Jon asked me if I know someone who can cater the event affordably. I said, why not me? No fee for my services, just admission to the event will make me happy. 'OK' said Jon. I have never catered anything before, but Jon trusts me to do the job. He'll cover the food and drink costs. I just have to do the shopping and organize the buffet in the green room.
November 16, 2006
Big shopping trip. Filled Edna (my little station wagon) with a variety of groceries, tablecloths, and appliances. She looked funny with bags piled to the ceiling.
November 17, 2006
Early morning set-up. Tables, tablecloths, a vase of roses--tried to make the spread look appetizing. The crew needed coffee and water, and the coffee maker and case of bottled water was a good call. Late afternoon beer run. Oh no! Flat tire on Edna! Whipped out the Fix-A-Flat I normally keep in the car for emergencies like this, and filled the flat tire with foam. Tire seemed OK now. Completed errand. Spent evening watching great performances, ducking in back frequently to make sure musicians and crew were well fed.
November 18, 2006
More shopping. Turns out bottled water was very popular with crew and musicians alike, so I picked up three more cases of it. All the musicians were friendly all weekend. No prima donnas; no snarky attitudes; what lovely people, all of them! And very easy to please. The gourmet pizzas Jon had ordered from a local restaurant came five at a time each day. Yum! But, hide the vegan one so the vegan musicians will have something hot to eat! I managed to catch most of the performances while keeping the food/drink/trash chaos at a manageable level in the green room. In the evening, a musician asked me for my autograph on his copy of the Brainwaves CD set. Turns out a couple of the performers were collecting autographs from the crew and volunteers, rather than getting musicians' autographs. Brilliant!
November 19, 2006
Final day. I'm so tired, but still excited, having met friends from other parts of the country who came for the show, and having chatted with some of my favorite musicians. And I loved most of the performances and visuals!
Inspired by the "Happy Birthday Brainwashed" singalong that Aranos instigated on Saturday, I decided to fetch a Happy Birthday Brainwashed.com cake so we can embarrass Jon again near the end of the event on Sunday. Before I could find a local bakery, I happened to pass the Chilly Cow, an ice cream shoppe just around the corner from the theater. There were only pies on display, but the owner said he could get an undecorated ice cream cake out of the fridge for me, and have it ready in 10 minutes, with whatever message I want on it! When I paid for it, he threw in some birthday candles that light up like sparklers, and then was concerned that the ice cream cake wouldn't be enough to feed everyone. So he handed me another 5 pints of ice cream, gratis! Ah, the local business owners all know and love Jon Whitney, it seems. This is where he lives, dines, and shops, you know.
Well, Aranos presented the ice cream cake to Jon on stage, and Jon managed to blow out all 10 candles. The audience arose to give Jon a standing ovation for all the hard work he did to make this event happen.
Someone pointed out that he set the bar high, and next time Jon had better find a bigger venue, because those who are kicking themselves for missing this will all come to the next Brainwashed music fest.
The events as best as I can remember at this point, by Jon Whitney:
April 16, 2006
Brainwashed's 10th Anniversary date. Ticket sales go out to the public, initial lineup announced, emails sent everywhere. Little response from the media outlets, but hey, this is weirdo music, so it's to be expected to some degree.
June 26, 2006
With Elio on board for sound and ICB-INC on board for video, we take a walk though the Regent Theatre during a Keith Emerson show. We take notes, look at space, sound, as much as we can.
July 25, 2006
Initiated contact with Tim Halle for Production Manager. "This is exactly the kind of thing I like to do" he says. Perfect.
August 6, 2006
Tim Halle comes on board officially.
Reminders go out to bands, requests for video and sound requirements, schedule is drawn, compilation tracks are solicited from bands on brainwashed as well as bands playing the Brainwaves fest.
Tracks coming in, looks like comp is now going to be three CDs, artwork decision comes from an email conversation from somebody saying how they want autographable poster. Why don't we just make the CD sleeve big and autographable? CD broker tells me we're good to reach our deadline.
Sunday, October 28, 2006
I drove to New Hampshire to tape the CD masters on the door to the CD broker so they would be there first thing in the morning. Estimated delivery of discs: Monday, November 14th. Perfect time to assemble them for the fest. DVDs from Thailand arrive. Even I am shocked to see a DVD marked "Love's Secret Domain." I tell nobody, decide to guard it with my life and pull it out on Sunday night before the Thighpaulsandra set. I make backups of everything (just in case) and plan to bring backups to ICB-INC when they're ready to take them.
