Tuesday, May 12, 2009
My life right now is RAGTIME, which is an epic story, but also an epic score and production. I can honestly say that I've never done a show bigger than this with lightning fast scene changes and so much singing and playing, there are only a few moments that the music stops, and then only for less than a minute. That being said, it's a lot of fun and the cast is incredible. They are working very hard, and people will find it hard to believe this is a high school production.
Dana Hall School and Belmont Hill School present RAGTIME this Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16 at 8:00 p.m. in Bardwell Auditorium - 37 Cameron St., Wellesley, MA 02482. Only $5! This is easily a $15 show - come and get the bargain of a lifetime.
As for Funkyman, the piano playing is intense with a lot of left hand work - true to the genre of rag, which Scott Joplin popularized at the turn of the 20th century. While it's been a while, playing rag is not new to me. In fact, when I was a kid, my nickname was Gershwin or Gersh for short.
That's right, Funkyman is NOT my real name. Calm down. I've been called several nicknames throughout my life. Here are some of my favorites:
In High School, my Latin teacher called on me one day, but called me "Jackson." While I and the rest of my class were dumbfounded, he sheepishly admitted that there was another student he used to have in class years ago named Jackson. The embarrassing part was that Jackson was also African-American. Ouch. Embarrassment noted.
However, the movie "Action Jackson" had just come out, and my classmates couldn't resist. "Hey Jackson!" "Action Jackson, what's your faction?" "Any satisfaction, Jackson, or just cracks in your back-sion?" Raise your hand if you're glad high school is over!
Actually, I miss those guys. I just got an e-mail from a guy I haven't seen in over 20 years, and he said "What's up Jackson?" Definitely brought a smile to my face.
I was at a summer camp for music, and I was playing the Gershwin Preludes for Piano. Somebody started a rumor that I could play "Rhapsody in Blue" and the rest is history. I don't think most of those kids ever knew my real name. And to this DAY, people who went to that camp 25 years ago call me Gershwin. I always liked the name, and yes, it made me feel special. But I never did play Rhapsody in Blue (not that I couldn't try now.)
At the final recital, I played a Gershwin piece called "Rialto Ripples." And I FORGOT the middle. Tune in next time about memory loss. No time this week.
My group, Confirmation, sang at a large function in a hotel ballroom and there was a very nice program for the event. In the program, it listed all of the songs to be performed that evening, along with the corresponding songwriters/composers. Next to Confirmation's songs, it said, by "Mark Cole."
I wrote every one of Confirmation's songs. I went to the person in charge and said, who's "Mark Cole." They said, "He wrote these songs." I said, "I was there when the songs were written, and I'm pretty sure Mark wasn't there. I'm David Coleman." They said, "We know who you are, but who's Mark Cole?"
Confirmation still calls me Mark Cole as a joke.
A nickname given to me by students at the first school I taught at. This was pre-Funkyman, so I couldn't correct them. Coolman just seemed such a simple play on my name, but they seemed to like it. Whatever. Better "Coolman" than . . .
Man, that girl was crazy! I didn't want to dance with her anyway!
My students tell me they get honked at and whistled at all the time. Now I know how women feel, well sort of . . . Back in 1989, some girls called out to me from a car while I was walking down Massachusetts Avenue. "Hey, Sugar Butt!" I felt like a piece of meat! How dare they! My butt is clearly made of Equal. I am sugar free!
Best nickname ever. Of course, that's not a nickname really. It's who I am to the reason I wake up everyday. But for you, I'm still humbly . . .