Jan 09 – I’m #1! At least somebody thinks so…

03/10/2009 at 11:42 pm | Posted in Just for Fun, News & Explanations | Leave a comment

I am top of somebody’s list! O frabjous day!

Wildy’s World, a blog that reviews 600+ indie releases per year, decided that Vanilla merited the #1 slot for 2008. I’m more than a little flabbergasted. Here’s his original review and here’s the entry he posted today to finish his top 40 countdown. I really, really needed this encouragement right now. Things are looking very good for the New Year. Joy!


Sept 08 – Twelve Simple Steps to Indie Cred

03/10/2009 at 9:40 pm | Posted in General Nerdery, How to this-or-that, Just for Fun, Music, News & Explanations | 2 Comments

[This is a repost of an older blog, from September 2008. Original at http://xanga.com/mariancall.]

I’ve been taking a month or so to 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 summer like this one, I could write a book on it, I swear.  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 the bus, back rooms at 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’s ashes 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, so you can feel remotely responsible.
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.)

I’m also working on my Alaska Cred, by planning a trip down the Al-Can (that’s the Alaska-Canada Highway) late in the season in a bus towing a jeep carrying a scooter.  I hear there’s already snow in the Interior.  Fingers crossed, everybody!  The more I get used to this life, the less sincerely I can sing “I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl.” Although I cannot yet wrench on my own goose, I am getting used to a very different style of living.  I will never again take running water for granted.  I’m not ready for Helm’s Deep yet, but at least I’m not a wuss.

Despite all my strenuous Cred-Building exercises I am very happy with my work and my situation.  How many people get to record several different typewriters, model for a nationally renowned photographer, rehearse with a guitarist who plays like Dave Matthews, and eat reindeer sausage all in the same day?  Lucky me.

As a matter of fact, I’m so thankful for what I get to do that this month’s song is free. “100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man” is yours for the downloading on my myspace — if you’re a myspace user — or by e-mail, if you’re not.  You can hear it at  imeem.com or on my homepage.  Feel free to spread it around!  This song yearns to fly free. At least for the month of September.  [Note from the present: it’s now available on iTunes and other MP3 vendors.]


This little ditty is from a lesser-known Leonard Bernstein/Al Green/Betty Comden musical, “Wonderful Town.” When I was twelve, I was definitely going to be on Broadway.  If this is as close as I ever get — I’ll take it!  I’ve always loved this song, and I finally found a friend who was willing to learn to play it in Liz Malys, a talented piano songstress with whom I shared a concert last month.  If you want the song for your own, just snag it off the myspace music module or else e-mail me.


Fundraising is like (choose your own metaphor):
buying toilet paper
doing your taxes
going to the dentist
tweezing nose hairs

It’s not very exciting, and sometimes it’s a downright hassle.  But it’s important, and it comes around once a year at least for most of us artist types.  Yes, I am doing a fundraiser throughout September.  Why?  It’s pretty normal for Alaskan bands, actually, because we have to travel so very far to come play for most of you.  And it’s rapidly becoming important to having Indie Cred, which it seems I will soon have in spades…

The real reason I’m raising funds, and working at this 100 hours a week, and risking a great deal for music, is because I believe great art is worth it.  Some things you invest in for a return — other things you invest in simply because you want them to keep existing.  So if you feel so moved, please take a second and make a donation, even $5.  By leaving a tip, you will be participating in something intercultural and international and important, I truly believe that.  Great Art Is Worth It.

[Note: Paypal link now resides at http://mariancall.com/listen.php. Having trouble posting it here for some reason; open to tech help suggestions in the comments.]

If you would rather make a purchase than a donation,
this is a terrific time to download a single track or to buy a copy of Vanilla from CDBaby or iTunes.  These purchases help me immensely by demonstrating there’s a market for my music.  Plus, the holidays are coming, and you’ll need your traditional Kwanzaa CD’s at the ready.

If you haven’t got a penny, then a ha’penny will do: I’m a starving artist with You-Know-What-Kind-Of-Cred, and I understand how it is.  If you don’t have even a dollar to spare, then snag the free track, spread it around to some friends, and talk about the music.  Or better yet, drop by the place where you purchase or listen to music — online or in real life — and either leave an honest review or request some airplay.

