Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum

September 17, 2009

Dear Diary,

I don’t know what YOU’ve been doing, but I’ve been backpacking through the Swiss Alps with my walrus friend, The Colonel.

JB and The Colonel.

JB and The Colonel.

So it was really hard to keep in touch. There were some rough days there when I didn’t think I would make it through. But The Colonel always pulled me back from the edge. And you know what? I think I’m better for it…

NOT! I was here all along, Diary. I just didn’t call you. So gullible, you are.

But I did do something wasply adventurous. I played a couple of shows a ways off from my native land, in the faraway nation of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. I was accompanied by my sometime-guitarist, photographer, securitizer, and friend Chucks Pranio. The people of Waynesburg UNIVERSITY (where the schooling happens, I presume) greeted us kindly and allowed me to play my jams in their beautiful performing arts center! It was one of the nicest rooms I’ve ever played in! You know I always prefer a traditional theater, Di. We’ll have to go back again sometime!

Fascinatingly, the nation of Waynesburg goes to bed quite early! So when Chucks and I ventured out to gather some food, we found no open stores or restaurants, and resolved on the only place with any sign of life, the Wendy’s drive-thru.

wendys

As you know, I myself do not eat beef or poultry, Diary, so I ordered a baked potato from the voice in the box. It was quick to inform me, though, that all of the baked potatoes had been sold as of 20 minutes prior. Instead I ordered a Caesar salad and some french fries. (Between you and me, Di, I couldn’t see why, if they had french fries, that they couldn’t fashion a single baked potato out of the lot by pressing them together but I didn’t ask questions.) When I did bring my meal back to my hotel, I was surprised to find bacon on my Caesar salad…

But aside from this single time-sensitive incident, I can still say that I honestly enjoyed this new land. Its inhabitants were friendly, kind, and welcoming. And the next morning, Chucks and I set out on a short journey to find an establishment known as the Airport Restaurant.

We did. And we ate there.

Then came the Commonwealth of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We drove through the Appalachians to meet the angel-voiced singer-songwriter, Christopher Morse. He and I were to perform in nearby Mechanicsburg that night. (It should be noted, Diary, that much of this drive was underscored by David Lucas Burge’s 12-disc master class on Perfect Pitch.

The Eerie David Lucas Burge

The Eerie David Lucas Burge

And yes. It was both wild AND crazy.) I quickly realized, as we entered the city-state, that Gettysburg is one of my new favorite places. It maintains a perfect blend of old and new. Aged and modernized. Crummy and shiny.

I also began to notice a series of rather large signs, all directing us to a venerable wonderland known as Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum.

Mr. Ed and an elephotty.

Mr. Ed and an elephotty.

Once this series began, we knew that we had no choice and would be spiritually required to complete this pilgrimage to mecca.

We drove through the magical entrance, Di, and as promised, it was filled with elephants. But not just elephants. Homemade fudge! And puppets! And whoopie cushions! And an enchanted forest! Basically, Di, it was heaven.

It turns out that Mister Ed (who was not “home” at the moment) had been in business for 34 years! Chucks and I took some photos.

JB and an elephant.

JB and an elephant.

I even bought some chocolate-covered sun flower seeds, which I’m eating RIGHT NOW as I type this!

Once we pulled ourselves away, we ventured off to the cemetery where Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address. Is was quite amazing. And many of the graves are marked with symbols of the freemasons but that’s a whole other can of worms! We knew we were walking on hallowed ground. If you ever get a chance, Di, go. I only wish we could have stayed longer.

Christopher Morse

Christopher Morse.

Christopher Morse.

and his crew of lovely ladies were a wonderful treat to end a great excursion. We played at Juice & Java in the District of Mechanicsburg, though my set was cut brief by some laryngitis which I am still currently fighting. He filled the room with his heavenly sounds. As did Miss Anna De La Motte (with her own heavenly sounds)

I’m tired now, Diary. I’m taking a nap. Writing is exhausting. I’m going to try to nurse myself back to health.

With a gingerly wave,

jb

And Now, a Word From Our Sponsors

May 7, 2009

Let’s take a moment to recognize the sponsors that are making One Night Only at the George Street Playhouse possible.

D&M Enterprise – Holmdel, NJ. For all your commercial telecom needs. With         some of the best customer service around.

 www.dmenterprise.net

Salon Concrete – Red Bank, NJ. As a performer, I fully entrust my hair to only them! These people are true artists.

 http://concrete.hostmedic.com/

Perkins Restaurant – Hazlet, NJ. Delicious food and some of the most personable service around. 

Groove Tracks Recording – Holmdel, NJ. Where I recorded my EP. And where I’m doing most of my full length album. They have a great live room and one of the only baby grands in the area. (as far as studios go)                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.myspace.com/groovetracksrecording        

Harmony Natural Foods – Middletown, NJ. Organic, vegetarian, and all around healthy food on a local level.

Kwasnicki Advisory Services – Red Bank, NJ. Reliable tax service and financial advice. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.

Bedrock Consultants – Red Bank, NJ. A-class insurance and financial services. An associate of Kwasnicki Advisory Services.

The Duncan Family  

The Burns Family 

Without the help of these generous business owners, this show would not be possible. Please support them as they have supported me!

George Street Playhouse, Bikers, and Your Mom

May 7, 2009

Dear Diary,

     I’m currently listening to my cat Francis howling in the kitchen. She inexplicably cries by herself pretty frequently. If she were a human, she’d be the crazy person in the corner with the smelly hair and the flower-printed top. But I digress.

Guess what’s coming up soon, Di.

…You guessed correctly. My May 15th Show at George Street. I put up another video recently in promotion of it. You should watch it. Don’t feel silly.

I’ve been doing anything and everything one can do in anticipation of a show. You know, like promoting it, organizing it, rehearsing for it, promoting it some more. This is the first time I’ve ever PUT ON an event. Aside from the apparently annual holiday spectaculars I’ve done with Amanda Duncan. Di, it’s scary! There are surprises at every turn!

But I feel confident in my product. That would be me. (How narcissistic…) But it would also be Kate McKinnon. She is funnier than life. How else can it be said? I don’t know.

Oh! And I now consider myself a biker. My friend Chuck and I take extensive bicycle rides along something called the Henry Hudson Trail. I even got a new seat for my  bum! It’s exhilarating. We look at all the other people DRIVING around and laugh at how UNLUCKY they are and how LUCKY WE are. “Car-ies.” That’s what we call them. You know, when you’re a biker, you’re just better than other people. Hey. It’s who we are. It’s in our blood. We can’t help it. So this Saturday, to seal our pro-status, we’ll go riding for a 3rd time. 

Um…You don’t have to remind me, Di. I can see that this blog is going nowhere fast. I just wanted to hit you up and say hello. Tell you what was going on in MY life.

Lest we not forget the time your entire family was killed in a mass motorcycle accident. I posted a sad face on my Twitter account. AND on Facebook. I think you can at least preTEND to care about my life. Thanks.

So anyway, I can’t wait to see you at the show, Diary. It’s going to be divine.

With a Jovial Wave and a Hair Bounce,

jb

One Night Only – Fri May 15

April 21, 2009

 

Di,

 

     I’m so excited about this show I have coming up. It’s the one where I get back to my musical theater roots and perform in a blackbox theater. 

 

Soooooort of like this one. But not exactly.

Soooooort of like this one. But not exactly.

 

 

No, Di. I’m not doing songs from musicals (unfortunately). And I know… You’re not the only person who doesn’t know what a blackbox is, I’ve learned. So let me explain it to you. It’s maybe the single most fantastic blank palette a girl could ever ask for! A room that can be transformed for any type of performance that can fit inside those four black walls. A small theater in the (semi) round.  The one you see up there is just a pic I collected from Google Images. Not the real place. But you get the gist. 

 

At this show, I get to fully realize all the musical ideas I’ve had for the past 2 years. I’m bringing in some of my musician pals to play all sorts of wonderful things like strings, horns, and more. And they are going to make my EP come to life. Well, my EP plus a few more songs I’ve been cooking up. 

But that’s not where the awesomeness ends, Di. So stop trying to interrupt…

At 8pm, my friend Kate McKinnon is opening the night with her one-woman show called Best Actress. She is ridiculously talented and hilarious. I’m so pleased to have her be a part of it, Di. I’m pleased as punch. She’s got some sweet credits like being a part of Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and a cast member on LOGO’s Big Gay Sketch Show. On top of  that, she’s a thoroughly enjoyable princess of a young lady.

 

This is Kate McKinnon.

This is Kate McKinnon.

Di, I think this blog is going to have lots of vids and pics. It can’t be helped. So don’t start complaining to me about clutter.

 

We’ve done a short series of promo vids in honor of the event. You can see the first one right here. 

And the second…

 

Oh come oooon, Di… You you still don’t get it?  Ok, here’s a recap:

A night of sketch comedy and live music

Friday May 15, 2009

One Night Only:

Joanna Burns with Special Guest Comedian Kate McKinnon

Doors at 7:30pm

Located at the George Street Playhouse

9 Livingston Ave.

New Brunswick, NJ 08901

 

I’ll see you there, Di. You should wear that red dress you wore to your sister’s bachelorette party. It made you look very modern.

