Category Archives: those that from a long way off look like flies

Announcing 12-27-17 show at the California Clipper (Chicago)

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra return to one of the classiest joints that has the poor judgment to let us regularly darken their door: The California Clipper, in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois ( 1002 North California Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 | (773) 384-2547 | 10 p.m. | $5 cover).

AND we’re playing on the biggest party night of the year — the Wednesday mid-week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. French hens for everyone!

The last time we played at the Clipper was also around this time of year. We were anticipating a pretty small crowd when — bang! — all of a suddenly, a busload of Germans showed up on a week-long tour of music venues in the city featuring iconic Chicago styles (mad love for Chicago skiffle, yah?).

We didn’t know their story until after we’d finished, and we couldn’t figure out why this crowd that seemed to be enjoying the music and paying pretty rapt attention also didn’t laugh at any of our musical jokes about high-functioning alcoholism in Libertyville or whether to subvert an ASCAP copyright by going instead through BMI. “Vat iss this ‘Sharking?'” they asked us.

One guy, however — who turned out to be Austrian — was really excited about the fact that we had a song about Krampus, and so we sent him on his way with a free copy of our sheet music version of “Save Me A Krampus (For the Holiday).” In those dark days of Nov. 2017, we built a bridge across the sea on a stick wrapped in barbed wire and a kidnapping sack.

Who knows who’ll turn up this time? Maybe you!

On the Road Again. Probably Hwy 45 Mostly.

The Viper, His Famous Orchestra, his ukulele, his jug, his suitcase, and his liver all make their way to down to Lake Zurich, Illinois this Friday, Nov. 17, to offer up a pre-Thanksgiving cornucopia of musical nourishment to the students and families of the Lake Zurich Middle School North Orchestras.

This concert will inaugurate this school year’s edition  of the Viper’s Composer-In-Residence tenure with LZOrk, with the students themselves participating in making some decisions about what pieces we’ll learn interactively and develop together over the course of the spring semester, based on what they hear and think they can work with this fall.

Of course, The Viper and His Famous Orchestra will revisit some of the pieces LZOrk has performed in the last couple of years as well — “Just That Good,” “Hotzeplotz Calls,” “Heartbreak For Beginners,” “The Monsters Are Coming” — with some very special guest appearances by past, present, and future orchestra students.

Anyone needing an introduction to the Viper or the Composer-In-Residence program could do worse than revisit this Q&A from the first year of the residence, titled “What Does The Viper Say?” And everyone else, we’ll see you on Friday!

 

Announcing: Summer 2017 Festival Shows

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra create their own high-speed rail system in Wisconsin as they storm the state from Milwaukee to Madison over two days in late August.

First, on Saturday, August 26, 2017 (1:00 to 3:00 p.m.) (TIME CHANGE: 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.) we’ll be taking the early afternoon shift at the 2017 Washington Heights Boulevard Bash in the vicinity of the intersection of 54th St. & W. Washington Blvd. (Milwaukee, WI 53208). For The Viper, this is about as hometown as it gets — the neighborhood festival on the very grounds on which The Viper stomps daily. It’s a great all-day party that stretches through five of the loveliest blocks in Milwaukee, just West of Washington Park. You might even see our Mayor, who lives along the Boulevard and has been spotted at the Bash helping kids get soccer balls out of trees. Free! (Facebook event)

Then, on Sunday, August 27, 2017 (12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m.), we stake out the stage at high noon at the 52nd Annual Orton Park Festival 2017 (Orton Park | 1114 Rutledge St, Madison, WI 53703) on the third day of this four-day festival sponsored by the Marquette Neighborhood Association. The Viper briefly lived in this neighborhood as well, but its grounds are more regularly stomped by trombonist Rob Henn. Orton Park is on the near-East side of Madison, not far from Lake Monona, and is the park where on a summer day in or around 1993 or ’94, I crossed paths with a man jogging in a full-body knight’s armored suit, helmet and all. Also free! (Facebook event)

If you can’t make one, make both! If you can’t make both, make monkeys! If you can’t make ’em, train ’em!

