Hello, friends. It gives me great pleasure to announce that the latest collaboration between Bobbledy Books and the artist currently known as Drew Bunting has officially launched. Where is My Chicken? (http://bobbledyshop NULL.com/products/where-is-my-chicken) is here, and has already landed in the mailboxes of small people all over the world.
Where is My Chicken? (http://bobbledyshop NULL.com/products/where-is-my-chicken) is not an ordinary children’s album. Oh no. It is everything you thought a children’s album should be but were afraid to hope for.
The title track features a shredding metal guitar.
Track two Prunes and Fish offers the most artful use of the word “gorgonzola” you will ever hear in a song, children’s or otherwise.
Track three, (I Woke Up With a) Cracker in My Pants ranks among my top five songs of all time, by any artist, and when I say “any artist” I’m including Lionel Ritchie and the Spice Girls, so please know I mean business.
Cracker is a Beastie Boys inspired rap duet performed by Drew and co-conspirator Brian Slattery, another friend of ours from college who has spent the past 16 years since graduation becoming ridiculously proficient in fiddle, banjo, guitar, and, more recently, rap.
Cracker is the gripping chronicle of a young man who wakes up one morning to find a goldfish cracker in his underwear. If you were once a young man, you will, perhaps, identify with this crisis. If you live and breathe and have a pulse, you will enjoy the ensuing tale. I have yet to play Cracker for any person of any age without them falling into fits of laughter so intense that they risk ending up with something else in their pants.
We are so confident that you will love Cracker that we are including it here for your listening pleasure.
LISTEN TO CRACKER NOW
If you are at work, maybe stick a rag in your mouth so that you don’t irritate the people around you. Unless you work for a progressive company that allows laughing and dancing in the workplace, in which case, turn up your speakers and start a movement.
As for the album itself, Drew spent the better part of eight months writing nine songs, and then, when the time came to record, we flew Brian across the country to Milwaukee, where Drew lives for the time being, to sit in the basement for three days and make magic happen while the tape ran.
We weren’t there, but we imagine it looked something like this.
If you don’t know, Drew is at the top with the Banjo. Brian is down below on the drums. Did I mention that he learned how to play drums just so he could play them on this album?!
Those three small people are, from top to bottom, Elijah, Eddie, and Leo. We fully expect all three to emerge into extraordinary people just like their fathers.
The two yokels in the upper left need to get a life.
I think I already said it, but there are nine tracks on Where is My Chicken? (http://bobbledyshop NULL.com/products/where-is-my-chicken)
In addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, there is the gorgeous Ducks on the Millpond, elevated by Brian’s Malian-style guitar contributions. There is the wild, energetic Daddy Sat on the Potty Seat in which a father with temper control issues attacks a toilet with a reciprocating saw and a moving motor vehicle. There is the old-time fiddle tune Georgia Railroad in which Drew takes liberty with the lyrics and Brian must surely have set his fingers on fire during the recording session. There is the epic rock ballad Hiccups in which the beleaguered narrator strives in vain to rid himself of that beloved, yet involuntary, spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs. And then there is Mole in the Ground, an old folk song so lovely and entrancing that you will alternately swoon and weep.
Drew and Brian are one another’s perfect complement, Drew’s lovely voice in dialogue with Brian’s expert clawhammer. I feel lucky to know these guys and even luckier that they took the time to make another album for us.
I recently had the pleasure of sliding hundreds of copies of Where is My Chicken? into several hundred envelopes along with several hundred letters and several hundred liner notes.
If you are lucky enough to someday own a copy of this album (and by “lucky,” I mean shrewd enough to wander over to the BobbledyShop (http://bobbledyshop NULL.com/products/where-is-my-chicken) and plunk down a paltry $10 in exchange for hours and hours of listening pleasure), you will also receive a copy of the liner notes, written by Drew and illustrated by Robbi (and, I should add, neatly folded by yours truly).
Perhaps you have a child. If so, your child will enjoy this album. But even if you don’t have a child, this music is fantastic and original and smart and funny and beautiful and sad and true. If you know Drew’s work, you know that it is amazing. If you don’t, you should be excited this morning to have made a new discovery.
I feel awkward pitching our own work on this site. But I will stand up loudly and say with no hesitation that the answer to Where is My Chicken? should be In My CD Player, Computer, or Portable Listening Device.
Do the right thing (http://bobbledyshop NULL.com/products/where-is-my-chicken), people.
And if you didn’t do it before, listen to (I Woke Up With a) Cracker in My Pants for free HERE.
And if you have a child in the 3-7 year range and have always wanted to join the Bobbledy Club, or if your Bobbledy Club membership has expired, or you just want to support artists and get some cool stuff in exchange, why not sign up (http://bobbledyshop NULL.com/products/bobbledy-books-club)? If you do so today, your very first mailing will be this album.
For the past few months, Robbi has been working with a group of other creative, hard-working folks in and around Chestertown to imagine and create a children’s arts and craft space (called KidSPOT (http://chestertownriverarts NULL.org/kidspot/)) adjacent to our community arts space, RiverArts.
Here’s the RiverArts logo (http://chestertownriverarts NULL.org/).
Robbi and I put our heads together to come up with a compatible logo/work mark for KidsSPOT.
The grand opening of KidSPOT was at the beginning of April, but, unfortunately, it was the same weekend that we were in New York City for MoCCA.
And, improbably, we were also busy the next two Saturdays. So the kids and I didn’t have a chance to even see the space until this past weekend.
It was worth the wait.
