Andrei Strizek

Music | Musings

July 2016 Newsletter: Crossing Birdland off the list!

"To play in Birdland is an honor we still dig"
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Summer is here ...

And the humidity levels prove it! This month's newsletter is chock-full of recaps, lots of music and reading links, and upcoming events, so without further ado ...

Birdland - July 4th:

I’m happy to report that our show at Birdland on July 4th was a smashing success! We had about 100 people forgo usual Independence Day festivities to come see us, the venue managers loved us, and - the most important thing - everyone performed marvelously and had a great time. We got to do 13 songs, many of which are obscure showtunes, but all wonderful in their own way. I'm glad we dusted them off and brought them to this event. I’m so grateful to George Abud and David Levy for asking me to be a part of this, to our wonderful band, and to all the great women who were George’s duet partners that night.
(George is a star, in case you weren't aware. He was recently featured in Playbill, talking about his performance of Sondheim's "Children and Art" - see a video here - and spent this spring working alongside F. Murray Abraham and Dylan & Becky Ann Baker at Classic Stage Company.)


I've been pretty busy over the last month, between George's show, starting a part-time job, and some other stuff that's coming up (see below), but I'm trying to listen to as much new music when I can. (Commutes are good for this.) Some songs & albums that have been on repeat a lot lately (in random order):


I'll blame Pokemon Go for not having read a ton over the last month - but below are some things I read that are worth mentioning:
  • Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart. If I could read graphic memoirs every day I would be happy. Even when they're as heartbreaking as Hart's story about the death of his young daughter. Memoirs about grieving and death fascinate me; a good author somehow creates enough distance to the specific subject that imports its universality. Austin Kleon has a good post about the book, better than what I could write. I already know it's going to be in my top ten for the year.
  • The Olympics are right around the corner, and The New Yorker had a wonderful profile on gymnast Simone Biles. If you haven't seen her perform, watch this video. She's one of the best athletes in the world right now, on one of the best women gymnastics teams we've ever seen.
  • Artist Gabrielle Bell continues her annual tradition of drawing a comic for every day of July. This one about working retail stuck with me. I worked retail for essentially all 6 years I lived in Champaign (part-time) and I loved everyone I worked with (and I miss them dearly!), but there is a certain soul-sucking that comes from any sort of customer-service job.
  • Is 2016 turning out to be like 1968? No, not quite. But having not lived through the late-60s and only studied it in AP US History, I've found discussions about it engaging. The Atlantic, Talking Points Memo, New York, and the 538 Podcast all have a good analysis. That this is brought up so frequently is intriguing. I'd love to talk about this more, so reach out if you're interested!

Upcoming Events:

PHEW. Who knew summer would be so busy? Isn't it supposed to be full of lazy days, barbecues, iced tea, and sitting on the front porch? Stay cool and hydrated! I'll see you in August.
PS Thanks for reading this far. Here's a bonus Flashback Friday video!
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