Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Paul Williams - Tiny Tim Connection

Over on the Fretboard Journal Blog, Jason Verlinde writes about songwriter Paul Williams and his strange connection to Tiny Tim. Jason goes on to make the connection even intricate by connecting himself and The Ukulele Occasional to Robert Dayton of Canned Hamm, the author of the article he cites.

Well, I can take the thread even further, showing just how itty bitty the uke world is. Paul Williams wrote "We've Only Just Begun" for a Crocker Bank commercial with my old boss, Hal Riney. And my job for Hal was managing the See's Candies advertising account and See's Candies is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which as you already know is Warren Buffet's company and Warren plays the uke.

But wait, Warren and Jimmy Buffett are something like fourth cousins (in addition to being mutual admirers) and guess who has been opening for Jimmy of late? Yep, that guy.

Plus, I have the same aloha shirt Williams is wearing in this photo. Now if Kevin Bacon were to take up the uke...well, whad'ya know...Seven Degrees of Uke!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Stop the Presses!

News Flash: Gary and Mark actually meet! Believe it or not, until Sunday at the Maker Faire in San Mateo, yours truly and Mark Frauenfelder had never met in person. Had not even spoken over the phone.

Weird, but true. Mark invited me to join him in editing Ukulelia about three years ago, but during that time our only correspondence has been via email.

As the photographic evidence to the left demonstrates, we both do, in fact, exist. Mark's on the right. And that's me and my chins on the left (nice shot, Livvy). To the best of my knowledge, Mark does not usually run around with a light sabre tucked behind his right ear. I do, however, have a glowing green neon hook extending from the top of my head.

(Photo credit: Anna Livia Peare)

Monday, April 24, 2006

George Formby Chopper

Perusing the pix over at the Ukulele Magazine site, we ran across these amazing shots of an unknown--but noteworthy--bike riding Formby fan's custom George Formby Tribute Chopper. To paraphrase George: "Pimped out nice again!" Link

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Jake Shares the Stage with Jimmy

Or shoud that be the other way around? The author of this article seems to think so! Link

Friday, April 14, 2006

Free Uke Workshop in Honolulu

Jody Kamisato sez:
"Aloha family & friends,

Please come down and join me as I will be holding a 'FREE' ukulele workshop over at Barnes & Nobles this Saturday, April 15th starting @ 12 noon. Bring da ukuleles and no be shame!!!

Also, if you're free later in the evening (April 15th, 8-9:30pm), the BS Band will be performing over at the Sheraton Waikiki's Esprit Lounge promoting there newly released CD entitled 'Incognito.'

Jody "

New York Uke Fest

Attention East Coast Ukers: Don't miss the New York Uke Fest, April 27th thru April 30th in the Big Apple. The line-up is fantastic. Link

Fretboard Journal Issue 2

Read Mark's paean to the Fretboard Journal on BoingBoing. Then subscribe with all due haste. (It'll be an excellent investment, if the fj team's track record is any indication. A first issue of their Ukulele Occasional just went for nearly $65 on eBay.) Link

Gerald Ross - Easter Parade

I was poking around looking for an appropriate Happy Easter post, when I remembered that Gerald Ross recorded Irving Berlin's "Easter Parade" on his "Ukulele Stomp" CD. You can listen to a midi version of it on the Listen link on his site. And download Dominator's transcription of Gerald's arrangement here. Link

Buy your own copy of Gerald's CD here!

Uke Detective: Episode One

Case file #06001. Subject: One so-called "Cremona Guild" soprano ukulele. Age: old enough to have been owned by UI (Uker of Interest) known only as "Grandma".

Calling all Uke Detectives! Who can help Kimberly Flynn learn more about the uke she inherited from her grandmother? Our only clue is the decal on the headstock, which reads "Cremona Guild." Please email me with leads for Kimberly. (Clue: she's already posted on the Flea Market site to no avail.)

Here's another shot:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Big Day at DaSilva

If you're going to be in town for the NoCal Uke Fest in Hayward this year (see post below), Mike DaSilva invites you to a day of workshops on Saturday, April 29th (Hayward event is the next day) at his studio in the Ukulele Republic of Berkeley. A concert completes the day featuring Bryan Tolentino and the Side Order Band. Complete info on the DaSilva site. Link

Waste of Aces

Meet the (now) extra happy people who are "Waste of Aces"!
Link (Thanks, Jun!)

Stephin Merritt: Ukulele Me!

