Regular readers of my long-standing crush on singer/songwriter/siren Marian Call. Her voice is lovely, her lyrics brain-poking, and her self-motivated music career an inspiration.
So I’m really pleased to let y’all know she is re-releasing her last album, Something Fierce. She’s doing this for several reasons, but one is to get it more widely released. She wants to get on NPR and other places where the audience for her would fit right in.
Of course, this is Marian we’re talking about, so she’s gone to ridiculous lengths to do this. She wants her listeners to participate, to be a part of this. So she’s done something both silly and clever (typically): she’s started a treasure hunt. Well, she’s calling it Adventure Questing because, let’s face it, her fans (of which I am a big one) are all geeks. Anyway, she’s issuing one task per day to her followers, and they’re, well, silly and clever. I won’t give anything away; instead, just go look.
Also, follow her on Twitter for updates and such.
This all started on November 1 – sorry, I know I’m late, but there has been some other stuff on my mind lately – and ends on the 13th. So go and start questing adventurously! And know that what you’re doing is helping support an extremely talented artist who has worked enormously hard to get where she is, and does it all for the love of music, and the love of fans. That’s honest truth, and one of the many reasons I really dig her.
In early September, the day after Dragon*Con, I traveled with some good friends to Huntsville, Alabama to raise money for Space Camp. We put on a show called Rocketfest – it was the brainchild of singer/siren Marian Call, and we had a fantastic time.
[Click to vonbraunenate. From left to right: Joseph Scrimshaw, Ken Plume, Marian Call, moi, Molly Lewis.]
But don’t just believe me! My friend Melissa Kaercher went there too, and wrote a brief blog post about it. Melissa’s also a great photographer, and took the wonderful shot above of all of us posing under the huge full-scale Saturn V model suspended from the ceiling.
You can see more of these photos on her Flickr page. I kinda like the photo inset here, too. Noble, isn’t it? I didn’t wind up buying the jump suit, but Molly Lewis got herself one. Melissa’s pictures of her – of everyone – are great.
The concert was streamed live using Google Hangouts, and the whole thing is archived online:
[My part starts at 1:18:50, but you should watch the whole thing!]
It was HUGE fun, and we raised money to help get kids to go to Space Camp, which fills me with joy. It was an amazing place to visit, and if you’re ever anywhere Hunstville, it’s well worth your time to check out.
As I write this I am in Huntsville, Alabama at Space Camp! I’m here for
RocketFest, a celebration of space with music, talks, and a Saturn V full of fun stuff. We’re doing this to raise money for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation.
We’ve set up a live Google+ Hangout, and if all is well it’s embedded below. It starts at 2:00 Central time (19:00 UTC), and you’ll see performances by Molly Lewis, Ken Plume, Joseph Scrimshaw, and Marian Call.
You can donate to this great cause at the RocketFest page!
And here’s the video!
I am very excited to invite everyone to a fantastic event: RocketFest, a field day at Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama!
Rocketfest is a celebration of Space Camp and what it does to inspire kids to explore space. It’s open to families and kids of all ages, and it’ll be on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Space Camp itself. All proceeds raised go to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation.
I’ll be giving a short talk there about space exploration, and a few geeky friends will be there too: George Hrab, Molly Lewis, Ken Plume, Joseph Scrimshaw, and Marian Call! Marian organized this whole thing because she is constructed of awesome. Also, ThinkGeek is donating prizes for it, too.
The event will be streamed live on the web from the Space Camp page. I’ll try to tweet it and all that (but bear in mind we’re leaving straight from Dragon*Con to Hunstville, so my ability to internet may be limited – so follow Marian, Molly, and George on Twitter just to be sure).
We also have this cool retro poster:
I hope to see lots of BABloggees there, or on the live stream. You’ll love this, I promise.
Marian Call is many things: a singer, a songwriter, a geek, and a friend. I’ve written about her many times, since a lot of her music is about geek culture (like Firefly and Battlestar, and living the nerd life)… and because she has a fantastic voice and writes brilliant lyrics.
