Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's official! JR welcomes me into the Journey Revisited family with "Open Arms"

Today Journey Revisited front man Jeff Salado told JR fans on Facebook about my official role with the band...he's too kind.
I'm jazzed to announce that we're officially welcoming Pam Spaulding into the Journey Revisited family to support the band's outreach and operations as JR's fan base continues its incredible growth.

She's been working with us for the last few months as a "web angel" - building the web site, writing and promoting content (band interviews, fan profiles) and assisting with social media, including updates to our official JR Facebook page to interact with you. That's why you've seen her name in many of the posts lately.

Val, Dave, Mike, Kevin and I are excited about Pam officially coming on board to represent JR and "Faithfully" support her enthusiastic work with us 1000% - and we hope you do too with "Open Arms" (wink, wink). 
Journey Revisited fans and friends who are coming to our gig on November 8 at Black Oak Casino will have a chance to meet her as she works the event! 
Go Team JR!
- Jeff

My response:

I'm overjoyed to be part of the effort to help the band grow and for people to see and hear how beautifully they represent the classic Journey sound. Thank you, Jeff and the guys, for having faith in me. --Pam

Friday, September 12, 2014

Out of the closet - here comes the web angel for Journey Revisited

Anyone who's followed me over the years knows that I'm a dedicated (encyclopedic) Journey fan. Even Melissa Harris-Perry made note of it on her show when I decided to shut down my political blog.

So it's not surprising to share that a new passion of mine is fun work I'm doing for Journey Revisited, a fantastic tribute band that I've previously blogged about. They are awesome.

What started out as a complimentary comment on Facebook about the band's incredible rendition of "When You're Alone (It Ain't Easy)" back in June, has turned into a love-fest because of the way JR brings back the classic Journey sound to audiences. And Journey Revisited does it without pre-recorded backing vocals; it's all live, all the time, in the organic, stripped-down way those beloved tunes were performed in concert back in the day.

Jeff Salado
The original web site, which didn't do the band justice to showcase their talent, I offered to reboot and turn it into a site with a blog. Working with lead singer Jeff Salado on the project has been a dream (he's full of creative ideas) -- so the web site work on design and functionality, turned into writing JR's blog, and doing audio and video editing. Then I took on other internet presence work re: social media -- Facebook and Twitter.

That stuff above sounds like a lot of work -- it is, but it's an exciting life change to have your work produce results and for it to be appreciated. Given I have a "real" job and my rheumatoid arthritis deals me a lot of fatigue, I had to figure out when I could slip some time into this project. It has been challenging, mostly because of the time difference -- the band is West Coast-based (Modesto, CA), so it's a three-hour difference.

How I do it

It took some time to figure out that it was OK to go to bed early (since I'm toast after work) around 6:30 or 7 at the latest, and sleep till around 11 or midnight. Stereotypically, rock singers aren't morning people -- and that fits Jeff to a T, so I get back up and do a couple of hours of work, then hit the sack again after taking my 3:30 AM meds. It's a weird cycle, but it's worked out. I can only do that a couple of days a week because my body just can't handle it, so progress has to come in fits and starts, but a surprising amount of work has been accomplished in a short time.

So my Jane-of-all-trades noodling around for the band needed an unofficial title for my gratis work, so I am now deemed the JR Social Media/Web Angel. I think it's kinda funny, but it fits, I suppose. In the real world, this would be called Internet Presence Manager or some such. But whatever I am, it's a great deal of fun and very fulfilling.

It's a completely different world - nothing like political blogging. This is no Pam's House Blend of dealing with politicos, fundamentalist nuts, or speaking engagements, and it's a relief, actually. The world of entertainment/performance representation, along with fans, and gigs is so foreign to me, but it's interesting to see that my skills used above can easily be applied in this environment. The rest of the business side of matters is fascinating as well.

Bright ideas

One of the ideas I came up with, Journey geek that I am, was to interview each of the band members and ask them about how they were introduced to Journey music, how they developed their passion into a tribute bands. You have fans that just go to enjoy a concert to reminisce about the songs in the timeline of their lives, and there are the other, more devoted (or obsessive, depending on your POV) fans, who want to know what makes an artist tick.

