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Almost Famous – A Movie and a Musical and a Way to Be.

Marco Frucht pictured here with Cameron Crowe at Blue Gene’s Pub, National Theater Institute, Waterford, Conn. 18nov23




Corny joke alert:

— So yesterday I met Cameron Crowe
— Oh I know that name, what’s he famous for?
— Almost Famous
— Oh, what’s he almost famous for?


One morning I was telling a 7th grade class about how I used to sell cassettes of my music out of a van while busking on street corners all over the U.S. I found an old 4-track cassette tape the other day with early masters, and a girl raises her hand and says, “what’s a cassette tape?” And a boy goes, “Oh my dad has those, it’s like a VHS tape with the two little spinners but they’re smaller,” and she asks “what’s a VHS tape?” Not picking on her. I polled the class right away and there were only two other children besides that boy and myself. Everyone else had no idea what either of those two old pieces of technology are/were.


Last week Cameron Crowe and Tom Kitt were here at the O’Neill reworking their B’way production of Cameron’s movie “Almost Famous.”

It was so neat to meet Cameron and see Tom again. He were here a few years ago workshoping his play “Superhero.”

Even more neat was seeing some of their work as a staged reading with Equity actors and production crew. I have a good feeling about this play and it’s journey back to Broadway and everywhere else it will go. I sure do hope it gets licensed for High School productions and then Little Steven’s TeachRock.org group can include it in curriculum, right?


https://www.playbill.com/article/tom-kitt-and-cameron-crowe-to-redevelop-almost-famous-at-eugene-oneill-theater-center

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Workshop-Residency-for-Tom-Kitt-and-Cameron-Crowes-ALMOST-FAMOUS-to-Take-Place-at-Eugene-ONeill-Theater-Center-20231017

I’m staying with Spotify, but here go some of my thoughts.

OK so while we’re having hot discussions about Spotify, let me say a few things this way: 

If you refuse to listen to me over at Spotify (I totally understand by the way. They only pay me .003 of a penny each time you stream a song there, that’s nearly criminal) you can get my songs completely free many places. I make a tiny bit of money at some of these when you listen for free, and other places I get nothing, but racking up “hits” helps me feel heard, to be sure. 

http://www.reverbnation.com/modemandguitar

and

http://www.soundcloud.com/atizine 

are some good places to start. 

Some of my electronica work is over at https://soundation.com/group/SoundDesignAnswers/tracks?page=2

And if you want to actually buy some of my songs, you can still go to amazon or itunes. When you listen to snippets before buying there I get a tiny bit too. Perhaps more than at spotify, I’m not actually sure. I haven’t checked lately. 

And frankly, the best place to listen to my songs where I’ll recover many pennies instead of .003 of a penny is over at TikTok. 

Yes, the place mainly driven by teenagers and preteens dancing the Carlton, Orange Justice and the Jerk. Maybe if we’re lucky they’ll start reviving the Locomotion, Electric Boogaloo, Charleston and Jitterbug or something right? 

I bumped into the whole tiktok thing when I didn’t even have a username and password there because one month I was looking over my revenue stream and saw that I made 7 cents for about 10 streams of my Frybread, Swedish FolkSong and Follow the Drinking Gourd. When people choose to use a song of mine in one of their 15 second videos, then the people watching the video hear the song, and some extra “crumbs” are sent our way. I had to ask around, but quickly found out that when I printed my first commercial CDs and opted for open distribution of digital publications too, that included places like TikTok, Deezer, Napster, etc. 

https://www.tiktok.com/music/Swedish-Folk-Song-6859339400266909697

https://www.tiktok.com/music/Fry-Bread-6859339392826247169

That’s like 3/4’s of a cent per stream. Something like 250% more revenue than Spotify gives. Yikes! 

Yes, tiny but it all adds up eventually right? 

So that brings me to my next point. I’m fine with Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren joining others in turning their back on Spotify corporation. They’re big and sacrificing hundreds of dollars when they’re making low millions or high hundreds of thousands of dollars a year is just a little pinch compared to what us smalltime indy artists would face if we joined such a boycott, buynot or cancelban, right? 

So for the mean time, I’m staying at Spotify just like I’m staying everywhere else. I’m actually hoping this current fiasco will widen to a more discerning eye on each and every place there’s injustice in the Music Industry. Because it really isn’t fair. And Spotify is just one of the perps. 

