Salt Lake City Memories

09/08/2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in General Nerdery, Just for Fun, Stories from the Road | Leave a comment

Tonight I’m in Cheyenne (and soon in Laramie), looking ahead to SALT LAKE CITY on Sunday night!  One of the prettiest places there is. If you’ve never flown in over the Wasatch and the colored lake at sunrise with a Supermoon on your starboard side, I can’t explain it.

Then we roll on to Colorado, which has been deserving my attention for far too long.  Colorado, I love you.  I’m sorry.  I hope you haven’t forgotten me.  I’ll be back through again next year.  Let’s be friends?

Marian Call Utah Trivia: SLC is the first place not-on-the-west-coast that I ever remember going in my young life. And it’s a short, funny story.

In middle school, I was so obsessed with Les Misérables that I wrote a script suitable for middle schoolers to perform, and in seventh grade we performed it (I was Enjolras).*  You should have seen my rewrites of “Master of the House” and “Lovely Ladies.” It was spectacularly Waiting for Guffman, I’m sure, but my classmates and I were dead serious about our production. It was heartfelt.

The real Les Misérables wasn’t coming anywhere near Seattle that year, so I convinced my dad we should organize a trip of school classmates over the summer to go see it in the closest city — that was Salt Lake.

We couldn’t afford it alone really, but I told my Dad we should coordinate a trip for a bunch of my classmates and chaperones, and have them pay a little extra for our very much legwork.  The extra bit of money would make it possible for me and my dad to lead the trip (he was the director of our school play, I wrote the script).

And that, boys and girls, is how I invented crowdfunding in the seventh grade. And how I visited Salt Lake City for the first time!

Loving the Mountain States, eating a peach and tomatoes from a Montana farmer’s market, attempting not to die from exhaustion because the drives are so long.  Love to all.

Marian

 

*My dialogue for the script, written in sixth grade, was based on the unabridged novel, not the musical. That’s a young nerd in the making.

Rocketfest!!!

08/28/2012 at 4:43 pm | Posted in 1904, General Nerdery, How to this-or-that, Just for Fun, News & Explanations | Leave a comment
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I am doing a very special thing this week.  I have been excited about it for months.  But I have not communicated my excitement to you guys yet.

ON LABOR DAY I AM GOING TO SPACE CAMP.

I am taking with me some of my favorite people:  Molly Lewis, Ken Plume, Joseph Scrimshaw, Phil Plait, George Hrab.  We are trucking over from Dragon*Con Monday morning.  We are there going to present the live audience in Huntsville, AL with a variety show of terrifically geeky sciencey entertainment, and we will be streaming the show LIVE FROM SPACE CAMP TO YOU.

How to watch: tune in to http://spacecamp.com on Monday Sept. 3rd at 2pm Central.  Facebook event here (share it!).

by Len Peralta

Here’s the why of this event.  It’s a fundraiser for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Scholarship Foundation.  That’s a fancy way of saying we’re raising money to send more kids to Space Camp.  There will be stuff you can order, special goodies from Thinkgeek and Space Camp, and everyone who donates $10 or more online during the live stream will be entered to win a bigger prize from Thinkgeek. (Thank you Thinkgeek!)  Of course you can just donate too, that’s an option anytime at http://spacecamp.com/rocketfest.  But I hope that during this livestream we can flood the gates a little.  I want to demonstrate to the folks at USS&RC that the internet is full of people who want to support them.

When I was young, I was totally the scholarship kid at horse camp.  I begged and begged my parents, but they couldn’t afford it.  When I finally got to take my swim test, saddle up for early morning trail rides, and take my first crack at archery, it was thanks to anonymous strangers who helped to provide scholarships.  So there’s a big soft spot in me where summer camp is concerned.  It’s not just camp, it’s a big deal for a kid.  It’s CAMP.

And this is not just CAMP, it’s SPACE CAMP.

Science has been on my mind this year.  I know, I’m a liberal arts nerd, I don’t have much right to step into the science nerd realm.  [Insert rant about the overstated divide between “fuzzy” and “techie” and how early a girl is forced to choose.]  But in light of Curiosity’s landing, our little Mars invasion — and in light of the shuttle’s last landing and Sally and Neil leaving us — I feel more and more urgency about science education.

No, not education, excitement.  Science Excitement needs to become a national priority.  We need a tiny bit of moon landing feeling back.  A few of us experienced an incredible thrill as Curiosity landed.  I want to know how to spread that feeling, to make it more universal and less niche.  Because that sentiment is what would help to reorient the U.S. toward invention, discovery, research and development as a public prerogative.