Sunday, November 5, 2006
Lunch at the Middle East with Tim, sound crew, lighting crew, video crew, and Lucas (transportation crew). I think it was at this point that I realized we had something really special. Everybody was on the ball. Everybody had done their homework. Everybody had been to the theatre and knew what they were up against. We all knew what videos we were still missing, what instruments and stands we were still missing, what CD players and mixers we were still missing. How we were going to do the blocking and set changes.
Monday, November 6, 2006
Got a call from the CD broker. "The plant heard a click on the first track of disc 3, they're sending it back to us for investigation. It passed all our tests so we don't know why, but we'll need to send you back a disc to check for yourself." (Panic)
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
CDs waiting at my doorstep when I got home from work. Listened to all discs start to finish. No click. The start of disc 3 is the FUCKING COCK ESP TRACK - IT'S ALL A GODDAMNED CLICK!!! IT'S NOISE MUSIC!!!
Thursday, November 9, 2006
8:31am: called the CD broker first thing to tell them "it's no click, it's the music." Unfortunately, due to this back and forth business, estimated time is pushed back to... NOVEMBER 22ND (2 days after the fest is over!) NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOO. This is unacceptable. You can't do this... I agree to pay the rush fee of $250 PER DISC to get this rushed and ready because the longer I wait and argue this fee, the chances increase of this NOT getting done AT ALL before the fest. I'm so livid right now.
Friday, November 10, 2006
James of V/Vm arrives. Tracking flight from work computer. Speed to the airport to get him as soon as I get out. Boy has his hair grown! James spends the weekend, does a Podcast, gets dinner with us Friday night, splits on Sunday.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
James does a Podcast, later on , he and Jessica and I get dinner at BeerWorks. Driving Jessica home I stop and get the CD sleeves.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Lumb's Sister finally arrives. Go over to ICB-INC to work on video schedule and run through program. Drop off more videos from Threshold Houseboys Choir, He Said, and other things. We order Thai food and watch Lumb's Sister and Threshold Houseboyd Choir video. It's amazing to be 5 of the first people to actually watch this.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Ed and Phil of LPD arrive. Tracking flight from work computer again. Dropped them off at Amanda's place. We get a slice of pizza, some beers and chill out for a little bit until Amanda comes home. It takes me back to that night in 1995 when they stayed at her parents place in Lexington! Everything has changed and nothing has changed.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Colin Potter and his wife arrive. Pick them up on my lunch break. Drop them off at the hotel, return to work. Try to work. Deadline approaching. Where's the CDs? Fuck a duck. Get done with work, drive to Patrick's house to pick up his mixer. Go and meet Colin and his wife and Lucas for dinner. They're done by the time I show up. I eat their pizza scraps and we go back to the house, have a beer, then I take them to the hotel.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Work deadlines approaching like mad. I told them of this fest in April, but this project was supposed to be completed and out the door by October!!! I show up to work extra early this morning to complete as much as I can. Steve and Aranos scheduled to arrive around 3:15; Christoph and Andreas scheduled to arrive around 4:45; Thighpaulsandra and his crew scheduled to arrive at 6:15; Irr.App.(Ext.) and Boyd Rice are due in at 11:15. Tonight is the meet-and-greet at River Gods, where I'm planning to be there around 6:00. It's pouring rain. A major weather system is pummeling the middle of the country with lightning, tornadoes, and other malicious nature. CDs are ready at 10:30. I'm supposed to be at work until 12:30. The broker is in New Hampshire but the plant is actually in Maine. They can send a "courier" to pick them up but they won't be back in the NH office until 5:00 and won't be ready to pick up until tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning I gotta be renting a guitar for Andreas and a violin for Aranos and loading shit up for the fest with the rest of the crew. It's simply impossible to do this. Luckily I have a friend in Maine in the next town over from the plant. We arrange to meet halfway with the CDs in Portsmouth NH. I leave work in Allston and fly like lightning to Portsmouth in the downpour. We make the trade at 12:30. Ken calls me on the way back. I tell him I can use his help in a little while and tell him to meet me at the house. I rush back to Arlington with the CDs in the car, get home, start assembling with Ken and Luke. I leave with Ken to go pick up Steve and Aranos. Doug Roark calls saying he's got a car. Perfect. We recruit Doug to do a run at the airport to help pick up Andreas and Christoph and Thighpaulsandra and his crew. Drop Steve and Peter at their hotel, go home and get Ken's car, get Luke and go to meet Doug at River Gods. Luke, Doug, and Ken all leave in a separate car to get the incoming people. Luke gets a call from Matt Waldron and they're stuck in Chicago. Plane's delayed. I stay at River Gods with Steve and Aranos and we start drinking and start eating. People show up. We meet, we greet, Tim's there, Jeff (a helping hand) is there, and too many others to name. Waldron and Boyd's flight is delayed until after 1am. We decide to let them get their own way to the hotel from the airport.
