Thursday, June 30, 2011
Enjoy the video!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I've spent many years covering theatre in New York and the Washington D.C. area, including numerous shows at Wolf Trap, and I'm glad to share a few simple but important tips to make your experience fabulous.
- The early bird doesn't have to ask what's happening
- Seize the moment --not your cell phone
- Bring the kids and get them excited beforehand
- Bring a picnic, food and beverages of choice
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
You may not be surprised to learn that as president and CEO of Wolf Trap, I am delighted that June is Great Outdoors Month and a time for all of us to recognize the magnificent shared resources of our forests, parks, public lands and waters; to commit to protect these spaces; and celebrate all they have to offer.
Great Outdoors Month was started in 1998 by President Clinton and has continued with each president since. Each year it takes on new themes; and many associations and organizations launch their own efforts in support of it.
This year, the First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign is tied into the celebration, The National Wildlife Federation is promoting their NatureFind tool, and The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service promoted a day of fishing for several hundred school children in Washington D.C. As posted in the New York Times In Transit blog, many campsites are offering discounts in recognition of Great Outdoors month. Visiting one or more of America's 394 National Parks would be a great way to celebrate this month.
I've been passionate about our country's national parks since I was a young boy. I started visiting them on family vacations; and over the course of my life I've been fortunate to have visited more than 200 National Parks sites. My visits have included those that are well-known, such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone, and some of the lesser known--but equally significant--parks such as Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park in Vermont. Each park has something unique and special to offer.
As America's only National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap embodies the intimate connection between the great outdoors and the arts. This year marks Wolf Trap's 40th anniversary, and while there have certainly been many changes over those years, much of the original vision, to provide an oasis where people can experience the arts in the beauty of nature - still remains very much the same.
So during this extraordinary National Great Outdoors Month and throughout the year, I invite you to consider the role that the arts--and our National Parks--play in your life. And I hope you gather with family and friends this summer at Wolf Trap and in the hundreds of other parks across this country for reflection, inspiration, and to create lasting memories.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
In recent months a significant cohort of musicians have published memoirs from Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You? to Patti Smith's Just Kids to Not Dead & Not for Sale by Stone Temple Pilots Vocalist Scott Weiland.
2012 promises several new musician memoirs including "Natural Woman," by who else but Carole King expected in April next year; "Pete Townshend: Who He?" from guitarist and principal songwriter of The Who, slated for the fall of 2012, and the much anticipated memoir from The Smith's frontman Morrissey.
In light of the recent 70th birthday of music icon Bob Dylan, I thought I'd turn the keyboard over to my husband, Michael Chotiner, to share his thoughts on a book about the American singer, songwriter, musician, poet and painter, who last played The Filene Center in August 1997.
Thoughts on Sean Wilentz's Dylan in America from Michael Chotiner
As professional writer and editor, I tend to read widely on many subjects, but I almost never read books by or about my favorite musicians. Music is important to me--I grew up in high school and college playing in bands. But I've never been much interested in sensational, gossipy or confessional accounts of musicians' lives--I just wanted to know what they listened to. While I've always been interested in lyrics, it was the sound that brought me to where I wanted to be--that told me what I wanted to know. You know what they say at Gordy Records, "It's what's in the grooves that counts."
But I couldn't resist Sean Wilentz's Bob Dylan in America, which came out last summer. Growing up and learning to write and play guitar and harmonica in the Sixties, Dylan was the musician who probably influenced me the most. It was through Dylan that I got to Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, the Chicago blues, Nashville, the English/Scots folk tradition, Rimbaud, Robbie Robertson and the Band along with positions on civil rights and anti-war politics. Wilentz's book, which is a cultural biography, lays it all out--where Dylan's own irrepressible curiosity led him and the inspirations on which he built his songbook and his act: a Jewish heritage with roots in the labor and civil rights movements, black minstrel shows, Woody Guthrie, Buddy Holly, the Greek and Latin classics, the French Symbolist movement, Aaron Copland, Catfish Hunter and so many more.
So while you won't get much from Bob Dylan in America about his addictions, what he does with his wealth, how he gets on with his children, his romances and divorces (well, there is an interesting chapter about his relationship with Suzie Rotolo, the girl Dylan appears with on the cover of "The Freewheelin'" album), you will learn a lot of his most important secrets.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
There's no denying we develop some of our musical tastes from what our parents listened to and loved. For me, being held captive in the car with my mother always involved an Oldies radio station. Last year sitting backstage during The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show's sound check, I was stunned to realize that I was singing along with every word to all the songs. I immediately called my mom and said, "You really need to come out to the show tonight."
