Them’s the Breaks: You’re Gonna Hiatus

Okay. So I am now on what is known in Showbiz Talk as a “break.” What this means in Regular Person Talk is that I find myself without a commission or paying job at the moment. It happens from time to time. Then one day the phone rings, somebody needs something yesterday again, and another frantic work cycle begins – at which point I start wishing I’d taken time to appreciate the previous break.

Trouble is, said break is usually accompanied by a thundering absence of cash (and it’s hard to enjoy one’s time off while the bank balance is ebbing toward homelessness). This financial freefall comes packed with bonus feelings of failure and borderline despair, accented this year by the moaning chill and Dickensian grays of what New Yorkers like to call “spring.”

But I’ve got a few spec projects to attend to during the current lull, as well as friends to catch up with. And there’s biking to do if we ever hit 70 degrees again, plus all the other odds and ends I had to table during the whirlwind that was You’re Gonna Hate This. Besides, I’ve been through this kind of thing a million times, so I know that it’s only temporary. I know this intellectually, the way I also know that “temporary” is a relative term which also applies to careers and civilizations. Still, before too long – I hope! – I should be overwhelmed by workloads and deadlines once again, and longing for those idyllic days of uncertainty and terror.

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Song/Video of the Week: Howard Ate Thirteen Erasers

Performed by Lindsay Mendez & Michael Holland
From “You’re Gonna Hate This”

Taken from our Joe’s Pub show, Sunday April 21. We’re gonna release a few of these over the coming weeks (if I can figure out how to make the links work). Share the hate!

Vocals: Lindsay Mendez
Acoustic guitar/one little vocal: MH
Piano/MD: Michael Borth
Guitars: Sean Driscoll & Matt Hinkley
Bass: Daniel Fabricatore
Drums: Jay Mack
Percussion: Jeff Roberts
Owl hat on loan from the personal collection of Shoshana Feinstein

Music & lyrics by Michael Holland
©2013 Holland Highwater Music, ASCAP

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Hate To Tell Ya!

Now that the dust has settled on yet another feverishly passionate project, and as my career resumes its screeching halt status, it’s time to relive the glory that was “You’re Gonna Hate This”!!!!

The show finally happened at Joe’s Pub this past Sunday night, and despite the box office computer’s being down for the entire weekend, not to mention springtime temperatures soaring to 41 degrees, we had a full, enthusiastic house. The band (Sean Driscoll and Matt Hinkley, guitars; Jay Mack, drums; Dan Fabricatore, bass; Jeff Roberts, percussion; and Michael Borth, piano, keyboards, and heroic musical direction) KILLED IT. Our director Dave Solomon managed to turn the whole thing into an actual, real live show, with some extra miracle-working help from our tireless producer Shoshana Feinstein, beautiful lighting design by KJ Hardy, and brilliantly animated title projections by Chris van Patten of Van Patten Media. The Joe’s Pub folks were terrific – professional and beyond efficient, they really took care of us in a big way. Oh, and we had a surprise 12-person choir at the end. And I learned how to tie a bow tie, just in time! All in all, a triumph.

Hatin'! (Photo by Kevin H. Lin)

Hatin’! (Photo by Kevin H. Lin)

Naturally, Lindsay (Mendez or something, I think) was pure genius. Just hearing her singing the crap out of stuff I made up was mind-blowing for me – even though every time we sing together I can barely look at her for fear of cracking up, but that is only because I am a raging amateur by comparison and not to be trusted. (During one of her solo numbers I remember thinking, “This is going pretty well,” before promptly playing an M chord on the guitar; enough of that.) Before the show, while I was leaping around and pacing backstage as is my wont apparently, Lindsay admitted to feeling nervous, which surprised me: she could sit onstage and eat a chicken dinner and people would buy tickets, because she just has that thing. And had she not told me, I’d've never known, because she knocked everything out of the park, as usual.

Lindsay rockin' the Bonnet of Death during her chilling portrayal of Mary Todd in "Honest Abe Tells Everything." (Photo by Kevin H. Lin)

Lindsay rockin’ the Bonnet of Death during her chilling portrayal of Mary Todd in “Honest Abe Tells Everything”. (Photo by Kevin H. Lin)

And then, seconds later (or so it seemed to me), it was all over. I got waylaid in the hallway and was unable to greet/thank a lot of people, so if you were there and I didn’t get to see you, thank you so much! If you weren’t, then perhaps you’re my agent, or most of the industry folks I invited (see screeching halt, above. Oh, well!); maybe there’ll be another one some day. People did seem to like it. Many of them asked what the next step will be, and I have to say I’m just as curious as they are. Having lived and breathed this thing daily for the last five months, the sudden inertia has me crashing pretty hard, just as I knew it would, so I’m hoping this won’t have been its final appearance, despite what today may feel like. As with everything else on the Planet Earth, it’s pretty much out of my hands though, and that’s probably a good thing.

