FALL 2014 NEWS
TRIBUTE PROGRAMS EXPANDING WITH HELP FROM GRANT FROM FAU-JUPITER LIFELONG LEARNING SOCIETY
As instructors of Lifelong Learning classes, we have developed programs on John Lennon, Woody Guthrie, Peter Paul & Mary, and Pete Seeger, and are putting the finishing touches on Voices of Sixties Women (Joan, Joni, Judy, Janis, Carly and Carole) and a musical examination of Greenwich Village during the sixties folk music boom. Powerpoint accompaniment of photos and projected lyrics, and a narrative that we intersperse with performances of live music, usually 18 songs, make for an entertaining 90 minutes for our "students," who in these types of classes tend to be mostly inquisitive retirees. John Lennon has been our most popular (with five bookings) but there is usually an excited murmur when we mention we're working on a Simon & Garfunkel program (which is booked for FAU Jupiter on Feb. 12). Our Lennon program at FAU Boca in early October (on what would have been his 74th birthday!) went well, and we'll present a Pete Seeger program there in March.
In order to research our tribute programs, FAU Jupiter 's Lifelong lerning Society provided us with a grant that covered a significant portion of our trip to New York in September, where we photographed locations that we deal with in our programs, like the coffeehouses in Greenwich Village and the childhood homes (in Queens) of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and (in Brooklyn) of Carole King, and the schools they all attended. We also photographed the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park and the Dakota building, where John and Yoko lived. Also covered were our expenses for a day trip north along the Hudson River to Beacon, New York, where Pete Seeger and his wife Toshi lived and founded their Hudson River environmental and advocacy project under the auspices of his sailboat, the sloop Clearwater. Though Pete passed away in early 2014, Clearwater is still a vital organization actively fighting industrial polluters and environmental threats along the river, and we had nice conversations with some of its officers. The boat Seeger built in 1969 is still a powerful symbol and educational tool and constantly sails from place to place (in summer). Our week in New York was very productive and we thank FAU Jupiter Lifelong Learning Society for helping advance the PinkSlip Duo cause with its generosity.
(SUMMER 2014 NEWS)
MULTIMEDIA PROGRAMS TAKING OFF
After the success of the two Jupiter programs, FAU Boca booked the John Lennon show for the Fall and FAU-Jupiter booked our Bleecker Street and Pete Seeger programs for the Fall and our Peter, Paul and Mary and Simon and Garfunkel programs for the Winter 2015 session. Addtionally, Ponte Vecchio booked our John Lennon program for the fall and the Brandeis University National Committee booked a program for the winter.
We were honored to provide easy listening and dance music for Lakes of Delray's Father's Day brunch in June and enjoyed playing Jimmy Buffett, reggae, and island music for Hurricane Grill and Wings' outside bar in July (yes it was hot).
BILL GETS NEW EQUIPMENT
Although we pride ourselves on avoiding tracks and playing all our own music live, we make an exception with a drum machine, which Bill recently upgraded from an Alesis SR-16 to an SR-18. Bill also picked up a used 12-string guitar, something he has been pining for since his was stolen many years ago.
(SPRING 2014 NEWS)
- PINKSLIP TRIBUTE PROGRAMS A SUCCESS!!
We picked up a few new dance gigs (Tropic Bay Golf Club and Saltimbocca Restaurant) and did our first two multimedia tribute programs at FAU-Jupiter, "This Land is Your Land: The Life and Song of Woody Guthrie" and "John Lennon: Nixon's Pariah, the Left's Messiah." They were both well received with the latter getting a standing O so after experiencing the gratification of being the center of attention in real shows (instead of background music for swimmers, drinkers, or diners), we decided to pursue the shows more vigorously and developed a promotional DVD, youtube, and brochure that promotes just our tribute programs. Shortly after, Grand Edventures booked a 1-hour version of our John Lennon show which we presented at Temple torah on Boynton Beach in May to a very enthusiastic crowd.
