Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" 2/7/17 A Return to NYC and The Inspired Word

"Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" 2/7 A Return to NYC and The Inspired Word
Greetings wonderful wondering wanderers!
So continues my journeys after exploring and performing in New England and leaving 
Rhode Island with a full stomach courtesy of Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches and Drent's generosity
and heading south to return to New York City to perform as feature at Michael Geffner's Inspired Word series at Parkside Lounge.  On the last tour I did, the "NovEmbark Tour", I made my debut here at the onset of Thanksgiving week, and Mike was kind enough shortly after to invite me back for a second feature opportunity!
On my way down to NYC I listened to the following podcasts
(a pretty "heavy" list of topics.  Note that "Cortex" is one that was on the list
that Vaughn suggested to me in New Haven, CT!):

Which got my head full of injustices, frustration about systems that don't necessarily work for the people who need them, and on a more personal note to me regarding the Cortex episode what of my own systems of working and occupying my time don't necessarily work for me or help me to be as productive as I could be.

By the time I arrived in NYC I was somehow lucky enough to find a spot just in time parking in the street which gave me none of the anxiety and crazy headache of the last time I was in the city. (My mental breakdown and missed opportunity in NYC.) 

Chelle Mayer's original portrait of my performance,
eels and ethereal booger glops were not present at the venue.
Sadly I knew this would be the last time I saw one of my close friends, Dani Blum (she who is expertly collaborating with me on illustrating my short story collection) before she headed off to live in Milan for 3 months (and if all goes well for her, several years). So this would be bittersweet.  I was just as much looking forward to seeing my poetic genius of a friend Eliot Greene come out and support.  Mike Geffner is always so supportive of the arts, a journalist who in his own words could have retired but at the last minute decided to contribute instead to fostering an artistic community in the city, which it seems he has done, and rather well, as the series has been going on for an incredible 7+ years, Another photographer who is a staple there, Marvin was there and it was his birthday (he and Mike are responsible collectively for all of the photos you will see in this blog) an a very generous and funny host, Ryan McCurdy! Chelle Mayer was in the crowd drawing the performers all night, later she went home and colored in this illustration of me in a very surreal way! Check her work out by clicking her name or the PEACEFULSHADES - CHELLE MAYER FB PAGE HERE.

 Among many of the performers, here are a list of a few I managed to write down whose work I really enjoyed (pardon anyone I missed misspells or links that I didn't manage to get, honestly between improvised comedy, covers, originals, a capella singers and even a sort of interactive spiritual breathing/stretching performance art exercise the whole night was a lot of fun and full of impressive talent!)

Kathleen Potton killed it toward the beginning of
the night!
Lex Rockheart, Josh McKinda, Jonathon Ferris, a high energy Italian man Massa who passionately and gregariously sang George Michael covers.

My set was one I rather enjoyed performing and people seemed to respond well to it,
the crowd there is generally very supportive and also is a listening crowd that is more relaxed by this point in the night so I just did my best to do the songs well and address the audience and convey the songs strongly.  Eliot and Dani and several other people who generously bought cassettes had very nice things to say about my set so that was very reassuring. Overall this was certainly the most monetarily lucrative event of the trip but also there was so much information being shared about the local community and opportunities and events. 
"The Following Story...(A Midnight Pursuit)" 

And the night ended with sound-man//producer//singer//guitar player Clyde Phalanx's excellent performance of a Kanye West Flashing Lights cover and an upbeat and hopeful original that had everyone present singing along to the encouraging outro/refrain!  The remaining crew of the night got together for a shot after our chorus (included below).  I said goodbye to my new friends as well as to Eliot and after a drive to her subway stop, said a monumentally upsetting and yet nonchalantly reserved goodbye (a paradoxical sort of farewell that seems to be reserved for true friendships, the awkwardness of the heavy departure due to the strength of the friendship battled by the surety of the safety of the friendship due to that same strength.) to Dani as well.

With a smile on my face and the love of creativity and new and old friends in my heart, I headed wearily to my Grandmother's house in Nassau County to pass out before I headed back upstate the next day to perform in Syracuse.

All in all it seems to me after spending time with my soon-to-depart and long-lost friends,
after hearing the stories of so many creatives who work so hard to make their life their craft
and who have a home to do so thanks to Mike Geffner's lovely series (which I found out was 
a retiree's alternative plan to find fulfillment, after a life that he describes was "hard work, but no work at all because I had a full career doing what I love") yet again the lesson is to do what you love and to surround yourself with folks who do the same and love you as well.

