Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fresh Ground Pepper Please!

Whew. What a whirlwind weekend.

It is entirely impossible that tomorrow is Monday and the start of a new week. I am not on board with that at all. 6:20 a.m. will most certainly come way too soon.

In any case, the past few days have been a ton of fun. New York is really coming alive now that it's springtime. People are everywhere and it seems like there's been a surplus of interesting events going on in the area.

Last Friday I went to an event put on by Fresh Ground Pepper, an organization that supports local artists of varying mediums. This particular night the focus was music. I realize that I recently published a blog on the NY music scene; even so, these acts were all so completely different from anything I described in my earlier post this counts as an entirely different topic.

I showed up not really knowing what to expect. A friend of mine sent me a vague facebook invite to the event which, I noticed immediately, was free. And, if nothing else, I'm a sucker for free. (I'm sure I would have definitelygone anyway to see Greg perform and support him at the show, but "free" helped!) 

It turned out to be a really cool hodgepodge collection of talent at a pretty interesting venue, The Tank, a non-profit performance space with stadium seating and sticky floors (probably covered in the only beer available at the concession bar--locally brewed Brooklyn lager). 

I was there to see Greg with his group, The Darklings, debut his newly written songs for a much-needed although not-yet-in-existence Broadway musical version of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas

They performed the pieces in a group of three, each playing varying characters and miraculously changing their singing voices to fit the different acts. The songs themselves blended fantastically with Burton's existing music and Greg couldn't have picked more perfect performers for his group. They were, most definitely, The Darklings. Coupling the pieces with skeleton-hand gloves and fantastically fuzzy hats, the tone of the performance was a perfect Nightmare blend of light and dark, fun and fear. 

I was in awe. Gregory Van Acker is one of the most talented people I know and I cannot wait for the invite when this debuts on Bway.

Another group I thought was really unique and interesting was a twosome made up of James Monaco and Jerome Ellis, called, appropriately, James Monaco and Jerome Ellis.

In their bit one of them performs a monologue while the other plays an instrument. The music works with the pacing of the monologue to make the story's mood more or less intense, frantic, sad, or thoughtful. On Friday night the accompanying instrument was a saxophone, but in this youtube clip, it's a piano. I really liked the way these two complemented one another. It was just a great fusion of good writing and musical talent.

All in all, this was a great show and I'll definitely have to try to make it to more Fresh Ground Pepper stuff this summer.

Bedtime now. Hope everyone's Monday isn't any more irritating than usual.

<3 Leigh

Also--side note. Congrats to all of the new recent grads!! Are any of you moving to New York and interested in writing about it? I'm looking for guest bloggers to view the city with fresh eyes (mine are getting old and tired. I've been out of school a full year now. I'm practically in dentures.)

Contact me if you're interested or know someone who might be!

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