Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Spree’

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 25: ‘Dramaturgy’

June 23, 2016

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I’ve been a bad talk show host.

Here we are a week away from the next episode and I’m just posting the previous episode now.  Chalk it up to procrastination, call it the aftermath to my comeuppance, call it whatever you want, but here’s last month’s episode.  I felt ill-prepared and intimidated by my guest Donna Hoke, a playwright, staffer for Buffalo Spree magazine, children’s book author and a lot more.  Maybe I read too far into her personality, maybe not, but it threw me off guard and it was noticeable.  That’s okay, though.  The two questions I ask myself after every show are 1. Was it entertaining? and 2. Was it funny?  I can respond affirmative to both for this show whether it was at my own expense or not.  Justin Karcher was terrific in the Co Host Hot Seat.  See the whole big hot mess for yourself:

 

Thanks are in order to Hoke, Karcher and the always-lovely Richard Wicka.  I’ll see you all back here in approximately one week.  Approximately.

Tom

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Big Words Video 25.1: Donna Hoke & Justin Karcher-‘Hamilton’

June 2, 2016

I got the sense that either Donna and Justin hadn’t seen each other in a long time, or that you could lock them both in a room for three days and they’d still be pontificating and arguing when you opened the door.  Quips and gossip and barbs were flying and they downshifted to a delightful debate about Buffalo theater once the camera started rolling after the episode.  See for yourself:

#BigWordsVideo will return later this month with a long-awaited guest spot from award-winning comedienne Heather Stack!

Don’t you touch that dial.

Tom

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The Ballad Of Gregg Sansone (Uncut)

March 28, 2016

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Author’s Note: This interview has been on a wild ride in the last ten years.  A shorter edit originally appeared in Buffalo Spree magazine, the longer format ran on Acid Logic and the version you’re about to read finally found its way into my fourth book If They Can’t Take A Joke (Authorhouse, 2007).  Gregg’s been a dear friend of mine for more than 15 years and with his 55th birthday approaching, I thought I’d revisit this interview.  

If you’ve participated in (or just enjoyed) the Buffalo music scene for the last six years, Gregg Sansone is a pervasive, melodic, keyboard-driven entity. The two-time Buffalo Music Award Winning Solo Artist Of The Year plays out at clubs, bars and other venues over 300 nights a year (when he’s in peak physical condition), and his cover shows run the gamut of Steve Winwood to Elton John to Stevie Wonder. Dabbling in rock, jazz, blues and classical standards, Sansone has become a local icon and a national underground phenomenon. I saw Gregg play (or channel, to be more accurate) Elton John covers at Route 66 in downtown Buffalo four years ago, and I’ve been a Sansonite ever since. His two and three hour shows are lousy with fans, electric in their intensity and craftsmanship, and brilliant to witness. I had the opportunity to sit down with Greg at my apartment in Lancaster while he was recovering from major back surgery (he had a disc removed).

TW: You haven’t had a drink since you were 15. Why is that, and do you find it surreal to play out at clubs and bars for the majority of the year in the company of people who are soused out of their minds?

GS: No. Alcoholism runs in my family. I’ve got a huge family. Eight boys and one girl. Some people put down meat and become vegetarians. I had the hindsight as a fifteen year old to say ‘You know, I’m addictive as hell. I have a real addictive personality. I’m just not going to do this. Otherwise, I think it could be a problem, and it just stuck through college and everything else. Like anything, I stuck with it and it developed and it’s been years and years. I have a blast (at the shows). People come up to me and say ‘Man, you were hammered because you were dancing on the bars!’ and I say, ‘No, but awesome, thanks man.’

TW: How does your strongly held belief in Buddhism inform your singing and songwriting?

GS: Songwriting and instrumental writing are different. They’re along a spiritual line, but my performances are an extension of what I believe in anyway about myself. Buddhism isn’t a religion as much as it is a philosophy. They didn’t invent being honest and they didn’t invent being good people, they just do it well. So you can apply it to any faith that you have and for me, it just helps me to not want to kill everybody. Or when someone is drunk and they fall into my keyboards and everything, now I don’t want to drag them into the parking lot. Before (Buddhism) I did.

TW: Do you think the era of disposable pop/porn performers like Britney Spears and Ricky Martin is nearing its end, or is it more of a popular music cycle?

