Vera has followed Jones more closely that I have, so she was more familiar than I was with most of the 20 songs Jones and her five-member backing band performed. It was a somewhat tightly-scripted performance, with apparently very little improvising along the way, although that didn’t take away from the energy and enthusiasm of the show.
The opening act was a solo performer named Elvis Perkins who was very charismatic as he moved through his eight-song set, accompanied by guitar (both regular acoustic & 12-string) and an expertly-played harmonica. Kind of surreal-leaning folky stuff -- the songs all seemed to veer off into “American Pie”-type word- and image-association craziness. A lot of fun. Vera found out afterwards he’s the son of the actor Anthony Perkins (Psycho), and I guess there was a touch of that Norman Bates charm-slash-eccentricity about him.
That said, I’m reasonably sure Elvis wouldn’t even harm a fly.
The whole night was more than a little inspiring, really -- seeing artists submit their carefully-crafted work to a receptive audience -- and I found myself thinking at times during the evening about this second novel idea I have brewing, as well as other creative endeavors. (My first -- Same Difference -- is available on Amazon.)
Poker -- in all its variants -- obviously can serve as an opportunity for creativity.
In the brief moments here and there I’ve been able to play lately, I’ve been sitting at low buy-in no-limit hold’em tables, kind of thinking in the back of my mind that I’d like to play a little more NLHE this summer when I’m in Vegas reporting on the WSOP. Having been locked into fixed limit HE for quite a long time, it hasn’t taken long to become reacquainted with the differences between the games -- including appreciating the many ways one can be imaginative in NLHE when taking different lines on hands.
Writing about poker can also afford one chances to be creative, even in the context of reporting.
Engaged in a fun little conversation on Twitter a couple of days ago in which the subject of puns and tourney reporting came up. As I mentioned yesterday, Pat Pezzin had gone deep in the 2-7 Triple Draw SCOOP event I was covering, a game in which whenever one chooses not to discard it is called “standing pat.” Was joking on Twitter a little about possible headlines should Pezzin triumph.
Pezzin did actually stand pat on his elimination hand, and I guess he was probably the last Pat standing. So I grabbed a screenshot of the last Pat standing standing pat.
No wonder I enjoyed the concert so much last night -- being so easily amused and all.
I wrote kind of a lengthy exegesis here on the topic of puns & wordplay last summer in a post titled “Does Humor Belong in Poker Tournament Reporting?” There I concluded that there is certainly a place for grins in tourney reporting -- even those grins that tend quickly to turn grimaces when provoked by a bit of wordplay such as the above. As long as doing so didn’t interfere with the clear communication of what the hell was happening, that is.
Over on Twitter the other night, B.J. Nemeth -- the lead reporter for the World Poker Tour -- chimed in to point out his self-imposed anti-punning stance. Which I respect, obviously, as one of the many approaches to reporting, particularly in the especially capable hands of Nemeth who infuses a lot of information -- and, I’d argue, creativity -- into his reports.
No, I’m not saying avoiding puns makes one’s reporting small potatoes. Although I could see how one might call such a person a commentator.