Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 2011 Tour: Atlanta

Bailey was our short legged host in Durham, NC.

fountain near the aquarium in Atlanta

Sounds itchy

$hClean, beer, and art nouveau come together in Atlanta

I think I'll just stop calling this the Flipflops tour and start calling it the Where The Hell Is The Sunshine tour. It seems like we've had a solid three or four sunny days since we left New Jersey. It's total nonsense. If you've seen any of my shows this month, chances are it came with a cloudy day. I'm like Eeyore with better hair and antidepressants.

The Atlanta stay was short and sweet. Eddie's Attic is a kick ass venue that prides itself in featuring the acoustic artist. They have cultivated a sizable audience that listens intently and respects every single musician that gets up on stage. Eddie actually hosts it, and I have to say it is refreshing to attend an open mic that isn't run by a douchebag. He commands you to hush and then gets out of the way of the music. It's clear he isn't running this event as an ego booster. He leaves that to the singer/songwriter. It's also a competition, and I was a finalist along with Emily Kate Boyd of the band Joyscout (awesome band name!) and Samuel Sanders. Check those kids out!

Last night I played the Broad Street Cafe in Durham. I have words for the waiter who bussed our table before we were finished. There was some quality brick oven pizza that I was counting on for today's minivan leftovers. The taste of soggy cold cuts is totally tragic when you had an eggplant margharita pie in your future.

Otherwise all is well, and tomorrow is a lunch time radio show at WDVX in Knoxville. You can tune in at at noon EST. After that it's Cincinnati's Refuge Coffee on Friday night, 8pm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 2011 Tour: Tennessee

Nashville has a Parthenon.

These were lurking in the soundhole of my guitar.

Eric & Laura's fish pond

detail of light fixture in a tasty Nashville sushi bar

It's been a fine couple of days in Tennessee. I've been in to the Chattanooga Aquarium before, but this time I got to play next to it! It's probably the closest I'll get to opening for the sea lion show, so I'll take it. I was totally chuffed when a busload of fifty teenagers was dumped in front of the stage. I quickly pulled out the good songs and tried to look as cool as possible. It turns out they were a concert band from Shoreview, Arkansas that had been performing in town. I wish them the best and hope I can hit Arkansas next time around!

We spend the night at a motel in Cleveland which made me feel like I was in an episode of The Wire. At some point there had been some serious violence involving the microwave and it smelled of moldy weed and urine.

Our two days in Nashville didn't come with fine weather, so we spent most of it chilling indoors with my fine host Kiernan McMullan who is an incredible singer/songwriter himself. He showed us the sights in his minivan (the vehicle of champions), and we hit some tasty restaurants along the way. We also made friends with his roommate's stray beagle Steven Beagal who is in need of a loving home if anyone out there wants this sweet dog.

The gig at the Bluebird Cafe went well. The crowd and performers who swayed towards the country genre were warm and receptive to my rocky/folk/pink think I do. The featured performer was a dude named Fred Wilhelm who writes songs for a living. His tunes have been cut by Faith Hill and Randy Travis, and while country music doesn't generally perk my ears, I have to say Fred Wilhelm is a phenomenal writer who knows his craft. His inspiring words really spoke to me and verbalized a lot of thoughts I've had about why the hell I do what I do. A few things I took away from Fred:

1. Songwriters are not articulate people - I can't tell you how much this hits home. I really hate public speaking. Interviews often make me feel like an idiot no matter how much I prepare. It should be the easiest thing for someone who takes so much time to craft words, but when it comes to conversation I'm a poor communicator. A song is my way to thoughtfully and creatively relay my views.

2. If you don't enjoy the process, you should get out of the business - Fred writes over 100 songs a year. You probably aren't going to be famous. You probably aren't going to get rich. It's a long hard road, and if you aren't finding joy in the craft of writing then you are probably wasting your time. I do it because I'm compelled to do it. It can't tell you how often my crummy day is turned around just by singing for people. I'm driven (literally these days) to perform.

