in Ohio we met at WE Fest in Wilmington. And more.

The band we played with last night, Mr. Free & the Satellite Freakout, knew the space we played in their hometown, Tucson, as well as the band we played with. There is little explaining.
I can tell ya, there is nothing like finding good people and knowing you have a cell.

I cannot think of many other situations where you meet up with complete strangers, hang out for 8 hours (or overnight) trade music you both made up, then part until you may or may not share the floor/stage again for months or years to come in maybe a different city. Another great thing about touring is you get to visit people you care about and have QT, which makes it a fun way to tour and travel.

Now that I'm looking for full time work again, I am going to miss being on the road for extended periods. We're still planning on regional tours and of course can take vacation to tour. Somehow this feels different than giving up stability to barely sustain yourself, then to meet others doing the same thing. What other career asks you to commute 200 miles, load and unload heavy equipment up stairs or in the heat, play for 30-45 minutes to, at times, three people, load out again, stay and watch others, then, a few hours later, accept $0 - 50 divided by 10-15 people, then maybe sleep on a floor? This job description requires a unique mix of perseverance, hope, and imbalance.

Speaking of, Beloved Binge have one more mini-tour coming up in August. We're excited to be playing with L. Brown Odessey again, this time in Charleston, SC, then returning to Club Drink in Myrtle Beach. After that, we're not scheduling anything for the Fall so we can develop our new songs and release our fourth album. We're taking our time. It's going to be Bouzoukied all over the place and we hope you will find it playable.

In the meantime, we're excited to announce a split 7" -- OK -- not announcing it officially yet, but more to come.

Back to last night. We played in Greensboro. Starting out our evening we met members of the three other bands and drove to WQFS radio for an on-air appearance around 5 pm.

As one of the members of Mr. Free asked on air, "Is anyone going to ask why this man is wearing a toga?"

Following the radio show, we went out and ate a falafel pita wrap with Danny of the Raving Knaves. We first met Danny when he ran house shows at the Elam House, and we played there back in '07 or '06. Super nice guy who does sound and used to be in Boxcar Bertha.

The space we played CFBGs is a small gallery with an awesome foosball table. Lately I've been challenging people to random tennis and mini-korg duels with little to no hope of actually winning. It was in this spirit that I trash-talked both a random attendee and a Mr. Free band member then challenged them to a duel. Though victory is important, it is not critical.

That night Mr. Free & the Satellite Freakout began the show with a foaming from the mouth singer who posed in strange statue positions for parts of songs:

Following Mr. Free were the Raving Knaves, popped driving without a license punk:

We played next, then closing the night was Mr. Toga with his band Silver Bullet.

I'll be posting videos soon on

In the meantime, it's onward to the job boards.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

May Hem Minestrone

Binge & Beloved at the Raleigh Marijuana March May 1st after our show. Akin to Seattle's Hempfest.

If May were a soup it would be minestrone -- lots of little beans and grains. This month finds Binge and Beloved engaged in many different pursuits and activities. Except not skydiving.

Picture taken by the awesome Jeremy of Effingham.

Rob Beloved debuts with Joy in Red this upcoming week on May 19th at a house show (songs & info here). I'm not just saying this as Ms. Beloved: JIR are simply amazing. Something about the combination of Matthew of Sequoya's banjo + mountain screams and Rob's guitar glued together with longtime musician but newer drummer Mike Wright (Cairo & Byproduct. He also recorded, mixed, and mastered the songs on MS) makes JIR powerfully rich and, I think, lasting.

Fittingly, the group began on our porch as an acoustic jam of Rob and Matthew, interrupted at 1:00 am only by the incessant honking of a neighbor's Aunt (who later returned and did a 'drive by honk' to spite us). The first output incorporates as much mountain (Lazareth's Mountain) as 'hood (Mama's Milk). Invite.

This moment finds me typing in Weston, returning from our first show in Athens. We played an early show at the Go Bar with Black Balloon --

and Brer Paladin.

I'll be uploading videos soon at my
Youtube channel. Though there were more people who arrived late for the Karaoke following our show (no comment) we enjoyed playing and meeting the kind Chris of Black Balloon. He was so sweet that he offered us money to film his show the next night since our show was less than profitable. How awesome is that?

It seems to me, though, that touring, especially new cities, is initially about the hand shake. There is a power to in-person that cannot be recreated online or from a distance. Only in the showing up, half the battle according to Woody Allen, is something planted for future return harvesting (it's Spring, so forgive the banal gardening analogy).

