Hello, I am in a library right now in Salem, NY. I'm living in a farmhouse here and playing bass with a crazy native-american folk-tale, puppet-theatre-musical.
In an effort to bring joy to those of us who are bored, here are four of the funniest comic strips I’ve ever seen:
If you want to see more like this, check them out at Garfield Minus Garfield.
Excerpt From "The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
“Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren't anything like machines. They weren't dependable. They weren't efficient. They weren't predictable. They weren't durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others.
“These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame.
“And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn't high enough. So machines were made to serve higher purposes, too.
“And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the higher purpose of the creatures could be.
“The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn't really be said to have any purpose at all. The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else. And they discovered that they weren't even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say, ‘Tralfamadore.’”
"I always tell musicians, whenever you perform for a large body of people, you must hear the real grand fundamental tone that comes from the people. You have to arrive there and go into a nice little area where you plant yourself and you try to hear that big sound, that harmony that everybody's making- the way they're talking, the laughter. I get the fundamental tone of all of that. Once you get that tone, all the things are going to fall into place because all of the people are just the harmonics.
What I do is I try to internalize that sound, and say 'what does that feel like to me.' If I feel it's a positive sound, then I say 'this thing could take me someplace else.' I can give them a much greater whatever-they-need if I do this or I do that. If I feel hurt from there, what I do is change that around. The thing is this- somebody would say 'everybody's not going to respond to this.' But if you can get a large segment of people in there just to be thinking very positive, then the person next to them is going to feel that! You try to get harmony in there. People always want to be in a surrounding where they feel people are positive. If you people are smiling, feeling great comfort, not intimidated, they can relax and feel no stress. So everybody helps each other out.
But you as an artist... What I'm talking about is an artist has to be really together. Spirit-wise, body-wise, mind-wise. You have to be in the best condiiton that you can be in. Or else you're no good to anybody. It's like a medical doctor telling you 'I can take care of your cold' and he's sneezing and coughing all over the place."
What is Life? Nobody knows. For centuries, scientists dreamt of
discovering an underlying
unity to Nature, from the tiniest amoeba to the greatest galaxy. The promise of success
felt almost tangible, for a time, after the tiniest amoeba was located by Dutch biologist
Hendrik Snell in 1973. The realization that this was a "red herring" hurled Snell, and
Science in general, into a quagmire of self-doubt and despair, where it remains to this
Visionary musicians, however, have picked up the torch and are advancing a new theory that may explain everything in the natural world. Ironically enough, the explanation, being solely composed of Sound and Silence, is utterly indecipherable, even to the musicians themselves. While this medium may carry with it the Mysteries of the Universe, we lack the "Rosetta Stone" needed to translate the answers. To wit, listeners may walk away from a Musical Experience without so much as a notion that something significant has occurred.
Hello cyber-friends. I am a robot. I eat bolts. Just kidding, it's me, Ben. I hope you are doing well. Here is the news:
I have not been playing too much jazz lately but I'm very happy to be involved with some great bands as of late. The newest of which is HAPPYFUNSMILE which plays Okinawan pop and Japanese chindon. We should have something booked late October/early November at The Forbidden City.
Also, I'll be doing a couple shows with the excellent myth of miTch, led by Sunny Kim. This band is truly a collective and it is great to play this jazz-rock thing with such talented improvisers.
Other than that I'm still rocking out with Big Swifty, and am looking forward to our first rehearsal that will last more than two hours! And playing with Matt Kanelos has been one of the most fulfilling projects I've been involved with.
That all seems very music oriented, doesn't it? Just to fill out the picture, I have been enjoying the occaisional tuna melt, and I read Alice in Wonderland yesterday. Been trying to find some temp work --I have my resume looking really good in PDF format. Ummmm...
It's amazing what you find
in the palm of your hand
when you finally
release your grip.
Today I had an interview to answer telephones at Morgan Stanley. We'll see how that goes. No way to win that one...
Also I obsessively cleaned my apartment. Rubber gloves and bleach. I was listening to music real loud, which is without a doubt, the best way to clean. Among other selections, I listened to Andre Canniere's new album from start to finish, so here's a shout out to those dudes for sounding great on that record: Good work fellas!
In other news, last night I had a blast at the inaugural Monday night Mannahatta jam, with Ed RosenBerg, Daniel Kelly, and Alex Wyatt. Thanks to everybody who came out: Dave, Lilly, Sofia, Nick, Rachel, Katie, Toni and everyone else! You guys rock.
