Strange Famous Records

House of Bees 3 is Here! Track-by-Track Breakdown

Welcome B. Dolan & Buddy Peace‘s new baby to the world! HOUSE OF BEES 3 can be purchased in a variety of physical forms and packages here. All House of Bees Vol. 3 orders include an INSTANT MP3 Download!

We’ve been waiting a long time time to let you hear some of these tracks and tell you the stories behind them, so grab a copy in your format of choice and dig in to B. Dolan’s track-by-track breakdown below.

The trilogy is complete mannnnn. It’s a celebration. Let’s get into it!

hob3cover

1. CARETAKER ft. DAN LE SAC, HOWABOUTBETH

The reason I’ve come to love the House of Bees series is the opportunity it gives me to chart the progress between albums. Sometimes, without the restrictions or pressure of making 100% original, sample free songs for an official collection, things come a bit easier and breakthroughs just sort of happen.

I chose to open the tape with ‘Caretaker’ because in making it with Dan Le Sac, I accidentally learned to write a new kind of song, gave myself a direction for the new LP, and co-created one of the favorite joints I’ve ever made. Dan’s synth-heavy beat is an absolute monster, which allowed me to write a more personal kind of story than I’d told in awhile. I’d also been wanting to write better choruses, and suddenly found myself singing the hook! Woah. I can do that? Yeah, fuggit I can do that! We hollered at HOWABOUTBETH who’s a real singer and brought incredible life to the words and melody I’d put down, and voila!

I’ve put this method of writing hooks and hollering at talented vocalists to bring them to life to good use, which you’ll hear more of later on in the year. “Caretaker” was a new kind of insect once it came to life; a high powered cyborg propeller-headed purple Bee, even. It banged in the whip but had a new kind of musicality, and felt like a new kind of song. It set me on a path, so it gets to kick things off.

2. NATURAL BORN TROUBLE

Oh, BUDDY PEACE. Please never stop sending me fully formed songs that I just need to fill in the spaces and rap over. I’m pretty sure Buddy sent me this instrumental in it’s finished form days after we completed VOL. 2. I’m blessed to work with collaborators who know me not only in an artistic way, but on a personal level due to the years we’ve spent in tour vehicles together. Buddy heard the source material and knew this’d get a good song out of me. That’s a rare connection to have with a producer, and why we’ve come this far, dammit!

Also, that bit about taking promoters to the cash machine? Absolutely true. In fact, I once took a promoter to his mother’s house 35 minutes outside Minneapolis at 2AM. Trouble.

3. HON3Y FROM A B33

Here’s the thing: I don’t wanna stop making songs with Buddy Peace until 20 minutes before both of us are dead. Don’t think the end of this series is the end of our collaboration. But when I heard this beat I was like ‘hot damn another dope bee song! Jesus… How many more of these can there … Bee.” Also, 3 is a psychologically pleasing number, no? The father, the son, and Return of the Jedi.

Shouts out to Market Basket. Streetwear brands stop biting my shit!

4. THE DEVIL IS ALIVE

You hear that bass? No, seriously. Turn it up in the whip. Don’t you dare listen to that bass on laptop speakers. That’s DS3K, the new engineer we’ve been working with on the new material coming out this year. Buddy expertly reconstructed the beat and 3K made it bang properly. Get ready for sonic mayhem this year.

As for the subject matter, it speaks for itself. When I heard the original Rick Ross song on which this joint was based, something finally snapped in my brain. “BITCH IM THE TRUTH!” said a former correctional officer who poses as a real drug kingpin for a living. I’d been baffled by the cognitive dissonance going on in with this dude’s career for years, but the brazenness of that statement was really just… Too fucking much.

Minus the political realities of the crack epidemic and the Iran-Contra affair’s connection to Freeway Ricky Ross’ story, what an incredible case-study of stolen identity and schizophrenic American culture.

