Monday, January 26, 2009

Free Cheeseburger & Fries MP3s

In preparation for the opening date of the Cheeseburger & Fries play being announced very soon, we're cooperating with Creeps Records to release the original musty old Cheeseburger & Fries cassette recordings on's Open Source Audio project.

You can click here to peruse the Cheeseburger & Fries mp3 files made available for free online.

Jeffrey Scott "Cheeseburger" Holland and J.T. "Fries" Dockery made hundreds of raw, obnoxious, primitive recordings between 1995-2002 as a street-busking duo, whose musical principles often including making up spontaneous stream-of-consciouness songs on the spot. All their performances (which were recorded on low-budget handheld tape recorders) are being preserved and archived today by Creeps Records and The Telecrylic Foundation.

Catclaw will be staging Holland's play about his street-musician years this summer, and more information will be announced here very shortly.

(Pictured above: Cheeseburger & Fries standing in the middle of U.S. 25 in Rockcastle County, KY.)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kentucky Horror Hosts

The Unusual Kentucky blog has a couple of interesting recent features up this weekend about local television "horror hosts" of yesteryear - Millicent B. Ghastly's Monsterpiece Theater and Sammy Terry's Nightmare Theater.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Catclaw to abandon A-440 tuning?

Jeffrey Scott Holland's on-again, off-again jazz band, The JSH Combo, have announced their intention to join the growing movement to revert back to the traditional musical tuning of A=432hz. This was the proper Pythagorean standard in classical music until 1938, when the pitch was rounded up to A-440.

Verdi pressed the Italian Parliament to set the standard tuning at A 432 hertz, but in the century since, standard pitch has kept climbing higher and higher. In Berlin, orchestras tune to an A around 448 hertz. In Moscow, the symphony's pitch is even higher, near 450 hertz.

It remains to be seen whether JSH's new tuning policy applies to Catclaw as well.

(photo: Opera Verdi Europa's 2005 production of Verdi's Macbeth.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hound Dog Press

Catclaw is proud to be working with Hound Dog Press for all future printed materials, including business cards, posters, handbills, and what have you. Their old-old-old-school letterpress printing equipment has precisely the mythic resonance we seek.

They're located in the Mellwood Art Center to the right of the front gates and we urge anyone in search of quality letterpress printing to check 'em out! We can't recommend them highly enough.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Voraxica Blog!

Yet another blog to add to your RSS feed collection: we have a new blog specially devoted to Voraxica and our Voraxium shows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Eva Tanguay

The great 1953 film The I Don't Care Girl (starring Mitzi Gaynor and Oscar Levant) was just on the Fox Movie Channel this morning, showing the modern world amazing choreography and costumes so rarely seen nowadays.

It's the bio story of one of our favorite Vaudeville/burlesque performers, Eva Tanguay, billed as The "I Don't Care" Girl. Wikipedia says:

Aleister Crowley called Tanguay America's equivalent to Europe's music hall greats, Marie Lloyd of England and Yvette Guilbert of France. "The American Genius," he wrote, "is unlike all others. The 'cultured' artist, in this country, is always a mediocrity. … The true American is, above all things, FREE; with all the advantages and disadvantages that that implies. His genius is a soul lonely, disolate, reaching to perfection in some unguessed direction. … Eva Tanguay is the perfect American artist. She is... starry chaste in her colossal corruption."

Eva Tanguay is remembered for brassy self-confident songs that symbolized the emancipated woman,` such as "It's All Been Done Before But Not the Way I Do It," "I Want Someone to Go Wild With Me," "Go As Far As You Like," and "That's Why They Call Me Tabasco." In showbiz circles, she was nicknamed the "I Don’t Care Girl," after her most famous song, "I Don’t Care."

Tanguay spent lavishly on both publicity campaigns and costumes. One obituary notes that a "clever manager" told Tanguay early in her career that money made money, and she never forgot the lesson, buying huge ads at her own expense, and on one occasion allegedly spending twice her salary on publicity. She also got her name in the papers for allegedly being kidnapped, allegedly having her jewels stolen, and getting fined $50 in Louisville, Kentucky for throwing a stagehand down a flight of stairs.

Now that's our kind of performer!