(FALL '13/WINTER '14 NEWS)
- PinkSlip Pursues “Show” Biz
All has not been that quiet on the PinkSlip front; it only seems that way from our performance calendar. We have been changing our focus a bit and it has begun to pay off, with two shows scheduled for March as part of the Florida Atlantic University Lifelong Learning Program on FAU's Jupiter campus. The program is very active and in recent years built a $7 million facility entirely through community outreach and donations, where a fairly hectic schedule is maintained of daytime and evening courses on a vast array of subjects. Joan and Bill took their experience writing and directing the Woody Guthrie: 100 Years of Song show at the Lake Worth Playhouse last March and have applied it to a more streamlined version of the show. Gone are the cast of 10 musicians, sound man, stage director and lighting technicians, and in their place are just Joan and Bill. We will team with Geoff Kashdan as narrator for a 90-minute version of a Woody Guthrie show, which we have renamed: "This Land Is Your Land: The Life and Song of Woody Guthrie" on March 18th at 7 p.m.. As in the previous show, we will have a powerpoint presentation to illustrate the script and provide lyrics for singalong when we play the songs. We have been toying with this idea for a few years and have a few other shows in mind, including "John Lennon: Rock Messiah, Nixon Pariah" and "Artists of the Greenwich Village Folk-Rock Scene" and "The Songs of Phil Ochs," as well as others. When we met with the executive director and associate director of the Lifelong Learning Society and a member of the Curriculum Board, they were so enthusiastic about our proposal that they put us on the schedule for two dates in March, one of which will be the John Lennon show, which is in the beginning stages of development. That will be a similarly formatted 90-minute show on March 25th.
- More On Tribute Programs - - - - - -
We are tailoring our progmas for three possible venues -- The Lifelong Learning Series at FAU is a 75-minute show, leaving time for questions and answers in the 90-minute time slot; shorter versions are more suited to gigs at gated communities, where an hour is the norm; and an even shorter version, 45 minutes, is necessary for certain venues where an hour time slot is expected to contain a question-and-answer period. The original length of our Woody Guthrie show at the Lake Worth Playhouse was an hour and 45 minutes, so we cut it down to 75 minutes, 60 minutes and 45 minutes. We will approach future shows -- John Lennon, Phil Ochs, Greenwich Village, etc. -- the same way, putting together a 75-minute presentation first, then trimming it down to condensed versions. Our association with Geoff Kashdan has opened up new avenues for us in this realm, since he has long been building a rollodex of contacts at gated communities and community centers where he gives talks on a variety of political issues, historical events and the arts. Our acceptance into the FAU program, which Joan, a former professor there, engineered could be considered our breakthrough in this field of endeavor, the kind of breakthrough that eluded us when our highest goal was playing in a really nice bar.
- (SUMMER 2013 NEWS)
PinkSlip Loses Its Three-Ring Binders
We had at least four of them, a four-incher for dances (slow, fast, cha-cha, etc.) and another four-incher organized alphabetically by artist (Beatles, Jim Croce, CSNY, Dylan, Elvis, etc.). We had a smaller one for Jewish music. We had another smaller (red) one for peace and social justice songs. Our music contained our lyrics, chords, musical notations for the keyboard, and our sometimes very complex arrangements. Joan lost sleep wondering what would happen if they ever got lost or stolen. So we bit the bullet, got an iPad and began the arduous process of converting all our songs to digital. We played each and every one, re-arranged, as necessary, and, little by little, got them all done, put into Dropbox and transferred to the iPad. Then we got a CrisKenna iPad holder that attaches to a mic stand and purchased an app called ForScore that would allow us to call up songs by touching the screen and organize and cross-reference them into various playlists (by decade, genre, etc.). It took some getting used to and required us to get dedicated eyeglasses for its particular distance from our eyes, but we no longer need a music stand, music stand light, or clothespins (wind). We no longer schlep heavy binders and have to switch books for requests. And Joan sleeps better knowing each song is safe and sound on her computer, in Dropbox, and on the iPad. Yep, these two old hippies entered the 21st century during the summer of 2013.
PinkSlip Adds A New Baby Guild
Joan finally decided to make the switch from her classical Favilla guitar (which she purchased as a 15-year-old on Long Island) to steel string, but she had specific ideas about what she was looking for and conducted a search as only Joan can conduct a search. It needed to be small, because she is small, but not as small as a travel guitar. It needed to have electronics, so she could plug in and play at gigs and have onboard controls. And it needed to be a good deal. She went online and searched and compared and didn't make a decision before it was time for her annual visit “home,” to New York. She traipsed all over the City, checking out a very nice sounding Taylor Mini at Matt Umanov Guitars in the Village (but it had no electronics), and discovering a nice small Guild at Rudy's Music in Times Square (but again, no electronics), then found the same Guild at Sam Ash on West 34th Street that had electronics and was the nice reddish color that she preferred. So she secured a nice low price offered by Guitar Center on the internet, with Bill’s help on the phone, and took it to Sam Ash, where they matched it. Her new Guild M120E has a wonderful, big sound and coincidentally is the same color as Bill's Guild D25, inherited from a friend of his dad who purchased it in 1977. It must have been difficult for her not to purchase from Umanov, a Russian-sounding guitar store on Bleecker Street, a street and nationality for which she has strong associations, but she persevered and found the perfect guitar.
