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I shot this video of the Chalice Dancers doing a performance to the song “Peace Before Us” during Sunday service at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland on December 3, 2017.

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Over Labor Day Weekend I purchased this music book at a used book sale, which focuses on the songs from the late 1800s-early 1900s.

First Day of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

I’m still using the open source MuseScore application to see what these songs sound like. I recently completed another song and this one has an interesting history.

Most people think that the classic 1939 movie musical starring Judy Garland was the first adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Actually it wasn’t. There were silent film adaptations that were made in 1910 and 1925.

Before those silver screen adaptations there was a 1903 Broadway musical version that used songs that were later jettisoned and replaced with an entirely new score when the 1939 film was made. “Hurrah for Baffin’s Bay!” was one such song that was written for the 1903 musical. When I read in that book that it was written for the 1903 musical, I became curious as to what the song sounded like since I had never heard of it before. So I put it through MuseScore and I found it to be a fairly catchy tune. I managed to make the video where I added the original lyrics, which are pretty nonsensical. (Sample lyric: “It was midnight in the galley, it was one beside the dock, but by the starb’rd watch t’was only half-past nine o’clock.”)

So, without further ado, here is “Hurrah for Baffin’s Bay!” as rendered by MuseScore. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not you agree with the decision of the 1939 movie filmmakers to not include this song.

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I really did a lot of things on the weekend before Halloween. Friday I went to the Final Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville then I went over to catch the tail end of the nearby Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. While I was sitting in the New Deal Cafe recharging my camera battery, I had someone, whom I’ve done some work for on an upcoming documentary focusing on the musical acts who have appeared at the New Deal Cafe during the cafe’s 22 years in existence, contact me suddenly via Facebook Messenger saying that he needed me to shoot some more footage for his documentary. One of the acts, The Mojo Priests were performing that very night while the other act, The Wild Anacostias, were performing the following night.

I managed to film The Mojo Priests on a partially-charged camera battery. (That director was only lucky that I happened to be at the New Deal that night when he made that last-minute Facebook Message asking me to film that band. If I had been elsewhere like in DC or Baltimore or Montgomery County or Northern Virginia, there would’ve been no way I could’ve been done this on an extremely short notice.) As for the Wild Anacostias, I couldn’t stay for the entire concert mainly because I needed to be at church the following morning so I had to go to bed at a reasonable hour so I could wake up early the next day.

That afternoon I went to Annapolis to check out a few Halloween-related events. I managed to squeeze in the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk in the early evening mainly because the Wild Anacostias weren’t due to start performing until after 8:30 p.m.

After I finished the Greenbelt Pumpkin Walk, I headed straight to the New Deal Cafe where I shot some footage of the Wild Anacostias. Here is a Halloween costume fashion show, where the band encouraged audience members to take to the stage where they were showing off their Halloween costumes.

Here’s the band performing the song “I Got a Spell on You.”

The band performs the song “It’s Your Voodoo Working.”

Here’s the band performing “Fortune Teller.”

And, last but not least, here’s the band performing “Spooky.”

Like I wrote earlier, I couldn’t stay for the entire show due to church the next morning but I hope that he’s happy with what I shot. My friend is working on a documentary that’s supposed to feature all kinds of performances at the New Deal Cafe over the cafe’s 22 years in existence. He’s gathered older videos that I shot as well as what others have shot as well. For the past few months he wanted new footage of the latest acts and he’s also filming interviews with people who have either worked at the cafe or performed there. I know that there’s a certain wisdom in always having more footage than what you’ll really need so you won’t be short-handed when it comes to the final editing. But the challenge is to make sure that you don’t go overboard on this or else you can easily end up with a documentary running three hours or more that very few people will want to sit through because it’s too long.

In any case, after this post, I’m going to revert to my previous policy of not talking about ongoing work I do for others until after a project is done. If and when this documentary gets released, I will let you know in this blog.

On the Friday before Halloween I wanted to have fun. I found out that there were two events happening on the same night. One was the Final Friday Art Walk in Hyattsville and the other was the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival. I decided to go to the Hyattsville one first since that one was scheduled to end earlier. Costumes were encouraged for all ages so I put on my Rainbow Dash hoodie. When I arrived in Hyattsville I decided to check my smartphone to see if my camera was even working and—to my surprise—I found that it was working. I decided to use that opportunity to take a rare selfie.

A Rare Selfie

Sadly my smartphone camera stopped working after that selfie. At least I have my Canon camera with me to continue taking photographs with. The only bad thing was that I discovered that I didn’t have much battery power left. I managed to take a few pictures nonetheless.

The entire Art Walk trail was marked by orange balloons, such as the one in the next photograph.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I first went to the horn sculpture that is located outside the Hyattsville Court House.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Next I went to Art Works Now, which was all decked out for Halloween.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Art Works Now had this hands-on demonstration in a type of printing process using acrylic paint and glass plates.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Here is what I created.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I briefly visited this new place known as Uzu, which provides Japanese comfort food. (No, I didn’t eat there.)