It was a daunting task to tell Freeway Rick’s story, knowing he’s a real dude walking around in the world. I was in Europe when we released “The Devil is Alive”, and I received an email requesting a phone call from Rick himself. I braced myself for some bullshit; we’d sampled his voice, said he ‘sold death to the deaf dumb & blind.’ Imagine my relief and validation when I found out he liked the song. A lot. Fuckin a. Job done.

5. RADIO STOCKHOLM FREESTYLE

This was recorded in 2010. When I was drunk on the internet? Sage & I were on tour in support of L(I)FE and FALLEN HOUSE, SUNKEN CITY and doing a radio show somewhere in Stockholm. I’m sorry I referred to women as “females” in this verse. I’ve since come to regret that. But such is the danger of freestyle, totally off the dome raps. Wink/nudge.

6. SOLDIER BOY ft. SCROOBIUS PIP (YOU BETTER RUN RMX)

Another favorite collaboration that’s happened in the past few years, reworked by Buddy. Is that oil dripping in the beat? I like to think it is. That drum & bass ass break. Shittttt. Props to SCROOBIUS PIP for inviting me onto the original, and on a number of tours during which we’ve started big sweaty mosh pits with this one. Oi!

7. SEAT AT THE TABLE ft. WORLDWIDE

Matt Sonzala AKA Pushermania introduced me to Worldwide’s stuff on a trip to Austin last year, and I was instantly a fan. The beat on this one was produced by myself & DS3K and was originally part of a batch we created for use on the official LP. For whatever reason, a song never came together on it until this December when we were finalizing HOB3, and I took the opportunity to speak on some rappers and personalities who’ve been grossing me out of late. Anybody can take it however they want.

Turn. That. Shit. UP!

8. MADGE TRIES TO RECORD A DROP

Dear Madge of Honor. You are so intentionally bad/good at things. This lady edits my life. I owe her more than you’ll ever know. You made the album, ma!

9. STATE TROOPER

At least once per mixtape, I gotta be allowed to indulge in some Failure-y self indulgence and let my freak flag fly. I hope the Hip Hop Police let me off with a warning. “STATE TROOPER” is a Bruce Springsteen song that I’ve deeply loved and drawn inspiration from for years. For me, it’s a study in how to tell the biggest story with the fewest words, and haunting in a way I can only hope to someday equal.

Talking about this song with Buck 65 years ago, he mentioned that it had always sounded like a Suicide song to him. If you’re not familiar with that group, check out “Frankie Teardrop” for one of the more fucked up things you’ve heard ever.

And so it was that some late night in the studio, we decided to turn “State Trooper” into a Suicide song for real.

9b. EVEL TALKS ABOUT BUTTE

I have literally no memory of creating this. Can’t tell you the When, the Why, or even the How. It was just on my hard drive… For many years. I can attest that that’s my voice.

10. THE HISTORY OF ATLANTIS

This is a demo that was created for FALLEN HOUSE, SUNKEN CITY, probably sometime around 2009. That album was an exploration of the idea of Atlantis from a bunch of angles: people that are like lost cities; pre-apocalyptic civilization; etc. etc. Something about this track, which talked about hip hop as a lost civilization, seemed a bit too literal at the time. It got cannibalized into a couple separate ideas.

The first verse sort of became Earthmovers, with it’s third person telling of colonization, and the concept as a whole sort of became The Fall of T.R.O.Y. If you like this one blame Sage, who kept reminding me of it and urging me to put it on a HOUSE OF BEES release.

11. YOU CAN’T WIN ft. SAGE FRANCIS (EPIC B-BOY RMX)

“When are we gonna get an Epic Beard Men album?!” they cry. Well, I can only say that I’ve got a folder on my desktop that’s filling up with beats and song concepts. So you know, that might mean anytime from next year ’til 5 years from now.

In the meantime, I love this remix. It’s crafty. Just my style.