Surround yourself with love and you will love your surroundings.
Thanks as always for reading and following along with me
and so many thanks to those who take part in my life in these little
travel vignettes.
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" 2/3/17 - 2/7/17: Gamboling and Gallivanting in Providence

"Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" 2/3/17 - 2/7/17: Gamboling and Gallivanting in Providence
Hello Hello fellow wanderers!
Where were we when we last spoke a little over a week ago?  Ah, I was curled up in a ball in the backseat of my car in Connecticut off of  I-95 after nearly running myself off the road headed north post-show in my soporific keychain of a car!  That Friday morning, I woke up cold and cramped with the only thing warm about me was a red hot knife in my side.  I thrashed about and coughed stifled screams.  The culprit was the cup-holder in the center of my back seat that had gradually burrowed with unforgiving persistence into my muscles.  I got out of my car and stretched in the cold while exhaling visibility and limped circling my car like a geriatric shark.  I hobbled into my  driver's seat with a cry and sped towards the the hobbit house location that is Owen "Drent"s esteemed residence that was bordered by a stretch of woods and resembled a house fit for wizardry and all sorts of old-world activities.   In the interest of making this 4 day narrative of manageable length for perusal, I'm going to try a different reporting technique, a non-chronological list of highlights and memorable moments, with the usual decorative cropping of photos, links and videos for the intended arousal of your endorphin and satisfaction of your generous curiosity....
Some of the beautiful overgrowth
on the old house Drent rents
out of that prompts the antiquated
feeling it calls to mind
Monday afternoon I wandered about
the extensive property of Drent's place
in spite of his warning that coyotes
populated the area.  Along with finding
many large stones and a frozen creek,
I stumbled across this huge abandoned

Rhode Island Highlights and memories....

Shows and Performances:

Friday 2/3 (Everett Open Stage Feature)
The first performance and first night in Providence was a great experience featuring at the Everett Dance studio // community space! Two years ago I played here with DRENT for a huge crowd and it was one of my favorite performance experiences on the road because there was so much love for creative expression and so many people in the room and Owen and I had been speaking about the ambition to feature there ever since!  Finally I got to return as a feature which is a really nice gesture because this series only happens once a month! Such an attentive and enthusiastic audience of all ages, what an experience!  I opened by doing Creative Differences with Owen and then did my solo performance with my unreleased narrative "The Following Story (A Midnight Pursuit)" and then "Pagliacci (A Most Memorable Case)"! Having all of the space to fill as a single act after seeing all the great dancers seemed to pressure me to be extra emotive and active with my body language, which was a fun demand that I felt I met! Illiterate Wordsmiths, aka Drent and Kleen Kut finished up our shared feature with one of their songs from their impending album "Edgar Allans Ave"!
Chris "Kleen Kut" caught me in the headlines
"moth to the lime-light's shine"

Illiterate Wordsmiths dropping knowledge
at Everett

Sunday 2/5 (Alchemy with Illiterate Wordsmiths and Jesse Ramos)

After spending many Sunday hours posted up in Small Points Cafe, reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, writing up my Connecticut journeys, designing an AllOne Family Newsletter and editing "Spontaneous Sundays With AllOne episode 5 featuring Sik Sense" I was very very high energy and felt like the hulk! The venue was pretty empty because it was a cold night, one of the artists dropped out and the Super Bowl was keeping everyone cooped up and I didn't mind because a handful of good people were in the building and I got to play the longest set of the tour on a great stage/sound system. Jesse "The Tree" Ramos is an appropriately named lean and lanky figure who I met when we shared a bill at The News Cafe the last tour I did in November.

My setlist:
Getting my squat on while going cuckoo
crazy rapping face to face with Jesse Ramos,
who is the only rapping tree I know. (sorry groot).
"The Case Of Sydney Barringer" (soundcheck that revealed that this would be the best sound system/set up of the entire tour, making this an absolute hell of a time)
"Quality Vs. Quarantine"  (Owen took a break from being the only enthusiastic person watching the Super Bowl on his phone to run across the venue and jump on stage in time to back me up for the part I gave him in the dense chorus of this song)
"Cardiac Compass (Path To Preservation)" 
"Grab The Horns" 
"Pagliacci [A Most Memorable Case]"  (at this point in an incredibly surprising appropriate coincidence, an older Italian gentleman walked up and watched me perform half the song and when I was finished, he asked me if I wanted a slice of pizza, because he felt my performance earned it!)
"Build Here" 
"I Get Down" 
"Homesick Is Where The Heart Is" 
"The Following Story (A Midnight Pursuit)" (unreleased non-fiction narrative)
"Zoned Out"
"Unbelievable" snippet, a rare song, and later "Creative Differences" with Drent!
Jesse "The Tree" Ramos raps in
tightly woven bursts
of stream-of-consciousness
sprinkled with self-effacing
and conscientious nuggets of wisdom. 
Illiterate Wordsmiths finalized the night with a
really high octane and intense performance. Post-nap Drent
was super intense to make up for his mid-show slumber and
Kleen Kut was rocking the stage with his 90's inspired style like a champ!

Monday 2/6 (Madcap Monday at Firehouse 13)
Nate Cozzolino performs incredibly
every Madcap Monday at Firehouse 13
during the "Midcap" portion of the night!
He was bartending at Alchemy Sunday night
and remembered me and was very supportive
and encouraging. Find his music!