I remember when Spotify first began and artists all over Europe and Asia were making their living honestly by giving people links to their Spotify pages. 

https://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/artist/Marco+Capelli+Frucht/a/albums.htm

There was about a one-year period where Spotify was blocked in the United States until the major labels could figure out how they could participate without going bankrupt. Well did these labels even think about how to keep all the rest of us from heading for bankruptcy while we waited? While we watched all the other streaming sights go down and down to match what Spotify was starting to do as it entered the EEUU market? Ouch. I remember that well. No one except the Taylor Swifts, Jason Aldeans, Neil Youngs of the world could figure out a way to make more than say 10 dollars a month or 10 dollars every three months out of that part of the game. 

So when Taylor Swift had a big fight with Spotify over her collection, I thought, “ooh, maybe that will benefit all the rest of us too.” 

It didn’t. 

And now I think the same thing out loud about today’s growing fiasco, “ooh, maybe…” 

And maybe it will, or maybe it won’t. Remains to be seen. So far Neil Young has accomplished one major change over at Spotifylandia. They’re now going to put disclaimers on hate radio from the right AND the left. That’s a start. 

Now one rhetorical question I’ll have to ask. 

Can they keep paying someone like Joe Rogan a 100M a year when they lose 2B a month? or 2B a week? Yikes. 

Of course after tightening their belts, and then seeking out all the other wide margins they can exploit around the world, maybe they’ll throw an extra penny or 3 to some of the rest of us “little guys,” right? 

A guy can dream. 

ZOMBIE JAMBOREE: An Ethnomusicologist’s Reflection on that Frito-Lay Superbowl Thing Last Night.

We’ve come a long way from Paula Abdul’s choreography, and Janet Jackson’s for that matter; but where to? Ouch. I don’t think I like where we’ve gone to. 
All women, men and children throughout the entire 14 minutes and 20 seconds looked 100% possessed. And you know what other-peoples’ world ethicities I have to compare them to? There is no other group I can find to compare this with.  But North Korea. 
Yes I know there were attempts to give a Latin feeling, and even an African one, or a Colombian one and now a Lebanese one. Sort of. But it was never fully there. I hate saying this, it felt North Korean! 
If you don’t believe me, compare for yourself. A hypersexualized version of a Pyongyang propaganda performance. 
North Korea children playing the guitar.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl6f_XwMhMM

Concert marking North Korea’s 70th anniversary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GntyBJE0ht8

Shakira & J. Lo’s FULL Frito-Lay Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pILCn6VO_RU

I think maybe they should just ditch the pretense next year and have the whole thing take on a Jerry Springer theme. If there even pretends to be music, let it just be a bunch of background mood stuff. 😛 
marco 
oh: ps. what’s with the Gibson Firebird guitar she pretended to play. Capo to the back of the 6th fret, almost touching the 5th behind it??? I *think* she fretted the right three chords, eh? Maybe an open E chord at the 6th then an A and a B sort of? So that’s what, Bb Eb F? Hmmm. It looked like she was sort of playing those, but the strumming seemed way off. She was common law married to both Tommy and Tony Mottola, (pronounced guitar central, right?) You mean to tell me she never quite got the hang of at least faking a ripping rhythm guitar, right??? Yikes.

A quick reflection at the end of a great Longterm Sub assignment.

Ooh, very stressful but oh, so fulfilling.

Over the past month and a half I took 4 core classes in 8th grade science from approximately 2/3’s failing to more than 80% passing across something almost resembling bell-shaped curves we used to come to know and love. They were a little heavy on the B’s and C’s but much better than all those F’s so I feel pretty good about the whole thing.

I bridged the gap between when a teacher quit and a new certified teacher could come in.

So what helped me accomplish this? Everything from Sahana Srinivasan’s brand new “Brainchild” videos to Little Steven Van Zandt’s teachrock org curriculum such as the “sound breaking” episodes.

https://cptv.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/fuzz-tone-soundbreaking/fuzz-tone-soundbreaking

I found clever ways to show them that music cuts across all of the Gardner multiple intelligences and relates directly to the concepts they had to focus on like Kinetic and Potential energy.

Now I don’t want you to think it was all fun and games and Romper Room. There were some grueling issues of classroom management to overcome such as repeating the same “Do Now” requirements every day and moving on from the fact that more than half the students at any given time refuse to do anything they’re told to.