12. CODA

I’ve already gushed about BUDDY PEACE quite a bit, so I’m not gonna do that again. Just kidding. I love the dude, and he’s a fucking genius. This series has meant a lot to both of us and it’s been incredible to experiment and create with him on it over the past 6 years. We have made some legendary tapes, goddamit, and the man will always be my motherfuckin’ DJ. For chrissake, I asked him for a sample of a cartoony voice exclaiming “Thanks!” that perfectly matched my cadence on “HON3Y FROM A B33″ and HE HAD ONE. IN DAYS. I love ya, bruh. CODA means “end,” but this is far from that.

13. THE DEVIL & JACK MCCARTHY

This track took me 5 years to make. Let me say that again. This single track. Took 5 years.

Jack McCarthy was the poet who inspired me to try spoken word, many lifetimes ago. Those who saw him read will forever remember his voice and style, which were both instantly comfortable and full of presence. In 2009, Jack was on a tour of New England and I asked him to pay my studio a visit on his way through the region. We recorded this poem, written by a famous songwriter and poet who must remain nameless due to how often his shitty heirs sue people.

Finding music to fit this acapella was no small task. That’s the part that took 5 years. We tried numerous approaches with numerous iterations of my production setup, but it was only last year when I finally had the right musicians for this job in my circle. Along with ADAM SCHNEIDER, Myself and DS3K created the epic, Ennio Morricone inspired backdrop a dice game with the devil required. We recorded live guitars, violins, and upright bass. We enlisted ALIAS’ help for the vocal processing and final mix. It had originally been my intention to make this the first or last song on the official LP, but the aforementioned legal issues ultimately made that a bad idea.

Jack McCarthy passed away in 2013 at the age of 73. I strongly urge fans of spoken word to check out his incredible body of work, which can be found at STANDUPOET.NET. A painting of Jack hangs above my writing desk. He is sorely missed and fondly remembered by everyone who knew him.

14. KING BEE (LIVE IN LIVERPOOL)

To close things out, we’ve included a preview of the new live band setup. With any luck, we’re taking this motherfucker around the world in 2015, and as you can hear the sound is huge. The setup was engineered by DS3K and arranged by Adam Schneider under my direction, and this recording features Warren Borg on guitar, Paul Glover on drums, and Buddy Peace on the 1s & 2s. The energy created by this setup live is nothing short of explosive, and I definitely hope people get a chance to experience it before the years out.

Annnnnnnd that’s it! Hope you’ve enjoyed listening and reading. Thanks as always for your incredible support and see you soon!

HOUSE OF BEES 3 can be purchased in a variety of physical forms and packages here. All House of Bees Vol. 3 orders include an INSTANT MP3 Download!

Feb 08

B. DOLAN Tours the UK, IRL, EU this September!

The tickets are booked, the merch is shipped, and the set is coming together.  We’ve got incredible surprises lined up for folks on this tour,  including a number of guest appearances and once in a lifetime collaborations along the way.  Dan Le Sac & Buddy Peace are two producers I’ve been working intensely with in the past year, and the new material I’ve produced with both of them is about to be rolled out for the first time in a major way.  Couldn’t be more excited, and couldn’t pick a better audience than the UK to kick things off.

Let’s get bloody.

First, a pair of opening sets:

SEP 3 – ICELAND – w/ SAGE FRANCIS at at Sodoma www.midi.is

Pre-sale tix at http://midi.is/tonleikar/1/6560/

SEP 6 – MANCHESTER, UK w/ DAN LE SAC VS. SCROOBIUS PIP

Pre-sale tix at https://www.hmvtickets.co/performances/8290/book?REFID=MAMA_RITZWEB

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/1F0046BA94965A7C?camefrom=CFC_UK_MAMA_RITZ

Then, tour begins with @Bestival, where I’ll be performing two sets alongside such acts as Public Enemy, Bjork, The Cure, Diplo, Odd Future, Crystal Castles, PJ Harvey, Pendulum, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, and about a trillion others.  Details for the festival are at www.Bestival.net, and the specifics for my performances during the weekend are as follows:

SEP 8 – ISLE OF WIGHT, UK – BESTIVAL

4:30-5pm SPOKEN WORD SET @ SATIN LIZARD LOUNGE

Later that evening, TBA: PREMIER OF FULL MUSICAL SET w/ DAN LE SAC & BUDDY PEACE @ POLKA TENT.  GUESTS TBA.

