24 July 2013

DeepSouthCon 50 Report: Day 2

[See Day 1, if you missed it.]

Day 2: Saturday, June 16, 2012

Curse me for not taking the time to write this entry a year ago when it was still fresh in my mind. I don't recall precisely what I did Saturday morning, but it was probably spending time with family, as the first music track concert wasn't until 1:00 p.m.


The DeepSouthCon 50 filk room
The artists performed in a suite on the hotel's second floor. The room was L-shaped around a bedroom. The "stage" was in the bend of the L facing three or four rows of chairs down one end of the L. The other end of the L was separated by a bar where the artists sold their CDs. It was also where most of the artists watched their fellow artists perform, leaving the seats mostly for us regular con-goers and Dr. Demento.

Danny Birt
First up was Danny Birt. Danny was the one artist I wasn't familiar with because at the time he wasn't a member of the FuMP, although he'd posted one song to the Sideshow some time before. Danny does everything live with no pre-recorded music. He also invites audience participation, such as in "The XKCD Song", included in the playlist below.

After Danny's concert, he and Steve Goodie hosted a filk song writing workshop at 2:00 p.m. in the Madison Room. It was quite an interesting pairing, in an Odd Couple kind of way. It was, unfortunately, not very well attended, with six to ten people in the audience. The idea was to have a song written by the group by the end, but that's not how it turned out. We started out with an idea from a father with his son, who was wearing a bug-eyed alien mask, of turning the Crystal Gayle hit "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" into "Don't It Make My Bug Eyes Blue" (or something along those lines).

Danny spoke of the virtues of starting with many ideas and seeing what you end up with, so he wrote that down. Then someone suggested "Don't It Make My Bug Eyes Glow" and the session devolved from there. Steve happily fed odd ideas to Danny, who promptly wrote each one down. Every so often Danny would stop to recap all the ideas up until then. Steve had his guitar with him, so he plunked along as Danny read. What you see in the playlist below was the final reading of the ideas, which was the closest thing to a song we ended up with.

The great Luke Ski
Next up was the great Luke Ski in concert at 3:00 p.m. back at the filk room. He did a nice set of songs, all different from the ones he did at the music sampler the night before, if I remember correctly. I happened to be sitting on the front row, so for me the highlight of the concert was when he sang "Dementia Revolution." The original song features many dementia artists saying/singing "I've joined the Dementia Revolution," so in concert Luke has the audience do those parts. At the first such break, Luke called out my name and held the mike up so I could shout it out!

Dr. Demento

Following that it was back to the Madison Room for Dr. Demento's SF Song Revue at 4:00 p.m., a presentation on science fiction in comedy music. He essentially gave an overview of science fiction-based songs, including a rare, pre-album version of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Yoda". The room was packed with both regular con goers and pretty much all the dementia artists, many of whom were delighted to see the good doctor wearing a FuMP t-shirt.

Steve Goodie

At the conclusion of Dr. Demento's presentation, it was back to the filk room at 5:00 p.m. for Steve Goodie's concert. It was going well until he broke a guitar string. He attempted to switch to the mandolin, but somehow it didn't seem to work quite as well, so I believe he borrowed a guitar from someone else for the rest of his set. Steve is, in fact, a talented musician, and as you can see above, for one song he was playing both guitar and harmonica.

Devo Spice (and Shoebox)

After Steve, there was a break for dinner, then it was back to the filk room at 7:00 p.m. for Devo Spice. Devo had committed to the con before realizing it was the same weekend as a big birthday celebration for his grandmother, so he flew in just for Saturday. As in, he arrived Saturday morning, hung around the con until it ended for the day, then went riding around Huntsville in a limo with the other artists until his plane left Sunday morning. (More on that last bit at the end.) I was glad to finally meet Devo, as just a few months before I'd accepted a job from him as editor of the FuMP newsletter.

Anyway, the highlight of Devo's show was the premiere of a brand new song called "All in My Tights," which was scheduled to the debut on the FuMP a couple days later. You can watch it in the video playlist below. A personal highlight for me was to finally get to see Devo and Shoebox perform "Pac-Man" live. (If you look, you'll see classic video games is one of the main labels of this blog.) And to see the video that goes along with it because I'd been able to see bits and pieces of it in various YouTube videos of past con performances, but not the whole thing. You can see that in the playlist below, too.

After Devo's concert, we had some time to kill before Dr. Demento's presentation in the main hall, so I took the opportunity to get photos with as many of the artists as I could.  Here's a collage of those:

Then all proceeded down to the main hall for "Dr. Demento's Greatest Hits."  The hall was fairly packed as it was obvious many con attendees who'd been doing other things during the concerts wanted to see the good doctor, who was dressed again in his signature tux and top hat. I think I ended up sitting next to Steve Goodie for that one. Many familiar comedy songs were played. When it was over, since he was wearing the tux and hat, I took the opportunity to finally get my photo taken with Dr. Demento.

Logan Awards

Sadly, the main hall emptied after Dr. Demento's program, leaving once again mostly the hard-core Dementoids to watch the presentation of the second annual Logan Whitehurst Memorial Awards for Excellence in Comedy Music. The Logan Awards consist of three categories: best original song, best parody, and best video. Nominees are accepted from the public and a panel of judges, which mostly changes each year, narrows it down to a few finalists in each category who are announced beforehand, one of which will be announced as the winner during the awards presentation.

 Danny Birt, who was chairman of the awards for the year, did the introduction and Dr. Demento emceed. Those acts that were available played their songs live. Those that weren't had recordings or videos of their songs played. The live performances were:
  1. "Hulkulele" by Nuclear Bubble Wrap
  2. "I Am the Doctor" by Devo Spice
  3. "Charlie Sheen" by Power Salad
  4. "Snoopy the Dogg" by the great Luke Ski
  5. "Robot Cat" by Devo Spice and the great Luke Ski as a wrap-up tribute to Logan Whitehurst
The winners were "It's Not Just for Gays Any More" by Neil Patrick Harris (not present) for best original song, "The Muppet Show Theme Song" by OK Go (not present) for best video, and "Snoopy the Dogg" by the great Luke Ski for best parody. I was sitting two seats from Luke (with Chris Mezzolesta between us) and Luke's reaction was one of utter shock. Chris gave Luke a friendly hug before Luke went up.

I recorded the entire ceremony, but accidentally stopped recording at one point without realizing it. Therefore I recommend that if you want to see it, you watch it on Power Salad's UStream channel. JayeKitty used Chris Mezzolesta's phone to record it and she was sitting right beside me, making my recording rather redundant, even if I hadn't messed it up at one point. Except for the frame grab above of Luke. She didn't take her camera off the stage after he was announced as the winner, so I'm the only one who captured it.

I am so glad I got to attend a Logan Awards ceremony. This might be the only time it's held anywhere near me, much less the city I'm living in, so it might have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. And it was the second one ever! (Yeah, the first would have been better, but beggars can't be choosers.)

More concerts

Shoebox of Worm Quartet

Next we all stayed right where we were for the Worm Quartet concert. Shoebox is a very animated performer, to say the least. He performed his chutney song "The Laundromat of Sin," which features a chorus of screaming. In order to save his voice, Shoebox employed Alchav (of Soggy Potato Chips) as a "surrogate throat" during the song. He screamed quite well. I have a note written down about Shoebox letting me scream into the microphone, but sadly I don't remember what that's about or whether it had to do with that particular song or not.


Later came "What Your Parents Think All Your Music Sounds Like," which features an audience participation chorus of "Sex! Drugs! Satan! Drugs!" The audience is divided into three groups, each getting one of the words. Shoebox called me out by name as the dividing point between sex (my group) and drugs. As soon as they realized what he was going to sing, Luke Ski and Rob Balder moved to the opposite side of the hall so they could be in the Satan group.  Luke's wife, Sara, and Rob's significant other complained afterwards about them leaving sex for Satan.

Nuclear Bubble Wrap

The final concert of the evening was Nuclear Bubble Wrap. Although they're based in Tennessee, only two members were able to make it, Jace McClain and Eric Zhu. They put on a good show anyway and premiered the video for their song "Sharktopus." It was fun video and cool to be the first public audience to get to see it. The Logan Awards had run over, so their concert ended after midnight. I got to talk to Jace briefly afterwards.

"Party Rob" Balder had looked into doing a concert bus for the con as he has done in the past for MarsCon, which features a strong dementia music track every year. Unfortunately, he couldn't find a suitable bus company in Huntsville, so he rented a limo instead. Most of the dementia acts, Dr. Demento, and a few of the fans got to spend the night riding around town in it. I would have loved to join them if I'd been asked, but sadly Sunday was Father's Day -- who schedules a con on Father's Day weekend? -- so I needed to go home and get some sleep so I could spend some time with my kids before returning to the con in the afternoon.

[On to Day 3.]

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