Those interviews have been extremely fun to do, and they give fans insight into the process of emulating artists whose talent they admire. You can read how Jeff Salado preps for a show, his process of bringing Steve Perry authenticity to his performance. I've also interviewed Dave Hawkes, Journey Revisited's drummer, in similar fashion. He's actually met Journey's former drummer, the incredible Steve Smith and shared a wealth of information and perspective while being incredibly entertaining. I've enjoyed this process so much; it's nice to deal with such down-to-earth people in such a different milieu.
Journey Revisited: L-R - Michael Gonzales, bass, vocals; Kevin Jachetta, keys, keytar, vocals; 
Jeff Salado, lead singer; Val Popovic, guitar and vocals, Dave Hawkes, drums and percussion. 
Photo by Jessica Ruggiero.
After all, lots of folks like me are passionate about their favorite artists, but would never imagine getting up to perform as that artist before people. It takes a special kind of person to have that confidence in their drive and talent to be in a top-notch, dedicated-to-quality tribute band.

It all makes me want to run and join the circus! These guys are great. They have a growing fan base, and bring down the house at every gig. It's gratifying to see their enthusiasm, it's infectious! :)

I just have to work on getting them to take the East Coast by storm...

Journey Revisited is the real deal. Watch:

Also read:
* Tribute band Journey Revisited on the road, paying homage to the classic sound
* There's nothing like an ace tribute band - check out Journey Revisited

* Web:
* Twitter: @JRNYrevisited
* Facebook: Journey Revisited
Facebook fan page: JR Nation 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fourth Circuit Rejects Ban on Marriage Equality!

Marriage equality may come sooner that we think to NC, something I didn't expect to see in my lifetime when I was blogging and working the fight to stop Amendment One here. From Equality NC:
In a landmark ruling that will reverberate throughout the South and the entire country, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling and struck down Virginia’s ban on the freedom to marry.

Expanding a lengthy streak of legal victories for marriage equality, the federal appeals in Richmond ruled today that states may not deny same-sex couples their fundamental right to marry, overturning Virginia’s 2006 marriage ban. On the heels of a similar 10th Circuit holding on June 25, today’s ruling

The ruling could bring marriage equality closer, not just in Virginia, but in the other 4th Circuit states still seeking marriage across the South, including North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia.

“It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. Just two years ago, in the darkest hours of our state’s LGBT movement, anti-gay forces in North Carolina pushed through a draconian constitutional amendment banning all relationship recognitions for same-sex couples,” said Sgro. “But thanks to the work of so many legal teams and plaintiffs, communities and organizations, supporters, families, and followers, we’re seeing today what a difference a few years of hard work, leadership, and commitment to equality in the South can make. With today’s ruling, we are closer to the freedom to marry than ever before, with support for marriage equality at an all-time high right here in North Carolina, across the South, and across the country.”
And better yet, the current NC Attorney General, Roy Cooper, has said he will no longer defend the amendment.
"After reviewing the 4th Circuit decision and consulting with attorneys here, I have concluded that the State of North Carolina will not oppose the cases moving forward," said Cooper. "In addition, the State of North Carolina will acknowledge the 4th Circuit opinion that marriage is a fundamental right and that our office believes that the judges are bound by this 4th Circuit decision."
He says any ruling on North Carolina's ban would likely be stayed until the U.S. Supreme Court turns down the appeal or makes a ruling.

 My reaction on Facebook:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another look at the 1994 Steve Perry FTLOSM Beacon Theatre Concert

Screencap from the 1994 concert
Before Steve Perry made his set of recent appearances with the Eels to show he's still got a lot of vocal talent left to share in live performance (here, here, here), the last look look at his live chops was during the 1994 For The Love of Strange Medicine (FTLOSM) tour. I decided to take another look at it. [He would later rejoin Journey for Trial By Fire (1996), but did not tour behind the studio album (you die hard fans probably already know that whole story).]