Just remember, the power is in your hands, O listener — I hope you’re feeling a thrill go down your spine and laughing an ominous laugh.  Because you definitely deserve to cut loose a little.  I mean, you rule.  Literally.  So take advantage of that.  And don’t forget to work on the laugh, because that’s about standards.

July 08 – Anchorage Rocks. Princess Cupcake?

03/10/2009 at 9:27 pm | Posted in Just for Fun, Music, News & Explanations, Stories from Alaska | 1 Comment

Lemme tell you something about Anchorage. This place rocks.

Pardon my soapbox, but I have to say this. If you live in Anchorage and you’re not going to concerts, start. Now. It’s the absolute best entertainment for your money. You don’t need to go to New York or Austin or San Francisco to hear amazing music — it’s all here, just as good or better. There’s innovation and imagination and tradition and truly amazing skill crawling all over this town — I don’t want to hear of anyone being bored here ever again. I have been to going to a concert a week for a while now, and I am SOLD on Anchorage music.

Last week I went to a truly memorable show; it was as good as, if not better than, anything I’ve ever seen in the Lower 48. It was so good that I very nearly danced in public, which is a rare occurrence indeed. Thankfully the universe was spared that spectacle due to the lack of space. I just grooved a little, so no one was hurt.

The evening was a Who’s Who of singer-songwriters out of Anchortown. Lined up onstage were five terrific local boys, most notably Jared Woods and Sean Mormelo. They took turns playing songs in the round. It was fun, loud, moving, everything a show should be. Evan Phillips of the Whipsaws joined them late in the evening, and at the end of the night Rebel Blues, just back from Austin, stormed the stage featuring a young local prodigy of the blues guitar, Jesse “The Furnace” Ferman. I’ve never heard live blues that good anywhere. Not on NPR, not at Antone’s, nowhere.

Last month I had the privilege of playing in the first annual Spenard Jazz Fest, coordinated by the illustrious Yngvil Vatn Guttu. She had a whole day of concerts lined up at Organic Oasis. I was initially worried about two things: 1) the quality of the music, and 2) the size of the crowd. How many people would come out for all-original jazz? And would the jazz be worth coming out for? But I should not have been nervous on either count. It was standing room only from 3pm until after midnight — the crowd drank the restaurant out of beer and wine, and the kitchen was slammed. And as for the music, well, I would have been proud to be a part of that lineup of performers in any city in the world. (And by the way — the Spenard Jazz Fest will be happening again in 2009. Keep an eye out!)

I am really proud to live here — I plan on staying, even if I have to travel a lot to make ends meet. And I have a sneaking suspicion that all of you Outsiders will start hearing whispers about the music scene coming out of Anchorage within the next couple of years. Our homegrown acts are already big on the national scene (witness the Whipsaws in Paste this month!). This is truly a worthy city. It’s good to be on the edge of the frontier.

By the way, happy birthday, Alaska. We became a state fifty years ago. Way over the hill!

Firefly fans, I have huge news. That I can’t disclose yet. But the secret’s killin’ me here. I actually put off this blog in hopes of being able to make an announcement, but to no avail. Stay tuned for something awesome.

The Song of the Month this month is a very special one — it’s for Princess Cupcake, my MySpace friend Stephanie. She invited me to play at her birthday party, and I couldn’t resist rustling up something silly for the occasion. Since I had to write it before I met Stephanie, though, I used my imagination for some of it. Though don’t we all know a princess?

(Yes, there are two versions of the song — one for everybody, and one for those who are familiar with the details of Stephanie’s deep and abiding devotion to James Gunn and Nathan Fillion. I couldn’t decide which version to release, so both are available for 49 cents on Snocap. And that solves that.)


Photo by Brian Adams, of course. We had fun shooting this. It’s ever-so-slightly creepy, because it’s so not me. I would not don clothing like this for anyone besides you, Stephanie. You know how I hate pink. That’s how much I love you, babe.

“Trobairitz” is the early French feminine of the word “Troubadour,” and I’ve always thought that I might have been a trobairitz if I’d lived in Medieval France. This is one of the many reasons for the chick on the cover of “Vanilla,” by the way. Trobairitz entertained royal courts and wealthy families as well as common folks — they had to be proficient in all the arts and several languages, they had to know sacred and secular songs in every style, they were usually educated and well-traveled, they probably coordinated the entertainment for feasts and holidays, and they told stories and wrote songs for all sorts of occasions. I felt very much like I was preparing to play for the royal court as I was writing this tune. (…Oh dear. As I read this paragraph I see my Stanford is showing. Sorry. Hopefully you’ve read the Nerd Disclaimer from an earlier blog.)

