"It's a way to tour the world without leaving home," says Evan Lowenstein, who founded StageIt. Here's an explanation of how StageIt works, if you're curious.
Peter, Leslie and Bob, doing Leslie's song about Long John the Dentist
We have a sort of "extended family" of musicians here, with Bob and Leslie at the core; they're long-time professionals who've performed and toured with innumerable stars, including the Mamas & Papas. This year they added Peter Pope Jones, a British solo guitarist known for his infectious humor and boisterous voice. Peter's also a luthier, building his own fabulous guitars, and the go-to man for all of us who want to maximize our axes.
Peter Pope Jones kicks off our StageIt extravaganza
And then, this summer on my birthday, they invited me into the fold as well. They produce local shows, do recording in their home studio (recently worked on a CD for Peter, and I got to sing back-up), and perform biweekly at the Fiesta Hotel and every Saturday night at Evie's Restaurant. At both venues, a tip jar is their only source of remuneration. Leslie has been heard to say that she only wishes they'd come to Mexico ten years earlier. But they're not getting rich performing here.
Trailer Trash Royalty singing country songs
The jury's out on whether something like StageIt would make any difference economically, but that was hardly the point. Here was a chance to try something new, work through the learning curve and possibly find a wider audience. And it looked like fun. So B&L set up a webcam at Tilley's Bar, which is actually the front patio of a local couple's home, not an actual bar. Bruce, our host, was celebrating his 77th birthday, so they organized an all-out blast of a potluck party, with four different bands and five soloists (including me) performing and todo el mundo invited.
Bruce (in the red Hawaiian shirt) dances with friends
A couple of popular Mexican groups were included: The Twins, comprised of a large family of musicians with two generations of twin brothers, and Manuelito, one of the cutest and most talented Mexican singers I've heard. Sam Rainwater sang several of his original songs recently recorded on his latest CD, "Dressing for Life," which he'll introduce next Saturday at a party at the Fiesta Hotel.
I was taking pictures with my iPhone and they're pretty fuzzy, but next time I'll shoot with a real camera. We definitely plan to do it again, maybe with a more manageable slate of artists, probably back at Tilley's. And since it's a live show (watch it as it happens or you can't see it at all), I'll announce it ahead of time here and explain how to get tickets. And I've learned there's an app that will enable me to embed a show on Facebook so there's a way to keep it after all (once I figure out how)!
Big Frank gets soulful