Archive for April, 2009

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Quixote Wednesday Update: Dan Labowski & Michael Bly Band @ Desiderio’s, Big Words Radio Onward & Upward!

April 29, 2009

Now that we’re taking a fresh approach to the concept of Quixote Wednesdays, I thought I’d spend today on some positive topics. Instead of jousting at big, heartless corporate windmills, let’s take a look at local music and a few other things, shall we?

Dan Labowski started a new open mic night at Desiderio’s on Broadway. He’s a great guy, a fantastic musician, and you probably know him better as the lead singer of the Buffalo Music Award-winning super group Suckerpunch (who, coincidentally, played a helluva concert for Big Words Radio on Episode 27) as well as the lead singer for No Excuses. The open mic is every single Tuesday, it starts at around 9:30 p.m., and it’s open to everyone: musicians, comedians, you name it. So if you’re not doing anything one of these Tuesdays, come up and see Dan do his thing! I didn’t realize how diverse Dan’s style was myself until I heard him play a few opening sets. I’ve seen him play out every week for the last four weeks at Desi’s and truly deserves a bigger turnout. Having hosted an open mic myself (way the hell back in 2001), I know just how hard it is to start something new and get a following going. Open mics aren’t as predominant as they were back in 2001, so again, do me a solid and support my buddy!

I’m also pleased to announce that Michael Bly (another former Big Words Radio alumn from Episodes 17 & 18, respectively) will be performing THIS SATURDAY at Desiderio’s on Broadway at around 10 p.m. Mike is a dear friend of many years, a hell of a performer and a great showman. He’ll be playing some material from his upcoming CD Release this Saturday backed by the entire Michael Bly band, so do yourself a favor and come on out! It should be a great concert and the wife, myself and Intentionally Bald Mike will be there rocking out and slamming shots along with the rest of Lancaster’s party people!

Are you noticing a theme here? Big Words Radio. After two and a half back-breaking and grueling weeks, I’m proud to announce that ALL 35 original episodes of The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour have been transferred to the new web site complete with pretty pictures, quick download links and relatively accurate posting dates. What does this mean? This means that I can FINALLY start posting all of the new shows from the last six to eight weeks. What’s that web site again, you say? Glad you asked:

bigwordsradio.mypodcast.com

So get the hell over there and download to your heart’s content! And when you get there, you may notice a BRAND NEW EPISODE that you won’t find anywhere else on the web! This morning, I edited, produced and uploaded legendary Buffalo Music Award-winning band Black Widow’s hour-long performance from the Gregg Sansonne: We’ve Got Gregg’s Back benefit. The sound quality was crystal clear, the band brought the house down, and the emcee was less than despicable (yours truly). You may notice that there’s no episode number attached to the post and there’s a damned good reason for that: there are FOUR more concert shows from the same day and I’ll be posting them all in a row! By this time next week, each performance from Busted Stuff, The Mick Hayes Band, Only Humen (with a cameo from Michael Bly) and Gregg Sansonne himself will be up on the new site in chronological order! Not to mention the fact that it’s free! So click over, download those bad boys onto your Ipods and rock out with some great Buffalo Bands compliments of Big Words Radio!

I’ve got a lot more in store for that site and now that the past is taken care of, I can start tinkering on the present and the future. I’ll save a few surprises for next week, but check the site often and you might hear a show before I mention it.

So to recap: Dan Labowski open mic at Desiderio’s every Tuesday from about 9:30 throughout the evening. The Michael Bly band this Saturday at Desiderio’s. The Big Words I Know By Heart Radio Hour at it’s new home with a new show. Have a great rest of the week and hopefully I’ll see some of you out this Saturday!,

Tom Waters

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Monday Big Words Update!: The Last Fandango

April 27, 2009

After oversleeping on Saturday for a 7 pm reading at Caz Coffee Café (long nap), it was a relief to discover that Jeff Finlayson, Kyle Kaczmarzcak and Diane Meholick kicked one of the last two MOV shows off without me just fine. I felt like a dick for not showing up early like I normally do, but this is another sign that it’s time for a break. We had a great time and a great show and I’d like to personally thank everyone who came out for the reading. Due to my tardiness, the event was not recorded, so if you missed it, you won’t have an opportunity to hear it online at a later date. Sucks to be you.

I can’t help but take stock of the six month run that Jeff and I have had together traveling around as the MOV and on good days, I’m very grateful for the process we went through. On bad days, it seems like the agony of being in a rock band without the money or the groupies. All in all, it was a great concept and Jeff and I have become stronger friends as a result. A lot of new material has been written as a result of our constant feedback, reading the work out, and interacting with the public. A while back, I said that I regretted ever having a part in the inception of the Monsters. I spoke too soon.

Jeff is a very talented writer and he now has a new book (and a half) of new poems that he’s drummed up because of our tour. Instead of writing a mountain of new material, I’ve learned to spend more time editing and to elicit editorial wisdom from my peers, so my third collection of poems will be a tighter, more concise collection with less dreck and more concentrate. The MOV experience was like boot camp for us, in a way. We are hardened professionals now, and the thought of reading my poems in front of an audience is no longer horrifying and frightening. Jeff and I talked Saturday night after the show and he wants to continue the moniker. Because of the Slapstick launch in the summer (and a much-needed rest after fourteen months of writing and promoting), I won’t be continuing on after May. However, Jeff will. With any luck, other area poets will join him in the hopscotch-style readings we founded together with Carrie Gardner.

We’ve got one more reading in May at the Center For Inquiry with distinguished poetess Christina Wos Donnelly hosted by Perry Nicholas and I couldn’t think of a better way to round out the end of the junket. I try never to say never, but after that, I’m out for awhile. If any area poets are interested in joining Jeff in the non-locale-specific gauntlet, please feel free to email him directly at:

Dullroar25@hotmail.com

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’m pretty goddamned tired. Tired of promoting, tired of writing (after a year and change of it) and tired of putting my face and my name out there. It’s clearly time for a break. Some writers have the ego, the drive, or the tenacity to keep plugging, promoting and assuring others that their work is worth reading and I’m not one of them. In a semi-professional career spanning almost a decade where I’ve never promoted any one book for more than three months, I’m tapping out for a bit. I’ve had enough for now. I’m sick of myself, I’m sick of both poetry books, and I’m sick of leaving my house for another scheduled engagement. It takes a certain kind of person to continually tour the circuit and I don’t have that quality. At the heart of it, I’d always rather spend any night quietly at home with my wife or quietly out at a bar anonymously. I stopped doing any of this for ego reasons a long time ago. Even this is redundant.

Make it out to the Center For Inquiry on Wednesday, May 6th at 7 p.m. for the final reading for the original founding members (plus Christina) of the Monsters Of Verse. We’ll razzle, dazzle and amaze. Ten slots are also open for open readers.

As for everything else, all of the original episodes of Big Words Radio are almost complete. The process is time consuming and aggravating, but all 35 episodes should be done by week’s end. Expect a new episode next week. And the final installment of ‘Pronunciation’ (a lengthy essay on my wedding and everything surrounding it) hits the pages of Night Life magazine this week, so scoop it up for the final word.

In two more weeks, I can have my life back. I hope it still fits. I’ll talk to you all in two days for a new Quixote Wednesday Update,

Tom Waters

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Monday Update! Five Minute Video Premiere/Happy Dyngus Day!

April 13, 2009

Dyngus Day is literally one of my favorite party nights of the year, and it’s one of the only times when you can hear so many great Buffalo Polka Bands, pig out on reasonably priced buffets (especially the smoked Polski Kielbasa), and use a water pistol in a bar without getting rolled. Because of this, this Monday Update will be especially brief since I’d like to get a nap in before the evening’s festivities commence.

Night Life hit’s the stands this week with Part II of ‘Pronunciation’, a new essay that covers the events before, during and after our marriage in September. It’s a serious essay (and a long one), but the pacing seems right and the piece flows well, not to mention that there was a lot of info to cover.

There was a MASSIVE new amount of content uploaded onto The Dirty Bomb in the last week (3 graphic novel reviews and a comic-related update having to do with Dean Haspiel and Harvey Pekar), so if you haven’t yet, scoot yourself over to donsatomiccomics.com and click on ‘The Dirty Bomb’ link on the home page. I’d give you a direct link, but WordPress has been an unconscionable pain in the ass lately with site links.

As far as other freelancing gigs go, the ArtVoice assignments keep chugging along. I wrapped up a sharp interview with CFI resident ghost hunter Joe Nickell last week that should be appearing soon. You can also feel free to check out ‘The Department Of Goofing Off’ in this month’s online issue of Acid Logic at acidlogic.com and if you’d like to comment on the graphic novel reviews in a larger national forum, throw your two cents in over at comics bulletin.com.

Aside from that, I don’t have a lot of news for you. There are a lot of radio shows under production right now, but none have popped yet. Check back for a heads up as soon as I get it. I’ll be appearing on Time Warner Cable public access for the next five weeks (as well as online for the next two years) with a segment for Think Twice’s ‘Five Minute Video Series’ (entitled ‘I Push People): Here’s the web site address and subscriber channel info straight from my producer, Richard Wicka:

http://www.hotftv.net/five-min-series/five-min-index.html
(Adelphia cable subscribers can watch the Five Minute Video Series:
City of Buffalo: Fridays channel 20, 7:00 PM
Suburbs of Buffalo: Mondays channel 20, 10:30 PM)

With a mug made for radio, I’m not sure how I feel about the segment (I haven‘t even watched it yet), but I’ll try anything once.

That’s it for this week, folks. I’m twenty pages away from correcting every last bit of Slapstick & Superego, so we’re getting down to the very last of the pre-production snafus before rolling the book out some time in June or July. Have a safe and festive Dyngus Day and don’t forget to swing on back in two for Quixote Wednesday!

Doing shots every time the Pennsylvania Polka plays tonight,

Tom Waters

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Massive Dirty Bomb Update!

April 10, 2009

If you haven’t been reading any of the graphic novel reviews and updates at The Dirty Bomb over on the official Don’s Atomic Comics (!) web site for the last three months, then I just feel sorry for you, because you’re missing out.

As of today, I posted two more reviews and one massive update with privileged Big Words Radio info as well as some more celebrity news over on the Dirty Bomb.

I haven’t been re-posting Dirty Bomb info here because you’re just going to have to go over there yourself if you want to find out. I try to throw a little something extra onto each site that I write for, whether it’s Acid Logic, Comics Bulletin, Facebook, Myspace, or any other intraweb-enabled thingamajiggy.

So GO TO THE DIRTY BOMB already! Do not pass go or collect $200! What the hell are you waiting for, an engraved invitation? Oh, a site link might be useful, eh? Fair enough. Here’s your link, so go check it out!

 

 

http://donsatomiccomics.com/WordPress/

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Monday Big Words Update! Tying Up Loose Ends…

April 6, 2009

After a long, strange trip for over six months with the Monsters Of Verse promotional junket, JR Finlayson and myself are in the final furlong and we can see the finish line for this particular race. We’ve got about four weeks of scheduled bookings and appearances and then we’re done. Part of me is relieved and the other part of me will miss sharing the experience (and some fantastic conversations) with so many other talented poets, writers, disc jockeys, musicians, graphic designers, cartoonists, etc. What’s so nice about this trip through the spanking machine is that we can all look back whenever we want by listening to the entire tour (or the better part of it) on the Monsters Of Verse site at thinktwiceradio.com. I’ve been putting a lot of the tour to bed from a psychological standpoint in the last few weeks and even considered ’retiring’ both Breathing Room volumes to their rightful place on the shelf next to my other collections so that I can move on and focus on other projects. Four more weeks.

Our next official stop will be at Caz Coffee Café from 7-9 p.m. in South Buffalo on Saturday, April 25th . The lineup will include (but won’t be limited to) JR Finlayson, myself and Kyle Kaczmarzcak. From what my calendar says, this will be one of the final two engagements for MOV.

As for everything else, I’ve been quietly working on a volley of assignments for ArtVoice. If you nab a copy of this week’s issue on stands, you’ll find a small piece that I wrote about the Center For Inquiry and author William Lobdell’s book Losing My Religion in their In The Margins section. Once May rolls around, I should start knocking out assignments in rapid succession, but in the mean time, it’s been a matter of how much time I have in my week to devote to which project based on priority.

This week’s issue of Night Life kicks off the second week of the month with part one of ‘Pronunciation’, a brand new four part essay about our wedding and everything surrounding it within a six month window. It’s a more somber piece and it clocks in at around 6 pages, but the pacing seems warranted given how much information there was to disseminate.

And I’m almost done proof-reading the only copy of Slapstick & Superego on the face of this planet before forwarding the corrections off to VLR Designs. I originally wanted the book done by May and it appears as if I’m the one holding up the production slate right now. I’ve been looking at the presentation and appearance of this collection as the new template for all Doubt It Publishing book releases going forward, so we’re all putting a lot more perfectionism into this collection than any I’ve worked on to date.

Additionally, I’m unsure as to whether or not poke the scorpion with a sharp stick (my next poetry collection) feels finished at 100 pages or not. The Pre-Launch Questionaire sent out a few weeks ago worked wonders on what readers would like to see happen with Slapstick, so I may be ‘test-paneling’ responses for the ideal poetry collection according to readers likes and dislikes in the future as well. That collection, though, is at least six to seven months down the road.

Finally, I keep forgetting to thank Christopher Schobert from Buffalo Spree for his spectacular write-up/review/interview of Breathing Room Volume I: Free Verse in the December issue of Spree. Thanks, Chris. You did a stupendous job and quite a few friends brought it to my attention. There’s also another local write I wanted to thank and I had no idea the article came out until someone sent me a link about two months ago. Charity Vogel from the Buffalo News wrote a very nice blurb back in November regarding both Breathing Room collections and I just wanted to take the time to thank her for her efforts. You can still check out her write-up over at:

buffalonews.com/entertainment/booksliterature/story/481433.html

 

Many people don’t realize just how many complimentary copies go out (and have been going out) for every single collection released so far to almost every single newspaper, radio station and bookstore in town (for the last ten years) and how little many of these media outlets do to return the favor. Even a tiny paragraph on a slow news day can work wonders for a title. It’s always the same guilty parties, too, which is surprising and frustrating. In most cases, complimentary copies come out of my pocket. Ideally, it would be nice to see more write-ups, calendar listings and reviews in the future, but I’ll be exploring some new options and improved business practices with all Doubt It Publishing titles from here on out.

For the current poetry collections, a lot of the old guard has kindly relented and started taking notice in print, in bookstores (locally and nationally) and on the radio. Breathing Room I & II aided in improving the learning curve in terms of how to effectively market and sell a poetry collection. This summer, fall and winter, Slapstick & Superego will be a quantum leap. Mark my words, Buffalo, because the Doubt It Publishing name-branding will commence in about two to three more months.

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Bonus Poem! Conduct Unbecoming

April 4, 2009

This week has been a bitch and a half and I was thinking about this poem earlier today.  It applies to quite a bit.  Instead of giving a ten minute explanation for a one page poem, though, I’ll just let you read it.  It’s from the upcoming poke the scorpion with a sharp stick, which I’ve been working on quietly with what little free time I can spare as of late.  Enjoy! -Tom

Conduct Unbecoming

i would rather tell people

exactly

how i feel

when i feel it

than mince words

pretend that there isn’t a problem

or join the longstanding tradition

of stabbing others in the back

or misdirecting my anger on those who aren’t deserving of it.

i prefer to go for long periods

without saying anything

in favor of lashing out

saying something i’d regret

or resorting to physical violence.

i choose to beat myself up

by various methods

instead of

channeling my rage, confusion or sadness

towards the people i love

& when all of these subroutines & behaviors fail me

i default

& retreat inward

for a season or three.

It’s a sad, dysfunctional, pathetic, pathological world

when i’m the misfit for carrying on as previously stated

& the norm for dealing with others

is quite to the contrary.

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