Last tour I had the pleasure of meeting Nate and Caleb's Madcap Monday operation that is rife with art peddlers, comedians, rappers, poets and musicians of mostly high-quality talent!  (Read of my last encounter here). Yet again, I met new friends and had the pleasure of catching up with and building friendships with people I met in my last encounter.  One of the new friends I met was this storyteller/poet who was simultaneously funny and insightful/vulnerable through her work named Sara Dager.  We spoke for some time after her set once I congratulated her and thanked her for sharing such great work and it turns out we have very similar niche music tastes!  She also does Illustration, Sculpture and Collage and you can can check that out at Tim Batty, who I bought/bartered a painting off in November went up and did a spoken piece at the end of the night where he explained some of his sales approached (which is an eerie and open "make me an offer") a monologue in which he told the crowd that the monetary exchange is directly related to the depth or sincerity of the story that he will tell that generous or stingy patron about the piece they've made their offer for.  I found this really interesting.  I also got to see a talented rapper Tom "Kudos" Brewer and we connected after each others' sets, mutually in admiration of one another's work.
Another new friend, Asim Barakzai filmed and edited my performance this night rather well and I'm extremely happy that he did because I really enjoy this performance and the sound/visuals he captured!  Thank you Asim!! Enjoy the footage my friends...

Podcasts I listened to (that I would recommend):
On way to RI from CT I listened to 
"Easier to act and then change your thinking than to think to change your actions"
is a paraphrased takeaway from this hilarious and interesting interview!  That made me think of the relationships between the maxims  "Fake it til you make it" or "actions speak louder than words" and is a contrarian point to the idea of "mind over body" that is so often spoken about these days.

Saturday I went to the gym for two hours with a travel card and listened to:
"Not everyone who voted for Trump is racist but every racist in America voted for Trump"

Sunday I listened to...

Must-Experience Parks/Cafes/Businesses/Bars:
**Spent a lot of time during the first few days in Providence at Small Points Cafe writing and reading The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyleresearching new places to play and editing Spontaneous Sundays episode 5! They had great coffee and scrumptious food I got to enjoy in comfortable chairs in the artful quirky walls of this cafe, there were toys littered about decorating the place playfully and the bathroom had robots painted on the walls interacting with the mechanical parts about the room.  The workers were all cordial even while it was very busy and they didn't mind that I spent hours and hours in there reading and getting work done (which was probably because I couldn't resist treating myself to their various pastries and breakfast items, coffees and teas that were somehow very tasty but also very cheap!

** Symposium Books was an absolutely enthralling local bookstore that had both the clean and organized presentation of a franchise and the erratic and quirky array of where I ended up suckered into picking up a rare old copy of Jules Verne's "Master Of The World" from 1965! They had cassettes, vinyl records and even book enthusiast's apparel!  Definitely recommended that you go in there if you're a reader or a even an oldschool music fan!

  ** Craftland 

Just across the street from Small Point Cafe, which as you can see became my caffienated nest while I was in Providence, an eye-catching piebald sign reading "Craftland" came to my attention (As most eye catching things storefronts full of lights and shapes and colors and artful pieces and decorum inside.  What I discovered indoors was an overwhelming array of locally created art pieces and handmade memorabilia like a brick-and-mortar Etsy.  I ended up charmed into buying a few pins and an HP Lovecraft postcard.  I couldn't get photos inside because that wasn't permitted but this establishment by its very nature would be changing constantly it seems with its wares and it's arrangement and you'd be making a mistake not to visit!

**Box Seats
Monday night, Owen's father was kind enough to treat us to dinner so we went to this bar and grill in Attleboro called "Box Seats" that seems simple enough but the Salmon dinner I got and the buffalo chicken tenders we started our dinner off with was absolutely delicious.  Simple and easy yum yum for your tum tum if you're in the area check it out.  Many thanks Mr. L!

**Hot Club
While Owen and I spent Monday gamboling about India Point Park (see below) we walked near the bridge in providence (a bridge whose ingenious construction/set up was so marvelously assembled via years of studying the tides and the weather patterns to decide the perfect time to float the structure across the water and fit it in place. What a remarkable story!  At that point we came upon the artfully painted and 30+ years standing "Hot Club" on the sidewalk/boardwalk alongside the water.  Upon examining and after asking Owen about it and liking his report, we capriciously opted to go inside for a drink and ended up meeting a cool bartender named Scarlet and I got a delicious "Stuffie" for the first time which is a big over-stuffed clam, evidently a New England staple.  I was advised and invited to return in the summer when the place is packed out.

Owen peeping through a giant old part of some kind.

