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Tag Archive: California


Sabor y Cultura

Last Saturday night I played at Sabor y Cultura cafe on Hollywood Blvd. in West Hollywood.

Before I continue with the open mic story, I need to give a little back story for the small world part of the title. My American flight arrived at LAX about 7:50 a.m. on Thursday morning. My son, Conner, and his girlfriend, Jimena, were stuck in traffic.

Rob King

So I retrieved my checked bag in the baggage claim area. The delay was a wreck which was still ahead of Conner. I went to the Starbucks just outside of the baggage claim area – the only place I could see outside of the vending machines by the bathrooms to get food. I bought a breakfast sandwich and a house dark roast. I watched everyone in the area while I waited for my order, and ate it at a small table – I’m a writer, it’s what I do. Conner and Jimena arrived a while later when I was out waiting by the curb.

 

Dan Roark

I arrived at the open mic early. I bought a tea and a snack. Before too long, Tonde R Colle arrived to set up for open mic, as did Morgan B. – she helped with the signup and announced the performers. When they got set up, the open mic began with one of Tonde’s recorded songs, and his welcome to the open mic.

Kendra Van De Graff

Rob King, who plays with Sweet Friday – a local LA band – was the first performer. His music had a latin/folk sort of vibe. He played three nice songs, ending with his song, Pieces.

A young man, Ray Goren, was next. He had a large pedalboard with pedals, some I’m not sure he used very often. It included a harmonizer and a looping pedal. Ray is a talented young man who also has a latin musical strain. But more in the crooner type category. His songs included Maybe I Don’t Need to Know and Can’t Help Myself.

Roger Gomez

Roger Gomez, who followed Goren, is from Australia – which you would not immediately guess. He is soft spoken and friendly. Roger has a distinctive voice and some interesting songs. One of which was She’s Always Landing on Her Feet.

I followed Roger. I played Hello Out There, Peace Be With You, and Wishy Washy World. Kendra Van De Graaff came up after me. She only had one original song and it was titled Date Me.

When Kendra was leaving, I caught up with her and asked her to write down her name so I could spell it right. After she wrote it down, she looked at me.

Rodney Porter and Tonde R Celle

“Actually, I saw you at the airport. I was next to you in line at Starbucks. I saw you get up to play, and I thought, no way.”

I said that was cool and thanked her again. I had thought I had seen her before, but I wasn’t sure. By the time she cleared the door, Tonde was ready to sing his set. He had his tracks for backup. After he sang his first song, Rodney Porter joined him. They sounded really good together. Their voices blended nicely. I don’t know what genre they would put their music in, but it sounded like good soul music to me – one way or the other.

After their set ended, the performers were invited to come up and do another song. I had to leave before my turn came around. If you’re in LA, drop by on Thursdays and Saturdays for open mic. If you’re not in LA, if you happen to go there, check out Sabor y Cultura and play a few songs. You could borrow a guitar if you don’t have it with you.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

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When I knew I was going to be in LA to see Conner and record, I contacted the Tribal Cafe and Gary Stockdale and booked a gig. I was trying for Friday, but Gary was busy, so I arranged for a Sunday afternoon show. The Tribal Cafe, as you can see, is a funky little place in the Echo Park area of Los Angeles. It has an extremely varied menu and the food is really good. They have an open mic five days a week.

The show was from 4:30 to 6:30. Gary played first because he had an obligation later. I really wanted to do a show with Gary and hear a full set of his songs. I met him at the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance in Austin a few years ago and see him there each year. But I only got to hear a few songs at a time. Gary is the consumate folk entertainer. He has some really good songs which you can find through his website.

Gary Stockdale

Fortunately, he had a couple of friends show up to hear him play. There were few other people in the cafe. Gary played a good, full set which included a song from his show, Bumpersticker – the Musical. He also played my favorite song – so far – Who’s That Old Man. I think that’s the title.

After his set, Gary was able to listen to a few of my songs, but then he had to leave – a couple of songs after Conner and his girlfriend, Jimena, arrived.

A few songs into my set, people began to arrive. For the last half of my set, I had a full crowd. Granted, it was not a huge place, but a full group of people for my first show in LA felt really good. And they liked my songs. I almost always adjust my set list when the crowd isn’t the type or size I expected. I switched places with a few songs, but I actually played the set as planned and even did the two standby tunes.

The fact that Conner and Jimena were there was a bonus. It was the first time she heard me play. She’s quite the guitarist and songwriter herself. Jimena Fosado is one of the angels in Corey Feldman‘s band. I also have her to thank for the pictures of me playing.

I spent the rest of the evening grinning quite often. All in all, my first show in LA was a success.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

[Possible bonus points: 10]

On Monday nights, I usually play at Mr. Troll’s open mic at Poor David’s Pub. It’s the best listening room in town and Carlos Sanchez is the best sound man in town. Troll also let’s me talk about the Dallas Songwriters Association before my set. But the point is that I stop by Schlotzsky’s on the way because dinner usually isn’t ready when I leave. I go the location on Midway, just south of Spring Valley, before getting on the tollway.

I walked into Schlotzsky’s and stood back looking at the menu. The young man that has helped me out for the past several weeks (and seems like he’ll be there a while, unlike some) told the girl behind the cash register to treat me right because I was one of his best customers. She smiled, and he added that I would tell him if she didn’t treat me well. By this time, I was smiling, too.

I looked at the menu while she stood, patiently waiting. I considered having salad and perhaps soup as a pick two deal. Then I smiled and shook my head.

“I’ll just go for the same old thing. I thought about having a salad, but I have a show tonight and it’s hard to eat salad.”

“Show? What do you do?” she asked as she rang up my sandwich and chips.

“I’m a singer/songwriter.”

“Oh, really? Where do you play?”

“Well, I’m playing at an open mic at Poor David’s Pub tonight, but I play places around here quite a bit.”

While we were talking, I reached into my pocket for a business card.

“I have a friend,” she was saying, “he plays music and he moved…”

She stopped as she looked at my card. She looked at me kind of puzzled.

“Do you have a son?”

“Yes,” I answered, not bothering to add that I have three sons.

“Conner?”

“Yes, I’m Conner’s father.”

“Conner, that just moved to California?”

“Yes.”

“We’re Facebook friends. We have been since early in high school.”

“Tell him you saw me.”

“I will,” She stuck out her hand. “I’m Martha.”

“Dan.”

I waited for my sandwich, left, and headed for the tollway.

You get the 10 bonus points if you figured out that Conner was the friend she was about to tell me about when she read my card.

Peace be with you.

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