Grandpa At It in the Parking Lot

Dad Directs Traffic - Daryl
My baby sister snapped this shot with her cellie, as she and her family were surprised to see “Grandpa” at it in the parking lot.

When people are surprised at times I offer help for no perceived benefit of my own, or when occasionally someone asks me where I get my work ethic from… I have to credit this guy. The guy in the gloves and vest. My pop. The Candy Man.

Though it may not be super cool to volunteer directing traffic in a church parking lot on Easter Sunday morning… And though at one point of my life this sight might have embarrassed me… And while not everyone always appreciates his attempts at helpfulness… I appreciate many of the intangibles he’s given me.  And just wanted to publicly say, thanks Dad.

– Quiche Out

The Brillance Of Open Mics

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Tom Kiesche at microphone
Photo courtesy of: Horace Birgh

So, as some of you know I have been doing more singing at open microphones around Los Angeles for a little while now… And I have to say that while some of the nights have been… “meh…” Some of the experiences have been quite amazing. So yes, high points and low points. Watching and learning from some amazing performers, and wading through some of the longest real face twisting off key pitchy clunkers.

A few weeks back, out at a piano bar, after I sang two songs, a good friend of mine turned to me, unsolicited, and said, “You’re going to be a star, and when your career takes off, and you become huge… All this… All your work is going to pay off for you.” (Yes, I’m paraphrasing as I didn’t write it down or record it.) At the moment, I heard it, and I took in what he said as a huge compliment… However, today, several weeks later, I possibly understand it more than I ever expected to.

I don’t know what my singing will lead to as a career or hobby… I don’t know if I’ll continue to sing in my closet and make videos (ClosetSinger.com), sing in small theaters, cabarets, or some day I’ll sing in front of thousands or on TV or films… But having a wide variety of experiences of singing in various places, can only, and has only enriched my performing and creative life…

Picture a dive bar, with smoke residue from 40 years ago still present, and smashed bartenders swearing at under-aged patrons to get the fuck out, as you attempt to sing tender songs… Having pianists who have never seen the music in front of them miss key and rhythm changes… Forgetting lyrics to songs you thought you’ve known. Being introduced incorrectly. Having people walk by you on their way to the bathroom as you’ve held dramatic song ending high notes… Having mic stands come apart or drop in the midst of a performance… Well, how could any of that NOT be good for someone’s performance chops. If it was all easy, if every venue were filled with people politely sitting quietly, in packed theaters, with no talk backs, no issues or problems, imagine what would happen when out of the blue something odd did happen…

IMG_0315
A night out of “the Closet” singing (ClosetSinger.com)
Pictured: Jackie Gibson at the mic tells the story of being a 2nd generation piano bar singer, as Tommy Dodson tickles the keys.

I often think of one of my other dear performer friends who has told me many stories of when she worked as a singing waitress… People would request things from her as she neared their tables with a microphone in her hands, or spill things she’d have to clean up, and there she would have to be, continuing right on, without missing a beat, singing… Picking up plates, dropping off food, or passing the salt… It gave her an amazing ability to handle just about any thing that could come up while she performs. Last time I saw her she was mixing drinks, while holding a microphone in her hands and singing back up. When I told her of my amazement, she responded with someone like… “This? This is nothing.”

And the truth of the matter is, if you ask anyone who performs in various venues… Stand ups, singers, actors, poets… Well I would imagine they all have a wealth of horror stories.

Larry Davis Open Mic
The very talented Larry Davis at microphone
Photo courtesy of: Horace Birgh

So, this past week I’m singing in a dive bar… My first song… “You’re Nobody Till Some Bunny Loves You…” Honestly, was pretty unmemorable, and for what ever reason failed to capture the attention of a good percentage of the overly chatty bar crowd. And I’m pretty sure no one but possibly one other than the pianist, knew of my seasonal word switch.  My second song, which I sang a good amount of time later, “The Best Is Yet To Come,” seemed to go a little better…  It apparently inspired one to clap along and another to kinda drunken disco dance… Which, is cool, however, the person clapping was not only off the beat, but also off rhythm. Still it’s awesome that people allow themselves to enjoy. The third song I sang was the my favorite experience of the night… “The Impossible Dream.” Vocally and performance-wise it was possibly my best of the three, though I wasn’t completely happy with it… A rare Pilates workout, given to me by yet another friend who challenged me to take her class earlier in the week, was still effecting my abdominals and I was not able to get them to release completely as I sang and breathed, and I felt the song never really dropped in my body below my chest… But the funniest thing about it… And as I write this, I know nothing is funny about it… Was that a paraplegic man in a wheelchair, an apparent bar regular, with apparently speech impediment issues, started barking out sounds throughout most of the song. And as I was singing, at the mic, under a clip light with a red bulb, and I was feeling like an old French fry standing near a white trash table clothed covered pool table, I didn’t know if the wheelchair bound man was heckling me, singing along, happy, emotional, or just ordering the world’s most complicated drink from the working bartender…

Tom Kiesche at microphone
Photo courtesy of: Horace Birgh

I continued with the song, switching between closing my eyes, focusing on the story of the song, watching the TV playing in the far end of the bar, and trying to find a pair of intelligent interested eyes in the audience. Ah yes… I remember it well. It was a sheer brilliant moment in my already long performance career… A story to be celebrated… And honestly, it’s just another one of many.