On Monday, Owen had off and we slept in a bit to recover from the late and exhausting night performing at Alchemy (when Drent when home to sleep, Chris and I went out to chill and rap and catch up getting food til 3am so I was shot too).  I got immediately antsy and cagey as I always do in any situation when indoors and so I elected/voted/begged/protested that we go out and explore and adventure somewhere.  He ended up taking me out (as he said later, it was like taking a dog out) to India Point Park, where I ran around, jumped over fences, slid down handrails, climbed trees and jumped across rocks and ran up stairs and scaled a massive jungle gym excitedly.  The cold air felt good in my lungs and it was nice to be out of breath and outdoors with the cold air blowing and the sun warming my skin.  After a lot of time over the weekend spent avoiding the cold and working indoors it was liberating and invigorating to embrace the outside and to stretch my limbs and use my muscles.  It was cathartic and I felt much much better during and afterwards.  Owen tried to keep up, laughed incredulously and gave me the historical low-down on Providence and the various things we came across, (or went across, like bridges!).  We later met with Chris and started working on a song for a little mini-EP rap project we are cooking up with our friend Jesse (The aforementioned arbor).
But SHHH. That is an undisclosed secret (why would a "shhh" be in caps?! That's oxymoronomatopoeia !!

** Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches

Tuesday morning, when it came time to say goodbye so that I could head down to NYC to perform my second feature night at Inspired Word, Owen said he would take me to a real top-notch place for lunch.  In fact, he was correct in suggesting that the choice of Geoff's Superlative Sandwiches in Providence would be an ideal choice.  This place felt like a big new york sandwich shop.  It had the frenetic pace of a sandwich shop (especially one whose absurd two-for-one tuesdays deal made the place busy as a beehive) homely vibe to it. It was a modestly sized place that had walls practically made of chalk board with hand-written sandwiches of all sorts that you've heard of and never thought to dream of.  Unbelievable! I ended up playing it pretty simple and getting a tuna sandwich called "The Diamond" with banana peppers and some veggies on it.  I ordered rye bread but they gave me their "superlative bun" which was a giant soft dusty roll that turned out to be a really preferred "mistake"!  They had a barrel of pickles in the center of the store and after you ordered your sandwiches they'd give you a small bag and let you forage around with tongs in the brine for unlimited pickle spears.  Owen and I spoke about future artistic plans and what would go on with our projects we are working on and so on.
After we ate lunch we left the bustling deli and recorded some freestyles for Episode 6 of Spontaneous Sundays.  Then after well-wishing, we parted ways and I was off to NYC to perform at Inspired word!


Rhode Island was a great experience and was a reminder and an example of that I can build friendships and maintain them by traveling more frequently.  This tour and the NovEmbark tour are the closest two tours I've ever booked and I'm already working on a short tour for early March, so I'm really excited to keep these sort of relationships and opportunities growing.

Thank you as always for your interest, I hope you've gotten something out of this and enjoy the photos, videos and the music and podcasts that I've found!  If you find yourself in Providence and visit some of these places, let me know how you liked them!

Live Easy and Laugh Hard,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Sunday, February 5, 2017

"Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" 2/2/17 Day 1: Hanging with Heroes and Friends in New Haven, CT

"Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" Day One Hanging with Heroes in New Haven:
Greetings AllOne Family!
I've embarked on my first tour of the year! The "Emotional Baggage Bard Tour" (in reference to my song "Travel Baggage (Carry On)" This is yet another independently arranged venture with the help of some friends. I'm back to reporting my thoughts and adventures and fun encounters hopefully for your amusement and some form of a travelogue brochure for when you find yourself in these areas as well as an opportunity for me to share some of the things I've been excitedly consuming, be it art or information or even food!  There were a lot of difficulties in devising this tour, a few people dropped out and some promoters and venues never got back to me, but there were enough events to seek out to keep me busy and traveling, although 50% of the events ended up being open mic performances, I've often found these to be equally or more productive socially, artistically and financially than booked shows at venues.

The absurdly devised little route:

Late Departure for a Northbound Journey

    Admittedly, it took me longer than expected to depart for this trip on Thursday between packing in the morning and having to get my tires checked and my oil changed last minute.  I had planned on leaving early but I'm just trying to be responsible okay? With any luck this brilliant little keychain of a car will last me quite a long time!  While I was waiting for the time at the to get done I went to the gym in an attempt to be more productive and make up for the two weeks I missed while I was .
On my drive to New Haven, CT I listened to the following podcast episodes:
In these pressing and intense times of the new administration, I've been trying to be more aware of political events.  Are there any current events/political podcasts you listen to and recommend?  My friend Phil, an editor at New York Post and drummer of The Vigilance Committee recommended the following podcasts to me and I've been enjoying them/trying to keep up with/catch up with the political realm and state of affairs.

After a lengthy ride to Connecticut, where I managed to somehow hit traffic perfectly as some karmic punishment for my late start, I arrived at Stella Blues for the first show.  What's funny about this is when I was on tour in November and trouncing about with my gregarious friend Annie (Read about that HERE) she dragged me abruptly into this venue to inquire about booking me there and the ornery owner declared that the venue was closed!  A few weeks later, Dope KNife called me up and told me he had this show for me at the very same venue.  Here we are.

