Monday, December 21, 2009

Ketchup Time

Okay, it's time to play serious ketchup.

First, let me apologize for the canceled book release party on Saturday night. We had a "crippling blizzard" here that day...a 23 inch total which just never happens in Philadelphia; I had wonky internet service and all kinds of craziness at Casa Slick. Just to give you an idea, here's a photo of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is basically down the street from where I know those famous steps that Rocky ran up?

Yep, that was how it looked yesterday. And that's nothing. Cars were covered to their rooftops and our poor dog couldn't even go out for a proper walk...all you could see was his head sticking out of a mountain of snow. It was painfully hilarious.

The book release live stream party will be rescheduled. I will let you know within the next few days.


When I last left you last Friday, I was headed for the Philadelphia debut of Paper Cat at the Khyber and I'll have a lot to say about that in a minute but I think it will be better if I start with today and backtrack since this has been an incredibly eventful week!

Okay, first of all, tonight Eric has a really interesting jazz gig with some amazing heavy hitters in the music world and A.D. Amorosi wrote about it in this week's City Paper!:

"►There’s a double shot of Lillie Ruth Bussey going around this week and it’s sweeter than H1N1: The missus of hot-mess electronica does “Treble Without A Boss,” Dec. 17, at Slingluff Gallery with our favorite filmmaking Latino folk rocker Les Rivera (still waiting for that Creep records single, Les, the one with the Count Skotchula illustration on the front). Ruth’s band — with lanky skronkmeister Stephen Buono and Birds for Arms (featuring Eric Slick on drums) — opens for the Buono-booked extravaganza celebrating genius guitarist Rick Iannacone at Tritone Dec. 21."

And if you scroll down when you click on Mr. Amorosi's link, you'll also see this mention, which may very well have a bearing on future news here at ye olde blog and that's all I'm saying..

"► Boy did Andy Hurwitz step into a pile of gold. First, he takes over Mad Dragon Records (aka Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s coolest homework project) right when that label scores eight Independent Music Awards nominations (from a 2009 judge panel that includes Zooey Deschanel, Pete Wentz and Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus; you can vote at Second, Hurwitz still has another label, Ropeadope, that’ll celebrate Christmas at Marbar Dec. 23 with Leana Song and Oud Blues. Why Marbar? Hurwitz just took over its booking schedule. “Fits into my West Philly connection,” he says. He officially starts in January with a world music weekly featuring a live house band starring Pablo Batista and two Elliots, Garland and Levine"

So what might this mean? Maybe nothing; maybe something spectacular. Stay tuned!

Now on Wednesday, December 23, 2009, Eric has an outrageous gig at Johnny Brenda's:

"Aron Magner & Tom Hamilton, Acoustic Again - (Set time: 10:00 PM)

A yearly tradition during the early 2000's, Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits) and Tom Hamilton (American Babies, Brothers Past) would take one night a year to dig through each other's catalogue and interpret their songs into an acoustic environment. After a few years off the duo will be starting the tradition anew at Philadelphia's Johnny Brenda's. As with previous years one can expect several guests and Beatles covers to pop up throughout the night."

Who might those "guests" be? Well, Eric is the drummer for the evening, but hmm...who else is stopping by? Another biscuit or two? A surprise bassist (not Julie, though hopefully she'll be with me in the audience)? All I know is, this is going to be a MAJOR amazing way to kick off Christmas in more ways than one. Eric shared the set list with me and I had one of those OMG moments. I'm not telling his Dad...I want to see his face as it happens. But, erm, a few Beatles' covers did you say?

Okay, now I've brought you up to date on what's happening tonight and this coming I can backtrack.

On Saturday, as I already told you, we had a blizzard. Eric, of course, had a gig in New York City. We talked about different options (me: Oh my God, it's a nightmare out there, stay home!)(Eric: It's not even snowing in New York, I'll be fine! And by the way, erm, I am 22...)(Me: Yeah, yeah...okay)(Me to Gary: "Oh my God, I'm going to be awake all night worrying!)

