Considering throwing a house party, but need something more magnetic than yourself, your hors d'oeuvres and your collection of old CDs?
Well, you could get musicians who perform at venues like the Tin Angel and the Point into your living room.
It's not as tough as you might think. And we found a person who's so passionate about folk, indie, roots and singer-songwriter musicians, that she'll book the musicians for your house concert for free.
That's right. You don't have to pay her, but you and your guests do need to shell out some dough for the performers. After all, they need some incentive to travel and play at your party.
Mary Post, founder of Listening Post Productions, had stepped down late last year from booking acts at Wilmington venues like 4W5 Cafe because of financial losses. But that didn't end her desire to promote musicians like John Flynn, Full Frontal Folk and Paul and Storm. So she'll use her connections to get these musicians to perform for you, intimate and live.
Well-known folk singer/songwriter Christine Lavin, of New York, loves it when she meets new audiences who appreciate the folk music scene.
"Songwriters will go where they are wanted and valued - if it's a house concert or a Broadway open mike show," she wrote by e-mail. "We are living in a difficult time right now, but no one I know of has EVER gone into folk music to get rich."
It might be a bit difficult to get Christine into your home. She travels with a lot of electronic gear and likes to twirl batons.
But there are musicians who don't need or have that much sound equipment and don't require that much room. Mary, of Bear, gives us some tips on how to host this type of house concert.
Q: How many people should I invite?
Mary: Fifteen to 25.
Q. How much do we need to pay the performers?
A: Each guest should give a donation of $15.
Q: Who are some of the performers you can get?
A: Almost anyone who travels the folk circuit.
(See list at left.)
Q: How much in advance of my party do I need to book the performer?
A: It depends. Probably about a month in advance. You might want to get them while they're touring. A lot depends on their tour schedule.
Q. Do I need any kind of sound equipment?
A. I can help with this. Most musicians who do house concerts have everything they need.
(Most of the musicians she would book play guitar or the electric piano. At most, they don't need anything more complicated than an electrical socket.)
Q. Will it get loud?
A. It can get loud, but nothing that would cause the neighbors to complain.
Q. How long would the concert be?
A. Have like a 2 1/2 -hour show with an intermission. [The performers can] sell their CDs.
Q. How about food?
A. Do potluck, something fun.
(And yes, let the musicians eat.)
Q. When do the musicians arrive?
A. They can be setting up while other people are coming. It's all informal. They might want to come half an hour earlier than your guests to get set up.
Of course you'll have your early guests, nerd guests who are on time. That person can help them carry things. That's their reward for being a nerd, a Boy Scout.
Q. I liked Da Vinci's Notebook when I saw them at 4W5. You say Paul and Storm (of DVN) would play at my house?
A. Paul and Storm would put on an excellent house concert: X-rated, R-rated or G-rated.
A. Some [lyrics] aren't appropriate for kids. No, they don't do dancing gyrations.
Q. Last thing: You've mentioned something about putting pingpong balls in my bathroom medicine cabinet to play a joke on snooping guests. How do I set that up?
A. You need two people to do it. Try to remember that you've done it.
[Use about] 10 to 15 pingpong balls, enough to make sure there's enough to roll out. It's hard for one person to put them back in. Buy color pingpong balls.
It's fun to know there are snoopy people. Stuff them around things in the cabinet.
John Flynn (of Wilmington), Justin McNatt (Smyrna), Christopher
Williams (now of Nashville), Full Frontal Folk (Philly) and We're About
9 (Baltimore) are all performers Mary Post says she can book for your
She can also book Paul and Storm (a comedic duo who compose and sing funny songs and are two of the Da Vinci's Notebook foursome), Girlyman, Andy & Denise, Kim and Reggie Harris, Zrazy (from Ireland) and Fruit (the trio from Australia).
And these singer/songwriters: Zoe Lewis, Sam Shaber, Dulcie Taylor, Cosy Sheridan, Jamie Anderson, Evalyn Parry, Rachael Davis, Annie Wenz and Deirdre Flint, one of the Four Bitchin' Babes.
|Deirdre Flint (going on tour as one of the Four Bitchin' Babes this year)|
Cooldog Concert Series
Paul Gumerman and Beth Fizell hold concerts in their Clayton home, equipped with an excellent sound system and stage.
(check their schedule of upcoming concerts and join in the fun)
Popular local band IKE is also well known for their living room shows. Don't you want them in yours?