Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Izenmania to Focus on Downtown Tacoma

Downtown Tacoma is on the blogging brain, and with good reason. We seem to be inching closer and closer to having an awesome downtown. So now it is time for this humble blogger to do his part.

The city's Community and Economic Development Department has brought in AngelouEconomics to help develop an Economic Development Strategic Plan for the area. From the project website:
In order to provide a blueprint for increased investment, the City of Tacoma's Community and Economic Development Department is partnering with AngelouEconomics, an Austin-based economic development consulting firm, to develop an economic development strategic plan for downtown Tacoma. AngelouEconomics is the largest independent economic development consulting firm in the U.S. and specializes in creating strategies for communities seeking high impact investment and targeted, managed growth solutions.

The Angelou people are in town this week conducting a number of focus groups on the various business and residential groups impacted by downtown development. Yours truly will be participating in the Young Professionals focus group later in the week.

The ultimate goal is:
The development of AngelouEconomics' downtown economic development plan will coincide with the development of the Downtown Comprehensive Plan headed by the Community and Economic Development Department's Planning Division in partnership with VIA Architects in terms of reviewing the long-range planning and zoning of the downtown. The overall vision for downtown will be defined consistently for both plans and will be supported by a combined public outreach effort (interviews, focus groups, visioning sessions, online surveys). By integrating the two plans, the City of Tacoma will have a robust and meaningful downtown strategic plan.

Here's hoping that somewhere in here they get done planning and actually start doing. Will report back on Thursday with my account of the experience.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Izenmania Studios Open For Business!

Well... "business" is kind of a strong word. Nobody's going to want to come to my apartment to record except for me. But that's alright.

I've been playing music for most of my life, and recording in earnest off and on for the last quarter of it. My first serious band, Mr. Fusion (an acoustic songwriting collaborative duo), recorded our first album in 2003 in the University Place backyard of my high school video productions teacher. This Shirt Is Pants finished up a debut EP in September at Pacific Studios in downtown Tacoma. But the one thing I've always wished is that I had time with the recording gear to lay down tracks and write overdubs on the spot, which has been prevented by either time or money on previous projects.

Well, no longer! With the purchase of an M-Audio FireWire 410 interface and a microphone, I have transformed this corner of my apartment into a mess o' cable and blinking lights, and have commenced to annoy neighbors by singing very loudly along to music they cannot hear.

I started out with a brief equipment test, and I'm pretty happy with the sound quality. While certainly limited, Garage Band is demonstrating surprising flexibility, especially considering I don't necessarily plan on using it to produce professional-quality stuff. At some point I'll probably get something fancier, but for now I'm just pleased to finally have an outlet for the ideas in my brain.

I'm also hoping that this upsurge in creativity will drive me back into the Tacoma music scene a bit. TSIP seems to be dying a slow death, and I think it would be a lot of fun to get out there with some of my own songs and start playing shows. For now I'll stick to documenting the recording process, and maybe looking around for some like minded musicians who can help me out with instruments that I don't play, but want to use.

But first... more playing with toys! I like toys. Toys are good.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Opening for Garrison Keillor (but not really)

Hey kids! If you read Spew today you know that the incomparable Garrison Keillor (of Prairie Home Companion fame) is coming to town tonight to spread his usual brand of laid back good cheer and humor at the Pantages.

Less publicized (except to those whom it actually affects, presumably) is the pre-show BCPA subscribers reception. If you happen to be there between 6 and 7 PM tonight, drinking their wine and eating their snacks (or whatever it is people do at pre-show receptions these days), and you happen to see a couple guys with a mandolin and a guitar quietly rocking in the corner, please take a moment out of your day to tell them that they are awesome. Because, well... we are pretty awesome :)

It's pretty cool, in my brain, anyway. Will we get to meet The Tall One himself? Probably not. Will we even get to watch the long since sold-out show? Chances are slim, and rely on either no-shows or the fire code letting us stand in the back. Will anyone really even remember that we were there? Who knows. We're meant to be background music anyway. But two out of three Izenmen shall rock that small room in the Pantages like nobody's business. Rock it like only a family of folk musicians can.