Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NYE Uke Drop; Uke Cabaret; Uke Burlesque and More!

Dear Readers,

This is cut and paste job from an email I set out to the 100+ folks on the NY Uke Salon list. If you'd like to be on that list, send an email to rickbruner at gmail dot com and I'll add you to it. These are various announcements of upcoming stuff.

  • New Year's Eve: Sonic Uke's 6th Annual Ukulele Ball Drop
    321 23rd Street, Brooklyn. Get there shortly before midnight. Details at www.sonicuke.com
  • Uke Ooh-La La: Ukulele & Burlesque Show, February 11 at Jalopy Theatre
    Ellia Bisker of Sweet Soubrette is organizing. Promises to be loads of fun. Details still forming, but check her site.
  • Also Noted:
    • January 2: Second Annual Connecticut Ukulele Invitational at Molten Java, 102 Greenwood Ave, Bethel, CT. Still maybe 1-2 open performing slots. Details at www.edukatedfleas.com
    • January 23: Craig Chesler's CD Release party at Banjo Jim's. Lots of performers. Details at www.craigchesler.com
    • February 25: Bliss Blood, Kelli Rae Powell & Al Duvall at Jalopy's. Plus lots more opportunities to see Bliss at www.blissblood.com
    • Stay Tuned: NY Uke Fest 2010!!!! Details pending at www.nyukefest.com

Also, as always, players of all levels are welcomed at Makalina's weekly NY Ukulele Meetup.

2010 will surely see a resurgence of the Ukulele Salon, including exclusive parties at some of NY's coolest residences, plus public performances likely at Otto's, The Living Room and elsewhere. (If
anyone has a great home or performance space to recommend, please drop me a line.)

We're also looking to include some special guests such as Jonathan Coultan, John Hodgman, Nellie McKay and other NY-area quasi-famous ukulele celebrities. (If anyone has their email addresses, lemme know, or please direct them to this blog entry.)

Seriously, how lucky are we that this town boasts a Uke Salon, a Uke Cabaret, a Uke Burlesque, a Uke Fest, a Uke Meetup and so much more!

Also, if you haven't checked it out lately, give GoChords a look. A NY venture, the site is continuously improving to be a great social network of sorts and tool for building, browsing, and sharing ukulele songsheets.

Finally, a shout out to a favorite discovery of 2009, the OTHER guy who constantly practices uke on the uptown #1 train, Jon Braman. If like me, you would think ukulele hip-hop seems a stretch, think
again. Check out his site and remarkable album Climatastrophunk.

May you learn many new chords in 2010! Hoping to strum together soon.

"Suddenly Seymour" at by Rush Kress and Claudia Goddard at Ukulele Mansion

Rush Kress and Claudia Goddard performing "Suddenly Seymour" from Little Shop of Horrors at Rush's birthday party at Ukulele Mansion in 2009.

"Young at Heart" by Claudia Goddard at Ukulele Mansion

Claudia Goddard singing "Young at Heart" at Ukulele Mansion in 2009

"All in All" by Craig Chesler at Ukulele Mansion

Craig Chesler singing an original, "All in All," at Ukulele Mansion in 2009.

Craig is having a CD release party of his second album, Little Craiggy Chesler & The Musical Proverbial Knee-Highs, on January 23, 2010, at Banjo Jim's in NYC's East Village.

Apologies that Craig's last name is misspelled in the on-screen credit. Only one "s."

"Mack the Knife" by Josh Bisker at Ukulele Mansion

Josh Bisker doing a great version of "Mack the Knife" at Ukulele Mansion in 2009, including showing off his German with the first few verses. Josh is the little brother of NY uke circuit celebrity Ellia Bisker.

"I Walk a Little Faster" by Patsy Monteleone at Ukulele Mansion

Patsy Monteleone kicks off the recordings (listen for the time claps at the start) beautifully singing the gorgeous oldie "I Walk a Little Faster" at the memorable party at Ukulele Mansion in 2009, part of the concert and party series NY Ukulele Salon.

Pedro da Silva improvises on electric uke at Ukulele Mansion

Pedro da Silva, NYU music professor, composer, master of the strings, and my upstairs neighbor, improvising on my Japanese Eleuke solid body electric ukulele at Ukulele Mansion in 2009.

"Our Lady of Oklahoma" by Peter Stampfel at Ukulele Mansion

Peter Stampfel, of Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs fame, singing his original "Our Lady of Oklahoma" and waxing philosophical about embarrassment as he struggles to remember the lyrics midway through the song. The performance is part of the concert and party series NY Ukulele Salon, http://www.ukulelesalon.com. See more about Peter at his MySpace page and Wikipedia.

"You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" by Rush Kress and Andy Bergmann at Ukulele Mansion

Rush Kress and Andy Bergmann, two-thirds of The Ukemen, singing "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" at Ukulele Mansion in 2009.

"Siren Song" by Ellia Bisker (Sweet Soubrette) at Ukulele Mansion

Ellia Bisker (Mizz Greenpoint, Brooklyn, 2008, aka Sweet Soubrette), singing her original (and title track of her first album) "Siren Song" at Ukulele Mansion in 2009

"Hymn" by The Rosokoff Sisters at Ukulele Mansion

Sylvie and Jacqueline Rosokoff, accompanied by Mike Cabral, sing Janis Ian's "Hymn" in their beautiful close family harmony at Ukulele Mansion in 2009. The girls are the daughters of Jim Rosokoff, aka Doctor Uke. Here is the good doctor's arrangement of the song for uke. This is really a lovely performance, worth a viewing.

"My Little Grass Shack" by Ken "Bari" Murray at Ukulele Mansion

Ken "Bari" Murray, organizer of the fabulous NY Uke Fest, singing "My Little Grass Shack" at Ukulele Mansion in 2009. Under Ken's management since 2009, NY Uke Fest is THE uke event in the NY area, perhaps in the world. Several days of vendors, performances, workshops and after parties that are entertaining and educational beyond compare.

A memorable night at Ukulele Mansion

Back in February 2009, I organized quite a birthday celebration for my buddy Rush Kress. Our most spectacular party to date in the Ukulele Salon series, some 80+ people, maybe half of them carrying ukes, gathered at Ukulele Mansion, which the NY Times has repeatedly described as one of New York City's most magnificent private home.

Furthermore, we had friends from the Made in Film-Land video production company organize a professional, multi-camera shoot of 20-plus performances from some of NY's best ukulele performers. Then my long-suffering wife, a film editor, spent many hours putting the clips together.

The results are posted as separate entries on this blog under the label ukulele mansion, or you can browse the complete list on my YouTube account (aka UkeTube).

First up is this clip of me (Rick Bruner) and alt.folk sensation Anna Dagmar singing "Someone to Watch Over Me." By way of context, I'm good at organizing fun things like this. I'm still so-so on the ukulele, far from the evening's best performance. I hope, however, I serve to encourage other budding players, as someone who was a non-musician three years ago before this lovely little instrument changed my life.

Anna, on the other hand, is a professional singer-songwriter, a terrific talent and a new good friend. See AnnaDagmar.com. We barely practiced, I flub a few chords and my nervousness is clear in my unsteady performance. But it's a tricky Lyle Ritz arrangement, I'm more or less on pitch, and I had a great time, so I'm happy to share the results with the rest of the Internet. :-)