Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Please Don't Tell Anyone I'm Going to Be on TV

Ok. So y'all know I make pretty videos for a living. So when asked by our friend Phil to be on his local origination public access TV Show, I thought, "I'm SO over local TV..." But Dave and I love Phil - so we agreed to do it. His show features local musicians who write & perform their own stuff - and who wanna be on TV, and who love Phil. (did I mention that?)

Well, Two outta three wasn't bad enough to talk Dave out of doing this, so we agreed to perform. Last night, Dave asked, "Kelly, you don't WANT to be here, do you?" I assured him I was okay. The show went well enough. I was recorded. I'm going to be on television, singing songs I wrote - and rest assured, I predict that at least 5 weirdo's I know will approach me and say they watched the whole show... and proceed to tell me exactly what they think of me.... (and it'll take an hour per...)

I was once on a talk show, where I was enlisted as a last-minute substitute to discuss a trip to Haiti. I mumbled through the entire interview, and was shocked and appalled when someone approached me and commented, "Kell, I had no idea you were so articulate!" (Oh, dear! THAT was articulate?!!! I was doomed - and promised not to be on TV any more. Besides, I always think TV takes 3-D people, flattens them to 2-D, and makes them - ok me - look fat.)

OK - so why did I agree to do this?

Let me tell you a little bit about WHY I love Phil and agree to play at his open mics, and be on his show - He's got the absolute best poker face I've ever seen. Phil encourages the performances of everyone - from the great-greats to the piss-poors... Phil's Open Mic Nights attract all kinds - from all over - and I think his open mic is better than television...

When you show up, you'll get the following performers:

1) The Fabulous Regulars: They include Bob, who writes Texas-type songs, even though he lives in PA. He's great. In life, he's some kind of computer help-desk guy, so I'm sure it's a source of great material. Spider is a kid who I've known for a long time. He sings long, obscure songs on really expensive guitars. Amy and Karen are a sister act, who sing like angels - and do a lot of Indigo Girls-kind of stuff. The other night, a guy from New Jersey came and sang like a cross between Sting and Dave Matthews... Wow. You just have to love those moments.

2) The Quirky Regulars: The couple who always perform depressing renaissance songs on recorder and guitar for the rock n' roll crowd. The kid who wears the 80's fedora and vest - and sings folky versions of 80's songs by Culture Club and Daryl Hall. The old dude who plays Rock standards - in keys and rhythms I can neither fathom nor duplicate.

3) The Surprising Burn-Outs: Occasionally, in a rare moment of candor, Phil will tell Dave and I an amusing story about a burn out who wanders into the bar... For example, one night, a guy signed up to play. He was holding a guitar with a few strings missing. He approaches the stage and asks for volunteers to jam with him - He then proceeds to sing a song - but Phil quickly realized that the guy had no idea how to play guitar. "He's up there banging on strings - everyone else is playing, wondering what the heck was happening...."

The other night, Dave and I witnessed another burn-out - who will remain an equal source of wonder. I didn't catch his name - we'll just call him "Hippieburnoutguy."

He approached me in the lobby of the theater... His hair was stringy and long, he was over-tanned, had blurry tattoos on his arms, and wore a dirty, baggy t-shirt and faded jeans. "Hey," he started, "Where do you sign up to play? I just wanna share a few songs with everyone... Just a few. I don't want any money, I just wanna play - I'm not trying to get rich or anything - I just want to play a few tunes." We pointed at Phil. On his way to speak with Phil, he stopped a few other musicians and expressed his interest in playing music for free.

When he finally finds Phil, he repeated his story - and emphasized again the fact that he was not looking for payment. Phil, in all his amazing generosity, didn't even smirk.

"Sounds great," he enthused.

Hippieburnoutguy then proceeded onto stage, where he kind of spoke/sung a song, while occasionally raking the guitar strings with dirty fingernails. When he finished he smiled, "Thanks. I'm going to tune up a little bit for you." He actually giggled.

This was the bizarre part - and I'm sure was funnier in person than it'll be here - but he pulled a pitch pipe from his t-shirt pocket. He then blew a low "E," and hit the top string of the guitar. The tones weren't even close - his guitar was way outta tune. He smiled and nodded. Without turning the peg that would tune his "E" string, he proceeded to blow the next note on the pitch pipe. He then plucked, smiled, nodded, and never actually tuned anything. He proceeded through the remaining four strings in this manner. blow, pluck, smile, nod.... blow, pluck, smile, nod.... blow, pluck, smile, nod.... blow, pluck, smile, nod....

"This is great! I love this guy!" Dave enthused. Phil merely watched and smiled.

Hippieburnoutguy then proceeded to speak/sing/rake through a few more blues songs. I swear he sang one song twice in a row. He even "tuned" once more... It was absolutely both hysterically funny, and sadsadsad.

Meanwhile, Phil, Phil, full of Grace, merely sat there and listened - and applauded louder than anyone.

Phil later told Dave and me that Hippieburnoutguy was photographed onstage that night, and was published in the local paper the next day. "He got a photo *THIS BIG!*" Of the old guy who sang rock standards, Phil told a sad story: "He was scammed many years ago, and told to come out to California to play a showcase for record executives. It cost him a lot of money - and nothing of course, ever came of it, but - *the guy had the time of his life...*" I was very touched that Phil told the story without an ounce of ridicule...

"He had the time of his life."

So I'm going to be on a local cable access show... And it's not because I feel the need to be on TV - it's just because I appreciate what Phil's doing for people... and I guess, if you see it (like all local origination cable access shows, it'll be on a million and ten times over the course of a MONTH) - I hope you like it... Um. And if you have to mention it to me, I'm okay with hearing your opinion of the performance...

But if you tell me I looked thin, I'll love you forever.



  • At 5:56 AM, Blogger Issa said…

    Hey! It was so nice of you to stop by my blog! I checked out your profile and I think we do have quite a bit in common. :) I'll be back to visit again soon!

  • At 8:44 AM, Blogger Trixie said…

    You look thin!


    Now you must love me forever!

    This was a fabulous post. I loved the stories and think this should be a subject for a series of short essays in a book. You should write a little about these open mic nights and then find a publisher who does music-theme books. It would make a terrific first-person narrative- you know the kind of small books that I love to read. Will you consider it?

  • At 10:36 AM, Blogger Kell said…

    Yeah - I'd love to do a book about being in a "Promising Local Band..." Tee hee.


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