Gary O'Brien writes:

Everyone's favorite Cole Porter with a uke (Stephin Merritt) has a new CD coming out. It's selections of music that he wrote for a series of plays and are based on Chinese operas.

But that's not what's important. The label's website is streaming five cuts from the album. The last one should be of interest to you.

(Thanks, Gary!)

Nashville Ukulele Society

Look out! The State of Tennessee has NUkeS! Welcome, y'all. Bet there are some wicked good ukers in Nashville. (Or soon will be.) Link

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Ukulele / Space Shoes Convergence

What are Space Shoes, and what mysterious connection do they have to the uke? Since you asked... Link

Monday, April 10, 2006

Meetup After the UkeQuake!

Ukulele Ray sez:
"Habitat 4 Ukulele would like to invite ALL uke players, participating in this event [see post below re April 17th event], over to the museum, following the presentation, for refreshments and an informal get-together in the 4-String Bar. Please email your R.S.V.P. so we know how many to expect. L@@King forward to see'n Uke'all!!!

RSVP to: UkaRayRay (a.k.a. Ukulele Ray)

Founder - Curator

Habitat 4 Ukulele"

April 17th UkeQuake Flash Mob!

Stephen Becker wrote to let us know that next Monday, April 17th in San Francisco, all ukers are invited to help play and sing for the 100th anniversary of the earthquake.

Here's his note:

"Dear All Uke Players and Singers: Ukulele Flash Mob Alert! Pass this along!!! Please foward to all Ukulele Players in the Bay Area, or Ukulele Players who can get to the Bay Area! Join us in commemorating the 1906 earthquake outdoors on the stage at Yerba Buena Gardens on Monday, April 17th, at 5:30 p.m. -- Mission and 3rd, across from SF MoMA. Easy BART, easy MUNI, easy parking at the 3rd & Mission Garage. Ukulele players will be asked to come on stage and sing 'California Here I Come!' as part of the program!....

"...The concert is organized by the California Historical Society. You and your uke are to come on stage near the end of the concert...or just stand in the audience and pull out your uke and play! And bring your friends -- it's FREE and OPEN TO EVERYONE. Plus -- the concert is being broadcast live on Radio KALW -- streaming live on the 'net!..."

I will be out of town on business, I am so bummed that I'll miss this. ARRGH! But if you're going to be in town, I think attendance would be mandatory! Here's a link to a uke arrangement of "California Here I Come!" so you can get your chops in shape. Contact Steve with questions.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

El Rincón del Ukelele

The "Ukulele Corner" of David Asorey Álvarez's jazz site features Miles Davis's "Freddie the Freeloader" arranged for uke! A First!

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a large jpeg of the arrangement and mp3 audio file. In Spanish. Link

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Dateline: April 1, 2006

From today's headlines:
"In an apparent move to polish its tarnished image, Halliburton today announced that it will provide care packages to American servicemen and women currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Included in the care packages is an eclectic assortment of personal and non-military items...[including] nearly 50,000 ukuleles."
We poked around to find out more and based on an anonymous poster on the Flea Market Music bulletin board, learned that the soon-to-be-shipping out instruments are actually Flea Ukuleles! Evidently, the folks at the Magic Fluke Company have designed a custom version of the Flea, especially for this program. Dubbed the "Sand Flea," these limited issues ukes feature a desert camouflage face and olive drab colored plastic body and fretboard. We've as of yet been unable to find any pix of the Sand Flea on the web, but send us one if you find it!

The article goes on to note that:

"Accompanying each Sand Flea Ukulele, is a songbook with appropriately patriotic songs, everything from 'The Marine's Hymn' to 'This Land is Your Land.'"
Turns out the songbook (which, unlike the Sand Flea, will be for sale to the public) is the latest in the "Jumpin' Jim" series: "Jumpin Jim's Barracks Ballads." As the article noted, the contents includes the old patriotic and miliatry chestnuts, but true to form for the series, the new Jumpin' Jim book includes some lighter fare, such as a new twist on "Camp Granada (Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah)" and the WWII ditty "Cleanin' My Rifle (and Dreamin' of You)," here "affectionately" dedicated to Osama bin Laden.

What could possibly be next? A USO tour with Jake Shimabukuro, Janet Klein, and Zooey Deschanel?

One thing's for sure, ukuleles have already proven to be a huge hit with our troops. If you haven't already, please consider making a donation to Ukes For Troops, a terrific organization that's already provided dozens of ukes to our men and women serving in the Middle East. Do it today!

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