I know all of the names on the billing for tonight's show might not ring a bell, but, trust me, the songs will.
And, remember, it's ok to sing along.
Friday, June 24, 2011
The Mormon Tabernacle choir visited on Wednesday and brought with them the largest production we have seen so far this season. Here is a peek at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's touring by the numbers.
5,654 patrons in the audience
2,160 square feet of risers on stage
800 bottles of water
550 dinners served
390 choir and orchestra members on stage
110 musical instruments
95 degree temperature
23 wardrobe cases (Each female had 3 possible dress choices for a total of 420 dresses.)
11 buses to transport
9 road cases required to transport the organ
8 people required to set up the risers (It took hours.)
8 years since the Mormon Tabernacle Choir last toured
5 cities visited on this tour
3 tractor trailers to carry all equipment
1 guest conductor performance by Sen. Mark Warner
1 amazing performance by “America’s Choir”
Peter Frampton took the Wolf Trap stage last night in celebration of the 35th anniversary of his classic live album, Frampton Comes Alive. Prior to soundcheck, Frampton interviewed with the Life Section of USA Today. Look for the interview online in a few weeks.
As I was folding my blanket after the last song of Peter Frampton’s remarkable three-hour set last night, a random guy came up to me to ask how someone ‘so young’ came to be a Peter Frampton fan.
“Shouldn’t you be at a Justin Bieber concert?” he asked, only half joking.
I tried not to take offense and explained that when I was an *NSYNC-loving ten-year-old, my mom pulled out Frampton Comes Alive! from her vinyl collection. She introduced Peter Frampton to me as “her Justin Timberlake” and made me listen to the album in its entirety. (I was instantly impressed by Frampton’s curly blonde locks and boyish good looks, so I did not protest.)
My inquirer, who looked pretty young himself, revealed that he was born a year after Frampton Comes Alive! was released in ’76. He was introduced to Frampton just 11 years ago by an older friend and has loved his music ever since.
These kind of introductions seemed to be happening all throughout the lawn.
I saw a father tell his son, “Man, I remember listening to this album every night, the whole way through.” A teenage girl sitting in front of me was intently watching Frampton with her binoculars while he played “Penny For Your Thoughts.” She told her dad of her hopes to play guitar like him someday.
It helped that Frampton seemed genuinely grateful that people are still excited to hear Frampton Comes Alive! after 35 years. What could have come across as just a marketing scheme to cash in on another anniversary of the album—after all, he did re-release a deluxe edition of the record just ten years ago—came across as enthusiasm for sharing his music and appreciation for those who came to listen.
He excitedly told the crowd about half way through the Frampton Comes Alive! portion of the set list: “I thought, ‘I’m doing a whole evening on my own; I wonder if they’ll come.’ But you’re all here!”
Frampton played to a crowd so fervent that it felt like a sold out show, his voice sounding brilliant and youthful, perfectly coupled with the display of photos and videos of the famed album’s heyday playing behind him and his band.
Nostalgia was the obvious foundation of the show, as Frampton told many stories and emphasized certain meaningful lyrics. He told of how the band does not use breaks to smoke cigarettes or do drugs like they used to, but instead does yoga, and changed the words of certain songs, like in “All I Want to Be (Is By Your Side)” when he sang, “I don’t care if I’ve lost that hair.”
Even though I was born 12 years after Frampton Comes Alive! was released, Peter Frampton’s performance last night proved the endurance that him and his music have. It is the kind of endurance that makes me eager to share his music, just as my mom shared it with me.
She would be so proud.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Below is the set list that was provided to us before the show. If you were here, you know she did not follow this, she went where her mood took her. You may have noticed Ms. Franklin’s false exit in the middle of her performance. What she was really doing was changing out of her lilac chiffon dress and scarf into a beautiful, green, sleeveless, floor length gown with pink flower accents which she paired with a soft rose bolero jacket. What didn’t she change out of? The blue boot cast she was wearing following her Jimmy Choo shoe incident.
We were on the scene to capture her opening number, "(Your Love Keeps Lifting) Me Higher and Higher." Can't think of a better way for her to greet her legions of Wolf Trap fans.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
As a D.C. area native, I grew up coming to Wolf Trap with my family every summer. My first concert ever was actually here at Wolf Trap in 1995, when I saw Raffi perform at the Filene Center on my fifth birthday. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn about Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods until I started my internship here last month. As the public relations intern, I mostly handle Filene Center shows and don’t know as much about Children’s Theatre-in-the Woods as I would like to!