And that’s why I’m so excited that she has a new album out: Something Fierce, a double-album of Mariany goodness.
Something Fierce is full of wonderful music. Some of it is geek, some normal, and some about Alaska. My favorite on the whole shebang is "Temporal Dominoes", which starts off with Marian wailing, and launches into a complex weave of lyrics about how life stacks up on you. It’s a very cool song, and not just because I commissioned the song from her for a plate of cookies*.
The whole album is pretty amazing. And, to top it off, she’s done this whole thing herself, with support of her fans. No agents, no labels, no record companies: just her and her throng. When I was in L.A. a few months ago to film for a documentary, she happened to be there as well, and we were (barely) able to arrange getting together for a quick breakfast; she had to find a place to crash from a fan and then spent most of the night mixing the tracks. For all that, the album is professional, polished, and clean, and is, in my opinion, the best thing she’s put out yet.
But why believe me? You can listen to her yourself:
Convinced? You can also listen to the whole album online. From there you can also buy a CD or a downloadable file. I grabbed the download, and it’s really nice. She also includes a ton of photos and liner notes that are fun to go through. You might recognize a name or two there, too.
I think it’s great that there are independent artists out there working hard to make their own individual voices heard, doing an end-run around the gatekeepers that in many cases mediocratize artists. That’s one of the many reasons I support Marian, and I hope you will too.
* This is true.
My close personal friend Marian Call™ — nerdy indy singer/songwriter extraordinaire — will be doing a whirlwind tour of the San Francisco bay area from September 1 – 7. If you live in that area, you should check her concerts out. She sings about being a geek, and Firefly, and Battlestar, and zombies. Seriously.
She’s also chipped in a song with a bunch of other nerdlings (like Molly Lewis and MC Frontalot) to do a cover of the They Might Be Giants album "Mink Car". The original was released on midnight of September 11, 2001. Yeah, then. So all the proceeds from the cover album will go to the FDNY Foundation, the official not-for-profit foundation of the Fire Department of New York. You can read Marian’s account of the whole thing on her blog. You can also listen to the songs, too, before you buy the album if you want.
I imagine in the coming couple of weeks we’ll be hearing a lot about the tenth anniversary of the attack. Here’s a chance to see something good, charitable, and honorable come out of it.
The Earth spins on, the Universe ticks away, the Sun still shines, and there is and always will be science to report on.
But for a little while, just a little while, there are other things to contemplate today.
In the coming days, weeks, and months, we’ll learn more about what happened in Pakistan yesterday. There will be claims made, stories spun, politics created, conspiracy theories woven and layered upon.
But for a little while, that isn’t important.
In general it seems wrong to me, alien, to celebrate the death of a human. But when that human has caused so many deaths, and when he planned so many more… well, as many people tweeted last night quoting Clarence Darrow*: "I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction."
My own emotions are a bit complicated right now, and merit some further thought. Satisfaction is certainly playing a large role, though. And, as my friend Marian Call so wisely put it on Twitter, "Wow. No joy. Just relief."
I can live with that. Those directly affected by the events of and since September 11 may feel more strongly, and I certainly understand that and sympathize. But for me, just for now, relief and great satisfaction will do just fine.
* This has been misattributed to Mark Twain, and I’ll admit I retweeted it as such myself. Just want to set the record straight here.
It’s been a while since I’ve plugged Geek-A-Week, artist Len Peralta’s project to interview and draw a trading card for one Alpha Geek per week for a year.
Did I say one? I guess this week is an exception, since Len’s latest geekweekery is with singers/songwriters/comedians/dorks Paul and Storm, they of the creation of w00tstock. The drawing Len did is perfect, since if you’re ever heard them perform you’ll wonder if they do inhabit the same body with two heads… and the description on the card back was done by none other than Neil Gaiman! You can listen to the interview by grabbing the MP3 here.
