Posts Tagged ‘starving artists guide’

Moonshine Happy Hour Club

Ghost, Goblins and Ghouls beware! Cohosts Kevin Prockup and Ethan Runco talk about ghosts, ghouls, goblins, our personal hopes and fears, and a whole lot more.


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Permaculture at work.

IF you’re like me, you’ve been in a state of transition. The winter seemed to drag in a perpetual state of inbetween this year. Here in Brooklyn, we’re already seeing some pretty awesome spring blooms. Bees are humming, compost is composting, and the birds are flyin’–its time to get-a-plantin’. It’s been almost a year since I wrote “The Urban Survival Guide”, which can be downloaded/read here, but I’ve only just begun my experiments in permiculture. To get me off to a quick start, I just bought a copy of The Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. So far, it’s been a great read. Its the first physical book I’ve bought in a long time, and the design work is wonderful. It’s full of helpful tips for folks in the city that want to green up their experience. They talk about porch gardens, raising chickens, worm farming and the like. Its very funny, too. There are a lot of simple tips, like growing out garlic so the shoots can be used in all kinds of dishes. This was a wakeup call! The veggies that you buy at the grocery store are still alive! After a winter hibernation that had me, for better or worse, skipping out on fruits and veggies more than I should have been, it was the motivational push that got me thinking green again.
Case in point, I just started putting out my trays for spinach. Right now is the perfect time to start planting spinach and lettuce if you live in New York City. In my experience, it doesn’t need too much soil (about 3-4 inches) and it’s a great way to feel connected to the food you are eating. I went and purchased some domes for my spinach this year after reading that they like to be at a constant moisture level. The trays are inexpensive (1.99). Get the ones with holes in the bottom so you don’t drown them. The 5-inch clear domes were expensive ($5.99). To supplement/experiment, I only bought two domes and for the other trays I used clear garbage bags and some used toilet paper rolls to keep the bag from sitting on the soil. This was simple, but less attractive. Then I poked some aeration holes into the bag. I’ll keep this post updated as my spinach, mesclun mix and wheatgrass trays begin growing. I used Bloomsdale Spinach (Fast, 5 days to sprout) and Franchi Mesclun mix. These should sprout in 5-10 days. The wheatgrass is Red winter Wheat, which I found at a local shop. The wheatgrass and spinach is listed as organic, but the mesclun is not.
I’ve also found that as I start to become more active in my greening pursuits, I’m also writing more. I just updated my other site, sublimeminds.com with a small review and link to Andrew Bird’s new album, Break it yourself. I also played an hour long set this past weekend of some of the tunes off my latest record Mountain Sons. Hopefully this momentum will build and continue into the spring! In two months, I’m set to begin my adventures in Beekeeping! While I’m planning on doing this upstate, I haven’t barred the idea of city beekeeping in the years to come if I can find a spot that is out of the way to do so. The city needs bees more than ever as more and more people jump onto the permiculture train that will lift us from reliance on the big ten producers of American food.

A year's worth of composting now hard at work.

I’m also looking to do a few new podcast episodes of
Starving Artist Radio as soon as I can secure some guests!
If you have any suggestions or want to plug some music and be interviewed on the show, send some samples to starvingartistsguide@gmail.com

Hope everyone is happy and healthy.


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Hey dudes and dudettes,
The Urban Survival Guide has arrived. You can purchase your copy here. Feel free to steal it or buy it. You should probably buy it, seeing as the proceeds raised will go to the Red Cross Japanese Tsunami Relief fund. We gotta get this stuff under control, so let’s start with sealing off the nuclear waste that’s pouring into our oceans and affecting everyone on the planet. This is a quick read, I’d recommend getting the pdf version, seeing as it’s only $2.99 and it’s only about 40 pages or so long.
If you do buy the physical copy, why not This Will Swallow You Whole, while you’re at it? Save on shipping! This is the “addendum” that I’ve been talking up for months on end, but I realized how boring that sounded. So I fixed her up and it reads pretty smoothly. I hope you enjoy!
Thanks to everyone that has ordered it so far.
Much love.
On another note, this Saturday night I’ll be playing a few tracks off of my most recent album Holograms and some awesome new tracks at the PATH Cafe in the West Village. Just go to W4th St on the DBFAC lines and walk West to the intersection of Hudson and Christopher Street. 8pm. Be there or be rhombus. I’ll post up a live mp3 of the show on SublimeMinds.com, my new all-encompassing website that will be taking submissions for poetry, fiction, nonfiction and pretty much anything for publication!
Enjoy the Urban Survival Guide.
Stay strong and carry on.

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That’s Right.

Inside these pages
you will learn how to:

brew your own beer
grow an urban garden
cleanse your body from pollution
create a non-smelly compost system
copyright your work
find Legal Advice for artists
get a grant
see free concerts
survive in an emergency
get off the grid inside city limits

Be prepared.

