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Arkansas—All 50 States Day 4

Downtown Rogers, AR, May 1990

Day 4 of my All 50 States chronicle takes us to…

Arkansas!

I got to Arkansas early in life because my maternal grandmother lived there on and off and eventually retired in Rogers, AR in the northwest corner of the state. When I would road trip back and forth from Illinois to L.A. for college, visiting Grandma in Arkansas would be one of my social calls on the way, along with Mom in Texas, and friends at ASU in Tempe.

In my touring days I’ve done a bunch of shows in Arkansas, all colleges and universities, including University of Arkansas campuses in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and the main campus in Fayetteville. I’ve also performed at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas State up in Jonesboro, and possibly my favorite name of the bunch: Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia.

coffee mug
Arkansas swag! Mug from Ouachita Baptist University!

In fact, I liked the words Ouachita and Arkadelphia so much that the mug the student activities board gave me has survived multiple moves and outlived most of the school swag I received over the years.

ArkansasMap

Tech Rehearsal LIVE tonight!

Since everything in NYC is shut down right now I’ll be streaming my monthly show The Odd Rock Comedy Hour live on my twitch channel Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 pm Eastern US/4:30 Pacific US (2330 GMT)

Tonight we’ll be doing a little tech rehearsal to get our studio up and running, and I’ll play some songs, show a video clip, hopefully have a live guest via skype! I’m also going to discuss my streaming setup if anyone’s interested in the tech side or has questions about how to do it yourself! Tune in to twitch at 7:30 pm Eastern/4:30 Pacific (2330 GMT)!

 

Watch live video from RobPRocks on www.twitch.tv

Live Stream March 17 8:15 pm! Eastern US

Hey everyone!

Since all of my shows are on hold and most of us are stuck at home I decided to try to put on a live stream show! Tonight, March 17, at 8:15 pm eastern US time (5:15 West Coast US, 00:15 GMT) I’m gonna log on to my brand new twitch channel and play a bunch of Monkees covers!

It’s an experiment! If it works I’ll try to do more of this kind of thing. Join me! We’ll have some fun and play some tunes!

 

Watch live video from RobPRocks on www.twitch.tv

Billesse: Perfume for Dogs [52 Sellout Week 38]

I confess, I didn’t know perfume for dogs was a real thing until I made this ad, so if any retailer needs a ready-made, abstract, arty commercial this week’s 52 Sellout is for you!

It’s been a busy week here at RobPRocks HQ and I wanted to keep my weekly streak of 52 Sellout posts alive so I needed something I could shoot locally and a music track with a stripped-down arrangement. I had a piece of music I’d been playing with after finding the melody in an old voice memo on my phone (my voice memo app is an unending scroll of snippets of music and lyrics). It reminded me of a nocturne and I figured if I matched the music with some night photography it could look like one of those art film-looking fragrance ads.

A few weeks ago I recorded some good night footage from in front of the Brooklyn Public Library when I was testing a camera stabilizer so I thought about using that, but there were no people in it, which wouldn’t really work for the kind of perfume ad I had in mind. Then I remembered I had some really fun footage of a dog playing in the fountain at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. It was a First Saturday, which is a monthly free event at the museum, and I went over to practice some night shooting. I heard some kids squealing with delight over by the fountain and when I looked in their direction I saw the happiest dog in the world playing in the dancing water.

I love dogs, especially happy dogs that are trying to bite moving water, so I got as much footage of the guy as I could. I wasn’t planning on using it for anything, I just wanted the save the moment. I thought it would be nice to look at on stressful days. But how to use images of a dog in a fountain for an arty perfume ad? Boom: dog perfume.

It seemed so ridiculous I ran with it, not knowing that it’s an absolute real thing (though “dog deodorant” is probably more accurate).

June 3rd

I don’t keep track of a lot of dates, but June 3rd sticks in my mind because in 1996 it was the day I moved to NYC, which means today marks 20 years since I took a flight from Chicago and a bus from LaGuardia to get to a 3-month sublet in Hell’s Kitchen. And though I didn’t do anything intentional to celebrate the occasion I spent the day finishing up a packet of songs and sketches for a potential gig, recording my own music in my studio, and discovering that my YouTube channel (which I obviously didn’t have in 1996) just hit 20 million views. Not bad.

In these 20 years I met a lot of wonderful people through the performing world and had a lot of great experiences, not the least of which are:

  • Opening a dozen shows for George Carlin
  • Opening for Lily Tomlin at the MGM in Las Vegas
  • Doing a 2 week tour in Afghanistan performing for members of the armed services at military bases
  • Completing my goal of spending at least one day in every state
  • Appearing on Comedy Central
  • Making the Dr. Demento Funny Five and Funny 25
  • Putting out 4 albums of music
  • Having a performance piece about my distaste for a certain Baroque piece of music go viral and lead to so many fun and interesting encounters and opportunities
  • Being in a concert film

Shoot, I could go on and on. And though I’m not a household name, nor rich, I feel I’ve gotten better and better at mixing comedy, music, and performance in a way that’s true to who I am and what I believe. Last year I wrote a musical which I hope you all will see and hear someday and I still thoroughly enjoy making people laugh with jokes, music and lyrics.

Thank you to everyone who’s been part of this experience, my good friends in and out of comedy, my family—both immediate and extended—and everyone who’s come to shows, watched online, and enjoyed what I do.

Yours in rock,
RobP

MarsCon ReCap

This weekend I performed for a crowd of Klingons, hobbits, wizards, and several incarnations of Dr. Who; and at the hotel were a full-size remote control K-9 and Dalek, panels on anime, and room parties with Wizard of Oz, 1970s, and The Big Lebowski themes. Hopefully by now you’ve guessed that I was at a sci fi convention. More specifically I was at MarsCon in the Twin Cities, a great fan-run sci fi con with an entire comedy music track curated by Luke Ski and others.

There were fun performances all weekend long with Dr. Demento regulars like Devo Spice, Sponge Awareness Foundation, The Great Luke Ski, TVs Kyle, Carrie DahlbyPower Salad and many more. I had a great time performing because the crowd at MarsCon really knows and loves comedy music and they enthusiastically support it like no other group.

The themed room parties are a blast too. As you make your way down the hall you can have a shot with a Klingons in their spartan room, a white Russian in The Dude’s Abode  while The Big Lebowski plays on a loop, and then a hot chocolate with the Manticon folks dressed as marines from a series of novels by a sci fi writer named David Weber. Up and down the halls are elves, Star Trek officers, anime characters and more.

The creativity of everyone there is one of the things I loved most, fellow performers have podcasts, animated web shows, and music projects; several of the attendees have elabroate costumes that they made themselves, and you even see parents and kids participating in events together.

 

Nyes_Selfie

I even had time for a quick extra-conventional sojourn, taking the Twin Cities’ relatively new Metro light rail to downtown Minneapolis to Nye’s Polonaise, a polka bar that’s been open since the 1950s and sadly will be closing its doors this year. I had a quick bite, listened to a set from The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band, and then made my way—amongst the throngs coming out of a Timberwolves game—back to the hotel in Bloomington to revel with wood nymphs, steam punks, and various ogres, demons, and off-world types.

I can’t thank the MarsCon folks enough for treating me so well and inviting me to such a fun convention. As the Musical Guest of Honor I was truly honored to be there and very grateful to have been a part of it. If this kind of thing sounds fun to you get in touch with the MarsCon folks and get yourself there in 2016.

© Paravonian