I feel strongly about this (and I’m late to the game, I know, a lot of you have been fighting this fight for decades).  And I don’t know how I can do anything to change national sentiment as an individual.  But this seemed like a good little place for a singer-songwriter to start.  So here I go.

On Labor Day I hope you’ll tune your computer to SpaceCamp.com at 2pm Central and watch our little show, have a look at Rocket Park, even if it’s just on in the background while you barbecue on the deck.

And if you are within driving distance of Huntsville, I’m talking to you Dragon*Con attendees, consider bringing the family out for the day — Space Camp is throwing a field day from 10am-5pm, complete with rocket launches and bubbles and science demos.  The price of admission gets you our show and everything else in Rocket Park.  How cool is that?  Come sit on the lawn and have a picnic among rockets and be entertained.  We definitely need a live audience, so bring the kids and come play.  Make a pilgrimage to Space Camp! Especially if you’ve never been.  You know you want to!

Last: please, tell everyone.  Tell the whole internet.  This is just a little tiny thing but let’s get some eyeballs on it.  I’ve worked hard to pull it together and I really hope it will be half as beautiful as in my head.  Point people to info at http://spacecamp.com/rocketfest, and RSVP or share the Facebook event here.  If you can possibly blog about this or otherwise publicize it — DO.  The official press release is below.

Stars and stars and stars to all of you — writing from Cincinatti at 3am between concerts —

Marian

P.S. If you are in Huntsville or Atlanta, and you could Minion for me and the other entertainers, we need two volunteers to come along and help out for the day.  We can provide round-trip transport from Atlanta, and lunch.  Write to marian@mariancall.com if you are interested in going to Space Camp to help.  Sound/web/social media skills a plus, we’ll need some of that.  Loving Space Camp a double plus.

++++++++++++++

ROCKETFEST
LABOR DAY 2012

When:          Monday, September 3, 2012, 9am – 5pm, entertainment at 2pm Central
Where:        U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL, streaming live at http://spacecamp.com   
What:            Rocketfest, a fun filled day of music and family entertainment

On Monday, September 3, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center will host ROCKETFEST.  With your paid admission to the Space Center on Labor Day, the whole family can enjoy a fun-filled day.  There will be family activities on site like rocket launches, bubbles and science demonstrations;  attendees can win prizes from Thinkgeek and enjoy a special concert and variety show in the park.

The entertainment lineup (2pm) will feature nationally renowned musicians George Hrab, Molly Lewis, and Marian Call, along with science and geek culture icons Phil Plait the Bad Astronomer, Ken Plume and Joseph Scrimshaw.  All entertainment will be exciting and family-friendly.   The festival performance will be streamed LIVE on the web at http://spacecamp.com.

The event is a fundraiser for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Scholarship Foundation. For more information or to donate, check out http://www.spacecamp.com/rocketfest.

The USSRC is home to Space Camp, Aviation Challenge, The Davidson Center for Space Exploration and world-class traveling exhibits.  It is also the official visitor’s information center for NASA – Marshall Space Flight Center.  To learn about all of the exciting programs and activities at the USSRC, go to www.rocketcenter.com.  The U.S. Space & Rocket Center is a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Press Contact:    Tim D. Hall, timh@spacecamp.com  (256) 701-0916

Happy Kickstarter Eve! Photos by Valette you’re unlikely to forget

06/29/2012 at 10:47 pm | Posted in General Nerdery, Just for Fun, Stories from Alaska | 4 Comments
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HAPPY KICKSTARTER EVE!

In celebration, I’m thrilled to unveil the complete set of photos I shot with +Valette Keller for the Kickstarter: http://www.flickr.com/photos/valette/sets/72157630338274326/show/. Click through for the whole slideshow, it’s amazing!

http://studiovalette.com

This is an amazing wearable art piece from the Anchorage fashion show “Object: Runway,” designed by Anchorage armorer & smithy Chris Cushman of Penguinarms (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Penguin-Arms/172408626146626).  It won third place overall in the wearable art show!  And made me scareder than I’ve been in a long time as I walked up and down the catwalk with no backstrap securing the halter top.  But hey, it’s for art!

Chris made the gorgeous steel rose and the jewelry too, both of which will be making an appearance in my fundraiser.

Yes, these will be available during the upcoming fundraiser in some form.

KICKSTARTER EVE HOORAY

To be sure you don’t miss the Kickstarter details, get on the e-mail list here: http://mariancall.fanbridge.com.

….
P.S. Thanks to all the many first- and second-wave feminists who worked so hard to ensure that I could do a project like this and just find it a fun and empowering art project, a tribute to classic high fantasy. It’s not a commentary on anything, it’s just for fun.  You are welcome to think about it whatever you like, but creeper comments are subject to deletion so they can stay in your head.  I really enjoyed doing a project like this with a very normal-sized healthy girl body instead of a wasp waist.

