May 3rd, 2006

accordion santa

The essence of reading comprehension

Just got this email:

Dear Mr. Haller:

In one of your essays which starts “Another sampling from the Sky Mall catalog, you make mention of the availability of purchasing a mouse pad with the theme “The essence of survival”. I have been trying to purchase this item for sometime now and would appreciate if you could give me a phone # or the name of the Company to contact that has this item.

Thank you in advance


Mary Lou Georgia
which refers to an essay I wrote about Successories a while back.

Report: open mike at Tazza

I was feeling crummy tonight -- I think the result of some bad pizza at lunch -- so I decided to go to an open mike tonight.

This is possibly not quite as dumb as it sounds. Before the Bad Pizza Incident I had plans with cgoldfish, but she fell prey to the same pizza I did, so the plans got cancelled. So I settled in for an evening of watching Lost and eating candy, when it occurred to me that (a) maybe I should eat something more healthy than candy and (b) Chris Monti had mentioned he was going to the open mike at Tazza and that the Tazza open mike was pretty good. So I figured I'd head over there, have a sandwich, and play my set.

Last time I ate at Tazza, which was maybe a year and a half ago, it was pretty disappointing -- the food took a long time to arrive, then was cold and not very good, even though the place wasn't busy at all -- but tonight it was much more satisfying. I got a pesto chicken sandwich and it was good.

I signed up to be the first performer, which for whatever reason most people avoid. Performers got two songs each (most open mikes give you three, but it's somewhat variable), and I ended up playing two covers: Tommy Johnson's Big Road Blues and Blind Willie McTell's That'll Never Happen No More. The woman who organizes the open mike, Becky Chace encouraged me to return and asked if I had brought any CDs to sell, which I had not, because I still have trouble remembering that I am a semi-professional musician.

The way it works at this open mike is that there are a few open slots at the beginning of the night (starting around quarter to 9), then there's a featured artist, then Becky Chace herself plays for a little while, then there are some more open slots. Chris had the second slot in the second group of open slots, and I had planned/hoped to stay to hear him play. In the event I ended up wimping out in the middle of the set before him and took off, because I was feeling pretty crummy. But I was there long enough to hear a bunch of the performers (including the featured artist, whose name I forget, and Becky), and they were generally good -- there was one performer I didn't care for but I liked everyone else (and one consequence of the ten-minute rule is that the performances go by pretty quick, so there's always something new to hear).

Becky asked if I was going to return and I think I will in a couple of weeks. (Next week I'll be in DC.) Chris Monti suggested that if I play there a few times I might be able to get a featured artist slot, which I think might be a good alternative to the other venues I was posting about the other week -- among other things it would be free. So we'll see how that goes. (Also, next time I will try to play some original songs and to remember to bring some CDs to sell.)

So, yeah, I will probably go back to the Tazza open mike in a couple of weeks, which is to say Wednesday the 17th. If anyone's interested in accompanying me let me know.

Maybe I should go to bed now.