After Bestival, we’ll continue to roll across the UK.  With Dan and Buddy both providing solo sets before joining me as a ‘backing band’ for a full length, brand new headlining set.

CLICK THE DATE FOR TICKET BUY LINKS, WHERE AVALIABLE:

SEP 12 – LONDON, UK – CAMP

SEP 14 – GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – THE ARCHES

SEP 15 – BRISTOL, UK – THE FLEECE

SEP 16 – BRIGHTON, UK – THE HAUNT

SEP 17 – DUBLIN, IRELAND – WHELANS

SEP 18 – GALWAY, IRELAND – ROISIN DUBH

SEP 19 – BIRMINGHAM, UK – HARES & HOUNDS

SEP 20 – LINCOLN, UK – DUKE OF WELLINGTON

EUROPEAN SOLO DATES (B. DOLAN ONLY):

SEP 22 – HAMBURG, GERMANY – HAFENKLANG

SEP 24 – LEIPZIG, GERMANY – ZORO FEST

SEP 27 – BERLIN, GERMANY – CASSIOPEIA

SEP 29 – PRAGUE, CZ – 007

SEP 30 – LJUBJANA, SLOVAKIA – GALAHALA

OCT 1 – BERN, SWITZERLAND – DACHSTOCK REITSHULE

OCT 5 – LITHUANIA – SPOKEN WORD @ TARP FESTIVAL, DETAILS TBA

As always, BDOLAN.NET will stay current with shows as they are added, and I look forward to seeing you all out in the bush.  Here we go again.

<3,

b

 

 

 

 

Aug 23

The Matthew Rucker Incident

Briefly Revisiting the World of “Poetry Slam International” To Set An Old Record Straight

WARNING: There’s a strong chance this blog will be of no interest to 90% of you, as it involves a scene you likely aren’t a part of and have minimal interest in. I’m posting this here, however, because I feel a responsibility to call out a dude that’s been quietly allowed to harass people for years under the pretense of ‘art.’ My involvement with him has also becoming something of an urban myth in some circles, so I’ll use this blog to tell my side of the story one last time.

***

My first encounter with Matthew Rucker was in 2005, when the tour I was on passed through Minneapolis. The sequence of events that night becomes a little complicated and involves some detail, which I’ve laid out here “Deposition Style” if you’re SUPER interested.

The ultra short version of the story is this: After booking me for a show later in the year, Matthew followed myself and a group of friends to Pizza Luce for a post-show dinner. While there, we encountered a young girl in a crisis situation, who was 16 years old, bi-polar, and prostituting herself for drugs. She appealed to me for help, and I in turn tried to enlist Matthew as a resource from the city.

Instead, he made a comment about how nice her tits were, and dismissed her in a way that made me absolutely see red.

My solution? To take Matthew’s money, fly back to his city to perform in front of his audience, and hijack his show for a kind of ‘Asshole Intervention’. I appeared on his stage (The Artist’s Quarter in St. Paul, MN) that night as Bombzo Way, performed a 35 minute set of country music covers, and then told the crowd in dramatic fashion the entire story. It all ended with Matthew stopping payment on a check, threatening to sue me, attempting to blackball me from the Slam community, and spreading lots of myth about your boy.

Unfortunately, the members of his audience that night chose to go on the attack against me, even though Matthew was well known for this kind of behavior within their scene. I left feeling like I’d tried and failed, and kept it moving.