3. Graduate with your class, and support your fellow talented performers. The cream will rise to the top, and you can be part of that. It's so hard to leave the ego in minivan. I'm a tender flower often on the defensive constantly pressuring myself to prove my worth as a musician. The lesson of supporting others is something I've been slowly learning, often by watching the graciousness of people in my life. I am so grateful for them!

Anyhow, I'm still thinking on a few things, but this post is far too long. You are a trooper for getting this far, now go get yourself an ice cream cone with rainbow jimmies.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 20011 Tour: St. Louis

We were hunted by the paparazzi or Josh Wells. Paparazzo?

Incredible hippo exhibit at St. Louis Zoo

We put her back in the tree in a make-shift nest. I'm going to believe that she is still alive, thriving, and that the Wonderpets would be proud.

So St. Louis has been a challenge for me in the past. My venue choices have been craft stores, anarchist coffee shops, and urban farms. Finally, it was nice to play a gig where there were more people than chickens. I think I'm starting to crack the scene. I'd like to thank the Moderncat Blog for sending out a few new fans to my show. It's about time those kittens I fostered started giving back.

We are fortunate to have a friend who works at the St. Louis Zoo, so we got a full tour with perks. We rode the railroad, got half price lunch, saw a sea lion show, AND got the scoop on the lemur violence that had ensued a few months ago. I think next year I'm going to see if I can score a gig opening for the sea lions. I might to skip "Bitches You Can Steal My Shit" in the set list. Maybe not, those kids are going to learn those words eventually. I can't imagine a more fun way to enhance their vocabulary.

I am going SOUTH!
6/25 Chattanooga TN, Farmer's Market 12pm
6/26 Nashville TN, Bluebird Cafe, 8pm
6/27 Atlanta GA, Eddie's Attic Open Mic, 8pm
6/28 Durham NC, Broadstreet Cafe, 8:30pm
6/30 Knoxville TN, WDVX Blue Plate Special, 12pm
7/1 Cincinnati OH, Refuge Coffee, 8pm

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 20011 Tour: Kansas City

Once again, proof that I actually do play. Tour is very serious.

I'm pretty sure he is texting.

Apparently, it's a real problem.

Well, Hays Kansas, you proved me wrong. I didn't have to play to cows or tractors, and I'm ashamed of the stereotype I had previously assumed. The Coffee Rules show was indeed small, but extremely supportive. I'm pretty sure 1 Kansas fan = 50 New Jersey fans, so I must be doing something right. :) The Ramada also had a sweet waterslide which adds to my new found respect.

Let me tell you, there are kind people in this country. In Kansas City a fine guy named Tom Ryan left his comfy loft for the evening and handed us the keys. I knew him only through a mutual songwriter friend Kiernan McMullan, but he trusted us completely. He even lent us detergent for our wild night of washing laundry! The more people I meet in this country, the less I have to sleep in Walmart parking lots. While I do enjoy spitting toothpaste out on the side of the road, being greeted whenever I need the toilet, and the challenge of putting on pants on the air mattress, I am forever grateful to the folks who open their homes, fridges, and washing machines to me.

Tomorrow night is a show at Foam Coffee & Beer. St. Louis, you better not break my heart.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 20011 Tour: Colorado

$hClean walks on water

"On your mountain you have branded an initial monogram"

The best tiger exhibit I've seen at Denver Zoo

The Great Divide Brewery tour reminds me of Mr. Rogers' Picture Picture segment

The first show I ever played in Denver was a dive bar called Binkers. It was run by a Blanche-esque blue hair named, yes, Binkers. They were quite surprised to see a lady take the stage, nevermind a lady who could play her instrument. Binkers got shut down due to an expired liquor license years ago, so I've been on the hunt for better venues since then. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to play a house show at the home of Harry & Allison Olsson. Harry ripped it up on the mandolin on a few of my tunes. I'll post some videos next time I have decent internet streaming.

I also played the Walnut Room Pizzeria with Gilbert Boisson. It was a challenging venue due to the placement of the musicians, which was basically on the ceiling. We were situated on a makeshift balcony looking down upon the entire restaurant. I have issues with my nostrils, so this wasn't the most comfortable performance space. Nonetheless, you never know who is listening so I gave 100% and enjoyed new fans, some merch sales, and an kick-ass thin crust pizza.

