I'm proud to say it was my idea, a little less proud that it was born out of my lack of success as a musician. "If I can barely fill up a bloody club in Florentine," I told Itka, "why don't I take the opposite approach? I'll play for a forum so small that no matter what happens, people will wind out being stuck outside."
We decided on 12 chairs, in honor of the famous satirical novel by Ilf and Petrov. We also decided to buy a huge bottle of vodka (3 liters) and let people drink as much as they want for the 30 shekels cover charge. Stellina, probably the sweetest person in this city, volunteered her apartment near Rabin square, and filled it up with candles.
It works. I've never had so much fun with my music. There have been four performances so far, each one completely different. The first was photographed by the talented Arnon Tussia Cohen, who produced the image appearing beneath. He's working on a series depicting people while they listen to music. The second show was nearly all conversation. The third feathured a guest star: Texas' own Zach Wheat and his anthem "Fuck You Tel-Aviv".
Last night there was relatively little storytelling and sharing of jokes, and more avant-garde trial and error. the totally corky Yael Birenbaum opened for me with her electric organ singing: "Get on top of me. Get on top of me." I couldn't help but reply with something equally pornographic and launched my own set with "Wintery sex in a Moscow Playground"
The much rootsier Ami Yares, sitting across from me on the couch, pulled out a guitar and played along to most songs, turning each one into an unrehersed duet. I was wearing a feathered bow fit for an Austrian widdow, in honor of Purim, Stellina dressed up as Peter pan. we drank nearly 2 liters of vodka and gradually lost control of the music, which is what music is for.
Granted, there were only 11 of us, and that is the closest I got to 12 so far. But this too is a source of pride for me. When the Mothers of Invention began performing there were often more musicians onstage than in the audience. They made their best music at the time. As a one man show, I can't compete with such feat, but a room full of friends isn't prone to artistically corrupt me.
On this link are the date for the next 12 chair show and Itka's email address. drop her a line and she'll send you the address.