Saturday, May 21, 2011


Next Wednesday (May 25th), we head out on the road again with MarchFourth for the 5th time in eight months. In 2011, the band begins a series of summer dates that are heavy laden with festivals, including the Strawberry Music festival (Yosemite), Desert Rocks (Moab), and Wakarusa (Ozarks). Later in July and August, the High Sierra (Quincy), Vancouver Isle (Cumberland), Telluride Jazz Fest (CO), Wanderlust (Squaw Valley) and Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA. What an opportunity to see some of the great national parks and the beautiful countryside that we so quickly forget about living in the city! Performing in the festival environment far and away exceeds the grind of the club circuit. It's just more.... civil.

We plan to be active with our video blogging, which seemed to be positively received by both the band and the fans who can't seem to get enough of them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joy Now Summer Performance Arts Scholarship Fund

Our Story

Started 8 years ago, March Fourth Marching Band is a world famous mobile big band spectacular. From gypsy brass, samba, funk, afro-beat, big-band, jazz, rock, circus, to vaudeville, we play it all. We have marched in the streets and played to sold-out crowds around the globe, cultivating a sense of spontaneous joy and contagious excitement wherever we go. After partnering with inter-generational community marching bands in Germany last year, many of us came home inspired to develop a band program in our own community.

The JOY NOW Summer Performance Arts Workshop is a week-long day camp for youth age 13-18. Our mission is to empower, excite and engage youth through music and performance arts-centered programs that value diversity, positive collaboration, self-awareness, and social change. At the end of our week together, we’ll take the songs and dances we've learned to the streets, classic M4 style. We’ll parade, and perform and help kick off the 2nd Annual PDX Bridge Festival at their opening gala on July 29th.

We are running this camp entirely on volunteer power and are relying on student fees to help with the basic costs of camp. However, we know that the students who can benefit the most from this kind of experience are often those without the financial means to afford it. Help us offer our program to more students! Reaching our goal of $4,000 will allow 16 more students to join us in this amazing opportunity!

The Impact

All over the country, schools are navigating drastically diminishing budgets. Unfortunately, arts education is one of the first subject areas to be cut. Members of March Fourth know the crucial role that music and art play in intellectual and personal development. After all, it was these school programs that started many of us on our own paths to creativity. That’s why we’re so excited to offer an alternative to students who can’t afford private lessons and who do not have band programs or other performance arts opportunities in their schools. Even for students whose parents can afford private lessons, nothing can replace the valuable and often more rewarding experience of being part of a larger band.

Joy Now Summer Performance Arts Workshop will give youth the chance to participate fully and actively in a community centered around art and positive collaboration. As well as a music & performance art program, it is also a life-skills, and global awareness program. Youth will have the chance to do new things, explore multiple creative practices, learn and share different points of view, build self-confidence, and learn how to use art for positive and effective social change.

You can help us make it happen!

We are building this camp from the ground up and it is SOLELY funded from donations from people like you. Your donations help us ensure equal access to performance arts education for all youth! We are working towards getting our 501(c)3 tax-exempt status, but until we do, any donation you make will be greatly appreciated, but will not be tax deductible.

Helping us reach our goal of $4,000 will allow us to:

· Offer 16 scholarships to youth, who would have been otherwise unable to attend
· Purchase instruments, drums, hula hoops, stilts and other camp supplies

Not only will you be karmically rewarded for contributing to such a worthwhile cause, we're also throwing in some extra rewards! Check out our list of awesome incentives to the right.

Other Ways You Can Help

Want to take your investment further? We have many other ways for you to get involved:

Share this campaign with your friends, families and coworkers via email and Facebook.

Ask your favorite bar to host a happy hour benefit
Petition your local thrift store for costume donations
Approach your neighborhood grocery store for food and drink donations

While you're spring cleaning, separate out those old art supplies & give them a new home (with us!)

Throw a car wash
Have a bake sale
No idea is too small or insignificant!

Visit our website for more ideas of how to help!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Interviews from Was Ist Das? MarchFourth in Germany

The Was Ist Das? MarchFourth in Germany documentary film highlights the inner workings of M4 and their recent excursion to Europe in 2010. In large part, what makes the film compelling is the fact that very little media has been produced to highlight the diverse and wonderful personalities of this increasingly popular musical entity. There are copious amounts of fan-provided live clips on YouTube and other online video streaming sites. However, despite their attempt to court media opportunities not much in the way of thought provoking or intelligent discussion with band members exists to date. The Diggable Monkey is here to fill the void...

The interview outtakes from the Was ist Das? film further explore the perspectives of (6) long time band members: John Averill, Amy Hatfield, Dan Stauffer, Nayana Jennings, Sid Simpatico and Scalett Torrance. Each presents a unique view of their role and their experience with what is commonly referred to among band members as simply, "the Project". Out of costume and into a comfy seat, these kids weave a dynamic tale to satisfy among the most die hard of their fans...

As with the 29-minute documentary film, these pieces were developed for online consumption. Their sub 2-minute play duration were designed and fully intended to be consumed in a single sitting. As the editor, selecting comments from the Was Ist Das? interviews was something of a challenge. Much of what was discussed in the retrospective process was potentially useful to enhance the arc of the movie's narrative. We are pleased to release these comments in a more random and revised "short" format, so that viewers can enjoy their presentation in a more anecdotal or personal way. In a sense, we strike more at highlighting the individual rather than the band as a whole.