I doubt any one of those 4 core classes will resemble a “perfect” Harry Wong classroom but I have to be honest with you, those “goals” only worked perfectly in the 1990’s. These days even award winning K thru 12 classes have constant issues throughout the day that leave teachers wondering just who “Teach Like a Champion” and “First Days of School” were written for. Certainly not the 2019 classroom anywhere in THIS nation.

Good pointers, great guidelines. Be all to end all? Not even close.

But I digress. Long story short, I saw some totally disengaged students become enthralled with science experiments and final project essays and posters, and learning in general. I have to hope some of them now see themselves as scholars or life long learners. At the very least, I think most of them now realize that the scientific method is a great way to be wrong and then figure out what’s right instead of some scary monster to procrastinate away from or fight.

Sharing Lyrics Of My Song Song.

Yes there’s Redundant Song, Hate A Song, Arms Song, Verseless Song, and Song Song.

Of all of them, most are talking about my “Song Song,” lately. So I guess I should paste up lyrics.

I’d always hoped the bots and search engines would do it for me!

hehehehe.

Cheers, marco frucht songwriter, guitarist, poet and van driver.

I got a song I wrote today Thought up the music the other day Came with the words and the chorus line

I got a song it goes like this Sounds kinda country with a little bit o’ soul a little too mellow for rock and roll

I got a song I wrote in school Right in the middle of English class Added the music the following day

Here is my chorus line Not too bright but it’s catchy Listen to my chorus line Daddy Addy Oop Op Ay…

I got a song about politics Buerocrats and all them pricks All about how they get their kicks!

I got a song about sour grapes Kinda people who make you hate Just when you feel like callin’ it quits

[ CH ]

I got a song about hating guts Kinda people who drive ya nuts Just when you feel like beatin’ ’em up!

I got a song I’ll sing for you Only if you got a minute or two If you don’t then be on your way

[ CH ]

http://youtube.com/watch?v=kOEmdkGOD24

Blame your state’s governor for gas prices, not Trump or Obama.

Please don’t blame presidents for local summer gas prices. Governor Malloy and State legislators in both parties are to blame here, and I trust that the other 49 states have similar issues.

 

 

Back in 2014 I caught Governor Malloy in a lie right in a coffee shop, right in front of the New London Day newspaper, and he responded by dropping Groton’s gas prices for 5 or 6 months. It was nice while it lasted.

Asking Governor’s Promise He’ll Represent People Who Pay At The Pump

 

During his visit at Muddy Waters, Marc Frucht of Groton slipped Malloy a card with a list of gas prices, hoping he could inspire an investigation into price gouging.
“Right now we have the highest gas prices in the state,” Frucht said.

“Maybe it’s worth investigating. He said he was going to look at it.”

https://www.theday.com/article/20140818/NWS12/140819700

 

 

Well now that gas prices are soaring again we all seem to be busy trying to blame either Donald Trump or Barak Obama.
I guess that’s a natural first reaction. But if we think it through maybe cooler heads will prevail.

I’ll leave all that behind this round, and ask the following rhetorical question.

How come New London CT’s gas prices are so much higher than Grotons, and how come Groton’s are higher than the rest of Connecticut?

Again!

10am 12may 2018 Cumberland Farms regular fuel.

Groton 2.89 /gal
New London 3.06
Weathersfield 2.97
Fairfield 3.11

Holy cow! It looks to me this time that Hartford is even gouging Fairfield and passing on the savings to itself and Groton. 😛

Seriously though. Gas was 230 something in Groton a few months ago people. Will it go past 4 dollars this time? We managed to keep it from doing that the last time. I’m not even cautiously optimistic this time. I’ll have to research this more deeply when I can, this just scratches the surface really.

Cheers,
marco

POTUS SCHMOTUS: A Metaphorical Ending.

SIR ISAAC NEWT: A Fig For Ishmael’s Hate.
by MF.
Dedicated to Presidents Of The United States Of America

I
O new Hank eighth, I pity thee
Ye who serveth wives three.
One in Heaven, dead too young,
Another Lovely Lady One.
Third a Pope who you helped stuff,
By robbing goat and billary gruff.

II
So count your cash all you so skimmed
Three pouches full, you black sheep you;
Chucking scepter into lake of fire- son, so swim.

Swim, swim mariner — lest passing piranhas rip your flesh
Look starboard. See Orion’s belt; hides nothing
Yet vexing, churning: you’re ripe for gulfs to wash.

