Fundraiser 2011: Releasing Something Fierce!

04/12/2011 at 11:41 am | Posted in How to this-or-that, News & Explanations | 5 Comments
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**Update: fundraiser now closed.  Thank you so much for contributing!**

As of about 3am yesterday morning, I’ve finished one of two discs of Something Fierce, the new album that’s been in production for over a year and a half now.  Still more work to go, but I’m racing to the finish and want to release it VERY SOON.

When, you ask?  I’m so, so afraid that if I name a date before I have a master, I’ll jinx it.  But VERY SOON.  I’m planning so hard.

That means it’s time for the final push of fundraising to release the album.  Why fundraise? Read the highlighted bits of this blog from last year (scroll down) to answer that very good question.  What production expenses remain? Only a few, but they’re pricey ones — mixing and mastering, artwork, duplication, shipping, and the bare essentials of promotional materials.  Plus Marian’s survival on Spaghetti-O’s until the album comes out.

Fundraiser Stuff is going on sale Monday, April 18th, roughly midday AKST and the auction will close during that week, at staggered hours on 4/22.  I strive to think up the awesomest and strangest stuff to give you guys at Fundraiser Time.  Here’s what you can enjoy this year, in a wide price range, scroll down for more on each item:

  • Autographed personalized poster (for Something Fierce!) with the crowd favorite library photo by Brian Adams, $15 +S&H
  • Custom ultra-sassy jewelry by Bella Boutique’s @anniepants: #frakabanjo necklaces, dog tags, and actual banjos, $30 +S&H and up
  • A voicemail from Marian singing your favorite verses right to you, $25
  • T-shirts and tote bags, print to order at Skreened.com (these are actually available anytime)
  • On the Auction Block: 2 sets of framed handwritten lyrics, “Anchorage” and “Highway Five”
  • On the Auction Block: 3 cover songs.  Bid and tell Marian what you want her to record and release for you!
  • On the Auction Block: my beloved rainstick, which has played in all 50 states and most of Canada, with thanks to TSA for letting me keep it despite its appearances. Half the proceeds from this item go to flood relief in Australia. Why? See below.
  • Still room for a few folks on the Donors’ Circle, meaning you get tons of exclusive goodies when the album’s released

There are details and limited quantities and such on all these, so scroll down and read up on the item you want and please, pay attention to instructions so you don’t miss out or mess up.  Again, links to purchase/bid are below, on this exact same blog post.  You can always ask me specific questions via FB, e-mail, or Twitter.

If all that’s a little rich for your blood and you just want to support, or if you don’t care about getting stuffs, you can simply tip $5, tip $10, tip $25, tip $42 (the geek solidarity pledge!), pick up of my some tunes at Bandcamp, or give $200 or more to join the Donors’ Circle funding the new album.

And hey, if you got no money, that’s ok.  I have oft been there myself.  If you want to support without money, just talk about it, buzz about it, tweet or facebook or call Grandma about it.  I am so thankful for your support, and listening and talking about the music is the best possible gift.  Dollars come and just as quickly go.  Songs in other people’s lives, those stick around.  So don’t worry, I don’t calculate fan devotion in dollars. That would be stoopid.

But first!  The reason it’s worth buying this stuff, tipping, talking about the project, or joining the Donors’ Circle** — besides the fact I think it’s really cool stuff — VOILÀ!  Behold, for the first time in public:

That’s right.  These are first draft album covers.  Artwork not yet final, photos by the totally incredible Brian Adams, originally from Alaska, now living in Brooklyn.  This project features a lot of his work — the double disc will be as much an art project as a music project.  It will have all the lyrics inside.  It will be gorgeous to hold.  It will be made from post-consumer recycled materials and nearly carbon-neutral.  (Update: oh yeah, you’ve seen the Volume II cover on Bandcamp, but the Volume I cover was the big reveal, and is pretty much my favorite photo Brian & I have ever taken.)

