Sarah Mac Band’s Unlikely Venues Tour 2011
Farewell, Miracle 5. You and the independent films that you so proudly brought to Tallahassee for so many years will be missed.
In the last few weeks, Charlie, Claire and I have found ourselves playing in some unexpected places. Two weeks ago, we played in Atlanta in a restaurant. This weekend, we found ourselves playing at a movie theater. Although both of those sound like less than ideal venues, they really weren’t that bad. In fact, they were like the Ritz compared to being 12 feet up in the air on a 4×8 foot beer cooler (Which really did happen, by the way. Keep watching the Question of the Week videos on our website for more info on that one…)
Claire and I have a running list of venues that we’d like to play. I don’t want to share them with you because then I’ll feel all awkward if we never get there (Kind of like after I tell you that I want to run 31 miles on my 31st birthday and then abruptly stop training.) I know that you won’t love me any less if I don’t make my goal, but I’ll feel dumb for putting it out there and not following through—especially since one of the things that I value most in people is “coming through.” So instead, I’ll share with you what’s been on my mind this week… a growing list of venues that makes me chuckle every time I think about it again…
“After a restaurant and a movie theater, where else might the Sarah Mac Band play a concert should we ever again get bumped from our venue in favor of a Jennifer Lopez movie shoot?”
[Side note: I might have found a new training partner this weekend who is more my level… well, she’s way more fit than I am, but she’s not a freaking Olympic triathlete like my last training partner. So now, maybe I won’t be quite as discouraged after every training session. All of that to say that the 31 on 31 might not be a total bust… it might just be more like 31-sometime-during-the-year-of-being-31-years-old instead.]
Reading audience, I present to you the Sarah Mac Band’s Unlikely Venues Tour 2011.
Salvation Mountain: Niland, California
When I was in college, I saw a snippet of a video where Salvation Mountain’s creator, Leonard Knight, was playing banjo badly and rambling on unintelligibly about God’s love as he gave a walking tour of (much smaller back then) his grand creation. It was so absurd and wonderful all at the same time. Like “experience the Northern Lights in Iceland,” “visit Salvation Mountain” has been added to my lifelong to-do list. As goofy as it may sound, I’m pretty convinced that there is a bigger purpose to my visit to this place, which is why I can’t get it out of my head and it won’t leave me alone. Every time good ol’ Leonard leaves my mind for any substantial period of time, I somehow find him again in a news article or stumble across him in a magazine. Every time I go to California, I try to get out there and every time it doesn’t work out for me. Maybe it’s because there’s an invisible force holding me back until I can visit it with Charlie and Claire, since we saw the first little video snippet together. It would be a sweet way to bring it all full circle. And Jeez Louise, how cool would the photos from that concert be?
Eliphante: Cornville, Arizona
This is someone’s home. But it’s also a 3-acre sculpture made completely from recycled and repurposed materials. For Claire and me, this would be heaven. Both of us claim to be “artsy-fartsy” AND “earth first. ” Charlie… well, he has recycling at his house. We won’t even go into his take on art…that might bring everyone in the Sarah Mac Band to a very uncomfortable place where we relive a two week long argument about the album art for the “Alive Again” limited edition single for the Single Revolution. Forget the Killer Klowns from Outer Space, I think that my insomnia problems might all come down to the fact that I still have nightmares where I hear Charlie’s voice saying “Guys, all I’m saying is that I just don’t get the duck. Why a duck?”
Even with our very different opinions about what constitutes art, I think that Charlie would totally dig this place. If you check it out online, you’ll see that they’ve just done some really cool things. We’ve been tossing around the idea of maybe trying out house concerts since some of our friend-bands do them and love them. This would be a good baptism into that scene. Who’s in?
My brother-in-law’s parents have a place in Vermont. Until recently, they used to go there every summer. When I mentioned in my blog last week that my brother-in-law was the only person to ever beat me in Trivial Pursuit, I failed to mention that I was only pretending to lose to garner favor and an invitation to summer in Vermont with his family.
Actually, I can’t pretend that I was big on Vermont prior to my trip. I really only knew four things about the entire state:
- All of the hippies that I know go camping there on their honeymoons.
- It’s kind of like the southern extension of Quebec because there are people there that only speak French.
- The capital is Montpelier (that’s from Mrs. Coleman’s fifth grade social studies class at Chaires Elementary School when we learned about the Fifty Nifty United States).
- My friend Lindy moved there when we were in elementary school and had to switch to a boys’ soccer team because they didn’t have girls’ soccer in Vermont. So when her dad finished law school and she moved back to Florida, she was an untouchable soccer beast because she’d spent the last three years playing five times rougher than all of us and was all about bloody noses and slide tackling.
When I got to Vermont, visited the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, and I realized that it was a mecca of all things good and ice cream, I was sold and ready to move there. When the guy who ran a resort there asked me to stay for the winter and be the bar’s entertainment, I was ready to quit my job and sign on the dotted line. Then Mr. Elwood told me that they get something like 395 feet of snow at a time (not an exaggeration) and sometimes the roads close and people have to stay in their houses for days at a time. What the Jimmy? I keep a Snuggie in our van because I can’t handle the air conditioning! Wintering in Vermont might not be the best idea. I quickly decided that I’d just have to settle for my band playing a concert in the Flavor Graveyard (in the summer, of course… getting paid in ice cream, of course). After all, Claire does call me Six-Feet-Under-Girl!