Hank Hate, O you moved heaven and earth
Have your way you miscreant — for you —
A murky mire, lake of fire, craggy barren hearth.

III
So stuff your pockets lawless one
Matthias, Jason’s lizard son.

Still whore and rob and symonize
Whilst our welfare slips past your eyes;

All the turtlewax in the world,
Can never mask the freedom you have furled.

 

marco frucht

Pine Island, 1997

Poem For Veterans Day

I stand here
One leg on the bottom step
On the stairs above me
Thinking deliberately
About just the right next moment
To lift my other leg
Just the right way
So my next step
Won’t trip me up
And leave me in a wheelchair
The rest of my life.

Every time

And I create this poem
As I think it.

hey vet
take a look at yourself
and smile at what you’re made of

we are the 99%
we gave 100%
110% really

ain’t a zero sum
game
ennit?

we get any real respect
or just buy one
get one free off the kiddy menu
at dennys and apple bees?

you say you support the troops?
where’s my frickin’ healthcare.
why am I missing teeth
when root canals would’ve cost you pennies on the dollar
why do bush and clinton and obama keep moving me in and out of Priority group 7!
when did the gi bill
become
in reality an insurance program
not a benefit
why does my college degree get me no new jobs
no raises
no additional health benefits
and no burial coverage unless I wanna just go in one of those statewide rows?

why does my eczema only respond to
agent orange meds
and I’m afraid to even find out if
gulfwarsyndrome
meds
would actually
get rid of it!

oh you fund raise off of me
you make yourself look good
you get yourself elected
you line your pockets
you say you support the troops
you wear your shed, right and true colors one day
you think a meanstreak
and you talk a mean line
and say you can’t thank me enough
then pardon
my
french
where’s
my fucking
healthcare.

and why are one out of four
homeless
panhandlers
and will-work4food signs
my brothers and sisters?

I’m a veteran
I’m the neo urban american warrior society
I bury my dead, I take care of children and elders
whether they’re mine or not
I think large thoughts on behalf of you and me and everyone else
And lastly me, really.
I’m the warrior society, the 99%, the bled, the light and the glue.
I served all of yall

I got your Veterans Day
hangin
right here.

roo ha!

 

[Hear this here…]=[http://youtube.com/watch?v=PFv6DtDLHPw]

 

RIP Katherine Smith (1919ish-2017)

So when I learned the exact time Wednesday that my old friend Katherine died I thought back about “what was I doing at that very moment?”

I had an afternoon assignment teaching one of the farther schools I sub at so I drove to a natural spring near there to fill up some 1-gallon containers. It’s the closest place anywhere near me that has relatively unpolluted springwater. Everything about my morning was discombobulated and strange.

 

Raspberry Slump On Frybread Maybe.
Head Chef: Sherry Pocknett

 

I lingered there because I met an elderly couple filling up dozens of bottles on their way to Foxwoods for some gambling. They do this a couple times a year and they’re from Western Massachusetts but they know just about ever southern New England native american person I know as well as dozens of cool “anglos” that I’m friends with from years back. What started out as “oh, you’re from such and such, do you know so and so?” became, “oh, nice to meet you, I have to get right to my gig, I think I have just enough time to get there,” which then became, “oops, this road doesn’t get there as fast, let me try that one…”

When I got to my assignment I replaced a sub who was filling in til I got there since I’d taken several wrong turns on my way. I know these roads well, why on earth would I make three different wrong turns in one drive? Something else was on my mind besides driving down the road, that’s for sure.

I got in the classroom and the teacher told me the kids had been unruly and obnoxious all day, and left wishing me luck. When I sub on days like that the main part of the “Classroom Management” skillset I tend to use besides what the teacher has already established is called “with-it-ness.” Know your students just as well as they know themselves. If they know something they think is “hip and with it” that they don’t expect any of the teachers to have any clue about, you try to know all about it already. Google is your friend. This applies to everything from “Charlie Charlie,” to “Andy’s Coming,” to Key and Peels “The Substitute” segment. Bachata and Reggaeton music styles are good to know as well as all the usual Heavy Metal, Hip Hop and R&B. It helps to know all the silly jargons and slang terms that the middle schoolers are teaching themselves too.

