Entry #99
9:30 PM, Friday, December 29th, 2000:
The final piece...maybe. Everything on DVD will be nice, but that may never happen. What we have now though, is the full 4tvs show being set-up in 5 minutes, and torn down in less than 10. This, allowing me to play absolutely any venue, including an open-mic night, and even a comedy club showcase. Before, the hour set-up kept me from those places, but now there's nothin' stopping me. The strangest thing in all of this, was that my "boxes" idea never made it. What I'd been focussing on since the beginning of 4tvs was not the answer... Here's how it all began.
(This entire entry is indeed the story of the restructuring of the 4tvs set-up. I'm certain the thought of it has to be incredibly boring to most of you. I will take no offense if you skim it all. It's necessary to document because this change to the show is a tremendous crossroads in my career. I truly feel the places this will allow me to play will be an intregal part of my "making it" in this city.)
So this was about to be the future of 4tvs. Individual boxes that I stacked into 2 towers. Made all the measurements, and the day I was to go out and get the wood, something told me not to. I looked at all the drawings, and then pictured it live, and man - it just didn't work for me. The boxes had to be made too damn big. That black hole is where the screen would go, and damnit if the box just dwarfs it - these are 27 inch tvs! The thought of buying all the wood, making everything, painting everything and then being unhappy still - shit. So I paused a bit and hoped some solution would just come to me. It pissed me off too - because here I was making excuses AGAIN. I've been putting off these boxes for a YEAR now...
Talking to moose one night we were throwing ideas around. We both agreed we liked the current set-up. It looks good. If we could only fit the shelves in STANDING up in the trailer, I could bolt everything to the current set-up and we'd be all good. Unfortunately, buying a new trailer is out of the question...then POW - it hit me. I can saw off the tops of the shelves and just maybe it'll fit in the trailer standing up....and indeed with 4 inches to spare it'll fit. The strangest part of all this is, my flux capicitor drawing I made back in november of '98 when i thought 4tvs up:
Heh, that drawing had the top brackets cut-off. When I bought the shelves, I just figured I had to lay the shelves down in the trailer anyway, so what's the use in cutting them to look like the drawing. Well, 57 shows later I figure out why. So it's truly a bittersweet discovery: Yea! It's gonna be beautiful, but DAMN why the hell didn't I think of this before? All those freakin' set-ups that killed me, all could've been avoided. And not by some expensive restructuring by buliding boxes...but by simply cutting the tops of the shelves. Christ.
So the next step of course is sawing through that metal. "Hey dad, can I borrow your power tools?" I have never felt further away from Columbus, Ohio in my entire life. I went to hardware store after hardware store - home depot after home depot...no one could do it for me. Finally found this little hardware store (of course it was about 300 feet from my apartment) that could do it for me. And you would not believe who was behind the counter:
Yes, I swear to GOD - Dick Cheney was behind the counter. This of course is a younger picture of our vice-president elect...but by all means it was him. I kid you though...but I damn near went home, got my video camera, and showed you. I even congratulated him on the close election. It was so eerie. ANYWAY - he allowed me to use his hack saw and cut the 6 pieces. Let me tell ya something: I am out of shape. Granted, this is pretty thick metal, but after doing just 2 pieces, my heart was racing as if I had run a mile. I was hurtin'. And you can't slowly cut these pieces, the blade would stick...you gotta SLAM it. By the 6th piece, I actually had to sit On the floor for a minute. I'm such a pussy.
After that debacle, I set-up the new shelves, and prepared to spray paint them. I removed all the lettering that used to say my name, and hearing my thoughts. No turnin' back now I kept thinking. I was planning to make some posterboards at kinko's all nice and laminated with foam board to replace the lettering. Guess now I have to. Spray painting was easy - did it on a sandy sidewalk next to a baseball diamond - then kicked the painted dirt around...worked out pretty well. Next step was the wheels.
Now I couldn't afford any added height because the shelves were sized to my height, and as well the trailer wouldn't allow it. So I had to install the wheels within the shelf so it only added about an inch. I could try and describe this but screw it - it works.
Of course buying the 8 wheels and actually attaching them are two different stories. Thank GOD someone in my apartment buliding was willing to help. So JOE - you the man...thanks for everything - I owe you one. For two nights we set-up in the front lobby of our apartment building and drilled those puppies some wheels. Then of course came the wiring. Which I must admit was one of the singlemost kick ass day of my life. I love problem solving. Trying to figure out a way to make everything work out in the most convenient way possible was just the shit. And it's now time to pay homage to one man: the inventor of the zip-tie.
