Note: This didn’t start to be a name dropping exercise. It just ended up that way so I could explain the convoluted path that my life has taken the last few days.
I met some new friends the other day. I went to W00tstock Boston with a video camera, and was invited to shoot some backstage footage as well as cover the event. 6 hours and 57 Gigs later, I’m coming out the other side of a fun time with some very gracious people, who I now know a little better. Hopefully they won’t file restraining orders the next time we meet.
I’ll post more on the backstage hi-jinx soon (I still have to do #NaNoWriMo as well) But here’s a taste of the last few days and two people I met that impressed me. They’re both twisty path stories about Marian Call and Marc Abrahams.
I hadn’t heard about Marian until a few months ago. One of my friends must have tweeted about her 49/50 tour – doing a word of mouth gig in every state of the union. I signed up for her twitter and newsletter, and thought I’d see if I could catch her if she ever got close to NH or find a venue for her if she was stuck. She ended up doing a gig in OH at Len Peralta’s house with Mike Lombardo – Len’s kids played as her back up band for a punk version of her song ‘Zombie Cheerleading Camp’. How cool is that?
Hold on – this is getting freaky. Ryan Styles just sent me a Mahi Mahi on Facebook. What to send him back… mangoes are boring, but they’re energy he can use. Done. Sorry – where was I?
Oh yes, Marian did the theme song to the movie ‘Zombie Cheerleading Camp’ and had Len’s kids play as her backup band. The videos I’ve seen of his kids playing on You Tube – they’re pretty good!
It reminded me of John, Scott, Scott, and Boffo Yux Dudes songwriting compadre Al Morgan’s band Pop Machine, when they had to write the theme to the movie ‘Skateboard Kid‘ – the one where Dom Delouise played the voice of the magical skateboard. Come on – you know you’ve caught that on HBO a few times. Marian was right – when someone asks you to write a movie theme song, it’s tough to say no – even if they ask you to do it for free. It’s a movie, dammit!
So I was intrigued when I heard that she was going to be at w00tstock Boston. I hadn’t seen her live, or met her yet, even though other friends had great things to say about her. She ended up being quite the charmer.
When I went backstage, she was sitting on the floor, with a box of TimTams in her hands, explaining to the group the correct way to eat them with coffee. I hadn’t heard of the Australian biscuit cookie, but now that she and Grant Imahara have been raving about them, I’ll have buy some to try their coffee dunking technique.
So much for #NaNoWriMo tonight – I’ll have to finish this.
Backstage everyone got into a riff on coffee superhero names, and Marian wanted a good cup of coffee after the TimTams, so she gets up, asks if anyone would like a cup of joe, and goes out to buy them for us. She’s one of the headliners there! She leaves and after some more backstage goofing around, I’m back in the crowd, and talking with the people at my table… which happen to know Marc Abrahams, who I just met backstage.
Marc is familiar, but I couldn’t tell from where. I was getting his name confused with an old radio consultant that used drive me crazy creating our playlists when I was a DJ in the 80’s in NH. I knew that wasn’t it… Then I saw the Ig Nobel prize and it hit me.
In the early 80’s Scott Mercer and I were checking out bookstores in Harvard Square on our college radio station tour. The tour was literally visiting college radio stations to meet DJ’s like us. We’d drop by unannounced at night, get to know the DJ’s and occasionally get to do a few bits on the air with them, sleep on a floor or sofa, and drive to the next one. There were a bunch in the Boston area we wanted to visit, and we ended up at Harvard.
At this store, we found a book that called to us. It was full of real scientific papers on arcane things that were hilarious, but true. We passed it on to our comedy friends, and it became legendary – we only saw it at that one bookstore. Marc was the editor of the book. Almost 30 years later, I meet Marc at W00tstock. He comes out and sits with us and says “I heard Marian’s back with the coffee. You should probably video her coming in for the ‘Coffeeman Superhero’ bit.”
Now it’s a quest. I thank Marc, and go to the lobby to find Marian. Again, she’s a sweetie. She’s getting her merch table straightened out with her crew (she bought them coffee as well) and smiled as I followed her backstage to dressing room #2, where Kevin Murphy is wearing a Medusa hat and holds a Uke as he rehearses with Bill Corbett. Marian doesn’t bat an eye at the snakes on his head and hands Kevin the coffee, continuing onward without missing a beat. Of course people are always wearing medusa hats and playing Ukes in front of her.
I like this girl. A lot.
I need to go back to my seat – it’s crazy time, and I still feel like I’m intruding, even though I keep getting invited back to cover things – so I find my seat, and wander around talking to audience members and videoing their costumes. Only a few decline. I figured I can edit a montage explaining who they were, since some of the outfits aren’t as obvious as the Adam and Jamie clones in the back row.
Fast forward to the very end of the night, after all the merch has been signed, the last pictures taken, and we’re packing up. I see Marian’s box of CDs and ask if I can buy one, and she signs it for me as we talk about Len and Mike and her other gigs this week. I am disappointed that I can’t catch her other shows, but I’m looking forward to the next time she comes out this way.
I met some new friends the other day. It’s funny how you cross paths sometimes.
Here’s the playlist to many of the videos I shot that evening. Enjoy.