Friday, February 26, 2010

FEB/MARCH 2010: HELP! A Concert for Haitian Relief; BENN @ RAC

8 PM, Sat. Feb 27
HELP!: A Concert for Haitian Relief
Featuring The British Invasion (more than just The Beatles) and emceed by yours truly

I've never seen The British Invasion perform and, generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of tribute bands (Sack Blabbath aside), but Hard Days Night is a favorite flick, and these pseudo-Merseybeaters have opened for the likes of Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Glen Burtnik, The Rascals, and John Cafferty. They cover everything from Beatles to Zep, have played everywhere from Six Flags to CBGBs, and keyboardist Mick Seeley was a member of Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. And hey, it's for a good cause. The Forum Theater, 314 Main Street, Metuchen, NJ 08840. Tickets: $20.00 (available at the Raconteur). All proceeds go to Episcopal Relief and Development, a charitable group with boots on the ground in Haiti.

8 PM, Sat. March 6
Readings/Live Music

In keeping with my previous efforts to bring accomplished Bennies to Metuchen (Pultizer Prize finalist David Gates, South African author Sheila Kohler, travel writer Rolf Potts), I've extended an open call to my fellow MFAers. Bennington is a place where the students are almost as accomplished as the faculty and this weekend seven of my Bennington College colleagues will be descending on The Raconteur from various Seaboard states for a night of poetry, music, and prose. The evening will include such illustrious guests as Steve Lafond, a roller derby mascot (seriously, his day job has him wearing a red astronautical jumpsuit and elaborate Planet of the Apes-style latex to play a Soviet chimp called Drago) married to a pig-tailed, ink-armed skater nicknamed "Monster," who writes stories inspired by his life in monkey make-up and the rink; Willa Carroll, an acclaimed Manhattan modern dancer-cum-poet recently published in Tin House and labeled an "angel who stirs up trouble" by the Village Voice, whose onstage unicorn-horned wrestling was praised by the New York Times; Jeremy Oldfield, an apropriately surnamed former farmer once dedicated to rejuvenating fallow land who sings songs about, among other things, compost; and myself, reading a very funny story which begins with the kneeslapper, "When I was ten my stepfather hit me in the head with an axe." Also with Jennifer Acker, Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Robert "Vee" Hansmann, and Sue Repko. Plus a surprise guest. Free. Comp wine.

UPCOMING: National Book Critics Circle finalist Martha A. Sandweiss (Passing Strange); Raconteur Haitian Benefit w/Mike Edison; Oscar winning documentarian Pamela T. Boll screening her latest doc "Who Does She Think She Is?"; literary rappers FUSE; D&D Marathon; scrap metal sculptor Roy Chambers (of Clockwork Orange cow skull fame); STEREO (Chris Pastras & Jason Lee) skateboard exhibit; Mutate #9601 (a one man show about the comic book character Wolverine); "League of Gentleman" radio play

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FEB 2010: Web Cam Jam, more events TBA

11 AM, Sun. Feb 7
Live Music

The first Sun of each month The Raconteur hosts a transatlantic jam session. The shop's session is concurrent with a very similar session occurring in Reading, England at a pub called The Retreat. Participants alternate, collaborate, and symphonize via a Google web cam. Web Cam Jam is more about the performers than the performance, but that doesn't mean you can't come and watch. Raconteur musicians drink coffee and play in the rear of the shop. Retreat musicians quaff pints (morning here, Happy Hour there) and are projected onto a movie screen behind local performers. All instruments welcome. Expect a jaw harp, two kazoos, a beer bottle organ, and something called a fluba, which appears to be a tuba-sized fluegel horn. NOTE: If you watched the Oscars last year, you heard Best Actress winner Kate Winslet mention this very same pub and the pickling contest her mother recently won there. Indeed, last April's Web Cam Jam, Kate's mom, Sally Winslet (now known as the Queen of Shallots), was in the foreground eating bangers and in January's Mr. Winslet sang the old broadside “Darlin’ Old Stick.”

MUSICIANS WANTED! FREE! Comp cornbread (fresh from the oven)!

The only bookstore with a house band (the Roadside Graves), The Rac has hosted such music luminaries as Fugazi front man Ian MacKaye, Bouncing Souls front man Greg Attonito, poet/new wave punk Jim Caroll, 80s college radio darlings The Cucumbers, former High Times editor/GG Allin collaborator Mike Edison and his punk blues band Edison Rocket Train (featuring Boss Hog drummer Hollis Queens), and folk noir gangster John Wesley Harding, the first opening act for Bruce Springsteen in twenty years. Plus a slew of local bands: Like Trains and Taxis, Risk Relay, Glad Hearts, etc. YOU TOO CAN PLAY THE RAC! Your participation in the Web Cam Jam is your audition.