Monday, August 31, 2015

More ranting about mothers/artists and some upcoming gigs.

After Friday's rant about the music business, I spent the weekend pretending like I was on vacation. I believe the proper term is "staycation," but it's one of the few wordplays that annoys me. Except when I sing it to the tune of that GoGo's song. I am an enigma.

Anyway, a couple of more thoughts I didn't go into:
   1. It irks me to no end that the woman who asked the question about Amanda Palmer crowdfunding her baby, also said:

When you have this baby, either him/her/it will suffer, or your career will suffer. 
Agonizing, cruel and unbelievable to point this out when it's pretty much the fear of EVERY WORKING MOTHER!

  2. This woman who penned the letter also wrote:

And most of the new songs you’ve released lately are the simplistic, feel good, ukulele tunes. Which are fine. But I know that those songs take less time and effort to write, and they offer much less brain-heart stimulation than your older work. 
I have a massive issue with this just being, well, wrong. Again, I don't know Amanda Palmer's music, but I would suggest that, in general, it is way easier to write an average depressing, heartbreak-y song than it is to write a genuinely good simplistic, feel good song. Any other writers out there agree? Maybe it varies artist-to-artist...

Anyway, just a few things I didn't actually write last week because I was vacillating between fury that a woman would dare ask another woman any of those things and that my own career was doomed and what's the point and I might as well just make a pot of coffee and read 19th century Russian novels all that.

But some upbeat stuff because what good is being an artists if you can't have manic mood swings?

Tuesday September 8: I'm singing an In-the-Round at Clifton's Pizza with Danny Flanigan 8:00-10:00. It's free, though tips are beyond appreciated, and it's family-friendly.

September 16-20: I'll be down in Nashville for the Americana Music Association Conference. Ah, I used to play a showcase there, but I'm a bit irrelevant these days because my career has suffered because I had a baby. Instead, I'll be there trying to figure out what's going on in the music industry and catching as many live music acts as possible. I'm putting it out there on the blog that I'm actually going to Nashville so as to prove that I'm not canceling the trip. Last year I couldn't get child care, and I had to cancel at the last minute. THIS YEAR IT'S ON, even though it means missing my child's 3rd birthday which pretty much makes me the worst mother in the world. SEE WHAT I MEAN??? CAREER OR CHILD??? AAAAAAAAAACK... anyway...

Saturday, September 26: I'm playing a solo set (well, Peter Searcy will be joining me on the cello) at the NuLuFest. Catch me from 3:00-3:35.

Saturday, October 11: I'm playing a full band set (featuring Peter Searcy, Dennis Ledford and Donnie Arbuckle) at the Belknap Fall Festival, which is my favorite festival. I'm going to try to teach the guys as many songs from the new album as possible to give you a preview. (No the album is not out yet because I'm still trying to figure out how to pay for it.)

I've also got several bookings for The Birdies, my 1940s-style trio, that I'll announce when publicity allows. We're already booked for three holiday events, so think about us for yours. We can perform without a band (singing to backing tracks) if you don't have the space for a full band in your venue.

Also! Signup 4-week parent/child music class at Mama's Hip series starting this Wednesday. We are making it a signup class so it doesn't get too crowded. But I need two more families to sign up to reach the minimum class size:)

Anyway, this morphed into business rather quickly. Please come out and say hello at one of my shows though -- I miss my friends!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Italy, Motherhood, Art, Business, Amanda Palmer, lots of rambling.

Ah, Firenze! I remember you.
I want to go to Italy. I want to go to Florence because it reminds of me of days when people cared about art. Days when artists had patrons and weren't afraid to spend money on elaborate sculptures. I know, I know, it wasn't all roses and art back then, but goodness, the music business is rough.

I have been toying with joining as an alternative to crowdsourcing, but I still have a hard time asking for money. It's a very American mindset of me: that my music business isn't sustainable means I must suck at making music. 

Then I am reminded that back in the day when people bought albums, I sold thousands of albums. Every time I play a show, I see people dance and smile and thank me for struggling to do what I do. I'm just in an expensive art that an entire generation is now in the habit of getting for free. The model has changed, and I have changed with it (you can get all my music for free on Seriously, there are seven albums and EPs up there, all for free ($30,000 worth of studio time!), though wouldn't it be cool if you donated some of that daily soy latte money to an independent artist. Doh! I didn't mean to guilt trip you. Sorry. I'm a Jewish mother by blood. Just take the music and smile.)
Get my music from Bandcamp. ALL of it!

Anyway, I am not terrible at business. I know I could teach more (I have a wait list of 20+ students). I just also like to sing songs I wrote and maybe even record some new songs and all that.

So wouldn't it be nice to have a patron? Or even a few hundred dollars a month to record just one song ... just one song a month? Le sigh.

