Livingston Taylor to perform!

Good Day Friends,

Well the next presentation of The Flagpole Radio Café is approaching. We’re back in business on March 24 with guest artist Livingston Taylor. If you are only able to see one of our shows this season . . .

you probably should have come in February to see Deborah Henson-Conant. Too bad if you weren’t there.

However, the one other show you should see . . . is this month’s show with Livingston Taylor. I am happy to say that the advance sale is terrific and it is distinctly possible that we may sell out. So I implore you to get your tickets as soon as you can. You can purchase your tickets in advance at www.flagpoleproductions.org.

I am also providing a link to Livingston Taylor’s website if you want to read about his most impressive career livtaylor.com.

I also want to remind you that the Stratton Faxon Challenge Grant is still in effect. We’re about half way to our $5,000 goal. If we can find 100 people to donate $25, we’ll easily meet the challenge. If you are moved to make a contribution, you can do so at our website while you are purchasing your tickets.

As always, please forward this to any friends who you think might enjoy the program. I hope to see you at the next show.

Best regards,

Martin

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Livingston Taylor to be Guest Artist on March 24th

We are pleased to announce that renowned singer and songwriter Livingston Taylor will be the guest artist for the March 24 presentation of The Flagpole Radio Café.
Tickets are now on sale at www.flagpoleproductions.org. The show begins at 7pm at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT.  Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for students and senior citizens.
If further information is needed, please contact us at info@flagpoleproductions.org.

Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of thirteen, beginning a forty-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at 18 and has continued to create well-crafted, introspective and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide.
From top-forty hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman” both recorded by his brother James, Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated. His musical knowledge has inspired a varied repertoire, and he is equally at home with a range of musical genres—folk, pop, gospel, jazz—and from upbeat storytelling to touching ballads.
Livingston has never stopped performing since those early coffeehouse days, touring with major artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffet and Jethro Tull, and he maintains a busy concert schedule of over eighty shows a year. He is a natural performer, peppering his shows with personal stories, anecdotes and ineffable warmth that connect him to his fans. His relaxed on-stage presence belies the depth of his musical knowledge, and fans might just as often be treated to a classic Gershwin song or a selection from the best of Broadway.
As a full professor at Berklee College of Music since 1989, Livingston shares his experiences and knowledge of professional touring with young artists, just beginning to hone their skills. His course, Stage Performance (I and II) is one of the most popular at the College, and it gives him the ideal forum in which to impart the lessons learned through his own career to a new generation of musicians. His book, Stage Performance, is drawn from those classes will be available this fall.
Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “We have been looking forward to Livingston Taylor’s appearance with much anticipation. We are so fortunate to have such an accomplished and celebrated musician join our show. I can’t think of a better way to spend an early spring night.”

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A Thanksgiving Greeting

Good morning everyone.

I want to personally wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. . .  so I’m sending this email.

While you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving dinner, if you find yourself perseverating about getting out to the Black Friday sales at 5am, I want to offer you this tranquil alternative.  You can complete much of your holiday shopping from the comfort of the reclining chair in which you are almost certain to fall asleep.  You can give the gift of entertainment by purchasing tickets to see The Flagpole Radio Café.  Look at all the great shows we have coming up

December 3                 Patty Larkin

February 4                   Deborah Henson-Conant

March  24                    Livingston Taylor

May  19                       TBA   (we are thinking about Paul McCartney, Joshua Bell, Lady Gaga, Wynton Marsalis, and President Bill Clinton. . .none of them are available, but we are thinking about them nonetheless).

There are many benefits to purchasing tickets to The Flagpole Radio Café for holiday gifts.  You finish the bulk of your shopping right now.  You’re supporting the local economy.  By supporting the local economy you’re sticking it to China!!!!!!!!  When you gift tickets to The Flagpole Radio Café everybody wins (except for the Chinese).  So visit our website for tickets and information www.flagpoleproductions.org

Our next show is coming up on December 3.  Patty Larkin will be our guest artist and you are in for a treat.  While she is an outstanding guitarist, she is also a composer of substance.  I am attaching a link to her website where you can listen to her music, read about her career, and enjoy some photos.  I hope you can join us on the third.  http://www.pattylarkin.com/

Once again, I ask you to pass this along to friends of yours who you think might enjoy hearing about our program.  This is one of our most cost effective means of marketing the show.  Thank you for your time and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Best wishes

Martin

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Patty Larkin joins The Flagpole Radio Café for Dec. 3rd show!

We are pleased to announce that celebrated singer songwriter Patty Larkin will be the guest artist for the December 3 presentation of The Flagpole Radio Café.  Tickets are now on sale at www.flagpoleproductions.org . The show begins at 7pm at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT.  Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for students and senior citizens.  If further information is needed, please contact us at info@flagpoleproductions.org .

Patty Larkin is part of the urban-folk and pop music phenomenon that spun off of the singer-songwriter explosion of the seventies.  A self described “guitar driven songwriter,” Larkin has wound her way through soundscapes of evocative vocals, inventive guitar wizardry and imaginative lyrics.  Her songs reflect a lyrical spectrum that comprises a rich diversity from impressionistic poetry to witty wordplay.

Patty Larkin grew up in a musical and artistic family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Descended from a long line of Irish American singers and taletellers, her mother was a painter, her sisters both musicians.  She learned at a young age to appreciate the beauty and magic of the arts.  She began classical piano studies at age 7, and became swept up in the sounds of pop and folk music in the 1960s, teaching herself the guitar and experimenting with songwriting.  An English major, Larkin sang throughout her high school and college career, starting out in coffeehouses in Oregon and San Francisco.  Upon graduation, she moved to Boston and devoted herself to music, busking on the streets of Cambridge and studying jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music and with Boston area jazz guitarists.

In 2010 Patty Larkin released a collection of 25 love songs in celebration of 25 years in the recording industry appropriately titled 25.  Here Patty has reworked 25 of her favorite songs in an acoustic, “unplugged” release, joined by friends along the way.  Guest artists include Shawn Colvin, Suzanne Vega, Bruce Cockburn, Mary Chapin Carpenter and others.  25 is the unplugged version of classic Patty Larkin love songs, created with a dream team of some of acoustic music’s heroes.  A collectible collection for fans and critics alike, 25 is an eloquent marker for an illustrious career.

Patty Larkin has been redefining the boundaries of folk-urban pop music for decades with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Acoustic Guitar hails her “soundscape experiments” while Rolling Stone praises her “evocative and subtle sonic shading.” She has been described as “riveting” (Chicago Tribune), “hypnotic” (Entertainment Weekly) and a “drop-dead brilliant” performer (Performing Songwriter).

Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “Our last three shows have been impacted by extraordinary weather.  We are looking forward to having our next show impacted by an extraordinary artist.  Whether through her singing, original music, distinctive guitar playing, or her entire performance persona, you are certain to be captivated by Patty Larkin.”

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Harpist extraordinaire joins us November 5th!

Hello friends,

It seems like the Labor Day Parade was just a few days ago, and already we are looking towards the November edition of The Flagpole Radio Café.

I am so excited about our next guest artist Deborah Henson-Conant.  How shall I describe Deborah Henson-Conant?  I know, I’ll lift some artfully worded phrases from her press materials:

Deborah Henson-Conant: a prolific composer, a revolutionary harpist and a performer of irrepressible spirit.

Deborah Henson-Conant is a Grammy-Nominated artist who sings and plays the harp, tells stories and composes symphonic music that runs the gamut from bombastic to tender. She has been described as “the wild woman of the harp” by bandleader Doc Severensin.  Her playing ranges from raucous to delicate and her performances blur the line between musical performance and theatrical event.

Deborah herself is impossible to categorize. She has made her own path, composing musical theater since the age of 12, first studying classical harp, then developing her own version of swing and Latin jazz and finally synthesizing all three elements into a new genre of musical performance. Her shows mix jazz, folk and flamenco with a theatrical narrative of storytelling and humor.

If you visit our website:  www.flagpoleproductions.org  you can link to her website where there are clips of her extraordinary performances and her fascinating biography.

Here are some quotes (I especially like Doc Severensin’s praise).

San Francisco Examiner
“She set the crowd afire … Strong fingers, quick mind… [she] puts harp and soul into it.” Phil Elwood

Doc Severinsen
“You play the !@#%! out of that thing!”

Amazon.com
“With her cobalt-blue electric Irish harp slung around her neck, she gives Celtic bardery a new image.” John Dilberto

Boston Globe 
“… a night with Henson-Conant is some enchanted evening … although the sound that comes out is still heavenly, it’s a far more sensual notion of heaven than the ones we learned from Sunday school or Saturday morning cartoons … with a presence that seems to combine Carly Simon and the comedian Catherine O’Hara, Henson-Conant commands the intimate setting … from the outset …” Ed Siegal

Boston Herald
“Henson-Conant is a creature of fantasy in appearance: her long braids interwoven with colored ribbons hanging down her back, short black dress, one red shower of stars for an earring and silver-spangled cowboy boots. The lyrics are delivered in styles ranging from poetry to scat, as if there’s nothing a harp and its mistress cannot accomplish together … you must see the infinite possibilities Henson-conant brings to the instrument.” Iris Fanger

(I know Ed Siegal and Iris Fanger personally. . .they hate almost everything so when they like someone this much, it’s really, really good).