Limerick Mania! In which you are All Terribly Clever

05/02/2011 at 8:02 pm | Posted in How to this-or-that, Just for Fun, News & Explanations | 8 Comments

I asked you all for limericks, and wow, was I inundated! About a third are featured here, though I read and loved every single one. Even the ones that weren’t quite limericks.

As I suspected, the topics divided themselves neatly into the same material that seems to fill my Twitter and Facebook feeds most of the time. Enjoy, these are fantastically fun:

on Sci-Fi and Space

When Marian one night dreamt/
of Han Solo, hair all unkempt/
of Wash crashing a Volvo/
and Starbuck singing a Solo/
she smiled and slept on quite content.
– Andreas Ista (Facebook submission)

Mmmmmm scruffy Han…I’ll be in my bunk.

The worlds of the Twelve Tribes of Man
Were nuked in the Cylon’s grand plan
So jump did the Fleet
Toward Earth in retreat
And all this will happen again
– @dunemuaddib

He walks with a strut in his stride
His chest will be puffed up with pride.
He sleeps with his gun
starts bar fights for fun
But it’s good to have Jayne on your side.
– @realityfree

One last opportunity soon
Atlantis is flying in June
The astronaut’s choice
Is Marian’s voice
They ‘d rather hear “Good Morning, ____” [Moon!]
– @bird2brain

This poet pulls the neat trick of making the last three lines a haiku(ish). A limerick-haiku hybrid. Sounds dangerous:

There was a warlock, Zaboo,
Who wrote the following haiku:
“I really love Cyd
I’m kind of obsessed’d
What’s a gnome to do?”
– @alalcoolj

And a show cancellation lament, which could be its own poetry genre among geeks:

SGU was sub-par, we all knew it.
 / Just at first; oh, my gosh, David Hewlett! 
/ Season two’s gotten good / 
…Wish I’d known that it would / 
It’s too late; Syfy, why did you do it?
– @DiscotrashUK

on Marian

In Alaska, the largest of all
There are sounds guaranteed to enthrall –
If you listen at night
And you’re lucky, you might
Hear a loon or a Marian call!
– @tokenskeptic

We have a successful Alaska rhymer! Voilà:

There once was a girl from Alaska,
A musical multitasker.
She’d play melodies,
On typewriter keys,
And rainstick whenever you’d ask her.
– @treelobsters

A couple of Trusty Rainstick odes I loved:

A rainstick was fearful of flying
for TSA sure wasn’t buying
the whole instrument gig
and they don’t give a fig
that poor Marian would be left crying
@geojlc

There was a musician named Marian,
Whose rainstick was carried as carry on.
but she waved it and cracked it,
so she auctioned and packed it,
and now she can go get another one.
– @monkeysailor

Since I was going on about Waffles all week…

My breakfast this morning is awful
So bland it should be unlawful
Give me some fruit
And sweet syrup to boot
My kingdom I’d give for a waffle!
– @programmerman

And a bragging poem from my bestest girl in NYC and the author of @_CityStories and other fine blogs:

Are you waiting, dear Marian, on me?
I’m a talented poet, you see.
But I won’t win the contest,
for I’ve known you longest,
and I get your voicemails for free.
– @thefauxgourmet

Self-Deprecating and Self-Referential Poetry on Poetry

Some of you were stuck for rhymes:

‘pon eating a huge Baked Alaska,
My girl said she’d dance if I asked her.
Her moves were so fine,
I said “Do be mine!”
What the frak rhymes: Madagascar.
– @RichardBuckle

Of redheads I have to opine,
A particular penchant of mine,
I love hair that’s ginger,
Especially when oranger,
Oh bugger, I’ve run out of rhymes.
– @treelobsters

There once was a hipster in Homer
Who turned out to be quite a world-roamer
She drove everywhere
And sang for her fare
And I can’t come up with another rhyme for Homer. But she could, she’s really clever at lyrics and stuff.
– @edrafalko

Flattery will get you everywhere, Ed.

A limerick for Marian Call?
But I’m no good with poems at all!
The words come out wrong,
they’re usually too long
and in the end they don’t even rhyme. Damn…
– @Fengschwing

Every once upon a long time
I attempt to compose a nice rhyme.
But I’m rather afraid
That I’ll never be paid
And I’ll end up becoming a mime.
– Shoshana Bailar (e-mail submission)

Mimes aren’t paid so well either, Shoshana, you might want a Plan C…

A complaint I must bring to our host.
At another time, this I would toast!
For the hour is quite late,
to add this to my plate.
Bad timing, you have, for the east coast.
– @jbrodman

Thank you Yankee Yoda. And a complaint about the PG-13 restriction:

There once was a man from a land
Which sounds like a masculine gland
Sure you know what I mean
But to stay PG-13
Requires this punchline be bland
– @dunemuaddib

Finally, commentary on Twitter limitations, for those of you who didn’t know you could submit via Facebook or my blog:

A Limerick contest is fun,
but twitter’s a son of a gun.
I had an idea,
but it’s painfully clear,
I’m going to run out of charac
-@monkeysailor

A Twitter limerick
Is quite a nifty trick
You have to cut
The lines all short
To get them all to fit
– @omir55

Limericks are fine
But Haiku is much better
To write on Twitter
– @arwenanang

A SPECIAL MENTION FOR BEST PRESENTATION: @ALASKAROBOTICS
and a terrific limerick too, on my very favorite topic:

A woman so eager and pure
I went like a fish at the lure
We shouldn’t have kissed
But I couldn’t resist
Special Hell awaits me for sure
– @alaskarobotics

(You MUST see the image at http://akrobotics.com/2011/04/27/saffron-limerick/. Also, all his other comics which I am now reading with gusto.)

AND THE WINNER IS!!!

For good scansion, rhymes, a clever line wrap, humor, and topical pertinence:

I thought Marian’s lovely young tone
Would sound perfect upon my cell phone.
My wife gave me a wallop
After hearing “some trollop”
Leave a message. Now I sleep alone.

– Jonathan Strickland (blog submission)

So sorry, Jonathan, but you will be sleeping alone. Although I can sing uglier if you like — the karaoke song, perhaps, wouldn’t put your wife off so much? E-mail me to claim your prize, mariancall*at*mac.com!

Thank you all SO MUCH for entering. You are fantastic and I want to give you guys every fun and good thing. Thank you for the community and the fun!

Limerick Contest!!!

04/28/2011 at 2:45 am | Posted in How to this-or-that, Just for Fun, News & Explanations | 26 Comments

Impulses are fun!

Today and tomorrow I am calling folks who bought singing voicemails from me in my fundraiser for my new album Something Fierce, and I was a tiny bit sad because not every fan who desired a voicemail got one.  I wanted to give more one away for free just for fun, but didn’t want to devalue the messages folks already paid for.

Then @joethepeacock swooped to the rescue and generously purchased one more voicemail to be awarded to the lucky winner of this contest!  Rules as follows:

  • Submit a limerick (or as many as you like) to me via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail (mariancall*at*mac.com)!!
  • Material should be PG-13 please as I’m going to post it on my blog!!
  • It doesn’t necessarily have to be about me, it can be about anything that might amuse us all!!
  • I’ll pick a favorite with no guarantees of impartiality or fairness, and the creator will win a voicemail from me!!
  • Several non-winners will be posted on my blog for fun!!
  • Contest begins now and ends whenever I wake up tomorrow, likely to be about 10am AKDT!!

The Voicemail portion of my annual fundraiser is of course inspired by the radio show Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me! in which contestants play for Carl Kasell’s voice on their home answering machine.  Which is pretty much one of my favorite prizes I ever heard of.  So in addition to winning a voicemail, the winner gets the fun of being announced as winner on Twitter by @PeterSagal.  (If this means nothing to you, well, you should listen to the radio more often, because then you’d know how frakking awesome that is.)

Why limericks? Because I love to rhyme and scansion is my life.  Points for working with/against the form.

Go!

Marian

Just Taking Inventory

12/01/2010 at 12:21 am | Posted in 49>50, Just for Fun, Stories from the Road | 4 Comments
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The time has come, the Walrus said, for summaries and lists.  I have some math to do later, but for now, here’s the list of cities that partook in the 49>50 Tour:

Fairbanks, Tok, Anchorage (5 shows) AK
Fort St. John, Tsawwassen, Vancouver BC
St. Albert (2 shows), Edmonton  AB
Fargo ND
Minneapolis (2), Savage, Roseville (2) MN
West Bend WI
Chicago IL    (3)
Saugatuck, Ferndale MI
Indianapolis IN    (2)
Fairfield, Des Moines IA
Kansas City, St. Louis MO
Manhattan KS
Claremore OK
Austin (2), Houston, Dallas,  TX
Albuquerque, Santa Fe NM
Green Valley, Chandler AZ
Cambridge, Toronto, Ottawa, Kitchener ON
Lancaster, Joshua Tree, San Juan Capistrano, San Diego (4), Encino, Venice, San Luis Obispo, Redwood City, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Elk Grove CA
Las Vegas NV
Sandy UT
Boulder, Monument CO
Cheyenne WY
Bozeman MT
Prosser, Spokane, Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Seattle (4), Bellingham WA
Bend, Portland (2), Eugene OR
Boise ID
Sioux Falls SD
Omaha NE
Conway AR
New Orleans (2), Sulphur LA
Biloxi MS
Hunstville, Auburn AL
Atlanta GA (4)
Fort Lauderdale, Winter Park FL
Greenville SC
Charlotte, Raleigh, Julian NC
Roanoke, Fairfax VA
Charleston WV
Louisville KY
Lebanon, Nashville TN
Westlake, Cincinnati OH
Edgewater, Silver Spring MD
Vernon CT
Claymont DE
Philadelphia PA
Long Valley, Highland Park NJ
Glenmont, New York (2), Brooklyn NY
Providence RI
Montpelier VT
Portland ME
Holden, Boston, Cambridge MA
Concord NH
Montréal QC
Winnipeg MB
Regina SK
Honolulu HI  (3)