Matthew’s name had been all but forgotten to me until a week ago, when I was contacted by a number of people and informed that Matthew has received disciplinary action from the Executive Council of Poetry Slam Incorporated preventing him from participating in their events.

I had already given up Slam for a number of years in 2005 when the incident took place, and have only sporadically popped my head in since then to check in with friends; my knowledge of what’s transpired in the past 6 years is heresay at this point.

What I hear is that at least one female member of Matthew’s team has filed an official complaint, because of a multitude of incidents that may have included sexual harassment, and included wildly inappropriate behavior that took place while he was the Host City Chair for the 2010 National Poetry Slam. This team member claims to have been kept in her situation silently for years by Matthew’s perceived authority as the head of her team and local scene.

These things are heresay at the moment because Poetry Slam International has not made public the sexual harassment claim made to them against Matthew Rucker, and chose instead to discipline him privately and quietly. Matthew then posted a statement retiring himself from slam, stating that the decision was due to a surge in demand for his freelance work, and a desire to “go out on top.”

He still hosts an open mic, and still ‘privately tutors’ a number of people in performance poetry.

For whatever it’s worth, I’d like to lend my support to those asking that Matthew’s disciplinary action be made public. I believe it’s important that open mics and the slam community live up to the ideals put forward by so many of the artists within it, and it’s always rubbed me as a particularly gross hypocrisy when that fails to happen.

That night at the Artists’ Quarter, the same poets who were onstage rattling off bumper stickers about freedom and equality seemed content to know a callous at best and abusive at worst figure was representing them. They apparently continued to be content for 6 more years, and enjoyed the ride while Matthew Rucker gained influence and did more damage.

Here’s hoping that the Slam community takes the right steps to correct and prevent situations like this from arising in the future, and that we all continue the struggle to create welcoming and accepting environments for people with something to express; the kind of environment that the girl we met that night needed, and we all failed to provide.

Jul 12

Church Bulletin #3: Get to Know Ms. Nicholle Pride

When I’m not on tour or trying to promote something,  I make it a practice to never leave my house.  There’s people out there, y’know.

Which is why it’s a testament to my good friend Madge of Honor (a performer you should know in her own right) that she somehow got me out of the house and into a venue of any kind a few years ago, just to watch a show.  I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but I know she must have worked hard at it.

The event she brought me to was Perestroika, a monthly alternative drag show at Boston’s historic Jacque’s Cabaret.
[youtube width=”380″ height=”380″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1hh_2ph22E&feature=player_embedded#[/youtube]

The mark of a great stage performance, to me, is when performers show that they

1.) have mastered the form they’re attempting and

2.) are pushing it’s boundaries and using it to challenge the audience.

The normal drag format is something familiar enough to make it a Bachelorette Party destination; that’s a MAN up there!  Dressed like a WOMAN!  He’s lip-synching a song and dancing up on people!  Laughs!

In the hands of a great performer, though… what happens is something like Miss. Nicholle Pride.  Thomas-Andre Bardwell created Nicholle, and is an actor-playwrite who fuses spoken-word, song, and traditional African dance into his performances in a way that is smart, subversive, and jaw-droppingly sexy and energetic.

As a heterosexual man, I’d read/been told about/understood in an intellectual way what it meant to be “genderqueer” and sort of… taken people’s word for it.  “Oh, that’s how you feel?  Ok.  Well, I don’t feel that way… but I can appreciate that that might exist.  Do you!”

But it’s entirely another thing to watch someone like Miss Nicholle Pride, and for the first time really understand that a wider spectrum of gender exists.  As you’re sat there in the audience watching one of the most intensely feminine things imaginable, and one half of your brain is reacting to that while the other half goes “wait! that’s a man doing that to you!”  It was an honest-to-god moment of epiphany for me,  giving me a window into a trickier, less polarized idea of gender than the one I’d lived my whole life with.   I felt challenged as an audience member in a way that I’ve been striving to challenge audiences for my entire career.

