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#1379026 - 02/20/10 06:01 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
No, I had never heard of Martuni's. Looking it up, it looks like it is at Valencia and Market. I do not spend a lot of time at bars. I have tuned at Tosca's, though. (Lousy piano, and the owner swore she would never change a thing there.)
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#1379349 - 02/21/10 02:22 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: BDB]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
Today was at least as great as Valentine's Day. Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester at our wonderfully restored Art Deco Paramount Theater. I told him before the show how great it was to have him back, and that I was glad to have my wife come with me this time. He said he was happy to have such an important person in the audience.

The Paramount used to be, let us say, less than ideal acoustically, but the announcer for the show, the Consul General of Germany, said that Meyer Sound had designed the new system there, and that the Meyers were seated with him this evening.
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#1379632 - 02/21/10 02:21 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: BDB]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
I remember when Martuni's opened up. The location had been a common Tenderloin troll-hole before, and I figured the new place would be about the same story. Of course, I didn't know Robin would be playing there, or I might have looked in. It seems to me it was one of the stops on the Tricycle Race, a Tavern Guild fundraising event of the time where contestants rode trikes from bar to bar, refreshing themselves with a cocktail at each. It seems to me that Chip Carter was in it one year.

The Paramount was a gorgeous place, last time I looked it (it's been at least twenty years now; I think it may have been renovated again since). It was serviceable for the event, which was not a concert. Even glamorous.

The tale of Trixie LaRue and the Adventure at the Breakfast Buffet (once it gets around Cologne) probably means reservations for the Valentine's events will sell briskly next year. I can picture husbands telling their wives with innocent enthusiasm:

"Hey, Honey--- I got tickets for the Valentine's dinner at that nice Castle."

"Really, dear? I wonder if you could return them. I was thinking we might try that Other Castle next time."

"Oh no, sweetheart; the mud would be too frozen..." he trails off.

"...for mud wrestling?" wifey finishes the sentence.

"Uh... I meant the parking lot," he recovers, with a slightly guilty hesitation but still good for quick thinking on-the-fly. "Those shoes you wore this year were so pretty; you know, the gold ones. I think we should go to the Nice Castle. The tickets are for Frau Goldsby's special dinner concert."

Wifey barely twitches an eyebrow.

"It's really nice," he plows on, "people say it's really romantic."

"Oh," she says. "Well, I heard some people found the brunch buffet very romantic this year. I heard Frau Goldsby went right off the end of the keyboard. I heard the creme brulee was a catastrophe." She pauses, then adds, "I heard they served beer."

"Well," he says, shaking his head slightly. "This is no buffet. Tables for two, candlelight, rose petals on the piano. Champagne and Crepes Suzette."

"Ok, as long as it's not creme brulee." She rolls her eyes, but the thought of the dessert cart is undermining her will to resist.

"It's table d'hote, with a Four Star chef." He knows he's won the round. "Not pig knuckles at the playoffs--- nothing's too good for my Sugar--- not on Valentine's Day." He leers slightly.

"All right, dear." She wavers no longer; her mind is made up: pearls or sapphires? No, both. Pearl earrings and a sapphire ring. She smiles. "I'm sure it will be very nice."


Edited by Jeff Clef (02/21/10 05:08 PM)
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#1379695 - 02/21/10 03:35 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
The Fox has been refurbished in Oakland, now, as well as the Paramount. I have not been in it, though. A friend of mine saved it from the wreckers, but she was not in a position to restore it and make a go of it. The city finally bought it from her and restored it. I do not know whether it will ever make money, but I am glad they did it.
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#1381846 - 02/24/10 10:41 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: BDB]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Yes, well BDB, it's always a good idea to stay out of bars. Clef, I never played at Martuni's—the woman on the cover is a Robin-double, a pianist named Maddaline Goepel. I was so pleased that the photographer found a real player! I think the stylist put a blond wig on her for the shoot. And the staff at Backbeat Books got to hang out around the piano and drink Blue Hawaiians, to create, you know, ATMOSPHERE.

May 8th seems to be a big wedding day. I have just gotten my third call for that date. No other wedding bookings (yet) in May, but the 8th seems to be quite popular.

I am off to the castle to play for the press party opening of the newly renovated gourmet restaurant. I shall do everything possible to stay away from the creme brulée.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1381972 - 02/24/10 01:57 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
I guess I should point out that as a member of a club here in Oakland, I am a part-owner of a bar. But that is not its primary purpose.

I was playing duets with a nearby pianist for a while, and she got into trouble with alcohol playing in bars. People would buy her drinks, and she would lose track. So now she does not drink at all any more. It is a hazard of the trade, I am afraid.


Edited by BDB (02/24/10 01:58 PM)
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#1382736 - 02/25/10 01:43 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: BDB]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I have one glass of champagne right in the middle of the night, and that's it. Discipline is my middle name. Right.