I mentioned him in my last entry, but his value as a man just can't be praised enough. These puppies made everything possible. Instead of drilling the tv into a board, I was able to zip-tie it on, so it can't move. Black zip-ties of course, white ones would've looked quite tacky. It took about 8 hours (thank GOD for some great NFL games) and it was done. And here's the kicker: the set-up is faster than if I had made boxes. All that needs to be done, is put the top tvs on the shelves and plug them in...then connect the audio and video cables from one shelf to the next and power up. That's it - everything else is done. Again, completely bittersweet. I have truly lost DAYS of my life with the set-up and tear down of 4tvs - in fact exactly 114 hours. That's nearly 5 days of setting up. Goddamn that's depressing. If I had used this set-up, it would've been about 12 hours. Ugh. Oh well - there'll be many more shows from this point on, so I can't bitch too much (tough I certainly have haven't I?).
The final part of the rennovation were the 2 signs that would go on the front of the shelves. This actually took me about a week. I just couldn't get it right. Here was what I came up with:
It looks cool, but it's wrong for the show. Too spacey...the technology of 4tvs doesn't even occur to most people...so to have a logo that looks space-ageish is stupid. I needed something that looked fun. Not so serious. The show is just goofy. Then again, nothing too goofy that would detract from the tvs themselves. And as well, "hearing my thoughts" has to go. It just doesn't work with 4tvs. It's the name of my album, and you are indeed hearing my thoughts with 4tvs...but that's not really what people come away with. People come away laughing. That's what stays with you. And, can you imagine those signs in a comedy club? It's just too much. Couldn't really put my finger on it, but I had to come up with signs that worked, and said what I wanted. I finally came up with something I liked:
Still looks professional, but a lot more casual. Pepole walking in and seeing this will know that it's gonna be funny. Yet, doing some music too will work. The previous was just too damn hi-tech. I know the show is pretty hi-tech, but again - that's not what grabs people. This prepares people for what they're about to see...
As you can probably tell, I'm so damn pumped - that I wrote an entire entry on the SHELVES of my 4tvs show. But again, I really think this is the biggest entry of the year. It's not just me wanting a quicker set-up time - it's the ability to play any venue in this city. Hell I could play on the street in a matter of moments, and comedy club, and open-mic night: Man! I'm so excited. Only time will tell, but I'm convinced the places this set-up allows me to play, will be where a HUGE contact will be. Now, how did the first show with this set-up go?
Thursday, December 28th, 2000 - 8:30-11:00 PM
YouTube link added 02.13.09
Well here it is - the big new set-up. Of course things need to go wrong. Somehow all of the zip-ties broke on one tv. (sigh) - somehow the tv didn't go all over the place. I don't know HOW the fuck it didn't. It bent the HELL out of the video feed going into it though - amazingly the video still worked. So we figured the zip-ties were just too tight, so I redid them at the end. Everything was in and set-up in 8 minutes. Another few minutes to get everything plugged in...but at this point we were more cautious and slow seeing how everything came together, rather than racing. It was certainly nice though. So excited about the set-up.
*just shai **just bread (request!!!)
Voice felt good, but absolutely no crowd energy. Some people were ther for me, and even a couple girls who had been there before requested a song! How cool is that! Somehow, they call it out, and I put the tape in and BAM - it's right there. I looked so damn professional. Almost like having a DVD. Singing-wise everything was cool.

Sadly - no CDS sold, and not even one buck in the tip jar. No one saw it though, 'cause someone was sitting in front of it. That might be next months adventure. Creating a way for the tip jar to be accesible and obvious to everyone. 'Cause really, I think anyone is willing to throw a $1 my way...so a nice open jar - easy to read. May be worth throwin $20 into it to make it look good...I'll figure it out. But really, i twas one of the slowest, most un-energized shows I've ever done. Jess and everyone said afterwards it didn't seem that way to them, and my performance really varies too much...but it just didn't feel right. Oh well. The new set-up is done...2000 is over, and BRING ON 2001! WOO HOO.

Indeed - BRING ON 2001. I can't wait...
Thanks for readin',
original video file