Everyone knows a Princess. I know quite a few. And I love them very much. I don’t think I will ever be one, but I have to admire the self-possession of women who have a certain degree of assurance about their place in the world: in charge.
I now have enough new songs — excluding songs of the month, past and future — to record four more albums. Will any wealthy patrons of the arts kindly step forward?
The amount of work behind this music is staggering, let there be no doubt. The quest for the ultimate goal — solvency — is a massive undertaking. I’ve got an amazing crew of people helping me. And I’ve only been at it since September, when I released my first album and played my first show ever at Side Street. Now I’m headlining a handful of Alaskan music festivals, as in Saturday night at 8pm. Two weeks ago I showed up to play on the Park Strip expecting to be on the little stage, but no — I was on the Big Stage, sandwiched between two large rock bands. That’s some wicked good progress for just a few months! And it’s all thanks to those of you who are spreading the word. Please, please continue.

Inevitably the time for playing around on myspace and facebook is diminishing. I’m sorry! I have several new profiles up now in various networks (the blurb is below), but myspace will be where I make personal contact, for the most part. And I’ll continue to do so as often as I can.

Blurb alert: Find Marian in your networks of choice!
And then pass the word along to a friend. Blog it, Tweet it, Post it.







(P.S. Does anyone have enough free time for a Wikipedia entry? How I would so admire someone who helped me out with that…)

Till next time…



Photos by Brian Adams.

March 08 – Fan Power & Zippy pt 1

03/10/2009 at 8:52 pm | Posted in Just for Fun, News & Explanations, Zippy | Leave a comment

Some late night ramblings as I prepare to board a plane for a big scary adventure…I am eating spicy pickles (Vlasic, of course) and raw cookie dough. Not in the same bites. Ew.

…So I’m going on tour for the first time ever! To SoCal, Austin, and Houston. That means I get to come sing for you guys! For every CD I send off, I wish I could drop by the new owner’s house and hang out in the kitchen and sing some songs and share some stories. That’s honestly how I prefer to operate. Did you hear the one about the new sign they’re posting along the highway south of Anchorage: Beware of Falling Moose?

I’ll be playing some house concerts, some café concerts, some church concerts, and best of all, a real live Shindig. What’s a Shindig? It’s a party in someone’s backyard with a bunch of friends, good food and beer, and good live music. In this case, Marian Call and the Bedlam Bards. Ain’t nothing better. Want to have one? Call me. We’ll twalk, dahling. It’s easy. Just have a party, convince me you’re not creepy, and invite me to play. There will be much rejoicing. Marian is much better live.

[I ask my husband as I write: “What else is better live? I need a witty non sequitur.”

“Dolphins…the polka…ugly inbred puppies…” he answers.

“Skunks,” I announce.

“NOT better live, Marian!”

“But much worse dead. Relatively speaking.”

“You need to put this exchange in your blog.”


And yes, everybody, I do want to meet you. I really really want to meet you. So come to a gig! Set up a gig! I know how to run a concert; you don’t need to.  Just provide a space and I’ll be there. At this point I’m un-famous enough that I can play at your birthday party or in your living room or backyard. That may not always be the case.

Lots of you have asked if I will come and play in your hometown. The answer is yes — all I need to come play where you live is a small following (think 50-100 real fans) and a few little venues where I can make enough money to cover my costs. Do you have any idea how much power you, the fans, have to make live concerts happen? You don’t even know how awesome you are. Well, maybe you do, but you’re too nice to let on, out of politeness. Which I’m sure we all appreciate.

Something I want all you all to know: I bought a MySpace Friend Adder, used it for one day, and trashed it. I’m not gonna mass add. That might be a sacrifice in terms of exposure, but it just didn’t feel right in the pit of my stomach. I have to aim for connection over mass advertising, and honesty over image. It’s probably foolish, but it’s who I am. I’m keeping my operation small and personal for now. And I hope it keeps feeling that way even as it grows. Think of it as the Browncoat marketing model: relationship-based, fan-driven, very polite, yet aiming to misbehave and mess with the corporate status quo. That means I am relying almost totally on you — the folks who like my music — to spread the word.