A couple of years ago I was playing for a Russian wedding at the castle. Breakdown: Middle aged bloated groom (let's call him Bad Vlad) with mega bucks and several gold teeth. Drop-dead 22 year old gorgeous trophy bride, who looked like one of those Eastern European models featured in Estée Lauder ads.

Five minuets after I began playing, the groom said to me: "You play 'Let it Be.' "

I played it, but once wasn't enough—ain't that always the case?— and by quitting time I had played, like, 13 versions. This is a song with maybe three chords, so it was getting a little tedious, but it was HIS party. Just as I was getting ready to leave, the waiter brought me a glass of red wine, sent to me by Bad Vlad. I had already had my one glass of champagne, plus I wanted to get the hell out of there before Bad Vlad decided to sing again. When I find myself in times of trouble . . . So I said nein, danke to the glass of wine.

"Shit," said the waiter. "You've got to to drink this." Bad Vlad was glaring at me.

"No I don't."

"Yes you do. It cost 1300€ a bottle."

"Well, in that case." I suffered through another round of Mother Mary calling to me, prayed that Paul McCartney would forgive me for allowing Bad Vlad to ruin his song, and sipped the wine. It was dark and somewhat dense, French, and woody, and I have no idea what it was called, just that it cost a fortune. I slipped into the bar, passed the half-full glass to an eager co-worker, and escaped before Bad Vlad and Svetlana broke out the vodka.

I should mention that the colors for the wedding party were black and gold. The men looked like Pittsburgh Steelers. The women looked like very slim bumblebees.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1382765 - 02/25/10 02:21 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG

I should mention that the colors for the wedding party were black and gold. The men looked like Pittsburgh Steelers. The women looked like very slim bumblebees.



[Monica sprays diet Coke all over computer keyboard] ROFL!

What a terrifically funny story for anybody who didn't have to live through it. grin
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#1382999 - 02/25/10 08:44 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Monica K.]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
"Well, in that case."

Doesn't that just say it all. It reminds me of Shirley McClaine's favorite comeback line in Irma la Douce: She would think for a minute, kind of shrug, and then reply, "Why not." It seemed quite a reach when I first heard it, but I found that I just took it up myself... it covers so many cases.

****************************************************

Once again, I was going to hold this back. But, "Why not." (Funny how we never ask, "Why should I---" or not often enough.)

****************************************************

A body double. Well, we've entered a new dimension of show biz glamour, I guess. I associate these specialists with movie stars, and perhaps, certain politicians. And stage impersonators of famous persons (often lip-synching), though I think the genre has fallen off in recent years, except in south Florida. The one that comes to mind immediately is the gentleman who served as the body double for Michael J. Fox's bare porkchops in one of his movies--- an outstanding performance. I always assumed it was a double, but maybe not; some performers pride themselves on doing their own stunts, and...

I think this calls for a Mae West quote, but I've had some trouble deciding on just the right one.

"It's better to be looked over than overlooked."

"Give a man a free hand, and he'll run it all over you."

"It isn't what I do, but how I do it. It isn't what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it."


Backbeat Books' address on Harrison Street in San Francisco would be right around the corner from Martuni's--- and, God knows, one is practically muffled at the door by wigs, in places like these. Yes, as BDB said, one is sent drinks by admirers very often; a slippery slope indeed, especially for performers. I have slid down it, in my day. A smile and a gracious "Thank you," is good, but there's no law that says you have to drink the martinis at Martuni's... not all of them, anyway. I remember one quiet afternoon which I spent in a little boite further down Market Street, rolling dice with the patrons for martinis. Funny what bad luck they seemed to have. "Loaded," and "dice;" they might almost as well be the same word.

Three weddings on a single date in May! This is less like rolling the dice, and more like winning the trifecta at Bay Meadows. Of course, their idea is to beat the stampede of June brides, and head the raid at the wedding registry off at the pass. Marriage itself is somewhat like gambling at a casino: the occasional payoff is vigorously advertized, but we know the house always wins.


Edited by Jeff Clef (02/26/10 12:24 AM)
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#1383176 - 02/26/10 04:28 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
CLef, I hate to disappoint you, but the body double had nothing to do with glamour. In fact, it was the opposite. It would have cost a fortune for Backbeat to fly me to Martuni's from Germany. I tried to get them to do it, but they politely declined. The decision to use the double was for budget reasons.

Sadly, Backbeat is no longer on Market Street. They have been "absorbed" by Hal Leonard and now exist as a Hal Leoonard imprint. Offices are in New York. All of the wonderful people involved with the publication of Piano Girl have moved on to other jobs. I miss them so much. So it goes.