Stella Blues with Zak G, Esh, Dope KNife and Sketch The Cataclysm

I want to take a second to talk about Dope KNife and how incredible he has been doing lately, first off as a rapper, a producer, a performer and freestyler he is just all around crazily talented (not to mention he makes his own videos and often his own artwork!).  After running Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes for a decade, he is getting credit where it is overdue. In December, he released a phenomenal EP "Weekend at Brodie's" on Fake Four Inc. run by Ceschi based out of Connecticut and then just recently released an LP "1984" on the legendary Sage Francis' own Strange Famous Record's digital label in January.  Both of these projects include raps and production by Kedrick and are released on two of the most important labels in underground hip hop. Getting to meet up and rock shows with him is always a pleasure and this time was no different.  I've seen Zak G perform at Cafe Nine and Sketch Tha Cataclysm perform at The Outer Space a few months back when I freestyled spontaneous on stage with him and Joey Batts and some other cats after Ceschi shoved me up into a cypher!  The only person who I didn't know in this line-up was Esh (or Esh the Monolith), although I am on a posse cut song with him and Zak G on KNife's new album called "#SQUADGOHARD".  Also present and hanging out was Strange Famous Records' own Sage Francis, who is the main inspiration for me getting into hip hop (with his song "Makeshift Patriot") and eventually taking my writing down the road exploring rapping and song writing, so to have him casually in the crowd and hanging out was surreal and very special/encouraging.  Take your favorite artist or practitioner in the craft or field that you value most and imagine getting to just kick it with them casually...that was what it was like for me, even though we didn't get to speak at length. 

Zak Green opened up the show with his unique combination of self-produced noise music/punk and hip hop intensely rapped and screamed over with acerbic evaluations of society and hip hop music and cynically running the gamut of keen grips and criticisms.

Esh The Monolith, a Boston-based emcee, might have been my favorite performance between the musicality of his performance (using pedals for vocal effects life, playing an omnichord life and using mallets on a floor tom), his varied selection of deliveries through which he shared his strongly poetic command of language.  The uniqueness of his approach and even the wide variety of topics and personalities his song content took on (from mortality to social criticism to flexing and goofing off with rap bars over Timbaland beats and poetic descriptions etc) was inspiring.

Dope KNife performed the next set, which are always really impressive.  He uses all of his the tricks in his deep bag full of them.  Opening with an a capella piece, rapping aggressively over his well-produced instrumentals, involving the crowd and doing interactive freestyle games he is just admirably well rounded and unabashedly displays his firm grasp on the many feathers in his cap.  He never shies away from working the crowd, freestyling, showing his writing skills in the minimalist slam poetry style or the high intensity rapping and yelling of his songs in any show I've seen him perform and that sort of brave consistency is something that makes him such a great performer to catch.

During my set I performed mostly songs from the new album, which was a lot of fun to just get loose in a new venue among a handful of rappers and writers that I enjoy and respect!  In the middle of my set, Dodgy Sorts came in which was a nice surprise and threw a bunch more energy into my set. Here was my setlist...

Sketch Tha Cataclysm finished off the show with his signature high-octane densely written raps delivered with technicality while stage antics and witty, sarcastic banter populated the spaces between the impressively woven songs.

Also, while setting up my merch table I was beatboxing and ended up drawing the attention of this guy Vaughn who I chatted with on and off for the remainder of the night and we exchanged some podcasts that we liked and then he invited me on a podcast, then we recorded a little beatbox collaboration freestyle outside on the street.  What a cool guy and series of interactions brought together by a shared interesting in eavesdropped beatboxing and the willingness to be social!
Here are some of Vaughn's podcast suggestions:

Overall the event was a good time full of respectable (and even rarer, respectful) rap talent.   I couldn't have asked for a more fun and encouraging start to a tour among friends.  We all packed up our merch at 1 AM or so and wished friends old and new safe journeys.  We were all set to scatter into varied directions on various musical and personal journeys through the bitter cold twilight.  I headed to Rhode Island to meet with Owen only to find myself exhausted too exhausted to safely drive and so I opted to nap in the back seat of a park and ride off of the seemingly infinite I-95.  Stuffed into a sleeping bag and huddled into the backseat of my miniature chariot, I fell asleep, putting day one of the tour behind me with, leaving it to my quickly encouraging REM to embed and ruminate on my encouraging new memories.

Thank you for reading and joining my journeys as always!
 I hope you take up my invitation to enjoy the plethora of new media that I've encountered through the links littered throughout these accounts!
Until next time...
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Notes from the studio: On "Killing Your Darlings"

Hey AllOne Family,
     I hope this finds you well... I don't know if "Notes From The Studio" will be a recurring series but I wanted to do a little more talking about the craft and details/decisions behind what I do because I do put a lot of time and effort and mental energy into my creative process and I do love "talking shop" so much that I had this experience and I thought to write about it and invite you into this little window of my world and perhaps you could get something out of it, either as a creator yourself or just perhaps a nugget of information to satisfy any generous curiosity you might have.

