Last night I rode BART to Milbrae to go meet Polly for dinner. Milbrae is, of course, one of the new BART stops out in the penninsula and it's the last one on the line. It's also a Caltrains station, which could make getting to the south bay via transit much easier, although it is an hour long ride just to there. I like the new stations because they have art in them and no ads.
Polly, darling of the flute community, seems to be doing well. I used to play bass in her backup band and we played at the National Flute Association convention in Vegas last August. August may not be the best time to go to Vegas, but the flutists loved her. Anyway, she has a new bassist now (alas!) and is playing some gigs. We went out for Thai food and got caught up and discussed Liturgical Drama. Seriously. I also learned that KDFC (your radio concert hall), the Bay Area's lone classical station, gets all of its CDs through the indie network. So if you're on an indie label, you better have a distributor with their own indies. This sounds confusing because an "indie label" is a record company not owned by the big five record companies. But, people who are "indies" and work for the "indie network" are so-called independent folks that funnel payola from the big five to radio stations. Recall that payolla, paying a radio station for playing your record, is illegal. So many record companies have found independant contractors who give stuff to radio stations and who get stuff from record companies when those stations play the record company's songs. The indy pockets the difference. However, the indie network has largely been purchased by Clear Channel, so how this is different than payola is completely unclear. anyway, this is part of the reason that commercial radio sucks.
So anyhow, after Thai food, Polly and I went and met Paul at Starbucks and talked more. It was groovy.
Finally, I rode BART back to the East Bay and got picked up by Ellen. The night was still somewhat young, so we went to the White Horse and did some drinking and dancing. We cavorted (this is Polly's mom's word for having illicit fun, but any claim of illicitness would be overstated).
Who is this Ellen of whom you speak?
She is the person living in casaninja while Christi and I are away becoming educated. Ellen Fullman is the inventor of the Long String Instrument. There are plans to install it in the first floor of casaninja. Many pieces are in place, but no strings yet! Technical issues are still being worked out, alas.
She played her newest CD, Ellen's Songbook, for me. It's coming out soon on Choose Records, but they don't seem to be listing it yet. It's awesome. All the pieces are songs except for one instrumental piece. She does the singing. All the songs are catchy and smart. The production is really slick. College radio stardom is clearly in her future. The songs remind me of the Magnetic Fields, because they are pop, but so much more is going on than in your average pop songs. Many of the songs are tuned in just intonation. Her singing voice is very similar to her talking voice: pretty and "real". She spent time studying Indian singing and it comes through in some of the songs. Of course, the Long String Instrument is present and percussion and even cheesy 90's techno sounds on the second to last song. It's just cool.