I don’t want you to miss this extraordinary performer.  Plus, you can count on Jim and the band for plenty of great music and The Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theatre will try to be funny this time.

One more thing.  The holidays are just around the corner.  Why not give the gift of music to your friends and loved ones.  A pair of tickets to see Deborah Henson-Conant make a swell gift.  Patty Larkin and Livingston Taylor are just around the corner.  Share the fun of our show with the special people in your life.

Don’t forget your teachers either.  When I was teaching dramatic literature at American University, I’d hate it when the class moms collected money to give me Dunkin’ Donuts cards for my holiday tribute.  I bet your children’s teachers are tired of that too.  Why not chip in and buy them a pair of tickets to see The Flagpole Radio Café instead?

As always, please pass this along to anyone you know who might enjoy this offering.  I look forward to seeing you at the next show.

Best regards,

Martin

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Deborah Henson-Conant rescheduled to February 4th

We are pleased to announce that dynamic harp sensation Deborah Henson-Conant will be the guest artist for the November 5 presentation  of The Flagpole Radio Café.  Tickets are now on sale at www.flagpoleproductions.org . The show begins at 7pm at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT.  Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for students and senior citizens.  If further information is needed, please contact us at info@flagpoleproductions.org .

Deborah Henson-Conant is a prolific composer, a revolutionary harpist and a performer of irrepressible spirit. . Her playing ranges from raucous to delicate and her performances blur the line between musical performance and theatrical event. She’s a cross-genre, Blues-Flamenco-Celtic-Funk-Folk-Jazz dynamo. She tells tall tales with the ease of a stand-up comic. She solos and wails like a rock guitarist. She turns music into theater and theater into something lyrical. See her once and you’ll never look at the harp the same way again.

Deborah Henson-Conant has toured with the Boston Pops, opened for Ray Charles at Tanglewood, jammed onstage with Bobbie McFerrin and offstage with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and starred in the PBS special “Celtic Harpestry.” She’s been featured on shows from CBS’ “Sunday Morning” and NBC’s “Today Show” to NPR’s “Weekend Edition” and the Food Network’s “Warped,” and interviewed by hosts and journalists from Scott Simon, Susan Stamberg and Studs Terkel to Charlie Rose and Joan Rivers.

Her DVD & CD project with the Grand Rapids Symphony, “Invention and Alchemy,” received a Grammy Nomination and is appearing on PBS stations nationwide. The project features her one-woman show with 80-piece orchestra. The DVD is a full-length concert program with over 45 minutes of behind-the-scenes features; a multi-camera, surround-sound disc, shot in hi-definition. It has an Emmy-winning director, Grammy-winning sound engineers and a program of symphonic music theater that brings Deborah’s show closer than the front row.

Producer Martin Blanco reflected, “Part of the aspirations of The Flagpole Radio Café show and the mission of the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is to bring extraordinary and distinctive performers to Newtown.  Deborah Henson-Conant is a musician whose artistry answers that call in both the virtuosity of her musicianship and the imaginative way she approaches her instrument.  Her work is a delight for the senses and will have great appeal for anyone regardless of their musical taste.  We are all looking forward to her appearance with much excitement.”

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Season 4 begins on September 17 with Jonathan Edwards

The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that veteran folk icon Jonathan Edwards will be the guest artist for the September 17 season premier of the The Flagpole Radio Café.  Tickets are now on sale at www.flagpoleproductions.org . The show begins at 7pm at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT.  Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $20 for students and senior citizens.  If further information is needed, please contact us at info@flagpoleproductions.org .

            Four decades into a stellar career of uncompromising musical integrity, Jonathan Edwards continues to deliver songs of passion, insight and humor; all rendered with his pure and powerful tenor voice.  Mr. Edwards remains a vital artist in today’s folk and Americana music scenes.  His impressive repertoire includes classics such as ‘Honky Tonk Stardust Cowboy,” “Sometimes,” “One Day Closer,” “Don’t Cry Blue,” “Emma,” “Everybody Knows Her,” “Athens County,” “Shanty,” and of course the beloved anthem “Sunshine (Go Away Today).”  After 40 years, “Sunshine” continues to be embraced by faithful followers and new fans alike.  Since 1971, Mr. Edwards has released 15 albums, including Blue Ridge, his standard-setting collaboration with bluegrass favorites the Seldom Scene, and Little Hands, his collection of children’s songs which was honored with a National Library Association award. 

            Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “I am happy to announce that Jonathan Edwards  will open our fourth season.  He is a journeyman musician in the best folk and rock traditions with a strong following in Connecticut.  Many people will immediately recognize his perennial favorite “Sunshine,” but they will also recognize and enjoy the full depth of his repertoire.  Like most everyone else,  The Flagpole Radio Café has been challenged by the atrocious weather in August.  I believe our show with Jonathan Edwards will bring much needed joy and excitement to our community in the post-Irene days.”

            Mr. Blanco added, “The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is also happy to invite all patrons who purchase tickets in advance to a pre-show reception in the Alexandria Room.  There will be light refreshments, music, and a chance to chat with The Flagpole Radio Café performers.  I hope to see you there.”

            Now beginning its fourth season, The Flagpole Radio Café, is an engaging show created by Jim Allyn, Martin Blanco and Barbara Gaines in conjunction with the Newtown Cultural Arts Commission.  It features music by Jim Allyn and the Radio Café Orchestra, a dynamic ensemble created for the show, and radio style comedy sketches by the hyperbolically named Flagpole Shakespeare Repertory Theatre.  . Each show features a musical guest artist such as Tom Chapin, Peter Yarrow, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Christine Lavin, Roger Ball of The Average White Band, Vanesse Thomas and Yale’s internationally acclaimed male choir The Whiffenpoofs.

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KNITTING CIRCLE – 2001 A SPACE ODDYSSEY – NEWSLETTER

Hi Friends,

You know now that the days are getting longer and the snow is melting, that can only mean one thing: It’s CMT exam season. For all of you who have children in the CT public school system, that means lots of pressure from school for your children to get a good night’s rest and for you to provide a wholesome and nutritious breakfast every test morning; the implication being that normally your children are watching The Tonight Show or playing video games until the wee hours and you feed them Twinkies, cigarettes and Mountain Dew for breakfast.

Anyway, I hope you have a joyous CMT Season, and remember to purchase tickets for The Flagpole Radio Café on March 19th. Singer, songwriter, raconteur Christine Lavin is our guest artist and she will be sensational. Now as an added bonus, Christine is conducting a Knitting Circle in the Alexandria Room for any audience members who would like to join her. This is not one of my peculiar jests; she indeed conducts knitting circles everywhere she performs and I understand they are quite popular. The knitting circle will begin at 6pm and continue until show time. If you have friends who never socialize because of their commitment to knitting, now is your chance to get them to breathe a little fresh air and enjoy each other’s company.

I also wanted to let you know that Kate Katcher (from The Flagpole Radio Cafe) has her own theatre company in town and it is doing quite well. It is called the Stray Kats Theatre Company. This company of professional actors presents staged readings of new works, American classics and full length radio shows. I’ve been impressed by the two shows I’ve seen and this Friday March 11 at 7:30pm, they are presenting a new work titled In the Middle of Nowhere by Kent Brown. I thought you might be particularly interested, because film stars Keir Dullea and Mia Dillon will be performing. Mr. Dullea has had an impressive career on stage and film, but he is most remembered for playing astronaut Frank Baumon in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001 A Space Oddyssey (and its sequel 2010…).

One last item: The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission has created an e-newsletter that lists upcoming cultural events in Newtown. I have taken the liberty of including a link to this newsletter. If you would enjoy receiving updates of cultural activities in Newtown once a month, you can subscribe to the Newsletter by clicking on one of the subscription links. If you are not interested, you will not receive any further issues from me nor will I try to compel you to subscribe (even though I will be gifted a new iPAD and a bottle of 20 year old single malt scotch, if I can get 500 people to subscribe).

I look forward to seeing you on the 19th (and maybe this Friday). As always, if you have friends and loved ones who might enjoy learning about The Flagpole Radio Café, please feel free to pass this along to them. Thank you for your indulgence. See you soon.
Best regards,
Martin

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Christine Lavin to lead Knitting Circle before March 19th show!