 

With a firm handshake and a wink,

jb

Dear New York, I Hate You

April 20, 2009

Dear Diary,

As of the moment, I hate the city of New York. I don’t hate the people. They’re fine. The location is fine. The stuff they have is fine too, I guess. But do you know what I hate? Money-hungry laws. For instance:

I was parked on Allen Street in the village near Rockwood Music Hall where I played a few weeks ago. I got one choice spot too! Right in front. As per usual, a few friends and I took a stroll around the corner to Ludlow after the show and snagged some breakthtakingly delicious crepes at the Creperie. When we returned to my vehicle, it had a ticket on the windshield. I was struck speechless with rage. Apparently street cleaning hours had begun 25 minutes  prior. Now I don’t know if anyone had actually attempted to clean the street during that exact time frame but I guess they just wanted the option. 

I had been parked there for over 3 hours and the last 25 minutes were the only ones that counted. The biggest kick was that if we had just gone home after the show had ended and not stopped for a snack, I would be $65 richer. That was the most expensive crepe I have ever eaten in my entire life.

 

I paid my ticket online today. I will reveal to you the fact that I was shouting to the heavens even as I did this 3 weeks after said offense. I shouted sarcastic remarks about the city of New York being so poor and me being so rich and how they could use this money much more than I could. 

To add insult to injury, as I attempted to “check out” (of a store in which there are no actual products), I incurred a $2 convenience charge for paying my ticket online. But you know what? They’re right. It was so convenient. So convenient to turn over my hard-earned money to the man in the sky and have him tell me, “Wasn’t this easy? How’s about 2 more bucks.”

Backtracking, I shouldn’t say that I checked out of a store in which there were no products. Because there were. I paid $65 ($67)  and they gave me self- pity, unfocused rage,  and a set of prematurely worn-down molars. I walked away with a package deal!

So I should really have titled this blog:

Dear New York, Thank YOU!

 

Getting over it,

jb

I Have Nothing

March 5, 2009

Dear Madam Diary,

     Remember last year when I was pining over those new ipod touches? Well I ended up getting one a few days ago. I know what you’re thinking and yes, I felt materialistic, flashy, and spoiled. But you have to understand, Di! I needed it to bring to the NACA conferences to show people my music and vids at a moment’s notice. It’s nothing more than a coincidence that this thing is a hand-held miracle.

 

Touch

Touch

Holding it feels the way a new born bird would feel if you plucked it from its nest the moment it cracked out of its shell. It makes you think, ‘Dear God. This world is so beautiful. Why do people fight? Maybe I’ll go reconnect with an old friend.” 

And much in the same way one might care for a new child, I have held my Touch close beside me, traveled with it, and slept next to it. I spent a bit more quality time with it last night than I’d like to discuss. It just looked so perfect in all its wireless convenience. I couldn’t put it down. 

So I lay in my bed, making use of my wi-fi connection, and surfing youtube for videos of people doing Whitney Houston covers, as most do late at night. I stumbled upon something that made it all worthwhile.

I don’t have much else to tell you, Di. Except that I’ll be in East Stroudsburg, PA this Fri and Sat. to showcase at the NACA Mid-Atlantic festival. And who do you think will be there with me? Yeah. My Touch. Di, don’t feel jealous. I’d bring you if I could. But you know know you get anxious in large groups.

 

It’s ok. We’ll work on that.

 

Kisses and Gooses,

jb

Kickin’ it in Nashville for NACA

February 24, 2009

Di!!!!

I have missed you so much. I’ve been everywhere under the sun. I can’t say that I spent too much time in each place but I at least passed through.

I drove to Nasvhille, TN, Di! Yeah. I was there for the National NACA Convention.

What is that? I’ve told you so many times. But it goes in one ear and out the other. NACA stands for National Association for Campus Activities. Basically it’s a trade show of entertainment where college students are the consumers and the product we are selling is…ourselves. I know that sounds creepy when you say it like that, Di. 

But sometimes you have to see it to understand it. A description only takes you so far. For instance, Captain Planet:

A group of 5 children who really care about the environment, wear matching rings, nickname themselves after all the elements (and invent a fifth element called “heart”…) and when they all get together, they conjure up a blue man. 

 

Captain Planet and the "Planeteers."

Captain Planet and the "Planeteers."

 

 

It’s all about perspective, Di.

So I got to meet all these cool kids. (Hello, Alesha, Brittany, Kevin, Troy, JD, Ian, and Stephanie!) They listened to my jams on an ipod, they saw vids of my music on a laptop, we gave away tons of free stuff, and some of them decided to book me at their school. Amanda Duncan and Anthony Fiumano were there too. We all went under the booking company Hey Cole Presents. Look! Here’s a pic of our booth!

 

Our Booth.

Our Booth.

 

 

In our travels, we knew we’d be passing through certain areas, namely the fried chicken capital of the world, aka, the south. We also passed by a tattoo joint called Icon. Now I had no agenda besides NACA during our trip, but Cole from Hey Cole Presents decided she wanted a tattoo. I took some extensive video which I may edit down to show you but until then, here are a couple of choice pics of the event.

 

Tattoo City: Population: Cole

Tattoo City: Population: Cole

Meet the Mayor of Tattoo Town: Cole Tattooman.

 

Likewise, Amanda Duncan learned of one of the best friend chicken places in the country. It’s called the Loveless Cafe. It used to be a motel but years ago, it was converted into the cafe as it now stands. There is one thing about this place that we knew we wanted to see and that was the Biscuit Lady, Carol Fay. 

(watch for her at around 2:08)

Unfortunately, Carol Fay had gone home for the day by the time we made it there, but we still had some great food served by our lovely waitress Melody. She even hooked us up with some biscuits to take on the road!

I had a great time, Di. BUT we also ate at a place called Huddle House.

 

Huddle House (better lit than ours)

Huddle House (better lit than ours)

 

 

Most people from the south, I’d imagine, would probably tell you not to go there, but we were just a bunch of northerners in a Jeep so we had no way of knowing the HORROR of Huddle House. Take this warning as seriously as possible. DO NOT GO TO HUDDLE HOUSE. Unless you’re ordering a pancake and a glass of water. Everything else is a no go.

Ok, Miss Diary. I guess I’ll be on my way now. It took me a couple of days to recover from the sleepless nights of travel but I’ll be doing some more travel next week! when I go to Washington D.C. for a rally for the Music First Coalition and then to East Stroudsburg, PA to showcase at anOTHER NACA event called the Mid-Atlantic Festival. Until tomorrow, Di!

With kisses that accidentally miss the cheek and go right to the mouth,

JB

Kristen Wiig and Kate Walsh

February 2, 2009

One woman masquerading about under 2 names.

One in which she is mostly funny and one in which she does spin-offs and car commercials.

 

Come on.

Come on.

Apparently this is becoming a list.

 

-jb

Omar Epps and Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers

February 2, 2009

Dear Diary,

     I watched the Super Bowl tonight, as did many Americans, and was shocked to learn that Omar Epps (of House fame) also doubles as the coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Basically the same man twice.

Basically the same man twice.

I’m no football buff, and I only watch House SOMEtimes. But come on. I think anyone in their right mind can see, we have another doppleganger situation on our hands. We all remember Nick Nolte and Gary Busey.

-jb

Grandma’s Bid

January 27, 2009

Di,

     I have some super sad news to recount. I know this is a safe place to write about it because my grandma doesn’t have a computer and is scared of the internet.

I was at grandma’s house 2 weeks ago and I brought my smaller keyboard with me. It’s a Yamaha 61-key piece of fun.

I’m a musician, Di. Of course I have more than one keyboard. Don’t worry. My full-size was still safe at home. 

So, grandma lives alone in a senior community and she doesn’t really socialize with her neighbors much. She has dropped most hobbies and was beginning to worry me. It seemed she was throwing in the towel on life which made me upset on numerous levels. So I told her I’d comet over and we could jam a little. Then, if she liked it, she could keep the keys for as long as she liked. She used to play when she was younger. She even told me that on her honeymoon, at a hotel in Hawaii, she played Claire du Lune from front to back by ear for a crowd of people!  I wanted her to rekindle that love of music. And it worked! She was gaga over having the instrument in her house. We jammed for a couple of hours. Some tears were shed, some laughs were had, but mostly, it was just awesome. Just all around.

Of course, grandma is very particular that everything in her house…and life, have its place so this bulky keyboard, albeit mid-sized, was not going to fly. She said that no matter how much she liked it, it was too big and her cleaning lady would have to squeeze around it because she’s “chunky.”

I set out on a journey through the land of ebay to hunt and gather a 49-key version of this jewel. And I did! It was perfect. Perfect size, perfect function. This was it. I was SO excited when it finally arrived at my house.

There was some jostling around inside the package which I figured was the power adapter. I cut open the box in anticipation…and found…

a keyboard…

and a pile of 15 shards of plastic where the keyboard had been shattered!

 

Shards

Shards

 

 

Devastation!

 

Broken

Broken

 

 

Horror!

 

Grandma's Bid!

Grandma's Bid!

 

 

Grandma!

I still have not told her. It was supposed to be a surprise but now I guess I’ll need to find a new one and spare her the dream crushing truth…that she could have had THIS one but it was used as a step stool for an elephant.

It’s ok. She’ll be none the wiser. I’m currently taking it up with the store from which I bought the item. They’ll yell at ups for being so rowdy and apparently crushing grandma’s bid with a hammer.

And before you know it, Di, she’ll be rocking out and she’ll be the talk of the town. And all of those neighbors will be begging to hang out with MY GRANDMA.

 

With an awkwardly long hug,

jb