Right after I read your last post, someone sent me a hilarious photo from the society page of a German newspaper, taken at the big press shindig on Wednesday evening. In the picture, I am sitting at the piano while the hotel sommelier is pouring a glass of champagne for me. The caption could very well be WARUM NICHT??? (why not?)

Hey, Monica! Glad you liked that bumble bee line. And hope all is well for you! Cheers!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1383180 - 02/26/10 04:39 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21665
Loc: Oakland
Bay Meadows Race Track is but a memory now, so three weddings on a single date is much more likely than winning a trifecta there.

What are the odds? A chair in the name of one of my mathematics professors at Cal was endowed by one of his students who won the super lottery. Does that prove or disprove the old adage that lotteries are a tax on the mathematically ignorant?
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#1383356 - 02/26/10 11:36 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: BDB]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
There are so many cases that prove the irrelevancy of the odds--- maybe the most glaringly obvious being the extreme unlikelihood that any one certain sperm cell will fertilize an egg (the eggs' odds these days aren't what they used to be, either). It would take a supercomputer. Yet, here we are (if you want to talk about winning the trifecta).

On the other hand, if a girl isn't mighty careful, the vanishingly improbable becomes virtually certain.

You may have heard the story about the person who prayed to God to win the lottery. The whining and pleading got louder and louder with every unsuccessful day. Finally, in mid-prayer one day, the person heard a Voice--- it was the Voice of God. And the Voice said, "BUY a TICKET."

So I guess, whether we're talking about matrimony, poker, roulette, 21, craps, the Kentucky Derby, or the Meaning of Life Sweepstakes, the Principle of Least Astonishment convinces us all that we're going to beat the odds, somehow.

Good job on endowing the mathematics chair! Perhaps the greatest job of beating the odds yet.


PS:

Hal Leonard is a good house, Robin. The name's not as catchy as BackBeat Books, but they publish some fine titles and seem to have some dedication to music education for its own sake. I would think your book is in pretty good hands with them.
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#1383364 - 02/26/10 11:41 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5604
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

PS:

Hal Leonard is a good house, Robin. The name's not as catchy as BackBeat Books, but they publish some fine titles and seem to have some dedication to music education for its own sake. I would think your book is in pretty good hands with them.


I would agree with Jeff. Hal Leonard has been around a long time and is respected in the industry.
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#1385226 - 03/01/10 12:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano World]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Oh, yes! I'm very happy that Piano Girl is now with Hal Leonard. Before they took over Backbeat, they were already distributing the book to the music trade. HL is a publisher and a distributer, which gives them an edge in the publishing world. Luckily, I have a very nice relationship with the people who work there.

I wish I could play all three weddings on May 8th—but I can't. The first one I booked is in Dresden, which is a 90 minute flight from here. I'm playing at noon. Technically, I could get back in time to do a gig that night, but the following day is Mother's Day, and I have a marathon that day, including my concert in candlelight—the one that got snowed out in December—which has been rescheduled for Mother's Day evening. So it goes. I wonder if Buttercup will show up. If she could wreck the vibe on Valentine's Day, imagine the damage she could do on Mother's Day.

It was an uneventful weekend at the castle. Everyone behaved. But spring is coming, so things are bound to perk up.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1387688 - 03/03/10 11:03 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
Dresden, you say. I'm just reading a biography of Rachmaninoff, and he lived in Dresden for a long time and composed quite a bit there. He found it less high-pressure than Moscow.

I wonder if any place he lived or performed is still standing. I guess you could commune with the atmosphere of inspiration anyway.
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#1389352 - 03/06/10 12:45 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I will do my best to commune with the atmosphere of inspiration in Dresden, Clef! You must have a billion fun facts lodged in that big brain of yours. Anyone who can discuss Rachmaninoff and Ginger from Gilligan's Island with equal amounts of enthusiasm earns a place in my heart.

The next few weeks will be very busy for me. I'm headed to Boston for an event, then to NYC for some business meetings, then back to Germany where I have two concerts and a wedding to play all in one week. It's March, and my hibernating instincts are still in high gear. What I really want to do is stay home with my kids, cook soup, write and play the piano; but making a living sometimes gets in the way of that. I'll be checking in here from the road.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1389624 - 03/06/10 10:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
Of course I don't like to disagree with you on your own thread, Robin, but "equal enthusiasm for both Ginger and Rachmaninoff" is really stretching it tissue-thin. You're very kind, all the same. Many of my billions of fun facts are recorded in Google; thanks to our former member Steven I learned that one could do the look-ups over objects of idle curiosity and find out some interesting things.

Dave was just over to tune and tweak my piano's voicing yesterday, and he brought up the subject of your book, "Rhythm." We were both marveling at what a wonderful work it is... and this after, it must be, having read it nearly a year ago. He remarked that he would be glad to meet you, if you ever were to play an event here on the West Coast. I countered with the suggestion that he take his wife to the Valentine's Day special dinner next year (yesterday was their 5th anniversary). So easy to spend someone else's money!