- SPRING 2013 NEWS
- WOODY GUTHRIE TRIBUTE A HIT!
- The Woody Guthrie tribute at the Lake Worth Playhouse -- two shows on a Sunday in late March with a cast of nine, including Charlie, our announcer, was the proverbial learning experience for Bill and Joan, who signed on to try their hand at scripting a musical show performed in conjunction with a 105-minute powerpoint presentation projected over the musicians. They learned there are many challenges to coordinating learning sessions and rehearsals, and the recording of a cast CD, even with that small a group, and also gained expertise in close-quarters artistic differences at several stages of the venture. The work of assembling a 600-photo powerpoint and coordinating it with the script elements, was completed over several months while juggling cast changes, song changes, appearing on two radio shows and organizing weekly practices while fending off regular dire predictions from an alarmist producer. On the plus side, we learned a lot about the life of Woody Guthrie, worked out harmonies on several of his best songs, and proved to ourselves that we could write, direct and answer every challenge in pulling off a show. There were also some valuable lessons on what NOT to do in the process. When the big day finally came after months of work and several weeks of practice, the show went smoothly and much too quickly. Ticket sales did not seem brisk until the final weeks before March 24, but we ended up with two very lively crowds, nearly full houses, and both responded warmly to the music and gave us standing ovations. And we acquired some new fans who still check our schedule and come to our shows. So it was a valuable learning experience and prepared us for the next phase of Pinkslip's arc, which will probably be a show with "Bleecker Street" in the title somewhere. Stay tuned.
WINTER 2013 NEWS
PinkSlip’s Bill and Joan
Writing and Directing a Local Musical
"Woody Guthrie: 100 Years of Song," is a musical retrospective with narration and visuals exploring the life and times of Woodrow Wilson Guthrie, the Dust Bowl refugee balladeer who crisscrossed the country, hitchhiking and hopping trains, writing simple songs that championed the working class and cut to the heart of the disparity between the American Dream and its dysfunctional reality. The two-hour show, with a script by Bill and Joan, features eight musicians who play and sing over 20 of Woody's songs as the story retraces the ramblings of this restless troubador who spent much of his time playing for dimes in skid row bars while producing a prolific body of lyrics that often saw through the hypocrisy of the American caste system in prescient songs that, 70 years later, still ring with painful truths. Our collection of more than 800 photos are double-edged, with old black-and-whites to illustrate the tough times in which Woody lived, alternating with color contemporary photos to tie in his social justice themes with modern parallels. The slide presentation will also include song lyrics, to encourage sing-along (and clap-along) audience participation. The production, which comes on the heels of the hundredth anniversary of Guthrie's birth in 1912, will have two showings on March 24 at the historic Lake Worth Playhouse in downtown Lake Worth, Fla. Tickets will be available soon.
"Woody Guthrie: 100 Years of Song": produced by Joyce Greenberg Brown; written and directed by Bill Bowen and Joan Friedenberg; narrated by Charlie Birnbaum; performed by Suzanne Cannon, Rick Cohen, Scott Goldblatt, Kat Mahoney, Ginny Meredith, PinkSlip (Bill Bowen and Joan Friedenberg), and Tracy Sands; sound by Ed Berkoff; videography by James Venable; and visuals by Bill, Joan, and Victoria Martin.
FALL 2012 NEWS
PinkSlip Featured in Award-Winning Film
The James Venable documentary, "Music Folk," which traced from start to finish the Lake Worth production of "The Songs of Phil Ochs," starring PinkSlip and more than a dozen other musicians and performers, was a recent award winner at the L-Dub Film Festival, being acclaimed as the Audience Choice Best Documentary. Venable and his team recorded practices, backstage interviews and behind-the-curtain shenanigans as well as excerpts from the final performances to craft the hour-long documentary.
PinkSlip's First CD Due Out October 15th
Bill and Joan just checked "approved" on the final proofs of their first CD, a 15-song compilation of some of their favorite songs from the 1950's to 2011, including songs by the Dell-Vikings; the Everly Brothers; Peter, Paul and Mary; Simon and Garfunkel; The Beatles; Crosby Stills, Nash and Young; Cat Stevens; Led Zeppelin; Marc Anthony; and Adele. They plan to sell their CD, titled, "PinkSlip Faves," at gigs.
Spring/Summer 2012 News
Bill and Joan have always enjoyed challenging listeners with questions about their songs, with vague promises of even vaguer prizes for correct answers. But now they have a real prize: PinkSlip water bottles! (See "PinkSlip Products" for details.)