I was teaching Language Arts for an amazing 7th/8th grade teacher and his classes usually aren’t this unruly. Even withitness wasn’t very effective. In times like these you just keep an eye on everyone’s safety, and remain the taskmaster reminding people to keep working and at least get back to their seats and do some work. (until the next time, of course, that you remind them they’re supposed to be at least near to their seat!)

My planning period got absorbed into covering one class for the Spanish teacher so I went in there knowing he’s usually really good at giving clearcut lesson plans and suggestions for enrichement and other differentiations. Nope. Not today. On the whiteboard were some goals for the students to meet. Nothing else. Mentor, taskmaster and babysitter for the day. When everyone had completed everything even while fooling around a lot I tried my hardest to find tasks besides “read to self” or “free draw” which almost never works well with middle schoolers. By the time I came up with anything new I figured out the best way to handle everything that had escalated was to say nothing and instead write on the board, “ALL TOYS WILL BE TIDIED UP AND PUT AWAY BY 2:20 PM.” This gave them up to 5 minutes to continue playing around somewhat inappropriately but convert themselves back to the eager scholars they usually are. Absolute chaos went to silence in a matter of seconds save for whispering voices I heard, “what’s he writing?” “uh oh, he’s mad at us,” and “All toys will be…” and laughter.

They straightened out the whole room in three minutes in relative silence. “OK, I said, thank you so much. Two minutes of complete silence and then I’ll allow talking very quietly while you continue doing actual work.” They complied just fine. It’s easy enough to extrapolate from my note to the teacher that the student’s conversion from unruly to habits of scholarship happened here in Konetiuk at the same time my old friend in Arizona had died since that was 11:18am.

So earliest reflections? Why was I scatterbrained on my way to my afternoon assignment? I learned growing up that I always have a few fairly profoundly discombobulated moments when a friend or relative is dying. It’s almost as if my own mind and body is learning of this even before he or she is. I can’t explain it very well other than that.

These moments are usually followed by many many more moments of clarity. Strange clarity. A “Sacred interconnected” kind of clarity as Brian Willson calls it. Well ok, that was Wednesday. Well this lucidness lasted well past last night while I was looking at artwork by by the late Allen Houser, his son Bob, and Courtney Leonard from around here as well as many artists from New Mexico, Washington and Canada.

Have you ever had strawberry shortcake on a little piece of frybread?

Sure you have. Think Blueberry Slump. Or Lakota Wojape right?

Last night having some of that and some Quahog fritters and stuffed mushrooms made by the team of Mashpee Wampanoag head chef Sherry Pocknett helped make all this at least just a little bit OK.

RIP Katherine Smith (1919ish-2017)

relative is dying. It’s almost as if my own mind and body is learning of this even before he or she is. I can’t explain it very well other than that.

These moments are usually followed by many many more moments of clarity. Strange clarity. A “Sacred interconnected” kind of clarity as Brian Willson calls it. Well ok, that was Wednesday. Well this lucidness lasted well past last night while I was looking at artwork by by the late Allen Houser, his son Bob, and Courtney Leonard from around here as well as many artists from New Mexico, Washington and Canada.

Have you ever had strawberry shortcake on a little piece of frybread?

Sure you have. Think Blueberry Slump. Or Lakota Wojape right?

Last night having some of that and some Quahog fritters and stuffed mushrooms made by the team of Mashpee Wampanoag head chef Sherry Pocknett helped make all this at least just a little bit OK.

RIP Katherine Smith (1919ish-2017)

Why We Clash

Why We Clash

by Marco Capelli

 

We clash you and me.
First I thought because you are so different, you see.
But then after all the dust cleared
And the shrapnel was swept up into neat little tins
And all our respective allies’ bodies were policed up by loved ones—
Dogs and crows and old men with metal detectors and headphones
Closing the circle in little by little hoping to find a scrap or two,
And the grandmothers all weep over tea, saying

I Told You So: See? Nothing Was Accomplished Again;
Who’s Gonna Feed The Kids.

For the 432nd time,
It was then I realized:
The reason you and me,
We used up every bullet we had
Not because we’re so different, you see.

Because we’re mirror images, aren’t we?
Like Isaac and Ishmael maybe,
But who needs analogies when we’ve each got th’other?
We do kinda look alike, huh?
Besides all the acting, and talking
And walking like each other.

But enemy, my friend.
Can I ask you one question?
What kind of Creator lets us miss each other that many times?

 

Originally published in volume 4 number 5 of  Autumn Leaves magazine.