A thing which I hate!

Some cautionary advice from Lindsay and me, with visible commentary from Matt Hinkley. (Photo by Kevin H. Lin)

Some cautionary advice from Lindsay and me, with visible commentary from Matt Hinkley. (Photo by Kevin H. Lin)

PS: Videos coming soon!

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A Tip of the Hate

First of all, apologies for my lapse in Blog/Song of the Week momentum of late; the demonstrations outside my apartment building have been intense, as I’m sure you can imagine. But you guys, I’m doing stuff! By now, most of my devoted handful of readers are aware that I’ve been working on a new show called You’re Gonna Hate This, which Lindsay Mendez and I will be doing at Joe’s Pub in like FIVE MINUTES!!!!!

Okay, actually, it’s in a little less than two weeks, but it feels like five minutes. In the good way. I finished writing it about a week ago – been going pretty much non-stop since November – and finished orchestrating it yesterday. So now I just need to learn all those lyrics I made up and figure out what to do with my hands. (Sometimes they’re playing instruments, but not always, and I’m told that nail-biting is not an option during the quiet parts.) Tickets are going fast, but we’re not sold out yet! – and let’s face it, we have a six-person band to pay: it’s an extravaganza, chickens. So if we don’t sell out, I’ll be homeless in three months, as opposed to the four I was counting on. Or just come for the music.

You're Gonna Hate These People (L-R): Shoshana Feinstein, producer; MH (I don't know what's up with the Claudette Colbert leg action); Michael Borth, musical director; Lindsay Mendez, whatever; Dave Solomon, director.

You’re Gonna Hate These People (L-R): Shoshana Feinstein, producer; MH (I don’t know what’s up with the Claudette Colbert leg action); Michael Borth, musical director; Lindsay Mendez, whatever; Dave Solomon, director.

Today we ventured over to the club so we could check out the room and figure out some showbiz-type stuff (piano/mic placement, holding area for the camels; y’know, the usual), and one of the nice people there took our picture, complete tourists that we are. But we do have a mighty photogenic team, and I am all about the sharing.

And we are all very excited to show you what we’ve been up to, so come to Joe’s Pub on April 21! You don’t want to be one of those people 40 years from now, lying about having been there when you weren’t, because Lindsay will still be alive, and she’ll remember.

Lindsay Mendez and Michael Holland: You’re Gonna Hate This
Joe’s Pub 425 Lafayette St (between E4 & Astor Pl), NYC 212.539.8778
$20
9:30 PM – April 21

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Annie-mosity

My sister is visiting from Austin this Saturday, and she’s bringing my two nieces. We are to enjoy a Day in the City, which will include the Taking in of a Show, followed by a night spent uptown in Uncle Michael’s slum.

The show in question is Annie, I’m not thrilled to report. I tried to persuade my sister to opt for Cinderella instead, but was forced to admit that the humor of Douglas Carter Beane’s book might be somewhat lost on the kids. I saw a reading of it last year, and found it hilarious, so I was a little surprised at its recent mixed reviews. Then again, it was a decidedly Rodgers & Hammerstein-type crowd that afternoon (judging by the ambulances parked outside), presided over by R&H Organization officers like puffed-up parents. “I wrote a book one time and I know people!” said one. (Okay, so maybe I don’t remember exactly what he said, but you find me one person who does.) At least Laura Osnes has been getting lots of love from the critics – she is nice, so I’m glad. I know people!!

*Sigh*: Annie. Every time I forget it’s encamped at the Palace Theatre and happen to blunder past, I literally have to run from the air-raid siren they’ve got blasting “Tomorrow” on an endless loop. But this is the kids’ big trip to the Big Apple, and this is the show they’ve selected to sleep through. And then it’s off to the hovel – which I do hope to have excavated in time.

As most of you know, I’ve been busy these past few months writing a new show, and while I do enjoy all the newfangled technology available to artists and hacks alike these days, I was brought up gleefully wasting paper and continue to do so. All of my ideas are written in longhand first (I’m actually penning this entry in a looseleaf notebook at the coffee shop [well, now I’m typing it {well actually, I’m done now and you’re reading it – windmills of your mind, motherfucker!!}]), and as a result there are mountains of paper all over the apartment. Wading through/disposing of it all is the easy part though; it’s the actual cleaning of this dump where the real soul-sucking happens.

My refuge from organization. Inspiring, I know.

My refuge from organization. Inspiring, I know.

It’s no secret that my career choices have necessitated certain sacrifices, and that I have been forced to settle for seventh best in most respects. For example, yesterday as I was finishing an hour’s worth of tub scrubbing, three large tiles suddenly burst from the wall and shattered in said bathtub in a cascade of fine black dust, comprised of whatever mold and roach crap gets packed behind there. (Nature’s perpetual renewal is a wonder to behold, isn’t it?) Also, I have no cable – because it’s terrible, and I can’t afford it anyway – so Uncle Michael’s house is not only a potential deathtrap, it is also boring.

I’m excited to see the girls, and glad they’re coming, and I’m sure that by Sunday everyone will be glad they don’t live here…yet. (One of them keeps insisting on appearing in musicals back home – like alcoholism and career criminality, it does run in families.) And I’ll take “boring,” so long as nobody gets killed on that trick fifth floor stair or trying to run a hair dryer. Follow your dreams, girls!

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In the Hate of the Night: Show ‘Nuff!

So it’s official, haters! The Lindsay Mendez/Michael Holland spectacular “You’re Gonna Hate This” is coming to NYC’s Joe’s Pub on Sunday April 21. We’ve been working semi-feverishly on this baby since November (which may seem like no time, but I’m writing and arranging every day, like it’s a job or something) – and we can’t wait for the triumphant unveiling!!!

…or excruciating train wreck, whatever. Either way, it promises to be noteworthy. (Take that, career: “Noteworthy!” – The New York Times. That’ll be good.) If you haven’t already, you can hear demos of some of the new songs on the Song of the Week page.

You can get your tix here on the show page, where you can also post comments about us but ONLY IF THEY’RE NICE, just as Joe Papp envisioned. We need to sell this mother out, so come one, come all. All 200 or so, that is.

One important disclaimer: the show is called “You’re Gonna Hate This,” but don’t blame us if you wind up actually loving it.

One of your hateful hosts.

One of your hateful hosts.

The other one.

The other one.

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Song of the Week: “Haight Ashbury Trip Extension”

Performed by Lindsay Mendez & Michael Holland
From the forthcoming show/album/flashback “You’re Gonna Hate This”

This is it, kids: final installment of the demo teaser for Lindsay’s and my new show. We’re gonna be at Joe’s Pub for ONE NIGHT ONLY in April, so get ready to come hate everything with us! We’ll be announcing the particulars very shortly, but in the meantime here’s a little folk-rock-psychedelia to tide you over (because there’s a style we hadn’t gotten to yet).

Vocals: Lindsay Mendez & MH
The Band: MH (but we’ll have a real one at the show!)
Music & lyrics by Michael Holland
©2013 Holland Highwater Music, ASCAP

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Song of the Week: “Holidays Are Too Expensive”

Performed by Michael Holland and Lindsay Mendez
From the forthcoming show/album/diatribe “You’re Gonna Hate This”

We have a show date, you guys! “You’re Gonna Hate This” is happening in April; more announcements coming soon. In the meantime, here’s one to help you get over all those Presidents’ Day gifts you had to buy.

Vocals: Lindsay Mendez & MH
Piano: MH
Music & lyrics by Michael Holland
©2013 Holland Highwater Music, ASCAP

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Song of the Week: “Hard Act To Enjoy”

Performed by Michael Holland and Lindsay Mendez
From the forthcoming show/album/girls’ night out “You’re Gonna Hate This”

This week’s installment finds MY CHARACTER in a nightclub where the cougars meet, and where MY CHARACTER gets all judge-y and dismissive. I make this distinction about MY CHARACTER so that you will know I am writing as a persona; in real life I am far more more agreeable (and in fact would be even less argumentative in general if everybody weren’t so wrong all the time). Don’t worry, Lindsay surfaces to give me AND my character what for by the end.

Vocals: Lindsay Mendez
Instruments: Who?
Music & lyrics by Michael Holland
©2013 Holland Highwater Music, ASCAP

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Song of the Week: “Here’s Alison the Elephant”

Performed by Lindsay Mendez
From the forthcoming show/album/circus act “You’re Gonna Hate This”

This one’s not a joke, kids. True, the “You’re Gonna Hate This” show is gonna be mostly hilarious, but we do have to get a little serious once in a while. You may think you know what’s going on in this song, but wait till the last word to see if you were right.

Vocals: Lindsay Mendez
Instruments: That Guy
Music & lyrics by Michael Holland
©2013 Holland Highwater Music, ASCAP

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