Sunday, April 22, 2007

charlie rose or jon stewart, i ain't

glisten: walkie talkie

Those (few?) of you who follow the Hut on a regular basis may well be wondering what I may have been up to as of late. The answer is "quite a lot"; much of which I hope to be able to share with you shortly, but let's start out with a heaping dose of my always-interesting, always-busy day job.

As you may remember back in issue 236 (it was a sponsored- by- Hostess one-shot special), I spend my 9 to 5's (or, more accurately, 11 to 8's) working at Joe's Pub. The Pub is a New York music and theater venue that brings in a pretty impressive array of artists from all over the world and all over the spectrum. It's open seven days a week and averages about three shows a night, so there's been plenty of opportunity for exposure to all kinds of tunage; I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when I started the gig, but I'm reminded every day now that it's all but impossible to have a comprehensive grasp on the entirety of popular music... and that's great! Or at least as good a reason to go on as I can think of...

Anyways, one of the reasons they hired my punk ass in the first place was presumably because I'm "down" with this blog stuff that's got the kids all riled up and they wanted to stay "on that new media flippity flop". To that end, I spend a good chunk of my work day/evening punching up the Pub's handy-dandy website. My own inclinations are always to show more so than tell, so we've started posting what I consider to be de rigeur media with every booking: decent-sized, smilin' pictures of the band; embedded YouTube video (live shows when available, videos when not); full-length fully-downloadable MP3s and links to the artist's personal web page. It seemed to me that the best way to get folks interested in a live band they might not otherwise know was to allow them to listen to the music and see video of them perform in advance so that they'd have a basis to form an opinion. This may sound pretty elementary, but it's also largely unheard of; there's no performance venue websites with anywhere near as much downloadable media as we're maintaining at th' Pub that I know of... but, incidentally, if any of you weisenheimers know of any other clubs that are doing similar promotion, please leave a link in my comments, cause I'd love to talk with other people who are walking the walk of the try-before-you-buy mantra.

So as I say, this all struck me as pretty elementary and once I set up some systems to help properly channel this media online as quickly as possible, I was left with an interesting question: what now? My experience has been that the web is all about content and that the best way to attract folks, keep 'em happy and keep 'em coming back to your website is to offer as much worthwhile content as possible. The gold ring, of course, is exclusive content; something special that only your site/blog/sewing circle/smithy/bakery can provide. That's when I hit upon the idea of recording informal one-on-one interviews with our artists.

Currently, there's just under a hundred of these interviews up on the Joe's Pub site; they're anywhere from five to twenty minutes long. I get a great deal out of doing them and have decided to start sharing them with you on the Hut as well. I record new conversations every Friday, so I'll start posting new interviews (as long as I keep doing this project) every Monday. In the future, I'll give a bit more information about who the people I'm talking to are and how I thought the talk went, but seeing as we have so very many in reserve, I figure I'll just toss the whole kit-and-kaboodle up in the air and we'll see how it lands.

Some caveats before I turn over the complete list of links to already-recorded interviews:
If I were going to recommend a place to start, I'd suggest you give a listen to my conversations with avant-garde vocalist Theo Bleckmann, Lenny Bruce impersonator Steve Cuiffo, country legend Porter Wagoner, Go-Go godfather Chuck Brown, They Might Be Giants front man John Flansburgh, Pulitzer-nominated playwright Eisa Davis, Sweeney Todd star Manoel Felciano, drag comedienne Miss Coco Peru, cabaret singer nee' fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, ukulele maestro Jake Shimabukuro... but click around and see what catches your eye.

Current complete list follows; more (with better annotation) to come next week:

Devon Allman


Rani Arbo

Karen Bernod

Bitter: Sweet

Theo Bleckmann

Justin Bond of Kiki and Herb

Sarah Bowman of The Bowmans

Brooklyn Qawwali Party

Tom Brosseau

Chuck Brown

Julie Brown

Chris Byars

Clair Byrne of Dancenow

Jose Conde y Ola Fresca


Steve Cuiffo

Catie Curtis

Cymin Samawatie of Cyminology

Eisa Davis

Luther Dickenson of The North Mississippi All Stars

Pierre Dorge

the everybodyfields

Simon Nicol of The Fairport Convention


Manoel Felciano

Jesse Tyler Ferguson


Tim Finn

Jennifer Gibbs, director of First Fig

Roberta Flack

Julian Fleisher

Eliza Gilkyson

Marta Gomez

Morgan Taylor of Gustafer Yellowgold

Andy Guthrie


Jackie Hoffman

Hunger Mountain Boys

Vijay Iyer

Karen Jacobsen


Rick Jordan

Gabriel Kahane


The Last Town Chorus

Lisa Levy

Mike Mattison of Scrapomatic

Brian Mazzaferri of Green Eyes

Myra Melford

Kenny Mellman

Varla Jean Merman

Chrisette Michele

Raul Midon

Isaac Mizrahi

Shawn Mullins

Luca Mundaca

Fionn O Lochlainn

Django Haskins of The Old Ceremony

Michael Hearst of One Ring Zero

Pablo of Orquesta Tipica Fernandez Fierro

Eric Person

Miss Coco Peru

Jim Hayes of The Persuasions

Katy Pfaffl

Glen Phillips

Angie Pontani of The World Famous Pontani Sisters

Kristoffer Ragnstam

Tom Rush

Jeremy Schonfeld

Dorothy Scott

Selim Sesler

Jake Shimabukuro

Emilie Simon

The Slammin’ All Body Band

Sophe Lux

Jonathan Spottiswoode of Spottiswoode and His Enemies

Neil Eurelle of STAND

Roger Steffens

Travis Sullivan


John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants

Tobias of The Swingle Singers

Russell Taylor


Vienna Teng

Dan Tepfer

Sarah Tracey

Wes Verhoeve of The Undisputed Heavyweights

Porter Wagoner

Holcombe Waller

Natalie Walker

The Wiyos

Bethany Yarrow of Bethany and Rufus

David Yazbek

Nora York

The Yoshida Brothers