My first b-2-b emoji, or Michael Fracasso confirmed in Menalto, or Earthwise 20th Anniversary series part three

“By the way, he makes the best pasta around.” – Lucinda Williams, 1996

At 11:21 Laura Thomas of ComboPlate booking of Austin, Texas tex’d me to say that she had spoken with Kathleen Daly of Cafe Zoe in Menlo Park or Menalto, on border of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, or right across the crick, and that we were ok to produce a Michael Fracasso concert in her room next Thursday, November 12, 2015.

Kathleen said yes. I will call you back
in about five or 10 minutes – I need to
take care Of one other thing not

I wrote back:

Yeah!! (smiley face also known as “emoji”)

I said to myself and then later explained to Laura: wow, that’s my first b-to-b or business-to-business emoji. I’ve been using them in personal correspondence for severals months now and now I’ve had the opportunity to use one for business.

Apropos of this show, or prospective show and now, for about an hour confirmed show: Michael Fracasso at Cafe Zoe, Thursday, November 12, 2015, 6:30 doors, 7 p.m. show, $20 tickets, 50 capacity or so, (address of venue, phone). An evening with, i.e. no opening act.

There are approximately 10 days or 250 hours (plus or minus a good night’s sleep) until the event. As in, if I work around the clock for the next 10 days to bring a crowd and somehow profit to the tune of $250, I could make $1 per hour!! (smiley face)

Laura and I briefly discussed the difference between emoji and emoticon and I sais emoticon is when you type a colon and and close parens to get a smile. 🙂

Michael also did a show at my short-lived but legendary run at the little art gallery at the corner of Alma and Hamilton which is now office for a real estate firm, in 2004.

In fact we set up the series around the avails of Michael and my then-client Annie Lin, who I was also pitching to Laura as a potential client. I believe Annie is relatively inactive as a performer but works as a lawyer, sometimes in entertainment and also did some work with Brooke Wentz of The Rights Workshop. Todd Inoue, then of Metro, not to digress too far from Michael Fracasso, wrote up Annie and you can find that, as I did by sussing “michael fracasso” and “palo alto”. (I had sent just such a link to Laura).

In between all of these not quite causes and not quite effects, via Chaos Theory, I spent a month at La Casita, a house Laura owns in South Austin, in 2009.

I also joked that our agreement has a force majeur clause cancelling me minus my deposit if the creek rises and Cafe Zoe floods. (They’ve been having actual such problems in Austin, Texas, no joke).

Michael is also an excellent chef, not sure how that works into this here show.

Maybe if you comment below, the first 50 or such that can be your COD list or reservations list for the show.(20) Twenty books(21) for the show is a little high by Earthwise Productions standards but probably worth it, and maybe a better value than the $200 or more I paid for four tickets to see Matt Nathanson and Train and the Fray at Shoreline. I had just come up with, apropos of something else, a $20 buck plus 20 mile rule on what I’d pay and how far I’d drive to see a show.

Above is an audio disguised as a video of Michael Fracasso singing “1962” (with Patty Griffin, his friend, WHO WILL NOT BE APPEARING) at WGSR in 2001. And below is an album version with only 9 views. Maybe I will keep adding to this post as a journal of the progress of the show. I wonder what I can accomplish towards helping out good ol’ Michael Fracasso on Thursday, November 12 if I focus. That I boast of a “Fast Cheap and Out of Control” style of eclectisim and unpredictability makes some (and sometimes me) doubt I can do just one thing with laser focus for 10 whole days or 250 hours (minus a good night sleep).

The previous installments of Earthwise Productions 20th Anniversary Series included performances by Curtis McMurtry (another Laura Thomas ComboPlate booking client), Jerry Hannan and Rachel Garlin (featured, since then, not necessarily catazlyzed by, KFOG local band compilation). Earthise has produced more than 200 shows since its 1994 founding, most notably at Cubberley Community Center of Palo Alto (including other Texas related acts like Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Slaid Cleaves, Bill and Bonnie Hearn, Gage and Albert, Asylum Street Spankers, Spoon featuring Britt Daniels who played recently at Neil Young’s The Bridge Concert at Shoreline, Gary Floyd of The Dicks not really but he owes me $100 or a piece of his visual art work, TK).