A few weeks ago, I tracked a new verse for a guest spot on a song from DRENT and Kleen Kut's next "Illiterate Wordsmiths" project "Edgar Allens Ave".  The song is about bullying, suicide and loss and each rapper on the song plays a different character and role in the drama.  The incredible Ceschi of Fake Four Inc. is also featured on the song as the person who discovers the body.  Chris "Kleen Kut" plays the friend of the bullied boy who kills himself (played by Drent) and I get the role of the bully.  My experience with writing this was laborious to say the least.  Almost every time I get assigned to do a simple 16 bar verse I write a full song or two of material and crop down from there.  This song was no exception. , although this time I wrote several verses and thought I was done and then I ended up revamping most of my "finalized" verse while in the studio (sorry Frank).  

My initial issues were A. imagining the words and lines and B. taking on the stance or perspective I wanted to take. 

      I first went the route of the kid who learns abuse from his family life, and while true, it is also a cliche and too-explored trope.  I don't mean to trivialize the importance of showing compassion and understanding to those who lash out in hurt or find those antecedents of bullies and want to help, but I thought there were other stories to tell.  I decided to explore the other perspective of a bully type who is a little more aloof and/or unassuming about the maliciousness of their actions.  They didn't get abused, they're just bored and it seems funny to call people names and just goof off.  In their perspective, people are weird you point it out because it's something to do.  Everyone is an extra in your movie, a tool to enhance the entertainment of your experience (all of this is in this character's eyes).  When the tragedy of the song unfolds, he is forced to reconcile with the idea that his actions actually affect people.  As it turns out, his offhand off-color remarks actually were huge and hugely harmful brush strokes on the canvas and themes of this other person's life.

     The other phase of rewriting was a painful realization of "killing your darlings." (above my laptop I have a handwritten post-it-note that reads "Killing your darlings may be killing you darling!")  I deciding that the devices and ideas that I had come up with for my finalized set of lyrics that I walked happily into the studio actually took up too much space and although hard-won, they weren't serving the emotional needs of the verse and therefore the song.  I took a long time and developed a new rhyme pattern approach utilizing a drum rudiment as a model and it sounded really interested and the use of words and the delivery and rhyme placement was incredibly clever and inventive but I had to admit to myself that this wasn't the best place for me to exercise that approach.

     I am happy with the results of my verse, it is very harsh emotional and in-character.  I know it is perhaps silly to bring up when talking about writing raps because of the term's rampant use in the genre, but I use the word "faggot" in the song.  I made sure to establish in the verse is very much the character speaking, I chose this because Owen alludes to being called it in his verse (As the character of the boy who is bullied) and so it served for consistency of the story within the song.

     This is just a reflective reminder to me that when writing we have creative choices and ideas we need to explore, what is our approach? How do we frame our verse and does it serve the song?  Sacrifices must be made.  Your writing can be strong but if it doesn't serve the overall piece then it wasn't a strong CONTRIBUTION.  Remember, especially as a person featuring or being a guest on another's project, it is not your job to solo the whole time and steal the show, it is to serve the piece.  They say the best Jazz players (or players in general) know when NOT to play.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this or similar experiences?  If so, please share them! I know I'm saying nothing new here but I'd like to share my experiences all the same as I go through these processes on my projects.  After much thinking, I decidedly will NOT share the final lyrics here, which will make it all the more exciting when I can share the final product with you!  That being said (or written at least), thank you for your time and be on the look out for the "Edgar Allen's Ave" project later this year!

-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Repping my R.Eye.P shirt for Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen.  For the sake of
transparency, this is actually a photo from a different recording session,
when I was tracking vocals for Rapologues,
but it is clearer than the phone cam flick from that day!

Friday, January 20, 2017

AllOne NovEmbark Tour 2016: 12/2-12/4 Syracuse and Rochester, NY Concluding A Modest Odyssey

AllOne NovEmbark Tour 2016: 12/2-12/4 Syracuse and Rochester, NY Conclude A Journey

My Dearest AllWonderers (AllWanderers),

As I write this I am listening to Bad Religion's "The Dissent Of Man" and getting in this last rush of writing before I go to host an open mic night at the incredible House Of Brews in Port Jefferson (the revived and reinvented husk of what used to be Lulu's!)  If you're on Long Island and looking for places to perform, you'll want to visit the VOX POPULI open mic series, run by Mike Perlmutter, genius bassist and former Velvet Lounge open mic host of 3+ years.  The sound system and stage and the overall quality of the venue is unmatched in terms of open mics, plus Port Jeff is a dazzling charming little town to explore before and after!  My friend NOX is the feature and he and I got together to film a cypher which contributed a segment to Episode two of my new series Spontaneous Sundays with AllOne.  Click here to watch Episode 2.  If you recall when last we spoke, I had departed from Albany further North into Upstate NY for the final weekend stretch of the trip...lets get into it....

