Ian Schwartz and The Sour Candy Orchestra

The band hasn’t practiced in a long time…. But I’m going to start posting some solo recordings soon. So hopefully somebody still reads this site…

I just can’t get motivated to post. And I’d be willing to bet nobody reads this anymore, but we’re going to get the band gigging and rolling again and the first step is posting…

So, I was listening to an old favorite tune of mine, Trickle Trickle. It’s an old doowop tune that the Manhattan Transfer covered and made popular. I can’t get it out of my head. And a quick search of youtube shows some awesome covers of this song which I thought I’d share with you, the huddled masses.

Crazy Japanese Rock N Roll Version

Spanish Speakers Who Could Not Be Bothered to Google the Lyrics

I have no words…

Bonus: The last group ruins 4 Beatles songs at once!

Double Bonus: The original recording of Trickle Trickle by the Videos

I’ve had a fascination with American Sign Language for several years now, ever since I took 2 semesters of it at Bergen Community College. In that class I made friends with several Deaf students who were, I assume, taking beginning ASL as an easy elective credit. I don’t know why I signed up for the class in the first place, but I fell in love with the language and the Deaf culture. My new Deaf friends and I got drinks on occasion and they even picked out a sign name for me, a quick way of saying a name without spelling it out, often descriptive of the person who is being referred to. Mine was a variation on the sign for “tall”.

And then I moved back to Boston and was gung ho and ready to continue my studies in the subject… But I didn’t. I don’t know why. And now I’ve forgotten most of it.

Anyway, I’ve got a real appreciation for the language still and on the rare occasions I see people signing on the street, I can still pick out fragments of what they’re saying. Just fragments though. When I was on my ASL kick, people used to comment how odd it was that somebody who loved to play music could also love Deaf culture. And it is a little weird. Until I saw the above video.

This guy is awesome. I’m pretty positive that he isn’t Deaf, but his signing is impeccable. Like all the best ASL story-tellers he relies on facial expressions and body language just as much as he relies on actual signing. I don’t know if everybody will think this is as awesome as I do, but I think it’s awesome.

Oh and the song is Blue Sunny Day by Jonathan Coulton. So that’s cool too!

When I busk I play a relatively small selection of songs. Actually I mostly only play two songs: The Weight by The Band and Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. This is not to say that I don’t know more songs than that. I know a lot of songs. Hundreds, actually, and I’ve got a good enough ear that I could figure out a lot more on the spot if I had to.

But I mostly play those two songs over and over again. If each song is about 4 minutes long, with a 1 minute break in between, and I play for 6 hours a day, two or three days a week…

Well, let’s just say that I play those songs a lot. But the advantage of this is that I can play those two songs very well. And it’s important to play them well because that’s how I make my money. I get about 10 people a day telling me that Hallelujah is their favorite song. Shouldn’t I at least do them the service of not making mistakes?

The other benefit is that you can experiment with interpretation. The songs might sound shaky the first few times, but eventually, you get to the point where you make the song your own. It doesn’t need to sound like the CD, and in fact it’s better if it doesn’t. People want to hear your voice in the music and there is only one way to do that: play it until you’re sick of it. So that’s what I do. Only I get paid while I practice. ;)

The Fort Point Arts Community has invited you to attend a new event!
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Locally Grown

10 Boston artists.

making work you can afford.

because money doesn’t grow on trees.

that should stimulate your economy.

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MASS.production & FPAC present:

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MASS.production and The Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) present a show of 10
young, local artists at FPAC’s recently opened Gallery @ 12 Farnsworth, an alternative art space in Fort Point. The show opens April 8th with an opening reception Thursday, April 16th featuring live music and an opportunity to meet the artists and hang out in Boston’s industrial underbelly.

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ScreenPrinters, Painters, Photographers, & more

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- Adam YothersJames WeinbergShayna Shenanigans-

The pieces chosen for the show reflect the current DIY ethic and trends in parodied social commentary and imagined realities rendered with bold graphics and specific attention to craft. The work ranges in medium from silk-screened prints and marker illustrations to large format analog photos and multi-media collage. All artists involved are offering smaller work for the show, many at prices under $100.

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FPAC’s Gallery @ 12 Farnsworth

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The show is hosted by FPAC’s Gallery @ 12 Farnsworth, which is an artist occupied
commercial space run for artists, by artists. The Gallery shares space with Made in Fort
Point, the FPAC Store which sells art, design and craft from over 50 Fort Point artists, open
Monday-Saturday. The gallery, store and openings are free and open to the public.

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Ian Schwartz & the Sour Candy Orchestra LIVE!

The opening reception will be a live event with local food & drink. Plus music

from the chamber pop group Ian Schwartz & the Sour Candy Orchestra.

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I haven’t posted in a while. I promise this won’t happen again. But there’s a bunch of stuff to talk about.

