Archive for the 'Live Music' Category

“In Transit”, Finally!! Online

This project started as one accidentally gorgeous moment that was caught on a FlipCam along I-5 en route from Salem, OR back to Eugene. After catching that clip, I started collecting footage of my travels along the I-5 Corridor and integrated them together alongside the memories, emotions, and people who have inspired me to create this project.

This is my first short film, ten minutes in length, and has had a tumultuous history. When it was supposed to show as part of a collective presentation of student work on the big screen at the Bijou Cinemas in Eugene, my DVD was burned in the wrong format for screening and couldn’t be shown. Two hours before presenting at the Subversion Gallery (a.k.a. my friend Brenna’s basement), my hard drive crashed and I lost the video in its entirety. It seemed like “In Transit” was never meant for anyone’s eyes but my own, until it was recovered by my computer genius roommate Nathan, just in time to squeak it into Brenna’s projector that evening. In the recovery from the hard drive crash, some of the HD quality of the film was lost, and consequently there are some pixelations and low-fi quirks that were never meant to be that have now become part of the art (hehe, that rhymes!).

Anyways, I suppose I should just let the video speak for itself and mean what it does to the individual viewer. But for me, this project is all about memories and revelations gathered and formed whilst between here and there. Thanks for checking it out!


Cyndi Lauper, Finally On My Turf

Finally, Cyndi Lauper and the gang made it out to see me. Rather, after years of seeing my dad play drums with Cyndi, Cyndi did it big up in Oregon. The show was at Spirit Mountain Casino, and it wasn’t the best of venues. Our palettes were not wet enough to dance properly, as there were strict beverage consumption rules in place that forbid us from bringing drinks inside. It’s been interesting to watch the band play over the years and observe how they grow and change together, experiment with new arrangements and cover old favorites I would never expect. Last summer, it was Joni Mitchell. This time around, it was White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. Whew! So radical.

My dates to the show were my dear friends Stephen, Lyzi, and CJ, and let me tell ya, the crew could not have been better. We danced and shmoozed and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. CJ posted some insight on the show too which you can read by clicking here: “Observations Upon Meeting Cyndi Lauper”

Here’s some low-fi iPhone photos courtesy of my Dad:

From left to right: Sammy Merendino (my dad), Cyndi Lauper, me, Lyzi Diamond, Stephen Person, CJ Ciaramella

The first time me and my dad have ever been together in the state of Oregon. We are so happy, woohoo!

Still Jammin’ to Finn Riggins

It is safe to say that the last weekend in February may have been the best weekend of the year thus far. It kept me occupied with two triumphant birthday celebrations (or three, if you count my mom’s, which I could not attend due to the strenuous distance between us), an Oregon Voice party/dance practice, and a fully rockin’ in studio performance by Boy Eats Drum Machine and Finn Riggins, who played a show later that evening at the Muse Lounge with Eugene locals On The Tundra. The show drew a small but zealous crowd, Boy Eats Drum Machine warmed them up with funky and erratic turntablism. By the time Finn Riggins hit the stage, everyone was gettin’ down, unable to resist the groove of the serious Idaho rock and roll. On The Tundra closed the show, and though I’d never heard them before I was thoroughly impressed and wandered away somewhere nice in my head while they were playing.

After the show we began our journey on foot back to the Whiteaker. We were unable to discuss anything but the glorious full moon which not only made me feel a little crazy (or maybe that was the Ninkasi) but fully demanded the attention of anyone who could see it. As we wandered up to my house, Eric, Lisa, Cam, and Jon arrived in the van. From that point on, it was a blurred blast of a good time, which may or may not have included a mouth-trumpet jam-sesh, sprinting to 7-11 moments before last call for beerz, incapacitating laughter, and the warm appreciation of good company.

The next day, Finn Riggins and BEDM departed on their long cross-country tour around the U.S., and it was a little sad to say goodbye. It wasn’t really goodbye, of course, but I must admit that Finn Riggins’ first album A Soldier, A Saint, An Ocean Explorer has been permanently stuck in my headphones since Sunday. (Their new album Vs. Wilderness is just as excellent). Working at KWVA, I am constantly exposed to a wide variety of amazing music, a LOT of crap, some middle-of-the-road indie bands, and some really bad album art. BUT, over the last six months I have seen a good amount of Finn Riggins in the Northwest, and have been constantly impressed and moved by their music, which is filled with shnazzy guitar riffs, upbeat, poppy keyboard parts and solid, interesting percussion arrangements. Their album art is also the opposite of really bad, its actually super neat. Aside from all that, all three bandmates are passionate and kind people, which takes precedent over all things.

So what I’m slowly getting at is, for all those avid Cognitive Coffee readers, if you are in the area when Finn Riggins comes to town, check it OUT! Get your dancin’ shoes on, and say hello afterwards, cause they rock! (They also eat bacon, which is favorable). I’ve attached a video of them playing in studio at KWVA, which is shot from a really up close and personal perspective, so it’s a little awkward. The studio used to be a bathroom, go figure! So anyways, if you like what you hear, and you like my Finn Riggins propaganda, you can check out their tour dates at Since I gander that more of my East Coast friends will be reading this (this includes you, Dad, you should DEFINITELY check this out), I’ve chosen some notable dates for you to be aware of:

4/16 BALTIMORE, MD @ THE GOOD SON — w/ tba
4/21 BOSTON, MA @ MIDDLE EAST (upstairs) — w/ Backyard Tire Fire + Appomattox
4/28 NEW YORK, NY @ CAKE SHOP — w/ tba
4/29 BROOKLYN, NY @ CAMEO GALLERY — w/ Patrick Bower & The World Without Magic
5/3 CLEVELAND, OH @ PAT’S IN THE FLATS — w/ Talons’ + Safari