Pam de Ocampo dancing a seguiriya accompanied by guitarist Richard Marlow. January 28, 2010
It's 5-something pm on Friday as I type these words. I'm at a Panera in Arlington taking advantage of the free WiFi while enjoying coffee. Yeah, I know. I usually go to Barnes and Noble to blog, but just wanted to mix it up a little and try a different place.
Anywayz, it's been a busy week flamenco-wise: every day I've either been performing, rehearsing or going out to a show and supporting my fellow flamencos. Last night (Thursday) was one of those nights. I never really know who will be dancing on a Thursday at Tapas and so when I arrived around 7:30pm (half an hour before showtime) it turned out to be dancers Anna Menéndez and Pam de Ocampo!
Dancer Emily Mazzotti and guitarist Miguelito at Cafe Citron. January 23, 2010 (photo by Jani)
It's Sunday around 5-something pm as I type these words. Seems to be my ritual on Sundays now to blog at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble. It has everything I need: free WiFi, delicious coffee and the occasional distraction of interesting books, magazines and pretty girls.
About last night...so far my efforts promoting the Saturday flamenco show at Citron are paying off: besides the announcements in my blog, website and Facebook status updates, I also tweet regularly. Still…other than seeing the end result of filling Citron with customers every Saturday, it's hard to track the success of my online publicity campaign. But guess what? Last week, I did meet two people who told me they heard about my shows via Twitter!
Last night, however, we didn't pack the place until the second show. There are all kinds of factors that come into play: the weather, traffic delays, competing events around the same time, who knows? But it seems that we're always pushing the showtime later as we wait for customers to arrive in time for their table reservations.
Thankfully, it so happened that my dancer for the evening, Emily Mazzotti, was celebrating her birthday so a bunch of flamenco friends showed up—mostly dancers. Cajón player Jason Vera y Aragón even joined us onstage! (Thanks Jason!)
Sara Jerez and Miguelito. January 16, 2010 (photo by Steve Johnson)
It's 2-something pm on Sunday as I type these words. Apparently, it seems that a LOT of people had the same idea I had on this rainy day: spend the afternoon sipping coffee at the café and do some work on the laptop. Luckily, a table freed up moments after I arrived.
Anywayz, about last night: the attendance was very good! (I know, I know. I'm an artist and my attention should be focused solely on the quality of the show, but as a struggling self-employed musician I can't neglect the business side of making a living in the arts.) You'd think that being that the show is on Saturday, it should be no problem getting people to come out to my show. Thing is that Citron is a very popular club on the weekends but the insanely large crowds don't arrive until 11:00pm-ish. So it's still my job (and the restaurant's) to somehow get the word out and get people to come in at 7:00pm or 8:00pm on a Saturday night in time for the flamenco.
It's still a better night than Mondays, when the flamenco show used to be scheduled. Although I do take pride in saying that my fellow artists (and there have been many!) and I were able to bring in crowds on Mondays from 2001 to 2009 (that's eight years!) which is traditionally a very difficult night to get people come out!
Miguelito (that's me!) opening Cafe Citron's new Saturday night flamenco show with a guitar solo. January 9, 2010 (photo by Rosie)
It's 3-something pm on Sunday as I type these words. I'm at Barnes and Noble, comfortably seated at the coffee shop area sipping a double espresso and listening to a shuffle mix on my iPod—just my way of gettin' myself in the mood to blog. So it's DC Flamenco's 14th birthday? Big deal. It's more like a personal milestone to be acknowledged for a moment but not really celebrated in a big way (Seriously, how many people do you know who have a website that's been around that long?).
So yeah, my website's been around for so long now, it's considered a normal part of the flamenco scene but that's a good thing. It's not like screaming out to the world, "Hey, there's flamenco in DC!" It's more like, "We know you know there's a flamenco scene in DC, here's more info about it." What's cool is that in conversation, local flamencos say things like, "I read it on DC Flamenco..." and have no need to elaborate what DC Flamenco is!
Honestly though, a little glory would be nice...who doesn't like being showered with praise? But I'm just thrilled enough knowing in my mind that in some small way, my work here has had and continues to have an impact on the ever growing awareness of the DC flamenco scene.
(Anywayz, while you indulge my little online party of self-praise, enjoy these photos from last night's flamenco show at Cafe Citron featuring dancer Emily Mazzotti.)
When the topic of DC Flamenco comes up in conversation, there are two types of people I encounter...
Guitarist/singer José Oretea at Cafe Citron. January 4, 2010
It's 4-something on Tuesday afternoon as I type these words. I'm at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble, yet again. Don't know what it is, but between the crème brûlée latte and being surrounded by others furiously typing away on their laptops, I feel very productive!
In any case, I'm working on my second blog in one week—yeah, one of my new year's resolutions is to publish at least one blog entry every week, so I'm doing good so far.
So yesterday (Monday) as I was mulling over the possibilities of where to hang out on my first free Monday night in years, I got a call around 3:00pm from my fellow musician friend, José Oretea, informing me that his rumba flamenca group Duende Camarón was going to be playing in the Monday night time slot at Cafe Citron starting TONIGHT!
So I did what I do best: spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, texts and my well-known website DCFlamenco.com. I didn't expect much of a turnout for a last-minute announcement especially on such a cold windy night. But even though the attendance last night was kinda sparse, I'm pretty confident that most of the flamenco community now knows that Duende Camarón is playing Mondays at Citron and that attendance will start to grow as word gets around.
If you're one of the few people out there that has never heard of Duende Camarón, checkout some music samples at their website.
Enjoy the pics!