The truth is, people like me don’t get signed to major labels. I’m too old (at 25!), my music is too weird, and I won’t behave like they would want me to. I’m an Innepennant. So that means I actually need you. And isn’t it nice to be needed? Thanks to you guys, in today’s world, I have a chance of not-starving even without a label. I don’t wanna be famous — just not-starving. I try to set realistic goals.

If you’re a starving artist yourself, and you can’t afford to buy an album, hey, I’ve been there. I am there. Instead, tell ten or twenty people to listen to the music and make them actually do it. And we’ll be square. If you e-mail me with proof of your efforts, I might send you free music out of gratitude. Or write an ode to your mother or something. If you need ideas of stuff to do to help out, I have a lot of them. Although I am a great secretary for myself (I type 120 WPM), I cannot do what you can do. My musician boss (me) and my beloved customers (you) are keeping me so very busy.

Hmm…this has not been an especially funny entry thus far, but I appreciate you reading all the way down to here. So what follows is the beginning of a short story I’ve been meaning to tell, in installments, to reward you. It is ALL TRUE.
The Saga of Zippy (part I)
A Cat of Great Character

Zippy on the rocks

Once upon a time, when I was a teenager, my family had this cat. It was someone else’s cat, actually, which was dumped on us when they moved away. And this cat was named Zippy. Zippy was a bad cat.

He wasn’t mean or scratchy, he was just scared of people and would flee the room whenever you entered it. And you couldn’t pet him because he had this skin condition. So we missed out on most having-a-cat benefits with Zippy. Also he drooled. A lot. We had hardwood floors — many guests nearly broke their necks slipping on Zippy drool.

His drooling and paranoia were only compounded when my father accidentally put him in the dryer for a few minutes. No, not on purpose! Zippy was white, the towels were white, Zippy was sleeping in the towels, Dad just fluffed them a little bit. And he felt duly guilty. Though I think the heat was on low. Anyway, Zippy was a little weirder after that (though no member of my immediate family, pets included, has ever been accused of normalcy).

Eventually Zippy died. We didn’t much notice. We had many many cats over the years, and there were many whose passing we mourned, but Zippy was not one of them. In fact, we forgot about him completely, until one day we were brought Zippy’s remains.

“Zippy has remains?” we asked ourselves.

The vet had kindly cremated Zippy and put him into a plastic bag inside a small floral tin, which you can see in the photo above. It looks a bit like a tea tin. Aside from the dryer incident, we are conscientious pet owners — however, we had no desire to keep Zippy’s ashes forever and ever. But what else can one do with a pet’s remains?

My family is the artistic sort. We’re all a little special. My mother is a painter, and she arranges objects in our house according to color and texture rather than function. So she put Zippy up in the rack of fine imported teas and spices in our kitchen. Those of you who like to talk in the theatre (Special Hell for you!) can see where this is going.

My brother was a counselor at summer camp when we retrieved Zippy’s ashes, and it was really a non-event, so no one bothered to tell him about the ashes or their proximity to actual food items. He came home one day after school to have some tea. And…yeah. He did not actually consume any of the beverage which he brewed, because he observed “a claw or a tooth or something.” He has never drunk tea to this day, almost ten years later. It makes him break out in a rash.

Mom decided that the cat had to go. So — of course — she and my father brought it to the church office Christmas party for the white elephant gift exchange. What else could they do? And so Zippy went home to live with the church secretary for a year.

Buuuuuut the cat came back, the very next day…you know the song.

End of Act I – break for commercial. Or rather, run the opening credits and then break for commercial. This is only the very beginning of the saga of Zippy. There have been few cats so overlooked and despised in life — and even fewer so beloved, and famous, so revered in death. Those of you who have carefully read my album liner notes may begin to suspect some of the uses we later found for our dear departed Zippy.

TTFN — and keep an eye out for concert dates!


Feb 08 – Zombie Cheerleading Camp

03/10/2009 at 8:44 pm | Posted in General Nerdery, Just for Fun, Music, News & Explanations | 2 Comments


This just in…here at MC headquarters we have received some electronic files from a parallel universe in which I rock, and I have been instructed to post them here.