In 1922 Eva made a 78 RPM record of her "I Don't Care" song, and you can hear it on The Creeps Records MP3 Blog.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Toulouse-inations Pics on Flickr

Quite a few new photos of Toulouse-inations rehearsals, dress rehearsals, backstage, etc. are now up on our Flickr account.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"Patrick Amsterdam" at the Rudyard Kipling

Jeffrey Scott Holland's Patrick Amsterdam has been accepted to Brian Walker's annual short plays competition called Finnigan's Festival of Funky Fresh Fun.

Rehearsals will begin Sunday, March 15 in St. Matthews. Shows will be at The Rudyard Kipling in Old Louisville. The dates are: April 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 & 25, at 7:30pm.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Something Good, Something Sad

Ever heard of the Cherry Sisters? They're widely regarded as the worst show-business act ever, and that's a mighty tall reputation to live up to. And yet, the more we learn of their taste-defying radioactive powers, the more we wish we could bring them back from the dead and put them onstage in a Catclaw production today.

Saith the Wikipedia:

The Cherry Sisters' vaudeville act was formed in the early 1890s, after the death of their parents and the disappearance of their brother Nathan. Originally all five sisters were involved, however, the eldest, Ella, retired from the stage before 1896, leaving her siblings to continue the act as a quartet.

Addie Cherry described the Cherry Sisters' work as "concerts,--literary entertainments." Entitled Something Good, Something Sad, their show featured songs, dances, skits, morality plays and essays authored and performed by the sisters. Some of their songs featured new lyrics set to traditional standards; others were completely original compositions. Musical accompaniment was provided for some numbers by Elizabeth and Jessie, who played the piano and bass drum. The material had strong patriotic and religious themes; in one scene, Jessie was suspended from a cross in an imitation of the crucifixion.

The act was received politely by the sisters' neighbors in Marion, but when it went on the road, it received overwhelmingly negative responses from the audiences to which it played. Spectators routinely laughed, heckled, catcalled and threw vegetables at the sisters throughout the entire performance. In several instances the audience violence reached dangerous proportions: in one incident in Dubuque, a fire extinguisher was sprayed directly into one of the sisters' faces, and the show was stopped by the local marshalls to prevent further harm. Eventually the sisters performed behind a wire mesh curtain to avoid being struck by projectiles from the audience, although they would later deny that this had ever been necessary.

In 1896, the Cherry Sisters were brought to Broadway by impresario Oscar Hammerstein in an attempt to attract attention to his floundering new venue, the Olympia Music Hall. His rationale, as given in an interview, was, "I've been putting on the best talent, and it hasn't gone over...I'm going to try the worst." The theory was sound: Something Good, Something Sad saved Hammerstein from bankruptcy only twelve days after opening on November 16, and ran for six weeks, drawing audiences who were curious to see the act the New York Times referred to as "Four Freaks from Iowa". The Times, in their assessment of the sisters, considered the act "more pitiable than amusing" and noted "...the effects of poverty, ignorance, and isolation are much the same all over the world, and the Cherry sisters exhibited every one of them with a pathetic frankness that left no question as to their status or their character."

Two of the Cherry Sisters are pictured above (in case you thought it was a photo of Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Secretary of the Arts?

We received a mass email today that went out to all TAL members:

Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, The United States has never created such a position. We in the arts need this and the country needs the arts--now more than ever. Please take a moment to sign this important petition and then pass it on to your friends and colleagues.

We at Catclaw certainly support the idea of an "Arts czar" in principle, although we expect it would degenerate into the same cut-throat jockeying for position that already goes on in the grant-hustling world. One beneficial thing that a Secretary of the Arts could institute would be an official United States of America theatre, and an official United States of America art gallery, representing our nation's arts from an all-inclusive perspective. Now that we'd like to see.

With all the problems Obama has been stuck with by the previous administration, we don't foresee arts funding to be anywhere near his top priority, nor should it be. (Catclaw is not a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and does not seek State or Federal arts grants. What we do is funded solely by our own private fundraising efforts and self-determinism.)

And lastly, the "Petition Online" is hardly a reputable or useful vehicle for pitching a major restructuring of the Federal Government via a new cabinet post (especially so soon after the previous administration has spent billions on another new cabinet post, the useless Department of Homeland Security). We're looking into the possibility of lobbying the incoming Obama administration through Jeffrey Scott Holland's Washington, D.C. bureau.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Patrick Amsterdam

Artistic Director Jeffrey Scott Holland has written a new play called Patrick Amsterdam, about a failed washed-up lounge singer and his desperate quest for success.