Friday, January 22, 2010


This week, I went and set a record for drawing the most world record attempts in a single sitting. It's the sort of thing the Universal Record Data Base people recognize and it's about time somebody did.

When I was asked to do it, I was initially reluctant. "What do I have to do?" I wondered.

It was explained that I would have to come to the show that the URDB is now doing monthly at Joe's Pub and draw it.

"Let me get this straight," I asked. "In order to set the world record for the Most World Record Attempts Drawn In A Single Sitting, I have to come to a show at Joe's Pub and and draw it?"

"Yes," I was told.

Well, that seemed doable--in the sense that it was something I often do--so I did.

Beyond all the glory--the piles and piles of sweet, sweet glory, god I love the smell of glory--the event allowed me to video the whole process, making this the first portrait drawing I've got any footage of. If you're wondering who all the record holders are and what their big achievements were, here's the list:

* Most Goodfellas Quote Exchanges With A Puppet In 1 Minute - Pat Sauer

* Most Insulting Tweets Directed Toward One Person In One Minute - Streeter Seidell (College Humor)

* Longest "Oh, Man" Response To A Crowd Interruption - Cory Cavin (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)

* Longest Time Hula Hooping While Standing On One Leg - Ella Morton (Rocketboom)

* Longest Time Not Talking About One's Cheating Whore Of An Ex-Wife - Dan Evans / Thomas Middleditch

* Fastest Re-enactment Of The Shining's "I'm Gonna Bash Your Brains In" Scene - Esther Crow (lead singer of The Electric Mess)

* Most Boob Wiggles - Rachel Sklar (Mediate, The Huffington Post)

* Most Post-It Notes With Adjectives Written On Them Affixed To One's Body - Opus Moreschi (The Colbert Report)

* Most TV Shows Named In One Minute Where One Word In The Title Is Replaced With The Word "Horse" - Kumail Nanjiani (Michael and Michael Have Issues, David Letterman)

* Corbin "The Rustler" Day vs. Josh Golding in a "Longest Tape Measure Extension Toss" Battle Royale

And the evening's hosts were the gentlemen in yellow, Dan Rollman and Corey Henderson.

Check it out:

Thursday, January 21, 2010


F train, late on a recent winter night.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Active Culture

The Under the Radar Festival invited Balthrop, Alabama and me to play upstairs at the Public Theater's LuEsther Lounge last night. Normally, the LuEsther Lounge is a rehearsal hall and sometimes theatre space where Shakespeare in the Park and other Public Theater plays practice. But for the UTR Festival, the room gets transformed into an after hours party palace.

After the Balthrop set, I stuck around and drew on the big screen during DJ Acidophilus's set as well. DJ Acidophilus is the nom de guerre of Bill Bragin, director of outdoor programming for Lincoln Center and the former director of Joe's Pub. Bill's musical tastes and curiosity are eclectic and relentless in the best way possible. Anyone who follows Bill on Twitter will soon find that he's a man on the constant prowl for something new or the current manifestation of something excellent and established or an idea or notion that swirls the cultures of the many into a new blend, that he's thinking about whatever he's looking at and listening to and that he is always ready to move on to something cooler than whatever it is you're doing.


So, when he asked me to draw while he played, I said I'd love to, because following an idea by Bill Bragin has never steered me wrong.

"Maybe you should give me an idea of a theme or something for the drawing?" I suggested to him earlier in the evening, before we began.

After the briefest moment of thought and flashing a smile he replied, "Just go where the music takes you."

It's that type of thinking that gets a person like Bill Bragin to the places that only a person like Bill Bragin gets to. You could even say that it's a mighty sound philosophy.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A World of Music

(Burkina Fasa's Alif Naaba making their American debut.)

Last night Bernie, Laura and I met up with John over at Webster Hall and took a tour of the world.

With fours stages of music, 13 or so different acts and five hours of celebration potent enough to pull anyone out of a winter funk, Globalfest was back in town. Every year, New Yorkers reap the benefits of hosting the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference, for APAP brings a crew from across the country to New York for an extended booking binge and a host of talent eager to jump into the marketplace and bringing their best. It's a win-win for everyone and a chance to see music experimentation and traditions one might otherwise miss.

It's also about as cool a music experience as one is likely to find.

(above and below: François Ladrezo & Alka Omeka from Guadlepoupe)

The atmosphere is congenial and festive and most rooms feature folks packed in like dancing sardines. My favorite band--or at least the band that surprised me the most by combining styles I never imagined I'd hear together--was Namgar, a band I didn't get to draw. Namgar is from Russia and combines Mongolian folk singing with a sound you wouldn't be surprised to hear emerging from Iron Maiden's amps. Namgar was lush, epic, gorgeous and completely unexpected, which is exacly the sort of thing I have come to expect from Global Fest.

(Caravan Palace from France, making their American debut. They're like a cross between French swing and a disco apocalypse.)

(La Cumbiamba eNeYé from Colombia and the United States)

At the end of the night, I was left with a vision of a smaller world with infinite possibilities, I was wearing a big smile, and I had music in my head that I couldn't even imagine a few hours before.

I had, in short, been to another Globalfest.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Sun King

Richie Havens at Joe's Pub, Friday January 9, 2010.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Memphis in the Mean Time

The City Champs at the Hi Tone in Memphis last Sunday afternoon.

I've been wanting to see the Hi Tone since I first wandered through Memphis with Balthrop, Alabama, but we always end up playing somewhere else. If anything, starting a new year of music by spending an afternoon at the Hi Tone with Laura's dad (who seems to know everyone and to whom all table-wanderers wander) only makes me want to get up on the stage there and draw with the town even more.

We got there kind of early as the City Champs began their Booker T-influenced soul set. As we were sitting there, we were joined by a variety of folks, including sax-man Jim Spake who set down his instrument, leaned back and took it all in, before joining in on the third set.

The City Champs are coming to New York next month with the North Mississippi Allstars and I expect I'll try to see them again then and I'll bring my memory of a cold afternoon in Memphis at a great club along for the ride.

"The sound here is just great. It always is," said Laura's dad like a proud poppa. I hope we get to find out for ourselves one of these days . . .