The list is final as of this writing, though Hawai’i may still surprise me with another booking outside HNL. Oh, and if you’re more of a visual learner, here’s a map. Hawai’i will get added to that once I complete it.

In other words: I haven’t been everywhere this year.  But I’ve come damn close.  (And yes, I still want to live in Anchorage.)

I wish I could tell you how many towns and suburbs and cities are on this list through the sheer force of will of a single person in that town who REALLY wanted me to come to their place and not somewhere else.  I couldn’t honor every request, but I nearly broke myself trying, because you guys are worth it.

If you Twitter-catch me snoozing a little on the job through the next month or two — this list would be why.  Currently I’m sleeping a lot, wrapping up tour business, planning Hawai’i, writing postcards, and breaking out my studio because I have an album to finish.  Oh, and I hafta do my taxes.  From last year.  *gulp*

Love to all — Marian

New York! Boston! Dallas! Austin! Wake Up and w00t!

10/28/2010 at 8:34 pm | Posted in 49>50, Browncoats, General Nerdery, Just for Fun, News & Explanations | 5 Comments
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It has come to our not-so-royal attention
that some of you in some of these very large cities
still do not have your golden tickets
to the Singular Inc0mparable Bizarre Nerd Revue Spectacular
known as #w00tstock.

The valid excuses that come to mind are Three, and I shall name them:

1. Perhaps you fear the side effects of being in such close physical proximity
to so many of the gods and demigods
of the Pantheon Of Internet Celebrities Who Are Celebrities Because
They Actually Do Cool Stuff
(the finest of the A, B, C, and D-lists will be in attendance).

AND YOU ARE RIGHT TO FEAR.
Your computer screens and smart phones
generally protect you from the full power of their collective blinding Awesome.
But think on this:
your little electronic barriers also insulate you
from the ensuing radiation-induced Superpowers
(and inevitable tragic alienation
and prolonged near-romance with a sexy investigative journalist)
that you’ve always dreamed of.
You’ll never know
if you don’t show.

2. Perhaps you have forgotten that not so very long ago
you begged and pleaded for w00tstock to come and for gods’ sake take the East Coast.
But now that it’s here, you mean to play hard-to-get
for fear w00tstock may not call you in the morning
if you are too easily conquered.
You shameless tease you.

3. Perhaps you do not know what a w00tstock is
but it’s happened a number of times already
and you are embarrassed to ask anymore,
so from time to time you just wait patiently
for everyone to quit bloody #hashtagging about it. #w00t #w00t #w00t

If this is the case,
If ignorance is your defense,
then you should ASK SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN THERE about the amazing.

(You are reading my blog on the Yntarnet right now, so I know you have time at this very moment to ask Twitter or Facebook.  And this entry gives you blanket permission to come out and confess it.  Say it with me, it’s difficult, but it feels good: “I have no idea what w00tstock is.” Ahhhh. Isn’t that better?)

It is unlike a con.  It is unlike a concert.  It is Nerd Vaudeville.
It is a Variety Show of interesting things that you never knew you were dying to see
like Chewbacca playing guitar and Marian in heels
and real mad scientists in Halloween costumes.
It is the unmatched synergy of the modern Superheroes and Sidekicks of Wit
at your service.

So.

Short of picking your pockets personally
(a chore I’ve neither skill nor time for)
I cannot remedy your pathetic ticketless situation by force —
So I haunt street corners and plague subway cars
late at night, haggard, halitosid, attempting to foist on you
limp and possibly snotty pamphlets
detailing the amazements you will miss
if you stay home and watch “Doctor Who” episodes again
which you have already seen three times sober
(and once (or possibly twice) while intoxicated).