She knows what she’s doing to say the least.  Watch the way she turns her back to the crowd and presents a feminine side in the first video, then whips the hood off and turns around to reveal a wigless ‘male’ rapper impression.  Or her incredible performance of “This is a Man’s World” below,  portraying a glitter bearded, corset wearing, swagger on a hundred thousand, MONSTROUS reincarnation of James Brown.

Needless to say, I left Jacque’s Cabaret in awe of Thomas Bardwell’s craft and determined to work with him.

The videos and photo available online come nowhere close to doing this lady justice, but the Church of Love & Ruin audiences are about to get leveled by the realness.  Vockah Redu, The Cru, and DJ BeesKnees are already in the van heading north.  Jamie & Sissy arrive in 3 days, and I’m headed to my last practice with the What Cheer? Brigade.  Here we come, muhfuckas.

[youtube width=”380″ height=”380″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yo2UT3UIRM[/youtube]

THUR 2/10 – NYC, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall w/ The Metermaids – Doors 8pm – 19+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

FRI  2/11 – BOSTON, MA  – The Western Front – Doors 9pm – 21+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SAT 2/12 – PAWTUCKET, RI – The Met – Doors 8:30pm

GENERAL ADMISSION $10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SUN 2/13 – PORTLAND, ME – Space Gallery – Doors 7pm – GENERAL ADMISSION

$10 advance, $12 door.  $18 for Couples!
BUY TICKETS

Feb 04

Church Bulletin: Get to Know Vockah Redu & The Cru


Vockah Redu & The Cru were the last addition to the Church of Love & Ruin Tour, along with DJ BeesKnees.  Daniel of the What Cheer? Brigade brought them to my attention just as the tour was coming together.  During their numerous performance trips to New Orleans, members of the What Cheer? gradually became aware of the Sissy Bounce movement.  “We’d find ourselves on these weird shows with all kinds of crossover… where someone from the punk band that played would be DJing hip hop… marching bands… bounce emcees… other weird acts… and we’d constantly be running into Sissy Bounce acts and people like DJ BeesKnees.”

For my part, I’d been enjoying Bounce music as a fan and studying it as an emcee for years, and jumped at the opportunity to include it in a show.  If you’re not familiar with Bounce as a genre, use the internet or something.  Emcees like Juvenile, Birdman, and Lil Wayne have all been described as Bounce or kept a foot in Bounce through the years, but I’d also recommend you check out artists like Cheeky Blakk and Magnolia Shorty and get familiar, ehhhh?

“Sissy Bounce,” is a sort of subgrene or scene-within-a-scene, characterized by openly gay emcees on the mic.  For more on that aspect of the story, check this Vanity Fair piece featuring Vockah.

As for Vockah Redu, he couldn’t be a more perfect fit for the Church of Love & Ruin.  The Times-Picayune put it nicely when they said “Vockah Redu & The Cru combine street-level ass-shaking, combining spiritual and sexual energy with straight-up New Orleans Bounce roots, like if Prince and Erykah Badu had a baby and raised it in the Magnolia Projects.”

I might add Afrika Bambaataa to that list, as well as a few others.  Whoever you compare them to, Vockah & The Cru get it.  I couldn’t be more excited to bring them to the Northeast and my audience for the first time.  Don’t start no stuff won’t be no stuff!

Video for your face:

[youtube width=”400″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEA6tDH7VFw[/youtube]

[youtube width=”400″ height=”400″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Os2MtCNcI[/youtube]

11 DAYS LEFT TO GET YOUR TICKETS AT DISCOUNTED PRICE!

THUR 2/10 – NYC, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall w/ The Metermaids – Doors 8pm – 19+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

FRI  2/11 – BOSTON, MA  – The Western Front – Doors 9pm – 21+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SAT 2/12 – PAWTUCKET, RI – The Met – Doors 8:30pm