Whichever direction you travel that route, it's very far. I should send them your CD and a nice bottle of wine. Just doing what I can to see that, when Buttercup tries to mosey in next year, the maitre'd has to tell her, "I'm so sorry, Fraulein, the Valentine event is SOLD OUT."

Staying home, writing, hanging out with the kids while soup steams on the range... it sounds like a golden time, to me.

Never fear, optimists in organza will soon be shouldering their way into the function rooms, as thick as snowflakes in a blizzard.
_________________________
Clef


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#1391678 - 03/08/10 09:08 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
chris_scotland Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/31/06
Posts: 3
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland, UK
It's a small world...I share so many of these wedding observations! Can you play the theme from Titanic? Well, yes..if I really must. But I wouldn't want to advertise it.
_________________________
Chris Connelly - playing piano at weddings, parties, corporate events, hotels, bars and restaurants in Glasgow, Edinburgh and across Scotland.
http://www.chrisconnelly.co.uk
http://twitter.com/weddingpianist
http://scottishweddingpianist.blogspot.com

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#1391889 - 03/09/10 03:56 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: chris_scotland]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Hi Chris,

I have an entire chapter in Piano Girl devoted to the Titanic theme. How I hear you on that one. It's not a bad song (okay, the lyric is pretty dicey), but if you have to play it 1000 times a year, it's no fun. Not long ago I played it at my castle gig and one of our more flamboyant waiters came out of the gourmet restaurant and pretended to be a half-dead Kate Winslet floating on a raft and blowing that pathetic whistle. Clef, you would have LOVED this.

CLEF: Optimists in Organza???? Now there's a great title for something.

I love that you and Dave know each other. If I lived in your area, he would be my technician, too. Anyway, thanks for the nice words about RHYTHM. It warms my heart to know that two smart guys have read the book and enjoyed it. Thank you. Some day I will get to California. And then we will have a big party, with no Titanic music.

I'll write from the other side of the Atlantic. Maybe I should take a raft and a whistle.

xoxox to everyone!


Edited by Piano Girl RMG (03/09/10 03:57 AM)
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1396099 - 03/15/10 06:28 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Greetings from NYC. Got here yesterday after four days in Boston. Yesterday Logan airport looked like downtown Kabul.

Just got another call for a wedding on May 8th, this one in The Hague. I'm thinking this may go down in history as the world's most popular wedding date.

Having lunch tomorrow with Harlan Ellis, the agent who booked me for over a decade here in the city. This was back when there were tons of hotel gigs in Manhattan. He is now working for an agency that specializes in big society weddings. I'll hit him up for some stories.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1398164 - 03/17/10 09:51 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Just got another call for a wedding on May 8th, this one in The Hague. I'm thinking this may go down in history as the world's most popular wedding date.


This sounds like a problem that could be addressed by 21st century technology, doesn't it? A video camera, a broadband connection and a couple of big-screen monitors in the remote locations ought to about do it. In fact, why travel at all? We've all joked about "phoning it in". Why not play the gigs from home? With the proper cropping, you could do the gig in fuzzy slippers.

I'm reminded of a certain date last summer, July 12th. Our drummer was on vacation that week and was going to miss four jobs. That might seem like a serious problem, but we keep a list of two or three guys we can call to fill in for each of our rhythm section players. While there can be disjointed moments, I like playing with "subs"; good ones anyway. A different player puts a new "spin" on the songs, especially because we don't use charts. The wrong player can spin the bus right off the road, of course, but that will have to wait for another post.

Back to July 12th. We were playing an outdoor barbecue at a rather nice house on Long Island. How nice, you're wondering? I'll tell you.

These people have a Fourth of July bash every year, but not always on the 4th. Our first time there was about three years ago. I made three trips past the house with my gear. Wood frame, old, a somewhat odd shape. Nice. But not quite grand enough, I thought, for people that would hire a nine-piece band for a barbecue.

As I set up under the tent by the pool, I noticed that there was a very grand house indeed on the next property, just down the hill. Three stories, wraparound porch, gables aplenty, planted on a large green waterfront spread. I was hoping that our hosts had taken the precaution of inviting their wealthy neighbors to the party. Their house was maybe 100 yards away, well within striking distance of our amplifiers.

Something still didn't seem right. Finally it dawned on me. The wealthy neighbors were our hosts. The not-quite-grand-enough house was their Pool House (formerly the Carriage House). They also had a Boat House and a private dock.

But I digress.

Every drummer we knew was booked that day. They all told the same story too; each had been offered two or three gigs for that date and had farmed the extras out to all the drummers they knew. The scramble began. July 12th was the gravity well of the percussion universe. Players that had 10 gigs booked the whole year were busy. We ended up calling 14 different drummers, ending up with the fifth or sixth call guy for a group I used to sometimes play with in the '90s.

He was on time and kept time, but didn't exert himself any more than absolutely necessary in either the musical or the social arena.

Talk about "phoning it in".
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Greg Guarino

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#1401385 - 03/22/10 03:10 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
I've seen Rich Bride/Poor Bride, I've seen Platinum Weddings... and I've seen Bridezilla. And Weddings Gone Wrong.

About the last, I have no comment.

However, the happy couple decided to take a chance and invite me to the reception... here:


I've seen some (on TV) that were so expensive I couldn't get a second mortgage big enough to cover even the hors-d'oeuvres... but, never a setting any more gorgeous. And if I act up, I suppose they could throw me in the lake (I don't doubt it's at the back of their minds).

Now, I know what you're thinking: May 8th, right? But no: May 16th. Who knows, maybe they read "Let's Talk Weddings."

It's in Wyoming, a good little step away from California. I may have to send my regrets, and they truly will be just that.

Larry is a catch: straight, handsome, has his own business and his own house, and he's a very nice guy... and a bachelor; no alimony, no child support, no vindictive ex-wives. He's also given the best of them the slip, in his time. It's all but a miracle. I congratulate the bride, and wish them all the very best.


Edited by Jeff Clef (03/22/10 03:13 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1404057 - 03/26/10 06:29 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
One question, Jeff: Where does the piano go in this pastoral setting?? Maybe Larry knows. But with a location like this, birdsong is music enough, I think. May 16th sounds like a perfect date for that spot in Wyoming! Lucky you, wrangling an invitation. Tell Larry if he needs a pianist to give me a call. I am absolutely free, as long as it's not the 8th.

Regarding the pool house gig, Greg: Funny how that happens. The stars collide and suddenly there is one drummer/bass player/pianist too few on the event horizon. I suspect this will be the case with pianists on the 8th.

Well. I have had quite a week after getting back from the USA. Two concerts this week and a wedding to play tomorrow night. The first concert was for an event called FESTIVAL OF THE MASTER CHEFS and featured Michelin-star chefs from various parts of Europe. Six courses, six chefs, each one responsible for a different course. The plan was for the moderator to interview the chefs before each course was served, the food would be served, and then, once people and plates were settled, I would play—3 to 4 pieces for each set. The promoters were very proud of this plan, but I had a feeling there was something off-kilter about it. But, okay, they rented the Steinway B, the place was gorgeous, advertising was spot-on, the event was sold out (200 people). Fine.

Here's the thing: No chef in his right mind is willing to come out on stage and chat right before the food is served. This is maybe the most critical time for a chef, especially these gourmet guys who insist on inspecting every plate that leaves the kitchen. So the moderator was stuck. He had to interview SOMEONE about the food. Why not the pianist?

I am a vegetarian. If you've ever eaten one of these European fancy-pants dinners, you know they are, well, meat-laden. I was seated at the front table (the promoter graciously had agreed to feed me between sets) but there was not much there for me to eat. I mean, I was bartering with my neighbors to get the garnishes of their plates.

"I'll give you my elk filet for your baby carrot."

Things like that.

The thing was, the moderator needed someone to talk about the food. He was desperate and I felt sorry for him. What could I do? My show-biz instincts kicked in so I stood up there and lied about the shrimp and the lobster and the beef tips and the bison. Yes, bison. At one point I actually heard myself saying:

"As an American, I am no stranger to the buffalo. . . . 'Home on the Range' is one of my very favorite songs."

There was another humiliating moment when the German moderator meant to say COD FISH, but instead he said COLD FISH, which I misunderstood to be GOLD FISH.

"In America," I said, "We do not eat GOLD FISH. We name them and give them homes."

"Really?" said the moderator. "How fascinating."

The evening went on and on like this. I ate maybe six sprigs of parsley, a spoonful of risotto, and some sort of beet and spinach froth. But the evening was fine, they paid me well, the piano was a dream, and people bought a lot of CDs. Long night, though. Six courses can take FOREVER. I wasn't back at the hotel until 2 AM.

Last night I performed my PIANO GIRL show for an Amerika Haus sponsored event in Kleve, Germany, on the border with Holland. The piano was spectacular--a Steinway D that came from the Warsaw Music conservatory back in the 50's. Holy cow, was it ever great. The concert was in an art museum. BEAUTIFUL!!! (I consider this cosmic payback for having to work for years at the Waterbury Holiday Inn)

Anyway, the audience was small (50) but very appreciative. I get nervous about my all-English program when the audience is German, but they hung in there and laughed when they were supposed to. I did the Japanese F-Dancing stripper chapter (always a risk at these upscale venues) but it worked out for the best. The Titanic chapter and Here Comes That Bride were also in the program.

I play a nice normal cocktail gig this evening, and then, man your battle stations, the wedding season is officially open tomorrow. Get in the house, don't ask why, Wilma von Wiesel is donning her turquoise lace dress, counting the cupcakes, and preparing to fling her calla lily bouquet.

xoxo
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1404159 - 03/26/10 10:06 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

It's in Wyoming, a good little step away from California. I may have to send my regrets, and they truly will be just that.

Going to an out-of-town wedding can be no small expense when you add up the transportation, lodging, meals and gift, but they can be an awful lot of fun. I should qualify that - If you're the only one traveling to the affair, that doesn't really count. But if there's a substantial out-of-town contingent - in for a couple of days, freed from their everyday responsibilities and chores - that's a recipe for an excellent time indeed.

My friend George got married in Chicago back in the late '80s. Something approaching a third of the guests were from NYC and a few other places around the US. My wife and I flew out on a Thursday night and spent the day Friday sightseeing. The wedding was officially on Saturday morning, but the celebration got started on Friday night and lasted well into Sunday.

Most of us stayed in an unusual hotel. It was an apartment building in the process of being converted to condos, I believe, but was stuck in some intermediate state. The developers/owners were renting out some of the apartments as hotel rooms. Each of us thus had a whole apartment.

The first party was in George's parents' "room". As the evening went on, just about all of the out-of-towners put in an appearance, as did the bride and groom. It was crowded and loud, and it went pretty late.

George was a guitarist and vocalist in one of my early bands. A couple of the other members were in attendance, and there were a number of other musical types there as well. Those of us who hadn't yet had enough of the night-before revelry found a guitar and headed up to the roof of the hotel. We sang songs for another hour or two.

The next morning, well before some people were fully awake, we all dragged ourselves down to the church, which was in another part of the city. That went off in standard fashion.

The reception was just right - not showy or overdone - just a bunch of people, many strangers until the day before, dancing and laughing and having a good time together. George had written a song for the occasion to his wife. Some of us performed a tune or two as well.

We went back to the hotel, shed our wedding clothes and took a nap. I'm a little hazy on where just now, but I know that most of us got together yet again that evening.

The next morning the bride's family had everyone who was still in town and still marginally ambulatory over to their house for breakfast. Afterward we said goodbye to our newfound friends, fellow veterans of the party that wouldn't end.

My wife and I, the bride and groom, and two of our old band members hung out for a while longer, spending part of the time trying to remove blue dye that had bled from the "Just Married" ribbons into the paint of George's '60s Ford Mustang.

We had a brief tour of their apartment and then went on a breakneck ride through Chicago traffic to the airport. It was like something out of the Blues Brothers. We made it to the plane with seconds to spare, the hatch closing behind us with a crunch.

I'm sure we were out cold within minutes of finding our seats.

I've only been to a handful of occasions like that, but they've all had that sense of fun, the camaraderie (even among strangers) and the extended hours I've described above. I wouldn't recommend getting behind in the mortgage, but if it's reasonably possible you might have a memorable weekend.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1404258 - 03/26/10 12:47 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17786
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
"In America," I said, "We do not eat GOLD FISH. We name them and give them homes."


ROFL!! grin

--From a woman who *still* has on her kitchen counter two bowls of the descendants of the "one guppy" she agreed to take from child's science teacher over 5 years ago, said "one" guppy somehow turning into six remarkably fertile guppies.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1404280 - 03/26/10 01:11 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
I am a vegetarian. If you've ever eaten one of these European fancy-pants dinners, you know they are, well, meat-laden. I was seated at the front table (the promoter graciously had agreed to feed me between sets) but there was not much there for me to eat. I mean, I was bartering with my neighbors to get the garnishes of their plates.

"I'll give you my elk filet for your baby carrot."

That really made me laugh. I am not a vegetarian, but I'm pretty limited as regards meats I consider edible. Chicken, beef, turkey, pork in a pinch. Chinese people can occasionally feed me shrimp. That's it. I'll try most any vegetable concoction, but I'm squeamish about unfamiliar animal bits. Is the story? Why yes.

We were staying in Geneva. It was 1989, I think. September. A woman named Colette had invited us out to dinner. She had previously worked at the local office of the commodities company my wife worked for. She and my wife had spoken many times on the phone, but had never actually met. Nevertheless she treated us as if we were old and intimate friends, chattering rapidly in a blur of French and English, offering life details that might have been best reserved for people she'd known for longer than an hour.

She met us at the Flower Clock in the center of town and drove us a short distance from there to the restaurant, stopping briefly at her apartment on the way.

We were near the end of a three-week trip around Europe and had been traveling fairly frugally. It was our 6th day in Switzerland and we had a good feel for the exchange rate which was approximately 1.25 Swiss Francs to the dollar.

We were already a bit apprehensive about what sort of food would be available, as our dinner companion was something of a gourmet cook whose tastes ran to the exotic. Her personal specialty was tête de veau. Even the more familiar parts of the veau are not my favorite, but I have a general rule against food can look back at me.

Collette said that the place was a favorite of hers. I can't remember the name, but it was advertised on the sign outside as a "Restaurant Dansant", which made us chuckle. And indeed, there was entertainment, of a sort. Under a mirror ball in the corner of the room was a man playing an elaborate multi-tiered organ with auto-accompaniment. The songs tended toward Euro-Disco arranged with the cartoon-inspired sounds of a home organ.

With some trepidation we opened the menus. The place was dim and the print was small, and in French, but I scanned the page as quickly as I could. To my initial relief, there appeared to be several entrees that looked edible. Whew! Feeling a little better I slowed down to decide what I'd have.

But then I glanced over at the prices. The very cheapest entree was over 90 francs. That was some liver abomination that I couldn't possibly order. The cheapest item I might actually eat was 125 francs.

I looked up at my wife's face. Without exchanging words we knew that we were both thinking the same thing. There was no way we could let this woman treat us to what would surely have added up to a $250.00 meal, but that amount would have been a real budget buster on what had already been a very expensive trip.

I'll add that we had plenty of time to reflect on our predicament. Collette was engaged in a protracted and animated argument with the waiter and then the restaurant manager about only being able to order one variety of wine by the glass.

It was a blur, like being in a horror movie with eerie slow-mo carny music. Then, out of nowhere I had a flashback. I saw us in the car en route to the restaurant. I leaned over to my wife and whispered "We're in France!"

Geneva is a small finger of Switzerland surrounded by France. Collette lived in France and worked in Geneva. She had special plates on her car that allowed her to drive through the border crossings without stopping at all. I had just barely remembered such a crossing on the way there.

At the time the exchange rate for FRENCH Francs was about SIX to the dollar. All of a sudden my 125 franc entree was only 20 bucks!

We had nice dinner and listened as Collette spoke at high velocity and great length about what poor businessmen the French were, surely obvious to anyone who had witnessed the house wine brouhaha; The Germans would swallow them up when the Euro came about.

By the time we left we were the last people in the place. The organ player was still going strong as we walked out the door.

Lesson: Always try to know what country you are in.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1404854 - 03/27/10 10:52 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Monica K.]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4425
Loc: San Jose, CA
Birdsong, I think not. Of course it wouldn't have been in the photo, made so long before the actual wedding, but I don't doubt that there will be a special barge on that lake, with a concert grand and possibly a reed and brass ensemble to accompany it (and a string bass). The guests will be accommodated in more modest craft for the twilight concert, lighted by Japanese lanterns with candles, and dinner (served by waiters in swift canoes, lest the food grow cold).

Now that leaves the problem of dancing. If we left it to Guarino, there would be synchronized swimmers with flashlights, who after the performance would toil through the waters doing a rescue carry with one arm, while bearing trays with chilled champagne and glasses up to the guests' boats. Party animals that they are, there would be sure to be quite a few mishaps involving plunges into the lake in full evening dress. Not yet rowdy enough? How about the spectacle of members of the wedding rocking their boats so as to create bigger and bigger waves. Picture how risky life on that barge could become. The worst-case scenario could also be the best case--- for decades to come, tour boat operators would guide divers to the very spot on the lake where a nine-foot concert grand had come to rest on the bottom. Or am I just telling the same story over and over...?

The spectacle of swimmers bearing flaming desserts through the waters would be gossiped about from Pocatello to Jackson Hole. I can see the headlines now: "The Sins of Lycra."

Anyway. You can see why I've thought twice about going. There I was, wrapping up a gravy boat to send off, when I remembered that lake and got to thinking.

"Yes, bison. At one point I actually heard myself saying: "As an American, I am no stranger to the buffalo. . . . 'Home on the Range' is one of my very favorite songs."

You know, against my better judgment, I actually believe this. Some reporter nagged Franklin Roosevelt to reveal his favorite song--- a surprise question in a "news interview." Caught off guard, he blurted out, "Home on the Range." And sure as you know, the band struck it up at every single event during his entire Presidency--- four terms. Patrician FDR! Well, he paid for that slip of the tongue.

"There was another humiliating moment when the German moderator meant to say COD FISH, but instead he said COLD FISH, which I misunderstood to be GOLD FISH. "In America," I said, "We do not eat GOLD FISH. We name them and give them homes." "Really?" said the moderator. "How fascinating.""

We know, of course, that you meant to say, "In America, we do not eat goldfish, we eat CARP." Yet, that is a dangerous word, very easily misspelled by reporters and just as easily overlooked by erring editors, malicious proofreaders and careless compositors.

"Really?" said the moderator. "How fascinating."

In Boston, a fish house popular with tourists used to sell t-shirts, which we would see all over town (and from a distance). They read, "I Got Schrod Last Night--- at Legal Seafood." But I'm sure Robin was in glamorous evening wear, and in that kind of outfit you can say just about anything and it comes out sounding all right. Even, "CARP."


Edited by Jeff Clef (03/27/10 12:48 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1408588 - 04/01/10 01:14 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I love this FDR story. See? I knew I was on to something with the "Home on the Range" comment. I also know that my best friend Robin Spielberg just recorded it for her new CD. This has been kind of a HOME ON THE RANGE theme week. It's a pretty melody. The lyric? Well. Any lyric that uses the word buffalo is immediately suspect. Anyway, I am now afraid that everywhere I go, someone will play HOME ON THE RANGE. But better that than "Titanic" or "Tie a Yellow Ribbon" or some hideous thing from "Phantom.".

I know that goldfish are little carp but I couldn't think quickly enough in German. It's a problem I have. My brain works much faster in English than it does in German. I have no clue how to say CARP in German. Goldfish is easy. GOLDFISCH. Just put that Colonel Klink spin on the pronunciation and you're, well, golden.

Greg, I love your Swiss-French border story!!!! Things are easier now that most of Europe uses Euros, but those Swiss still stick to their own currency. We live in a corner of Germany that is very close to Belgium, France, and Holland, and when we first moved over here we were always trying to convert everything into dollars. This period of my life may account for my current state of craziness--math is not my strong suit. Anyway, Collette sounds like the kind of person I would love to know.

Bad news: my first wedding of the season was cancelled twenty-four hours before the scheduled ceremony. Scheisse. Nobody knows why. The banquet department was afraid to ask. I was paid, but I almost feel guilty. Almost.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1408994 - 04/01/10 09:52 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Things are easier now that most of Europe uses Euros, but those Swiss still stick to their own currency.

Easier, yes, but there's a certain romance lost for the traveler. On some level we all expect even the land to look different - a different color, like on the map - when we cross a border. Adjusting to new conversion math and inspecting pointillist renderings of a new country's war heroes, staple crops or landscape on their coins and bills enhances the experience. We've got a jar somewhere filled with 20 year-old Francs (French), Francs (Swiss), Schillings, Deutschmarks, Liras and even Forints from that trip.

A single currency, and ever more signs in English, can be convenient, but I liked the old way better. What's foreign travel without a little confusion? Narrow corridors on international trains are good for that. You have to excuse yourself more or less continuously on the way to the salle de bain/bagno/WC, but how? Con permesso? Entschuldigung? Pardon?

My surname is Italian. In the US, even in places where an Italian name is pretty exotic, people seldom assume I'm from Italy. But it has happened quite frequently on our three trips to Europe, in several different countries (excluding Italy, of course). The morning clerk at our hotel in Vienna greeted me each day with a cheery Buon Giorno!

On what was probably the day before our dinner with Colette, we checked into our hotel a little way up the lake from Central Geneva. Although we had driven to Geneva, we stopped at the train station hotel booking desk to find a place to stay.

We greeted the clerk in French and explained that we had booked a room from the train station. He asked our name. "Guarino, G-u-a-r-i-n-o". He decided to do us the courtesy of addressing us in our mother tongue: Italian. He asked a few of the standard questions.

My Italian is pretty basic, but even I could tell that his was markedly more limited. We had gone from a language that one of us spoke fluently, to one that neither of us spoke well. Finally he asked to see "i passaporti, per favore'.

Out came our navy-blue US passports. He put his hand to his forehead and shook his head a little. He regrouped and continued in English. One conversation, three languages. Would I remember (twenty years later) anything about that otherwise standard exchange if it had all occurred in the nearly flawless English that seems to be an employment requirement at international chain hotels? I doubt it.

Currencies, languages, signs and menus should present at least some challenge. It's more fun that way.

Who knows, maybe I'll get my wish, about the currency anyway. There was an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times just yesterday advocating a more stable Uber-Euro, excluding all the messy southern nations.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1409169 - 04/02/10 04:04 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Oh Greg, I hear you! When I was just visiting Europe all of the currency differences held a certain charm. Now that I live here, though, I love the convenience of the Euro. Both my husband and I work all over the place, so you can imagine how confusing things get with billing and conversions. Almost put me off the deep end when we first moved here in 1994. So my fondness for the Euro comes strictly from a practical point of view.

The cultural differences, thankfully, are still plentiful and wild. And you don't have to go far before you reach a no-English village. I live in one, and I'm only 30 minutes outside of Cologne.

Hope to see you over here sometime !!!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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