In case you didn't get an e-mail, I'll be playing there every Monday with a variety of kick-ass musicians. And the excellent owners threw in some drink specials, specifically $3 Red Stripes, so that you don't have to break the bank to have a beer and see some live music.
Til next time, everbody have a enriching experience or two.
I just had the sort of amazing weekend that made me glad I up and moved to NYC. So here's a shout out to all the great musicians/bands/human beings that I was fortunate enough to share the stage with since Friday evening:
At Galapagos on Friday I got to sub for a really fun and exciting electro-pop meets puppetry on-the-open-seas band called Jollyship the Whiz-Bang. Right before we started, I was blown away by Cory McAbee of the Billy Nayer Show. Cory played a solo set self-accompanied by ukelele/auto-harp and delivered a captivating performance-art folk thing that has stayed with me since the first few lines.
After Jollyship, we were followed by a band called Faun Fables whose performance intertwined a folk thing and a theatre thing and the more i think about describing what i saw/heard, the more i realize i don't have the tools to do that. I can say that Dawn's voice is magical and Nils' stage presence is epic. And I can also say that I bought cd's of both bands on Friday, and am glad I did.
Saturday at Goodbye Blue Monday I had the pleasure of playing with Michael Iannantuono, an inspired guitarrist and composer, who I guarantee I will be playing with again. We opened for the Adam Caine-John McCuthcheon Duo (guitar and drums), and I was again blown away by the fearless intensity of their improvising. Also they are both kind people, with a very warm and welcoming vibe. It made me want to go to more of their concerts to hang out with them. (Fortunately, I'll be playing with Adam soon at Goodbye Blue Monday on May 17th, check out the events page...) Closing up the evening was the Ken Filiano Trio. As a bass player, I can say this dude is really really sick. But also his creative approach, compositions, integrity, and musicianship go beyond mere sickness.
Man, this is my longest post ever. Congratulations if you are still reading, and I hope the rest of your day at Bear Stearns goes smoothly.
Okay last, but only chronologically, on Sunday I got to play a really fun gig at The Knitting Factory (Old Office) with Dave Crowell's pop-music brainchild Big Swifty. I think we need to come up with a new name, especially since he repeatedly introduced us as Big Spliffy in front of a half-dozen of my cousins. (I'm sure they cared...) And in some really neat-o bizarre coincedence, playing a set right before us was my cousin Stephen Ferraro's band Boris Garcia from Philadelphia. How awesome is that? You couldn't plan something like that! Anyways, they were great, had a fantastic energy that made me want to dance. Next time we split a gig, it will be on purpose.
In case somebody out there wants to know, here is what I've been listening to lately, in no particular order:
Vijay Iyer, Adem, Meow Meow, Boards of Canada: Music Has the Right to Children, Mehldau: Elegaic Cycle, Gillian Welch, Ivan Milev, Common: Like Water for Chocolate, Sufjan Stevens, Fieldwork, Elliott Smith, Cat Power, Beatles, Wu-Tang, Smashing Pumkins: Mellon Collie, Dr. Dre, Explosions in the Sky, and Radiohead of course.
It's arts and crafts day in the Global Credit Department of Bear Stearns! I made some pot-holders with my cubicle buddy and i think we're going to make a log cabin out of popsicle sticks after nap time. Just kidding. I'm actually entering new client profiles into the Global Risk Management System Database, while printing out International Swap Dealers Association Master Agreements, which is pretty much the same thing.
Red and I were thinking up absurdist subway annoucements on the way to slave-camp this morning. Since I know teenagers these days generally like to surf the internet in groups of two of more, I suggest you take turns reading them aloud in a friendly, yet authoritative voice:
"This is the last stop on this train... not including the next few."
"Due to a passenger ingesting massive amounts of garlic, this uptown C local train will be running express to 168th street."
"There is a Manhattan-borne A express train receding from 207 street, 12 stops away."
Have you ever felt like you were being swept along with the ceaseless flow of activity, when suddenly the present moment is all around you? How many sublime glimpses into infinite are we granted before we die? The world stands before us with all it's impermanence, yet the moment feels like frozen eternity. Sometimes it happens when a cat decides to sit on your lap, the universe kisses you on your forehead.
