Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Jazz is a how you do, not a what you do....

Or at least that's what I tell myself. I also believe that jazz happens when you use music and your instrument to communicate complex ideas and feelings in a conversation that isn't spoken. You don't  need words, (though they help,  if your a poet and vocalist like me, they are as much a part of your instrument as much as a reed is to sax player or a string is to a bassist). Sometimes those conversations bleed into to other art forms, they shape them and the other art responds and shapes the music right back. When you talk about New Orleans, you talk abut the music and you also talk about the food.... Jazz can affect many mediums like dance and visual art and that to me is the beauty of this particular musical form.... I think that might be why I do so many different kinds of gigs. Once one of my musicians said to me that while he might make more money playing with some other cats, he could never pay for the experiences that playing with me has led him. I like to take the jazz from hither to thither and yon. I've sung on the high desert in Nevada beneath flaming steel lotus sculptures just before dawn, and I've sung it to the homeless who live in the depths of the sewers which run alongside the LA river, I've sung it for bellydancers, burlesquers and circus freaks and I am proud to say that no matter where I go, people like to listen. I am honored to have such a wonderful and diverse community of friends and fans. Thank you. I hope you can come out to some of the nice gigs I am blessed with this month.

This Friday May 24, 2013 from 7 - 10 p.m. at Tables on the Green!

New venue, new restaurant, no cover, please come out and support this new venture in Natrona Heights! Join me with my group, The Cultural District, featuring Carlos Peña (guitar), Miles Jackson (bass), Langston Kelly (sax) and Brian Edwards (drums) at this once private club in it's new incarnation as a beautiful destination restaurant! Creole cuisine and live jazz! Their motto is “In an effort to shape our way of cooking, we look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture, hoping to rediscover our history and shape our future.” For some of you it is a bit of a drive, I know.... but I hope you come anyways. It's going to be a great night and I'd love to see you there!
Tables on the Green - 1299 Lane avenue Natrona Heights, PA 15065
web: http://www.tablesonthegreen.com/ phone: 724-226-0955 no cover, all ages

The following Friday May 31, 2013 at 7 p.m. Morris Levy Gallery aka Monk's Place
photo by Mia Donna Maneer
I am singing at a closing for an art show for my friend Mia Donna Maneer (photographer). She documents many of the counter cultural performances happening in town, she has great images of our burlesque and other performing art extravaganzas. I shall sing a short set accompanied by pre recorded backing tracks. LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of the Endangered Cocktail) shall also be present mixing up some delightfully historic libations! No cover, but you can buy the art what hasn't already sold from her exquisite collection!  
Morris Levy Gallery aka Monk's Place
3634 Penn Ave. Lawrenceville Pittsburgh, PA 15201

no cover, all ages, though art work featured will include adult material

Saturday June 8, 2013 8 p.m. - midnight at the Pillow Project
Phat Man Dee is thrilled to be included in the Second Saturdays event with the phenomenal dancers of the Pillow Project. Also featured throughout the evening will be new conceptual multimedia work by the residents of The Space Upstairs, as well as ongoing Freejazz performances. I will be bringing a slightly different version of the Cultural District to play with me, joining us in this exciting improvisational collaborative effort between jazz dance company and myself will be the musicians: Carlos Peña (guitar), Dave Pellow (bass), George Jones (conga) and Poogie Bell (drums). The Pillow Project occurs every second Saturday at the Space Upstairs. 
214 N Lexington Pittsburgh, PA 15208 phone: (412) 225-9269
All Ages, $10 entrance fee
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/556446571066743/
Also, when we say The Space Upstairs, it's up like 2 flights of stairs, so if you have trouble walking, this may not be the gig for you, it is not wheelchair accessible.

