12 hours of fun:McUkeFest

Sunday, December 9th at McCabes 10:30am-10:30p

Starting with a 10:30 am concert (tickets HERE) for the littlest fans of ukulele and their family, with a UKULELE PETTING ZOO- so everyone gets a chance to play!First we start with a 10:30 am concert (tickets HERE) for the littlest fans of ukulele and their family, including a UKULELE PETTING ZOO- so everyone gets a chance to play!

There are small workshops upstairs with amazing teachers- Daniel Ward, Abe Lagrimas Jr, Del Rey and Jason Arimoto- the same virtuosos who will be preforming in the evening concert!  Buy tickets HERE– they are likely to sell out!  Also, FREE events open to all, including a play-along and a beginner’s class.

The concert that night will feature a performance by HUG, the Heroes Ukulele Group (check out this story about them in Ukulele Magazine) Also on stage, the illusive KING KUKULELE plus the song stylings of Miss Pickles and the Pants. 

BUT WAIT, there’s MORE! BRING YOUR INSTRUMENT to the concert, as the stars on stage want to lead you in some strum and sing along numbers! And during the intermission we will be drawing the winning raffle tickets for some amazing items, including concert tickets, ukulele gift packages and a beautiful new OHANA spruce and willow concert ukulele- just like the one I will be playing all day!

In all, TWELVE HOURS of ukulele good times! Don’t miss a minute of it!

see you there!

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McUkeFest 2018

Something for everyone, every level of player and all ages!

Join the SukeyJump Band in the morning for a kid’s show and ukulele petting zoo, stay for a free beginner class with me, and a free play-along, go upstairs to take advantage of one of the INCREDIBLE workshops taught by some of ukulele’s brightest stars and best teachers.  Go grab a bite in one of Santa Monica’s fab eateries, then come back for a ALL-STAR UKULELE CONCERT!  Special guests, the HUG ukulele group, recently featured in Ukulele Magazine,  will be joining us from the Sepulveda Veteran’s Campus.

There will be raffles of fantastic instruments from Koaloha and Ohana, prize packages from McCabes and MORE!!!!

What a day!

December 9th   10:30-10:30 at McCabes Guitar Shop 3101 W. Pico Blvd Santa Monica CA

The Los Angeles Ukulele Festival (of Torrance)

First but hopefully not the last-

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Daniel and I will be there teaching kids classes, and Daniel will be doing some flamencasizing as well.  Really excited to be doing what we love in our own back yard.  Check out the schedule HERE.

Hope our SoCal friends can make it! See you there!

Reasons to take up SMOKING

Reason #1: Wardrobe.  You get a swell looking jacket and cravat, plus a jaunty hat!

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THE SMOKING JACKETS are (from left) Daniel Ward, Heidi Swedberg, Craig McClelland and John Bartlit. Craig is gigging in WI this summer, and will join us in November

The Smoking Jackets are hitting the road in trio formation- John Bartlit, Daniel Ward and I will presenting the first Rocky Mountain Ukulele Festival in Durango, Colorado.  We have a great day of workshops planned, starting Friday July 10th with our “song of the year”, Silly Love Songs.  The next day will be filled with classes: 3 sessions of 3 classes, offering a beginning, intermediate and advanced class each session. (I wish I could take John’s ukulele percussion class!)

Reason #2: Smoking is good for you.  When you are doing it on an instrument, that is.

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At the end of summer John will be coming out our way and we three will head up to the Wine Country Ukulele Festival together for four days of ukulele fun, September 10-13. We will be teaching, performing and doing all things ukulele, including a public show at Velo Vino on Sunday afternoon, September 13. The festival in Wine Country is everyone’s favorite because, well…wine.  Ukulele.  ‘Nuff said!

We are working out details for a show or two in Los Angeles before John flies back to New Mexico, and will update the schedule with that soon.

Reason #3: It makes you seem sophisticated.  That’s our motto- “Sophisticated, Educated, Medicated”.

All the beautiful photos in this post are by Allison Shallert, Allisonphoto.com

All the beautiful photos in this post are by Allison Shallert, Allisonphoto.com

In November all four of us will come together in beautiful Santa Fe, New Mexico for the New Uke-Culinary Fiesta. Highlights of this event include two public shows, one for the Smoking Jackets and a full-on flamenco show.  There will be great workshops in a beautiful setting, plus we will be teaching cooking classes focusing on combining New Mexican and classic European dishes.  Old world meets new- or as we like to call it, Nuevo Mundo.  And there will be big-time BBQ- our other favorite way to SMOKE!