Carhenge: Alliance, Nebraska
There is a place on the interstate highway between Tampa and Orlando where a bunch of Airstream Trailers are stuck into the ground at funny angles. Every time we drive by, we talk about how we want to stop and take a photo. Every time Claire is at the ready with her fancy picture taking cellular phone and then we start talking and don’t see the damn thing until it’s too late. I’m not sure if it even has an official name, but we call it “Trailerhenge.” Claire is a little bit obsessed with it (but really obsessed in real life… not like she’s obsessed with Lee Greenwood. After I blogged about that, I realized through a tense conversation that she’s not really obsessed with him and she just pretends to be because it’s funny that way. I guess that subtle detail flew straight over my head. Need to set the record straight so that I’m not spreading falsehood about my bandmates out there on the interwebs for God and everyone to read!).
Since we took Charlie to the Allman Brothers Museum for his birthday two weeks ago, I’d like to be sneaky and take Claire to Carhenge for her birthday in October (she’s a Libra). The only problem is that Middle America is way out of the way of where we’re usually touring, so I don’t think that the “have to go to a special boutique to get my special perfume” excuse would work on her. So, I think that it’d be best to just suck it up and plan a concert there. Besides, since it’s a random circle of stone cars outside in a field, there’s probably not any power and we’d need Claire and all of her organization skills to arrange for generators to power the PA.
Ruby Falls: Chattanooga, Tennessee
I discovered recently that Scorpios are “water signs.” I don’t really know what that means about my personality or actual connection to water, but I know that if it means that you love waterfalls, then it’s 100% accurate. I can still remember the first time I ever saw a waterfall. I must have been in the first grade because I had a horrible home perm that Grandma Beulah gave me one night when I stayed over at her house, and then tried to cut out once she realized that it was ugly. It left me with a big puff ball on top of my head that I still carried in my second grade school picture. Now that you have a picture in your head of the character, here’s the setting…
We were in the homeland, hiking in the mountains. Man, I was so energetic and excited about hiking that I probably could have run 31 miles without even training. The trail was really well marked, so I ran ahead of the rest of the family, past an older couple coming back the other way with a wiener dog in a baby carrier on their chest (funny how little details like that stick in your mind). Suddenly, I rounded a corner to see the strangest, most exhilarating thing that I had ever encountered: a river that came over the edge of a cliff and then continued on once it hit the bottom. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I loved it. And instead of going on a different trail the next day, I made Mr. Elwood take me back to the same waterfall and hike it again. The second time, I got brave and ventured around to walk behind it. Crazy, right? That kind of stuff only happens in the movies and on the island in Lost.
Having been to Chattanooga a million times in my life, you might think that I’m an old pro at Ruby Falls–a waterfall inside of a hollow mountain. Not so. In fact, I’ve never been there. Now that I think of it, I’ve never been on the Chattanooga Choo-Choo or seen Rock City, either (although I have been to the aquarium there—water sign, eh?). When I went on the road with Grant Peeples while Charlie was in Cambodia, not only did I play the Eddie’s Attic gig (check last week’s blog posting to hear a live recording of Grant and me from that gig), but I also went on and played their Chattanooga coffee house gig the next night. My big plan was to hit Ruby Falls that day and then meet up with the band for dinner and the show. But since I’m really bad at saying “no,” I went to IKEA instead and picked up a new sink for Baby Bear’s kitchen remodel.
Po-tay-to, po-tot-to. The Sarah Mac Band plays Ruby Falls, Sigus Ros plays an epic concert in a cave-like venue in Iceland.
Again, I think that there is a big-picture significance for Ruby Falls and Sarah Mac. I’m not sure what it is, but there is a deep hope in me that it will be when the Sarah Mac Band gets bumped again from their venue by a Jennifer Lopez movie shoot and we instead get to have a concert there like one of the epic ones that Sigur Ros did in a cave-ish area as documented in their Heima dvd (I would totally tell you the name of the venue so that you could look it up and watch that portion on Youtube, but I think I loaned my dvd to someone and now I can’t watch it to figure out where the concert was).
Wait… this one isn’t just a funny place that we would play if we got “booted.” If you have yet to buy your tickets for this Friday’s show, please call soon (as it’s almost sold out) to be a part of the continuation of the Sarah Mac Band’s Unlikely Venues Tour 2011, at Way Out West… which is for real, a space that used to house a fancy recording studio and now is a store that sells cowboy boots, but periodically clears out their merchandise and has seated concerts inside.
We’ll be joined by our old friend Libby O’Neill as we celebrate the release of our friend James Matthew Hughes’s new album Old North Monroe. It’s kind of fancy—with catering and a shuttle to a VIP after party. A portion of the proceeds will go to Big Bend Hospice.
See you there. If you come, you’ll get to see my new Tori Amos hair…