Sunshine and Wind TV – highlights

Every so often we’ll hop online to play an improvised set of synth beats and ambient loops, sometimes with poetry, sometimes not. Circumstances beyond our control have kept us on the sidelines for a while, but we’ll be back this weekend! The plan is to hit Twitch Saturday night, 2/13 around 9pm! Watch this space or follow us on twitter or follow us on twitch for updates. In the meantime watch this video if you want to know what to expect!

Video Week: Live Music! pt 5

One of the things we’ve missed most during the pandemic is live music, and we suspect we’re not alone. Whether it was going to see a friend’s band, going to an open mic to listen and share, or just dropping by a bar that had reliably good acts and checking out what was going on, the lack of live music has left one of the bigger holes in our life. This week at S&W we’re dipping into our archives to celebrate some of the great live performances we’ve witnessed over the years.

Around the corner from the late great Spike Hill in Williamsburg lies a relatively new venue, Gran Torino. They picked up the Sidewalk Monday night open mic after Sidewalk Closed in 2019. The pandemic hit before it could get any kind of sustained momentum, but we were still lucky enough to be in the audience for this great performance by Prewar Yardsale.

Prewar Yardsale always makes us think of that Mark E Smith quote: “If it’s just me and your granny on bongos, it’s the Fall” Well – Prewar has a bucket, not bongos, but it’s no less punk, and proof that it’s not more instruments that make songs sound good. With just a guitar and a bucket, Prewar Yardsale creates songs and shows as alive and fully realized as any traditional “full” band setups. Here we feature a new song of theirs, at least it was new at the time.

Video Week: Live Music! pt 4

One of the things we’ve missed most during the pandemic is live music, and we suspect we’re not alone. Whether it was going to see a friend’s band, going to an open mic to listen and share, or just dropping by a bar that had reliably good acts and checking out what was going on, the lack of live music has left one of the bigger holes in our life. This week at S&W we’re dipping into our archives to celebrate some of the great live performances we’ve witnessed over the years.

Pete’s Candy Store is another great venue, a thimble sized room as off the beaten path as you can get in Williamsburg, which has been home to many many great shows over the years. We’ve done the open mic, we’ve done a record release there, and we were also fortunate enough to share a bill with the songwriter James Bannon, whose contemplative virtuosity never fails to leave us breathless. Here’s a great cut from that show, the stinging “All Teeth”.

Video Week: Live Music! pt 3

One of the things we’ve missed most during the pandemic is live music, and we suspect we’re not alone. Whether it was going to see a friend’s band, going to an open mic to listen and share, or just dropping by a bar that had reliably good acts and checking out what was going on, the lack of live music has left one of the bigger holes in our life. This week at S&W we’re dipping into our archives to celebrate some of the great live performances we’ve witnessed over the years.

The late great Sidewalk CafĂ© certainly deserves its own painstakingly researched tome someday, but suffice to say that in its day it was the type of space that is quickly becoming a memory here in NYC: a late night venue with live music every day, where anyone could get on stage and do anything, and you wouldn’t get kicked out for not having any money. A true community. When we talk of spaces where you peek your head in late at night to find an incredible band blowing the mind of all three people in the audience, that’s the kind of magic you found at Sidewalk. You also found lovingly curated bills featuring packed rooms and bands you never heard of but were perfect for the space: and one night we wandered in to see a friends’ band but ended up being blown away by this incredible performance by Miwa Gemini instead.

What a Future release party Twitch Stream

So yesterday we were psyched to release our first book, WHAT A FUTURE by J.E. O’Leary We got the author to hop on our Twitch channel to play some music and read some poems. We were really happy with the quality of the sound and the ease of use of the Twitch interface, so we’re going to be doing a lot more of these in the future. To keep up please follow us on Twitch at https://www.twitch.tv/sunshineandwind

Editing a 80 minute video seemed like a bit more than we were willing to commit to this morning, so we present here a 12 minute sample. So be sure to check it out, watch this space and twitch for more streams, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

twitch.tv/sunshineandwind

Video Week: Live Music! pt 2

One of the things we’ve missed most during the pandemic is live music, and we suspect we’re not alone. Whether it was going to see a friend’s band, going to an open mic to listen and share, or just dropping by a bar that had reliably good acts and checking out what was going on, the lack of live music has left one of the bigger holes in our life. This week at S&W we’re dipping into our archives to celebrate some of the great live performances we’ve witnessed over the years.