Friday June 14, 2013, 10 p.m. to midnight
Phat Man Dee's Cavalcade of Stars, featuring Bob Lynch and friends at the Americans for the Arts Conference

This gig is for attendees of the Americans for the Arts Convention only.
I am so excited to be hosting this year's musical jam session after the VIP welcoming dinner for the Americans for the Arts Conference. Featured guests include CEO of AFTA Bob Lynch & friends, the ensuing improvisational musical collaboration shall extend our sonic bridges far beyond Pittsburgh! Musicians include Carlos Peña, Tony DePaolis, Miguel Sague III and all of our wonderful guests! This conference is very exciting, over 1200 attendees from all over the country shall come gather in our fair city and talk about the future of art in America!!! We are so honored to be included and cannot wait for this glorious weekend!!
Phat Man Dee's Cavalcade of Stars, featuring Bob Lynch and friends at the Americans for the Arts Conference shall occur at the Westin Hotel downtown and any attendee to the conference who is musically inclined is welcome to sit in with us or take the stage for their own!!
More info about the conference and how to attend: http://convention.artsusa.org/

Saturday June 22, 2013 9 p.m. at Howler's Coyote Cafe
Join us for this madcap event featuring the dulcet tones of Tommy Amoeba and his band Amoeba Knievel as he celebrates his 52nd birthday in grand style in conjunction with Pittsburgh's first SubGenius Devival in almost 15 years! Also performing is myself with members of the Cultural District namely Michael Murray (keys) and Tony DePaolis (bass) , Andrew the Impaled, Saint tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, local pyrotician/roboticist/saxophonist Eric Singer, and amazingly the honorable and ever more adorable, very irreverent Reverend Ivan Stang, co founder of the Book of the SubGenius himself!!!  For more info on how to join the Church of Bob and buy your salvation for only $35 or triple your $$ back, or to find out how to keep the pinks from STEALING your SLACK! Check out http://www.SubGenius.com
Howler's Coyote Cafe  4590 Liberty Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15224 21 and over, $10 at door 
So.... as you can see, jazz happens in strange and unlikely places. Sometimes it happens in a lovely restaurant with delicious creole cuisine, sometimes it happens in art galleries, sometimes it happens in dance spaces with improvisational modern dancers turning the music into beautiful movement, sometimes it is the medium with which musicians and artists from all of the country can come together and learn about each other and the region they are visiting, and then sometimes it happens in the middle of a SubGenius devival featuring savvy salesmen selling salvation in the form of aliens who will come to take us all away in our pleasure domes when the Rupture comes and the pinks and norms begin to burn..... In any case, I am happy to meet the jazz there and bring it forth, for I too have a message, and my message is "We're all a bunch of weirdoes, let's celebrate it and love each other for the freaks we really are, cuz if this is the only go round (and I'm not saying it is, but I have alot of friends who believe it might be) I don't want to spend it trying to fit into someone else's misinformed opinion of what I should or should not be, so let's have a good time and as the SubGenius say 'F*ck'em if the can't take a joke!' Of course they also say 'If you're gonna eat a hamburger, eat the HELL out that hamburger!' which is good too, unless your vegetarian and then I suppose it would be 'If you're gonna eat a veggie burger, eat the HELL out that veggie burger!' I do eat meat, but I also like veggie burgers, and I am digressing cuz it's been a long life, so please come to a gig, I am here now and so are you, and if not now, when???" That's a long motto, but I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

My Mom Rawks!!!

On this day, and every day, I thank the heavens above and the earth below for my mother. She worked 2 jobs to keep us alive and got her masters degree in special education while raising us 3 kids, all at the same time as reforming her life as a single mom in Pittsburgh. She came to town knowing exactly one other single mother. Both of them forged a road that would allow us kids whatever futures we desired. My mom taught in prison, taught special needs kids in Philadelphia, helped rehabilitate ex convicts after their sentences were served and is currently living and working as a special needs teacher on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. I miss her and wish she could come home, but I know she is happy doing what she does best, helping people realize themselves and stand up and learn to live their lives as whole human beings and not take the judgment of ignorant fools who may decide they know better.

My mother marched in the Civil Rights marches when she was a young woman in the 1960's in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My mother spent a decade as a union representative in Western Penitentiary on the Northside of Pittsburgh. She taught me many things, how to cook porcupine balls, how to love to read and write, the love of music, but the most important thing she ever taught me was to never let someone stare you down. It's ok to be yourself, if you treat someone with respect, they should respect you back, and if they won't, then they aren't worth your time.

My mother is named Sally Russell Baker Kivowitz and I am proud to be one of her three children. If I had one wish for my mother it would be that she could stop working long enough to enjoy the love and respect she has fostered in so many lucky people whose lives she has affected in her extremely busy life, and write her book. She's got so many stories, I wish she'd let them out.

On this day and everyday, I say, "Thank you Gods and Goddesses for my mother and all the mothers who have gone before and all the mothers who shall be, but mostly my mom cuz she rawks!!!"