Blogaroo. What the hell is happening? Being a jazz musician in NY is probably alot like being a single parent with a baby that never stops crying. The letters H, S, B, and C make me hyperventilate.
So much news...
I almost died on the way back from Iceland, along with a plane full of other people. We got struck by lightning over the Atlantic Ocean. The only reason I bring that up here is because I have a photo to prove it.
What else? Last night we started our artistry a whopping two hours late at mAnnAhAttA because of a shoe party. And I got hired as a surrogate coat check person for an extra 50 bones. Ain't too proud to beg.
Later John Pickford Richards serenaded some nice people we met on the subway during our epic trip home. If there were eight words to sum up the journey I think they would be: "This is the last stop on this train," or perhaps: "What the hell are we doing here? Dang."
Even still, last night was a blast, Jeff Lederer and Tommy Crane sounded sick, and we were graced by the presence of three guests: Nir Felder (guitar), Jon De Lucia (alto sax), and James Hirschfeld (alto trombone). Sick.
Wow, now that I'm not worried about writing stupid stuff on here this blog is practically blogging itself. So sorry for waiting a million years to update it. I'm just going to stop now because it will make all my other blogs look small and boring in comparison.
Breaking news, banditos. Brunches are going to be kicked off with the mysterious and sentimental sounds of James/Red/Ben playing music from popular film and original compositions. It should be noted that you will recieve a free Bloody Mary/Mimosa with every entree. And finally, I have, for your viewing pleasure, the new brunch menu. What's with all those commas in the last sentence? Is that kosher?
Woody Allen, if you're reading this I would like to play music with you. Let's get together, man. I promise I'm not a weirdo, I just think it's great that you play the clarinet.
How's this for some news? I moved things around so that the events page is the main page. I got sick of seeing my inspirational Holiday Greeting everytime I wanted to open firefox. There is news I suppose...
I'm reading one of my favorite books, "House of Leaves" for the third time. One of my beloved roomates, Red, bought a drumset. I'm being recorded frequently by students at a place called the "Institute for Audio Research." Other things are going on too, but in general I am just trying to spread the love and warmth of holiday cheer into the new year. So far, so good:)
A Holiday Message from Ben...
Time is progressing like a runaway train down a never-ending hill. Our lives are so small that we can't see the whole picture. When I was a little kid I would sit in front of the TV so close that the screen consisted of little individual lights of red/blue/green. We are wild animals with a few extra gifts of reasoning and logic, but those tools are not enough, and the picture is still blurry. Use the other tools at our disposal: honesty, gratitude, patience, love, empathy (etc etc) to create heaven inside yourself.
"Stand-up bassist Ben Gallina adds a sense of maturity and earthy poise with his elastic yet sturdy lines." --New Times, Syracuse, NY. I guess all that practice is finally paying off. Please send any and all compliments to my e-mail address under contact.
Lots. I have been in Florida and Rochester getting some fresh air, family time, and perspective on life. If you are a human being you have ten opportunities in the month of December to witness me making noise in NYC. Also, Red, Brady and I have been working on documenting the way we make music. Hopefully there will be a few tracks up here soon.
Here's a poster for an upcoming concert with Amp.
Four Saturdays at Mannahatta in October! Music is from 2-5. This week will be a trio with Jeff Lederer and Jared Schonig. Next week will be a quartet feat. Dean Bowman. Check out the Events page for who else you'll hear...
Come to Bleu Evolution! We will be playing every Friday and Saturday 10pm-1am. The repertoire consists of original music by the band and some of our friends, exciting arrangements of our favorite jazz tunes, interpretations of popular film scores, and a modicum of salsa and merengue for your dancing pleasure. Bleu is located on 187 and Fort Washington. And it is spelled like the smelly cheese, but don't let that scare you!
The first Electric Medicine gig in NYC with the new members took place last night (8/11) at the C-note. It was a good first gig, and our appetites have been whetted. Thank you so much to everbody who came out. Unfortunately we weren't able to record it, and our next gig is in about a month, so I lied about audio samples coming soon. This is, however, just more of a reason to get some stuff together with the digi002 to put up here.
I'll be playing some shows with Dean Bowman and friends. I am very much looking forward to this. Dean is one of the best vocalists I've ever worked with, and I'm looking forward to meeting the other folks too. If you want to see a photo and short bio click on this. Or if you want, check out Patrizia Ferrara dot com.