GENERAL ADMISSION $10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SUN 2/13 – PORTLAND, ME – Space Gallery – Doors 7pm – GENERAL ADMISSION

$10 advance, $12 door.  $18 for Couples!
BUY TICKETS

Jan 30

Church Bulletin: Get to Know Jamie & Sissy DeWolf


When we first met in 2002, Jamie Dewolf was drunk in front of  a theater.  As the doormen consulted each other about what to do, Jamie was making a spectacle of himself and some girl he was with.   A crowd of onlookers gathered, and Jamie proceeded to verbally dismantle his date in grand public fashion.  She was completely into it, playing the perfect white trash Ophelia to Jamie’s cokehead Hamlet.  I was entertained and repulsed, and found myself watching while thinking “why haven’t I hit this guy yet?  I want to hit him so bad… and yet I’m oddly charmed.”

Jamie had made a name for himself with The Suicide Kings, a performance poetry trio he was involved in along with Geoff Trenchard and Rupert Estanislao.  After watching the Kings perform the following night, I quickly came around to a kind of begrudging respect for the dude.  In a scene full of crowd pleasing hacks and wannabe self-help gurus, he was one of a handful of poets with the balls to say things that were honest, ugly, and uncomfortable.  Click here to watch “Ricochet In Reverse” by the Suicide Kings, directed by Jamie Dewolfe.

In the years that followed I kept talking and thinking about Jamie Dewolf , and everything I learned interested me more.   His manic charisma came into focus a bit when I learned he’s the great-grandson of L. Ron Hubbard, and an outspoken activist against the Church of Scientology:  VIDEO: L. Ron Hubbard’s Great Grandson Mocks Scientology

But the real clincher, and the thing that led to our eventual friendship and partnership on this tour, was the event Jamie had created in Oakland: a vaudeville battle rap / poetry / burlesque / anything goes event called Tourettes Without Regrets.  As my own career drifted further into antagonistic performance art, people would continually bring up Jamie and Tourettes as a place I needed to visit.  Finally, in 2006, I did.

Jamie hosts Tourettes on a monthly basis, often in warehouses or hijacked performance spaces because all the respectable clubs in town have thrown this event out.  Both times I’ve arrived in Oakland to do this show, I’ve found Jamie scrambling to find a space after the city / venue informs him days in advance that they will not allow the show to take place.  I’ve learned not to worry though; Jamie somehow finds a spot, sends out an email blast, and the sold out crowds show up in droves.

They show up for something that’s more than the sum of it’s parts.   Open mics, rap battles, and burlesque revues are the kind of shows that very easily fall into cliche territory, but Jamie & his co-hosts are somehow able to play each genre’s weaknesses off the other.   By creating a truly chaotic and irreverent atmosphere, Tourettes always seem to arrive at something that is captivating to everyone in the room.

My favorite sidekick of Jamie’s is his sister “Sissy,” who serves as a kind of magicians assistant/sexual idol throughout the show .  The sexual tension between the two of them onstage is as palpable as it is awful, and definitely leads to some magic moments.

Even as I write this out I know I am failing to convey what Jamie & Sissy are about to bring to the Church of Love & Ruin shows, and am sitting here with glee, picturing the shock on people’s faces when these two take the stage and start doing their thing.  Jamie & Sissy will be hosting the entire show, so you’d be a fool to treat this like a hip-hop concert and get there a minute before the headliner goes on.

When we last spoke on the phone, Jamie was saying he planned to lay down the groundrules right away.  “You don’t get to be a detached hipster at this show.  You don’t get to sit in the back and lean against a wall making comments about what’s happening onstage… I wanna create an atmosphere like anything can happen, anyone can be in the show, and we’re all in it together…”

I’ll leave you with that, and a a clip of Jamie inciting the crowd to give his grandparents lapdances.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0WyOClKt3o[/youtube]

Next time we’ll talk about Vockah Redu, eh?