PinkSlip Joins up with Solidarity Singers
for May Day Events
PinkSlip will join the Solidarity Singers of South Florida and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale Choir for a spectacular day of May Day Activities on Sunday April 29th.
Solidarity Singers South Florida, headed by Bob and Patty Bender, was inspired by the singing activism of Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, the Almanac Singers and Anne Feeney. Formed in 2009 and aiming to be a Peoples Chorus, the group has brought its message of Music for Peoples Struggles to the Deerfield Progressive Forum, Pete Seeger 90th BirthdayBash, Anne Feeney Tribute, Awake Palm Beach County, St Maurice RC Church/Dania Beach- MayDay2011, several Occupy Ft Lauderdale marches, the Delray Beach Democratic Club and the All Peoples Diversity Day 2012.
Events for April 29th include a morning labor-themed service from 11-12:15 with music and guest speaker Richard Palermo and an afternoon event from 12:50-2:30, featuring music and the Occupy Ft. Lauderdale Labor Outreach group. Both events will take place at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft Lauderdale (UUCFL), 3970 NW 21st Avenue, Oakland Park 33309
For more information, contact Bob Bender: firstname.lastname@example.org 954-531-1928
Winter 2012 News
PinkSlip Interviewed on WPBR-1340 AM
PinkSlip was interviewed by Joyce Brown on WPBR-1340 on Tuesday January 24. Listen to the 30-minute interview and some of their music @
Click on the "DCA-Lake Worth" show and then "1/24/12"
PinkSlip to Perform in Phil Ochs Show@ Lake Worth Playhouse
While at an open mic at Havana Hideout in December, Bill met up with "Mel & Vinnie" who told him about auditions for a show about the life and songs of Phil Ochs at the Lake Worth Playhouse. Knowing how much Joan adores Ochs, Bill promptly called Joan who told him to definitely set up the audition. The rest is history. The show will take place on Sunday February 19th at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m., with a reception between shows at Clay Glass Metal Stone Gallery in Lake Worth. For tickets or information: LakeWorthPlayhouse.org
Update on Keyboard
Joan decided that lightweight was what counted most. So, she is the proud new owner of a Roland Juno DI, an 11-lb 61-key synth that is touch sensitive and allows her to "play" sax on Baker Street, treble trombone on The Boxer, and piccolo on California Dreaming, in addition to decent piano on Imagine and Morning Has Broken. She's still trying to get used to the somewhat smaller and non-weighted keys. Not always easy.
Fall 2011 News
PinkSlip adds keyboard!
PinkSlip debuted its keyboard at the Reflections Bar and Grill at the Marriott Oceana Palms on Singer Island on Saturday, November 5th. How did this happen? Did PinkSlip add a band member? Nope. It came after a year of Bill hounding Joan to drop the Beethoven (not really) and take up John Lennon and Cat Stevens. Playing on a temporary 88-key Privia, Joan is still searching for that perfect lightweight keyboard that has what she needs, but not more. She is determined to "really play" and not just press preset buttons that do everything for her. Write to us with your keyboard suggestions: 61 keys, touch sensitive, some instrument sounds, rhythms, great sound, lightweight.
Spring 2011 News
PinkSlip performs in new venues!
(See Performance Schedule for details)
• The front porch of the Colony Hotel in Delray Beach
• The Old Key Lime House in Lantana
• The Living Room Cafe in Boynton
PinkSlip now available
for private serenades!
Hire PinkSlip to show up at your home or that special restaurant to sing her/him/them a special song or two, table-side, for a birthday, anniversary, or any other occasion (or no special occasion at all).
Winter 2011 News
BLEECKER STREET AND BEYOND
PinkSlip performed its first interactive show, Bleecker Street
and Beyond, on Wednesday, February 2nd, at the clubhouse of
the Palm Chase gated community in Boynton Beach. In the
show, Bill and Joan reminisce about their formative years and
the strong influence that music played, with Joan immersed in
the sixties folk renaissance, hanging out as a teenager in
Greenwich Village where the influences of Bob Dylan, Simon
and Garfunkel and Peter, Paul and Mary were pervasive. She
also reminisced about the social movements of those times and
her involvement, particularly in protests against the Vietnam
War. Counterpoint to that was provided by Bill's memories of
serving on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in that war. Joan’s
Village bohemianism and antiwar activism and his antithetical
early life path provided contrast for their mutual love of the
music, examples of which were performed during the 45-
minute show -- songs by those Village artists plus The Beatles
and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Their touching
reconciliation because of a shared love of the beautiful songs
of that era provided the message of this, their first-ever
performance that included more than strumming and singing.
Palm Chase Women's Club members received it well and the
nearly 100 in attendance enjoyed having songbooks to sing