As soon as I have a master in hand, I’ll begin pre-orders.  And yes, I will be taking a waiting list to print beautiful beautiful vinyl.  It’ll be exceedingly spendy, but if you want it, I’ll print it.  Anything for you.

(And yes, that is the O.E.D. over my head in my local public library.)

Personalized Autographed Posters

The poster to match the new album is out, with a much-celebrated photo by Brian Adams of Marian in the reading room of her local library (under the O.E.D.).  Only 10 available starting 4/18, so set an alarm; ships rolled, with any concert date or dedication you like handwritten on it.  Signature too, of course.  Click for larger photo // $15 + $7.95 S&H for those darned expensive tubes.  International shipping possible, order as you normally would and expect a small extra invoice to cover cost only.

Custom Jewelry by Annie Ciszak Pazar

I love the savvy, chic modern jewelry and other goodies that @bella_boutique sells here in Anchorage, and Bella’s owner @anniepants agreed to do some custom pieces for you guys!  The pendant necklaces below are made of sterling silver and real pearls on 18″ silver chains, and the dog tags are stainless steel on 22″ ball chains.  Each piece is hand stamped with a little extra sass because that’s how Annie rolls.

I also custom-ordered two copper & silver banjos for the auction — Annie’s never made banjos before, and unless some sterling-happy bluegrass band orders some more, she probably never will again!  Scroll down to the auction items to see the truly incredible silver & copper 5-string banjos.

The necklaces & dog tags for sale come in four varieties — pictures, specs, & shipping details are below.  Only 10 of each are available (first-come, first-serve).  Auction items at the bottom (2 #frakabanjos).  You can find more of Annie’s amazing work at http://anniepants.etsy.com or http://anniesartsandfollies.com.

  • #frakabanjo became my favorite curse word sometime in January 2010 when I couldn’t get my banjo, trumpets, and cellos to line up properly in ProTools.  It’s seen plenty of Twitter airplay since.  Pendant diameter is about the size of a quarter & solid sterling silver, chain is 18″.  $45 plus $5.95 S&H.
  • “anchorage” is spelled here with a lower case ‘a’ because though my song by that name is about my preferred city, it’s even more about the larger notion of anchorage — finding a harbor, dwelling awhile in some peace, hope, and protection.  Also, coffee and beer.  Pendant diameter is about the size of a quarter, & pearl is dark blue/turquoise. $48 plus $5.95 S&H.

  • “mc” is simple and understated, and can stand for anything you like (suggestions welcome).  The pearl is actually chartreuse, photo here makes it appear to be orange.  This silver pendant is smaller, a little bigger than a dime. $32 plus $5.95 S&H.
  • For those less inclined to silver & pearls, these stainless steel dog tags may do the trick.  Simple, durable & banjo-y on a ball chain. $30 plus $5.95 S&H.

All shipping is domestic priority USPS — items normally ship only a few cents over the cost of materials & postage.  International shipping available for these items, overseas rates vary.  International friends place your order as usual, but expect to work out a small extra Paypal invoice to cover additional shipping costs, as per mutual agreement with mariancall*at*mac.com.

Voicemail by Marian

I will skype your voicemail and leave you a message with whatever snippet of an original song you like!  I’ll also record what I sing you and send it to you as an MP3 so you can do with the clean audio whatever you like.

Rules and stuff: first-come first-serve. / Be sure to specify what time zone you’re in and what piece of a song you want; don’t say “surprise me,” you should be a grown-up and choose something. / No, you don’t get my phone number. / If I catch you in person, we’ll talk for no more than about 5 minutes and I’m sure it will be lovely and I am friendly and love to talk to you.  Please don’t try to keep me on the phone forever though.

