On Thursday, August 2, 2018 (5:30 – 7:30 p.m.), The Viper and His Good Looks will play as part of the opening
night festivities for the Relative Connections Art Show and Sale in the Cortesi Gallery of the The Art Center Highland Park (1957 Sheridan Rd | Highland Park, IL 60035 | (847) 432-1888).
The featured artists in this show include: Laura Temkin (Abstract watercolors), Jody Berns (Fine art photography), Terri Weinstein (Unique wearable art) and Steve Temkin (figurative painting in natural and digital media).
We’ll be playing in rare dynamic duo form with just The Viper and bassist Riley Broach, the best thing to happen to Highland Park since The Good Wife and Cards Against Humanity.
So get fancy, get free, get art! See the Viper in his native environment — surrounded by original art and the artists who’ve created it. What is art? Is this art? How about this? Now imagine a whole evening of jokes just like those and make sure you take off work early to get there in time to hear each and every one of them.
A couple weeks ago now, The Viper showed up on May 17, 2018 and did his duty as Composer in Residence with the Orchestras of Lake Zurich Middle School North under the direction of Mr. Riley Broach.
You can read about this program and how we all approached it this year in my previous post, but in this space here I plan to turn the page over to the words of the 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students (now about to become 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade students, some of whom I’ve worked with for all three years of their middle-school careers) who performed full string orchestra versions of Viper-made songs “Winnebago Bay” and “Another Day.” I really appreciated reading everyone’s comments, which — enjoyably gentle insults aside! — showed a lot of thoughtfulness and appreciation for the uniquely challenging approach Riley takes setting up and teaching his orchestra courses.
So here’s the questions that Mr. Broach posed to them, post-concert, followed by a word cloud showing the words they used with the greatest frequency (as a group) in their responses. (You can find a fuller rendering of many of these comments on the LZORK page right here.)
Q: What did you learn from The Viper?
Q: How do you describe the Composer in Residence thing we do in orchestra?
Q: Tell me about the song you might compose over the summer!
Q: Write a message to The Viper!
Thanks again to Mr. Broach and to the students in the Orchestra program of Lake Zurich Middle School North for all their great work and tremendous patience with me this year. I’ll be back — but for now all I have to say is:
Some upcoming opportunities to see The Viper and His Famous Orchestra ply their trade: an all-day series of events in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois; and a five-song spot at a benefit concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
On Saturday, November 2, we’ll be playing at the 5th Annual C-U Folk & Roots Festival in Urbana, Illinois. Four different events between 2:30 p.m. and 12:35 a.m., all within about a one-block radius of one another.
From 2:30 – 3:30 p.m., we’re doing a Build-a-Band workshop at the Common Ground Food Co-op (300 S. Broadway Ave. #166 | Urbana, IL 61802 | (217) 352-3347). As we’re telling them, this is “The ultimate ‘green’ musical experience, you’ll learn how to make fully-functioning instruments out of recycled & re-purposed household materials (boxes, jugs, superballs, etc.). Practice playing along with others as we learn a song to lead the Festival’s ‘Musical Mayhem Parade’ around the block and to the site of our kids’ show at the Landmark Hotel Ballroom. One lucky kid will go home with a freshly put-together bucket bass.
Then from 3:30 – 4:00 p.m., it’s the aforementioned Musical Mayhem Parade through Urbana’s mean street, starting at the Common Ground Food Co-op (see info above) and leading to the Landmark Hotel Ballroom, where we’ll be playing our family-friendly set. Jump in the line and rock your body in time.
And, finally, from 11:15 p.m. – 12:35 a.m., we play an Adults show at the Iron Post (120 S. Race St. | Urbana, IL 61801 | (217) 337-7678). We get to do all the things we can’t do/say at the earlier kids show, and we get to finish at a really specific time.
On Saturday, November 9 we’ll be taking part in the 9th Annual Kneel to Neil concert At Linneman’s River West Inn (1001 E. Locust St. | Milwaukee, WI 53212 | (414) 263-9844 ). The show is a celebration of Neil Young’s birthday, with his music being covered by a whole host of Milwaukee-area musicians. Proceeds benefit the Bridge School and WMSE. The whole show goes from 8:00 p.m – 12:00 a.m., and we’ll be playing a four-or-five-song set at a time in the evening yet to be determined.
Here’s The Viper with Edward Burch and Riley Broach of The Famous Orchestra playing “Mister Sandman,” a Pat Ballard song popularized in 1954 by the Chordettes — a vocal group from The Viper’s own hometown of Sheboygan, Wisconsin (and who namecheck Liberace in the 3rd chorus, a fellow Southeastern Wisconsin performer).
We recorded this as a scratch track on my tiny little Tascam DR-05 for Riley’s mother and the rest of the sisters Halverson to use as they practice singing this song for Riley’s wedding, coming right up in July!
the kind of music your great-great-great-grandparents warned your great-great-grandparents about