I don’t remember 1962 the year but I will update with a favorite baseball card of the era. That was the year that the Giants might have won the world series if Willie McCovey had hit a line drive past and not to Bobby Richardson of the Yankees. This Michael Fracasso dealio is arguably part of the player to be named later God’s way of making up for the mistake. Likewise when the Giants and Rangers were in the World Series I talked to Laura and a few others about an Austin w. SF compilation of songs about baseball, working title “Giant” like the Texas based Rock Hudson movie. Or was it called something “Humm Baby” question mark.

1962 leaders

1962 leaders

I might also go ahead and make 50 or so hart ducats (but not heart attacks, sheer heart attack like the rock band queen or a michael fracas so as DYAC wants to put it), tickets, and sell them out of my back-pack like Adam Metz walking naked around Palo Alto High in 1995. Can you, Michael Fracasso, sing “1962” but change the lyric to “1995” in honor of young Mr. Metz famously walking naked for the sake of the student newspaper of the day, 20 years later? Hard ducats. Better would be just to call around and try to get media for this from college radio and what is left of the press. He is a good regional and national songwriter and s/s and worthy of the audience.

Welcome, Michael Fracasso.

Laura adds that Michael Fracasso has a new album coming out in January.

Notes or edits:
1. At 1 o’clock or an hour later or 249 hours until the show I wrote to Elizabeth of the Weekly and suggested she ring Michael about the show:
Elizabeth why don’t you try to reach Austin based singer songwriter Michael Fracasso about his upcoming Nov. 12 show at Cafe Zoe in Menlo Park?
Mark Weiss
earthwise productions of palo alto

2. Laura sends the press kit back to my electronically later that day including:

Born February, 10, 1952, makes him a fellow Aquarian!!

Born February, 10, 1952, makes him a fellow Aquarian!!

3. This is only the 37th post, of the more than 1,500 Plastic Alto installments that I have put in the category “austistic” which means “has to do with austin, texas the music capital, the 512, especially south austin, where I spent a month in 2009, slackers the movie, linklatter, austin street spankers, bands from austin who played the cub, crazy heart the movie, near kerrville, austin city limits the show more than the festival, papa mali, and or sxsw.” There are 20 categories total. Meanwhile I glossed Michael Fracasso in both my Rick Koster and my Guide to Folk Music. Also, I went thru every title of my comprehensive Earthwise Productions secret headquarters extensive library of digitized and plasticized music to find “A Pocketful of Rain” a Michael Fracasso collection, on Lone Star, from 2004 also known as Texas Music Group, and or simultaneous-like to his appearance in Palo Alto. Special guests on the cd, which Michael produced himself, include Patty Griffin, Eliza Gilkyson and Beaver Nelson. Oddly, or magically, as I put it in the player in my little chedder to hear “All or Nothing” (“we married for love/we were the best of friends…”) it reminded me of my parents, who were married 61 years and then my phone started to butt-dial by dad, who is recently deceased, and in fact Sunday was the memorial and I heard the phone ask me if I wanted to review my message to him –which I guess, if his ears are good, up there in Heaven, and better than they were, towards the end, down here, is “darling the love that you gave me” et cetera et cetera, the nearly angelic voices of Michael and I gather Patty” and also, when I grabbed the phone, contrary to the laws of California safe driving, to put all this together, there was my Dad’s face, smiling, a worldly or now otherworldly grin. Hey, howdy!
4. I forgot yesterday to call in or even listen to KFJC “Joe Ed Dick” and his songwriter show “Lubbock Or Leave It” but here is a link to his playlist. He ran thru sets by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Don Walser, Robbie Fulks and more.
5. Similarly, I pinged the great and lovely Bonnie Simmons via email hoping she bites on this for her Thursday night show on KFPA; I sent her a second note that maybe she can play either “All Or Nothing” or “1962” both of which feature Michael Fracasso and his pal Patty Griffin, on the strength of her being at the Fillmore last night.
6. On Kathleen’s advice, in between bites of a salami panini — an appropriate week before Fracasso meal, not to see his culinary skills short — I sent the photo to InMenlo. I recall meeting Mr. InMenlo here.
7. Responding to uber-attorney Barry Simons’ cue of a Flaming Groovies poster he circulated via text, I made a Robert Syrett ready-made e-flyer for our Michael Fracasso show and started sniping with that. Here you can drag, click and print or forward for yousselves (yousElvis? youSelfies?)