Friday 12/2 A Hip-Hop show in a Rare Famous Waffle Haven

I drove up to Syracuse finishing up listening to Revealed podcast and Tell Me Something I Don't Know.  When I drove into Syracuse I was really excited to see my friend Evan "Attaboy" Bujold (a quirky and charismatic multi-faceted mega human whose talents seem to know no bounds, a graphic designer, lyricist, singer, guitar player, comic book writer and illustrator among many other things. I've known Evan since my days at Oswego, He did the album artwork for "The Inevitable Effort", "We'll Make It Together" and my newest AllOne offering "I've Been Thinking...".  When Evan and I met, it was at a random performance night with my friend Sam Katz at the open mic and Evan and I meshed really well and kept in touch after he mentioned me in a nice article! 
   It was freezing cold when I arrived and I visited Evan at his job to pick up some show tickets in this cool art museum// "technology garden" of sorts where space was granted to start-ups (one of which Evan works for).  They had an art display to commemorate David Bowie that was up.  I wandered around town for a while, went and got myself wings and sweet potato fries (at a greek spot of all places?!) I was feeling hungry and impulsive as much as my rule is generally "no spending money on food while traveling".  Evan was kind enough when I reached out to him to use his connections as the newly hired music director at Funk N Waffles.  Although we'd

Wrote for a few hours in my car and caught up on some things trying to stay warm.  Funk N Waffles is just wayyy too cool a venue.  There are two in Syracuse now, the one I played is in the downtown area, you have to walk downstairs to get to it, there is an abundance of art and community.  The Funk N Waffles claim to fame is that it was on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"  . Did I mention that their inventive waffle selection is absurdly delicious?!  I set up my merch table and caught up with Evan while people filled in.  The panorama is just incredible between the paintings and the decoration and the tables and artful menus was just such a good vibe.  They made the mistake of comping me free coffee as a performer and I got their Jersey Shore waffle for irony's sake (and frankly because a simple waffle with ice cream sounded incredible.  It was here that I started regretting having spent money on food earlier when getting my late lunch considering I got half off the food that was arguably more interesting.  I performed alongside Evan (as Attamizk, and a couple hip-hop cats ADVICE & Skateboard, Wyze Guys, and K.B.). I found myself getting antsy, I performed last and watching rappers perform always just makes me want to freestyle and "get open" and get performing.  Seeing Evan perform is always astonishing between his guitar playing, his lyricism and its topics as well as his uncanny delivery between rapping and singing and being able to do all of this at once is just incredible! I had a fun time at the show and will be returning there Wednesday Febuary 8th.  Here are some photos from the night!  Evan's Aunt and Uncle  were kind enough to allow me to stay with them and I tried their homemade pumpkin raisin, nut chocolate chip bread which was a wonderful way to start the day!  Evan and I caught up a bit, talking about the highs and lows of the year prior and how we planned on digging ourselves out of it or already had. I always find it helpful on these travels to run ideas by people as they all come from so many different backgrounds and perspectives.  Hearing and seeing how other people react to certain circumstances either "good" or "bad", "mundane" or "magical" gives me an alternative lens through which to try out processing my own experiences.  This is a benefit of the hard-earned (For me) practice of listening and communicative vulnerability.
Funk N Waffles interior Panorama
Evan "Attamizk" playing at Funk N Waffles

The only "Jersey Shore"
I will be able to stomach!

Saturday 12/3 Visiting Oswego for nostalgic coffee & comics and Rochester Return!

Before heading over to Rochester to visit the Beshures brothers and spend time with them for the house concert, I stopped about 45 minutes north of Syracuse in Oswego, NY of which many of you know I have a history.  SUNY Oswego is my ...Almost Mater... and it was there that I filmed a series of videos ( "I couldn't Stay" with Sam Katz" and "Revealed (Universal)" by AllOne & The Room and my song "Zoom In (There's Life Here)" is inspired by my life there and Tyler Edic filmed a video on location for that song).

     For nearly 30 years Oswego has been the landlord for one of my favorite places ever since I came to school here six years ago, Coffee Connection is a homely place that has somehow operated in this gray-scale, dilapidated fossil of industry's locale that from its hundred-plus-year-old windows overlooks the chill choppy waters that thrash nonchalantly under the town from Lake Ontario. I have written many songs here including "Zoom In (There's Life Here)" which describes its fellow small towns over a menagerie of mugs and a fueled by a stomach full of delicious treats in the creaky old boards of its familial hospitable environment in old complaining chairs that reside within the flamboyantly decorated and local art adorned walls that make this place so beloved and unique… Needless to say I had to take a detour here from Syracuse to Rochester to grab a coffee, take in all of the sights and smells and get a bag of their addictive "buzz bombs" which are chocolate and candy covered espresso beans that I can never get enough five, so it is a good thing that I live eight hours away!  After indulging on buzz bombs and a delivious latte I also stopped into one of my other favorite businesses, the local comic store.  It makes me happy to see that these places are still open in a place in such a down-on-its-luck area.  I picked up a copy of Will Eisner's "Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative" for a comic project I'm embarking on this year with some friends.  