Even with low-turnout shows in new cities, you get to meet both venue reps and/or bands, they see you play, you catch their show, they talk with you. Typically, we've found, that it is in these meetings that future arrangements for better shows are created. Or just call me Polyannabinge and continue to sulk over these sad shows.

In addition to the hand shake, we got to eat at the infamous Grit, which has outdoor seating convenient for dog-traveling. My favorite thing about the Grit are the wide and delicious selection of vegan cakes. However, I've been off sugar for almost a month excepting the Rosetta's controlled lapse. What's a gal to do? Sometimes pictures speak more than words.

I shared.

It was only one slice, but per Beloved, he noticed an increase in temper and irritability. Is a study accurate when only one person is the participant, and the other the evaluator? According to my college statistics course, not so much, but in this case, I'd say Beloved has a solid study finding. In addition to a black eye. Kidding! Later on she had chocolate almond-milk ice cream bonbon truffles.. Quiet Beloved! They were new products and had to be tested!

Tonight we're playing and screening in Charlotte at a nice place called Pura Vida. But first it's off to the Leeanne-recommended Zizi's -- which boasts my *dream menu* and is exactly what I'm talkin' about when I'm blabbering for the 1,000th time that Durham needs a 'down home cooking cheap eatery' for the veg & veg-option wanting community.

In addition to Rob's show on Wednesday, Beloved Binge's first show in Chapel Hill for a loooong time is this Thursday at the Reservoir. We're so very happy to be playing with our favorites Ponchos from Peru out of Wilmington, as well as Actual Persons Living or Dead. Come check out the show! Invite. Hosted by Rod Serling.

This week Binge Cafe will host a friend from DC, participate in outreach at the APS walk for animals and, the next day, the Bull Days of Durham, and take part in the Cleveland Holloway first ever Block Party organized by the awesome Catherine of Midtown Dickens. We'll be BBQ'ing and hanging out on Primitive Saturday after 1 pm.

Speaking o' outreach, if anyone of you wanted to give Rob a present or me (just because?) you can most certainly and happily do it through this event we're participating in, where we have been transformed into Team Triangle. Your $ will go to an org that works at reduction of suffering most strategically, philosophically, and effectively -- an org we would leave our house to in the event of death. See our team profile here, complete with Syba adorable-ness, and donate a few bucks if you can! Your donation will be good for at least 10 birthdays/holidays.

At the end of the month, we're heading down to Wilmington to camp & play WE Fest, and annual festival of mostly DIY bands from all over the US taking over the Soapbox and other nearby stages in the city. At $1 per day, the fest is one of the most affordable around for 12 hours of music. That's like less than .10 per hour. Cheap!

In addition to part time work, I continue to work on compiling & writing Tales of a Greek Father and setting up screenings (locally) of Seeing Through the Fence.

In the book category Rob is reading Edward Abbey's Monkey Wrench Gang, and, to keep with the animal-title theme, I am just about finished with Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, a highly entertaining and accessible (as well as devastating) read about the state of our current food industry as it pertains to the raising, transporting, and killing of animals for food.

He writes frequently about our forgetting and remembering, critical to sustain the current factory system. I encourage anyone to read it who cares about the treatment of animals. I know you do.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Touring and Prioritizing

Free Electric State release: Caress

First of all, we're super excited to be playing the CD release party for Free Electric State this Friday 4/16. We'll be at the Pinhook, starting at 10, followed by A Rooster for the Masses. The Facebook invite. We saw FES recently at the Cat's Cradle, opening the show for Deerhunter and Schooner. They were amazingly good. Nick's melodic guitar sentences channel the Pixies, and Shirle's voice reminds me of one of my favorite singers BITD Carrie Akre (Hammerbox, Goodness).

A few weekends ago we headed to Greensboro to play at the Flat Iron with Pinche Gringo & Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands. Pinche Gringo was a one-man band prior, and still retains a foot-operated snare he trades off with the kick while playing guitar. Here he is live:

Crystal Bright are new. Flippy did not fully capture their sound (or sight) but :

We returned to Greensboro a few days ago, this time to play with Bart of Invisible's newer project Workday/Schoolnight.

He's got a series of thrift-store tapes that he uses to dub into the mixes. Here he is in action:

We also shared the bill with Cassis Orange, one of whom will be moving to Durham! The drummer is based out of DC.

Here is a short video:

After our Greensboro show, we headed to Boone to leaflet. Boone students were incredibly nice and I met a professor who is interested in hosting a screening next Fall. We're planning on largely staying home and touring NC and surrounding states primarily. I realized that we'd been all over the country, but hardly screened Seeing Through the Fence in NC at all. Silly. I'm mapping out all NC colleges and universities now. If you know any professors who might be interested in screening the one-hour version for their class, let me know.

