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Amazing Night at the Open Mic and Film Showing at TAC Teatro

March 26, 2023

Sheldon Forrest on screen in Out of a Jam at TAC Teatro

Sheldon Forrest on screen in Out of a Jam at TAC Teatro

AUBERVILLIERS – One of the beauties of live music is that every time you play the experience is something different maybe than you expected. That is, live theater, live music, live anything is unpredictable to a certain degree – some new nuance or moment will stand out and that’s what makes the experience “real.” I had been planning the projection of the Paris moments of my open mic film, “Out of a Jam,” at TAC Teatro for some time. I had been visualizing it in a certain way, anticipating it for what I thought and hoped it would be. In the event, two nights ago, it turned out to be nothing like what I expected, but so much more in so many ways. What a night!

It was a very intimate evening with some great musicians and other unexpected, and exceptional guests (my globe-trotting writer friend Adam Hay-Nicholls, who lives in London, blew me away with his presence), in a warm, thought-provoking moment of what was also a hugely nerve-wracking – but proud – evening of showing in public some excerpts from my film for the first time. A great core group of musicians from Paris showed up, as well as a surprise visit from the great science fiction novelist, Norman Spinrad, and his other half, Dona Sadock, who among many other things, once produced the Firesign Theater comedy troupe. I first wrote about Norman Spinrad in an article in the International Herald Tribune when he was selling the rights to one of his novels via the internet for $1. The book went on to find a publisher some time later, and he has continued to publish non-stop since. I last wrote about Norman Spinrad on this blog when I attended his 70th birthday party, in 2010 – which, when I re-read it, was a hell of a night!

Norman Spinrad and Dona Sadock and me in the middle presenting Out of a Jam at TAC Teatro

Norman Spinrad and Dona Sadock and me in the middle presenting Out of a Jam at TAC Teatro

The film, “Out of a Jam,” was filmed the following year, but took me until now to complete the editing, and put it in what I consider its final shape: a 21-part series for streaming. Among the guests who attended on Friday night was one of the main “talking heads” of the documentary, Sheldon Forrest, who graced us with his presence despite it being a strike struck period in France and his living a couple of hours away from the Aubervilliers venue! I was thrilled.

The first truly nerve-wracking thing of the evening, though, was that my computer refused to boot! So there was no film. Fortunately I had brought my iPad, and while I could not show the Paris moments to start with, as we waited for more spectators to arrive and for my computer to boot, we watched the Istanbul episode of the series. After that, magically, my computer decided to boot. (Actually, it is not magic. Although I had just a few weeks ago replaced the battery for a similar experience, I think I have solved the problem: It is a Macbook Pro, and after losing my adapter, I replaced it with a non-Apple charger, which I think does not have the same performance capacity as the Apple charger, and so if the computer runs out of charge, it takes FOREVER to re-charge enough to boot!)

Earle Holmes on screen in Out of a Jam at TAC Teatro

Earle Holmes on screen in Out of a Jam at TAC Teatro

I was therefore able to show the compilation of Paris moments from the open mic, which was a 37-minute film without form. But I got all sorts of great responses from the people present.

After that, Joe Cady, my violin-playing friend with whom I have play with several times over the years including at the F1 FanZone in London in 2014 – and whom I first met at Spinrad’s 60th birthday party! – suggested we do a song together, and the very-much-shortened open mic took place! I did “Mad World” with Joe, and it was amazing to play again together, and then Angus Sinclair played another cover with Joe, singing “Wicked Game,” in a wonderful rendition that made it his own.

The evening ended up being more about the film than the open mic and a couple of other musicians who came had to leave early so we did not go beyond that. So it turned out to be completely different than I either planned or imagined. And so much better, in the way it decided to be!

Tar0&Jir0 and other Amazing Performers at Ollie’s Open Mic

April 20, 2011



I was all ready to find myself regretting depature from Asia and the fabulous fun of the open mics in Kuala Lumpur and Shanghai when I dragged myself, dead tired and jet lagged from my comfortable home to the open mic at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance bar in Paris near the Panthéon. Ollie Fury’s open mic, that is. And wow, there was nothing like an evening at Ollie’s open mic to wake me up and jolt me to my feet and realize that Paris may be a little routine for me, but the people it attracts are anything but. In fact, the electric shock of the night was a couple of brothers from Japan who have been hanging around in Europe in the last couple of years – mostly London and France – and electrifying audiences with their high-voltage duo act of frenetic guitar, vocals and movement.

THAT was a long-winded paragraph, but how else could I wind up the night’s activities? These guys call themselves Tar0&Jir0, and their real names are Kimitaro & Tomojiro Kukae… or perhaps not. Just check out the videos of Tar0&Jir0 and no doubt you will have a small idea of how mad these two are. I bought their CD and played it this morning and found the same electrifying – or electrified – acoustic scramble, and was glad I’d spent the 10 euros. I thought these brothers had named themselves after a couple of dogs who saved some people’s lives in a failed Antarctic expedition, but that is not the case. It’s just a coincidence. But I could fairly say they saved me last night.

I played three songs, not at all prepared, and only realizing how tired I was when I got up behind the mic. But it went well. I did “Streets of London” for the first time from beginning to end with only one real slip up in memory of the lyrics. I did a Dylan and my “Except Her Heart.”

There were lots of other fabulous performers and sounds, like another visit by Natas Loves You, doing one of their own and a Beatles they don’t often do. There was a trio of young people singing Dylan, The Band and something else – and I found it really refreshing. There was soo much variety – a new person coming in the form of Zoe Kelly, from Sidney, who has a very nice voice and style, and self-assuredly pulls it all off. Some regulars like Aurore Clement, and Tristan, and others. And finally, Angus Sinclair played Ollie’s for the first time in a nice set, the last song of which got the crowd really rocking.

Finally, I was not the only one electrified by Ollie’s great open mic. Ollie’s dog was also one of the best listeners, at least when Ollie was playing his songs to start off the evening. Check out the video of his dog listening to his master’s voice….

Angus Sinclair: When the Highlander Meets the Tennessee

March 4, 2011

Thank goodness for a half bottle of Chateau Camarsac Bordeaux Superieur that just gave me the idea for that post headline. I can’t think of a better way to sum up the little concert I went to last night at the Tennesse bar than that.

I am in the habit of going to the open mics at The Highlander bar and the Tennessee bar – especially during the F1 off-season – as readers of this blog will have noticed. And at the Tennessee I sometimes see this guy named Angus Sinclair, who it turns out is Scottish – ie, the Highlander. But last night for the first time I went to his gig with his band at the Tennessee bar, and I found that this particular Scot has a fairly American south sound to his music – whether it be the south of California or the deep South, I’m not sure which.

In any case, it was a very cool concert of nothing but songs by Mr. Angus Sinclair and his make-up band of the moment, with among others my friend Joe Cady on violin. (Joe having played my brunch and also the violinist and guitarist for The Romantic Black Shirts, who played at my concert at the Disquaires last Sunday.

In any case, this Angus guy is interesting also in that music is his sideline, even if it sounds fully fledged professional and ready for Top-50 hit-making. He is a longtime Paris expat with a business in graphic designs – making logos – and he likes to design music for fun. Great songs, good cheer, and an hour and a half long set without a break. The man has a voice, presence, charisma, charm and a song-writing ability. I would have liked to hear a little more solo-playing out of Joe and the guitar, but maybe next time!!!! (And Joe told me he was strictly there to fill out the sound, so what do I know?)

I’ve put down a couple of songs, including the last, long, one in which he introduces the band.

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