I read that Amanda Palmer article this morning, and it's gotten my wheels turning (here is an article sort of summarizing it). I don't know much about her, to be honest. I know some of my smart, artistic friends despise her. Some of my smart, artistic friends adore her. (Pretty much the case with any famous woman, I suspect.) I see snarky tweets, and I see loving retweets, both from respectable, intelligent, kind women.

To summarize, Amanda Palmer is an indie musician (and former label artist, but aren't we all?) with 1 million followers on Twitter. She's had incredible success with crowdfunding, and has announced a pregnancy this year (after being something of an icon for the child-free happy businesswoman, as I gather). One of her fans asked her if this meant she is crowdfunding her baby. This is so unbelievable offensive it makes my blood boil. The fact that a woman asked the question is even worse. Doesn't every working mother use her salary to support her family?

I won't go into more details (but do read Amanda's open letter if you're intrigued), but let's just say it's got me thinking even more about motherhood and art and women in business. So many more thoughts, but I'm getting annoyed with the world. I shall stop (for today). I shall go back to drooling over how few Delta skymiles it takes to fly to Italy these days.

David in Florence.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Attempted serenity with some haute couture TEA!

Fancy TWG Earl Grey tea.
Today's post was supposed to be about serenity and a cup of fancy tea. Before I was able to sit down and write it, however, I found a dead baby cardinal bird on my favorite writing desk (outside), which completely destroyed any mental calmness I had attained.

Thankfully, my amazing partner, David, is working from home today, and he swooped in to rescue me from having to look at any more de
ad animals (this was pretty much the fifteenth act of gallantry he had performed since 7am). He is now off the hook until at least noon (unless the cave crickets return).

I lived alone for many years before him, and I am perfectly capable of doing these disgusting tasks myself. It was written into our marriage vows, however, that I do not need to do them anymore. I take my vows very seriously.

With that out of the way, did I ever tell you about the magical tea I purchased as a #treatyoself gift at Harrod's in London a few months back? Harrod's Food Hall is one of those whatdoesheavenlooklike places I make a point to visit whenever I'm in London, though I'm not sure I'd ever actually purchased anything there before. This past spring I was on a mission to bring some TWG tea to one of David's co-workers. It's haute couture tea. Yes, there is such a thing.

TWG tea counter in Harrod's London.

It's obscenely expensive for a dried plant, but after buying some for David's boss, I couldn't resist bringing some home for us. When the saleswoman at the small boutique opened the giant canister of Earl Grey, there was no going back. I have never smelled Earl Grey like this in my life, and I'm friends with someone who has been in the same room with Prince William more than two times. So obviously, I'm very sophisticated.

Anyway, seriously, this TEA. I can't really taste the difference because I'm not as much as a princess as I pretend, but I can smell it and smell it and smell it. And I'm thinking about making a locket out of the dried leaves, so I can keep smelling it all day long.
TWG counter in Harrod's London.

Friday, August 21, 2015

UK Tour Reflections: Whitby Abbey

 After being diligent about making a deliciously entertaining video blog the first day of our tour (remember me biting into a chip buttie?!?!?), I completely failed at documenting the rest of the tour. That is what happens when you are having a magically entertaining time riding around the country with a brilliant and talented woman, having mad adventures and driving/riding thousands of miles, all the while playing shows every night.

 As will happen with the ex-ex-pat, I have spent far too much time daydreaming about the country where I lived for that brief-but-fantastic period in my life. Today I was thinking about Whitby -- a gorgeous seaside town in Yorkshire on the east coast of England. I had driven through Whitby several times on previous trips, but never had a change to stop and appreciate its beauty.
 Today, enjoy several photos I took -- unedited and taken on my iPhone, so please be forgiving. Whitby, for literature lovers, might be familiar as the landing place of Dracula!
  We played a wonderful gig at the Whitby Pavilion (thanks, Jim!), slept like logs at the Whitby Backpackers and would love to go back with family in tow as soon as possible.

Note Whitby Abbey far in the background. We later climbed the steps
from the village to the top.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Paris daydreaming, Reading and Introverts.

Greetings from Paris! The weather is as expected -- cloudy, rainy, with the smell of champagne wafting through cobblestone streets.

Okay, you got me. I'm just sitting at Java-now-Safai Coffee in Louisville with a double espresso in a tiny cup, staring out the window at a potholed street drizzled with the torrential rain that is most definitely not found in Paris -- a slew of work laid out before me, rather than a quill and ink and a half-written novel. When I write the comparison, it sounds depressing. It's okay though. It's not Paris, but it's okay.

I have been reading a lot lately (mostly thanks to an anonymous blog reader who is responsible for replacing my broken Kindle -- thank you again!!). Yesterday a student, when I asked what she was reading, replied, "Oh, I don't read. I really don't like to read." I wanted to tell her to never utter those words again. I wanted to take her to the library immediately and find just the right book to remind her that other worlds await. The perfect book awaits.

My GoodReads list isn't impressive. My reading list is lengthy for a mother (26 books this year so far), but a shadow of my pre-parent self. It's also full of what my dad would refer to as "baby books." For example, I just read a Sophie Kinsella book. I'm neither proud nor embarrassed. It took me away, and it made me laugh. 

I've also recently read Quiet at the recommendation of an extrovert friend. The book was good, but it was completely obvious to an introvert (I would recommend it to any extrovert trying to parent or grandparent an introvert). It talks about the American/Western extrovert ideal, and how introverts have had to learn to survive by flipping some inner switch and pretending to be extroverted. Hello-ooooo! How do you think I have survived in my career this long??! I remember the exact moment when I figured that out. I -- the introverted only child -- was playing by myself at the swimming pool, and I worked up the courage to take a deep breath and ask some girls who were doing amazing flips off the diving boards if I could play with them. It worked (we were friends for years), and I still take deep breaths and channel that little girl before entering a room full of people. It's not great that our culture admires the extroverts and thinks the introverts are weirdos who need to conform (so many family battles could be avoided if this changed), but hey, we learn to survive.

On that note, David pointed out while trying to learn the guitar recently, that the reason he could never play an instrument is that he it requires too much alone time. (Is that really a thing??? Too much???) He said I was able to get the 10,000 hours practice as a kid because it was not punishment to sit by myself and practice the piano. He preferred team sports.

Speaking of, oh, what I wouldn't give for a couple of hours by myself with nothing else to do but practice the piano. But for now, I'll stick to the late-night mid-morning reading. Gotta beat my GoodReads Challenge, after all.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer laziness, FitBits, sleeping.

My Fitbit broke back in July, and I have been a lazy bum ever since. It's funny, when I first got it, I had no problem hitting my 10k steps. I mean, we don't have a car in a city where everyone drives. It was easy to run a few errands and BAM! the FitBit buzzes. Oddly, now that my steps aren't counting towards anything (I had already deleted most of my friends and stopped joining challenges because the competitive aspect was annoying), I have become more sedentary. Like, what's the point of walking anywhere, if I'm not going to see those little lights pop up? I have accepted more rides from people than ever -- I used to always say, "No, thanks." It's really getting bad, friends.

Clearly, I've got my priorities mixed up.

It also may be time to replace the broken FitBit. I know their customer service is good and all, but this was a gift, and I have no receipt/proof, etc. So oh well. We shall see.

It's been pretty nice to take some naps though.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An announcement and an amazing piece of Tres Leches cake.

I did something ridiculous and probably bad for business, but it's something I've been contemplating doing for YEARS: change my personal Facebook profile into a PAGE! Other self-employed artist types had warned me not to do it because it means no one sees your posts anymore, unless you pay for "boosting." I had avoided changing it, but since I've been capped at 5000 friends for at least 5 years, the personal page was really limiting to my business. I had a separate business page, but that was just confusing, as both said "Brigid Kaelin."

Anyway, most of the 5000 friends on my Facebook page were people who have come to my shows in various cities around the world, and not actually people I have over to my house for cocktails on a Wednesday evening -- in other words, they were mostly fans. Getting a work visa in Europe is much easier with a business PAGE with many thousand "likes," so I decided pleasing immigration was more important to me than a page that gets lots of views. Also, I am a business, and every business should have an advertising budget. Who cares if I have to spend a few dollars a month to advertise a show?

So there's my justification. Of course, in the process, I no longer have access to any of my Facebook messages (there were over 200 unread messages, sorry!)*. It also means that I don't see any of your personal posts on my newsfeed, so sorry if I'm missing cute baby photos, but not sorry if I'm missing racist justifications of flying the Confederate flag.

Pleasing the European work permit people was a huge factor in this change, but I think even more important is my day-to-day mental health. I don't like to log onto something to do some quick business, and then get all riled up because of the horrible stuff I see in my feed. It's much more pleasant to get off the Facebook app and do a little writing. Or recording. Or sewing ... like I'm doing this afternoon.

Maybe if you're lucky, I'll post an amazing blog of the amazing dress I'm sewing. David has his doubts.

I'm now going to post a link to this blog on my BUSINESS FACEBOOK PAGE and see if anyone clicks on it. I'm thinking maybe this post isn't worthy of a dollar boost...

I'll add a cute photos to spice it up. Here is a photo of an amazing piece of cake we had at Chuy's a few weeks ago, after our order came out wrong. I'm pretty sure the Tres Leches cake makes up for their error, plus any other future errors:

*Email me if you need something. Or message my Facebook PAGE inbox.