We also stopped by Asheville, primarily to leaflet, but arrived later than expected and were rained out. Lucky for us, Rosetta's awaited and we ordered a variety of foods you see here -- vegan mac & cheese, mashed potatoes & gravy, tacos with soyrizo, and a tempeh reuben.

If comfort food were a mattress, we bought the memory foam. I'm avoiding overt sugar like cupcakes, but just in Durham. Since the strawberry cake did not reside in Durham, I allowed myself a small discretion and ordered a slice. To my credit, I left about one bite uneaten, and shared it with Beloved.

After our eyes bigger than stomach meal, we decided to take a walk around Asheville. On our walk, Syba stumbled upon a friend.

Since Syba has proven to be smart through a battery of tests conducted due to some sour rumors began by our good friend Joe (tests consisted of a tennis ball, bowl, and me), we assumed she knew her friend the pig was brass.

It's common knowledge that dogs have a great sense of smell, but this sense must be super-power strong if she's picking up any scent here:

We'll be having that Santa Claus talk with her, "There is no brass butt..." etc.

After Asheville we headed to Cullowhee, to leaflet the next day. Due to several rock slides, parts of 40 was closed and it took us a heck of a lot of U-turns to find our way to this small town.

The next day, on our way to Knoxville to leaflet and play a show, we passed through several small towns including Gatlinburg, TN. I had no idea that hidden in the Smokey Mountains was a tourist trap including the spinning wheel of DEATH.

Fake Wheel of Death! (Based on real Wheel of Death. It keep on turnin.')

I'd rather be on that wheel than in a Tourist Trap. But it did seem like a fun place to spend a few hours, kind of like a guilty pleasure book/show such as the Three's Company episode I watched the other night.

Death simulations aside, it was a beautiful drive, but we had to stop once to let Weston's brake pads cool off because they were smelling like burning plastic due to all the hillly ups and downs.

I did have time to prioritize while Rob drove. I've been a bit overwhelmed lately both with all of the projects I'd like to start and other daily interferences such as email and Facebook. At one point I had decided to minimize my distraction exposure by creating Facebook Fridays. Translation: only checking this time-zapper one day a week.

The problem is, as a person managing a band and film, staying in regular contact is part of the guacamole dip. But with the charming alliteration, like Meatless Mondays, it's hard to resist the idea of Facebook Fridays. It might see it's day.

In any case, I took the time to list the projects I'm working on and would like to begin, prioritized them all, then broke each into smaller tasks as suggested by time management professionals. This way, when I start work on something, I make sure it is in the priority category.

First priority is screenings of Seeing Through the Fence combined with leafleting/activism. After seeing all of the investigative footage coming out lately, including this, it's hard not to take some form of action.

Once complete (though priority #1 will be ongoing), I can move on to the next project. For instance, one project I'd like to start is a series of tour stories from bands, compiled into a book entitled Breaking Down: Stories from the Road. But that's priority #4 right now.

Another project is a series of interviews, kind of like a talk show, from our porch (both literal and traveling porch). But this is later on the list as well.

Beloved Binge also has a lot of new songs, and it has been two years since we've released an album. Nevertheless, this is priority three. My preference is to wait until we have even more new songs so we select only the best to appear on the album. We'd like to release our fourth album on USB flash drive and vinyl. This time around we'll be shopping around for some help once we figure out how to do that. It'll be DIY + help. The help we need is filtering. A sifter.

Second priority after the documentary is a project I began even before my dad died this past September, a biography/memoir called Tales of a Greek Father. I have a collection of Dad's writings about his childhood years in the village of Pirgos, Greece, during WWII and the Greek Civil War, as well as his experience shipping over to Canada in the 60's then opening over 25 restaurants in the US without credit.

There is also another priority, a restaurant project that is currently top secret! But I'll dish soon enough. Which brings me to this blog: priority number 100. You can see I'm doing a good job with this.

We spent the next morning and afternoon at a park named after one of our favorite bands, who ironically, we missed due to our Knoxville show. The park must be low on funds for editors because they misspelled it:

Knoxville is trying to be known as the most dog-friendly town, so we heard, and this was carried out in many off-leash dogs rampling about in the fields and encircling river. Syba dipped and ran, repeat.

Then we were off to the Pilot Light for our show. The area reminded us of Seattle's Pioneer Square.