The eight year journey this tribe has traveled is extremely fertile storytelling soil. From our perspective, this conversational exploration has been a missed opportunity for both the band members and their fans. Our hope is that the series will in some small way help alleviate the expanding bottleneck of interest in "the Project" and recognize the stories of this incredibly unique little slice of humanity.

To see thee 1st installment of the series, "John Talks Family" with John Averill, view the MarchFourth Channel on Vimeo here:

More info on MarchFourth here:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hey, Carl. Turn That Suck Knob Down! - Solovox 10-Year Anniversary

"You ever heard of Woo Woo Feild?", my therapist asked. "Nope, I didn't know that there were any other Portland Burners", I replied. "Look this guy up and he'll tell you all about it", he said grinning. "Uh, Ok...".

Way back in 2002, my now ex-wife and I were feeling like seasoned vets heading into our third Burning Man event. A San Francisco crew had adopted us as one of their own, so we didn't really socialize that much with the locals. Basically, there weren't many of us in Portland at the time. Little did we know that the festival's popularity was on the verge of exploding around these parts.

We'd been told that there was a guy named Carl who camped with a large Portland organization out there and that we should look him up. Always keen to explore new Playa connections, we tracked him at the festival that year. The encounter was brief, as he was strapped into a monster parachute making some futile attempt to get his camp set up in a brewing sand storm. We made quick introductions and suggested a rally at some point down the line. In true Burner fleeting fashion, the hang with Carl never came to pass.

It was roughly a full year before I saw him again. In 2003, I ended up across the street from Woonami Village, a Woo Woo Field-style camp on steroids with close to 500 campers. My own freshly minted camp, Monkey Puzzle, got our request honored by the Org for close Woo theme camp placement . As it turned out, my long time friends Dan Cohen and Marcea Wiggins and a few others were Woo refugees looking to exercise what I like to refer as "polycamperous tendencies", so I went along with their site plan to go for an autonomous experience that was deliberately guarded from the Woonami wave.

Late in the week, we'd been up late and were sitting next to our dome across the street from the Woo. Carl suddenly came rolling up on the infamous Woonami bus, playing on top with a live band that had been raging full tilt with hard rock all week. It was deathly quiet at 5 o'clock in the morning and just as the bus was docking, he played some beautiful aria alone on a synth. GORGEOUS! In that moment, I realized the POWER of peaceful classical music played live in the electronica-crazed Black Rock City. I also realized that this was the Solovox personality I'd been hearing about...

Fast forward, Solovox has since played all the major music events that I've produced or co-produced (roughly 10), including most of the little gatherings of what has become a wonderful creative non-entity of post-Burning Man tribes affiliated with MarchFourth Marching Band, the Mobile Groove Bomb project, Water in the Desert and the PDX Bridge Festival to name a few. The Solovox 10-year anniversary Diggable Monkey video will feature Carl as an embedded character in this historical evolution of vibrant Portland counter culture. Since I've been tracking Solovox with a video camera at my shows, kaosmosis events, Howl and others, we've developed quite an impressive 8-year archive of footage.

As we've now assembled the media in preparation for a short retrospective piece, I believe he is the perfect protagonist to illustrate how far we've all come - and how gently our batch of grapes have aged. Don't worry, Carl. We're here to further indulge you on your 10-year anniversary. I'll be sure to keep that Suck Knob turned way down... Looking forward to the show next Friday - and you telling us all about it!

More info on the anniversary show here:

Oregon News Article here:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Water in the Desert - Local Culture Project

Great meeting with Mizu Desierto yesterday regarding a film project documenting The Local Culture Project. I've had the pleasure of working with Mizu a number of years ago on Monkey Puzzle, a multi-year Burning Man theme camp project (2003-2007). Always the instigator, I love collaborating with her. She brings so much energy and inspiration to her Water in the Desert team that it's impossible to not be motivated. Keep your ears to the ground on this one, Folks. We're digging DEEP!!

LOCAL CULTURE PROJECT is a year-long inquiry into the relationships between local communities, foods and the arts working under the hypothesis that all are essential pieces of the sustainable discourse. Currently WITD is developing a documentary film and a series of interactive farm events for a newly acquired 1/2 acre lot in St. Johns, Prior Day Farm. The project has received a 2011 RACC project grant and will partner with PSU in a summer course on the farm site entitled Butoh Dance, Permaculture Design and Sustainability. In July, Portland Center Stage will present a site-specific performance of the project during its JAW Festival. Other proposed activities include urban farm gatherings and performances, workshops and a weeklong camp for kids celebrating the relationships between nature, the garden and creativity. One of the projects leading motivations is to build a bridge between the the local food movements and the fields of somatic inquiry, permaculture design and artistic expression.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

We're Big In Belgium...

Well, not quite... As someone that has spent the last twelve years of his working career analyzing and mapping data, I've found my viewer statistics to be particularly interesting to monitor. Perhaps the most interesting aspect for me is the geographic component. Where are people located when viewing my content? When you're sitting behind an editing bench in Portland, you start to wonder how far of a reach your material really gets. I'm happy to say that Diggable Monkey does indeed have a world wide audience! Though I can't see detail below the Country level, I can at least see dispersion at the global level.

Here are the Top Ten numbers from DM's Vimeo profile since the account was opened in early 2009:

1. United States
2. Germany
3. Canada
4. France
5. Great Britain
6. Italy
7. Brazil
8. India
9. Indonesia
10. Netherlands