Anyway, this was his NY gig (and I notice from googling there were many other articles written about this evening as well)...he obviously made it home and back in over a foot of snow, had a total blast..and was really glad he didn't listen to his insane, neurotic mother:

"Saturday December 19

Location: West Village, NYC
Bands: Pop Rocks! Get Tickets Here
Show time: 11 PM
Venue: Sullivan Hall
Food: Tortilla Flats
Drink: White Horse Tavern
Miscellaneous: Magnolia Bakery

Ever wanted to see the Velvet Underground? Check out the next best thing as Scott Metzger's HEROIN plays the music of The Velvet Underground. Joining them are Eric Slick spinning vinyl, the art of Jess Pfohl, an installation by Chuck Frye, and the launching of Dinner before a show like this should be just as awesome. Check out Tortilla Flats. The food is Mexican and delicious, but it’s the insanity within (bingo and hula-hoop nights) that is the real calling for this place. For drinks afterwards, hit the White Horse Tavern, a great bar and the old haunting grounds for Dylan Thomas. If you somehow have time before all of this, stop by Magnolia Bakery for some of the best tasting cupcakes in the city."

Hmm...if I had known about those cupcakes, I might have braved the snow along with my son....

Oh, I'm kidding.

Continuing on...

On Wednesday, Julie, Eric and I went Christmas shopping, visited Dickens Village where I fought back tears like crazy remembering Julie and Eric as toddlers when I used to take them there and their eyes and mouths widened in they accused the mannequins of dirty dancing while Scrooge looked through the window like a peeping Tom...oy...we laughed like maniacs; J&E took a ton of video footage with their iPhones, none of which they are sharing with me, sob (I think they are using some as samples har har) and no, I could not trick them into sitting on Santa's lap so I could get a picture but...but...but...they did kindly agree to having our portrait snapped right as we entered Dickens Village and if you think I get all glowy and happy whenever I'm around Julie and Eric Slick let alone at Christmas, well, here's the proof:

By the way, you should click through all the photos of Dickens Village. It really is amazing and too bad they don't have the soundtrack to go with it like they do when you visit in person...oh's the dirty dancers..

I'm not going to tell you what we bought on our little spree but we had an absolute blast and there will be plenty of photos showing you on Christmas morning when I post my yearly Slick holiday blog. But after we finished shopping and visiting Dickens Village, it was now time for Happy Hour so we headed for what has to be the best happy hour in the entire City of Philadelphia (though Julie and I have one more to try on our list...we may go tomorrow so I'll report back with the results if we do)...anyhoo, best happy hour to date in our opinion is Tria Cafe at 12th and Spruce. I cannot tell you the name of the wine we drank (only that we had seven (7!) glasses) but here's what we nibbled on from the menu:

Spicy Crab and Chickpea Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Lemon-Pepper Vinaigrette
Tuscan Three Cheese Potato Chips with Smoked Paprika Aioli
Fennel Spiced Almonds

Caramelized Onion with Feta
Gorgonzola with Fig Jam
Artichoke Puree with Grana Padano and Fennel Seed

And then of course we had two cheese plates which came with lovely fresh honey comb and apricot mustard dipping was just a superb, superb meal.

Loved the ambience there as well, and the servers are all super friendly and knowledgeable. It's going to be hard to top this, but the place Julie and I have in mind is not only supposed to have a comparable happy hour, oysters are involved.

I'll let you know.

On Tuesday night, Eric played yet another gig at Johnny Brenda's, this one with Ape School, and I had no idea that "Ape School" is the brainchild of Michael Johnson, a professor at the University of Arts in Philadelphia nor did I know that this band caught the attention of Pitchfork Magazine! Read all about it right here!

Sunday, I found myself at Julie Slick's lovely apartment where the two of us baked, oh, about 1,000 cookies while at our house, Slick Daddy was busy making another 25,000. Then Julie and I headed back home so I could pass out and Julie and her father could bake some more.

Here are Gary's pride and joy - chocolate chip peanut butter cookies topped with a miniature Reese's cup:

Trust me, that's just the tip of the iceberg - there are several other varieties, each sicker than the next. So those of you fortunate enough to be cookie worthy, they are all out via UPS as we speak -- happy munching!

But man, when in my life did I ever think I'd be mailing out cookies to Tony Levin, Marco Minnemann, John Medeski, John's engineer, David Kent, Saul Zonana, Adrian Belew, Michael Bernier (they are on the way, Michael, but probably not until next week)...not to mention all of the incredible fans/friends we've made along the way.

I tried to snap a few photos of Julie and Gary working feverishly in the kitchen but trust me on this, Annie Liebovitz has nothing to worry would be nice if I could ever take a pic without cutting off someone's head but nooo....