GS: I think human nature is human nature, and within music, I’m no expert on anything. I’m just an Italian from Buffalo. Before them when Madonna got really popular, they produced people like Jody Watley, and-

TW: Rick Astley.

GS: People like that, that’s exactly right, but specifically female singers to sound like her (Madonna). Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, so it does go in cycles. I think the American people, we’re a disposable society. There’s a huge portion of the population that buys into that, and they just go into whatever’s popular. But there’s this undercurrent of people like us that-

TW: Observe?

GS: Observe and evaluate and say, ‘This is good, this doesn’t work for me, that’s kinda bullshit. I know that you love Elton John for instance, as do I. People like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and even Madonna, and I’m not a Madonna fan, but she’s stood the test of time. They’re not a flash in the pan, and for good reason. If we didn’t have those people, it would be a sad, sad world with the boy bands, although Justin Timberlake has broken from that and has really made a name for himself. I mean, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

TW: And Mark Wahlberg-

GS: Mark Wahlberg is kinda cool in the movies, though! When he was Marky Mark it was a different story.

TW: Your best one night stand story after a show:

GS: Um, my best one night stand story after a show-because I have one night stand stories during a show.

TW: That sounds like the better story.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Big Words I Know By Heart Episode 23: ‘Schadenfreude’

March 16, 2016

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The Buffalo standup comedy scene is on fire, and Allie Brady is one of the comics who’s right at the center of it.  After interviewing 3 comics so far (with more on the horizon), it’s fascinating to explore each of their individual voices, styles and, by extension, their acts.  Brady has this slight pause before she delivers a brutal politically incorrect punchline that I really admire.  In the studio, she was fast, relentless and hilarious.  To top it off, her website (stilltoosoon.blogspot.com) is one of the funniest projects I’ve read online in a very, very long time.  Britney Hoffman was a little deer-in-the-headlights in the Co Host Hot Seat, but I thought she rounded out the dynamic quite nicely.  Roll that clip!

A big thanks goes out to Brady, Hoffman and the always-lovely Richard Wicka for putting it all together.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for new shows, bonus clips and other additional content.

Tom

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Big Words Video 23.5: ‘Irish Spring’ & 23.6: ‘Shitty Girl’

March 16, 2016

I’m starting to think it’s a better idea to send someone out into the field to get these Big Words Video Bonus clips.

I don’t enjoy being out in front of a crowd scene anymore.  There was a time where my ego insisted on it, but these days I’d rather hang out in the background and let the star be the star of the show.  Harvesting these clips with a consumer camera demands that the ‘director’ get right up on top of the action.  Music production man Roger Pleasant of Uprise Studios went on location to Magruder’s in Lancaster for Green Gorilla Comedy’s ‘Irish Spring’ showcase a few weeks ago and came back with two really solid clips from standup comic Allie Brady’s act.  See for yourself:

Using the same Sony PJ340 I’ve been using, Pleasant got a great angle, sound and lighting in HD.  Allie’s comedy speaks for itself.  Putting someone else at the helm of the camera does too.  If you like what you see, SUBSCRIBE!  We’ll be back at it next month with longtime pal and journeyman pianist/performer Gregg Sansone.

See you then,

Tom

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British Journalists Are Brutal

October 22, 2008

After getting about forty percent of what I told him right, missing the initial deadline and then discombobulating another forty percent, Brit import (writing for UB Spectrum) Joe Stevens delivered a fairly decent profile on yours truly.  As I’ve said, most of it is bullshit.  As a rule going forward, I guess I won’t buy most of the drinks for the people interviewing me.  A few points:

1. I NEVER wrote for UB Spectrum.  I wrote one review for Generations back in the ’90s regarding the Pet Shop Boy’s ‘Alternative’ double disc set.

2. I NEVER got fired from the Buffalo State Record (the college paper that I wrote for for almost three years).  They paid me for a year, decided to stop paying all their writers, I wrote an article about same (telling the whole campus to go fuck themselves) and my editor (Margeret Coghlan) stuck her neck out to get in.  The article (or column) essentially told the entire staff that I quit.  I was never fired.  Look it up.

3.  I NEVER said that Breathing Room Vol. I OR II. was a big ‘fuck you’ to my readers.  I equated the complete 180 in style to Lou Reed’s music in the ’70s.  He had a huge hit album and then turned tack with something completely out of left field. 

     They say that any press is good press.  I’ll agree with that.  I’ll also continue to say that Joe (with all his integrity) didn’t take notes of any kind for the first hour or two that we drank at the bar.  Then he hit on Carrie Gardner after I left, wondering and postulating as to why she stuck around for so long.  I suffered some slings and arrows in my absence for not talking at length about myself.  Well fuck me for being the one person in artistic endeavors who would rather not expound on their own ‘artistic process’ or run off at the mouth as to their own ‘creative genius’.  I’m slightly dissappointed with this year’s crop, UB.

     I’ve always admired UB.  I’ve always thought that they had a higher class of writer as opposed to my Alma Mater at Buffalo State.  I’m still pleased with the review (aside from the fact that most of it is bullshit).  I’m offended that Joe would postulate (or assume) that I was putting on some sort of show or act for the interview.  I went into the bar at the Marriott without pretense, just looking to have a friendly conversation with a person I assumed was decent.  Joe got a comp copy of the book (as most media outlets in Buffalo get, out of my own pocket, no less), more than a few free drinks out of me and what I thought was a decent back and forth.  Apparently, it’s my fault that he waited an hour or two to start asking questions.

     I’ll leave it at that.  I’ve never considered myself a genuine journalist, but after four or five years of conducting interviews for ArtVoice, Buffalo Spree and other local and national publications, I’ve done better justice to my subjects than him and I’ve actually recorded their conversations (putting serious man hours into transcribing them afterward) instead of jotting down a few bullet points once I’ve had a good buzz on) and then retracing my steps after a few freebies.  The new school has failed.  Any press, though, as they say, is good press.  Read all about it (a week after it was promised) at:

http://www.subboard.com/generation/articles/122452811433779.asp

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Monday Big Words Update! Week 97 on stands/Breathing Room inflation/Episode XII: ‘The Honeymooners’ UP NOW!

October 6, 2008

Oofa!,

Even though I was on honeymoon all last week at what turned out to be Snyder Beach in Irving, NY with my lovely bride (Mrs. Waters), I still got a lot done.  First order of business…

The new Night Life magazine assaults stands today with a month that’s almost completely devoted to poetry.  Except for this week.  This week you’ll find an ‘uncut’ and longer version of ‘My People’ in the Big Words I Know By Heart print column.  ‘My People’, in case you didn’t read it in the Buffalo News My View section, was a piece about inheriting a second family upon marriage.  Topical!

     And unfortunately, Lulu.com (my distributor and marketer for both Breathing Rooms) is implementing an at cost hike across the board for their goods and services.  This is the way the wind blows, and I apologize, but in order to clear a profit from Vol. II, I’ve adjusted the price to $14.95 for the paperback copy.  Again, sorry.  The book is still over 100 pages and from a competitive standpoint, that’s STILL not a bad price.  Check your local retailers and prove me wrong in the poetry market, kids. 

     And last but DEFINITELY not least, Lindsay Waters and myself recorded a knockout Big Words Radio One Man Mobile Unit show on location from the beautiful patio at Root Five in Hamburg during our honeymoon.  It’s very, very offensive and explicit, so if you’re one of those people who doesn’t ‘get it’ or if you can’t handle Don Rickles style comedy, don’t bother listening.  If you’ve got a broad sense of humor and you’re immune to political correctness, then by all means dive in with both feet at:

http://www.thinktwiceradio.com/tom-waters/tom-waters.html

Think Episode IV (the ‘Auntie Linda’ episode) squared.  It’s brutal, but my wife gives it as good as she gets it.  And I am now the proud owner of a brand new, right off the production line model of a Roland Edirol portable professional grade digital recorder.  Yeah!  I’m planning on doing one podcast a week until I collapse or until my voice box disintegrates.  Doing the show is just too much fun to stop now, and it’s gathering some great momentum.

That’s all I’ve got today even though there’s a lot more in store.  A little bird told me yesterday that you can look for a nice sidebar on yours truly in the December print issue of Buffalo Spree magazine.  Get your subscriptions in now!  Talk to you later in the week,

Tom Waters

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