The Denver Zoo was a far cry better than the St. Paul Como Zoo, mainly because our van window was intact upon our return. They also had a sweet tiger exhibit with a momma and her four cubs. Adult Amur tigers are solitary animals, so it was very special to see an active family.
The nearly full grown cubs rolled around, chewed on each other, and pounced on their sleepy mother.

Yesterday we did the Heritage Square Alpine Slide and then a leisurely hike up a small mountain/large hill. It was nice to do something active in spite of our oxygen starved lungs. At the end of the day my Uncle Bobby who lives in Arvada grilled elk. My first taste reminded me of steak and mulch. It wasn't bad though!

Today I play at Coffee Rules in Hays, KS at 8pm. I'm curious about this one, let me tell you! Small town gigs often surprise me in a good way. They don't get a lot of touring acts so the audiences are usually very appreciative and kind.

6/20 Hays KS, Coffee Rules, 8pm
6/21 Kansas City, Record Bar, 7:30pm
6/23 St. Louis, Foam Coffee & Beer, 8pm
6/25 Chattanooga TN, Farmer's Market, 12:30pm

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Flipflops & Restoration in Humanity 2011: St. Paul/Omaha

Nice plummage

the incredible p.bear on land! (see Douchecat for another pic)

56 years old!

douchebaggery in St. Paul

My heart was broken and restored over the past two days. At the end of the day at St. Paul's Como Zoo, it began to thunder and pour buckets of cold rain. I purchased two ponchos from the gift shop, and we ran to our minivan. There we found a completely smashed in window, and my purse, wallet, and ID stolen. Glass was shattered into the van, into our bags of pretzels and chex mix, into the seats, and into my heart. All the cash I had saved for gas from our previous concerts was gone. I sobbed like a baby for a good 10 minutes, cold, wet, angry, feeling stupid, and beside myself.

I was quick to call credit agencies and banks, only to find the bastards had already racked up hundreds of dollars of charges at local gas stations. My checkbook was taken as well, so I had to completely cut off all accounts. I was a thousand miles from my nearest bank branch. I have no ID either which is the real kicker! That night we went to a wine bar and moderately drowned our sorrows with a nice sandwich and glass of syrah.

The next morning we set out early to find an auto glass replacement store. In my desperation, I put the call out to facebook first asking people order merchandise or just outright donate to the tour fund. We lost over $500 which is more than you realize when you're on the road touring at the mercy of gas prices and food for a month. I am a very DIY lady. I hate asking for help. I want to do it on my own and take pride in that fact. I don't do Kickstarter or Rockethub. Every time you give me money I want to give you an album or t-shirt. I don't like to feel like I owe anyone, especially financially.

Today my faith is restored, and our funds are recouped. I am overwhelmed by the response of our friends, family, and fans who gave us encouragement, hugs, money, free food, drinks, and a solid dose of faith. I promise to pay it forward, rock hard, and give my all where ever I go. We are off to Denver today with a house concert on Friday. Saturday is a show at Walnut Room Pizzeria.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I will remember this the next time I'm challenged by douchebaggery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops 20011 Tour: Minneapolis!

The first time this has ever been done.

That's me just trying to be cool.

The American Girl Doll hair salon. I don't even get that kind of treatment.

Acadia Cafe show, Minneapolis just to prove that I play sometimes

It's been a good time charlie kind of stay here in Minneapolis. Thanks to a scheduling snafu I get to stay another day! (this means no Lincoln NE show today) Yesterday we went to the sculpture gardens and took the obligatory Spoon Bridge & Cherry picture. It's like a pared down version of Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ, but it was freeheee. I stopped by my promoter Tinderbox Music's official office, and I was thrilled to walk in on the staff stuffing envelopes, surrounded by piles of CDs and boxes. They were good people, and I'm going to send them some craft beer when I get back. It's nice to put faces to names that you write checks to.

Finally, I went to the Mall of America to see what the hype was all about and check the sale racks at the Gap. I found me a couple of good deals AND a rollercoaster. I really wanted to go in the American Girl Doll store, but pride wouldn't let me. I harbour a lot of resentment since they took Kirsten off their catalogue.