Friday, November 17, 2006
The rain has cleared. It's sunny and a little bit chilly: a typical November day in New England. Peter (Aranos) calls me first thing in the morning. He and Andreas need to get instruments. I pick them up around 10am and we go to the rental place right near the theatre. Peter gets his violin no problem but Andreas can't get a guitar with a neck thick enough for his fingers. We get a tip to go north to another music store so we do. He finds some fantastic $3000+ guitars, however, they don't rent and it's already 11am and we're running out of time. Andreas, cool as a cat just starts playing the guitars in the shop. I ask the clerks about "return policy" if they can't rent gear. The shop owner comes out from the back, hearing Andreas' fantastic playing. He's convinced without any pleading to loan us a guitar. I'm completely stunned. Luck is on our side today.
We head back to the hotel, drop them off, I meet up with Jon from Crouton, we go back to my place and pack my car with merch and gear that's needed. Go to the venue, set up. Sound people arrive, chairs moved, tables moved, food arrives at 12 noon, Sandy arrives with more food. Z'EV I think is the first performer to arrive, everything's running on time. I return to assembling more CDs. Justin and his friend show up, Ken's there helping out, Jonathan and Steven and Michelle are there helping out, Doug's helping out, Jeffrey's helping out, Andrew shows up to help out. We're all assembling CDs like mad. RRRon from RRRecords shows up, gets help from the volunteers to bring in his records. Merch areas setting up. Ken went back to my place to get a keyboard stand and sound check commences. Video crew arrives. This is really coming together.
I can't remember how and when people showed up but they did. Ticket takers were told the drill, security was told what to watch out for, people were anxious to get in. We're open. Video starts, sound follows (whoops!), and I'm paged on my thing to go out there and give a "howdy." Z'EV comes out and I give him a big hug. It's such a big relief everybody's here, safe, and ready to go. I'm on a natural high. Z'EV's set was amazing, he did perfectly. Nadja came on and flooded the room with sound. Troum came on and blew everybody away. Nobody knew drone could be so loud and majestic - the videos were perfect and the band was changing it up with various instruments both organic and electronic. Set change for Dresden Dolls, Chris and Cosey videos played to an attentive audience. The crowd mixes and mingles, gets some merch fixes, and then Dresden Dolls wow the crowd.
I say they wow the crowd as this generally isn't their audience. A lot of the people here came far and wide and probably have had the chance to see the Dresden Dolls in some overpriced arena but chose not to. There was, however, this contingency of teenagers in attendance that I didn't expect to see the rest of the weekend. Rumor has it one was out crying in the middle of the Troum performance saying "I don't want to hear any more of this HORRIBLE music, I don't care about meeting Amanda Palmer, I just want to GO HOME." I wish I was there with the video camera for that one! Her friend was out in the crowd soaking it all in! So anyhow, the Dolls do their thing THEN Edward Ka-Spel comes out to do "Miss Me," and, actually gets it PERFECT! (Yeah, somebody told me the other prior attempts were fun but words were lost - you know how it is!) I must admit that while Amanda and I are good friends and we go back a long way and that I've seen the Dolls a number of times, they honestly have become so much more tight than they ever were. They exit the stage and I'm there to give Brian a big sweat filled hug (I think he tried to slip a little tongue in that kiss!) Ed and Phil go out for their set and are joined by Amanda during "The Wedding" and Z'EV for a few songs at the end. Show's over, it's late, everybody's beyond tired, we show the film Lumb's Sister. James of V/Vm and I talk about the Caretaker set we wanted to do after the film but it would be too long and too taxing. We really need to get out of the theatre by 2am. Film ends and the groggy people try to make their way back to their places. I stay until the last crew members are gone and Rick locks up. See you tomorrow!