FlashHarp Harmonica USB flash drive

>> Monday, November 16, 2009

Why yes, Carly, this is exactly my kind of thing - a fully-functional harmonica-cum-flash drive.

I'd say more, but the video below says it all.  If only it could record what's played on it, and if only my hopes and dreams hadn't been thwarted time after time by my utter lack of harmonic skills:

Posted via email from My Other Centaur...is a LADY Centaur


Hey Jude - the flowchart

>> Sunday, November 15, 2009

I have a mild obsession with rhetorical structure, linguistics and flowcharts (if they're funny - I'm not one of those weird regular flowchart people).

Love All This' Hey Jude Flowchart is pretty great, and the fact that it's categorized under "Nerd" blows the lid off of my own categorization system.

Posted via email from My Other Centaur...is a LADY Centaur


Paul Simon - writing "Still Crazy After All These Years"

>> Sunday, August 30, 2009

I've been on a huge Paul Simon kick lately, both listening and learning - meaning that I'll never truly get the hang of playing - his songs, and I found a great clip of him playing an unfinished "Still Crazy..." with Dick Cavett.

The bridge has always been the most striking part of the tune, and to watch a master songwriter like Simon weigh his options about where to go next is really fascinating.
"Have you ever reached for your C-sharp and gotten your C-natural instead?" is pretty priceless as well.

If nothing else, think about this:  how badass a songwriter do you have to be for Ray Charles to cover you?

Ian Messinger

My Other Centaur...is a LADY Centaur


Banjo Lovers - looking for a social networking site?

>> Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interested in learning the banjo?  Visit the Tony Trischka School of Banjo for FREE video lessons. 
You can even upload videos of your own playing and get some one-on-one pointers from Tony Trischka himself.

A video tutorial service and social network for banjo lovers - all this from a man who passes his time with Steve Martin:


Les Paul - who knew?

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

How High The Moon by Les Paul & Mary Ford
Download now or listen on posterous
How-High-The-Moon.mp3 (1948 KB)

The first Les Paul song I ever heard was "How High the Moon" on the soundtrack to My Favorite Year.  For years, I assumed Mary Ford's stack of 12 vocal tracks was the Andrews Sisters, and that Les was an entire small combo.  I always loved the song, and I was thrilled (and a little embarrassed) to finally discover after his passing that it was only him and Mary playing around with the multi-track recording methods that he invented.  Who knew?

There's a lot of excellent footage of the then-married couple playing together on variety shows - see one of my favorites below, where Mary really shines:

An amazing, amazing guy - I could listen to that intersection of jazz, rockabilly and country all day, and the modern era of recording might very well not exist without his innovations.


Wild Things and a Tribute to Nilsson's "The Point!"

Beloved children's books! Beloved children's cartoons! Oh boy! October is going to be a quite a month. First, Where the Wild Things Are finally comes out on October 16th:

There's even an excerpt of Dave Eggers' Where the Wild Things Are screenplay / novelization available courtesy of The New Yorker.

On Oct. 27th, we get a tribute to Harry Nilsson's The Point!, one of my all-time favorite records and movies. Featuring covers from Devotchka, Martha Wainwright, Andrew Bird and more, you can stream the songs here:

The record benefits Eggers' 826NYC, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting literacy and writing skills to kids in NYC and beyond.

Speaking of totalitarian cultural regimes (and yes, that's essentially what The Point! is about), I'm flying through Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn - a novel about the gradual outlawing of the alphabet on the fictional island of Nollop - and it scares the hell out of me for some reason. I highly recommend it for the subversive and literate (or even literally subversive), especially at a whopping $5 from The Strand.


"Where the Wild Things Are" movie pics

>> Monday, March 23, 2009

Coolest thing I've ever seen? Probably. The Dave Eggers-penned film finally comes out in October, and the trailer debuts this Friday in front of Monsters vs. Aliens.

See more at FilmDrunk


Twitter for Musicians Pt 1: The Basics

>> Sunday, March 8, 2009

On the eve of so many excellent Philly bands releasing new albums this summer, I've noticed that none of them has a Twitter account. That's a real shame, so here's a how-to (and, more importantly, why-to) guide to using Twitter as a tool for promoting your music.

Twitter is a microblogging service that mimics Facebook's "Status Update" feature: users create 140-character "tweets" and add Followers who are automatically fed these messages via Twitter.com or text messages.

You can also reply to other users (@UserName), send a private Direct Message (D UserName) or start and follow topics (check out #ModernFairy and #LitDish -- both awesome).

At first glance it seems like just another place for personal updates that no one cares about, but if you use it to announce things other than "I am eating a baloney sandwich - ACK!", it's a really powerful (and mobile) real-time marketing device. It attracts tens of thousands of new users each month, and it has grown more than 600% in the last 12 months.
Read "Twitter - the next big source of blog traffic" for more about setting up an account.

Why Musicians Need Twitter:

1. Your fans are already on Twitter
...and so are the journalists and bloggers who review your albums. Trust me, you'll be surprised by how many people you know on here. A simple search using TwitterSearch will also show you all the tweets containing your name - a great place to start adding followers who are already interested your music.

(You should already be receiving automatic updates from Google whenever your name is dropped in news, blogs, videos or other groups - if not, set them up at Google Alerts)

2. Twitter works with your cell phone
Let's say you just finished your sound check and no one has shown up for a gig. Simply send a tweet via text to 40404, and Twitter can notify all your followers that they are missing the best show of your career! Better yet, if they have your profile set up for notifications, it will send an alert to their cell phone.

If you're a touring musician or stuck in the studio, Twitter is a great way to get around spotty Internet access and a lack of time to update your website. Simply text updates from the road and have them fed into your other online profiles.

Services like TwitPic are also great for instantly uploading photos from the road, right from your phone. That burrito you ate with Lyle Lovett? Show everyone in just a few minutes!

3. Twitter integrates with your other social networking services
You can set Twitter to automatically change your Facebook status to your latest tweet, or use a service like TwitterFeed and allow Twitter to automatically tweet your latest blog post, Flickr upload, show calendar update and more.

When I publish this post, Twitter will automatically create a tweet entitled "Twitter for Musicians Pt 1" with a link to this blog (check it out here). At the same time, Twitter will change my Facebook status to the title of that tweet. My Twitter account also imports my latest GoodReads updates, Blip.fm updates and my shared Google Reader items - it saves me tons of time, and it makes sure that my friends who are on Twitter but not Facebook / mailing lists / near a computer can get the same info as everyone else in real time.

Still not sold? Just take my word for it, set up an account, check out the articles below, and Part II will go into much more detail about integrating Twitter with your other online marketing outlets. And follow me on Twitter when you get there!


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