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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jana's Blog - 8.29.09: Bowery Poetry Club

Last weekend I went down to the Bowery Poetry Club to put up posters. Here's what they look like:

Apparently they are very attention-getting, because when I got to the BPC, everyone already knew who I was.

"Oh, you're the girl in the posters!"

"You're the girl who's been staring at us for the past week! It's a very haunting photo."

One guy gave me a breakdown of the ups and downs of the poster.

"See the eyes - the eyes are perfect. But I don't like the position you're in. You're all hunched over and you have no length. You look like a midget. It doesn't do you justice. You're much prettier in real life."

That's a good thing, I guess.

Anyway, the guys who work there are really nice. I asked the guy at the front what I needed to do to get ready for the show, and he suggested I gargle with a shot of bourbon to loosen up my throat.

"Well, do you want to give me a free shot of bourbon, then?"

"I'm not in charge of that department," he replied. But later on in the night he poured me a shot - my first experience with bourbon, and I'm not really much for shots anyway. I chased it down with an entire glass of ice water.

Apparently 7pm on a Friday in New York isn't a good time for a show - I ended up playing for three of my friends and the BPC employees. The act that followed me didn't even show up until like 15 minutes before their set, and they only had two or three fans with them too.

It was kind of nice though - it was intimate, and not nerve-racking. I discovered recently that I play better when I'm focusing more on meaning what I'm singing instead of hitting every note right, and this was a good chance to practice that.

My friend Brett brought a friend with him, someone I hadn't met before. Partway through my set - I'm guessing somewhere around "If We'd Just Said What We Meant" and "White Paint" - she turned to Brett and said, "She's really good, but I think she had a really bad breakup."

To which I just have to laugh.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jana's Blog - 8.16.09

The past week was really crazy, but awesome. I played two shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, and they were quite an adventure, if nothing else.

On Tuesday, I was convinced I wasn't going to have anyone come to my show. I was supposed to get to the bar at 8:30 and hit at 9, so I made my way over to 169 Broadway and arrived exactly 8:30. I was walking around the area that the bar should have been, thinking, "Why is there a huge office building right here?" ... before I realized the show was at 169 East Broadway, in an entirely different neighborhood all together. Laughing at myself, I hopped on the subway, sure that if anyone had come to see me play, they would have all left by now.

I got to the bar a little after 9 and was greeted by a friend from college sitting outside on a bench. "I didn't win the lottery for cheap Broadway tickets, so I came to see you play!" Then I found my friend Kal waiting inside. I went to talk to the bartender, but he thought that no one had come to see me, so he said I couldn't play and bought me a beer to console me.

Two of my co-workers showed up, having left the bar for a Chinese food run. Then two of my friends from Queens showed up, apologizing for being late due to getting lost. We turned into a loud and lively bunch, so the bartender was more than happy to let me go on.

I finally started playing at 9:30, slightly buzzed and feeling brave. I did a set almost entirely of originals, including "Fairy Tale," which I've never been courageous enough to play live. The crowd was really enthusiastic, and afterward two street hockey players who had wandered in bought me a drink - for being awesome, of course. ;-) They were a lot of fun and I gave them a CD.

169 Bar has a piano, so I didn't have to bring any gear with me. Wednesday's venue, Wicked Willy's, does not, so I bungeed my keyboard, stand, and throne to a little hand cart. Being the cheapskate that I am, I decided to take the whole mess into the subway... It was one of the most miserable experiences of my life. I would have been brutally mauled by my own instrument if not for the help of many strangers. I have bruises to prove it.

Anyway, the venue turned out to be pirate themed with bright-colored beer pong tables -- not exactly the best place for a girl-with-a-piano act. But I did my thing and enjoyed it thoroughly even though most people weren't really paying attention. I fell in love with a couple who were sitting at a table directly in front of the stage and cheered enthusiastically after every song. "Your voice is beautiful, and your music was entirely wasted on these people!" I don't know why it slipped my mind to give them a free CD. (If you're out there, and you're reading this, shoot me an email!)

Grabbed some Chinese food with friends after my set. Feeling sore and exhausted, I took the easy way out and commissioned a taxi to take me home. It's crazy how many people feel sorry for a young girl dragging around a keyboard almost her size - a man in my neighborhood offered to carry the whole thing up the four flights of stairs to my fifth-floor walk up apartment. I graciously declined, determined to finish the task myself and injure no one else.

I suppose I am now officially a gigging musician in New York, and there will be many more adventures to come.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jana's Blog - 8.11.09

Hey everyone!

So life is good! I've relocated to New York City, and I love it! I live next to a 24-hour deli that also sells Haagen Daas. What more could a girl ask for?

I've started writing again. I've put up a rough mix of my new song "You Deserve Better" - mostly because singing it makes me feel like a badass rock star. Let me know what you think! Giving the best flattery will give you a chance to jump on stage with me and perform an air guitar solo.

Kidding. ...Sorta.

I've got a few shows coming up in New York City in August and September. (Now that I'm 21, I can actually get in to bars to perform!) If you're in the area, come out and watch me perform my making-a-pained-face-while-banging-on-a-piano act. I've got some new songs that for the time being can only be heard live, so you can brag to all your friends that you heard them first. It'll be fun. I promise.

Peace out,