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went to the Artist & Craftsman Supply store, which had a special art exhibit done by the store’s employees.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I visited Tanglewood Works, which held a meade tasting by a local supplier who plans to set up shop in Hyattsville soon.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

A marching band was playing music as it walked along the sidewalk.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went inside this haunted house that was created using upcycled and recycled materials.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I went inside this place that housed a recording studio and a tattoo parlor.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

The last place I went to on the Final Friday Art Walk was to the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. By that point my camera battery had died and the art walk was going to officially end soon. So I took these last two pictures before I got back in my car and headed for the other event.

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

Final Friday Art Walk, Hyattsville, Maryland, October 27, 2017

I headed to the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, where people were still carving pumpkins. I pulled out my camera in the hopes of being able to get one picture and, miraculously, I managed to take this picture of a pumpkin carving in progress.

Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival, October 27, 2017

But then my camera totally died. I tried my smartphone camera since it had worked earlier only to find that it wasn’t working either. I decided to duck inside the New Deal Cafe and make an effort to recharge my battery for a few minutes before I would go back outside and take more pictures of the lit pumpkins. I rested for a few minutes when I suddenly got this urgent Facebook Message from someone whom I’ve been doing some recent video work for.

On that note, I’m going to violate my own personal policy of never writing in this blog about ongoing projects I do for other people until after the project in question is done because I can’t really go any further in this narrative unless I write a little about this project. Here’s the thing. The New Deal Cafe is a non-profit cooperatively-run eating establishment that’s located in Greenbelt, Maryland. (You can read more about it here and here.) Ever since its inception it has hosted live music (mostly from local bands). The performers don’t get paid by the cafe (mainly because it’s totally run on a very shoestring budget) but the cafe provides tip jars and that is how the musicians make any money. From time to time I’ve shot videos there of various acts over the years, all of which I’ve uploaded on to YouTube and embedded in various posts throughout the seven years that this blog has existed.

A few months ago this filmmaker whom I’ve known for a few years came up with this idea of doing a documentary featuring the various music acts who have played at the cafe over the 22 years that the cafe has existed. He found out that I had been shooting some video and wanted to use what I’ve got. I gave him the video footage that I have on my laptop (and it’s also the same footage that I’ve uploaded on to YouTube) and he has been contacting other people who have also shot videos in an effort to obtain their footage as well. He also planned on interviewing various people to get their recollections of what it’s like to see these bands or work with them or even play in those bands.

Despite the video footage he received from myself and others and his plans to interview people, he still wanted new footage of recent band performances and he asked for my help in filming. Fortunately I had recently purchased a used Canon digital camera off eBay so I had a more reliable camera than my nearly four-year-old smartphone camera, which only sporadically works these days.

So I shot some recent footage of various bands over the past several weeks, which is why you’ve been seeing more embedded footage of what I’ve shot at the New Deal Cafe lately.

So I was sitting in the New Deal Cafe waiting for my camera battery to recharge so I could shoot still photos of the Greenbelt Pumpkin Festival when this filmmaker came over on Facebook Messenger. He decided at the last minute that he urgently needed new footage for two bands—one that was scheduled to perform that very night I happened to be at the New Deal Cafe while getting his message. The other would be scheduled to perform the following night. He couldn’t be there for either band but he desperately wanted some footage of both bands. I told him that I was recharging my camera battery and I could try to record that night’s band but I couldn’t guarantee anything. (I had never tried shooting anything on a half-charged battery before.) He got me to agree to shoot both that night’s band and the other band the following night, even though I can’t stay too late most Saturday nights these days. (That’s because I not only attend church on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. but I’m currently volunteering with the church’s program of teaching English to recent immigrants and those classes run from 1:15-3:15 p.m. On top of it, that Sunday was the Sunday before Halloween and I was among the adults who were involved with the Trunk or Treat event that was scheduled to run between the end of Sunday service and the beginning of English classes.)

By the time I got away from Facebook Messenger, I put the battery back into my camera and darted outside to see the lit pumpkins only to find that volunteers had already taken them away. Yeah, it sucked but I’ve shot photos and videos of previous Greenbelt Pumpkin Festivals so it’s not like I don’t know what such an event is like. I went back inside the New Deal Cafe and I managed to film one of the bands in question, The Mojo Priests. I didn’t film for too long because I only had a half-charged battery. But I managed to film some footage of the band in action.

It’s fitting that I’m finally writing this post since today is Election Day. Basically most of this year’s elections deal with local and municipal elections, which is why you won’t hear anything about them in the mainstream media.

A few weeks ago there was a major effort to encourage voter participation in the upcoming Greenbelt municipal election (which is among the local municipalities holding its elections today). It was held at Beltway Plaza Mall and it featured a really awesome performance by Kevin Robinson and KERQ. There weren’t a lot of people present (mainly because this rally was held on a Tuesday night, which is a relatively slow night at the mall) but the few people who were there were enthusiastic. You can even see some dancing in this video that I shot.

