Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sonoma County Fair

My first big fair job was a great experience. It was rigorous, 42 shows in 14 days! I had a great connection with audiences from Santa Rosa and the surrounding communities. Played lots of goofy requests, for instance "Iron Man" on the saw, but also some nice instant arrangements of stuff I'd never considered, like "Stand By Me," and "Jessica" (Allman Brothers).

Made fair friends too. Right across from me was a family doing blacksmithing demonstrations and story telling, and they had some stories about other fairs they have done..... making me doubly happy to be working in a good one. Here's a picture of their rolling castle:

The fair grounds is also a race track, and there were races almost every day. One of the best moments was being on stage playing against the Mexican rodeo orchestra a quarter mile away in an outdoor arena. In the middle of something on the glasses with the sonic pastiche of carnival ride screams, Harley the Hog's looped sideshow pitch (...."and still growing!!!"), and staccato boop boop boop boop of the tuba from the Mexican rodeo. Rich!!!

Looking forward. Excitement ahead!!

Hay come in. Contests that were held between my shows included pie eating etiquette, state trivia, name that patriotic song (colonial theme this year), and reciting the declaration of independance.

A friend came up for a couple days to visit and he's probably got some good shots of me at work I can use, this is the staging though. It turned out to be a really good idea to send my demonstration stuff ahead of me and prepare for a condensed 'edutaining' show.

Splash Dog gaining altitude:

Must keep toy in play

Let's look at some animules. I was working close to all the livestock stuff, so add to the audio wallpaper a lot of mooing and bleating...

Kinder Schweine:

But can he yodel????

The animal sideshow is ALIVE!!! and well. Here's Roscoe's gig, his stage name is Tiny Tim:

Roscoe with Lindsay, after a morning bath, cigar, and cognac.

I make the Clydesdales nervous, heh heh..


Harley the Hog's house. Big. Pig. and he's stiiiill... (I have a recording of this)

My friend calls the faces on top of this carnival ride "hideous." Indeed...

One of the neatest "magnificient obsessions" encountered in awhile. For an appetizer, this guy's toothpick boat:

Ah, but how about 100,000 toothpicks and a gangly ping pong ball tour of San Fransisco, 35 years later....

Pretty good piece on it here:

First prize cake decoration winner:

And another good one...

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Latest project: an instrument base that travels within size and weight requirements for normal checked luggage. I want to acknowledge and thank Alex in Hong Kong for describing something like this (right when at the airport counter, he watched me urp $400.00 to All Nippon for oversize AND overweight on my rig.) See below, same layout, but 3/16 in. plexiglass --

Which splits into two pieces:

Which fly in a box 24" x 24" x 14"
A new method of getting proper height on the PVC collumns. A bit maddening but the rims all end up so totally plane. LOTS of super glue once they were right:

Couple more shots of such pretty petrolium product:

Fastening the collumns with bolts and plenty of neoprene washers to protect pretty petrolium product...

After testing everything out as a whole instrument. Nice action!! Not too much wiggle but a little more than my other set in the road case. Pretty soon got lost in playing and having fun with it... after all...!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Northeast Spring Swing

Found on the ground, in NYC subways, Central Park, a restaurant, etc. Photographed as-found, no trash or rocks etc were harmed in the collection of these images:

Below, the rusty steelwork looking stuff is about 18 feet high and is entirely chocolate. Found this at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park NY:
Friday I went to a closing party for the Absolut Quartet, a robotic music installation housed in downtown Manhattan. I contributed tuned glasses (more pics below) Here's the marimba, played with catapulted golf balls (not actually golf balls but almost that size and weight). They were triggered from computer keyboards all over the world, all the instruments were programmed from the internet. The balls land on the marimba bars with a success rate of 10,000 times according to Jeff Leiberman and Dan Paluska, the creators of this modern automata. It's a bit like some animation that was going around a few moths ago, balls shot from cannons to land on strings with critical timing, so here is how it looks:
Behold the "Wino." A common shaft turns, turntables rotate connected by their own shafts, as the glasses are programmed to play, and robotic fingers press against their rims:

And some percussion...

Central Park, last Sunday.... nothing like being direct! Although I think dollars for picture taking is the main gig here. Still I fell for it. It's a good picture.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Now it's the "I went to Texas Blog." Or just, further glass music blog, how's that. It's been interesting timing with "automatic" glass music, right around the time I did a tuning project for this:

(they seem to have cut their hours a bit... opens between 9:00 and 11:00 EST...... but you yes you can program the robotic glasses on the site. You also program, with the keyboard applet, balls shot out of little cannons onto marimba bars plus a cool percussion kit)

I got an email from Orange Texas, from a guy who had built an automated glass instrument (human still required). And it happens I was scheduled to play in Beaumont this February, just a few exits west -- So, I had a neat short weekend visit with John Payne, seeing what he made.

Each cup is mounted to a rotating base:

He's got a little over two octaves, I think, and on the other side of the board, the threaded shaft you see above connects to a pully, and there's one for each glass, and all the pulleys are turned by weed wacker wire powered by a windshield wiper motor.

John and his instrument below, followed by a short movie. Gosh I wish Google would let you upload sound clips! I tried to fool it with a WMA instead of a video, but it didn't take. We jammed a good bit, and got a nice version going of "Over the Waterfall," what sounds to me like a very pretty upbeat fiddle tune that took on some mysterious and darker coloring played slowly as a glass duet, it was recorded. Anyway:

Hadn't heard of these, what you see below. It seems if you have a lawn in southeastern Texas, fairly close to the gulf...... it'll have what John calls "dirt divers." Little Crawfish that build these pretty cool looking dwellings:

Ah, sweet mucky progress...