Tomorrow's show is in Omaha at PS Collective, 8pm. There will be fine ladies, guitars, and for crying out loud, pizza. Send that cousin who you never talk to because they live in Nebraska.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

'Someday' video with P. Bear

I was mesmerized by this polar bear at the Chicago zoo. Her circles were sad, but so beautiful. Please pass it on. 'Someday' can be purchased on iTunes or at ! xo

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Flipflops & Rest Stops CHICAGO

Chicago has been a favourite tour stop of mine since I started looping around this country. I'm disarmed by easy going, friendly disposition of the bank tellers, baristas, and yes, even musicians. I played the upstairs of The Elbo Room, while a Battle of the Bands happened beneath me. Each time the kids came up for a breath of non-sweaty air I grabbed their attention with my Ke$ha cover, and then sneakily transitioned into an original Sarah Donner tune. I am very grateful for my fans who came out to my show and grateful for the Elbo Room which serves Delirium Tremens on tap.

detail of a pillow that caught my eye

Zookeeper using operant conditioning to check the seals dental hygiene at Chicago zoo

mouse holocaust aka. vulture snacktime

almond milk is not a trustworthy half and half substitute

Today is a travel day to St. Paul which involves a lot of podcasts, mindless snacking, and 400 miles on I-94. I'm working on a music video that will be released next week. It's a bit like Sleepy Kitten , but with a graceful flesh-eater! Tomorrow is a house concert in Shoreview, MN at 7pm. If you're interested in attending, please holler this way for the details since space is limited. Monday, I play at Acadia Cafe in Minneapolis at 10pm. And now, I return to knitting in the round.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

TOUR! It's ON! (after we fix the waterpump)

This is Burt the barreling pigeon who lost his way. My Pittsburgh hosts Chris and Liz took him in when he took a liking to the neighbors garbage cans. Burt was trained to fly high in the air and barrel spin down to the ground! Clearly Burt's heart wasn't in it anymore, so he's retired. He makes motivational DVDs for other pigeons trying to get out of the business.

Boredom inspires greatness.

This is Quill the star of my new tour poster! My evil plan is to use foster kitties to lure innocent passersby to my shows this summer. And, here they are!

Tonight! 6/8 Columbus OH, Rumba Cafe, 7pm $5

Thurs. 6/9 Chicago IL, The Elbo Room, 8pm $5

Sun. 6/12 Shoreview MN, House Concert, 2pm (holla back to RSVP)

Mon. 6/13 Minneapolis MN, Acadia Cafe, 8pm

Tues. 6/14 Lincoln NE, Zoo Bar, 9:30pm $4

Wed. 6/15 Omaha NE, Pizza Shoppe Collective w/All Girls Carry Machine Guns, 9pm

Fri. 6/17 Golden CO, House Concert, 7pm (holla back to RSVP)

Sat. 6/18 Denver CO, Walnut Room Pizzeria, 6:30pm

Mon. 6/20 Hays KS, Coffee Rules, 8pm

Tues. 6/21 Kansas City MO, The Record Bar, 7pm

Thurs. 6/23 St. Louis MO, Foam Coffee & Beer, 8pm

Sat. 6/25 Chattanooga TN, Chattanooga Farmer's Market, 12:30pm

Sun. 6/26 Nashville TN, The Bluebird Cafe, 8pm, songwriters night

Mon. 6/27 Atlanta GA, Eddie's Attic Open mic, 8:30pm, come support and say hi!

Tues. 6/28 Durham NC, Broad Street Cafe, 8pm

Thurs. 6/30 Knoxville TN, WDVX Blue Plate Special, 12pm, live radio broadcast in visitor's center

Fri. 7/1 Cincinnati OH, Refuge Coffee, 8pm

Fri. 7/8 Hamilton NJ, Grounds for Sculpture, 7:30pm

Tonight is the first Ohio show ever. All I know about Ohio is the fantastic Panera rest stops on the interstate, so this will be enlightening .

xo sd