T-shirts and Tote Bags

(How very NPR of me.) The T-shirt store is open all the time, so this is nothing new.  But now’s a good time to snag one!  Have a look over at the Skreened.com Marian Call Store.  Shirts and bags and such are environmentally-friendly printing and sweatshop-free production and they’re print-to-order.  They have a very cool vintage faded look but should stand more washings than traditional silkscreen.  Choose your own merch, cut and color — be aware that designs will be subtle on darker fabrics offered.  I’m aware that not enough sizes are available at this time, sorry, hoping to remedy that with an additional store in the future!

#frakabanjos by Annie Ciszak Pazar

These are two separate auction items, handmade and therefore not quite identical to one another.  Update: auction now closed.  I love the savvy, chic modern jewelry and other goodies that @bella_boutique sells here in Anchorage, and Bella’s owner @anniepants agreed to do some really special custom work for the occasion!

These are my #frakabanjos.  Annie’s never made banjos before, and unless some sterling-happy bluegrass band orders some more, she probably never will again!  They’re made of sealed copper and sterling silver, and each 5-string banjo is about 3″ long on an 18″ sterling silver chain.  They’re handmade and stamped with a little sass because that’s how Annie rolls.  You can find more of her amazing work at http://anniepants.etsy.com or http://anniesartsandfollies.com.

#frakabanjo became my favorite curse word sometime in January 2010 when I couldn’t get her banjo, trumpets, and cellos to line up properly in ProTools for the song “Dear Mister Darcy,” from which the album title comes.  It’s seen plenty of Twitter airplay since.

$5.95 S&H, ships insured, USPS priority — international shipping available, increased charges apply.

Handwritten Framed Lyrics: “Anchorage” & “Highway Five”

These are two separate auction items.  Update: auction now closed.  Marian has nice handwriting, and she likes to write out her lyrics for fans.  Two songs will be available this time: “Anchorage” and “Highway Five,” both from Something Fierce, one of each.  The songs will be abridged so as to fit nicely on one page, but will definitely include hooks/choruses, and at the winner’s request, specific very important lines from those songs.  Dedication & signature included of course.  (Pictured below are a previous year’s lyrics, the finished product.)

$24.95 S&H, ships framed, insured, USPS priority — international shipping available, increased charges apply.

Cover Songs of Your Choosing

These are auction items.  There are three of them, closing at different times.  Update: auction now closed.

Three winners will each get to choose a song for Marian to cover and release online, as part of a 5-song EP of all cover songs to be released soon after Something Fierce. Here are the rules:

– Each winner will suggest three songs, all of reasonable length (less than 6 minutes), ratedPG-13 or milder, and within Marian’s character
– Marian will choose the one song from each winner that she thinks will work the best for her as an adaptation
– Songs will be recorded in April-May 2011, so allow 6 weeks for delivery
– Winners will get to preview the track before release, and will be shipped a physical copy of the EP (homeburned, signed, smooched, &c.)
– The fourth song on the EP will be voted on by fans after the fundraiser, no purchase necessary.  The fifth will be Marian’s choice at the end (to bring some cohesion to the set).
– The full EP will be released online to the winners and the Donors’ Circle immediately, and to the larger world approximately whenever Marian feels like it and has time after Something Fierce comes out.
– Disclaimers:  Bidders should note that this is not a dare, so please don’t suggest “Quit Playin’ Games With My Heart” just to bother Marian.  That’s unhelpful.  And please don’t ask for a song by a super-obscure artist you want to promote.  The ideal songs would be at least moderately well-known so that other listeners can enjoy the experience of a cover as well.  The production will also be very simple, so don’t suggest something that won’t work with just guitar or keyboard.  And don’t try to control the production.  Let Marian be Marian and you’ll get a good cover.

The Trusty Rainstick

This is an auction item.  Half of the proceeds go to Flood Relief in Australia (see below), half to the completion of the album.  To bid, visit Marian’s eBay page.

Once upon a time in 2008, boys and girls, the Browncoats of San Diego welcomed an insomniac Alaskan singer-nobody-ever-heard-of to their bonfire on the beach and presented her with a rainstick.  That was Marian’s first proper tour concert outside Alaska, and instead of keeping her rainstick for a tchotchke, she started playing it in her shows and on her albums, and she took it on tour.  And she got it signed by some medium-famous people, namely Adam Baldwin, Alan Tudyk, & Nathan Fillion.  She shook it in every state and nearly all of Canada; it’s been wrested away from TSA’s clutches more than once, and it’s played shows of all sizes for all sorts over its three-year term.

So it’s time to retire the rainstick, which is an instrument with a shelf life — the beads and thorns inside break down so it’s getting quieter.  The signatures of famous people have nearly worn off from actual use.  And (this is true) on the last concert of the last night of the 49>50 Tour, in Honolulu HI, Marian emphasized the end of “Avocado Song” by swinging it over her head, and *SMACK!* it cracked on a low ceiling beam.  In March 2011 the rainstick played its last concert, on the beach in Orange County near the origin of its Marian Call story.  Now it wants to live with a collector who will love it and let it chill out for awhile, quit making all that rain.

The rainstick comes shipped lovingly as is, well worn, with the same yellow and orange yarn lovingly wound by Dwight Bragdon, the original rainstick provider.  The Nathan Fillion & Adam Baldwin signatures are still visible, and traces of the Alan Tudyk signature can be seen if you know where to look.  But it’s not a pristine object by any means.

Auction closed, sorry.  Thank you for raising $762.50 for Flood Relief in Queensland, AU!  If you wish to donate yourself, visit this site.

*************************

You are all awesome.  Any purchases you make during the fundraiser that add up to $200 or more will add you to the Donors’ Circle, and a purchase in the right amount if you’re already a member will bump you up to the next level &c.  If you suspect you should be in the circle or else bumped up a level and I haven’t taken care of it, just shoot me an e-mail and let me know.

*Why flood relief in Australia? The planet had more than its share of disasters in the last couple of months, and enough funds can hardly ever be raised to help everyone in need of help at this time.  I am moved by all of the urgent causes right now, but I find that by and large this one has been nearly forgotten, and I’m following the lead of the SoCal Browncoats in doing a very small bit to help a few people.
*Why only half? I am bothered by not giving it all, but at the same time I can’t afford to.  On Art And Charity:  As an artist, I really couldn’t afford to make a sizable donation like this at all except by selling something that I have that’s of value.  So really, it’s a donation from the buyer straight to the cause through me, and the hope is the buyer is making a donation they might not have otherwise made if they didn’t want to purchase something from me.  This is an age-old nonprofit fundraising strategy.  Artists don’t have money to give, so we sell stuff and give that money.  I’ve become a little distressed at the consistent pattern, though, of artists giving a substantial percentage of their work away entirely for free to raise money for nonprofits.  Charity auction season can impoverish artists.  And that’s shortsighted on the part of both artists and charities.  The original materials or time (or whatever added value there may be) that go into a work of art have a cost, and after a few massive donations of all that stuff with no compensation, we can’t even afford to make more art to sell, let alone to give away.  I think (I hope) it’s a more reasonable standard for artists to sell or auction things for charity and recover a fraction of the cost or value they put into creating something valuable so they’ll have a means to A) stay alive and B) create more to give to charities or nonprofits in the future.  I’m not taking a firm or severe stance here or trying to sell this point to others, just trying to start setting a precedent that works for me to raise funds for charity and at the same time keep eating and creating.  I try to do a charity fundraising project per month at least, and the more I do it, the more I learn the importance of sustainability for artists fond of nonprofit work — and for the nonprofits who are constantly asking artists for completely free stuff, with the assumption that it won’t cost us much to give it away in exchange for exposure (and often very little of that).
*But you didn’t make the rainstick. Now you’re being persnickety.  I know.  But hopefully I added value to it, and by doing so made a charitable donation possible, as well as a happy fan, as well as some funding for my new record.  The auction will tell how valuable it is.  Now go troll someone else, stupid troll inside my brain.  I haz good reasons for what I do!

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