Michael Fracasso Cafe Zoe flyer

Michael Fracasso Cafe Zoe flyer

8. This is off topic but I want to suss “Landfall” which I think is written here in Menlo Park by Stevie Nicks used to promote some movie about womens gaining the vote, in England maybe?? (Robyn Sherwell cover of Stevie Nicks composition for Sarah Gavron film “Suffragette” says here)
9. I am also so far resisting actually running a photo of Bill Graham as Lucky Luciano in 1991 “Bugsy” as seperated-at-birth with our troubadour:
Not Fracasso

Not Fracasso

10. And I know I said I would focus laser-like on this show, which is exactly 171 hours away, give or take a good night’s sleep, but I did shoot 13 other things that I might or in a case or two post about.
11. Briefer bio of MF:
Upon arriving in Austin, TX in 1990 from New York City, Michael Fracasso was promptly voted Best New Artist in Music City Texas ‘Insiders’ poll and was able to record his first CD, Love & Trust which features a duet with Lucinda Williams. He has made two albums with producer/ guitarist Charlie Sexton (World in a Drop of Water and Back to Oklahoma) and also collaborated with Charlie to write and record the music for the movie Monster Hunter. His 2004 album, Pocketful of Rain featured a duet with Grammy winner Patty Griffin for whom Michael opened her Spring 2006 tour. He has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan. His 2007 release, Red Dog Blues went to #1 on the Americana Chart in Europe. For his seventh CD, Saint Monday (April 26, 2011) Fracasso returned to a harder-hitting sound of a full rock band and “…remains one of Austin’s most distinctive voices.” – Jim Caligiuri – Austin Chronicle. He was short listed for the Austin Public Library Award for literary achievement in 2011 and was on the “Best of 2011” list for several publications including Third Coast Music, San Antonio Express News and Austin Chronicle.
11. wearing my Freight and Salvage shirt today magically yielded the fact that Michael Fracasso played there in 2003 as part of a Woody Guthrie tribute. Here is Michael and a friend doing Woody’s “1913 Massacre”

12. I did not recall but it seems true enough that Michael Fracasso played the 2005 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Here’s a flyer, a Hatch print actually:
13. Saturday morning, or 127 hours until the hit: Terry boiled some eggs but for the more ambitious of you, here is Michael Fracasso’s recipe for Fig and Gorgonzola crepe, from his blog and meanwhile he is in L.A. to appear at McCabe’s tonight as an opener and I should probably do something more obvious like using my email list or go thru a box of business cards I’ve collected in recent years, to bring a crowd for Michael Thursday at Cafe Zoe:
Crepe Ingredients:

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for cooking
pinch of salt


12 fresh figs (or substitute dry figs)
8 ounces soft goat cheese (or substitute Gorgonzola for a richer taste)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 sugar
3 oranges, zest and juice
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Combine 2 tablespoons of butter, the almonds, and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a heavy skillet and cook at a very low temperature until the almonds brown (this may take up to 30 minutes).

Remove from heat.

In a heavy pan over medium heat, combine the orange juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Stir until the sugar melts and the juice begins to thicken. Add the zest and cook a few minutes more until it becomes syrupy. Remove from pan and reserve. Slice the figs in half and place face down in a pan with the remaining tablespoon of butter and cook for about 4 minutes.

Pour all the crepe ingredients into a blender, mix and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.

Using a small crepe pan, add a little butter and heat to medium. Pour in a 1/4 cup of batter and swirl in the bottom of the crepe pan until the thickness is reasonably even. Allow to cook for a minute, then begin to peel it from the sides with a spatula. Flip and cook a few more minutes.

Place the figs in the crepes, sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles and fold. Top with orange sauce, candied almonds and fresh mint.
Lord willing and the crepe don’t rise, as they say.

14. I’m not sure how adding 14 addendums to a post about the Michael Fracasso show Thursday actually helps build the audience and advances Michael’s career, and my own, but couldn’t hurt, could it? This is just to say I’m glad that the “inMenlo” blog posted MF’s photo, as I suggested.

