The Sporadic Beaver

Crucifix Lane

January 14, 2014

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Rew & Who?, Ella Lounge

It was October 1990, and I was in London on business. (You can read about the exact nature of that business in Beaver Street, in a chapter called "The D-Cup Aesthetic.") Mary Lyn Maiscott had joined me there, and one weekend we crossed over the Thames to lose ourselves in the distinctly non-touristy streets of the South Bank. That was where Mary Lyn, standing under the Shand Street viaduct, snapped this picture. Wearing the black "jumper" I'd just bought on Portobello Road and my new Dr. Martens, I was reading London A-Z, trying to figure out where the hell Crucifix Lane was. For more than 20 years, that picture has sat on top of our piano. (Click here to see what Crucifix Lane looks like today.)

Last month, as Mary Lyn was searching for artwork for the cover of her soon-to-be-released EP, Crucified, guitarist Gary “Hoop” Hoopengardner pointed to the photo and said, “That’s it!” And so it was—with the minor addition of that naked silhouette in the window.

Tomorrow, at 4:00 P.M. Eastern Time, Mary Lyn will be appearing on Rew & Who to talk about her EP and EP release show—featuring Hoop, Peter Weiss and a surprise guest—at Ella Lounge, 9 Avenue A in New York, on January 18, at 9:30 P.M.

In the meantime you can listen to another song that will be on the EP, Time.

And yeah, it’s kind of cool to be on the cover of a record album, looking as if I might be about to get some.

I'm Losing You

December 7, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Ella Lounge, John Lennon, Bloomsday on Beaver Street


Mary Lyn Maiscott and HooP's Blue Lights Christmas show, tonight at Ella Lounge, is dedicated to the memory of John Lennon. Tomorrow, December 8, marks the 32nd anniversary of his murder, an event that I explore in my book Nowhere Man. To commemorate Lennon, here's a clip of Mary Lyn and HooP performing I'm Losing You at Bloomsday on Beaver Street.

Also tomorrow, December 8, at 11 AM Eastern Time, this link from Indies Unlimited will go live and take you to an excerpt from Nowhere Man.

Blue Lights Show

December 6, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Louie Free, Ella Lounge, John Lennon

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

I heard it on the radio yesterday for the first time this year. Louie Free, host of the Louie Free Radio Show: Brainfood from the Heartland, closed out his broadcast with Mary Lyn Maiscott's Blue Lights, my wife’s Christmas song from her album of the same name. Louie, determined to make the song a holiday tradition, has been playing it every year at Christmas since 2007, when she released the CD, which you can download at CD Baby.

This year, in New York City, Mary Lyn, along with ace guitarist HooP, will be performing in the first annual Blue Lights Christmas Show, on Friday, Dec. 7, 8:30, at Ella Lounge, 9 Avenue A. This intimate holiday concert, dedicated to the memory of John Lennon, will feature such Maiscott originals as Crucified, Things I Lost, and Blue Lights (of course), as well as covers, including a mashup of the Beatles’ You Never Give Me Your Money and You Can't Do That, and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, which she's never before performed in public.

Tickets are $10 at the door or $5 online (listed under HooP). Hope to see you at Ella Lounge. If you can’t make it, please listen to Mary Lyn on the Louie Free Show, streaming live on your computer or on WYCL, 1540 AM, in Youngstown, Ohio, weekdays 8 AM-Noon.

Advertisements for My Wife

November 30, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Louie Free, Ella Lounge

With Hanukkah just over a week away and only 24 shopping days till Christmas, I imagine it's in the realm of possibility that some of you are planning to buy things this weekend. And if you're looking for the ideal Christmas/Hanukkah gift, allow me to suggest you go to CD Baby and download Mary Lyn Maiscott's Blue Lights. The album contains two classic Christmas songs, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, and Mary Lyn's own Blue Lights. Nine other Maiscott originals and covers, like You Can't Do That and Be-Bop-A-Lula, are included as well.

I'll go out on a limb here and say that Mary Lyn's touching take on Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas rivals Judy Garland's 1944 version, recorded for the film Meet Me in St. Louis. And though Blue Lights hasn't yet achieved universal status as a Christmas classic, for years Louie Free has been playing the song on his radio show, now broadcasting weekdays 8:00-noon on the Internet and on WYCL, 1540 AM, in Youngstown, Ohio.

If you’re in the New York area, you can hear Mary Lyn live on December 7, at Ella Lounge. I’ll be writing more next week about this special Christmas/Hanukkah show.

My Wife, the Rock Singer

September 28, 2012

Tags: Mary Lyn Maiscott, Hoop, Ella Lounge

If you were at the Bloomsday on Beaver Street launch party in June, then you heard Mary Lyn Maiscott and HooP perform two sets of originals and covers in the service of helping me sell books. Mary Lyn, who happens to be my wife (and whom I call the Mistress of Syntax), is a singer-songwriter whose work you can hear on her album Blue Lights. HooP is a gifted guitarist whom you might have seen busking on the New York City subway. Tonight, September 28, along with bassist Peter Weiss, they're going to be performing downstairs at the intimate Ella Lounge in the East Village, beginning at 8:30. Tickets are $5 online (listed under HooP, top act Decadence) and $10 at the door.

I’ll be there too, in my usual capacity as roadie. Hope some of you can stop by. Below is an exclusive peek at the set list. You can hear some of these songs on Blue Lights.

Madame Olenska (Maiscott). Midnight in California (Maiscott). Crazy Girl (Maiscott), Things I Lost (Maiscott), Sweet Dancer (HooP), Crucified (Maiscott), Well-Adjusted (HooP), Time (Maiscott), Be-Bop-A-Lula (Tex Davis and Gene Vincent), You Can’t Do That (Lennon-McCartney), Brown-Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)