Monthly Archives: January 2011

UPDATE: The Bock Family Benefit is SOLD OUT!!!

Remember our post about The World’s Most Literary Rent Party Ever (aka the Bock Family Benefit)? Well, it’s going to be an awesome party. It sold out in just days thanks to all who have read about this here at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? and all the places that have pitched in to get the word out!

If you didn’t get tickets, get yourself on the waiting list. Maybe you can score one at the last minute. And even if you can’t, please donate to the cause: helping the family of NYC novelist Charles Bock, author of Beautiful Children, whose wife, Diana Colbert, is battling leukemia.

Here’s what the organizers say about the waiting list. But don’t wait too long.

We are sold out, but there is a waiting list on the off-chance we get cancellations in advance. If you’d like to be put on the list, please email: most.lit.rent.party.ever@gmail.com.

Thanks, everyone, for buying, and we’ll see you soon. If you can’t come, but would still like to donate to the Bocks, please return to the homepage and go from there.

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Help novelist Charles Bock and his family

Tickets for this star-studded benefit to assist acclaimed New York novelist are on sale. Buy yours now by clicking here

Charles Bock (Photo by Diana Colbert)

I met novelist Charles Bock when he was in the final stages of writing his first novel, “Beautiful Children.” We met while Charles was toiling anonymously as a day-rate writer. A 2008 New York Times Magazine cover story described it as  “a very unhappy stint as a rewrite man at a supermarket tabloid.”

However unhappy that time may have been — and there’s not doubt of that — there were some good moments too.

Many of us were rooting for Charles to succeed, to finish the novel and break out of tabloid hell. We were proud to see him get a book deal, and even more proud to read the extraordinary result of his 11 years of labor.

We came to realize that despite projecting a tattooed, tough-guy image, Charles is a warm, loving man with a great rock-and-roll spirit.

In on Dec. 11, December, 2008, less than a year after the novel was published, Charles and wife Diana Colbert had a lovely daughter, Lily.

In July 2009, Diana was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. By November 2009, she had a bone-marrow transplant. Diana was hopeful and positive in posts on her Facebook page. But a few months ago, the disease returned. Continue reading

More video of Stew, Heidi and The Negro Problem at Joe’s Pub

It’s time for a better taste of The Negro Problem‘s fantastic show at Joe’s Pub on Jan 7 .

Here’s all the video Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? managed to shoot in the crowded room.

The first clip is just an excerpt, the last minute or so of one of my favorite Stew/TNP songs, “Peter Jennings,” performed with as much joy and excitement as I’ve ever seen.

After that is “Willow Song,” a Stew and Heidi number that many in the audience hadn’t heard before. It was written for last summer’s production of Othello for Shakespeare on the Sound, an outdoor community Shakespeare program in Connecticut. (Stew and Heidi tackle Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing for SotS Artistic Director Joanna Settle this summer.) It’s a beautiful, dreamy number that worked well in the play, but also stands alone surprisingly well.

Finally, for all you Passing Strange fans, there’s “Amsterdam.”

Enjoy!

The Negro Problem at Joe’s Pub: Video

I promised video of The Negro Problem‘s fantastic show at Joe’s Pub on Jan 7 . Here’s the first one, with more to come as soon as the overworked staff at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? can find the time to process it.

This clip is just an excerpt, the last minute or so of one of my favorite Stew/TNP songs, “Peter Jennings,” performed with as much joy and excitement as I’ve ever seen.

Clips still to come are longer. But this will give you a good idea of the show’s energy.

The Negro Problem: Stew, Heidi and friends come home to Joe’s Pub

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and The Negro Problem at Joe's Pub on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. (Photos copyright 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

Stew, Heidi Rodewald and their current incarnation of The Negro Problem came home to NYC — to Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater — on Jan. 7.

What a homecoming it was.  The show was rocking and well-paced, with old favorites — many reimagined in one way or another — and newer material from last fall’s Brooklyn Omnibus, a show premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“Ken,” the never-fails-to-get-laughs tune about Barbie’s boyfriend Ken secretly being gay, was done with a reggae feel to it. And they did “Willow Song” from their music for last summer’s Shakespeare on the Sound production of Othello. They also did a great rendition of Stew’s self-proclaimed best song ever, “Gary Come Home,” written for TV’s SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon show.

The current incarnation of The Negro Problem, Stew and Heidi’s first project together, is really just the pair of them backed by Joe McGinty‘s Loser’s Lounge crew plus awesome longtime guitarist Jon Spurney. (Spurney wasn’t in the earliest incarnations of The Negro Problem, but then again, neither was Heidi. Spurn was, however, involved from the beginning with the material that eventually became the acclaimed musical, Passing Strange.)

The place was packed. The show was great. And it seemed to go by in a flash.

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? was thrilled to be there. We’ll shut up now so you can look at the photos. (Video will come later!)

Stew in his Utilikilt with a new approach to hairstyling, and Heidi at Joe's Pub.

Continue reading

Maybe we haven’t seen the last of The Last Town Chorus

It was a real shock to go through the Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? photo library and discover that there’s not a single image socked away of one of our absolute favorite bands ever: The Last Town Chorus.

And since Megan Hickey, the awesome lap-steel guitar-playing heart and soul of TLTC, stopped gigging nearly two years ago, we had the feeling we might never get a chance to correct that omission.

A new single

Now there’s hope. On Christmas Eve, Megan finally released a new recording, the single “Keep Burnin’,” on iTunes. It seems to be a song she’s been working on since 2008. And it’s the first new track she’s released in that time. Her last new release was the single “Loud and Clear,” which she put out in 2008 as an”album version,” though the album clearly that hasn’t come together yet. (TLTC’s last album, “Wire Waltz,” came out way back in March 2007!)

The new tune is worth the wait. Her voice sounds a little different, more natural and a touch less dressed up than on her previous recordings. It’s a voice that’s as beautiful and clear as a bell as possible. She’s retained her amazing ability to bring tears to our eyes in the way few singers can. We’re looking forward to more track, soon!

So, with a new song out, can performing be far behind? WYMMWIG is eager to see and hear Megan play again. And other fans are eager too.

Even her guitars have been asking questions:

Megan divorced herself from New York City in a long, slow process. You could track it pretty clearly on her blog, The Last Town Chorus’ Travelogue. She started spending more and more (nontouring) time away from New York in early 2009. She started downsizing, selling equipment and finally gave up her record collection. That was a clear sign she was done, done, done with New York, at least for now, if not forever.

But Megan clearly did get the urge for going (as Tom Rush wrote), and so she finally did.

We should have seen it coming. We won’t get into her reasons. She’s told us some of them, and we’re sure there are many more. She can explain it herself if she wants to. The reasons don’t matter. What matters is that Megan seems to be finding her muse again. And our lives will be richer as a result.

We don’t know what’s next for Megan, and we haven’t yet asked. Chances are, Megan, who’s extraordinarily talented, beautiful and an all-around good person, will let us know soon.

Andy maybe we’ll get to fill that blank in our photo library.

In the meantime, we have “Keep Burnin’ ” to keep us going. Thanks, Megan.