Here, transcribed, with only virtual snot, is the text of my dirty subway pamphlet:

THE W00TSTOCK IS NEAR!  THE DAY IS APPROACHING!
PREPARE YOUR SOUL! (mandatory)

NEW YORK 10.29.10 //// COSTUME BALL!
BOSTON 10.31.10 //// COSTUME BALL!
AUSTIN 11.02.10 //// just a regular ball!
DALLAS 11.03.10 //// just the other regular ball!

REASONS TO ATTEND (mandatory):

PaulandStorm
Adam Savage
Grant Imahara
Jonathan Coulton
Neil Gaiman
Paul F. Tompkins
Bill Amend of Foxtrot
Bill Corbett & Kevin Murphy of Rifftrax & MST3K
Drew Curtis of Fark.com
Marc Abrahams of the Ig Nobel Prizes
Jason Finn of the POTUSA
MC Frontalot
Molly Lewis
Mary Jo Pehl
Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse
((me!))

And, presiding over all proceedings like the flaming Eye of Sauron,
THE UNDEAD SPIRIT OF @WILW*

Get tickets now or settle in for the looooong, dark wait for another thing half this exciting to occur. It will be a while — even for you, New York. (mandatory)

Humbly submitted for your review on too little sleep and too much coffee,

Marian Call

*Not physically in attendance. But technically speaking, “Undead” is an accurate description of @wilw at this writing.

Upcoming Marian Call shows, details and RSVP info at http://mariancall.com:

10/29 w00tstock, New York, NY
10/30 House Concert, Holden MA
10/31 w00tstock, Boston MA
11/1 Tommy Doyle’s, Cambridge MA
11/2 House Concert, Concord NH
11/3 House Concert, Montreal QC
11/4 House Concert, Ottawa ON
11/5 House Concert, Kitchener ON
11/7 Evil Squirrel Comics, Chicago IL (tickets required, http://mariancall.com)
11/9 Dunn Bros. Coffee Co., Roseville MN

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So. Big news. w00t w00t w00t!

06/20/2010 at 10:04 pm | Posted in 49>50, General Nerdery, Just for Fun, News & Explanations, Stories from the Road | 7 Comments

Some of my following are geeks, and some are not.  But I hope that all of you will rejoice in this frabjous news:

If you don’t know what w00t means, it’s the sound a Geek makes when it’s happy about something.  Or when you squeeze it.  If you don’t know what w00tstock is, here’s a bit of a primer.  And here are details on MY w00tstock, edition 2.4, including ticket info.  It will be on Thursday night, July 22nd, 2010 at 7:30pm.  (Protip: you do not have to be attending San Diego Comic Con to attend w00tstock.) (Other Protip: this is an awesome event, with an incredible lineup of way-famouser-than-me people, and I will only be performing for 10 minutes at it.  So if you want to see a real Marian Call concert, also come to a real Marian Call concert.  There will be one accessible from, but not exclusive to, SDCC on Saturday night 7/24.)

Other distinguished guests you may or may not have heard of (but I have! Eeeeee!) include:

You might not know who any of these people are, and if that’s the case, just smile and nod and realize that this is maximally awesome for Marian.  Or check them out, if you think you might like them.  One of my favorite acts to come out of w00tstock thus far is a monologue by Peter Sagal (@petersagal) at w00tstock Chicago; part I is here and part II is here — and it’s SO worth 12 minutes of your time.

To sum up, just know this: if you’re reading this blog in the first week I’m posting it, then you were here first.

One of the reasons I think this is so awesome is that Paul-of-Paul-and-Storm reported to me that I am one of the most recommended acts ever.  That’s because of you guys.  A couple of amazing people in high places recommended me, and I owe them humble thanks.  But I hear that many many dozens of fans took time to write and recommend me as well — and that’s because you’re AWESOME. “I don’t really have that many fans,” I remember stammering on the phone as I confirmed this engagement.  “Well, you have the right ones,” responded Paul emphatically.  I concur.

Since this announcement (and because of a couple very hardworking fans — it only takes one or two per city!) I have had much larger-than-expected turnouts at my shows.  Please please please, let’s keep this up!  You guys ROCK.  I am behind on everything, so please pardon me as I try to keep up with all teh awesome.  But as I wind my way through this whole darn country I am more and more astounded at how amazing are the people I’m meeting, the people who are listening, everywhere.  I’ll do my best for you.

Thank you!

<3 Marian

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Upcoming shows, details at http://mariancall.com:

6/20 Corazon, Santa Fe NM
6/22 Open House Concert, Green Valley (Tucson area), AZ
6/23 Open House Concert, Phoenix AZ
6/27 Open House Concert, Toronto ON
6/30 Outdoor Concert on East Stage of JT Lake, Joshua Tree CA — come camping! You know you want to…
7/1 Hillary Artspace, Las Vegas NV — First Thursday art party!
7/2 Open House Concert, Salt Lake City UT — huge backyard bash!
7/3 Trident Books & Coffee, Boulder CO
7/4 Folsom St. Coffee, Boulder CO
7/5 Dirty Woman Park Concert, Monument CO — bring your 4th leftovers and a super soaker!

