Another beautiful frosty day in November here in Chicago. We had another successful corporate event last night. It was a dueling pianos show in Peoria IL courtesy of Central Illinois Dueling Pianos. Thank you very much Andrew
We entertained a whole bunch of government officials. Some newly elected. Some newly un-elected. And of course all of their staff. We had a lot of laughs.
I love that part of our job as a musician, as an entertainer for an event.
When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh?
Getting people to laugh. Sometimes we’re just improvising. Sometimes they’re routines that we have been doing for years. But the thing about dueling pianos is we are always going to have something different.
It’s because of the audience. Every audience, tho similar, is different. Different requests. Different celebrations. Just different.
But we know you’re going to have fun. We know we’re going to get you to where you want to go. You want to have fun and you need to laugh. We just have to organize the deck chairs, if you will. Alphabetize the chaos.
We had that rolling laughter last night. That interactive banter that keys off of people in the audience and their responses. A quality dueling piano show allows for that to happen. It’s so flexible.
I feel like the laughter is the key. I have always been looking for that laugh. As long as I can remember. Its a key component of what I do. Getting people to laugh.
One of the ways to do it is to be able to laugh at myself. That right there is probably the top way to get others’ to join me in laughter. I don’t take this whole music and comedy thing too seriously. I know, comedy is a serious business and all. But I just don’t take myself too seriously.
I hope you don’t either. And don’t take it too personally either. We’re all human. We’re all really kind of the same – for the most part. We all do and think the same stupid stuff. So it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. It lightens the load we have to carry.
I think I read something somewhere about how laughter releases a chemical into our systems that keeps us young. I hope that’s true. Because there are times when I absolutely crave hearing laughter and having a good laugh – at myself most of all.
I hope you have a great Holiday season. We are busy busy busy again. Yet there are still a few dates open. I’d love to help you laugh some night too. Call me and we’ll see what we can do.
“Alcohol was invented so the Irish would not rule the world.” – Irish Proverb
When I’m out playing piano music in public, many folks ask me questions that are quite similar. They range in similarities like, “What do you do during the day for work?” and “What does your wife think of what you do for a living?”; things like that. I would love to write an entire blog post about each of those questions.
But in honor of the great St. Patrick’s Day coming up this week, I would like dedicate this holiday blog post to the patron saint of Ireland with a post about alcohol.
“Alcohol is the great social lubricant.” – Also Irish Proverb
A couple of questions I get asked all the time would be:
- “Where are you playing that we can go see you?” I don’t play out in bars all that often. But when I do, I like Dos Equis …. oooppppss Sorry. I do play out public sometimes when the schedule opens up. But for the most part I like to concentrate on company events and corporate gigs. They’re not as easy to perform at as a bar gig. They require a little more finesse and a whole lot more restraint. Certainly neither of my two favorite things to do in the whole world; restraint and finesse that is.I like the raucousness of a bar gig or restaurant. People cutting loose, cracking jokes, laughing at things that are not normally funny in polite company. But isn’t that the point of going out drinking with your friends? No need to be polite.At company events and corporate functions where we are providing live music entertainment, people tend to hold back a bit because they have a level of decorum they need to uphold in the course of daily commerce. No sweat. People want to keep their jobs.
“For when the wine is in, the wit is out.” – Thomas Beacon
But that brings us to the next question I get a lot:
- Do you think that we need to serve alcohol at our event to be able to get people to sing louder?The answer is a resounding, “No!”“How so?” you ask.I answer thusly.Have you ever heard a room full of kids sing loudly?Of course you have.
Well they can certainly get pretty loud. And I don’t think ALL of them have been drinking. Do you?
You answered “No. Probably not ALL of them Dan.”
So I repeat myself. No. You do not need to serve alcohol at your company event to be able to get people to sing along loudly.
Does it help?
It also helps if you’ve got the winning lottery ticket in your pocket. But it’s not going to solve all your problems.
