Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Closing night, baby!

Now that was fun!

Last night my show Life With Guitars closed at the P.I.T. and it ended on a really high note. For the first time in the four-Tuesday run I wasn't up against a Yankee game, there was a great, energetic crowd and I couldn't be happier.

Over the four weeks the show really came together and I'm really excited about taking it out to L.A. now. You west coasters, I'll be at the Comedy Central Stage on Monday, November 15th!!

Thanks to all that came out to the show this month, big thank yous to my director Ritch Duncan, my tech man Tom Tenney, and the P.I.T. for all of their help.

Ah, now back to the stand-up world. I'm going down to Ferrum, Virginia tomorrow. Anyone ever heard of it? Didn't think so. I'll bring back souvenirs.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Capital City

I admit it, I was one of those people who thought the only things in D.C. were the monuments and the ghetto. Last weekend I went down there for a show at George Mason University and now I know better. My buddy James the Fed lives in DC, is a federal investigator and is one of the many people who work in the public sector but isn't a big power player that by definition must live in the tonier suburbs outside of the city.

I stopped in at his place before the gig so he could tag along. I figured someone authorized to carry a gun would be a perfect addition to my security team which usually just consists of a really ratty jacket that makes me look unworthy of being mugged (don't worry, he was off duty so no taxpayer dollars were wasted, and he only shot a couple of people).

After the show we headed back into "The District," as Craig T. Nelson calls it, and went to a bar in his neighborhood. No heads of state, no marble statues, no street crime, just a bunch of people in their 20's and 30's having a drink, watching baseball, and playing Connect 4.

Yes, they had Connect 4 at the bar. Well, not at the bar, at a table in the lounge area near the couches and recliners. The whole joint was done up to look like someone's parent's rec room, making the people who come from all over the country to work in DC feel at home. If only they had a washer and dryer I totally could have felt like I was crashing at Mom's place. Except of course,the fact that they charge $5 for beer. My mom charges three.

So I may have to go back. The people are nice, the ladies are cute and gainfully employed, and no one's in show business which is a nice change of pace.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

There's always room for cello

A couple of days ago I had my first cello assigment in over a decade. I grew up playing the cello, I played all through grade school and high school, but my skills reached their zenith in about the 8th grade. The last few years I've basically just taken the thing out of its case every six months or so, practiced for about fifteen minutes and come to the conclusion that yep, I'm pretty bad.

And yet I agreed to play on my friend Tom Chao's recording. He asked nicely and I was having delusions of grandeur and I guess that's how these things happen. I figured it would be a simple string part, a layering thing, ya know, like in the background of a ballad. A few swells here, a few runs there, no big whoop.

Well I found myself in a quartet playing a peppy piece with well seasoned violinists and a violist who was a graduate of Juliard.

"Hello, my name is Rob, I'm the weak link."

The players were very nice (never once mentioning the fact that I was completely out of my depth) and it was really fun to play with other strings again, but the main feeling I took away from the session was:


Not that we could use it much playing live with a quartet, but when it came to me putting down a sting part by myself for another track, all I can say is my three best friends were "cut" 'paste" and "Antares Auto-Tune."

It did feel cool to take my cello, in its huge hardshell case, on the subway. When I walk around the city with a guitar I sometimes feel like a cliche. "Oh great, another freakin' deadbeat musician," is pretty much what I hear people thinking. But walking around with a cello, I felt like such an intellectual, a sohpisticated artist. I should have put on a pair of glasses, a tweed blazer, and some Bose noise-cancelling headphones to complete the look.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Muffins of Gentrification

In the five years I've lived in Prosect Heights I've seen several signs of gentrification–-white people with jobs, buildings going co-op, neighborhood bars with windows you can actually see through--but one element of gentrification has eluded us: the muffins.

The closest bodega to my apartment has only corn muffins. Brand name corn muffins that are about as fresh as the 20th century batteries behind the counter. There are no blueberry, no banana nut, nor any walnut or anything other than plain corn muffins. What's worse is the little grocery store down the street has no muffins at all, just low-end coffee cakes, doughnuts, and hostess knock-offs. The bodega down the street from them has nothing resembling muffins.

Dangit, if I have to put up with all of the white people with jobs moving into my neighborhood and ruining my street cred, I should at least get some damn muffins!

Thanks to my rent-stabilized apartment, this is the first neighborhood I've been in where gentrification can't kick me out, I deserve some freakin' muffins. Every other neighborhood I've lived in I've had to leave at the first sign of white people with jobs. I pack up my sad belongings in a rented van and as I pull out I can see the muffin truck pulling in.

I can walk to Park Slope of course, those child-rearing yuppies are up to their Kate Spade handbags in muffins. And Manhattan, oh my gosh, muffins galore! Delis in Manhattan have so many kinds of muffins I think a new one is invented every day.

But no, in my little corner of Prospect Heights: just raggedy-ass corn muffins.

Come on white people with jobs, you've already changed the neighborhood to the point at which I walk down the street and people no longer think I'm an artist, they think I'm a lawyer. You could have at least brought some muffins.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Opening night, baby!

Last night the new solo show opened up at the PIT and it went off without a hitch! My director, Ritch Duncan, and I have been working every day while I also had to sneak out of town for road shows, and all of that work turned into a show that I'm pretty damn proud of. If you get the chance, come out on a Tuesday night, we have three more in October.

Tonight I get to go back to Mod to host the Comedy Pro Shop, which is a free weekly standup show that's been running since August. The lineup tonight is great and it's going to be fun to kick back and do some stand-up after working for weeks on monolgues and drama (please pronounce 'drama' to rhyme with 'Alabama' it's fun that way).

As soon as I figure out how to get pictures up on this mug I'll show you the box of cereal I got in the mail today.