And it’s not like Len’s been slouching the past few weeks, either. Last weekend he roped into his nerd corral Chief Galen Tyrol himself, Aaron Douglas (from Battlestar Galactica, duh). I met Aaron at w00tstock at Comic Con, where he did a really funny walk-on wearing his orange flight deck jumpsuit. Despite his gruff appearance he’s actually completely without pity or humor or adult sensibilities.
You can find out for yourself by listening to Len’s interview of Aaron. Fair warning: NSFW language as well as grimly NSFW imagery of Wil Wheaton woven by Aaron’s words.
Len’s list of geek targets has grown well; he’s added Watchman science advisor and physics professor James Kakalios, and of course Marian Call, seen here. If you don’t recognize the idea behind the drawing for her, then you’ve been spending too much time out in the black and you’re like to get addlepated.
You can see the entire geek interview list, and also take a look at the amazing trading cards Len has drawn. I love his style. And if you have nothing better to do, then here’s clearly the dorkiest of the interviews Len did.
If you were curious about what I’m doing tonight, here’s my schedule (all times Eastern):
7:00 p.m.: I’ll be watching the live stream performance from my friend Marian Call, who is singing at the Think Geek HQ in Washington DC! This is such a high density of nerdery it may collapse to form a black hole. I have links to various marianesque chanteusery in an earlier post about her.
9:00 p.m.: The premiere of season 8 of MythBusters on The Discovery Channel! Woohoo! The previews look great.
10:00 p.m.: Hmmm, I know there’s something going on at this time… oh, right. The premiere of Episode 2 of Bad Universe, "Alien Attack!" also on Discovery Channel! I showed a teaser yesterday, and here’s another one. In this, I went spelunking in an underground cave in New Mexico to look for extremophiles:
Did you catch the "O Brother Where Art Thou" reference? I have lots of stories about that cave, which I’ll be live-tweeting tonight during the premier!
So tune in and watch as I try to figure out if I, for one, am in imminent danger of having to welcome our new insect overlords. And don’t forget: there’s still a little bit of time left (if it’s before noon Mountain time, that is) to win free swag from this episode!
My friend, the geek-chanteuse Marian Call, is touring the United States, playing smaller venues in all the Lower 48 (and Hawaii!). I heard her sing in Boulder where she was incredible as always, and also at w00tstock, where a whole passel of folks were enthralled.
She’s seeking venues right now, and below is a list of places and times for her (her final travel schedule is online at her site). If you live in one of these places and want her to come to your local coffee shop, house concert, or what-have-you (she’s specifically looking for places that don’t usually host such an event), contact her! You can find her through her website or on Twitter.
St. Louis, MO Aug. 26
Fayetteville or Little Rock AR Aug. 27
New Orleans and greater Louisiana Aug. 28-30
Mississippi Aug. 31
Alabama Sept. 1-2
Bellingham, WA Sept. 12
Hawai’i — Oahu, Maui, and Kauai Dec. 13-21
She’s also playing a few places on the west coast:
Tacoma, WA // Thurs. 08.12.10 – Mandolin Cafe
7pm, all ages, $5-10 recommended donation. 3923 South 12th St., Tacoma WA.
Portland, OR // Tues. 08.17.10 – House Concert
Open to the public — please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP and receive the address. All ages, free, $10-15 recommended donation, please bring a snack or beverage to share.
Portland, OR // Wed. 08.18.10 – Proper Eats Market & Cafe
8pm, all ages, free. $5-10 recommended donation. 8638 N Lombard Ave., Portland OR
Seattle, WA // Thurs. 09.09.10 – Fremont Abbey: the Very Very Big Seattle Concert
Marian almost never plays with a band, but this September in Seattle it shall come to pass. Strings, drums, and every good thing, including the unsinkable Molly Lewis opening (#freemolly!). 8pm, all ages, ticket price TBA. Tickets will be available in advance here at http://mariancall.com and at the door. 4272 Fremont Ave N, Seattle WA.
Vancouver, BC, CANADA // Sat. 09.11.10 – Cocoa Nymph Chocolates & Confections
8pm, all ages, $5 cover. 3739 W 10th Ave. Vancouver BC V6R 2G5