This year, the “phest” convenes at the The Secret Garden SF, a unique and eclectic performance space for all manner of artists to create and congregate in an intimate salon setting. Weather permitting, we’ll be making use of this lovingly tended gem’s enclosed outdoor environs — but sumptuously decorated indoor rooms are available as well.
I have put in the order for this year's rubber ducky part favors (butterfly rubber duckies, as befits the setting) but more importantly I've been busily reaching out to performers and building up a list of artists from all over the Bay — people I know from open mics and Balanced Breakfast. I'll be making an announcement at some point about this year's participants and I greatly appreciate everyone who's agreed to take part so far.
I get a lot of kudos when I tell people about the whole deal — inviting folks to cover my songs for my birthday — but it's not the easiest thing to do. I know people are busy, a lot of them traveling during the summer vacation months. And musicians are touring or have other gigs or other commitments — this in part why I wanted to do the event on a Sunday afternoon. I do my best to suggest songs that I think will work for the person performing as well as honor their request to do a particular song, though I'm also mindful of the fact that I'd like there not to be a huge number of repeats. I might enjoy it if everyone did their own take on "Sett'n My Own Pace" but maybe it's less enjoyable on the whole for everyone. And I do have this conceit that while there are handful of songs of mine that might be considered S-Tier, as the kids would say, there a whole catalogue of creations that I'd love hear someone else take a stab at performing.
There is of course some inevitable churn and turn over as things come up and folks can't make it — and I accept that as part of this crazy thing I'm doing, which is making a pointed effort to get what I really want for my birthday, a chance to hear other people perform these odd little ditties of mine. Rather than it be a huge ego trip, it's actually quite humbling. The level of creativity people put into developing their own interpretations or just the uniqueness of hearing someone else's voice is an amazing thing. But it does require a lot of asking, and following up, which is not something I necessarily find easy.
I chose to do it on the 4th this year because 1) it reinforces the "4" (the fewer numbers to remember the better) but more importantly, I'm trying to dodge the plague that is "Outside Lands" which is either competition or driving folks out of the city to avoid the crowds. I hope folks will swing by. I feel a bit odd about putting on a price on a ticket for a birthday show, but there are costs involved, and if nothing else it commits people to coming that much more. I'm trying to offer some budget friendly options early on to get people onboard, and trust me, this is not a money making proposition.
This year’s artwork is a contribution by illustrator Jesse Israel Art, who earlier this year collaborated with me to create a music video for my song “Lighthouse at the Edge of the World” which is a major part of the new album “At Home At Sea” (available July 12th).
Here's a black and white version of the artwork if you all want to color your own.
Post it with the tag #EGPhest to Facebook and Instagram.
...the password to the event is duckduckgoose
The extended musings of a songwriter.