In an effort to learn more about it myself, and to make sure all of you blog readers know about this great program, I went to Wolf Trap’s Education Intern Chelsea Harrison to get some answers.
Jacqui: Can you give me a brief overview of what Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods is?
Chelsea: Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods is Wolf Trap’s outdoor performance series for children and their families. There really is something for everyone at Theatre-in-the-Woods. Performances feature puppetry, folk music, storytelling, hip hop, salsa dancing, ballet ... there’s even opera! We have such a cool mix of things because we want everyone, young and old, to have a good time. At Theatre-in-the-Woods you’d be amazed at how funny puppets can be or that kid-centric hip hop could make you nod your head to the beat. It’s all incredibly entertaining. I’ve become a fan of a lot of the artists that are coming. I’m excited to see what happens in the woods this year.
Jacqui: When you say “in the woods,” do you mean that literally? Do these shows take place at the Filene Center like most of the other summer performances?
Chelsea: Actually, our shows take place at our children’s theatre, which is kind of like a mini Filene Center—but for kids and families. And yes, it’s literally down a meadow path, over a bridge, and nestled in trees.
Jacqui: Sounds like the perfect summer outdoor setting. So how much are tickets?
Chelsea: There are two different shows per day and tickets are $8 for both shows. For children under three, Theatre-in-the-Woods is free. Groups of 10 or more can save $1 off each ticket.
Jacqui: That’s great, cheaper than going to the movies and it’s outside. What shows are you most excited about for the Summer 2011 season?
Chelsea: I’m most excited about Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, “the King of Kid’s Hip Hop.” I found myself dancing my seat when I heard his song “Gotta Be Me.” In the song he raps about embracing differences and celebrating your uniqueness. His lyrics are funny, inspirational, and dance worthy. His songs are perfect for any young MC to exercise their rap skills to because they are catchy, easy to learn, and uplifting.
Jacqui: Why do you think these shows are so appealing to children?
Chelsea: I think these shows appeal to children because they aren’t playing down to kids. Just because it’s for kids doesn’t mean it has to be cheesy and these artists recognize a child’s need for well-crafted music and performance. Our performing artists have created shows that get everyone on their feet and dancing, clapping, and singing. Children will be captivated by masterful puppetry and energetic dances.
Jacqui: This sounds like a great place for me to take the kids I babysit to. Do you have any suggestions for making a trip to Wolf Trap an all-day event?
Chelsea: An outing to Theatre-in-the-Woods can easily turn into a fun family day! I would suggest bringing a basket of food and enjoying a nice picnic lunch before or after one of the performances. Also, after the performances there are free interactive workshops and activities with Theatre-in-the-Woods artists and National Park Rangers who lead programs about nature, theatre, and the performing arts. Junior Ranger Activity Books are available at the kiosk to assist children in becoming Wolf Trap Junior Rangers.
Our last question is for you readers: what’s down a meadow path, over a bridge, and nestled in trees? Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Tonight's post is from Barbara Parker.
I sidled up to John Oates tonight and poised 5 quick questions. Here are his answers:
1. Where were you yesterday and where are you headed tomorrow?
Atlanta to Detroit
2. Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I drink a double shot of espresso.
3. What are you listening to right now?
4. Funniest backstage moment?
Too many to count!
5. What is your favorite part about performing at Wolf Trap?
And here’s the set list from the show:
Out of Touch
Say It Isn’t So
It’s A Laugh
Las Vegas Turnaround
Do You What You Want
No Can Do
You Make My Dreams Come True
Kiss On My List
Sunday, June 19, 2011
|Peter with his grandson Tyler|
I have 2 children, my daughter, Katie, is 29, and my son, JD, is 3 ½ years old. What really strikes me as amazing is that while I’ve heavily exposed both of them to all kinds of music, because of the age difference, the change in technology, the overhaul in how we consume music, the mediums through which they have been exposed are completely different.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
If you want to follow one rule to picnicking on the lawn, it should be to keep it simple. Don’t try to overdo anything, or stress out about what to bring. Some of the best picnics are the ones where you walk into Whole Foods or Trader Joes without a game plan, and just grab what sounds good. But for those who want more direction, I can start you out with one word: dips.
When it comes to a dip, there are a million options out there, from salsa and chips, pita and hummus, or potato chips and ranch dip. For something a little different, I offer up the following recipe for Pebre.
