Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SC/Georgia Photos

Some photos and stories from the last few weeks:

York, SC.  Some of these historic men include: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Thomas Sumter, General Daniel Morgan and SC Author/Historian William Gilmore Simms.  And now Ukulele Performer/Bicyclist Aaron Lee.

I always enjoy riding past a farm that advertises grass fed beef and free range eggs.  Food has been a big theme of this trip and it's nice to see the source of what is probably some really good grass fed beef.  Mmmm.

Our Community Farm Project, a Multicultural Sustainable Urban farm run by Refugees from Burundi through Refugee Family Services.  In late November the farm is still producing hot peppers and other produce, but getting ready for winter.  It was great to get to take a look at the farm and then ride over to an amazing show put on by RFS and the Southeast Ukers at Fellini's Pizza.

I love public transportation and bicycles and in Atlanta, I was able to use a combination of the bicycle and the metro to be everywhere I needed to be for the weekend.  Public transportation and bicycle infrastructure have a ways to go in Atlanta, but they both work.  My challenge to Atlantans is to use the bicycle as transport -- by getting out there on your bike, you are promoting bicycle awareness among drivers.  Eventually the infrastructure will come.

Tropicana Orange Juice makes it's way north from Florida.   A great example of food in transit.  This trip has taught me to pay more attention to where my food comes from and how it gets from the source to the consumer. 

Cafe Campesino in Americus, GA.  This fair trade coffee roaster and cafe hosted the final show of the tour along with the Fuller Center for Housing.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Other things South (and North) Carolina

I have had a great time at all of my most recent tour stops, great people, great shows, great community.  I mention Spartanburg and Greenville in posts below, but here are some other stories from the last week or so.

On Saturday, I had two shows scheduled, one from 10-12 AM and one at 2 pm.  Naturally they were approximately 21.7 miles apart, which is a doable ride in 2 hours, assuming everything goes right.  I wrapped things up a bit early at the KidSenses Childrens Museum in Rutherfordton, NC and started riding towards Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs.  I told myself I would not check the time, but just keep riding.  I rolled in at 1:20 pm, in plenty of time, and a ride of 1 hour and 30 minutes.  Not bad.  At Gardner-Webb, I played for Hopefest 2010, which was billed under the title "Bringing People Together for Something Good"-- A perfect fit for my tour.  I had a lot of fun playing and I really enjoyed some conversations with students.  I also had the opportunity to paint a ukulele on a block of wood, which I left behind.

Last night I played in a black-lit clothing store in a show sponsored by the Clemson Students for Environmental Action, who have recently changed their "A" from Awareness to Action.  Being aware isn't good enough any more, it's time to act.  I have been very impressed with the passion and the knowledge that these students have for environmental and sustainable issues.  There is a lot going on at Clemson, including, but not limited to, a new wind turbine testing facility and a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The Essence of the Ukulele

I was fortunate enough to share the stage with Snidely Sidewinder and the Unrepentant Uke Boys, a band who, as I mentioned to the packed house at the Coffee Bar, has captured the essence of the Ukulele.  The group started early this year, featuring members of varied musical experience, from absolute beginner to composition professor, but they all went through the process of learning the ukulele together.  The point of this group is not to be the most musically amazing thing you've ever seen, but to be an act, an experience, something bigger than the music.

The Snidely Sidewinder show has become immensely popular in Spartanburg, SC because it is fun and accessible to everybody.  Who doesn't get into a show where you are encouraged to wear a fake mustache?

Not only is Snidely Sidewinder Spartanburg's finest all-ukulele band, but they are the Hub City's most bike friendly band, as they bike commute to many of their gigs around town.  Check them out if you get the chance!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Building Partnerships

While playing in Spartanburg, SC, a show hosted by hub-bub.com and Partners for Active Living at the Coffee Bar, I noted to the audience that so much great work seemed to be going on in Spartanburg because different groups were working together.  After the show, one of the partners for active living and baritone ukulele player, Ned, echoed my thoughts, saying "that's why we've been so successful".  Looking back on my tour, this has certainly been a theme.  The organizations that have community support and are working with various other community factions, including business, government and other organizations, are the ones that have provided me with the most memorable experiences.

Today, on a tour of downtown Greenville, SC, Ed, of the Greenville Organic Foods Organization, pointed out the downtown recycling collectors, which are a collaboration between the art community, local businesses and the government.  Each collector features the work of a local artist and an advertisement of a local business.  The collectors are paid for by the advertisement, local businesses and artists get some exposure and recycling becomes easy and fun.  Win win win.  I am looking forward to playing in Greenville tonight.

Article in Americus Times Recorder

Thursday, November 4, 2010

North Carolina

North Carolina brought many a good time and a wide variety of experiences.  Weather that ranged from 80 degrees and sunny to tornado warnings, places to stay that ranged from camping on the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway to an 19th century mansion in Asheville.

Great shows and great friends in Elon and Greensboro.  Thanks everybody for coming out and singing and thanks to Elon Outdoors and the Green Bean for providing the venues.  I had a great time in Boone hanging out with the guys of the Boone Bicycle Initiative and, as the temperature dropped below freezing in the mountains, decided to ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville.  Still not sure if it was a good idea, with the vistas weighing in on the positive side, and the elevation gain weighing in on the slightly more challenging than I had signed up for side.


The Dance Music Mix and a day and a half of riding, got me up and over the mountains with elevations rising to 5300 feet on the shoulder of Mt. Mitchell.  Needless to say, I was exhausted for my Saturday afternoon show at Laurey's Catering, a benefit for Chefs Move to Schools.  After a Saturday night of playing the dance floor in a human discotheque for Halloween, I played a song for the Jubilee Community on Sunday morning, and enjoyed a much needed day off from riding.

On Monday, I rode to Hendersonville and joined the folks from the Bountiful Harvest Community Garden for a performance as a part of their year end celebration potluck.  It was a great honor to be among this community of gardeners, who support and help each other and enthusiastically promote gardening in Hendersonville.

Mac and Beanee Weenee.  A culinary delight.
After one last show at Bacintyme in Fort Mill, SC, I now have a week off (from riding at least).  I'll be back in the Carolinas next week for more shows in NC, SC and then on to Georgia.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

VA to GA shows from Leg 2

The following is a list of shows and organizations that happened between Oct 17 and Nov 3, 2010 in Virginia and North Carolina:

October 17, 2010 - Alexandria, VA

Four Mile Run Farmers Market
4109 Mt. Vernon Avenue - 9:00 am 

October 19, 2010 - Harrisonburg, VA

The Little Grill is a collectively owned restaurant that has ties to many community based projects in Harrisonburg.  This show will benefit the Petrol-Free Gypsy Carnival Tour, a Harrisonburg based bicycle music and art tour.
621 N Main St - 8:00 pm

October 20, 2010 - Charlottesville, VA

Random Row Books is a used bookstore.  The evening will feature a meal at 7 and will benefit the Charlottesville Quality Community Council
315 W Main Street - 7:00 pm

October 21, 2010 - Lynchburg, VA

Lynchburg Grows is an urban farm that takes a hands-in-the-dirt approach to teaching others how sustainable food production promotes a healthy planet.
Show at Rivermont Pizza, 2496 Rivermont Ave - 8:00 pm

October 23, 2010 - Roanoke, VA

Sharebike's core mission is to make sustainable, community-friendly transportation available to all in the Roanoke Area.
513 S Jefferson Street - 7:00 pm

October 25, 2010 - Elon, NC

Elon University Campus Coffee Shop.  Elon Outdoors is sponsoring this show and will be promoting future trips, events, and general sustainability.
10:00 pm

October 26, 2010 - Greensboro, NC

The Green Bean 
341 S. Elm Street - 8 pm

October 28, 2010 - Boone, NC

The Boone Bicycle Initiative is dedicated to increasing bicycle usage in and around Boone, NC by addressing safety and awareness while distributing bikes at little or no cost to members of the community.
Show At: Espresso News
267 Howard Street - 7pm

October 30, 2010 - Asheville, NC

Laurey's Catering afternoon show will benefit Chefs Move to Schools. 
67 Biltmore Ave - 2 pm

November 1, 2010 - Hendersonville, NC

Bountiful Harvest Community Garden
5:30 PM

November 3, 2010 - Fort Mill, SC

124 Confederate St. - 7:00 pm

Past South Carolina and Georgia Dates (November 11 - November 23, 2010):

November 11, 2010 - Spartanburg, SC

Presented by Partners for Active Living and the Hub Bub.  With Snidely Sidewinder and the Unrepentant Uke Boys, a Spartanburg Ukulele based band.
The Coffee Bar 188-A W Main Street - 7:00 pm 
November 13, 2010 - Rutherfordton, NC 
Kidsenses Childrens Interactive Museum - exhibits and special workshops stimulate the imagination and educate the mind.  A morning appearance.
172 North Main Street - 10-12 AM

November 13, 2010 - Boiling Springs, NC

Gardner-Webb University Hopefest 2010 Gardner Hall Patio.  2:00 pm
November 15, 2010 - Greenville, SC

Greenville Organic Foods Autumn Potluck and Concert.  This event will include the Greenworks Greenville Monthly Networking Event (6pm) followed by a potluck (6:45) and ukulele concert.
Crescent Studios 1040 W Washington Street - 6:45 pm

November 16, 2010 - Clemson, SC

Clemson University Students for Environmental Action - 8 pm

November 18, 2010 - Athens, GA

Bike Athens promotes transportation and land-use policies that improve alternative modes of transportation, including pedestrian, cycling, and public transit options. The mission of our organization is to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient, and safe option for all citizens of Athens-Clarke County.
Concert at The Globe 199 N. Lumpkin Street - 8:00 pm

November 19, 2010 - Atlanta, GA

Benefit for the medical clinic associated with the Open Door Community
Show at Javalords 1105 Euclid Avenue - 8:00 pm

November 20, 2010 - Atlanta, GA

Fellini's Pizza on LaVista - show to benefit Refugee Family Services which has an urban farm run by refugees from Burundi.  With special guest Chris DiGirolamo.
2820 LaVista Road NE - 8:00 pm

November 21, 2010 - Atlanta, GA

Picaflor Art Gallery with Lille and Little Horn.  Presented by RockScience Records
195 Arizona Ave - 8:00 pm

November 23, 2010 - Americus, GA

The Fuller Center for Housing builds and repairs homes for those in need, has a local covenant partner that builds homes in Americus.  Show at Cafe Campesino, a locally owned fair trade coffee shop.