We'd been trying for some time to get a show at the Pilot Light, but never succeeded in getting a message back. I tried phone calls (old fashioned!) and emails (but never faxes). It occurred to me that booking a show is very much like launching a military offensive. As booking person, you are the General and the enemy is silence.

This in mind, I saved my best weapon for last, a smattering of Facebook inquiries to Pilot Light page administrators until someone emailed me with a date. Some might consider this stalking; we call it strategy. But it would never work with Facebook Fridays.

In any case, the Pilot Light army are super-nice and we were happy to meet many of them at our show. As Anne from Cantwell, Gomez & Jorcan predicted, things in Knoxville start late, but we were on early.

The Pilot folks kindly let us start later, but there still was not much of a crowd. We were fortunate that a press contact I had emailed came out to the show, the publisher of Blank News. He will be writing up our show in their next issue. He also told us about a festival we should play, called Big Ears, saying we were two weeks too late this year since it happened in late March. Bands included The National, Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, & the Dirty Projectors. Luckily, he said, it sounds like they will be putting it on again next year.

Sharing the bill with us were Soft Opening (from Asheville):

...and locals The Sniff:

And video:

We rolled out of Knoxville around 2:30 am and headed home. Asheville on the way means another stop at Rosettas, but this time no cake.

Beloved Binge will be playing some Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, and Durham shows this summer, but otherwise no tour plans beyond NC for a few months at least. It's nice to be home to focus on writing new material, improving existing material, work on other projects, and watching the yard explode. But camping in parking lots will be missed, too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spontaneity and Nudity: Our trip to SXSW to play a film premiere afterparty

Not to worry, there are no pictures of nude BB to be found in this blog. You can keep reading.

As you may know from our last blog, BB was invited to play the movie premiere afterparty of “The Weird World of Blowfly” at SXSW. Though we hadn't booked a tour around the event due to it being later-minute, we managed to get another show in Houston, and were up for the adventure, like pioneers heading West, but also South.

This was one of our rare 'tours' without Syba. Perhaps feeling the guilt, Rob bought Syba a "Big Bite" before we left.

Guilt diminishing, Rob played keep-away. But not for too long; our girl's got clever chops.

Also before leaving, Rob plowed our back and front yard, then went Little House on us and built a fence entirely made out of our old willow oak tree (pictures of fence to arrive soon on Sloping Band House).

You might be wondering what I was doing while Rob played, plowed, and posted fences. I planted a peach tree then helped plant a vegetable garden in our front yard (starters courtesy of our neighbor Tyler). I also Judged the fence. (It was Good.)

Feeling all Green and gardeny, we set off for our riduculously far gas-guzzling not strategic mini-tour to Austin, driving until Birmingham. As Rob can be somewhat “protective,” I'll call it, of who drives Weston, I offered to and did relieve his tired gas-pedal foot alternately.

In Birmingham, we visited with the friendly, sweet, intelligent as all heck Keith, a Physics student we met at my screening last year. After leaving the screening last year, I kicked myself, mentally (hurts just like the real thing) for not interviewing him. He has an amazing story, which I taped this time around using Flippy (flip video) on his porch, and will be posting on a new series to be announced shortly.

But first, we met up and all leafleted Samford University, and then, we headed to the Bottle Tree to have some delicious vegan food including peanut butter pie.

Keith and Rob outside the Bottletree in Birmingham.

This establishment is also a venue ½ run by one of Man or Astro Man? I believe. We'd like to play there next time. As we ate, the song In Our Talons by the Bowerbirds came on and we felt like home.

After hanging out with Keith and interviewing him on his porch, we went onward to Houston, driving fiercely and madly toward our destination only stopping for fuel. Weston began to make a noise near his rear foot, which was originally attributed to our music gear. That was hopeful.

After a call to our favorite VW shop in Durham, Lonnie's, it was apparent that the CV joint, not the cymbals, was the cause of the rattling. We decided to keep going and hoped we could make it back.

Meanwhile, we arrived to Super Happy Funland in Houston to play the SXSW overflow fest!

They painted all our names.

I can't repeat enough how kind these folks are. This was our second time playing this venue. They even made free vegan chili for everyone.

The show started early because there were four bands and one 90 minute movie of pure bicycle porn. More on this later. First up was Joe Firstman from Los Angeles (originally from Charlotte).

Next were our favoirte favorites, the Midtown Dickens.

Here I share with you a new song that we loved, Elephant.

Midtowns know how to merch.

And eat. How many bands do you know that roll their own (veg) sushi?

Next we played what ended up being our “first” set for reasons Blowfly. After our set, the 90 minute bicycle porn film fest began. To get us prepared (foreplay?) for the fest, a local bicycle advocate pedaled through the establishment nude:

This is a high res photo, feel free to zoom in.

What followed were various short films of people and bicycles in numerous combinations, but to sum up the bicycle seat serves well as phallic substitute, there is a lot you can do with bicycle chains and pedals besides crank your bike, and these films made a unique opener for BB's second set.

After the fest, only half the members of Blowfly had arrived due to some chaos and hotel booking problems. The down time led to a large gap between the fest and their set. The sound person asked us to play again, so we set up again and returned to play about four or five songs until the arrival of the entire band.

Besides Clarence Reid and Tom Bowker, the band was entirely new. Two weeks before their tour, while we were staying at Tom's back in Miami, most of the band quit. He assembled the rest in about a week, including the bassist for Little Richard.

Little Richard, at a Rest Stop

His playing made it quite evident he had been doing this for some time. When he was performing a bass solo, Rob pushed aside about four naked dudes to go watch. So you know it was good.

Clarence aka Blowfly authored the “first rap song” per reports in 1965, Rap Dirty. I taped part of it for you:

For some attendees, the nudity continued possibly and most probably due to extracuricular chemical usage prior to the event.

Meanwhile, Rob and I headed to the back parking lot to pop Weston's top and sleep from about 4 am until 9 am. Due to the proximity of the lot to transportation, it was not a restful sleep:

Tired Rob next to our sleeping quarters.

Reportedly from inside sleepers, it was no better in the venue due to a movie playing until 6:00 am and a snoring symphony from several couches. We did, however, enjoy pancakes, tea, coffee, and Emergen-C with the Midtown Dickens, that is, until we met the Original Rapper and he rapped dirty to us while sitting in Weston's swiveled around passenger chair. It works way better on stage.

Nevertheless, we headed to Austin, where we dropped off a couple of Blowfly members then took Tom to register for the film festival since the movie “The Weird World of Blowfly” was premiering at SXSW that night. Inside, we met Kim Fowley, who I could tell was some sort of back-in-the-day character. He was with a reporter who had interviewed Tom.

Kim was tall and thin, wore a suit, and leaned on a cane due to vertigo. Conversation joking about heroin and Burroughs-like dry wit followed. He and a friend of Jello Biafra's posed with Tom for a photo then discussed different bands. Kim was part of forming the Runaways (and later litigating with them) and since has and continues to score music for films such as American Graffiti.

Rob and I were quiet, since we're not musical encyclopedias and didn't know these folks, so Kim asked us who we were. “Oh, like the White Stripes?” he said, then acknowledged he was only saying this due to the boy-girl duo dynamic.

Usually I don't get taken off guard too often in conversations, but for some reason, his simple request that followed made me pregnant-pause. I'm talking twins or quadruplets.

“Name five of your songs.” Pause. More pause. Delivery of first twin. “Just give me the names of five of your songs.” Rob kicked in, “I was born in a vacuum cleaner!” I added, “I don't like people...” and then quickly named three others.

In retrospect, my brain was trying to grapple with 1) Why is he asking this / testing us? 2) I'd better think of our most interestingly named songs and 3) Which songs are interestingly named? 4) Oh, crap, our songs don't really have very interesting names afterall.

Apparently satisfied at rattling us, he handed us his card and asked us to send him material. I got the feeling he does this with a lot of people. BB = B-.

Onward to the show, we arrived at Beerland nearby to find it closed. The sidewalks were thick with people, mostly younger types boozed up and heading in all directions. We managed to park Weston temporarily, but decided to leave for a couple of hours until it opened. There was not a poster for the show in sight on the venue doors or outside walls. This was our first indication that things might not go quite like they had went in our heads. Let me tell you, in our heads, wow! Someone should sell tickets to that.

Back to outside of our heads, we returned to Beerland later and set up our equipment since we were first. There were some misunderstandings about when we'd start (we thought 10:45 pm, earliest – the club thought 10:00 pm, latest) so they got that ironed out with a few calls to booking agents.

After it was apparent that there was still only a handful of people in the club and it was inching toward our start time, we took matters (or rather stickers) into our hands and gave them out in front of the club, asking people to join us for our show.

I noticed several people go to the door to pay, then turn away after talking to the door guy. It was then we found out the cover was $13 (this is a good lesson in preparing and asking the right questions, folks) AND there was a good free show next door, so we started offering to put people on our guest list. By our set time, there were a few more people in the audience, maybe around 25, but nothing, again, like we expected from our head-previews, where we were body surfing across the crowd, matching shoes flying in the air.