You will need to hire a professional entertainer (like me, for instance) who knows the tried and true formula for a successful evening of piano music entertainment. Someone who knows how to get people interacting knowing that they won’t be embarrassed come Monday morning around the water cooler, or feel like they’re the only on who knows how to have fun after hours. No.
If you are not going to serve alcohol at your event, then might I make my professional recommendation that before you start your party, make sure the sun has gone down and that you just gave them all raises.
But No, you do not need alcohol to be served in order to have a good time with live music entertainment for events at your company party.
Thanks for playing along and I’m certainly glad you’ve decided to read this far. Maybe you would indeed like to go a bit further. Give me a call at 1 773 527 7417 to see how affordable live piano music can be at your event.
Happy St Patty’s Day one and all!
“The whole world is about three drinks behind.” – Humphrey Bogart
Happy St Patty’s Day
We are getting ready to go on at a cancer fundraising event. Great benefit here in the SW Suburbs of Chicago. fundraising entertainment With dueling pianos is a great idea if you’re looking to raise money for your charity.
They have a bunch of great items to give away at he silent auction. Do you see that Blackhawks jersey from Shaw. That’s pretty cool. I would bid on that.
“A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself
and then says them about other people.”
– Peter MacArthur
That about sums it up. I love complaining. It sometimes comes out a bit caustic. I think I’m being funny. But my wife says differently.
The Zen of Driving
For example, when I’m driving on Chicago streets. I think I’m providing a public service when I let other drivers know how they’re doing. It works especially well in the winter time when I’m screaming at another driver with my windows rolled up. I’m pretty sure my message is getting across fabulously.
But just to make sure they actually get what I am trying to say I use sign language that involves flailing of the arms, extension of the fingers and stretching the facial muscles into contorsive positions the face was not meant to adopt.
Of course, this leads to glandular secretions and onset of early Alzheimer’s because if you were to ask me 5 minutes later what I was so creatively expressing my opinion about, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps I have moved on to other, more worthy subjects of derision or it just didn’t merit my well intentioned wisdom. comedy
Nevertheless, I do it strictly for the good of the community, providing a service in the name of entertainment. It’s just in my nature I guess; entertaining the rank and file. It’s cheaper than my shrink and I’m pretty it entertains you.
Plus, I don’t need to set up a play piano.
So thank you for playing along. We’ll see you at one of the music and comedy shows I have scheduled coming up. If I don’t see you then, I’ll see you later.
Until then .. just remember …
“Everything is funny as long
as it is happening to someone else.”
– Will Rogers
… about how to drive in a snow storm in Chicago.
Chicago Snow Storm Stories
So we got smacked with another snow storm here in Chicago this week.
Typical. It’s Chicago. It’s February. Go figure.
So why the hell don’t people know how to drive in this stuff? I mean – Seriously! Is it because we don’t have a foot of snow very often anymore? Are we just out of practice? It’s like Heeey C’mon already.
I remember getting a lot of snow when I was younger. Even in my early 20’s I had to be able to navigate city streets with all of the other citizens.
It was Par For The Course. Modus Operandi. Another Day in The Neighborhood.
When I was still a student of music at U of I in Chicago, as it was called back then, I lived in Wicker Park. My rent for a 2 bedroom was $150 a month. For those of you out of town, I can tell you now Wicker Park is one of those great neighborhoods where you now will not be able to find a 2 bedroom for less than $1500 these days – if that.
I had an old Chevy Suburban. Great truck. 8 cylinder. Rear wheel drive. Heavy. Moved everything and everywhere. Awesome truck.
Wicker Park was a barrio back then. Gangs? Yeah no problem. Ghettos? Yeah sure, whatever. Rat hole apartment and scum bag landlords? Heeeey it’s Chicago. Whatever.
I remember getting going after digging out of my parking spot, not daring to stop, zipping through one of those unplowed alleys on questionable snow tires I got from that discount tire shop on Division to get to the unplowed side street to get out to Damen Ave when I encounter another vehicle driving in my direction.