See you at the altar,

B

THUR 2/10 – NYC, NY – Studio @ Webster Hall w/ The Metermaids – Doors 8pm – 19+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

FRI  2/11 – BOSTON, MA  – The Western Front – Doors 9pm – 21+

$10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SAT 2/12 – PAWTUCKET, RI – The Met – Doors 8:30pm

GENERAL ADMISSION $10 advance, $12 door.
BUY TICKETS

SUN 2/13 – PORTLAND, ME – Space Gallery – Doors 7pm – GENERAL ADMISSION

$10 advance, $12 door.  $18 for Couples!
BUY TICKETS

Jan 24

Dream Journal #6

Dreamt I arrived to do a show at a venue I’d never visited before.

I was working with this promoter for the first time, and immediately realized that he was some kind of high school drama teacher. But he was also a priest.

For religious reasons, but also to fill the void left by his presumably failed or abandoned acting career, he was insisting that I add a number of last minute local openers to the bill.

The opening acts included, but were not limited to:

* A physically violent autistic boy who was already onstage rehearsing some kind of Thanksgiving play with a little girl dressed as Pocahontas. I watched in slow motion as the boy had a wild seizure, grabbed the girl by her shoulders and began shaking her and gnashing his teeth in a kind of trance state.

I then watched several club staff tackle the boy and painstakingly pry him off the girl for a number of minutes. When it was finally over the boy was ushered past me in restraints, still rolling his eyes and chomping at the air.

The promoter said: “He does that from time to time, but he’ll be ready again by the time doors open.”

* A nun masturbating with a crucifix on a trapeze. I shit you not.

“Will she just hang there all night?”

“um yeah! we thought it would be nice if she could.”

At this point I start to feel out of control in the dream, and start complaining to the promoter. I start rambling angrily at him, trying to formulate the many reasons and ways I’m uncomfortable with these additions… Just then I notice, appearing from the backstage area:

* A slam poetry team

Here’s the funny part: the slam poetry team is the thing that makes me bolt for the door.  I see like 10 of them stumbling onto the stage in matching cardigan sweaters, looking all lost and stupid like a family that can’t organize itself to take a Sears christmas picture.

I fly into a rage so suddenly that I almost fall down. I physically recoil from the stage as if a bomb had just gone off on it and pushed me backwards. I run/stumble out of the venue screaming:

“You’ve got to be kidding! This is too fucking much! No fucking way are we–”

And nearly run into a monkey in a costume riding on the back of a baby elephant. It was baby sized but it’s face looked like an old elephant. Maybe it was just a midget elephant.

“–OH GOOD OF COURSE A FUCKING ELEPHANT!” I push open the door and flood the venue with sunlight.

/Wake up.

Happy Holidays to yuh.
I will have a big big announcement about some big big shows in the New Year.

<3,
b

Dec 23

Apologies to Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand

Unfortunately, tonight’s show in Amsterdam will be the last on this tour for me.

I’ll be unable to join Sage Francis on the remainder of his tour dates this fall, and will be flying home tomorrow to be with my family.

In March of this year, right before I embarked on the most continuous touring schedule I’ve ever attempted, my father was diagnosed with a rare form of germ cell cancer in his lungs. For the past 6 months, he and my family have been undergoing a torturous regiment of chemotherapy, radiation, and various procedures. Nothing’s worked, and the cancer has since spread to his lymph nodes and brain. I received a phone call today from my mother and sister, who informed me that it’s time to come home and say goodbye.

My apologies to the Australian and Switzerland shows. Hopefully you’ll understand and take a rain check.

My thanks to Sage Francis, who’s been a constant friend and my fiercest support in all things. He’s made the opportunity to open for him available to me all year on both of these tours, understanding the risk that I might have to leave to deal with the home situation at any time. It’s meant the world to me to be part of Sage’s final touring year. I wish I could be there to see it through to the end with him… but all the journeys seem to be ending at once these days.

Thanks for understanding. See you on the next go around,

b

Oct 08

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