We did set up Flippy and manage to get a recording of our set. I post for you here newer song Some People Think I'm Nuts and older but unrecorded Unification of + and - :

At one point I spoke with the friendly club owner, who has been open for over 10 years. I mentioned how in Durham the same people that come out for a folk act would be at a metal show. He said Austin used to be like that, but 10-15 years ago. As a club owner, even booking different genres together doesn't work. He noted that people come out to see one band but don't stay for the entire show anymore or aren't as open to unknown bands.

There are so many bands and venues, so audiences, he said, are quite apathetic. Is this transition inevitable? Before we left Seattle, I found it to be the case as well. Music “scenes” or communities grow, change, and die like we all do. It just takes time for the image to catch up with the actual state of things. The actual state is somewhat subjective, too.

Next up were Foot Patrol, from Austin.

In accordance with their name, this band is all about feet and foot fetishes. The singer is a 25-year old blind man whose talent (in music, not feet) was noticeable to his instructors at the School for the Blind when he performed [insert impressively difficult composition here...I wish my memory was better] at [insert young age like 7 here...again, memory!]. The drummer is one of his former teachers.

Blowfly (caped and masked Clarence to the far left)

Blowfly had arrived from their movie premiere, and closed out the night at about 2:00 am. Here is a clip from Clarence's song Masterpiece:

Since we didn't have a large audience during our set, Tom invited us to play their encore. I objected, since, um, it is their encore...and the audience might be just a little disappointed when BB got up there and played, say, Pumpkin in a Tie or I don't like people. He insisted, reminding us it was the “Weird World of Blowfly” and they did things like this. Weird things.

By the end of their set, after Clarence limped away in his cape, I planned to call it off (it was late and people were leaving), but Tom did an intro for us and made a hoo-ha-ha so we returned to the stage. After Rob's borrowed amp wouldn't start, I began playing, then promptly ended after one verse. It was quite silly and most definitely was not in my pre-show head.

Lesson #2 or 3: listen to your gut. Unless it's growling and the only thing you have to eat is Taco Bell.

Speaking of eating, Tom's tradition after the show is to take everyone out after to some place that he said had vegan options. We were quite worn out and ready to leave, so after payment, and dropping off a few documentaries for Tom to take to the “Filmmakers Lounge” we headed home.

The next morning, at a truck stop, we woke up to a small plane dive-bombing us, or it felt like us, but s/he was actually fertilizing a nearby field. BB will not be dive bombed, or fertilized! We left early but became concerned when we heard the CV joint clunking at lower gears (if this were a movie, you would now hear the voice of our mechanic, Lonnie, quiet but discernible: “If the CV joint starts making noise at low gears, go to a repair shop – immediately!”).

We had two choices. One, find a repair shop at the next nearest city (Jackson, MS) and I'd miss work on Tuesday or more depending on available parts. Two, keep driving until the CV breaks. This is risky since a broken CV = a stranded Weston. And there is a lot of space between “cities.” Choose your adventure!

My instinct was Blind Hope so we went with that, and made it all the way of this writing, we're actually still on the road approaching Atlanta, so I actually don't know if my Blind Hope worked.

Happily, though our pre-formed in our head adventure was different, we still had fun and I had a lot of time to plan while on the road. Here's some things I accomplished:

  • Mapped out our rough tour plans for the next year;
  • Decided on dates to possibly record our fourth album then release it (USB release + album!);
  • Sketched out a Porch Life interview series synopsis & plan;
  • Supplemented our yearly plan with updates;
  • Studied Greek and learned the phrase The Captain has Sunk with His Ship for my new song;
  • Made a couple of new songs up featuring Rob, trapped as the driver, singing backup for harmony experiments (scientific experiments);
  • Decided I didn't like You;
  • And more!

Just joking about You. Though there are some Yous I don't like, those who read this blog I'm most certain I do.

Update: We made it back in the wee hours.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Week Four: 23rd stop in 27 days, SXSW, & more

We're home! 23 stops in 27 days, so we're a little tired but gearing up to go play SXSW next week.

We started off our last week of February sweetly at the 24 hour mostly vegan ice-cream shop, Karma Cream. Half of the displayed flavors are vegan as are most of the toppings.

If you're too cold for cream, vegan cupcakes are on hand unless it's 2 am after your show in which case they're all gone, which is good, because cupcakes at 2 am are never a good idea. But another sundae is.

Karma Cream is in Gainesville, where we played our show at Tim and Terry's which is near the University of Florida off the main strip. The Gainesville alt-weekly The Alligator kindly covered our tour, renaming Beloved Binge to Blessed Binge in the process.

