Two Important Things, plus I’m STILL ON TOUR and coming to Minneapolis soon

My Dear Friends, Fans, Family, Acquaintances, Come-All-Ye-Faithful, Catch-As-Catch-Can, Past, Present and Future,

May I begin with a poem?

I wrote this one a while ago. It’s called Bidding The Lettuce Adieu and it’s the only poem I’ve ever written that I can remember by heart. It goes like this:

Bidding The Lettuce Adieu (by Aaron Jonah Lewis)

My dear little green friends,
You were naught but a vehicle for the dressing,
You were naught but a vehicle for the dressing.

OK! Thanks, just had to get that out there. I’m in Boston right now, still on tour, all is well, played a great show last night at Club Passim and saw lots of great friends there. Seeing my old friends and meeting new ones on the road is definitely the best part about all of this crazy touring life. Playing a lot of music is great, too, but I’ve learned that you don’t have to spend all your time traveling around in order to play lots of music… But to visit with your friends, yes, you must!

While we’re still at the front of the email here I want to tell you my Two Important Things that don’t actually have much to do with me, but I very much want you to know about them.

First, If you are in NYC or nearby this weekend you MUST go to the Brain Cloud record release party at the Jalopy Theater in Red Hook this Friday night, the 26th. Show starts at 9pm and it’s only $10 for a full night of great music. Click on either (or both) of these links to find out more. I was in New York a few nights ago (had a great show at Rockwood and also saw a bunch of great friends there, it made me so happy!) and managed to sit in with them for their set at the Brooklyn Folk Festival which just happened to be going on the night I was there…. I feel very lucky and grateful that it all worked out like that for me. So wonderful! So please, don’t miss these guys if you can help it. Oh, and did I mention I’m on their new record? I would be there myself but I have another gig already, in Buffalo, NY…

Now, the second thing is for everyone, not just NY people. My friend and mentor Nancy Andrews is making her first feature-length film and she is using the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise the money she needs to cover production costs. She has created 10 films in the last 18 years, six of which the Museum of Modern Art has collected, she’s won numerous awards and honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and she is my favorite filmmaker. Personally I want her to be able to make this film so we can all see it, so please take a moment and check out the link to her Kickstarter page, watch the trailer for her film and consider making a donation. Here is the link and here is a tag line you can copy & paste if you wish to tweet, post or email others about the project:

If you care about strange films check out Nancy Andrews + “The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes”

These two things are the reason I’m sending my email to you kind of early-ish. I’m not going to put my tour dates in this time because you know as well as I that they’re always changing and you can find all the info on my website calendar.

Once this eight-week tour with Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line comes to an end in early May I am heading to Minneapolis for some fun times visiting friends and playing a few random and mostly as-yet-unscheduled bar gigs. Our band doesn’t have a name yet but I will put the gigs up on my calendar, of course, and if you want to suggest a funny string band kind of name (no cheating), we just might use your suggestion! This would entitle you to free entry to one of our shows. But I think they’ll all be free anyway. Um, if you know anyone in Minneapolis or if you live there yourself let me know if you have any ideas for places we can play. I might do some solo shows as well, but the string band is a trio playing all acoustic instruments, old timey fiddle tunes, novelty rags and perhaps the odd Mexican polka to spice things up a bit. Muy caliente! But a small venue is good for us and we just need to be fed and watered and given some treats and positive feedback and we’ll perform tricks all night. Same goes for me as a solo performer.

Another thing I haven’t caught you up on is my reading list. I’m very pleased with the books I’ve been readying lately (and there have been a few) so let me list them for you here:

Jacques the Fatalist, by Denis Diderot — written over 300 years ago, around the time of the French Revolution, this book is HILARIOUS. It had made laughing so hard, I really loved it. It touches lightly and humorously on philosophical questions, existential crises and politics, but that’s all just the pretext for a very funny novel.

Last Go Round, by Ken Kesey and Ken Babbs — a nonfiction-ish story about a big rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon, that took place about a hundred years ago. Colorful characters, hilarious situations, plus some moments of poignancy. Truth is stranger than fiction!

Hunger, by Knut Hamsun — My friend Nick Stillman recommended this book and it is a doozy. Closest thing I can compare it with is Crime And Punishment. Very well-written, though it’s translated from the original Norwegian. Also written over a hundred years ago but still feels very relevant, and maybe wasn’t so great for reading while I’m doing team-oriented activities as it is somewhat dark and gets you inside the head of a man who is disturbed, to say the least. But very well worth reading.

The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz, by Mordecai Richler — My mom has been trying to get me to read this book for years and I finally did. It’s also very funny, but not purely a comedy like I expected it would be. My favorite part about this book was the dialogue. Set in Montreal in the 1940’s in the Jewish ghetto (?? Like, I had no idea…), lots of great language and more-real-than-real-life situations got me sympathizing very much with the characters. Anyone who has ever been an entrepreneur will enjoy this book immensely.

Now I’m reading a nonfiction book about linguistics called The Language Instinct, by Steven Pinker. It’s written for a mainstream audience so I can understand what’s going on pretty well and it is fascinating. I’m only 100 or so pages in so far so no big report to offer yet but this one was recommended by my dad. He knows I’ve always been interested in language. It is harder for me to read a real idea-based book while I’m all distracted on the road, but the extra effort is worth it.

I’m not worried that I’m forgetting anything important because those two things at the top are the most important things. But maybe I’m forgetting something totally unimportant… What would I do if I sent this email out and just then remembered that I forgot to tell you about something completely banal and frivolous? I guess that would be ok.

Willing to take that risk,
I leave you now,
As ever,
Your faithful servant,

Aaron Jonah Lewis