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The Voice Box

I wasn't going to write this story because I think it was a super crappy thing for me to do and I'm not particularly proud of it. Then I told the story to a friend the other day and cracked up so much that I realized I had to write it.

Many years ago, when I was still in college, I was perhaps even more prone to prankery than I am now. I sat at a friends house, bored, playing with the stupid utilities that came with all Macintosh computers. One of them was the text to speech application. After the obligatory profanities, I got down to business. I called Pizza Hut and tried to type fast enough to carry on a conversation. It wasn't quite doable. The clerk on the other end got frustrated and eventually, with an air of resignation, said, "Ma'am (it was a woman's voice on the program), do you just want a pizza for free?".

I cackled with glee (not synthesized) and gave a phony address. My friends and I laughed and rejoiced until we realized that our trophy was sent to someone else's house. Then we felt cheated.

Antony and the Johnsons Concert in Atlanta

On Where Pianos Roam

It was one of the best shows I've EVER seen.  One of my favorite music acts of all time performed their first show in Atlanta, and I was there to witness it at the Variety Playhouse in the Little Five Points district.  This winter, they have embarked on a larger than usual US and European tour to promote the new album 'The Crying Light'. Here is the beautiful and haunting album cover: My friend Chris, who lives in Charlotte, NC, suggested back in December that we see this show the minute he saw the tour dates posted.  I am a HUGE fan of Antony and the Johnsons.  (You might even hear Antony's influence in my own music. )  Due to financial constraints, I don't usually plan big trips just to see a show, but this was different.  I felt that this was something I would regret if I didn't do it.  So, I saved up a little stash of cash and was able to head down to Atlanta, Georgia last Saturday morning. I didn't know then that I was in for one of the most amazing concert experiences of my life.  Built on solid musicianship and the unmistakable voice and emotion of Antony, the performance was a subtle and understated tour de force in front of a full venue.  (It gave me a template of how I hope to do my shows in the future.) There is no one out there even remotely like Antony and the Johnsons.  Quite obviously, I  love this band largely because their lead singer is also a piano player.  He sat at a grand piano offering up delicate little flourishes the whole night--adding nuance, lightness, and grace to a lot of the darker themes in his heartfelt music.   His band was equipped with two violinists, one cello, acoustic guitar, a horn player (I couldn't see what kind.), drums, bass, and a wind instrument of some sort.  Antony gave such a stirring performance all the while leading his band of musicians to these euphoric and mournful places.  It really was so enchanting. I think I also managed to get the best seat in the house.  Front row, at the very left corner.  My view was of Antony sitting at the piano directly in front of me at a distance of about 15 feet.  This was an experience I will never forget. After the show, about thirty or so fans, myself included, waited by his tour bus and got to meet him.  He was very friendly and willing to talk to everyone.  I gave him a copy of my album "Seahorses" in exchange for an autograph on his cd .  .  . Here is a picture of Antony just a few feet away from me after the show: Here's a promo shot for a better idea of who I am talking about: I still can't believe I got to meet him.  Life can be so extraordinary. Antony is a rare and delicate gem of an artist.  What he does is just so uniquely beautiful--an exotic flavor that tastes strange at first but unleashes its richness in soft, undulating waves. Here is a youtube video with my favorite song off the new album (so far). I present to you 'Her Eyes Are Underneath the Ground' .  .  . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j688ELeNC3Y] Here is the new official video for another song from 'The Crying Light".  It's called 'Epilepsy Is Dancing' .  .  . [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-leFj7DWn1Y] I need to sit with this new album a while longer, but I will give it a full review within the next couple of weeks. I love Antony and the Johnsons.  If he is performing in a town near you, just go.  It will be a show you will remember forever. My niece just woke up.  She beckons. -g

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