**If you’re just joining us, this month’s special song is NOT typical Marian Call fare, except inasmuch as Marian likes to try new things and have fun.**

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I’ve written a breakup/revenge song called “We’re Out for Blood.” Because I had to. Those of you who hate Valentine’s Day can feel free to thank me and forward the song link to former significant others.

When the creator of the film “Zombie Cheerleader Camp” approached me about commissioning a song, how could I possibly say no? The film is everything you could hope for based on the name — zombies, check, cheerleaders, check, camp, check — and I was happy to contribute. Go to zombiecheerleadingcamp.com for details about the film, which will be released later this year.

I was joined on this track by a couple former members of Delmag, a late great Alaskan rock band (they were awesome enough that I understand there is now a Delmag Tribute band in Anchorage). Guitarist Ryan Brownell and Drummer Eric Kross comprised the band 1HW, which was formed for the sole purpose of recording this track. There were tears at the end of the recording session. Tears in my jeans, I mean, rips. Because I wanted to get into the spirit of the song and all.

Seriously, I totally wish you guys could have been there to see me attempting to sing a song like this. It was funny and a little pathetic. Be not deceived: it’s possible some of you might think I SOUND like I rock, but there ain’t no rock about it. I think I understand how Weird Al Yankovic feels just a little bit. Which is something I will not often have occasion to say.

So envision zombie cheerleaders devouring one another at summer camp — and enjoy!


Thanks also to Steve Nigl for the awesome “album artwork” above for Marian Call and 1HW’s one and only tune. Feel free to steal the pic if you’re downloading the song.

January 08 – I Shaved My Legs for This?

03/10/2009 at 8:36 pm | Posted in Just for Fun, Music, News & Explanations, Stories from Alaska | Leave a comment

It’s cold up here in Anchorage, and even at the finest restaurants, even on New Year’s Eve, the dress code tends to be casual. Well, casual plus fur. But I was bound and determined to dress up for dinner on New Year’s Eve, cold weather or no.

Dressing up turned out to be quite an operation; since we were on foot, I had to wear jeans & long johns, thick socks, snow boots, a shirt, sweater, and a jacket over my slinky dress. I did a quick change at the restaurant and felt extremely silly and a little vain compared to everyone else in the whole state. But I got to dress up and feel girly for a night, which was a rare treat.

I don’t think of myself as a posh, citified type of female — I try to be low-maintenance — but here in Alaska standards are a little different. And according to a lot of my native or born-and-raised Alaskan friends, my behavior last night would be typical of an “Outsider.” Or worse, a “Californian.” And I have to concede their point: a lot of metropolitan fashions and customs just don’t work up here, even in Anchorage. Tiny handbag dogs are just snacks for hungry ravens and eagles. Polar fleece is not as warm as fur. Shaved legs = cold legs.

So I wrote this month’s song as an ode to my strong, beautiful, tough-as-nails Alaskan girlfriends — both the natives and the imports — who really understand how a body ought to live up here. And after I finished editing, mixing, and mastering the song, which I did with an eggnog latte in one hand and a cell phone in the other, I went to shave my legs, paint my toenails, and enjoy a night out on the town in Anchorage.* Hope you enjoy the tune!

Jan SOTM Marian Call

*For those of you who don’t know, Anchorage is not in Alaska. But Alaska is only twenty minutes away by car (or forty by dogsled).

From Dec. 07: Dead Fred & FAQ’s

03/10/2009 at 5:59 pm | Posted in General Nerdery, Just for Fun, News & Explanations, Stories from Alaska | 1 Comment

Once upon a time, there was a very pretty 747 jumbo jet, and this jet was packed full of thousands of Christmas trees. It was headed right over North Pole, Alaska to Honolulu, Hawai’i. The shiny jumbo jet landed at Anchorage International, the busiest cargo airport in the world, to refuel for its long journey to the tropics. But while it was resting on the tarmac, a mean old inspector picked through all the trees, and what did he find? A little dead yellow jacket! So the trees couldn’t go to Hawai’i after all. They had to stay in Anchorage. The jumbo jet was sad to abandon its important mission and lose all its friends. And Hawai’i was sad because it had no trees. Some trees went to live with pilots, some went to live with flight attendants, and some went out to the Alaskan Bush, where you can imagine how difficult it is to find a tree stand (let alone a vacuum cleaner).

