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Archive for May 9th, 2012

Mighty Ukulele Fun

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Saturday we spent much time in Old Town Lansing, for the Mighty Uke Day event. Ukulele players and fans took over Old Town for the day and it was wonderful. Here is one participant literally playing and singing as he walked down the street:

Aside to Knitters: Can you see that the middle person (Tonya) is carrying her ukulele in a purple felted uke case? It was made from the ukulele case pattern on Knitty.com. She received it as a gift.

You also can’t see her rainbow socks and rainbow shoes. We had a nice time chatting about the many joys of color. (Even her ukulele is purple with sparkly glitter on it. Really. I made a friend.)

Many Ukulele Joys

There were a few open mic events, some afternoon featured performers, several workshops, two showings of the movie “The Mighty Uke,” a collectible ukulele exhibit, an art gallery with a ukulele builder “in residence” and an evening concert.

I took maybe a few hundred photos. In the end, I don’t have time to edit and upload many.

A Photo Tour of the Evening Concert

I love backstage photos. Here are Brian Hefferan, Lil’ Rev and Steve Szilagyi rehearsing before the audience came in.

The audience spilled over into areas not expected to need seats. We ran out of chairs. People sat on benches and tall stools and at least 2 sat on the floor (in front of the first row, so they were good viewing seats anyway). Check out this crowd! This is the back of the room:

The front of the seating area (Ben Hassenger, the mastermind/ organizer/ promoter of the event, is on stage):

Lil’ Rev, our friend and master performer from Wisconsin, was the headliner of the evening concert. Here he is holding the audience in the palm of his hand:

He’s riveting. Not just an award-winning musician, but a powerful entertainer. It was a very fine show he put on.

Our friend Gerald Ross plays ukulele and also lap steel guitar. (He just released a new CD, Swing Ukulele.) Gerald played before Rev went on. Here he is:

We (The Fabulous Heftones, Brian and I) played before Gerald. Here we are:

Brian’s brother Mike took dozens of photos of us, for which we are grateful. Musicians move so much, and there is so much equipment on stage, that getting a non-blurry/ unobstructed photo is nearly impossible. You can tell what we look like here.

A Video of Our First Song

Ben Hassenger, the maestro of the event, took a video of us singing our first song, “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby!” It’s on YouTube. I’m linking the photo below. Click on that image. or the previous text link, to go to the YouTube page for it.

(NOTE: If you find it stops and starts as you try to listen, just let it finish in hiccups and then hit play again. It’s likely to play smoothly the second time, as long as you don’t leave that web page in between the plays.)

Come Hear Us Next Saturday?

Picture yourself at one of our shows? Are you near Lansing, Michigan? We’re playing at Altu’s in East Lansing this Saturday. The show starts at 6:30 and ends around 8:20 or so. It’s our home venue, we are looking forward to it. (Disclaimer: Altu, the owner, is my dearest friend… but we met at the restaurant. I kept going there because the food was so good.)

The food is magnificent… no junk. It’s all made by hand, nothing comes from a big foodservice gallon can at this restaurant. For example, each onion is  cut one by one, inspected before use (no pre-chopped food in plastic bags). They peel fresh garlic… no canned or powdered garlic here.

If you don’t want a full meal, they also have all-fruit (plus honey) smoothies. Frozen berries, banana, mango… no fillers, no corn syrup or ice.

Want dessert? Their ice cream comes from the highly-regarded MSU Dairy store. Even their iced tea is spiced in house, a real treat. Whether you like meat or veggie meals, mild or spicy, there is something for everyone here. Read about Ethiopian food here, if you are curious.

We’d be delighted to see you this weekend if you feel like a little night out on the town. If you like autographed CDs, we will bring some with us. However, there is no cover charge, and no expectation other than hopefully a smile on your face!

Thanks to Regina Fry for taking this final photo, at Altu’s, during a previous performance there. Love you, Regina!