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Hey folks,
I’m putting on the finishing touches to the 2011 Addendum, and it will be available on 4/11/11. That’s next Monday. It’ll be a free download for the first 24 hours, so tell all of your friends as well! It’s loaded chock full of new ideas I’ve been fermenting for the last year or so, as well as places/people/events to check out this year.
Next week will mark the birth of something much bigger, as well…keep your ears peeled for that announcement also being made on Monday.
Life has been treating me rather well, and it’s safe to say that I’m busier, more creative and happier than ever. My best wishes to everyone that is witnessing the strange, beastly nature of the world these days…
Until next monday, carry on!

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This is the directory. It’s huge, and it took me a long time to put together. If you ever need to find any place around New York City that is cool, you’ll probably be able to find it here. I’m currently doing a few things, as always, including but not limited to: brewing a batch of strawberry Octoberfest, working on some songs to play at Path Cafe’s Thursday Open Mic night, editing a super secret project of which details will be released very soon, finishing up final edits for the 2011 Starving Artist’s Guide Addendum, and some other stuff too. I’m also going to update the LINKS section of this site this week. Stay tuned!


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Hey folks,
The dudes over at cdbaby.com just opened up a forum to find out how songwriters do their diddy. They’re putting together a little Ebook to help out songwriters and here’s what I put as my answers. If you want to put in your two cents, go on over to cdbaby.com

1.What does your songwriting process look like? What are a few of the more common ways in which you compose a song?

Often for me, there’s an initial idea which goes into songwriting, which can come on the subway or walking in the park—usually a phrase or catchy limerick. All it needs is cadence. Then, I try to figure out the two parts of the song—the lyrics and what i’m trying to get across with the song, and the music to accompany the lyrics. The better the two mesh together, the better the song. If you can play the song without singing the lyrics and it still sounds like it’s saying what you meant to say, then the song is well written.
This process can work itself out within a matter of hours or even months or years. Certain songs take longer to ferment, which might be considered a form of “writer’s block” to some people, but I see it as just a part of the writing process. Just like brewing beer, some songs take longer to write than other songs.
Sitting down with other musicians can also help the songwriting process.
2.Think of your favorite songs. What do they do to or for you? What is it about the song (technically, emotionally, thematically) that moves you?
The best songs are songs that you wish you wrote in the first place. They make you move from the hips in rhythm with the music, try to attempt singing it even while knowing you aren’t the true singer. A song can truly move you when it physically moves you. It has this “swing” to it that from the first listen to the thousandth listen, achieves the same goal—to get you up and dancin’.
3.What are your common frustrations with songwriting? What are the ways in which you get stuck?
Songwriting is a tricky beast to get a handle on. In order to progress as a songwriter, you must constantly challenge your emotions, technical ability and have moments of doubt where you want to give up the craft. It’s moments like this that songwriting becomes a chore. This is when you pick up a paintbrush until further notice.
4.4. How do you overcome the frustration? how do you get un-stuck?
The best way to get over the frustration is to stop writing songs until you want to again. No one is putting a gun to your head saying “you need to write songs” instead of using your creativity in other forms. Sometimes you feel like writing a song because you haven’t written one in a while. This is a bad idea. The lyrics will be “yesterday was gray, I had a bad day” and it will suck. Instead, wait for inspiration to strike, or attempt writing a song on a different instrument or with a group of songwriters that can help give you feedback and inspire your writing in a different way.
5. Do you envision an audience or outside listener when you write? If so, how would you describe that audience? What effect does this have on the writing process?
It’s best to write for yourself. Sometimes I write songs for my family, knowing that they will probably be the first to hear it and the most receptive to it.

6.Songwriters are known for loving most of their “babies” equally. This is why artistic coaches have the mantra “Kill Your Babies!” How can you tell when one of your own song is really good? How can you tell when one is bad or misbehaving?

By favoring certain songs or chord progressions or even styles of music, you can end up boxing yourself in and snuffing out the flame of creativity. It’s important to be proud of your songs from a “I was there and I did that” aspect, and give them their due as far as playing them if you get the chance in front of people to get a reaction, but it’s also equally important to push your own limits creatively as well as musically. You can usually tell if a song is “misbehaving” if you don’t like the way it sounds. This can be an easy fix, or you can just drop it from your setlist if it doesn’t feel relevant to you anymore. Case in point: Radiohead stopped playing “Creep” live because it boxed them into a particular “grunge” scene. They wanted to expand their sound, so they stopped playing it for people. A great song, but irrelevant to the band’s performance after 1994.
7.What do you get out of being a songwriter? Do you imagine you’ll write songs forever?
What does a blade of grass get out of having the sun around? I can’t image not having an outlet like songwriting to express myself. Songwriting is a process of filtration, allowing me to take in the world and express myself so that other people can listen and hopefully be inspired as well. Songwriting forever? Forever is a long, long time. I suppose if I have the chance and feel inspired, forever seems like a long enough time to be a songwriter.
8.What roles do “inspiration” and “perspiration” play in your writing process?
Inspiration is the key to writing a song, perspiration is the doorknob that you turn.
9.Imagine the greatest song you’ve haven’t written yet. Describe it.
I like the idea of multiple harmonies going on, with parts for banjo, mandolin, guitar and organ. The lyrics are based in transcendentalism, like a brisk walk in the woods in late November as the last leaves fall in New England.

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