We had enough trouble finding a tree stand, and we live right downtown. We got this pretty, costly tree for free, and we haven’t had one in years — and all I could think was, “It’s dead! This tree is dead and it only died to stand in our living room and shed needles everywhere! What a waste!” We also have no tree skirt or vacuum cleaner. Unlike bush Alaska, however, we have Wal Mart and Frd Brfl (Frd Brfl is what I have always called Fred Meyer for no good reason. Albertsons = Snostrebla. Backwards).

But the tree actually makes me really happy in a little kid kind of way. So when life gives you a beautiful and expensive douglas spruce for free, make lemonade (or eggnog). We got a tree stand AND a vacuum, and it was probably about time we got one of those anyway — the sticky lint roller wasn’t working so great on the carpet. Took forever, too. What happened to our old vacuum, you ask? Well, if I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that if you’re ever tempted to suck up a whole sackful of powdered sugar that’s turned your entire kitchen white, RESIST. You’re better off licking it up off the floor than letting it eat your hoover.

For lack of ornaments, my husband put his ski cap on the top — where the angel ought to go — and his motorcycle goggles are resting in the branches just beneath that. The only other decoration is the broken brown shoelace that’s acting as a fu manchu moustache. Our tree is named Fred. Dead Fred. Well, it’s not dead yet, but it’s gonna be. Fred has lots of attitude.

In answer to some questions that I’ve been promising to answer for some time, Jewel Staite-style:

1) So how are things? Sales, promotion, etc.? When will I hear Vanilla on the radio?

Things are moving very slowly — I’d say about 3mph — and it’s all I can do to keep up with that pace. When you do everything yourself (promotions, website, e-mail list, writing, recording, mixing & mastering, rehearsal coordination, and makeup, to name a few) you really get to appreciate why people get together and form labels. I’m so glad I started Song of the Month, because otherwise I’d never do any actual music.

2) Is your hair red?

This is the color that by rights my mother should have passed down to me, and I’m sticking to it out of pure bitterness that I did not actually inherit her hair. So I’m a faker, but a justified faker.

3) What’s with the name?

I’ve been explaining this a lot and promising to blog about it, so here goes. No, Marian’s not my real name, but yes, it is how I’m introducing myself and what I will be called by most folks from here on in. Marian Marian Marian. Spelt with an A.

It’s not like I think I need a stage name, it’s just that my real name is about as common as Jane Smith. That makes for issues on Google and Myspace. I actually know one other gal with my name — she’s a PhD from Stanford in Psychology, and totally brilliant — and I don’t want the studies she publishes and the albums I record competing for top search results. She’s too nice. Also, I hear there’s this musician in Minneapolis with my same name who’s totally psycho. Is that a pot I want to stir? Not really.

The name is partially the result of a contest I held among family and friends back in March. You should have seen some of the entries — “What should my band be called?” “Sheep go baa. Comfy chicken nest hat hat. The craning necks. Belts, no! Suspenders, yes!” What do they all think of me? Goodness. I almost chose Marian Lexicon, because I wound up with a list over a hundred words that could follow Marian. In the end, I picked Marian Call, because to me it describes my philosophy about art and it has a nice syllabic ring it has to it — I’m really into feet and iambs. And I really feel like I can answer to Marian and it’s actually “me.”***

Phew. Now when people ask I can just refer them here.

4) Will you come and play where I live?

Yes! Tell me where to play and I’ll go there! I’m new to the performing live thing, but as I build up a band and get used to touring, I want to play where you are and probably meet you. Unless you’re a spammer or a robot. By the way, I hear I’m better live than on the recording, so if you like the recording, come out to a show! And watch me make newbie attempts at between-song banter. That’s definitely a learned skill. My bass player is threatening to make cue cards for me.

I will officially be in the Bay Area in mid-May and in Southern California in early June 2008. I will possibly be in Austin in June as well. If you live there, e-mail me! Let’s hang out. If you know somewhere I should play, e-mail me! I want to play there. Even if it’s at your house. House concerts are the best.

5) You’re gonna be in a movie?

Yes: “Lessons in Skagway.” Look for it in the Anchorage Int’l Film Festival next year. I have a bit part — I’m sort of a seemingly nice passive-aggressive bitchy office lady. Like if Pam were actually Angela on the inside. More than this I cannot say. My life is getting weirder by the day!