Robbi’s exhibit (imagined and produced in collaboration with fellow illustrator Nicole in den Bosch (http://www NULL.indenboschillustration NULL.com/)) is a free- standing wall that is actually a kind of booth. The wall is covered with paintings by a variety of famous artists, and each painting is accompanied by spot for a name plate.
The missing name plates are all magnetic. The idea is that kids look at the names of the paintings and try to match them to the corresponding images.
The clues are embedded in the names themselves.
For example, The Music Lesson (http://www NULL.google NULL.com/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww NULL.ibiblio NULL.org%2Fwm%2Fpaint%2Fauth%2Fvermeer%2F&h=0&w=0&tbnid=7edwjhhiYaflrM&zoom=1&tbnh=240&tbnw=210&docid=RjfZlVyRCJDKoM&tbm=isch&ei=u4ZfU4PdI4mpsATU8IGwDA&ved=0CAgQsCUoAg) by Jan Vermeer.
Kato heard the name and contemplated.
And got it.
Ditto The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/File:Caspar_David_Friedrich_032_(The_wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog) NULL.jpg) by Caspar David Friedrich.
I love Caspar David Friedrich. He painted my favorite-ever painting, The Monk by the Sea (http://www NULL.google NULL.com/imgres?imgurl=http://upload NULL.wikimedia NULL.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Caspar_David_Friedrich_029 NULL.jpg&imgrefurl=http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Monk_by_the_Sea&h=180&w=280&tbnid=Yb43TiXLr_rdwM:&zoom=1&tbnh=128&tbnw=200&usg=__Qx-KPGFO1sH5E5l6MVQYf2uNJx8=&docid=OHUn7Q3Xns2NgM&itg=1&sa=X&ei=ioFfU8LCNe_isAT08IH4Dw&ved=0CKABEPwdMAo), which I just learned about from two breathless art historians courtesy Khan Academy (http://smarthistory NULL.khanacademy NULL.org/friedrich-monk-by-the-sea NULL.html).
Kato nailed The Last Supper (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo_da_Vinci)) as well.
Georgia O’Keefe’s Blue and Green Music (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Blue_and_Green_Music) caused him a bit of trouble by asking him to step beyond the concrete, but process of elimination helped him figure it out.
The verdict? He enjoyed it. It was fun. Robbi was gratified by first-hand evidence of her success.
But identifying paintings is only half the fun.
Next to the wall are three trunks, each of which contains a costume that appears in a famous painting.
The large frame in the center of the wall actually surrounds a cut-out space. Kids stand behind the wall in costume and become a famous painting.
Here is Alden as Frieda Kahlo in Self Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (http://fineartamerica NULL.com/featured/frida-kahlo-self-portrait-with-thorn-necklace-and-hummingbird-pg-reproductions NULL.html).
Note the leaves on the wall behind her. Note the monkey and cat on her shoulders. Note, particularly, the cat, which is made from one of my dress socks.
Here’s the original painting.
And here’s my girl.
She’s a dead-ringer for Frieda, I say.
Alden’s assessment? More fun. Lots of fun.
How often do you get to dress up and be a famous painting at the same time?
But that was just the first stop on our tour of KidSPOT. In the back of the room, kids have the opportunity to do the unexpected. Indeed, they are invited, nay, encouraged to DRAW ON THE WALL.
This is the final resting place of the dry-erase paint fund raiser that Robbi ran a few weeks ago when she sold her castle and beach ball print for a good cause.
The good cause was the opportunity for kids to do the usually verboten.
And, boy, did they enjoy themselves.
Before we left, Robbi took a moment to pose for a portrait of the artist as her own subject.
Robbi, Nicole, and lots of other folks did a lot of hard work to make KidSPOT happen.
The best way to thank them is to grab your own small people and stop by KidSPOT (http://chestertownriverarts NULL.org/kidspot/) any Saturday between 10:00am and 2:00pm. RiverArts is located just off High Street in the Middle of Chestertown. Look for the Dunkin Donuts and then walk a bit further down the tunnel. Stop and see the gorgeous work of Chestertown’s own glass artists Dave and Patti Hegland (http://www NULL.heglandglass NULL.com/) while you’re at it.
In case you didn’t realize it, Chestertown is pretty cool. Great things are happening here.
Ah, the good old days. The early days. The days of big dreams and grand ideas. I was searching through my computer the other day in a frantic attempt to find an old postcard template when I came across a very special file. At one point in Idiots’Books history (I believe it was in the second year) we had thought we might put together a little newsletter to send out between mailings. It would have some articles in it, some contributions from subscribers, and a section to feature the latest Idiots’ products. It would be SO MUCH EASIER to produce than a book that it would practically make itself. It was tentatively called The Pan. We even lined up double-opinionated Stella and triple-opinionated Veronica to do a dueling Dear Abby column.
I don’t know what happened, but I think what happened was it actually didn’t practically make itself.
The articles themselves are all just dummy text, but I have to say I think the headers are all a bit of genius. That’s what happens when Robbi is left to do the writing (my favorite might be “Matthew talks to jesus and all is swell: the story about the coming of age of a writer”, or maybe the two questions posed to Stella and Veronica, which, frankly, I would love to hear them answer). The front and back cover (click on the image for a larger version):
And the insides:
Someday, when I have my millions sitting comfortably in a savings account (yes, I’m that kind of money manager), The Pan will go back into production and will be distributed for free. Stella and Veronica will get paid handsomely for their opinionated opinions, and our special advertising section will be selling gold ingots at the cost of -1 gold ingot (that means we owe you an ingot! Brilliant!).
I can’t wait.
If, in the meantime, you can’t make out all the delightful detail in the images above, you’re welcome to have a closer look and feel well-updated on the not-so-latest: The_Pan.MAS