First of all, the Cantab gig went splendidly. Well, relatively speaking. That’s a nice show because the venue has its own draw. About 10 people came out specifically to see us, which I think is pretty good considering that it was a rainy-ass Monday. We got some nice compliments and had a fun time.

From Sour Candy Orchestra

On a more personal note, some seeds that I’ve sewn have sprouted and I’m very excited. I’ll be honest that I’ve never really had much of an inclination towards gardening, but I do like to eat. And plants mean free food, eventually.

So without further ado, here are my babies:

Gypsy Sweet Peppers:

From Sour Candy Orchestra


From Sour Candy Orchestra

Jelly Bean grape tomatoes:

From Sour Candy Orchestra

SO! yeah, too much going on in my head at the moment. I’ll post a more coherent post tomorrow…hopefully.
I just came from a talk thing with Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls – and it was really enlightening. I recorded most of it, and there’s definitely a few parts I’d like to share, particularly some anecdotes and some stuff on songwriting and random stuff.
Unfortunately, I have to go take care of some paperwork right now for my suicidal car – but later this afternoon, I’m totally pulling my keyboard out and revisiting old lyrics and songs i’ve worked on. And hopefully finishing up a piece I’m currently working on for Audix.
I like actually feeling inspired, for once.

So now that my brief run playing for Cabaret out in Wellesley has ended, I have a little bit more time on my hands…and I promised myself that I would finally get around to writing a real blog on here. (that, and I’m currently procrastinating doing a paper, and this is far more productive than a myspace/facebook survey)
While lurking around facebook as usual, I came across a link to this video on one of my friend’s pages:Rent: Too Gay For High Schools?

Unfortunately, it didn’t really surprise me that administrators at high schools would be against student productions of Rent, even if it was the slightly ‘cleaned-up’ school version.
(To get the full scoop on the cancelled productions, check out the NYTimes article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/theater/20rent.html)

The most shocking thing to me? The fact that my high school was the high school featured in the news clip. Other than badminton (who cares anyway?), there’s not much else my old school was good for. But as I watched this video and saw the drama director (who’s been there since the beginning of time, I mean, jeez, he was my elementary school general music teacher) I felt a little sense of pride. My community certainly is not the most liberal of places, but at least they didn’t put a stop to the production.

As I thought about what it would have been like if they had done a production like that while I had been in high school, it irked me even more that some districts found the homosexual content inappropriate. I hate that schools try and ignore homosexuality, or treat it as some horrific sin. Acknowledging homosexuality is not going to spread some gay agenda and Rent isn’t going to turn little Johnny into a raging queer. On the other hand, had I been exposed to things like Rent or any sort of positive discussion of homosexuality in high school, I feel like my high school experience would have been drastically different. My ‘coming-of-age’, if you will, would have been completely different as well. It wasn’t until the very end of high school that I even realized that there was a possibility that I could have been gay. It was just never an option. Instead, I was miserable and uncomfortable and couldn’t figure out what exactly was ‘wrong’ with me. And still, to this day, it has been a long process coming to terms with being gay. I wish someone had told me along the way, “Hey, it’s okay. Some people are gay.”

If anything, Rent could be a tremendous tool for schools to educate about drug abuse, HIV, and homosexuality – especially if coupled with workshops or ‘assemblies’ for the students. *sigh* But, that seems overly idealistic to ever happen.

Anyway, time to end this overly long rant. Paper time…

You know, I was always told as a kid that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. But with a week until April, it’s just not lamby enough for my tastes yet. Highs of 50 and lows of 30 do not a springtime make.

I’ll be a lot happier to be a busker when it’s a couple of degrees warmer out.

On a different note, have you thought about coming to see us at the Cantab on April 6th?

Beth and Rebecca don’t have to deal with the number one problem I face as a musician: Sore fingers. Behvin probably does to a certain extent.

There was a time when I played a really crappy Yamaha guitar with a high action and high-tension strings. And I had lovely callouses. I could put out cigarettes with my fingertips. Seriously.

Then I became a ukulele player and spent almost 2 years with the uke as my main instrument. And my callouses got softer. See, the uke is easy on your fingertips. Too easy.

Then a month ago I started busking full-time, and I found that I preferred using the guitar for this. And it turns out 8-hours of guitar playing takes its toll on your wittle fingews. Big time toll taking. The first time I finished an 8-hour stretch, it hurt to type. It hurt to point.

It’s getting better, but not fast enough. Yesterday, I played for 8-hours and when I finished, my fingers were fine. I couldn’t feel a thing. I was ecstatic. Some time around bed I felt the first twinge. Today, well, it doesn’t hurt to type, but playing guitar is pretty much out of the question. Believe me, I tried. Even my classical guitar is too ouchie.

Some say you can increase the callouses with rubbing alcohol and other tricks. I’m just going to hope that as the weather improves, so does my fingertip stamina.