Monday, November 30, 2009

A guest post regarding famed Renfaire headliners "Coyote Run"


Jeff writes: "And now, I'd like to present to you some thoughts on the rather amazing Coyote Run. Coyote Run is a well-known Faire headliner, and I'm ridiculously pleased to have them with us."


One of the most recent additions to Jeff Mach’s most delectable entertainment schmorgasboard for WICKEDFAIRE 2010/MAD TEA PARTY is COYOTE RUN.

It should NOT be assumed that COYOTE RUN is just another yummy dessert or an after dinner mint – they are unquestionably a definitive main course, a singularly exquisite entre with their own distinct taste for all to savor.They have at one time or another been compared to Jethro Tull and Red Hot Chili Peppers in kilts yet in actuality defy pigeonholing. COYOTE RUN emerged in 1999 and like choice wine, cheese and steak they continue to improve with age. Their initial offering was “traditional Celtic Rock” with “story telling” (a mainstay to be sure) yet they continue to evolve into other fringe areas on the musical forefront. Their art is punctuated in part with the wail of bagpipes, amazing riffs from a killer electric bass, guttural didgeridoo growls and the pounding, rhythmic (dare I use the phrase “bordering on tribal”) sound of drums. Mixing this with amazing vocals and lyrical harmonies, you have the makings of a performance that leaves you wanting more.

ALCHEMY can be described as a transforming or enchanting power and the entertainment offered by COYOTE RUN is unquestionably the personification of the word.The individually unique styles of David, Doug, Mike and Catherine create gold from what would be, in the hands of other musicians “base metal” music. Their ability to mesmerize an audience is only secondary to the quality of their sound.

Recently returned from Scotland and presently in the midst of their holiday tour, they will be performing at MARSCON/Williamsburg, Virginia in January and at WICKEDFAIRE 2010/MAD TEA PARTY in February.Continually tweaking theirmusical technique, COYOTE RUN has most recently been experimenting with and moving towards a Steampunk persona… not just in look, mind you, but in style and sound!

And what exactly, you ask, IS Steampunk music? More about that in my next blog. Right now the wind is picking up from the West and I can no longer dally on the promenade and gaze over the railing. My presence is required in the wheelhouse.Pirates are everywhere these days.

Respectfully submitted by Lord Montague J. Fromage,

High Admiral, Supreme Squadron Commander of HIM Airship Armada

Monday, November 23, 2009

Voltaire, Voltaire, Voltaire

There's something you might not know about the way I see Voltaire.

Lo those five years ago, he was to be the Big Headliner, he was the person whom we hoped would most give name recognition to our brand-new, small (we thought it would be!), experimental event.

Half a decade later, regardless of who we bring in, or what's going on--this man fills up every stage area we put him in, even when that area's gotten bigger and bigger and bigger.
There's a secret I don't talk about: In many ways, Voltaire exemplified my original idea of what Wicked Faire could be.

What he does is cross genres like it's nobody's business, and pretty much as if the lines don't exist. Which is damn weird for someone who plainly comes out of a particular subculture. But even back in the day, they called him the Clown Prince of Goth. It was clear to me that this was a man whose music would appeal to pretty much anyone who liked things at least a little bit outside the ordinary. His music was often funny, but it was also magnetic; it was passionate without losing control, beautifully modulated without ever appearing mechanical. And you could take a crowd of any kind of weirdos, and even if they'd never heard him before, they'd stop, and they'd listen, and then they'd want more--to hell with whether this was "goth" or "comedy" or "punk" or "Rennie" or what-have you; to hell with it, this is good, and we want it!

If that's not my dream for how people will experience Wicked Faire, I don't know what is.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Raab Rashi, master teacher of the sword

Back at the beginning of my own martial arts study, I read every damn martial arts book I could find. Many of them liked to list martial arts as esoterically as possible. There's at least one martial art whose initial descriptions were so fascinating, mystical, and confusing that, though I've since met many practitioners, I still can't figure out what the hell they do. (That would be Pa Kua Chuan.)

I found "Iado" in a big, coffee-table book in the library, a book which gave one-page descriptions of about a hundred different arts, with cool pictures. Iado had one of the best descriptions ever - it said, pretty much, "Iado is the art of having presence of mind and masterful body such that you draw your sword faster than your opponent, and thus slay him instantly."

I hear you ask me, "Jeff, what is a modern-day samurai doing performing at Wicked Faire?" And having seen Raab in action, I can state, from the heart, "Any damn thing he wants to, man. I ain't gonna say no to him."

...okay, that's an old and a cheap joke, I admit. And the only person who's going to laugh at it is me. Forgive me my moment of weakness. Let's move on to the heart of the matter. As it were.

Iado is part of the set of martial arts Raab teaches. I've seen him teach - not just martial artists, but people who've never held swords before. I've seen people pick up sticks as if they were sticks, and half an hour later, put them down as both deadly weapons, and very serious tools. Raab is a truly excellent martial artist; if you're experienced yourself, you will be able to see it clearly in his movements, his balance, his carriage, and his concentration. If you are not a martial artist, you will still sense it in his classroom - you'll still be able to tell that this is a man who has devoted much of his life to a warrior art.

But much more than that, he's a wonderful instructor, and inordinately fun. He's someone you'd want to raise wooden swords with, in class--and then raise some pints with, afterwards. Not everyone at Wicked would think of attending a sword class. That would be their loss.

Raab's class has been featured in "Time Out New York", and "The New York Post's Best Of New York" - to name a few. His older brother, "The Old Man Of The Mountain", will also be at Wicked this year.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"This Way To The Egress"

I have this weakness. I am an insane sucker for Gypsy punk cabaret. And you're going to have to bear with me here--because when I talk about why I love that music so much, people tend to look at me in the sort of manner which makes me wonder uncomfortably if they've finally figured out that I escaped from a particularly high-security psychiatric facility and have taken the medication I was originally on and substituted it with a strict diet of Pez and whiskey. I love that music because, to me, it's exactly like dark ska. (If you're not familiar with ska, might I suggest you try this Youtube video of The Toasters' "Don't Let The Bastards Grind You Down"?)-- only sung by poetic bipolar 19th-century balladeers who've spent too long in absinthe-and-opium-induced trances and thus gained keen if somewhat horrified insight into the world in which we live.

"This Way To The Egress" (who are, by the way, named after one of my all-time favorite true stories) - are the first part of this year's Wicked Faire entertainment to go online because

1. They're new to Wicked, and I'm hoping we can give them a really warm welcome.
2. They're not famous yet, and I'm hoping that spotlighting them early will help people notice how good they are.
3. One thing I noticed: when either members of the performance team in general, or I personally, get into a conversation about gypsy cabaret we've heard, we inevitably ask if the other person or people have heard of "Egress", and if not, say, "You have to hear them!" - and flip over to their Myspace page.

"This Way To The Egress" - have you heard of them? No? You have to hear them!

(And a brief note for people who aren't fans of gypsy cabaret: there's a hundred more posts to follow this one. Be patient, best beloved.)