Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A.R.T.S. Class, Summer Session!

Back to the A.R.T.S. Class! I started this class with Adrianne Escobar and Andy Erickson at Liberty Station, but they've been on summer vacation and it's time to get back to work now!

These kids are catching on fast, until I realized that they didn't know the difference between "classical" and "blues" guitar songs. I'm not kidding. One kid thought that the difference was you played one with a pick.

Mario is demonstrating "classical" technique.

"Do you play blues on a blue guitar?"
"No. There aren't any blue guitars."
"What about THAT ONE?"

Yes, that's a blue guitar at the top left.
I learned something today. The kid's right. You CAN play blues on a blue guitar.

One of their paintings, "Bird Of Paradise".

See you next time!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gig at the Big Easy

Well, we were asked to come in for an audition at the Big Easy restaurant in the Hillcrest section of San Diego. They're a New Orleans-style place that I can tell you right now has GREAT BEIGNETS. They are GREAT BIG BEIGNETS, actually, and they are good.

They're looking for some jazz/blues guitarists, maybe for weekend nights, so we loaded up the Cube and headed over.

Here we are. What song are we on? Hey, Curly Max, uh, I forget what song we're playing!

We've been practicing "Blue Monk" by Thelonious Monk. This is usually a piano song but Curly Max says we can play it on guitar and he's always right about these things..

Smell the beignets? And watch how the guy with the ice tea magically disappears! Where did he go????

Hopefully, Frankie the owner didn't think we were crummy. We'll talk to him this week about maybe playing there more regularly. It would be nice to make a little professional money and tips for Fresh Start.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We Visit Fresh Start for the First Time!

Here we are at Fresh Start Surgical Gifts!

We made it! These people are so wonderful we couldn't believe we were actually standing right there giving them a big guitar-shaped check for $450. They've helped so many kids (more than 5000!!!) we felt super lucky to be standing in their front office. We still owe them $550 if we can make it by the end of summer, so we'll be back!

Thanks to Amanda Thompson and Celene Nigro, and the whole staff there for meeting with us and especially Mimi Askew for inviting us to play at their Party-Gras Cocktail Night in August! We even handed out some of our handmade 78rpm guitar picks!

The whole trip was lots of fun, especially the ice cream afterwards. Don't YOU want to join us now?

Who doesn't like a little break from a stuffy summer office meeting?

Thank you Fresh Start, keep up the great work!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mission Valley Rotary Charter Night

Thanks to President Matthew Guillory, Ryan Norr and especially David Andrews (who can shred a Gretsch with the best) for inviting us to entertain at the Charter Night of the new Mission Valley Sunset Rotary Club. David gave us a way over-the-top donation check to Fresh Start Surgical Gifts, so he's our new best friend!

And by the way, WELCOME ROTARIANS!

Max & Valentine:

Varsity WHO??? Hey, they sound great!

Time to practice first:

Love these little Rotary flags.

See what I mean? Let's go to LA JOLLA!!!

Or Ranch Santa Fe!

La Mesa! Let's go there NOW! It looks like Tomorrowland!

No, Oceanside looks better! I can't decide!

Thanks again, and see you for our next adventure!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July at the Fair and the WINNERS ARE....

First, I'd like to thank Nancy from Torrey Pines Rotary for inviting us. And I'd like to thank Sam, Curly Max, Amanda and Veronica, Christian, Jake, and Jordan for playing guitar, and the lady at the Fried Chicken and Waffles booth for smiling all day even though she was covered in powdered sugar.

This was the biggest line to get Fair tickets I've ever seen, it went about a 1/2 mile down the parking lot, then turned, went to the beach, stopped into Starbucks for a while, played tennis, got a tan, visited a few friends, then turned around again and tried to remember what it was there for in the first place.

Luckily, I had an exhibitor's pass and didn't need to get in line! They don't even check my guitar case anymore!

Our booth collected 2173 toys at the final count, we helped by pulling people in with our guitar playing. (Last year they only got 165 toys.)


During the Fair, for fun we took a poll of everybody's favorite Fair Food. We had more than 1000 entries, and some pretty strong winners took it. Here's the final list -

1. Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
2. Pennsylvania Dutch Strawberry Funnel Cake
3. Corn Dogs on a Stick
4. Roasted Corn on the Cob
5. Giant Hamburger
6. Strawberry Shortcake w/Ice Cream
7. Soft Ice Cream Swirl - Cone
8. Tasty Chips
9. Mini Donuts
10. Cinnamon Rolls

The Vienna Beef Chicago-Style Hot Dog booth was the ultimate winner with more votes than the next two put together -

They even have a hot dog picnic area, it was hot dog paradise!

Here it is - what's the yum?

Pennsylvania Dutch Strawberry and Whipped Cream Funnel Cake -


Chicken and waffles didn't make the public vote list, but it's what got me through the Fair and it was GREAT!

Strawberry Shortcake with Soft Ice Cream!

And Tasty Chips!

So, our booth was pretty successful. It was fun, I learned a lot, played like crazy, met a LOT of people, we got some new gigs and talked to some non-profit groups about some more, and I'm REALLY TIRED!

YAY San Diego County Fair! I love you!

Come back again!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The BIG Weekend!

This is the big weekend! Let's go to the Fair!

 First some guitar playing to wake everybody up -

Amanda and Veronica are our newest Varsity Strings members, and they donated these stuffed tigers too!

This inventor is new at the fair - these are low polluting gasoline/electric hybrids he made himself.

 He made this too - the coolest helmet I've ever seen...

How about a dual-jet airplane with a giant central ultra-quiet cabin?

I love the fair!

How about YOU?

The 4th of July is my last day to play at the Fair - we'll have a Toy Count and see what the top ten foods are by our poll, see you next time!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Varsity Strings T-Shirts

It was time. So we made t-shirts today. Thanks to The Branding Iron of La Jolla!

We wanted these to look like real old-time western music & rock posters from the 1950's, so we beat up the artwork a lot to give it a weathered look, and printed in color fades in a careful hand-made screen process.

Also, we printed the shirts on Gilden's 100% organic cotton, a creamy white color.

This is the print screen. No, they're not going to be pink (yet).

Here are the colors that we used for the first batch!

Here's the sunburst theme we designed...

And here's the very first layer of color on the shirt!

YAY! The first shirt is done! How exciting! You should buy one, they're all the rage at parties.

Look at it, it's fresh off the rollers like a hot batch of cookies.
Mmm... cookies.

Tada, who needs tuxes anymore when you can have one of these. Perfect attire for any occasion, whether it be a barbecue, beach party, or shotgun wedding.

I have the honor of wearing the very first shirt!

Each shirt is $22.50. All profits go to our charity fund; we'll have these on our online store later today...