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.


Traci Collins said...

Thanks so much for including us in your blog! Patrick and I had so much fun, and I appreciate your celebrating my birthday with me. Loved reading your blog, you definitely have interesting adventures. Looking forward to seeing you again. Traci & Patrick

Aguavino said...

I put in a request for Beloved Brewsky to invest in a zoom lens to make "Tell Me What This Bird Is" a little more fair. Also, since I have never been birding in Florida, I'm not familiar with a lot of species found there. However, I do have a guess that it is some sort of cormorant, or at least related to it. I will have to do more research and get back to you....unless some bird nerd from Florida reads this first and can give a definitive answer.

Aguavino said...

Aha! It is definitely a female Anhinga.
But my first guess was not far off, according to one website: People commonly confuse anhingas and double-crested cormorants.
And here is more info in case anyone is interested....

Jay-Ro said...

Hey there sista from a different moth-a,
how about = Beloved Binge and the Brew Doggie!!
2. Maybe you are just to hot for that guy.
3. I can give you my poem - hoof beats in the
4. Tiger piss?? What's that about? lol
5. Rob's clothes seem to blend in with the chair..conspiracy? hum?

Maat Hirsch said...

You guys rock! I wish you had video of your set at Drink! Some Ambulance without Jess is kinda sad, but they're still great. That final pic is my new desktop. BB and SA are probably my favorite Carolina bands.

Matt {poncho}

Patrick Collins said...

Playing with you guys was some of the best fun we have had in a long time! Myrtle Beach LOVES you!! And,of course, Traci and I love you even more!


Eleni Binge & Vlachos said...

Hey Traci and Patrick, it was an honor to play with you guys and we loved your set!! Thanks again so much for setting it up.

Aguavino, you deliver!! Since my only familiarity with birds are crows, seagulls, chickens, and the little kind (which come in red, blue, or brown) I'm quite impressed with "cormorant," as a bird name guess, right or wrong. But good to know this was a female anhinga.

hey J - perfect name for Rob-rew doggie. He plans his clothes camoflauge-style so I don't see him and make demands! Please do share all poems about sand/hooves/beer during your visit.

Aw, thanks Matt Poncho! Mutual re; the ponchos. We were all talking about you guys during our visit there...the Ponchos are well loved and we hope to play a show with you guys soon. Probably will play WE fest...woo!!! Miss you guys.

da binge

Vera said...

Eleni! There's Gourmet Vegan Cheese At Wine Authorities! just got it in their weekly email newsletter, and thought i'd pass on the goodness! XO