Milan Open Mic Adventure Consolidated:
A micro trailer from the film: From the Milan segment of “Out of a Jam.”
A song from the album:
The Thumbnail Guide: Thumbnail Guide to Milan Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music
A link to a favorite blog item from the past: JAMMING WITH AN ANARCHIST ON A DIDGERIDOO AT THE LEONCAVALLO SOCIAL CENTER IN MILAN
A favorite video: Funny camera angle of me doing my song Borderline, with the anarchists at the Leoncavallo social center in Milan:
An excerpt from the Book: from the Milan chapter from OUT OF A JAM: An Around-the-World Journey of Healing and Rebirth Through Music:
After two days of depression, horrendous worry that I would not find a place to play, that this city was absolutely dead, and that maybe even the whole country of Italy was a musical write-off, I was banking everything on the anarchists. But it had been such a small online ad, and so recently placed, that it was hard to imagine I would really find what it said:
Il Circolo Anarchico Ponte della Ghisolfa vi invita
sabato 3 ottobre a partire dalle ore 20:00 ad un dibattito su:
diritti, comunicazione e immigrazione
e dalle 21:30
free jam session con il collettivo “Libera”
Serata dedicata alla raccolta fondi per iniziative per il quarantennale di Piazza Fontana
SarÃ inoltre disponibile a prezzo scontato il libro di Licia Pinelli e Piero Scaramucci
“Una storia quasi soltanto mia”
Viale Monza, 255 Milano M1 Precotto
Even if I got there, would I be excluded because I was not a card-carrying anarchist (an oxymoron)? Or would I be told that it was a hired band doing the jam, or that I could not intrude on the musicians, etc.? But if that happened, I would say: “What kind of anarchists are you?!”
Leaving my hotel at close to 9 PM, with the jam starting at 10 PM, I went to the Precotto metro stop. It was a semi-residential area, with no stores open, just a little pizzeria, apartment buildings, a cafeteria that was closed, a Simply market, another café that was also closed, gas stations, a Seiko watch store, all closed, and some kind of apartment buildings. I could not find street numbers and I passed in front of a fruit store and another with a lot of graffiti and a park with a streetcar crossing.
Finally, I found No. 255 Viale Monza: A rundown building, like one of those in the Italian countryside out of an Italian art film, with that same pale brick, red tile roof, stucco-y yellow. At the end of a chaotic garden was a cavernous, double front door wide open into a dark area. I felt suddenly very much as if this was what I had been expecting and hoping for. A run-down club environment. I entered and as I did so, I had the feeling that people were measuring me up with my guitar. At the end of the entrance hall was a refreshment area with a bar, beer on tap, very basic. Above the bar a big black-flag depicting a skull, and on the bar a skull and crossbones statue, the size of my fist. A couple of guys behind the counter ate spaghetti, next to a bowl of popcorn. The music room was through double doors to the left and there were not many people, although it was still only 9:40 PM. Nodding at my guitar, a man behind the bar said: “Go ahead, it’s in there.” I entered to see if it was necessary to sign up.
I saw a couple of guys, one playing an electric guitar and one playing an acoustic guitar. They were testing the amp and playing blues.
A man with glasses and short hair, who looked like a mid-level cadre, in his 40s, and who had a long bizarre wind instrument, a didgeridoo, looked at me in a way that made me feel he was the organizer.
He said to me, “Yes, yes, go over there,” indicating I could play immediately.