One of the most important things you can do as a touring band is ensure that you are playing with a good local band. By good I do not mean Karen Carpenter on drums and Jimi Hendrix on guitar – though that would be worth blogging about.

Rather, a local band who understands how to take care of touring bands because they tour and/or understand the reciprocation inherent in the touring community relationship. This extends to the band's audience – if you are a good match, their fans might just like you as well and stay to see you play. This is in contrast to fans who are just there because their brother/son/sister/daughter is playing, or because Johnnie is cute.

The folks at Tim and Terry's were super sweet. It's the kind of place where people hang out on their porch and play music. They provide bands a delicious meal and a percentage of beer sales during their set.

We must not have inspired much beer-drinking in our set, because at the end of the night we received $5. This was a wakeup call for BB. First on our to-do list is to write songs about beers and beer-drinking (“This Bud's for BB!”). Second is to make new t-shirts, “BB drinks Beer” or “Beloved Brewsky,” inspired by the name Rob was called while leafleting a campus (“No thanks, Brewsky.”)

I'm also thinking that we can throw out our no-drinking-while-playing policy and drink beer heavily during out set, and even extend this to soaking one another and the audience with PBR. The classic drink-reminder that we haven't yet employed is to simply ask an audience member to buy us a beer, then spill it all over my gig rug, then ask for another.

In any case, we played with a band Red Paper Bird who had a very nice guitarist and singer, but the bassist thought he was both Super Cool and Hot. Either temperature extreme made him a joke. Ladies and gentleman, this is a public blog, but I don't mind being honest here. Example one: I was talking with the bassist and one of the nice guys, giving city/venue recommendations...the bassist, ignoring me, turns to the nice guy, shows him a video on his iPhone, continuing to ignore me. Nice guy apologizes a minute later...Rob reports bassist was showing nice guy videos of naked ladies. It wasn't just what he was showing, but that did make it worse. It was the level of disrespect this guy showed both on and off stage. I'm sure he's not reading this blog because there is no frontal nudity, but words of advice: you know, I actually have no advice.

The drummer twirled his sticks so much it resulted in missed beats, and after their set he exclaimed, “Weren't we original?!” to which I replied, though it was not a question, “No, not really.” The singer had a nice voice, the sax player was good, but nothing was original. I'm not faulting them for lack of originality. Though I believe there are bands playing 'original' music out there, like children, most music has parents. There are degrees of originality, however, and this was at 1.5 if 1 is a direct copy of another style.

Preceding the music portion, a poetry ensemble called the Last Word hosted a number of poetry readings by different audience members. I was told it would be very raunchy, so I awaited the Raunch. It could be the many poetry readings I went to in Seattle BITD, but aside from a few references to cavity searches, this was pretty tame stuff.

The next day we got a call from the venue, and apparently we were shorted, and were given a little bit of additional cash. Beloved Binge will now officially end its endorsement of Beer and start writing raunchy poetry.

After a trip to the 24-hour Karma Cream, we headed to the Paynes Prairie State Park nearby, only 10 miles outside of Gainesville. The next morning, Syba was happy to be in the woods again, and playing her usual keep-away / hide-&-seek game around Weston. This involves one of us running around Weston and her chasing us.

It really was a beautiful park until we found out there were ticks and had to make sure Syba didn't roll in the leaves anymore.

We got a digital camera after our last one died, and took an art shot of Syba smelling the ground.

The preserve was alive and swampy.

We went out to the boardwalk to watch the creatures, and heeded the warnings.

Be very afraid.

This next picture is for my friend Aguavino. I think it should be part of a Name that Bird contest. Or at least, tell me what this bird is.

Not only were there birds and alligators, but the cutest armadillo made his/her way out to the trail.

We hiked about 8 miles that day, though dirt and through mud.

If you look closely, you can see Syba mocking Mr. Beloved. Though she did not come out of our hike clean, she definitely has better instincts in crossing mud paths than Rob or I.

Mud paw: fun on the road

As usual, it was wonderful to be away from the city after a long week of shows and screenings. That particular week we had seven events within five days, so we were ready for a break. On Monday, I screened the documentary for the newly formed Philosophy Club at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.

The following morning Rob and I handed out free samples of over 300 So Delicious Coconut Cream bars to students at the University of Flordia, Gainesville, along with Vegan Outreach brochures.

They went so fast we could not sample them, so we retired to Karma Cream for one last stop before leaving for our show that night in St. Augustine, FL.