Ah yes, I remember it well…

– Quiche Out

Feel free to post your favorite open mic location in the comment section below… Or your favorite pianists… Venues come and go, but open mics will always be around. Best thing to do is go to one and start asking around. Talented pianists want talented singers… So, go out and meet them… Some of the many pianists I’ve sang semi-regularly with (in Los Angeles) include: Bryan Miller, Tommy Dodson, Ron Synder, Greg Glienna, Lori Donato…

The follow embedded open mic performance video happens to be the first time meeting and singing with Bryan Miller who I have since sang with dozens of times.

Easter Photo

IMG_0310Probably not the Easter photo you were expecting…

I snapped this shot on Friday around 5PM while on Hollywood Blvd. I posted it on Twitter instantly, and then later Facebook. For those of you that don’t do those kinda sites, I’m also putting it here…

Comments already made about the shot have really caused me to look in greater detail, and how awesome a time capture this picture really is.

Also, it was interesting to watch people’s reactions to the guy walking with the cross, and I couldn’t help wonder if some of what this individual experienced… Well, never-mind… I won’t go into that stuff…

Whether you celebrate Easter or not enjoy your Sunday…

– Quiche Out

Jump Start

And I'd Like To Thank-NEW_COVER47 free Kindle eBOOKS were given out this weekend (it’s now over, sorry if you missed it, the information was in the last email newsletter)…

And now that particular eBOOK is up to a whopping 99 cents… All to jump start something.

“And I’d Like To Thank…”

– Quiche Out

http://www.amazon.com/And-Id-Like-Thank-ebook/dp/B009V3GTAM

March On 2013! (Newsletter)

Screen shot 2013-03-22 at 12.41.37 AMOkay folks, here’s the newest newsletter, while you might think you don’t need to read it…

But if you want to hear about a TV show I just booked AND a FREE BOOK offer… Then… Read it…

Here’s the link!

– Quiche Out

 

 

 

A Story of Empathy

So, I’m on a friend’s shoot, helping them out for the day as an actor.

While I’m there I find myself talking with a particular cutie pie, a fresh-faced singer-dancer straight from the oven of the Big Apple, and now carving her way in the Big Orange… Somehow for some reason we start talking about singing at open mics and I tell her about one of the things that kill me during open mics (especially when I first started doing them)…

Empathy. 

Yeah, okay, maybe some empathy when people are tanking or the room isn’t paying much attention to them, but more EMPATHY when the singer’s would be straining their vocal chords… They’d be wrecking themselves, but yet I, not doing anything, would find my own vocal chords starting to hurt a little.

Anyway, flash-forward a few hours… She’s wrapped for the day, done. And I’m in a car looking for traffic with the DP, director and producer.  The DP in the front seat has a bit of a skin condition that seems to be when he gets anxious or nervous, hives occur. Well, we had less than an hour to find a traffic jam to shoot a scene in, and wouldn’t you know it, this particular day we couldn’t seem to find the “right” stopped traffic. Now, the clock’s ticking, the producer in the backseat continues to ask, “did we get it?” and tell us, “We have to get back.” The director’s not happy with the composition of the traffic flow… “It’s not stopped enough.” And the DP starts itching, broken out with hives…

It’s completely obvious that he’s extremely uncomfortable, and those little suckers are driving him nuts. As he scratches his legs through his pants between takes, me, the at times very empathic one, starts to feel my own inner hives starting… Yes, it’s like my skin is now itching. Yeah, I know weird. So, we are looking for “better” traffic, not finding the “right” traffic, and the DP is itching like a mad man… I want to peel my own skin off from my own empathic hives… But the whole time realizing saying anything wouldn’t serve anyone, itching would not serve anyone, scratching would only be bad for camera… And the reality of it all, NOTHING WAS WRONG WITH ME.

Yeah, I know, “Actors… All about them…”

Anyway, when we wrapped that series of car shots, I sprinted from that car probably before I even put it in park, and dove into my own truck to get a handle of it all before meeting up with them for the next shot.

— And scene.

– Quiche Out