My current guitar case: a gig bag by SKB Cases. June 21, 2011
It's almost noon on Tuesday as I type these words. Believe it or not, I actually wrote a blog entry with the same title four years ago. Since then I've gone through two guitar cases—not that I intentionally abuse them, but being a busy musician playing several nights a week traveling to and from gigs, I really do put my cases through some serious daily wear and tear!
Usually it's the D-ring that attaches the shoulder strap to the guitar case that breaks. All that slinging the guitar case on and off my shoulder every day several times a day really wears it out. Sometimes it's the handle that one day totally out-of-the-blue just decides to detach itself from the case. There was one time though when I got a new case, just because I liked the way it looked. So cool in shiny black, it was almost like a fashion accessory. I loved it so much I got a second one in white!
Anywayz, as I mentioned in a previous blog entry, I'm going to Los Angeles this weekend and I just bought myself a new airline-friendly guitar case. So of course I'm going through the process of moving my guitar, music gadgets and accessories from the old case to the new. So I might as well, for the fun of it and to satisfy your curiosity, show you what's in my guitar case for 2011!
It's noon on Monday as I type these words. I'm at Starbucks in Chinatown watching all the office workers making their way to one of the many restaurants nearby. Thinking to myself that I used to do that when I worked in an office so long ago!
Which is not to say that I no longer work in an office. I still do in a way. Whenever I have to do the business stuff of being a full-time musician like replying to emails about potential gigs, faxing signed contracts, Photoshopping publicity photos etc.
Fortunately I can do most of these office tasks on a laptop and choose my "office" setting which turns out to be Starbucks 90% of the time. What can I say? I love espresso. The caffeine stimulates my brain. And the WiFi is free!
So I'm sure you're wondering "What's up with Miguelito and all these Gig Cam videos recently?"
I've always wanted to publish videos to do what I've always done so well through DCFlamenco.com: make it easy to find out what's going on in the local flamenco scene.
And yeah while I do have a decent enough camera for high-quality video, it's not always easy for me to lug it around to gigs when I'm already carrying 100 pounds of sound equipment and my guitar.
I've even had pros come to my gigs with some serious video gear but as they set up their tripods, cables, microphones and cameras, the club (or restaurant) started to look more like a TV studio, not good.
Solution: forgo the pro gear and settle for the cameraphone-quality video of an iPod Touch 4G. With it I can shoot a video, edit and upload the same day and even embed it in a blog like I'm doing right now!
And yeah my videos might be jittery, grainy etc but I kind of like it that way. The point of my blog is also to entice people to come out to the local shows (not just mine but also those of my fellow flamencos). And the homemade quality of my videos might be less "produced" and clean but they give you my readers a more realistic picture of what to expect when you come out to see (and hear!) a performance.
The video above features flamenco dancer Sara Jerez accompanied by yours truly on guitar. It was shot at Cafe Citron using an iPod Touch 4G mounted on a tripod.
This video obviously focuses on the show but I'll get back to doing some mini-documentaries taking you behind-the-scenes on what I do setting up sound and lights.
Maybe I'll get one of the dancers to talk about stuff they do to prepare for a show. We'll see. The possibilities are endless!
It's 6-something on Sunday evening as I type these words. It's Father's Day and I just talked to my Dad on the phone a short while ago. It so happens he's turning 75 this week and I'll flying to Los Angeles this coming weekend to attend the big birthday party, yay! I'll have my guitar with me of course and who knows maybe I'll put together a little flamenco show for the celebration. I've already contacted some dancers from when I used to live in LA. So we'll see. I'll have pics when I get back. I promise!
So last night I was doing my usual Saturday night gig at Cafe Citron. My dancer for the evening was Emily Mazzotti.. Whenever she's performing, Emily always seems to have an entourage of friends and fans that fill-up the front row seats and a booth or two. Of course her husband and biggest fan, Chris, was there and he gladly volunteered to be my videographer for the evening. Thanks Chris!
The cool thing about the show at Citron is that the stage is situated next to the bar and the dining booths in front making the show feel more intimate like at a house party. So when we invite dancer friends from the audience to dance some Sevillanas, it feels pretty natural and not so much "staged."
In fact last night, we had one of Emily student's Julissa in the audience along with her friend Cassandra who is from Sevilla. And yes, as you saw in the video above we got them both to dance a copla or two and the audience loved it. Also it's not everyday here in DC that we get a girl from Sevilla to dance some Sevillanas!
Like the last time, the show was filmed and edited with iMovie on my iPod Touch 4G. And I used a tripod which only cost me $7.00 but it does the job. Little by little my video editing skills will get better and better, so be patient with me.
As for tonight (Sunday), I'm so tempted to go to Vinoteca to support my fellow flamencos and to say hello to singer José Oretea who's visiting from Miami. He's performing with guitarist Richard Marlow and dancer Sara Jerez. To be honest, I'm feeling pretty comfy here at home, but perhaps I can pull myself away from the computer just for a little while and stop by Vinoteca for a drink (just one) but we'll see. That one-drink-only plan never seems to work.
One more thing: since I'll be in LA on Saturday June 25th, flamenco guitarist extraordinaire Richard Marlow will be subbing for me at Cafe Citron. Thanks Richard!
It's 7:30am on Friday as I type these words. Can't believe I'm actually up this early, but for a change last night I went to sleep early (before midnight). For some reason, the humidity makes me groggy. Anywayz, you may have heard that the East coast has been going through a heat wave. In fact yesterday here in DC it reached 102° F, historically the hottest June day ever since 1874!
And of course, as luck would have it, myself and a dancer had an outdoor flamenco gig scheduled at noon this past Wednesday when temperatures were expected to reach 97°F. Being an experienced performer myself, I have tricks on dealing with the heat that I put to use, most of which, to be honest, boil down to plain ol' common sense. But as you know, we artists, in the heat of the moment (pun intended) tend to forget common sense. So here's a list of ten tips, more like reminders, of what to do the next time you're performing in hot weather:
My official Washington Folk Festival 2011 performer's badge.
It's 9pm on Monday as I type these words. At home, just chillin' as usual and recuperating from this past weekend which, by the way, was a blast—there was so much flamenco going on right here in Washington DC:
- Saturday was The Roya Ensemble's performance of Persian-flamenco fusion at the Washington Folk Festival 2011
- Saturday and Sunday there was a flamenco show at Taberna del Alabardero which featured artists from Spain, Jesule de Utrera and Natalia Meiriño collaborating with local artists Emily Mazzotti, Behzad Habibzai and Jason Vera y Aragón
- Saturday was the grand reopening of Cafe Citron and the return of its Saturday night flamenco show
- Sunday was ThingsToDoDC.com's "Taste of Spain: Dinner and Flamenco Dance Show" at Las Tapas
Hold on…there's still more: