Monday, August 31, 2009

The Chair

Here we have "the chair," one of the original short plays that was featured in this past weekends "Transplants" by the International BTC. Charlie Brown just can't get out of that damn chair!
Written by Janis Butler Holm
Directed by Helena Gleissner
Charlie Brown--Kristopher Swift
Lucy--Amanda Sage Comerford
Linus--Matt Dunnam
Sally--Alison Rabiej

Starving Artist Podcast Ep.24

Starving Artist Podcast Ep.24

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Transplants--Tiny Plays by the International BTC

Matt Chipman as homeless man in this weekend's "Folk Talkin'" a short play by writer Ernesto Rodriguez, featured in "Transplants: Tiny Plays"

I hope everyone has had a most excellent weekend. The podcast is in post production and I should have it up in a few hours. I got to talk to Matt Chipman about his role in a few plays in this weekend's Transplants, which was a great mix of 12 one-act plays produced and written by the International BTC, which features the minds of Sean Kenealy, Jeff Belanger, and Amanda Sage-Comerford. I got to go see the thing and it was quite impressive. Stand-out roles included John Warren as "Ron MacDonald" in Mr. Belanger's "Mr. MacDonald has Wings of Fire", as well as Tim Torres' off the wall antics as Maurice in "Salad Days."
As I get to see more and more of the plays that the International BTC comes up with, it's certain that they are growing in both creativity, scope and all-around quality. The writing seems to flow inbetween the three pillars of the group like water in a babbling stream. All three seem to ramble in and out of each other's path and in the end it comes together as a single cohesive thought. Every stream reaches the ocean, and they build off of each other in intensity. I got the chance to film about half of the performance, (my video memory ran out!) and unfortunately for this audience some of the greatest acts came at the end. My camera cut out in the middle of "Afternoon Delight," a piece directed by the wonderful Helena Gleissner, with another wonderfully spastic performance by Tim Torres (He once told me after a few drinks that one of his main influences in acting is Ren from Ren and Stimpy) But since it really anticipates the rest of the footage I got, below is an embedded youtube clip of this performance. I apologize for my wobbly camera work; I did it while drinking a 24oz of German Dunkelweisse. I'll be posting the rest of the clips this week and finally unleashing the comedic genius of this rag-tag group of performers upon the world!

"Afternoon Delight" Clip

Thursday, August 27, 2009

America : the New Brewtopia of the World?

Today I began a new batch of lager, one I will be calling Procktoberfest II in honor of last years batch. It should be a great looking beer and I can't wait to enjoy it at my upcoming shindig. But what's come to my attention is the incredible resurgence of homebrewing in America. Everyone's neighbor is doing it these days, partly because it's dirt cheap, fairly easy, and it's something that you can be proud of (usually) when you're done. Who doesn't want to be the homebrewer that everyone knows and loves. Anyone interested in the intricacies can see my older post regarding BEER WARS, as well as my praise of and their incredibly easy homebrew system. But for those of you who are looking for people who reallllly know their stuff, check out this article I pulled from CNN today...

(CNN) -- When it comes to taking spirited vacations, wandering a vineyard falls flat in the face of handcrafted brew. With more than 1,500 breweries across the United States, beer is not just a drink -- it's a destination.
Wooden barrels of beer are just part of the draw at The Lost Abbey Brewery in San Diego, California.

"What's happened is that the old world has influenced the new world; the U.S. is now a travel destination for beer, [even] for people from outside of the country," said Julia Herz, craft beer program director at the Brewers Association.

"What's so great about beer is that you have this range," said Randy Mosher, author of "Tasting Beer: An Insider's Guide to the World's Best Drink." "It's from 3 percent alcohol to 20 percent, from super malty to very hoppy, and then you throw in stuff like fruit, spices -- you have an enormous range of possibilities."

With such a wide flavor profile, said Stephen Beaumont, author of "Premium Drinker's Beer Guide," beer travel is less about hanging out at the brewery and more about the tasting. In other words, don't look just for an incredible brewer, but also for an incredible city in which to drink beer.

Although it's a highly contested question that Herz calls "fodder for late-night philosophical conversations," there are a few brew towns that these beer aficionados identify as the cream of the hops.

Eat, drink and brew local

If you didn't know that Portland, Oregon, is synonymous with "Beervana," then you clearly need an introduction to the beer scene.

"In a lot of ways, [it's] a very highly developed town for craft beer," Mosher said.

The city has a reputation for going local, and Portland thoroughly applies that philosophy to brewing.
Don't Miss

* Stylish digs along the Oregon coast
* Hawaii-style fun on the mainland

"When you live in Portland, you become entrenched in the whole hops and malts [thing] because you're living right where it's being produced," said Portland resident Angelo De Ieso of beer site Thirty percent of the world's hops come from the Pacific Northwest and Idaho, De Ieso said.

The other major pull is the "high concentration of breweries," Beaumont said. "Portland is a fairly small compact area, [but] they've got a free transit system, and they've got brewpubs chockablock."

Higgins Restaurant and Bar is a great place to get advice on navigating the local beer scene, according to Beaumont. And while you're there, you can sample their impressive beer list including Oregon-bottled Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner and The Bruery's "Trade Winds" Triple out of California, a brewer that Beaumont notes is "up-and-coming, doing phenomenal stuff."

As for breweries, De Ieso said "the one that really stands out is Upright Brewery with their Belgian farmhouse style beers."

Another stop has to be Hopworks Urban Brewery, an all-organic brewpub fully powered with renewable energy. "They do a lot of the standard styles of Northwest beers, like the IPA, which is our flagship beer," De Ieso said. Try the signature Hopworks IPA for a taste of Pacific Northwest flavor.

SoCal brew style

Much further south, in San Diego, California, you'll find what Beaumont calls "a hotbed of innovation," where the beer tends "to be a little stronger, with more alcohol."

And while "all of California could be considered the state from which the innovators of craft beer came, San Diego specifically grabbed the golden ring from the merry go round and ran with it," said Matt Simpson, a craft beer consultant.

So when you're talking San Diego-style beer, for most beer geeks you're talking about The Lost Abbey. "The most notable guy right now is Tomme Arthur at Lost Abbey. He was one of the early adventurous brewers in Southern California," beer tasting expert Mosher said.

Known for Belgian-style beers and a "flavor first" philosophy, beer expert Beaumont said "they're doing some really innovative, interesting stuff in terms of barrel aging and unusual fermentations, beyond basic brewers yeast."

Beer experts also fawn over AleSmith, a microbrewery that has been pumping out diverse, high quality ales since 1995. "The special beers that they do are astounding, if not sublime," Simpson said. "They do a barrel-aged series, and those beers are limited to 250 bottles or less, so you can imagine the supply and demand market for them."

Flavors of the South

Although other beer lovers often skip over the South because of restrictive brewing laws in some areas, Simpson insisted that some of the best brew can be found below the Mason-Dixon line.

"One of my top three is North Carolina, with Asheville being the center of that. Not only is it a really fun place to visit, they make amazing beers," he said. "There's Foothills, a brewpub that has a breakout hit called Sexual Chocolate, an imperial stout that put them on the map of craft beer."

Simpson also touts his home stomping grounds, Atlanta, Georgia. "We have one of the top five beer bars in the world in the Brick Store Pub, across the board," Simpson said. "You can go to,, -- they're rating the Brick Store Pub as one of the top beer bars in the world. And if you're here for a few days you can hit breweries like Sweetwater, 5 Seasons, and Twain's."

Whether your drink town of choice is San Diego or Philadelphia, San Francisco or Boston, Beaumont recommends chatting up locals for clues on the local beer scene.

"Beer is a social drink, and beer people love to talk about the beer," he said. "You can find a local or savvy visitor who can tell you about something you've never heard of, and that makes it a phenomenal experience."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Podcast Delay and A Hurricane

Alllrighty then..
So I recorded a new podcast with some great new artists, (one is from Italy!) but I had some issues putting it up this morning..Since I'm headed out to Long Beach, I won't be able to put it up for a couple days. Hopefully I don't get pulled into the riptide and the alleged 12 foot waves.
Wish me luck,

Johnny S.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Somebody's gonna get fired!

Aight so it looks like some buffoon in editing switched the tracks on Ep. 23. The first track is Sterling Peirce's "The Glory" and the second track played is Rod Washburn's "Our America"...Someone is gonna pay. For those of you who wanna check out more of these two fine acts, check out

For some of Rod Washburn's great Americana flavor, check out

Also, check out Alan Semerdjian's info @

Heads will roll when I find out who mixed up this week's episode!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Starving Artists Podcast Ep. 23

Starving Artist Podcast Ep. 23

In this episode, Johnny lists off the top ten free things to do in New York City for the remainder of the summer. He also does an interview with singer songwriter Alan Semerdjian about his new album "The Big Beauty". He also talks about the new NPR Sampler of Jazz and Folk @ the Newport Festival 2009. With music by Sterling Pierce, Rod Washburn and Alan Semerdjian. Check it out only on the Starving Artist's Podcast!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alan Semerdjian Interview!

Greetings loyal readers!
it's been loathsomely hot down here in the nitty gritty city. Luckily I got to hit up the Jacob Riis National Park for some relaxing on the beach yesterday. I'd recommend getting to the beach before the end of the summer. My apologies for not getting a podcast out on Sunday, I was sitting phoneless and alone on the border of NY/NJ at a train station for most of the day. When I got back home to beautiful Brooklyn, I was too tired to do anything. Plus, I've been sick for the last ten or so days. So it goes. A nice day at the beach definitely upped my Vitamin D intake, so I should be fine as soon as I get all the boogers outta my lungs.

In other news, I'm excited to say that I did a great interview with singer/songwriter Alan Semerdjian this afternoon. The full interview will be featured on this Sunday's podcast. I asked him some pretty good questions about how he's gone about starting a tour, as well as discussed his new album, The Big Beauty. Just a heads up, but the album is lush folk rock americana beauty. The man knows what he's doin'. Best of luck to him.

Last but not least, this weekend marks the 11th annual Del Close Marathon over at Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. For those of you who are not in on this, put on your jammies and go see 3 full days of improv genious at UCB for $25. It's worth it. Here's the info off their page:

The UCB Theatre proudly presents the 11th Annual Del Close Marathon.

This year's marathon starts Friday, August 14th at 4:30pm and runs continuously on four stages until Sunday evening, August 16th.

All shows are at the UCB Theatre, The Hudson Guild (441 West 26th Street), Urban Stages (259 West 30th Street), and FIT (Seventh Avenue at 27th Street).

Passes for the marathon are available for purchase at the UCB Theatre and the other stages during the marathon.

Passes are $25 and provide access to all shows based on seat availability. Guaranteed admission to special prime-time shows at FIT is also available for $12 per show.

Find the official schedule and more information at the official site of DCM11:

And to show my graditude to the dude who introduced UCB to me, check out this video of Matt Chipman in his full glory on a skit he did with UCB king Zack Woods. Matt is the one with the beard.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two Free Music Samplers From NPR!!!!

You gotta love the dudes and dudettes at NPR. Below is a link to download 24 free tracks from artists such as Fleet Foxes, DJ Justice, a rockin band called Deer Tick, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Iron & Wine, and the Avett Brothers. Did I mention FLEET FOXES?! The song, Mykanos, is one of my favorite songs, btw. The link to Itunes is here for the Newport Folk Festival 2009 CD Sampler.
For the Jazz dogs in the house, check out the Jazz @ Newport Sampler. Since I'm not a Jazzhead, I have no idea who's who. But you better believe that I'm getting it cause it certainly has the right price! The link to Jazz At Newport 2009 is here. This won't last, so download it ASAP! Here's the legal mumbo-jumbo.

The code expires on Sept. 30, 2009, or until supplies run out, and is redeemable only on the U.S. iTunes Store. To redeem the code, you must have an iTunes account, subject to prior acceptance of license and usage terms. To open an account, you must be above the age of 13 and in the U.S., iTunes 6.0 or later (7.0 or later for video), compatible hardware and software, and Internet access (fees may apply) are required. Not for resale. For full terms, see For more information, see Don't steal music. TM and © 2008 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple is not a participant or sponsor of this promotion.

Don't forget to also check out the Starving Artists Mixtape, Volume 1. It features many of the NYC-based bands that I've had the pleasure of working with during the past 6 months. Check it out at the very bottom of this page.

Happy Trails,


Finally Some Real Change in the White House.

Here's a video of Obama giving Helen Thomas, one of the greatest reporters in the U.S., (And one that actually asks real questions) some Birthday Cupcakes. Check it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Starving Artists Podcast Ep. 22

Starving Artists Podcast Ep. 22

This episode features an excerpt from Broke Ass Stuart's Guide to living Cheaply in NYC, great info on what to do if you don't have cable tv but still want to watch tv shows and movies, as well as a Street Corner Spotlight on Union Square. With music from independent musicians Jim Bohn, Tam Lin, Randy Stern and Mark Berger.
To listen, either click play or subscribe in Itunes.

Starving Artist's Guide Mixtape Vol. 1!!!

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