Up today is one of our absolute favorites in the NYC songwriter scene, St Lenox. With an absolute tank of a voice and thought provoking lyrics delivered with super creative phrasings, St Lenox is a truly unique artist and one of the city’s true gems. Here we share a performance of his song Thurgood Marshall, which is almost certainly the best song about a Supreme Court Justice ever written

Video Week: Live Music! pt 1

One of the things we’ve missed most during the pandemic is live music, and we suspect we’re not alone. Whether it was going to see a friend’s band, going to an open mic to listen and share, or just dropping by a bar that had reliably good acts and checking out what was going on, the lack of live music has left one of the bigger holes in our life. This week at S&W we’re dipping into our archives to celebrate some of the great live performances we’ve witnessed over the years.

First up is Flying Pace, a band we saw at the great Footlight bar and music venue. We were there early for la sudar’s EP release but ended up sticking around for most of the afternoon and caught this great band having their record release / swan song show! Too bad really, we enjoyed their dreamy pop sensibilities, especially this song, Pollen. One of the great joys in life is seeing a band at random and ending up loving the show, and though Flying Pace may be no more, we’ll always be grateful for this experience.

Video Week! pt. 4: Ephemera

Ephemera. We use that word a lot here on this site, generally under our daily poetry posts. There are several ways to phrase the meaning of the word, depending on which dictionary you ask, but a few general themes keep coming up. It’s a word used to describe things or writings that are temporary, fleeting, transitory. Things only intended to be used for a short time or not to have lasting value. It’s generally used to refer to paper collectible items, such as ticket stubs, programs, postcards etc. Collins dictionary categorizes it as an “uncountable noun”

Reading the dictionary entries, there are implications that these ephemera, collectively, can be used to give us insight into a time that no longer exists. Though something intended to be fairly limited in scope, a collection of concert flyers can tell us many things: the tastes of the times concerning entertainment, what font and design styles were in fashion, etc. And since all times are times that no longer exist, one can look at something like a band setlist, snatched from the stage by an eager fan, as something of a miracle, pulled from the ether, like Nancy pulling Freddy Kreuger’s hat from the dream. It’s proof, it’s evidence.

It should come as no surprise, then, that they can take on another life as collectables. If these discarded items as a whole can imply facts or relay certain atmospheric data to researchers, they can certainly transfer information to a deliberate eye motivated by nostalgia. Someone can hold a ticket stub in their hand as a method of focusing their powers of recall. They may keep it displayed because it reminds them of a certain person, or period of their life. We’re no strangers to this. We could make a post a day for the rest of our lives and not completely display all the ephemera we’ve collected over the years.

We feel like there’s also a warning here: items that were not intended to be reused or permanent nevertheless becoming valuable as memories or sources of knowledge might be something worth trying to look out for. Looking at old show flyers, it’s easy to think of all the other flyers out there, representing shows long forgotten.

We started thinking about, what video ephemera would look like. On one hand it could be a video of room full of dancers, either not knowing or not remembering they were on film, who were never supposed to be on film in the first place, but were captured by someone in a revel, trying to create a Freddy’s hat to bring back with her. Or it could be something filmed for no reason at all, something more accidental. Perhaps something one films that only becomes representative of a time or place after the fact. We found a lot of examples of these in our archives, and present some here for your viewing pleasure.