November 2016 shows at Parched Eagle and California Clipper

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra will be ruining the perfectly lovely atmosphere of two of our favorite venues in early November 2016 as we surround election day with shows on Saturday, Nov. 5 in the brewpub backgroom of the Parched Eagle in Westport, WI (just outside of Madison) and then on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at the classiest cocktail lounge in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, the California Clipper. (Details below.)

NOTE: With these shows, we’re welcoming the newest member of the Viper’s extended familial entourage: bassist Riley Broach has recently achieved proud father status with the birth of his daughter, Lyra Paulina (the “y” and “i” are both pronounced like a long “e”). So walk right up to him and give him a great big kiss when you see him.

Saturday, November 5, 2016 (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
Parched Eagle Brew Pub
5440 Willow Road #112, Westport, WI 53597 | (608) 204-9192
The Viper & His Famous Orchestra are back at this Westport hotspot to rock the back room for this pre-election blow-out. Don’t miss it!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 (10:00 p.m.)
The California Clipper
1002 North California Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 | (773) 384-2547
The Viper & His Famous Orchestra are back at this Humboldt Park hotspot to rock the front room for this post-election blow-out. Don’t miss it! With DJ Lawrence Peters and his vinyl 45s. $5 Cheap.

justmoneybags

 

 

Shows in May & June, 2016

A couple busy weeks ahead for the normally pretty lazy Viper & His Famous Orchestra, across four towns in two states: Lake Zurich and Chicago, IL, and Milwaukee and Westport (basically, Middleton), WI.

Here’s what you can expect.

Thursday, May 19, 2016 (7:00 to 8:00 p.m.)
Lake Zurich Middle School North
LZMSN Cafetorium
95 Hubbard Lane
Hawthorn Woods, IL 60047
(847) 719-3600

The Really Big Shew!!! The Viper performs his material with the Lake Zurich Middle School North Orchestra under the direction of Riley Broach as the culmination of his time with them as Spring 2016 Composer in Residence. The evening will include the world premiere of a piece written especially for the LZMSNO, a concerto gross for ukulele and orchestra titled “Let Not Life Far From These Fingers Flee / My Dog Has Fleas.” Read all about it here. Open to the public.

Saturday, May 21, 2016 (7:00 to 10:00 p.m.)
The Coffee House
1905 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233 | (414) 534-4612

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra with Andy Jehly, Mississippi Sawyer, Bill Murtaugh, Paul Smith, Sweet Diversity, and host Jym Mooney to close out the 49th season of The Coffee House. $10.00 cheap! suggested donation.

Saturday, June 4, 2016 (7:30 to 10:00 p.m.)
Parched Eagle Brew Pub
5440 Willow Road #112, Westport, WI 53597 | (608) 204-9192

Google Maps will tell you this is in Waunakee, but if you’ve got a date with The Viper & His Famous Orchestra in Waunakee, we’ll be waiting in Westport — here! At the Parched Eagle! And Edward Burch will be there with us. Westport/Waunakee is right on the other side of Lake Mendota from Madison, and in good old Madison-area fashion, there is no cover. We play for your tips, just like we did at your Bris.

Sunday, June 5, 2016 (7:00 to 10:00 p.m.)
The California Clipper
1002 North California Ave., Chicago, IL 60622 | (773) 384-2547

The Viper & His Famous Orchestra bring their hog-butchering style to a city that really appreciates it, in the fancy digs of this Humboldt Park neighborhood classic space. It’s a beautiful bar! Plus DJ Lawrence Peters, who’s a stand-up guy and drummer, too. In fact, The Viper first premiered “Big Headed Small Minded Man” some years ago with Mr. Peters on the snare. I believe it’s a $5 cover, which, in Chicago money, is about what it costs to convince someone to give you their already-been-chewed gum and then punch you in the gut.

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If you come to our shows, the Viper will break out that shirt again.