(For the record, none of us are smokers, nor do we endorse the use of tobacco.  We’re just in it for the costumes.)

Loading the Mag

Way back in the day- wearing the tape roll belt in Thailand

Way back in the day- 1990? wearing the tape roll belt in Thailand

When I was a second-camera assistant I occasionally loaded mags- that is put the film in to the mickey mouse ears.  Ironically, film no longer exists on most film sets. Co-incidentally, neither do I. It is debatable if movies are the better for the shift from film, but as to my own personal happiness, I can tell you I am the better for shifting away from it.

But I have not left the magazine behind entirely- I now find myself loading up its uke homonym: Ukulele Magazine. Last year I was surprised to see my mug on the front cover, and this issue lands me in the contents again.  I really like how the magazine has grown, getting better with each issue- more pictures, sophisticated writing, clean editing and great lessons.  Just in time for the growing community it serves.

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I enjoyed a long conversation with writer and musician October Crifasi about kids and ukes, and lots of our chat is in her article, as well as a bunch of photos from a workshop I taught in Phoenix a few years back. The attendees were the beautiful people from Global Family Philanthropy, the folks Daniel and I went to Haiti with. Photogenic Junau who is from Haiti and now studying in the US takes up some prime real estate!

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Last week a crew from Ukulele Magazine came up to the West Coast Ukulele Retreat, one of the most fun and picturesque of uke events. Shutters were clicking and they even videotaped our dining hall flash mob.  Looking forward to seeing what lands in the next issue!

Shenanagans at West Coast Uke- we really need to loosen up!

Shenanagans at West Coast Uke- we really need to loosen up!

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El Kabonged!

This weekend I am heading east for Ashokan Ukulele Festival.  Join us if you can!  There are still spaces in the workshops, or you can attend just the concert Saturday night, with performances by all the instructors, including Paul Hemmings, Gerald Ross and Joel Ekhaus, Marcy Marxer… playing with the big kids! Click here for discounted advance tickets.

Looking further ahead on the schedule there are family classes scheduled in June at U-Space, free shows at libraries and parks in Los Angeles and the Rocky Mountain Ukulele Festival in July.

And a recording session for the coloring book and another new project in the works!  No rest for the wicked!

Green Chili: The Final Frontier

Frontieer green on an In-N-Out double-double.  That's livin'!

Frontieer green on an In-N-Out double-double. That’s livin’!

You know your friends love you when they bring you the XL tub of roasted frozen green chili from the Frontieer!  John flew in for the show at McCabes Sunday morning with 56 oz. of love packed in his suitcase. And a special treat for my girls- Cow Patties!

The final Frontier Rolls, aka "Cow Patties"!

The final Frontier Rolls, aka “Cow Patties”!

Our hero, Richard Fultineer had drums to loan John for the show!  Thank you Richard!!!  He needed to drop them off at 9 am, which is  before McCabes opens and right when John’s plane was arriving.  I dropped Daniel off with coffee, a cajon to sit on and his coronet, so he could practice his licks while awaiting hand-off .  Revilee for the neighborhood.

Alley Cat

Alley Cat

We had a great show, and are happy to report that the Kickstarter campaign is now in full swing!  You can pre-order the CD or book us for a kid’s party with your pledge… even download a single song!  Check it out HERE!  I am touched by the first donors who have jumped in.  So many folks from the Kindie world are showing support, and it means the world to me.  Every  pledge brings me a smile of gratitude and gets us that much closer to getting this baby pressed.

We had some crazy rehearsals for the tour (FYI- the canjo will be in heavy rotation this spring) and ate through the whole tub of chili in under 4 days.  We visited preschools, saw the ocean, walked the Venice canals, visited LACMA, drank beer and cooked amazing meals.  Now I can’t wait till the tour starts in 2 weeks!

But first I will be taking a detour up to Northern Cal for the West Coast Ukulele retreat, teaching and playing for a week at Asilomar State Beach.  Lots of work, but also kind of a vacation.

I’ll tell you all about it, stay tuned.