15. Tuesday, 9 a.m. am back at Cafe Zoe, advancing the show, which means looking forward to the show and thinking forward, backward and sideways, which is a type of prayer for Michael Fracasso and our show, some 58 hours ahead. I am further realizing and admitting that my blog, Plastic Alto, is more like a prayer than a poster, given the readership. The truth is out there, but who will find it? I’ve decided to make 10 calls, some from a big box of business cards I collected over the last 10 years but sorted and culled a few weeks back, and 10 more emails. Hey, I’m producing a great little folk concert Thursday, in Menlo Park, and you might want to check it out!! Meanwhile, Michael recalls his mother’s kitchen:
In our house where I grew up in Ohio we had two kitchens. My mom kept an upstairs kitchen that was reserved for holidays and special occasions. At Christmas time she used the extra oven to bake massive amounts of Italian cookies and panetonne (Italian sweet cake). In the basement we had our everyday kitchen that was open to the garage and had a 1956 Mercury parked a few feet from the dinner table. It sat there with it’s two conical bumper extensions aimed at my head. During dinner we could hear it creaking and moaning while the engine cooled off. This was our 1950’s version of the “great room.”

My parents grew a huge vegetable garden and would forage in the woods and fields for wild mushrooms and dandelion greens. My father would graft limbs from other fruit trees onto his sizable orchard. Saturdays the egg man would come by and my mother would haggle over the price of his chickens and usually offer him a glass of homemade wine as a bargaining tool. Sauces went on in the mornings, greens were washed, chickens slaughtered and pasta rolled out and cut. Conversations at the dinner table always revolved around food. This is the environment which inspired me to love cooking.

16. Again, more prayer than shoe leather but I just found this weird video of basically paint drying in Mingo Junction, Ohio, which is both Michael Fracasso’s home town (the one he left, for New York and then Austin) and the backdrop of the movie version of “Deer Hunter”. And since I am celebrating Veterans’ Day all week (and truthfully, since August 25), maybe I will ask Michael to sing something influenced by Mingo Junction and or in honor of our Veterans. (That, balanced against reminding myself not to be a drag on my talent, the road is long enough, even with the tires tuned)

17. This is an actual footnote in that the pasta testimonial by Lucinda at the top is from Michael Fracasso’s liner notes to his 1993 Dejadisc debut but I found it in Michael Roberts’ 1995, an excellent primer. Apropos of my cheap trick claiming MF looks like Bill Graham playing Lucky Luciano, Roberts claims that Fracasso 1993 looks like Sal Mineo.salm

18. And Peter Blackstock posts a review of a recent concert (September) by Michael Fracasso and band that may hint at his set list this week:
Opening with the brilliant melody of “Hospital” from 1998’s “World in a Drop of Water,” they moved on to many more selections from that album and the subsequent live set “Back to Oklahoma.” They also worked in a couple of covers, including Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.”… Bluesier numbers such as “Elizabeth Lee” and “Devil’s Deal” didn’t play to Fracasso’s strengths as much as chamber-pop tunes including “Gold” and “Jar of Pennies,” which were better fits for the singer’s high-register vocals. The title track to “World in a Drop of Water” also stood out, in part for a lyrical (Charlie) Sexton guitar solo.

19. Three hours later, that morning, and T minus 55 hours until the hit, Kathleen makes and posts a Michael Fracasso flyer for the door of her venue.

Cafe Zoe, with Fracasso flyer on door

Cafe Zoe, with Fracasso flyer on door


Sean, a musician who also runs the open mike here, and is occassionally the door man, asked whether Michael Fracasso plugged his guitar directly, because we will have only 1 mic, for the show

Sean, a musician who also runs the open mike here, and is occassionally the door man, asked whether Michael Fracasso plugged his guitar directly, because we will have only 1 mic, for the show

20. Kim Walter of Campbell plus one and Sarah Bellum are on the list as guests of KZSU Stanford;
21. bucks not books, I mean, although I told Kathleen that it’s actually a sliding scale if you read this or really have less money than Michael Fracasso.
22. I spoke to Michael today to advance the show and he promises to play “Red White and Blue” from his 2007 album in honor of Veterans Day and our campaign to make that song the official Veterans Day song.

A. Couple deville only thing that give me a thrill, something about cold steel in his pocket, for an enthusiastic group of old friends and Fracas-verts.

murder ballad at men alto

murder ballad at men alto

b. Eloise which apparently is about his daughter, don’t be sassing me, this life comes with no guarantee.
Anyhoo, thanks for playing along at home. “Courage”

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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