FTLOSM just came out at the wrong time; grunge was in. Listening to it today it has aged well; special props to the then baby-faced guitarist Lincoln Brewster, he's fantastic here; he's currently a popular contemporary Christian music artist.

The songs are all downtuned significantly here for SP in 1994. Even with a reduced vocal range because of time (and all that wear on his instrument from overtouring), what remains is his styling, soul, astounding sense of melody and lyrical interpretative skills.

This full concert vid at the Beacon Theatre in NYC was obviously shot bootleg. SP/Journey fans have to thank the boot videographer, TheNYBG1 for capturing this; it was shot before small camcorders, point and shoot cameras or cell phone vid. He said this in the YouTube comments:
"I'm the filmer of this video. Obviously back then, there were no cell phones doing video. You either had a $1,000+ video camera or you had no video. By far most of the concerts I filmed in the late 80's and 90's, the only video to come out of a show was what I filmed. That being said, to try and give people a feel for what it was like to be there filming it, the Beacon Theater 2nd balcony in the 1st row where I filmed quite a few shows from, as you can see, it's quite a steep angle down to the stage.

Sitting back in the seat, I was filming above a ledge, but below a bar that was about a foot above it. Plus, add in security coming to seat people in the only 9 seats across rows (like the camera duck about a minute in due to that). Regardless of anyone's opinion of this video, the fact is that there wouldn't be any video of this show to watch if I didn't videotape this. I left my mark. :-)"

The set list:
1) Only The Young
2) Girl Can't Help It
3) Oh Sherrie
4) Lights
5) Foolish Heart
6) You Better Wait
7) Someone's There
8) Missing You
9) Listen To Your Heart
10) I'll Be Alright Without You
11) Wheel In The Sky
12) Dixie Highway
13) Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'
14) Any Way You Want It
15) Separate Ways
16) Don't Stop Believin'
17) Faithfully

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Has it really been this many birthdays (51)? Yup.

Wow! Who knew that turning 51 would be so popular? People blew up my Facebook wall today, sharing a lotta love. Thank you all for taking the time to stop by. I am overwhelmed and deeply grateful -- what an outpouring of well-wishes from friends old and new, family, readers, folks on the other side of the political aisle... (I guess you haven't forgotten the old -- and sleepy -- blogmistress yet).

There are still a couple of hours left on the birthday clock as of this post, it looks like today will easily top 500 individual wall greetings, and 275+ "Likes" and comments are on my official birthday Wall post. Y'all are insane! xo

Pam Spaulding is sex-ay (hey now - quit the chuckling and LMFAOs... ;)

My days as a political blogger are now in the past, but I am being honored this year by the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance for my body of work on Pam's House Blend (2004-2013) advocating for equality for all.

I will deliver a keynote and receive its prestigious Vicki Award at Woodhull's Sexual Freedom Summit 2014. The conference is August 14-17, 2014 at the Alexandria Hilton Mark Center. #SFS14

It's a rare public appearance for me these days, so if you want to attend to see your favorite blogmistress of the past here's the 411:


From the site:

What is Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit?

The one conference focused on sexual freedom as a fundamental human right in the US. Now in its 5th year, and with four days of institutes, workshops, plenaries, and social events. The focus of the Summit is the goal of the sexual freedom movement – global recognition of our fundamental human right to sexual freedom.

What do you mean by Sexual Freedom?

Sexual freedom means a lot of things to people. We understand it to mean the fundamental human right of all individuals to develop and express their unique sexuality; to be personally autonomous with regard to bodily integrity and expression of body mind and spirit; and to enjoy sexual dignity, privacy and consensual sexual expression without societal or governmental interference, coercion or stigmatization.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrating our 10th anniversary - my how the state of marriage equality has changed since 2004.

Kate and I married 10 years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada in 2004. It was a big deal back then, as there were not many places Americans could marry. It was legal in Massachusetts, but you had to be residents of the state then.

We did a simple dinner out to celebrate; we plan to go to Maine next week to relax and really celebrate with good friends. No big blowout.

This is how our 10th anniversary post looked on Facebook this week (224 likes):

I thanked people for the well-wishes the next day, and more wonderful comments and Likes came in: