Friends! Yinzers! Co-conspirators in Patriotic Magic! Fellow lovers of jazz and bellydance and burlesque and everything that makes life worth living!!!! I am happy to know you! I am happy that we are connected, even if it's sometimes only through the digital ether we know of as the inter webs!
I don't write enough. In this modern age, we who began our journey hitch hiking on the "information superhighway" are sometimes (maybe I am just speaking for myself here, but I doubt it) are sometimes overwhelmed with the immense connectivity of it all. Everything is a tweet of one hundred forty characters or less and has a sparkling animation and a hyperlink to somewhere else.... And I am guilty as anyone. I instagram. I tweet. I facebook. Sometimes I dream of myspace, Tribe and Friendster and simpler times... I even remember actually writing cards and letters. I also remember beepers and pay phones.... but lest we fall too much into nostalgia, I must say, I also love the new stuff. I love making music with people all over the world. I love writing something in one place and then emailing someone else in Los Angeles or Dublin and having them send me a track back. I love being able to load my music onto a small device and have the carefully and passionately composed tracks play out of speakers that I get to sing to, and I dream of the days when I can actually take when whole band with me....
But I digress! Here is a short list of my whereabouts in the next month or so. I would love to see you!
August 24-27 I am heading to Nashville, TN to attend the DIY Music Conference by CD Baby, so if you are at that conference, I hope to see you! I am hoping to learn all the new things and bring them on home to Pittsburgh!
Tuesday August 29 I am singing at the "Stars of the Silver Screen Rooftop Shindig"! This wonderful event is hosted by The Andy Warhol Museum and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, they are teaming up with Pittsburgh Filmmakers to present a special edition of the PDP’s popular Rooftop Shindig series highlighted by a screening of the 1932 Greta Garbo and Ramon Novarro spy thriller, “Mata Hari” (1932). All Pittsburghers are invited for a free evening, featuring the classic film, food and themed cocktails, and vintage fashion market. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m., entertainment begins at 6:00 p.m. and the movie will be shown at dusk. Guests are encouraged to bring their own seating or blanket though a limited number of stadium chairs will be available for purchase. This is what they say about me: "Phat Man Dee, a local jazz cabaret singer and part-time sideshow marvel will be joined by some of her most colorful coterie to provide an evening of Warholian entertainment." I am defined as "Warholian entertainment"!!!! Can you imagine?!?!?!??? I am honored and hope to carry this legacy of Pittsburgh art and Pittsburgh music and Pittsburgh weirdoes far and wide. Hope to see you there!
Time: Tuesday August 29 at 6 pm
Where: The Roof of the Parking Garage at 7th and Penn Ave downtown, above Katz Plaza at Theater Square aka "Eyeball Park"
The next day I fly to BURNINGMAN
!! My first "burn" was 1996, I was with the Bindlestiff Family Roadshow, performing as a half man, half woman cabaret singer and part time glass eating cellist. "Mistah Sistah Phat Man Dee" was the name given me by David Apocalypse, and so began a lifetime of sideshow, burlesque and a journey into the odd and delightful. It has been almost 10 years since my last "burn" and I am thrilled to head back to the desert this year to celebrate their 30th birthday as an event which has shaped the lives and creative journeys of hundreds of thousands of people. If you also are fool enough to venture to one of the most inhospitable places on the planet and suck down some alkali salt dust for a week, you may find me at the Center Camp Café stage on Friday September 1 at 230 pm and then again Sunday September 3 630 pm. I will be making a cameo appearance on a ginormous Victrola
on Friday evening about 8 pm in the deep playa , and just before the Burn itself, I will be making a special appearance in the People's Fashion Show hosted by Dr Hal and Spy Emmerson at the Center Camp Café.
