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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Enter to win a private Deedle Deedle Dees concert and help a little girl

So we're doing this contest where we're giving you the chance to win a private Deedle Deedle Dees concert in any of the 50 United States. It's a fundraiser that will benefit HelpHopeLive for Kellly Whitten.

Kelly is the daughter of a high school friend of mine, Stuart Whitten. Kelly lives in St. Petersburg, FL and recently turned six. She received a double transplant in July to treat autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, a relatively rare kidney disorder that can also cause liver disease—and in Kelly’s case, it did.  Kelly’s family is working with the nonprofit HelpHOPELive to raise funds to cover the significant out-of-pocket expenses related to her medical care: co-pays and deductibles, doctor visits, travel and relocation for transplant, costly immunosuppressant medications (a lifelong expense), and much more. Read more about Kelly's story here.

On Facebook, Stuart asked for anyone to contact him if they had any fundraiser ideas. Initially I was thinking about doing a benefit concert in Florida (where Stuart and I grew up) or in NYC (where I live now) but after talking with one of the event coordinators at HelpHOPELive I realized my idea to have a nationwide contest might be the best way to raise a lot of money to help Kelly and draw attention to the plight of children with similar issues. I've often used the Deedle Deedle Dees as a forum to inform people to organizations and causes I care about and so this contest has the additional benefit of introducing a lot of new people to the work of HelpHopeLive

Here's how the contest will work:

You have from now until April 15, 2013, to purchase a raffle ticket. Tickets are $20 each or 6 for $100. Every ticket will be entered into a drawing. One winning ticket will be chosen at random. The person who purchased this ticket will win a free private concert by the Deedle Deedle Dees. The more tickets you buy the better your chance of winning -- and the more you'll help Kelly.

By "private" we don't mean that only you can attend simply that you, the winner, get to choose where and when it happens. I hope the winner chooses to host a public concert that kids and families in his or her community can attend or gives the show to a school or community organization. But if you want the Dees to play for a select group of your family and friends that's okay too. It's your concert.

Are their restrictions? Of course. The show has to happen by December 31, 2014, and will be a performance appropriate for all ages of our original music. The Dees will contribute the performance and pay for our own lodging and transportation, but we won't supply the venue, the stage, the staff or security, the refreshments or anything else. There are a bunch of other fine points you can read, most of them having to do with the safety and security of the audience but none of them take away from the fact that the winner will have his or her own Deedle Deedle Dees concert to present free of charge in the location of their choosing.

Even in Hawaii? Yes, even in Hawaii. We have friends there and my wife would be excited for an opportunity to visit them.

Want to bypass the whole raffle and just buy a Deedle Deedle Dees concert for your community? We also put an eBay-style BUY NOW option on the entry form. Yeah, it's expensive, but c'mon it's the Deedle Deedle Dees! And your money goes to HelpHopeLive for Kelly Whitten, not us.

You can buy a ticket and enter the contest right now by clicking here:

Questions? Write me: thedeedledeedledees AT yahoo DOT com


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Buy tix for our March 2nd show now and help Red Hook Initiative

I told you in a recent post that our March 2nd Symphony Space show would be a celebration of New York City. In addition to saluting our town in song, we're also going to use the show to do something concrete to help NYC communities. Organizations all over the city are still working to help neighborhoods recover from Hurricane Sandy but they're also doing the same essential work they were doing before the storm to help those most in need. We'll be spotlighting different non-profits that we think do great stuff in the five boroughs and doing different promotions to help them.

The first non-profit we're going to spotlight is Red Hook Initiative. I took a lot of supplies and food down there donated by folks in my neighborhood and collected money and presents at my sing-a-longs for their holiday parties. They've been extremely active post-hurricane but have been a huge force in that community since 2002. Check 'em out here:

Here's the first promotion: If you buy tickets to our March 2nd show by MLK / Inauguration Day (Jan 21), we'll donate $2 per ticket to Red Hook Initiative. We don't have access to the Symphony Space box office system so you have to let us know by sending me an e-mail at thedeedledeedledees AT yahoo DOT com that tells me how many tickets you bought. Don't bother sending your ticket confirmation or any of that nonsense. If you tell me you bought tickets, I'll believe you. And either way, Red Hook Initiative will get some money. I'll list all the people who bought tickets to benefit Red Hook Initiative on a big honor roll we'll display at the show and online (please let us know if you'd rather we didn't list your name).

You can buy tickets here:


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ulysses / Odyssey book club

I'm doing a Ulysses / Odyssey book club this year. "Ulysses" as in Ulysses by James Joyce and "Odyssey" as in the epic tale by Homer that provides the structure for Joyce's book.
We're reading both of them simultaneously. Pick any editions you want but I'll be reading the 1961 translation of Joyce's book and probably the Fitzgerald or Fagles version of Homer's tale. In addition I'm already reading Gareth Hinds' graphic novel of The Odyssey with my kids (ages 4 and 7). It's very cool. This past summer we read part of the Odyssey adaption by Mary Pope Osborne (yes, of Magic Tree House fame) and they got hooked. I got hooked as well, both by reading MPO to them at bedtime and by working on some Joyce-related music for an Irish lit professor who asked me to sing some songs in her classroom.

I'm going to use Joyce's book as a guide for our schedule. His Ulysses has 18 "books," which divides up to 3 every two months. So read about 3 books every two months + the corresponding passages of Homer and we'll meet -- online and in person. Did I mention this is a musical book club? It is. We'll be singing most of the songs we come across in Joyce's book and writing some more based on Homer. If you live in or near Brooklyn you can do this with me in person but if you don't you can do it with me on YouTube.

Yeah, this is a big undertaking. But if what your Facebook and Twitter avatars are saying is any indication, it seems you folks have a lot of time on your hands that you mostly spend taking pictures of plates of food and watching cable TV. So just eat a little less (or don't waste time taking pictures of what you eat), watch a little less of that critically-acclaimed series television and you'll have plenty of time for my club.

This is not a literary club. Although I do have an annotated companion to my Ulysses that is as long as the book itself, I'll only be consulting it haphazardly and our discussions, both real and virtual, will be very free-wheeling and focused on whatever we think is fun to talk about in relation to the books.

Get your kids involved! The graphic novel and the Mary Pope Osborne versions are well done and provide a great way for you to have a real family book club.

Go! First meeting sometime in late February.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Big NYC area shows coming up soon

The Deedle Deedle Dees are deep in rehearsal and preparing to re-emerge with performances at BAM in Brooklyn on Feb. 2nd and at Symphony Space in Manhattan on March 2nd. Here's what makes these shows unique:

Saturday, Feb 2nd, 12pm, 2:30pm - BAM, Brooklyn
Original guitarist and founding member Anand Mukherjee (AKA Innocent Dee) will take the stage with us for these performances that are part of the BAMkids Film Festival. These will be celebratory shows spanning the Dees' nearly 10-year career featuring fan favorites, songs you haven't heard in a while, and previews of some of our newest compositions.

Saturday, March 2nd, 11am - Symphony Space, Manhattan
A show all about our home, New York City made up of almost entirely new material that we've been writing over the past year. NYC is a town built from seemingly disparate but somehow wonderfully compatible elements and so is this show: hip hop, klezmer, old jazz, punk rock, mariachi, salsa, old string band music, and all the other sounds you're used to hearing collide at our shows will all be there but mixed together in new and surprising ways that we think will tell the story of our town especially well. As you might expect, the Dees tour of New York is an esoteric one, one down the forgotten side streets and under those streets (yep, there's a song about rats), one that reaches deep into the outer boroughs to find new neighborhoods and the people who live there and the delightful stories they tell.

See you there!