Oh yes, Julie also cooked us dinner in between. I kid you not - we had spaghetti and beanballs.

Let me say this right now. As hilarious as it sounds, beanballs are freaking delicious. Like meatballs without the dead cow, gristle, and calories. She made them out of beans, chopped nuts, and bulgar wheat (I think)...anyway, what an outrageous meal that was. (But the hot out of the oven cookies for dessert afterwards were even better)

Oh, and you'll notice I mentioned John Medeski and his engineer got cookies because well, as it turns out, they are more than cookie worthy! Julie had an awesome week recording at John's studio, and the story changes yet again...yes, Julie laid down bass tracks at John's studio for this truly wonderful singer/songwriter/guitarist from the UK...but then John arrived back home from tour two days into the project and dubbed in his keyboard parts over what was already recorded so yes, yes, yes, it appears Julie Slick will appear on a brand new recording with John and if you would like a sample of the music and to watch John and the mystery man in the studio, I have a video posted on my Facebook page which will not embed here so you may have to friend me on Facebook; I'm not sure. I did hit the setting where my profile should be visible to everyone and here's the link but if it won't let you go there, you can friend me - I'm there under "Robin Slick" (d'oh, though believe it or not, I think there are four of us but I use the same profile photo there as here)...I will usually friend anyone unless they are known stalkers and ugh, yeah, I do have a few but hopefully they've finally gotten the message not to screw with me and stay in lurker mode.

So yeah, Julie bonded with John because he's a fellow foodie, and she was all set to hang out with him December 30 when he has a gig with "The Word" at The TLA with...Good freaking lord, this is the first time I'm seeing this...."The Word is a blues/jam/rock collaboration between Robert Randolph, The North Mississippi Allstars and John Medeski"...but something else popped up.

Holy Crap, I really want to see this...except...except...what is the one thing that would keep me (and Julie, Eric, and Gary) away from a show such as that one?

It would have to be a show in which Eric and Julie Slick are actually performing, right? You guys know me by now...nothing could keep me from that. So December 30, 2009 will find me not in Philadelphia bopping out with The Word, but in New York City, where I will be attending the New York premier of Paper Cat at the Mercury Lounge...they are opening for the Dirk Quinn Band and not on the venue's website yet but expect that to change any second (ha).

Speaking of Paper Cat, they finished recording their brand new EP and there's a hint in this blog post about where that might be going...or not...but I have amazing news about Julie and Eric's great friend and Paper Cat's brilliant, brilliant guitarist, Robbie "Seahag" Magano. A few weeks ago, Robbie got "the call" from Tom Morello to fill in for Carl Restivo, who, are you following this?, is currently on the Rhianna tour (and he was on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, which was awesome! I met Carl on the Belew west coast tour in October...he came to the Redondo Beach show outside of LA and he told me J&E are so awesome they need to move out to LA immediately and he'll have them gigging every night there but I just put my fingers in my ears and started going LALALALALALALALALALALALALA) (just kidding - I want whatever is best for everyone. In fact, if you ask me for my biggest wish for 2010, it's that everyone I love be happy and that everyone I know get exactly what they deserve!)(Muhahahahahahaha....)

Tom Morello and his band and Robbie were a good fit and how sick would it be if Robbie does more work with them in the future?

Paper Cat is a band with a pedigree already!

Here's Robbie's take on the Morello gig.

By the way, hurrah Tom Morello!

Seriously, Paper Cat is especially great because all three musicians in the trio write the songs and are really into composing their own material, which they don't get to do with most other projects. It's pretty obvious to see this is where their talent also lies and where their careers are's the next obvious step for musicians of this caliber and I'm sure 99% of the world has already noticed this. It's that remaining, clueless 1% who mystify me....hahahahahaha...oh, I'm just messin' with you, but you know, someone has to buy all those other CDs....

I mentioned I wanted to talk about their show at the Khyber last week. How about that it was sold out? And that the audience went basically crazy over the music? Who said there's no audience for intelligent songwriting and high caliber players? I loved reading Robbie's summary:


PAPER CAT GIG in Philly Thoughts
Well, it's been a long time since there's been an exciting opportunity for me to play what I truly want on stage and really speak my musical mind comfortably. Last week, Julie Slick, Eric Slick, and I played our first show as Paper Cat and debuted all of our new songs and improvised as well to a sold out crowd. Needless to say, it was a great time. The crowd reaction --- oozing with loud applause. We really enjoyed ourselves and are psyched to do it again.