The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that acclaimed singer, songwriter, and raconteur Christine Lavin will lead a knitting circle one hour before the March 19th edition of The Flagpole Radio Café.  The knitting circle will take place in the Alexandria Room on the second floor of the Edmond Town Hall and begin at 6pm.  Participation is free and open to anyone with a ticket to the subsequent performance.

            Tickets are now on sale at flagpoleproductions.org . The show begins at 7pm at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT.  Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for students and senior citizens.  If further information is needed, please contact us at info@flagpoleproductions.org .

            Producer Barbara Gaines noted, “We’re delighted to have Christine Lavin at The Flagpole Radio Café and are looking forward to the knitting circle with much anticipation. I hope seasoned knitters take their current project and novices grab a skein of wool and join us for the fun.”

            Christine Lavin is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist living in New York.  She has recorded 20 solo albums, the most recent being Cold Pizza For Breakfast on Yellow Tail Records.  She has also produced nine compilation CDs showcasing the work of dozens of songwriters whose work she loves.  One of these recordings, the food-themed One Meat Ball, includes a 96-page cookbook that Christine edited.  For four years she hosted Slipped Disks on XM satellite radio, playing CDs slipped to her backstage by compatriots, and is the occasional guest host for the City Folk Sunday Breakfast Show on WFUV-FM at Fordham University.

             Ms. Lavin also writes freelance for various publications (including The Washington Post, the St. Petersburg Times, Performing Songwriter, and Delta Sky magazine).  Her song “Amoeba Hop” has been turned into a science/music book by illustrator Betsy Franco Feeney and received the stamp of approval from The International Society of Protistologists, and a “Best Book Award” from the American Association for The Advancement of Science.

            The book The Pluto Files:  The Rise And Fall Of America’s Favorite Planet, written by Neil deGrasse Tyson, head of the Hayden Planetarium in NYC, includes the complete lyrics to Christine’s song “Planet X,” which details Pluto’s history and planetary status debate in rhyme. The book is published by W.W. Norton (and Christine got a “D” in Astronomy in college).

            Christine performs concerts all over the United States, Canada, and points beyond such as Australia, Germany and Israel.   A distinctive hallmark of her concerts is her hosting knitting circles backstage prior to each show.   Her latest book project, Cold Pizza for Breakfast:  A Mem-Wha?  is available in paperback, Kindle, iPad, and audio book formats.  Just One Angel, her latest compilation project (22 artists, 22 Christmas/Hanukah/Solstice/New Year’s songs), was just released in time for the 2010 holiday season.

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Bethany & Rufus to perform on February 5th!

The Newtown Cultural Arts Commission is pleased to announce that acclaimed jazz-folk duo Bethany and Rufus will be the guest artists for the February 5th edition of The Flagpole Radio Café.  Tickets are now on sale at flagpoleproductions.org .  The show begins at 7pm at the Edmond Town Hall in Newtown, CT.  Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for students and senior citizens.  If further information is needed, please contact us at info@flagpoleproductions.org .

            Bethany & Rufus are a cello and voice duo that push the boundaries of American roots music far into unexpected territories, sliding seamlessly between groove, world, blues, and traditional folk music – and when Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia join forces on stage they spark a fire-in-the-belly, soul-stirring experience of American roots music that lingers long after the concert ends .

            As the daughter of folk legend Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary), Bethany Yarrow absorbed much of this music through osmosis in her early childhood, but it’s her tour-de-force stage presence, mesmerizing voice and deep knowledge of the material that allows her to turn these songs inside out and find their less explored, enchanted underside. Rufus Cappadocia is renowned for his cross cultural collaborations, taking the cello into previously unexplored realms. Cappadocia has collaborated with a wide spectrum of world music artists, and through his work with West African, Haitian Vodou and Arabic Music his unique musical voice traces the lineage of American music back to its root sources.

            In January 2007 Bethany & Rufus released their debut record “900 Miles” on Hyena Records. The press was universally positive.  For the duo, it was a great triumph for them and for the genre of folk music. “It was so rewarding to get folk music out of the box of the usual expectation of voice and strummed guitar and turn a whole other kind of audience on to these old songs,” says Rufus. “It was like putting American folk music back into the context of the folkloric traditions of the world.”

Executive Producer Martin Blanco remarked, “Peter Yarrow had such fun performing in our show last May, that he encouraged his daughter Bethany and her partner Rufus to perform at our show.  Once we heard Bethany’s sultry voice coupled with Rufus’ infectious cello, we knew we had to bring them to Newtown.  Their music is as beautiful as it is fiery; I can only hope the Fire Marshall doesn’t have issue with their appearance.”

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