Now I had lived in Wicker Park about a year and a half at the time. I knew my neighbors. All upstanding citizens to be sure and they were kind enough to inform me, in true Chicago tradition, “Heeey, we’re all okay over here. It’s those people across the alley/across the street/ north of Milwaukee Ave/fill in the blank you gotta worry about … “
So in other words, I knew how to fill in the blanks, I knew where the boundaries were drawn and I knew who was on who’s side. I knew I had a guy and I knew the other guy had a guy so it’s all kopesthetic, right?
So like I said, I’m zipping along on my snow tires in my Chevy Suburban and I realize I’m in that ‘other’ neighborhood and I see this guy coming at me in his beater and we both know not to stop in the snow or we’re both getting stuck.
So what do we do?
We keep going.
That’s what we do.
C’mon it’s Chicago.
Sliding along, spinning our wheels but moving forward and as we miraculously pass each other safely we both look out our rolled down windows and we both started laughing. We were passing by so close we could have reached out and High Fived each other but we didn’t dare take our hands off the wheel at that particular moment.
As we finally fish tailed past each other our tail ends decided to dish out that High Five. It was a Love Tap. A Cheek Kiss.
Maybe it was that I didn’t want to stop knowing I wasn’t going to be protected in that neighborhood. Maybe it was him who didn’t want to get out and check it out for possibly very similar reasons. Add to that neither one of us were driving a brand Audi or anything.
So I looked out my side mirror and I saw him wave an “okay” as I was doing the same back to him.
No harm. No foul. No big deal driving in Chicago snowstorms.
Come visit some time and we’ll go for a drive. And maybe we’ll play some great live music together. Or if you’re not a musician and you’d rather just listen, we’re okay with that too. Either we’ll entertain you with tails and songs.
Heeey. Chicago. Go figure.
Getting ready to go on and play some solo piano music as a country club entertainer in about two hours. I’m at a members only club for their final entertainment event before they shut down for renovations for a couple weeks.
Winter time is always a little slower up here in the Midwest for country club entertainment. The golf course is pretty much frozen. Many of the members do their snow bird impressions and fly down to Florida or out to California.
I perform a distinctly different kind of show when I’m a country club entertainer. Tonight will be a fair amount of comedy music. I’ll sprinkle in some standards from Frank and Tony. Then as the party gets rolling people will be dancing.and singing along. It’s always a lot of fun.
I’m a country club brat myself. Our parents had a membership when we were growing up so I figured out what the membership number was and signed for as many ice cream sandwiches and cheeseburgers as I could at the snack bar. I would do this all summer long racking up huge bills that would drive the old man nuts. Since he managed to instill a work ethic in us from a very early age, I quickly found ways to add to my own buying power instead of just signing the member number.
I was able to get employment not too far away. I simply walked down to the caddy shack and signed up. It was kind of a drag actually. But I said I was motivated. The thing is we had to get there early. Sometimes before sunrise. I wasn’t always able to talk my folks into giving me a ride, so I rode my bicycle.
So I became a caddy along with my brother Tim. Man we made some scratch. But not right away. We had to work our way up and it took 3 or 4 years before that happened. So we worked the system from reverse. We found out who the good loops were and let them know we were in the shack now. “Be sure to ask for us!” was our mantra.
It worked. We started getting loops ahead of the other caddies in our level. Plus we offered to work extra hours in the pro shop. This allowed us to meet the members up front and personal.
Word got around about those Gillogly Brudders. I don’t know if it made Dad proud or not. He took his parenting very seriously which meant he didn’t let on what he was thinking to his sons very often.
But I’m sure he heard what were up to. We got some good scratch together over those years in the mid-70s. Long hot summer days at the country club.
Tonight will be one frosty night instead.
Tonight I get to venture into that world again. I am looking forward to it.
P.S. I think it might be safe to say the rules were changed soon after disallowing members’ kids to caddy.