At both Burningman and the CD Baby Conference, I will be singing songs from the new record I have been making (and am almost done creating) with my old friend Liz Berlin
. I have emailed you about Social Justice Disco
before. We had a somewhat successful indiegogo campaign before we started and while we did not raise as much as we had hoped, we raised enough to cover studio time and pay the musicians small stipends. We are done recording it now and we are in the final stages of mixing, mastering, production and soon we will announce our cd release party date! If you would like to be part of this AMAZING process... please buy an advance copy and join the wonderful VIP people who are financially supporting this work. Our Pledge Music presale store is live and will be up for another month. You can check out the exciting things we have for our friends and fans here: http://pledgemusic.com/projects/socialjusticedisco
Here are some videos of what the Social Justice Disco songs sound like, even though the record isn't done yet, the people we recorded with are very excited about it, and folks want to hear the songs, so please enjoy these couple of videos I have been able to put together.
Here is a clip of me and Liz Berlin at Sirius Rising at Brushwood Folklore Center in New York, we did several of the new songs there and people really dug the message and the music, this is our version of "Stayin' Alive - Black Lives Matter"
Here is The Lemington Chorale singing "I Can't Breathe" at the Harambee Arts Festival in Homewood, they all sing with us on the record with 2 poets, Ezra Smith and Christina Springer, though only Christina could make this particular performance:
After I return from the Burningman, I have 2 wonderful events in September!
September 14 at Wallace's Tap Room at Hotel Indigo in East Liberty! I will be singing with Carlos Peña and Miguel Sague III from 7-9 pm!
September 19th I begin my monthly jam session "Tune It Tuesdays!" at Black Forge Coffee Shop, it will be happening every Third Tuesday from 6 pm - 9 pm and it is a community oriented jam session. I will be playing with my friends Howie Alexander, Carlos Peña and Miguel Sague III and we will be inviting anyone who wants to join us up to sing or rap or read poetry or sit in with their own instrument! This event is supported by a grant from Neighborhood Allies
, with additional support from Drusky Entertainment
and Copies at Carson!
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1930595047185218/
flyer artwork by Danielle Robinson
So, if you are one of the people who don't do the facebook/instagram/twitter thing.... I apologize for not emailing about my gigs more often. Please don't get salty, I am about to download a new email service that I think will help me do this better. It's called mail chimp, so if you start seeing emails coming from me in future from Mail Chimp, it's not spam, I am just upgrading for more functionality. I may still use this, but I just wanted to give you heads up, in addition to letting you know about my gigs and my new record with Liz, which I seriously hope you will help spread the word about and buy your advance copy. Its taken quite some time to fully put together. But we are in the home stretch and I think the country needs it now. I am extremely active on instagram, facebook
as well, but sometimes all that info is just too much. Just know I love you, I appreciate you and I am grateful that have allowed me to be part of your life in this manner, as an artist and a musician.
One last thing... it's about one of my best friends, Geña Musica, she is an amazing singer from Puerto Rico and she has taught me so much about music and friendship.... she is struggling right now, she was in a bad car wreck last month. She and her child are physically mostly ok, but the expenses just wiped her out. She is a single mom, and even though it was a hit and run and the other lady is the one who hit her and then left the scene, the woman's insurance company won't pay anything till the court rules against her (which they will because we have witnesses). Geña is a music teacher as well as a Spanish language coach, but she only gets paid during the academic year. Please support if you can. Every bit helps. https://www.gofundme.com/hit-run-demolished-savings
Also, as a reminder, I will be teaching the youth again this Fall and Winter and Spring at Afro-American Music Institute, so if you would like to sign your child up or take another class for yourself, please visit http://afroamericanmusic.org/
Thank you so much. Thank you for listening to my rantings against injustice, thank you for listening to my music and appreciating the beautiful and the bizarre. To you I say, One Love, for we are one people, on one beautiful earth, and I hope we can move through this madness with some degree of grace, decorum and dignity. There are those who have lost their way, but let us ever be a beacon to pull them toward the light and may we share the love and the equity and the rhythm.
Love, light, and justice,