Had a fun opening at Portland Center Stage last night. I love this theater, the people who work there, and this wonderful city. And it’s really fun to be performing Ben Franklin: Unplugged again, after several years away from it. Ben Franklin is great company — and his brilliant historian Claude-Anne Lopez, the heroine of my piece, is a delight to (try to) re-create.
I traditionally make a CD with a mix of songs for the crew that runs each of my shows. Wasn’t able to figure out how to print out the list of artists, songs, and albums for them at the hotel, so I’m just putting it here. I was feeling wistful as I put together this mix (missing my family in the Bay Area and around the world, thinking about my late father and my still-very-much-alive mom), but as I went on I found myself adding more songs that were not so incredibly gloomy.
Song, artist, album:
- “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton,” The Mountain Goats, All Hail West Texas.
- “The Stoop,” Little Jackie, The Stoop.
- “Wild Mountain Thyme,” Penelope Houston, Birdboys.
- “Beautiful,” Anna Waronker, Anna.
- “Knapsack,” Amy Rigby, Diary of a Mod Housewife.
- “Don’t Let Us Get Sick” (cover of a Warren Zevon song), Jill Sobule, The Folk Years, 2003-2003.
- “Frank Mills,” Shelly Plimpton (I think — does anyone know?), Hair — Special Anniversary Edition.
- “Steve Willoughby,” Vic Chesnutt, West of Rome.
- “Carol Brown,” Flight of the Conchords, Single.
- “Phantom Pains,” Christine Fellows, Paper Anniversary.
- “New Girl,” The Long Winters, When I Pretend To Fall.
- “Lord, I Have Made You a Place in my Heart” (cover of a Greg Brown song), Cry Cry Cry, Cry Cry Cry.
- “The French Inhaler,” Warren Zevon, Learning To Flinch.
- “Victoria,” The Kinks, Arthur.
- “Mercury,” Kathleen Edwards, Failer.
- “Papa Was a Rodeo,” The Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs, Vol. 2.
- “Driving Wheel,” T-Bone Burnett, Truth Decay.
- “Lazy Eye,” Hem, Rabbit Songs.
- “The End of the Tour,” They Might Be Giants, John Henry.
- “My Body Is a Cage” (cover of a song by The Arcade Fire), Sara Lov, The Young Eyes (EP).
- “Love Is All Around” (cover of the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme), Hüsker Dü, Eight Miles High/Makes No Sense at All (EP).
- “Swimming Song” (cover of a song by Loudon Wainwright III), Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Kate & Anna McGarrigle.
- “Count on Me” (Demo), Kirsty MacColl, From Croydon to Cuba … An Anthology.
- “Time,” Tom Waits, Rain Dogs.
- “The Anchor Song,” Björk, Debut.
After the show there was a sweet party in the lobby of the theater. At one point some performers from Ragtime, the musical that’s playing upstairs, came over to say hi. There’s no way to get around it: the cast of Ragtime is way better-looking than the cast of Ben Franklin: Unplugged. On the bright side, I’ll match up my crew, looks-wise, against any other crew in town!
Now I’m off to the gym to burn off 1,000 calories on the aerobic machines, as I promised Von Ray I’d do. Then another performance tonight. Wife and son coming to Portland a week from Tuesday! Trying to line up bicycle tours of the Portland area for while they’re here. …