I was in Dupont Circle recently to check out the DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School (which I’ll get to in a later entry). I was still suffering the effects of this nasty cold I got but I managed to do some walking around the area both before and after Dr. Sketchy’s.

First I stopped off at Krispy Kreme, where I purchased this Halloween-themed donut.

I checked out Fantom Comics, where I noticed some new additions to its mural in the stairwell leading to the store’s second floor location.

I also saw some posters that are decrying the blatant Islamophobia and racism that has occurred over the last few months ever since Donald Trump was sworn-in as president. It’s nice seeing more and more stores in DC openly defying the Trump Administration’s racist-based policies.

I purchased a new graphic novel volume of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl then headed off to The Bier Baron, where Dr. Sketchy’s took place. Afterwards I was in the restroom when I saw something humorous posted on the stall and I attempted to pull out my camera to take a picture only to find that I had lost it. I totally freaked out because I had just purchased that camera on eBay recently and it would suck if I had lost it so soon. I had to do some serious backtracking starting with the table I sat at while Dr. Sketchy’s was going on. The camera wasn’t there. Then I went back to Fantom Comics only to find that I had left my camera there. I was totally relieved because it would’ve really sucked if I had lost it so soon after buying it. Granted I had purchased it used but I paid $80 for it and it would’ve really been bad to lose something this expensive.

As I was walking back to the Metro I noticed seeing homeless people all over the place. Granted homelessness has been a problem since Ronald Reagan got into office and all the mental hospitals closed along with fewer affordable housing being built but it seems like it’s getting worse in recent years.

I would like nothing more than to have a complete reversal of the government away from the policies of the last 40 years and towards a more progressive one that makes providing homes for everybody as well as other social programs (such as jobs retraining program for unemployed and underemployed adults) a top priority.

When I was waiting to switch trains at the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station I saw this woman sitting on the ground playing her guitar and singing loudly while other people around her were ignoring her and pretending that she wasn’t even there. It was such a surreal thing to see that I shot this short video for a minute until my own train arrived and I had to quit filming so I wouldn’t miss it.

Earlier this month I caught this horrendous cold that literally flattened me the first few days. (The cold lasted around three weeks and I’m only recently starting to feel human again.) I was tired so much of the time that I managed to miss out on this year’s Utopia Film Festival. I managed to go to the Oktoberfest celebration that was held in the basement of St. Hugh of Grenoble Catholic Church in Greenbelt, Maryland where I ate some good German food and took a few pictures of the festivities.

They had an accordion player who not only played polka music but he also had an extensive repertoire of Abba music. Seriously! I shot a video of him playing the songs “Waterloo,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Dancing Queen.”

I’m still going through this book that I purchased at a used book sale during the Labor Day holiday weekend.

First Day of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

I recently finished putting another song through the open source sheet music program MuseScore called “Kentucky Babe.” I have to admit that the resulting melody is quite catchy to listen to even if the lyrics were, for some reason, written in this stereotypical African American slave dialect. I made a video about the song where I put up the lyrics so you can see what I mean.

The only information I have about the song, based on what I read in the book, is that it was a popular glee club number of 1896, the words were written by Richard Henry Buck and the music was written by Adam Geibel.

During Labor Day holiday weekend, I spent the bulk of my time at the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival where I purchased this songbook for $2 from the used books tables.

First Day of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2017

Using MuseScore, I rendered the first song listed in that book, “Elsie From Chelsea.” As I was looking through that book, I saw that there were songs that I definitely recognized, such as “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Meet Me in St. Louis.” There was even one song printed in that book that I had already rendered in MuseScore, “Just A-Wearyin’ For You,” because I bought the sheet music for 25 cents at that vintage yard sale the previous summer.

So I decided that I would only use MuseScore for songs that seemed to be more obscure to me since most people know what “Give My Regards to Broadway” sounds like because there have been so many different recordings of that song. And anyone who has ever seen the Judy Garland film Meet Me in St. Louis would have heard the song of the same name.

I looked at the second song in that book, “Streets of Cairo (The Poor Little Country Maid)” and I didn’t recognize the title or the lyrics so I decided to copy the notes into MuseScore. When I heard the tune, I recognized it as a song my mother used to sing from time to time that went “All the girls in France wear tissue paper pants.” On top of it, I’ve heard the melody in numerous cartoons whenever there was a desert scene or a scene involving a belly dancer or a sexy exotic dancer. But the chorus to the “Streets of Cairo” song was unfamiliar to me because it suddenly changes to a slower tempo only to revert back to the familiar faster tempo when the next lyrics begin.

The Wikipedia has an interesting entry on that song and confirms that it has been known by other titles but “Streets of Cairo (The Poor Little Country Maid)” was the original title. Had I known that this song was something I actually recognized, I’m not sure I would have taken the time to render it in MuseScore. But I did and I even made a video where I threw up the original lyrics. Enjoy!

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