October 2006

What a great Halloween this year! The weather was much warmer than last year and everyone had a great time.

Ellie really wanted to be a and I believe that delivered, working from materials at hand and the purchase of a red wig bargained down to 30RMB. The makeup was the crowning touch!

Blysse wanted to be a corpse bride. Of course, makeup by Salomae.

Salomae and I had a lot of fun last Saturday at the Brown’s Pub Halloween Party. There were plenty of people dressed up and in the spirit!

Salomae and I met this guy hanging around.

[tags] halloween, modok, salomae, blysse, ellie, jellicle, cat, corpse, bride [/tags]

del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

Left to right: Marshall-lead, me-bass, Steven-baritone and Paul-tenor - The One Night Stand-Ins

Left to right: Nancy-baritone, Grace-bass, Wendy-lead and Becky-tenor - The Treblemakers

The whole gang with our hostess Sarah Randt

I’m amazed at the access I get through music in this town. I’ve already performed a few times at the British Ambassador’s residence, not that surprising when you consider that the conductor for the is British, but when the chance came up to perform at my own native US Ambassador’s house, of course I jumped on it! To make matters even better, it was barbershop quartet style music!

Technically, we were performing for the for the ambassador’s wife, Sarah Randt, as the true stars of the show were friends of hers from her Hong Kong days before coming to Beijing. It turns out that Sarah was quite active in the music community in Hong Kong and now invites her friends, The Treblemakers, a female barberhop quartet style musical group, to perform in Beijing every year for a select group of around 80 guests. This year, to change things up a bit, they decided to sing a duet with a male group for one of the songs. Only problem is, there is no male barbershop quartet group in Beijing. Well, there is now. Or, there was at least for that night. Thus, the One Night Stand-Ins was born.

The show was a tribute to the great American Songwriter, Irving Berlin. All told there were a total of 14 songs, two of which the male quartet sang alone, and one of which the male quartet sang as part of an octet with the ladies quartet. The songs were chosen to illustrate certain stages in the life of Irving Berlin and dialogue accompanied each song so that the audience (and I) could learn something of the history of the composer. It was a great show, especially the ladies, who really had their act together. The One Night Stand-Ins gave a passable performance, which was, from the feedback we got, well recieved. I enjoyed it so much, I’d love the chance to do it again. We’ll have to change the name though.

[tags] barbershop, quartet, embassy, ambassador, US, Beijing, Irving, Berlin, treblemakers [/tags]

del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

The other day at a restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised to hear an old favorite, “My Sharona” by the Knack, at a restaurant. As that song contains what I consider to be a definite contender for all-time top ten guitar solos, it was great to hear it after so many years and I really enjoyed it. The first time. Unfortunately, after the song ended they played it again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Finally, I had to leave.

I just don’t understand it. No matter where I go, I have to hear a song, or even worse, just a portion of a song, played in an endless loop - shopping centers, restaurants, buses, elevators… you name it. It seems that once they have determined that a particular song presents the image they like, they are content to repeat it ad infinitum. The worst part is that no one seems to be affected by this practice except me. People just sit there as if hearing the same song over and over again is not driving them crazy. How can this be? Could it be a legacy from all of the rousing communist anthems they were subjected to in their youth, played over and over again? Or does it go much deeper than that?

Back when I consulted on the opening of Sequoia Cafe, I managed the shop for a few months. I was in charge of music. Of course, I selected an eclectic mix of songs from all over the world that would suit the modern decor and present the right image of “indie cafe”. I also made sure there were enough songs in the playlist that no song would be repeated for several days at least. Sometimes, I would go out for lunch. When I came back, invariably they would be playing some horribly cheesy pop song they had snuck in that made me want to hurl. And when the song finished, they would rewind it and play it again. And again. And again. I don’t get it! Why would anyone want to hear the same thing over and over again? Don’t they realize that it drives some people crazy? Why doesn’t it drive them crazy?

I just don’t understand.

del.icio.us Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

Next Page »