Once again we met the Bakery Outlet folks and all headed to Nobby's. Rich does a tremendous job of organizing and promoting shows and more. Check out the festival he's playing in, and helping promote on a grass roots level, Harvest of Hope.

He'll also be handing out free vegan food samples as of this writing so stop by his table!

This particular show was organized by Patrick, whose band the Winslows headlined. The first band to play was Neil's solo project from Indiana, who all played later that night, switcharoonie extreme style, as Jenny is a Boy.

Version #1, Neil Cain

Version #2, Jenny is a Boy

Following was a band from New York, Tiger Piss. We played our set, then The Winslow's took to the floor. A picture of them from outside:

And in:

A short video, bringing back the mosh:

I don't know if I have mentioned this, but Rob is a great source of support at screenings. Here he sits and awaits my intro at Valdosta.

Here we returned and screened Seeing Through the Fence with the Philosophy & Religious Studies club. I presented for this group last year, and was kindly invited back.

The professor and advisor of the group, Cristobal, does an excellent job of bringing events to Valdosta that would otherwise not make this somewhat remote location a tour stop. We had a wonderful time discussing the topic and look forward to returning again someday.

Next we were off to the beautiful city of Savannah to play a show at the Sentient Bean. We had heard of this place during our last trip and vowed to play there. We arrived early which gave us time for Syba park action:

Savannah is beautiful, with old stately homes lining the street by Forsyth park.

Later, we played, but were the only band. I do not recommend this. You need a local, usually. A local band was supposed to be lined up, but it did not happen. From a brief sampling, I'd say our best shows are not at coffeehouses. As a local pointed out to me, folks aren't at this venue for shows usually. We felt more like background music. Again, in hindsight, we could have sung songs about drinking coffee.

You know it!

However, we enjoyed an awesome sandwich and the people of the Bean were super nice. Met a touring poet too, and we exchanged CD for poetry.

Also, the local alt-weekly Connect Savannah wrote a blurb about the show and compared us to the White Stripes. We are like the White Stripes in that I'm a female and Rob is a male, and we're a duo. In any case, we are grateful that the reporter mentioned our show and included our chess press picture, the one my mom has in a frame at home.

Our show in Myrtle Beach came about through a Myspace status update. I had never used the feature, but decided to say something like 'I'd rather by playing my new Mini-Korg than writing this update.' Patrick of Some Ambulance responded to the post, and said he liked our songs and we should come play Myrtle Beach. Turns out we really liked their music as well, so he set up a show for us at Club Drink.

Rob talking with Patrick of Some Ambulance after our visit to the Myrtle Beach dog park, Barc Park.

First to play were locals the Filthy Few who were kind enough to allow us to set up a show on the date they had already booked.

Next up were the excellent L. Brown Odyssey, with creatures including a horse who simply danced and drank on stage, a viking in faux fur, and other characters I'm not certain of. These lads are from Charleston, SC. I highly recommend you check them out.

L. Brown Odyssey video flip:

Next up were Some Ambulance:


As the name suggests, Club Drink was definitely a drinking bar. Okay, all bars are drinking bars, but the drinking was particularly heavy this night. It was also the celebration of two birthdays, both of which were Some Ambulance members. The club became progressively packed as the night progressed, ending with our lights-on set that we cut short due to it being after 2:00 am. The crowd was super-responsive and it was a great way to end our Snowbird'n tour.

The alt-weekly, the Weekly Surge, wrote up our show here (

Some exciting news: we're heading to SXSW next week to play with the band I mentioned on my last post, Blowfly. Their documentary, the Weird World of Blowfly, is premiering at SXSW. The producer also worked on Loud Quiet Loud, the Pixies documentary we saw recently.

Blowfly is playing after the premiere, so Tom (heckler from last post) invited Beloved Binge to open for the show / after party, after seeing us play in Miami at Churchill's.

In more good news, we're playing with our home-slices the Midtown Dickens at Super Happy Funland in Houston the day before! Blowfly is also on this bill. We're looking for a show in Birmingham, Alabama for the way down, or a screening.

One last bit of news – I was interviewed for the new project Our Hen House. I first met Jasmin a couple of years back during the New York premiere of Seeing Through the Fence. She worked for Farm Sanctuary as the NYC outreach person. In short, she and her partner, Mariann, are amazing. I hope you have time to check out the interview, and future episodes of Our Hen House.

BB with Traci and Patrick of Some Ambulance after the show.

Thank you everyone for your support and good thoughts during our time on the road this past month. It has been amazing meeting new people and being a part of the touring community.