A handy little invite I like to forward to my friends when I’m landing on the ground — just copy and paste pertinent show details from http://mariancall.com and stick it in an e-mail!  I will need a lot of help bringing folks to my concerts through the mountain states, it’s not my home turf yet.

Marian Call touring all 50 states!

Twelve Simple Steps to Indie Cred (excerpt)

02/02/2010 at 1:30 am | Posted in General Nerdery, Just for Fun, Music | 1 Comment

I’ve been taking a month or so at home to reflect, focus, and work on my Indie Cred.  I understand that Indie Cred, or “Independent Credibility,” is very important — I learned that from Jennifer Lopez, who writes so compellingly about still being from the block.  It is important to demonstrate to fans and colleagues that you have suffered an appropriate amount to deserve your carefree, indulgent, jet-setting independent musician lifestyle.  And it is also important not to appear to enjoy your life too much, to always wear a slightly stern and melancholy “genuine” Indie Musician Face.  It is also good to cultivate a “genuine” smell.  The Flight of the Conchords knows all about Indie Cred.  And after a year like this one, I could write a book on it, I swear.  I could sell it to other aspiring penniless musicians.  Here’s my premise for free, so nobody steal it:

You, too, can improve your Indie Cred in just twelve simple steps.  They worked for me!

1.  Sleep and work at strange hours, to maximize the probability that you’ll set your alarm for the wrong time.
2.  Be able to carry your entire recording studio, as well as several instruments, in one load.
3.  Do not record in the same place twice.  Use a converted bus, back rooms at the local church, remote sheds, strangers’ houses, and friends’ closets.  Keep your stalkers guessing.
4.  Get accustomed to sleeping in ambient air temperatures.  After a few weeks, forty degrees at night will not seem at all cold.
5.  Housesit. As. Frequently. As. Possible.
6.  When you don’t have the proper tools, improvise.  Use a violin instead of a synthesizer; use a flashlight covered with a trash bag instead of a follow spot; use your phone instead of a computer; use your oven instead of a heater; use your dead cat instead of a shaker.
7.  Walk the fine line between seeking approval and being a snob.  Don’t be on time for appointments, lest you look too eager, but also try to be stood up by important people as often as it is convenient.
8.  Know by heart the menus of all the hip restaurants in town at which a body can eat for less than $5 without seeming cheap.
9.  Be seen one day wearing very fancy clothing and makeup and the next looking haggard and worn from lack of sleep and makeup.  Imagine that this will surely get everyone talking about your Big Important Project and your Dedication.  Then remember that they actually don’t care. (Nobody Caring is a sure sign you have Indie Cred.)
10.  Perform work associated with at least ten different occupations daily.
11.  Wear holes in your clothing the old-fashioned way:  with wear.
12.  Showers = optional.

(But always know where your towel is.)

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This is an excerpt from an older blog entry of mine because this little segment wanted its own home to link to.  As I’m finishing a new album I find it bitingly pertinent once again.  Enjoy!

Two Poems for Autumn

09/07/2009 at 9:09 pm | Posted in Just for Fun | Leave a comment
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Here are a couple old poems that want to have a permanent home here.  Plus I miss having time to write at you guys!  I’m working for The Lion King and planning for some recording this winter.  Fingers crossed that the money, the time, and my sanity align.

I have had poetry on the brain this month; I’ve gone to several readings and shared a concert with Anchorage poet Keith Liles, which was a lot of fun.  Here are two old poems of mine that just wanted to be posted somewhere permanent, so here they are, for my reference as much as anything else. And constantly being revised.

All my best to you —

M

What I’ve learned from Boeing
(with thanks also to McDonnell-Douglas, Airbus, Piper, and Aeronca)

They terrify, but they’ve taught me, these towering painted tubes.
I am a restless pupil. I keep one unblinking eye out the window, always,
to make the ground stay where it ought to,
to eject if I must.
My lessons will not take not take not take,

so I rescribe them, so I make flashcards,
so I repeat and repeat again:
I’ve learned this much is true:

:

One. We fold up the wheels to fly. No don’t let’s go back

We dial down the engines to cruise.
We cannot continue up and up and always up —
we will plateau, twenty minutes in, and when we do, you’ll feel a clenched fist pull your stomach straight down a thousand feet, every time,
and then we will descend, every time, which is worse,

every time.

Two. There is a backup plan:

should the hydraulics fail, the wheels can still extend and retract five times before they’re exhausted.
We have two engines, but one is enough.

Three. The sun rises with you
and sets later — the day is longer — from way up here.
Some seasonal changes can only be seen from above.
Everything looks its proper size, the busy things little, the ancient things looming.

Four. Clouds indicate excitement ahead.
The little bumps will make you jump, but they won’t take you out.
True turbulence inspires shouts, involuntary, hallelujah, as it acquaints you
finally

with the naked strength of the forces that keep you impossibly

afloat.
Blasts buffet our tiny bodies and we remember our relative importance and we shake

Five. It is possible to keep one’s calf muscles flexed and taut for all of nine hours without ever relaxing. Or noticing.

Six. Do-overs and go-‘rounds are horrific
but smart.
The alternative,
stubbornness —
costly.

Seven. Weight is no governor of airworthiness.  There are other forces at play.
Thrust overcomes gravity, logic, boggles every obstacle.

Eight. Airplanes want to fly.  It’s harder to land than to launch. In fact,

A stiff breeze on the tarmac will lift each bird with longing.
Best tie them down ’til takeoff

or they will.

And sure as sure is sure,
I am not the captain
and he will not let me steer
or even make suggestions. Nine.

Ten. Try though I might with cold concentration to keep us

airborne,

we land every time. (As we must.  My foolishness knows no bounds. My stomach will not be persuaded.  Stay up stay up stay)

And last (take note, write this down, quick, eleven, keep breathing):
we must do as much

falling as flying —

exactly, to the inch — to go anywhere.

I’ve got it, it’s all down all down, I abbreviate wildly,
trying so hard so hard to transcribe this thund’rous three-hour lecture,
while with chapped lips
I swallow lukewarm air in quarts
and bless my terror:

I bless the takeoff, the touchdown, and that time in-between

three hundred souls
inevitably bent on anxious meditation
scratching at the meaning in this hollow bird,
all of us, all of it

crammed with prayers and promises.

++++++++++

Test Strips
or
Colored Crises of Conscience

Deep down darkroom where I’m Queen of all you see —
manipulating images — at last a lone and quiet and free
to wrestle all my inner demons.
The smell of fixer soaks my hands. My
crystal ball, the test strip in the tub
slowly glows its prognostic-stripes — three seconds, six seconds, nine,
wow, double digits, so so dark — my feet hurt
too much to wonder. Choose quickly. Set the timer.
I fix the paper, ferry it into the light and
sit for the first time in hours (I must. Just a moment. Wait).
Her skin in shades of gray unmakes me. Ghostly
or sunburnt? I get to decide. Like back in

high school, in Washington, in the rainforest of the nation,
where the sun-god shon so seldom it tempted my soggy imagination
toward degrees of browner white.
C’mon, all the cute girls do it,
spend their time, their parents’ money, to go to the mini-mall but return from Cabo.
To fake’n’bake or no? That was my question.
Of course, not really my question — I
couldn’t afford those radiant hotbeds of rest

free lunch kid book of tickets dangling

and if I could I’d just get skin cancer,
like as not; at least premature wrinkles. Still

in summertime I chose my SPF:
45, 30, 15 — flirting with danger —
wondering if sun really cured acne, wondering
if those girls (boys) would notice me
if I looked orange like them against the Blue-gray Sound.
Bleach my hair. Take diet pills. Learn to walk that way. Quit
acting so damn smart. Pretend to hate my teachers. Then
would I escape these minor crises of conscience,
wondering now if it’s a sin for me to
keep my lily-white Scandinavian/English/Scotch-Irish skin?
To like it sometimes, even? Bitch, racist,
don’t even think that. White is trite.

In Hawai’i they stared for good reason. I was
wrestling with issues of sov’reignty in museums, studying the Queen’s jail cell, not
lying out by the pool. Hah. At work they asked me
why I had nothing to show for my trip, gringa. I grinned, I laughed.  Rolled down my sleeves.

So now what do I do with my own photograph?
Three seconds, six seconds, nine seconds, twelve.
Reimagine myself.
Could I slip out of the grip suffocating white liberal guilt
if I just drift, just

let myself follow the
sun — hell with cancer, loosen up, bitch
— and stopped carrying 45 like a gun
in my backpack? I guess I’d survive
and eventually get tawny and chic. As if.

Well, maybe just one second more. There. Maybe
freckles would scare off the zits. There. Maybe
my man would survey me proudly, bless me:
Look at you, you’ve got some color!
This photo at the beach would look so much sweeter —

but the heart of my matter is, you’ve stared down this demon before.
Here in California it takes so so so much effort (and sunscreen and shut-up
and forced, cold laughter) just to
like myself the way I’m meant to be:
Healthy. Just healthy. Just…one more second.

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