Video Week! pt. 3: The Trilogy, an introduction

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about a movie we didn’t make. This would have been 2012-2013. The idea was to do a novel, and album, and a movie all with the same three characters, but telling different stories for each medium. They would still be interdependent on each other as a trilogy. The whole concept is actually sketched out somewhere on paper and the plan is to revisit it at some point fairly soon – but that’s the not the point of this post. This post is about the movie: PRICK (tagline: it’s all in his bed)

We had a bunch of these sketched out: not 17 of them, but maybe eight or nine. These are the ones that survived. The movie basically revolves around three characters: Genevieve, Maxwell, and Deacon. Maxwell is the audience surrogate, a blackout drunk criminal who receives a strange gift. Genevieve sort of presents as a riptide to a stabilizing power, and Deacon is the manic, scheming, chattering in his ear, a sort of mix between Iago, Kramer, and Ratso from Midnight Cowboy.

Maxwell’s gift also comes with a judgement. In the movie, it’s bedbugs. So many great horror and existential mindfuck movies have some insectoid element. Them, The Fly, Creepshow, Naked Lunch, Arachnophobia, even slugs and leeches have had their moment. But there had never been an a movie that explored the existential mindfuck of bedbugs. As victims of an infestation in early 2012, we felt inspired. After it was over, we were eager to channel the dread and anxiety from the experience into our art. We’d been doing a lot of freewriting and that translated into a lot of rambling, philosophical monologues for Deacon.

Obviously the video quality is not great. Clearly our prepaid phone’s camera had problems in low light settings. We knew that there was obviously no way, with everything else going on, that we were going to be able to learn enough about video to do anything more than a back of the envelope sketch. But to us at least they come fairly close to the feel of what we were going for in those scenes.

We would still like to make the film someday, or at least finish the screenplay. Screenplays are hard, though. We have no idea where to even begin. The whole trilogy deserves to be finished in some form. We have maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the novel written, but it’s in poor shape due to only being worked on sporadically. The album is written, but not recorded (though demos of all of twenty songs and decent recordings of maybe twelve of them do exist). We’re grateful, at least, to have something to do.

Video Week! pt. 2: Animation

Many years ago, an iPad 2 was purchased. This would have been 2011-ish. At the time things were going pretty good and Apple was at the crest of its cultural rise. We ourselves were for our main computing needs using an outdated but still very useful Mac tower and were having good results filming open mic sets with our new iPod shuffle (with camera). It seemed a full transition to Apple products was perhaps inevitable; the iPad 2 was intended to make music recording mobile. Instead of dragging around the 4 track or relying on Zoom handhelds, we figured it might be useful to have a portable recording studio around. We thought it would be perfect to record practices, shows, or do pro sounding tracking in the rehearsal space. It wasn’t.

Call it a lesson on doing research in advance. The iPad 2 did not come with GarageBand preinstalled, and had to be purchased as a separate app. When we finally got it on the machine, it was clear, and obvious in hindsight, that it was not the full version, but one specifically tailored for the iPod 2’s capabilities. Downloading beats and instruments was a whole frustrating process that we never really finished. Connecting the audio inputs to the iPod 2 was near impossible. We bought and returned two $40 adapters before giving up entirely. We’d basically just wasted $400 on the machine. Things were better those days, but that was still a lot of money. Six years prior, this would have bankrupted us, but we managed to absorb the blow with just some wounded pride. We emerged stronger, wiser, and a lifetime hatred of Apple products. We have not bought one since.

One thing we could do with our very expensive paperweight, however, was basic animations. We did a handful over a couple months before moving on to other things, and here are some of the best. We set them to some of the early ambient music that was coming out of the studio at that point, as we halfheartedly tried to get good at animating. It was ultimately too time consuming for what we would have needed to do with it, and it fell off as so many things do.

This is fine, of course, we were grownups at that point and had come to understand that artistic projects come and go like waves, some come in and some go out, sometimes overlapping, sometimes not, but always cycling. There’s always more coming, and there are always some that will just be gone forever.

We used the iPad 2 periodically over the next few years until the summer of 2016, when it fell off a bedside table in the Washington DC suburbs and its screen cracked, rendering it unusable. We made a couple of uninspired attempts to sell it for $10 on craigslist before putting it in a drawer and forgetting about it. By the time we moved out of the Apartment it was gone – nobody was really sure quite when we got rid of it or how, but thanks to the sturdy construction and robust constitution of Apple devices, it is probably in some landfill somewhere, buried under sludge but likely still mostly intact.