Our next gig is December 30th at Mercury Lounge in NYC. More to come on that detail. We are due for another video conference meeting. That's next on the agenda! 2010! We're psyched!


I should also mentioned that I was happy to read in Bert Lam's blog that the California Guitar Trio is busy mixing their new CD, and I believe Julie and Eric will appear on three tracks; Tony Levin will appear on one as well...anyway, here's what Bert says:

"Sunday, December 20, 2009
Mixing in Louisville, KY, day 2...
Two more pieces mixed today(Cathedral Peak and Portland Rain, featuring Eric and Julie Slick on bass and drums, and Dilek Engin on viola), and we started work on a third: Hazardous Z.
This album is already turning out to be quite different than anything we've done before. Tomorrow we will get started on Chacarera, a piece by Paul, and a series of improvisations"

So that is yet another awesome thing to look forward to in 2010.

I already wrote in a previous post that Julie is going to NAMM in January and may have some possible gigs coming her way from that which I'll shout from the rooftops as soon as anything is verified, but Eric, who is a four time veteran of NAMM and jaded (ha), may have other any event, to those of you who have asked, no, Eric will not be on the winter Project Object tour...he is on indefinite sabbatical which Andre talks about in his shiny, brand new totally fantastic website! Hey, Andre, if you are reading this, the site looks great! Welcome to 2010...I adore that it's interactive and very, very user friendly. Great job! And best wishes to Jim Ruffi, a Project Object alumni, who will, I'm sure, joyously retake his seat behind the's hoping for a great tour and 2010 for P/O, who will always have a very, very special place in my heart along with Andre, who gave Eric his very first break. Our family will never forget his kindness and his willingness to take a chance on an unknown 18 year old who had the balls to play Frank Zappa music on stage with the likes of actual Zappa alumni Ike Willis, Denny Walley, Robert Martin, Don Preston, and Napoleon Murphy Brock!

As for me, I am still basking in the glow of being, at least six words worth, a Harper Collins author:

"It All Changed in an Instant
More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure
By Larry Smith, Rachel Fershleiser

Price: $12.00
On Sale: 1/5/2010 PRE-ORDER HERE!

“A perfect distraction and inspiration, and a collection that begs to be shared. Be warned, though. If you plan to lend out your copy, start out with two. Once it leaves your hands you’ll never see it again.”

—Denver Post (on Not Quite What I Was Planning)

The editors of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning are back with its much-anticipated sequel, It All Changed in an Instant. With contributions from acclaimed authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Frank McCourt, Wally Lamb, Isabel Allende, Junot Diaz, Amy Tan, and James Frey, and celebrities like Sarah Silverman, Suze Orman, Marlee Matlin, Neil Patrick Harris, Ann Coulter, and Chelsea Handler, It All Changed in an Instant presents a thousand more glimpses of humanity. . . six words at a time. In the vein of the popular Post Secret books, It All Changed in an Instant, in the words of Vanity Fair, “will thrill minimalists and inspire maximalists.

"Dear Robin Slick, Six-Word Memoirist extraordinaire,

Congratulations! Your Six-Word Memoir, "xxx" from SMITH Magazine is being published in the new book, It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure, on sale January 5th. (But available for pre-order now!) Thank you and welcome!"

There are two readings in connection with this - one on January 5 in Brooklyn and one in late January in New York City...I will try to make both but I'm leaning toward the end of January as my "definite". I'll let you know as soon as I get the details. Naturally, the website for Smith Magazine is down right now but no worries, I have more than enough time to post the usual billboards.

Okay then. I think I've brought you all up to date on most things.

(1) Try and get out to see Eric do his jazz thing at the Tritone tonight;
(2) For sure be at Johnny Brenda's this coming Wednesday to see Eric, Tom Hamilton, and some Disco Biscuits and/or other local and national luminaries perform an uber special show;
(3) Absolutely positively be at the Mercury Lounge in NYC on December 30 to witness the New York debut of Julie Slick, Eric Slick, and Robbie "Seahag" Mangano, a/k/a Paper Cat...and maybe there will even be a brand new EP at said just never know.

I'll be back here before Christmas...there is still much to discuss but I want to save it for...