The Weekend in Retrospect

I had a fairly relaxing weekend. On Friday after work, I attended Gomeroke at the High Noon Saloon for happy hour. That’s karaoke with a live band. I wasn’t picked and I am starting to think the whole operation is rigged toward the regulars (I attend infrequently), even though names are supposedly drawn at random from a hat. However, it didn’t bother me that I wasn’t picked to sing my chosen song (“Alison” by Elvis Costello), because I already sing and play instruments in 3.5 bands and can pretty much do that any time I want. Nonetheless, I had suited up for the occasion and even bought a $15 fedora-like hat at Kohl’s. I also had a couple of friends in attendance, my neighbor Danielle and Wendy from SUNSPOT, who wanted to hear me sing, and now they might be discouraged from attending Gomeroke in the future because they were unfulfilled at this last one. Maybe not though…

After the Gomeroke, Wendy and I met some other friends for a social at the Malt House, a little neighborhood bar on the east side of Madison WI. A couple of other friends were leaving for Germany on Saturday for two weeks and it was kind of a bon voyage party.

Saturday morning, I slept in for a good long time, getting up only to feed the dogs and let them out in the yard. In the afternoon, I did some spring cleaning in the yard for about 90 minutes, raking up leaves on the patio and checking the gutters (mostly all clear). In three weeks, I am hosting a house concert chill and grill at my house and I wanted to get the patio ready in anticipation of those festivities. I can now check that chore off my list. In the early evening, I worked on some music and then I drove downtown to watch the Badgers basketball game with some of my people. I am not a sports fan, but it was a thrilling and suspenseful game. The Badgers won by the skin of their teeth over undefeated Kentucky, which was quite an upset, is my understanding.

"Sports Go Sports!" by GARFUNKEL AND OATES

After the win, the gang wanted to go to a downtown bar called the Merchant. I can’t stand the place, and neither can my friend Alissa, so the two of us bailed on the group and walked the couple of blocks down to the more beatnik Genna’s Pub where we had a nice conversation for about an hour.

I relaxed all day on Sunday, watching some Netflix and working on a new Mini House Concert video in lieu of the Sunday open jam at Funk’s Pub, which was canceled because of a bunny that poops chocolate eggs (Hint: that’s not chocolate…) and a zombie man-god. That was disappointing. I had offered to host the jam in my Rock Cave instead, but I could not garner enough interest. So I honed another song (“Sara,” which I co-wrote with street musician Art Paul Schlosser a few years back) and spent some time videotaping and producing it for the house concert.

I think I might take a hiatus from the Funk's Pub open jam for a while. It hasn’t been doing as well as I had hoped and the turnout is consistently poor, in part because they always have the volume turned up way too loud in the bar and it scares the Funk’s patrons away. They haven't introduced any new talent to the jam and I think it is getting a bit stale. The owner of the place doesn’t support the jam or market it very well. He won’t even hire a pro sound technician to run the sound board, so the house band ends up having to do it themselves as best they can, which I think is weak sauce on the venue's part. A lot of the musicians that used to attend the jam have stopped coming (including my band GUPPY EFFECT). Pretty soon I think it is just going to be the house band’s weekly gig, it seems like, playing to a mostly empty room. I don’t have a solution to the poor attendance of the open jam, but I am certain it involves the owner of the place upping his game on supporting and promoting it, hiring a sound guy, and keeping the house volume tolerably low. Right now the owner is just exploiting the musicians to get a few extra customers on Sunday nights when the place would normally be dead. To the extent the musicians are cool with that, it's fine. It does offer an outlet for musicians to perform that might not otherwise be available, but if a band plays at an open jam and there's no one their to hear it, does it make a sound? Anyway, not my issue. Just using this forum to organize my thoughts about the jam.

So, the University of Wisconsin Badgers will play tonight (Monday) in the final championship basketball game. I have band practice with the Rita Witter Project around 6:30 and then the band is going to go watch the final game at Babe’s Pub and Grill near my house after 8 PM. I will probably try to carpool with a band mate.

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