Similar to a salsa, without the heat, or bruschetta, without the balsamic, Pebre is one of many recipes that help bring me back to my South American roots. It's traditionally used as a topping for grilled meats, but is fantastic on its own, served with bread or chips for dipping.
prep time: 10-20 minutes
• 1/3 c. olive oil
• 2 T. red wine vinegar
• 1 T. lemon juice
• 1 c. parsley, chopped
• 1 c. cilantro, chopped
• ¾ chopped onions
• 1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
• 1 T. garlic, diced
• OPTIONAL (if you can find it): 2 fresh aji peppers, or 1-2 T. aji amarillo paste. (The paste is easier to find in the DC area, and can be found at South American food marts)
• Salt and pepper, to taste
The recipe is simple. Mix it all together, and let it marinate. It's actually better on day two or three, so feel free to make this ahead of time.
I made this recipe for last Saturday's Bright Eyes show at Wolf Trap, and served it in a trio of dips that included a cream cheese and pickled zucchini mixture (4 oz. of cream cheese to one large spoonful of pickled veg), and a horseradish cheese dip that my friend Megan found. With a few assorted cheeses and meats, this was quite a feast.
I did a little investigating this past week at a certain pavilion in Columbia, Maryland that shall remain nameless, and discovered they had taken down the best beverage sign ever created! But have no fear, Sangria! Sangria! lives on via Wolf Trap's blog.
This is another great recipe that you can make ahead of time. Add whatever fruit works for your taste—but the most important part is to give the concoction a few hours to marinate. This is my mother's tried-and-true recipe, and while its a fantastic red wine recipe--if you prefer rose or white, just adding some strawberry slices can do wonders for a $10 bottle snagged at Arrowine.
• 1 bottle red wine, chilled (Spanish rioja or tempranillo)
• 1/2 orange, in thin slices
• 1/2 lemon, in thin slices
• 4 large oranges, juiced or 1 qt orange juice
• 2 T. sugar
• 4 lemons, juiced
• 24 oz. soda water, chilled
Combine the wine, thin orange and lemon slices, and sugar into pitcher and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. When you are ready to serve, add the rest of the fruit juice and soda water.
If you have your own tried-and-true recipes, feel free to add them in the comments section to share with the rest of us.
Friday, June 17, 2011
But first - let me start off by saying that it hardly ever happens by asking a Wolf Trap staff member to set up a meet-and-greet. Despite having access to the performer, we do not ultimately have much say about who the artist sees or meets during his/her time at Wolf Trap. That being said, it IS possible, and I'm going to tell you how.
Here's a GREAT tip on how to hang out with your favorite artist backstage. Listen to the radio, and listen often. Wolf Trap regularly runs ticket giveaways and meet-and-greet promotions with several of D.C.'s top FM stations. Tune into Mix 107.3, The Edge 105.9, WAMU 88.5, BIG 100.3, Fresh 94.7, or Magic 102.3 (to name a few) for excellent giveaway prizes all summer long, including meet and greets.
Check out this video I took below of several meet and greet winners from last night's Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes show at Wolf Trap. They won in-house tickets, a meet-and-greet with Southside Johnny, dinner for two via Meals Beneath the Moon, and some hang time with Cerphe, the legendary D.C. jock who heads up The Edge 105.9's afternoon drive day part.
Doug, the gent on the far left has won 17 free concerts via radio promotions, and 4 meet-and -greets. The guy has a virtual call center at his home. Don't challenge him to a speed dial competition.
This next strategy might be daunting to some people because it does take some work and devotion. Start a music blog, or drop by your local paper and chat up the entertainment editor to see if he'd let you write up a couple artist Q&A's for the music section. As Wolf Trap's Assistant Director for Public Relations, I constantly interface with music bloggers and writers, and many of them are D.I.Y. writers for their own homegrown web publications. You'd be surprised the access they get to the artist if their site/blog is done well. Check out Melodic Rock Concerts as an example. Administrator Matt Becker is a college kid, but he gets crazy access because of his serious devotion to grade A music coverage.
Finally, many touring musicians are philanthropists. Take the Indigo Girls for example. They represent myriad charities and causes. Do you operate on behalf of a charitable organization or cause that your favorite artist fiercely supports? If so, I bet they might want to meet you and talk through some of the pervading issues. Try to find a publicist contact and set up a meeting.
I'm giving you pearls here! Now get out there and make it happen.