Mike Beshures looks pretty serious, but he's likely
improvising absurd ballads about genitals or politics
     After taking in some of these sights I headed off to Rochester to meet the Beshures.  To my surprise both Rob AND Mike were there (Mike had recently moved to Plattsburgh to teach) and we just had such goofy fun.  They cleared out a space in their basement for a sort of performance/hang out area and had invited people to come over later that night.  We listened to a Shel Silverstein album of performances of poems from "Where The Sidewalk Ends" that was inventive and inspiring in its fearless whimsy and bizarre expression from song to song.  I had no idea this album existed!  Rob and Mike are both talented multi-instrumentalists and yet don't take themselves or their skills seriously at all and throughout the whole evening we were improvising nonsense songs and comedy bits!  We stopped over at their friend Cait's house and had some delicious food she made.  My friend Miles who I met two years ago and performs under the name Cu-Cu came and performed some guitar and piano songs in an intimate fun setting while we ate snacks, drank sweet homemade dandelion wine and sat on the floor.  I love the lack of barriers and pretension in a house-show/party music setting where there are no walls between the person sharing their work and those taking it in, except for the courtesy of lending your ears and eyes politely.  We did a CD trade as well and I met a bunch of friends and even got to see Tyler Edic and his lady!
I performed two full sets and had a great time doing so, to be able to have everyone's attention and just have the focus set entirely enraptured on the words and really get to deliver what I'm saying to ears that are taking it in and brains that are processing it and people that are reacting to me in real time with no distractions is such a joy and a pleasure! There was such a feeling of fun and family, no pressure or judgement and people talking art and animation and music together just hanging out.  We all jumped on different instruments (I was even on the drums at some point for a jam!)  We ended up performing and hanging out until 3:30AM!  It was a genuinely great time and the perfect "show" and event on which to end the trip.
From Left to Right: Mike, Miles, Sally, Cait,
 Mike Reynolds, Rob and myself!
Miles "Cu-Cu" George sharing honest songs
born of poems he'd written many moons ago.

Mikes regales us with piano ballads and storytelling
in the dining room of the Beshures' Rochester home

12/4 Sunday. Spirited Away, A farewell to friends and the road and the promise of returning

I enjoyed the rare luxury of sleeping in and the even more rare luxury of waking up to the smell of eggs and potato breakfast that Mike was preparing for everyone.  We talked about the night and about future hangouts and travels.  Rob ended up treating me to seeing a showing of Miyazaki's Spirited Away, which I'd never seen (and never seen any of his films) and I absolutely loved it and feel bad for having missed any of them!  Such odd and artful presentation and intrigue, it was a wonderful story and mystified and enthused me in a way that felt apt at the conclusion of the tour with all of its complications and beauties.  Rob and I talked music and agreed to collaborate on a song (the final piece to my forever-discussed album Rapologues) which as of the time of writing this, we are in the throes of!  On the way home I did get a crippling speeding ticket in Cayuga county and the officer was irritatingly condescending, suspicious and yet somehow warm and courteous as well.  On the way home I listened to Marc Maron's Podcast, Reveal and a Waking Up with Sam Harris episode about the abysmal and horrific creature that is Donald Trump and all that has gone on recently.  Terrifying and eye opening, but also level headed and fair in its discussion.

Upon getting home, despite any moments of failure or any stresses of preparing this journey or maintaining it I felt immensely grateful for the travels.  In a way, this tour was an experiment for how plausible this type of autonomous travel in my car would go both mentally, practically and financially.  I would say overall it was a huge success and gives me a lot of hope for what adventures and tours I have to look forward to in 2017, whether long or short.  I'm very indebted to everyone who supported me on this trip and made it so enriching and fulfilling.  This sort of trip and change of scenery was exactly what I needed artistically and deep in myself to be inspired and motivated.
I'm going to be on tour again in February, returning to many of those locations including the following:
If anyone has any advice or venues or house shows they want to throw in these dates I'm still trying to fill.. please Email me at  ASAP so we can get it set up !! Thank you!!
1/28 The Basement in Port Jefferson with SAD MAGIC, Alexa Dexa, Paris Yates, I Dreamt The Sea, Pozy and Noise Quintet
2/1 House Of Brews, Port Jefferson Hosting
2/2 Stella Blues in New Haven, CT with Zak G, Dope KNife, Sketch Tha Cataclysm and more
2/3 Open Mic Feature at Everett in Rhode Island with Drent and Kleen Kutt
2/4 Video Shoot // Writing Day with Drent//Kleen Kut//Jesse Ramos
2/5 Alchemy in Providence Rhode Island with Drent and Kleen Kut
2/6 Madcap Monday feature in Providence Rhode Island
2/7 Inspired Word NYC at Parkside Lounge, Lower East Side
2/9 Hudson River Coffee House Albany, NY
2/10 Caleb Grippin House Show in Knox, NY
2/11 Beshures House Show 
2/15 Broadway Arts Spoken Word (open mic) Kingston, NY 

 Never stop moving, never stop growing!  
I hope to see you all again soon and see even more people as well!
 Thank you for reading my story and being a part of it!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo