Archive for January, 2011

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 3

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

The ol’ GROOVE BOOTH made an appearance aboard Jam Cruise 9 and TheRFW couldn’t be happier with what the lens captured.  We want to thank Cloud 9 Adventures,  the staff and crew of MSC POESIA and the bands, fans and friends who made this photo project a success.  BRAVO!

Over 900 photo strip sessions took place.  Jump to the 2nd and 3rd series here:

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 1

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 2

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 2

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

The ol’ GROOVE BOOTH made an appearance aboard Jam Cruise 9 and TheRFW couldn’t be happier with what the lens captured.  We want to thank Cloud 9 Adventures,  the staff and crew of MSC POESIA and the bands, fans and friends who made this photo project a success.  BRAVO!

Over 900 photo strip sessions took place.  Jump to the 1st and 3rd series here:

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 1

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 3

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 1

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

The ol’ GROOVE BOOTH made an appearance aboard Jam Cruise 9 and TheRFW couldn’t be happier with what the lens captured.  We want to thank Cloud 9 Adventures,  the staff and crew of MSC POESIA and the bands, fans and friends who made this photo project a success.  BRAVO!

Over 900 photo strip sessions took place.  Jump to the 2nd and 3rd series here:

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 2

Jam Cruise 9 Photo Booth 3

JAM CRUISE 9 by Dirty Santa

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Contributing Writer/ Photographer :  Andrew Wyatt [ TheRFW.com/blog/DirtySanta ]

I was warned.

“You better pack a Santa diaper cuz you’re gonna shit your Santa pants!” exclaimed one veteran of Jam Cruise in a text message before I packed my trademark red sequin suit for my first trip for the week-long music festival set on a 13-story cruise ship bound for the Caribbean.

As a nine year veteran of the Burning Man arts festival in the Nevada desert, I was prepared the spectacle of Jam Cruise that’s akin to a floating Mardi Gras.

With over 2,000 costumed participants bouncing to a non stop cacophony of live music through every deck, hallway, and stage on the ship, I felt instantly at home.

What was overwhelming about Jam Cruise was how instantly everyone felt at ease and felt at home. Musicians, bringing a mix of funk, blues, folk and word beat rhythms, played harder and longer while also feeling relaxed with each other and their enthusiastic fans. Each day through the wee hour bleary-eye dawns impromptu guitar and tambourine jam sessions dotted the deck. My favorite came with Nathan Moore leading a “You Are my Sunshine” sing-along on a sidewalk deck for one sunrise.

As for the audiences, even before the MSC Poesia chugged its way from its Port Everglades berth, Jam Cruise participants flitted happily around each other like glowing obits of fireflies over the backyards of forgotten youth. As sun set and the first notes of music splayed into the warm South Atlantic air, cruisers set out to greet each other as packs of porno clowns, zebras, bananas, unicorns, and numerous other costumed alter egos. People didn’t simply want to meet each other, they wanted to know each other.

A particularly poignant moment came to me after a port stop in Roatan, Honduras. A young couple that I spent the previous evening with dancing and laughing, approached me with a gift they had bought at a shop on shore. That evening I was dressed in my Santa suit, and as they handed me a beautiful brightly painted porcelain figurine, they announced, “We just knew that Santa needs to get a Christmas present too, so we got you a little something.” I was so overwhelmed by their kindness I choked back tears when I hugged them both.

[ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER PHOTOS]

In a quiet moment that night, I reflected on Jay and Erin’s openness. I watched dark waves ripple along the ship’s bow and the corners of my mind. I thought of Thornton Wilder’s character, Emily Webb from the play “Our Town” who wonders aloud at the end of her life,” Does anyone realize life while they are still living?” For me that question is haunting and difficult to answer. But, at least for that week, on that boat the answer, I was shown by others that the answer was a resounding “yes.”

It would’ve been difficult for even for the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge combined to ignore the Christmas spirit among cheerful and trusting folks on the cruise. Late the last night I felt fatigued and sat in deck chair with a blank stare. Brock Butler of Perpetual Groove stopped in front of me, leaned over and drew the shape of a smiley face in the air in front of me. I broke into a smile and thanked him for the gentle reminder that even as the festival drew to a close it still wasn’t too late to let my heart grow three sizes too large.

The emotional scale was matched by the impressive scale of the cruise ship. The MSC Poesia, an Italian owned vessel, and is named for the Italian word for “poetry.”  On first glance I wasn’t reminded much of poem. I was thinking more on a Biblical scale, like a modern day Noah’s Ark with indoor plumbing. The floating behemoth was christened in 2008 by film actress Sophia Loren. Though, it’s not the largest cruise ship on the seas it is a mobile symbol to Western economic affluence. It weighs in at 59,000 tons, and loaded with restaurants, night clubs, an art gallery, a two-story theatre, full spa, and miniature golf course. Thirteen elevators connected all the nooks and crannies together into a gleaming Las Vegas at sea.

As I stood on the deck of the ship the last night I turned and saw a passenger hoist a beer in the air and shout, “A toast to you all! I feel the love!” Still holding his beer heavenward he laughed and shouted, “But what does it all mean?!?”  His playful, but unanswerable question lingered in my thoughts. Jam Cruise is disorienting as it is euphoric. Though travel on the boat was stable to the point it was barely perceptible that the ship was in motion; yet, the festival capsized previously held expectations of what I believed about the goodness in people. Unleashed from the moorings of life’s daily grind, Jam Cruise placed my feet on a faraway shore feeling something like hope. Perhaps there is hope that we can treat one another kinder and gentler at home as we can at sea. I began the trip wondering if I needed to bring a diaper, and instead, I returned with a life-preserver.

Bell-Bottoms and Wigs | Roadside Mystic

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Bell-bottoms and Wigs – Roadside Mystic

Contributing Writer – Garret K. Woodward

www.MySpace.com/RoadsideMystic

Often within the origin of unbreakable bonds forged through musicianship resides a unique circumstance coming to fruition from the strangest of places.

“We came about because of a project that we were invited to play in about five years ago called That ‘70s Band,” said guitarist Brad Hurlburt. “After wearing skin-tight bell-bottoms and wigs and literally seeing the band implode on stage during a double bachelorette party, we had caught the bug for playing live and developed a really solid friendship.”

Taking that friendship ball and running with it, Hurlburt, alongside Derek Lavoie (bass), Scott Renderer (drums) and Russ Cook (guitar/vocals), formed Roadside Mystic, a Keene Valley (Upstate New York) group finely tuned in the early styles of the Delta blues and backwoods melodies of haunting musical ghosts.

“Our sound is pure raw rock ‘n’ roll,” said Hurlburt. “We use tube amplifiers turned way up, vintage drums and a minimum of effects. Our influences range from the Mick Taylor era of The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin. We also draw from a heavy base of country-blues artists like Mississippi Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside.”

The quartet (which also molds itself into the acoustic side project Back Porch Society) evolved simply with a few passionate people playing music in their own time, in their own space.

“Brad and I both live in Keene Valley, and our houses are only about half a mile apart, so we spend a lot of time together,” said Cook. “Brad’s back porch became our home base. Once we had the chance to start our own project, we began to study as many early blues masters as we could get our hands on, including Willie Johnson, John Hurt, Elmore James, Willie McTell and the Reverend Gary Davis.

“Out of this eclectic mix, both of the projects were born, which have given us a chance to continue to explore both of our passions — acoustic blues and full-tilt electric blues-rock.”

Currently, the band is in the process of recording their first album at Bullfrog Audio in Vermont, a studio owned by Victor Forbes of Fine Art Magazine. The release date is tentatively set for next summer, with several live shows to be sprinkled around the region until that time.

“Our approach is a no-compromise attempt to make music that we love and believe in,” said Hurlburt. “We are motivated by the challenge of taking the project as far as we can with both the quality of our recordings and live shows. We try to make music that we are excited about, and hopefully, that will translate to our listeners. As a band, we thrive on the interplay between the band and the crowd and the energy that is shared between the two.”

Renderer looks at the project as a chance to make a difference in a diluted industry.

“The music industry in its current state is pretty sad,” he said. “Let’s get back to rock ‘n’ roll and listening to a complete album, start-to-finish, on a turntable. Digital downloading has sucked the magic out of music. We all love opening a real album and checking out the artwork, reading the liner notes, and, most importantly, hearing how a complete work flows from one song to the next.

“In our genre, taking from the past and making it relevant in the present is a time-honored tradition. We try to be a worthy link in that chain.”

Roadside Mystic will be performing at the Monopole in Plattsburgh, New York on February 25 and the Cascade Cross-Country Ski Area in Lake Placid, New York on March 26.