6) Where did you disappear to this month? Did you just go crazy and fall asleep?

About a month ago my manager, C., kindly observed that due to about a year of extreme stress and food/sleep deprivation, I was deteriorating into a maxed-out neurotic blithering mess of a person (what my husband refers to as reverting to Stanford Mode, or the way I acted in college). According to Webster, to blither (v) is to talk long-windedly about nothing, to speak nonsense. Which is pretty much all I ever do. I should be a politician. But I digress — C. asked me when I last took a day off, and made me look through my planner to prove to her that I actually had taken a whole day off. I got back to March without finding a single instance of a work-free day, and she sort of sweetly smacked me upside the head and told me we’d meet again after I slept and took time off. I never did find the day off that I swore I took…not in 2007, anyway.

But, see, the thing is — I’m terrible at not working. I have no talent for chilling out. But I’m working on it; I have now taken five days off. Well, almost five. And I’m much better slept. C.’s talk with me gave me a sort of permission to be less stressed. Part of that, unfortunately, is that I have released myself from corresponding as much as I want to, so I’ve missed some of you guys. A lot. I think you’re going to have to be happy with periodic comments and letters more often than daily chats. But I still LOVE hearing from you! And I’m wondering what’s going on with everyone, since I’ve had less time to browse. Keep me in the loop if you can.

7) Your website is not as cool as a real nerd’s website should be. There is no flash and no spinny GIF thingies. Are your claims to true nerdhood legitimate?

First of all, my website is very cool — probably cooler than the last time you saw it. Some people ain’t lookin’ for flash.

I took a Nerd quiz recently in Geek magazine, and while I scored a very respectable 59 out of 100, the questions were very much skewed to measure Techie nerdiness (which can be defined as the ability to build one’s own computer from paperclips and ramen) and not Fuzzy/liberal arts nerdiness (which would be marked by the ability to hum every single NPR show theme song and/or the drive to punctuate even myspace comments with almost religious zeal). That bias bothered me a little, and made me want to do some research and present my findings to Geek Magazine. I think that reaction alone should be good for a few points. Paying top dollar for an old typewriter should get me something, too.

8) Do you have self image issues? Do you really think you’re not sexy?

This is the part where I politely disagree. I’m grappling with a very narrow definition of sexy in that song — the Pink/Christina Aguilera Bad Girl version (and that’s a descriptor, not an insult). I’m not fishing for compliments, and I don’t have an eating disorder. Though I’ve been consuming a lot of Orville Redenbacher’s lately…I might develop the popcorn lung.

I could go on and on about gender issues and even venture into music history and linguistics and international cuisine, but that’s a sure way to extract every drop of humor from my unsexy predicament. So I will mercifully stop there. If you like to discuss that kind of thing, message me, and you’ll have a lifetime sparring partner. Suffice it to say that if you’re hearing lots of layers in the music, it’s because they’re there. Like in parfait, or onions, or Waiting for Guffman.

9) Malcolm Reynolds or James Tiberius Kirk?

Come ON people! I can’t believe someone asked me that. Kirk is such a short wussy womanizer compared to Mal. I do wish we knew Mal’s middle name, though. Would it be sacrilege to make one up? And does Jean-Luc Picard have a middle name?

I’ve got to get cracking on the next song of the month, so it’s time to proofread and post. Thanks so much to all of you guys! And merry Christmas! Or happy Solstice! Happy thoughts to you, in any case.


***Plus, Marian Call is an anagram for “Cranial Mal.” I can burn the land and boil the sea — with my brain.

Marginalia: the writing outside the lines

03/03/2009 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Just for Fun, News & Explanations | Leave a comment

It’s an obscure word, but it describes the purpose of my new blog exactly.  Scribbles in the margins.  Unrelated notes.  Off-topic rants and questions.  Virtual post-it notes.

You can find my new “Marginalia” blog over at http://marianmarginalia.wordpress.com.  Random thoughts will be posted there as necessary.

For official, “on the record,” music-related material, visit my Xanga blog through MarianCall.com.  I’ll be migrating it here soon, but for now all the stories and jokes are still over there.

Photo by Brian Adams

« Previous Page

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.