Read S.J’s most recent blog posts!
I’m mainly posting today to let everyone know that I’m healing very well from my outpatient procedure last month. My surgeon concurs! He’s a good man, and he took very good care of me, as did my immediate family & in-laws (outlaws, really) and all of the St. Vincent’s staff. For those who do not know, we removed my gallbladder on February 8. I’ve experienced only minor differences in what I can eat after the procedure, which is a big relief considering some of the troubles that other people have gone through. Don’t do that Google search unless you just REALLY want to know.
This month I’m staying at home to record more new stuff for all of you, to wrangle my taxes, and to get some more concerts confirmed! Meanwhile, I had wonderful adventures last month, before and after recovering at home, at Glimmerdark in NJ and at PantheaCon in CA. I’m so very grateful to all the facilitators and friends who helped me get there and back, and to everyone who supported the concerts my bandmates and I were lucky enough to give! Betsy and I also had two little concerts, one at The Sacred Well in Portland, OR and the other at our beloved SoulFood Coffeehouse in Redmond, WA. The Portland show was on the evening of my birthday, and I couldn’t have wished for a better crowd or a sweeter night.
Haven’t been to PCon since 2010, so I’m quite a bit excited about this! Here’s what I’ve got on my very lovely plate.
FRIDAY 7pm, Carmel/Monterey: Celia’s concert!
SATURDAY 3:30-5pm, room 945 (Feri suite): Sooj & the gang will entertain!
SATURDAY 7-10:30pm, Cedar/Pine: Mythpunk Masquerade! This is our BIG show.
SUNDAY 3-5pm, room 1067 (Hexenfest suite): Mythpunk Masquerade Micro! This is our house-concert-style show.
SUNDAY 9-10:30pm, Carmel/Monterey: Sooj’s themed concert, Shapeshifters & Siren Songs!
SUNDAY 11pm-12:30am, Cedar/Pine: Hecate at the Crossroads, Tempest & Nathaniel’s ecstatic musical ritual!
Sister-friends Shauna Aura Knight and Lupa will both be presenting as well- go and find them and learn amazing things!
It’s gonna feel so gooooood to make music with Sharon, Winter, Betsy, Nathaniel, Dogwood, Tempest, and Celia again this weekend. I’ve been laying as low as I can for the past week in order to recover from outpatient surgery and get my energy back, so that I can bring the music and the magick when I get to San Jose. I may not be able to play as hard as I’d like, and I may not be able to play certain requests (“Firebird’s Child”, I’m looking at you), but I will be there, and I will be as generous with my voice, my presence, and my magick as I can. Wish me luck!
I’m heading out to the west coast this month for PantheaCon, a couple of delightful shared shows with Betsy Tinney on cello, and my birthday!
PantheaCon is hosted by the Doubletree San Jose, 2050 Gateway Pl, 95110, and runs from February 17-20.
Ancient Ways’ PantheaCon will experience a full Mythpunk Masquerade invasion this year, thanks to Sharon Knight & Winter, Sooj & Betsy, Dogwood & Johnstone and Tempest!
We have a whole bunch of wild, witchy, folkloric and fun concerts and appearances throughout the weekend. Listen for the siren call and join us! I’ll be presenting a themed concert, Shapeshifters & Siren Songs, on Sunday evening. We’ll also have a big full-band concert together with the whole pack of us, as well as more intimate concerts, some hosted by the CAYA Coven hospitality suite!
From the event website: We are tribes of choice. We come in many shapes, sizes, ages, pasts and futures. We take many forms and many spiritual paths. But we appreciate our variety and glory in it all. In diversity comes strength.
Join our huge and varied Pagan, Heathen, Wiccan, Reconstructionist, Indigenous, spiritual and magical groups in education and celebration. As usual we fill the whole hotel with over 14 function rooms for workshops, rituals, concerts, and presentations including 4 ballrooms for Vendors along with open house parties.
After PantheaCon, Betsy and I have two sweet shared shows together. We’ll be in Portland, OR on my birthday!
WEDNESDAY, FEB 22, 7-9:30pm
Faery Queens & Siren Songs: Sooj’s Birthday Concert!
The Sacred Well, Portland
SE 13th Ave & SE Lexington St, Portland, OR 97202
Come celebrate Sooj’s birthday with Sooj & Betsy as they perform together in The Sacred Well’s gorgeous new Portland location! Sooj & Betsy have loved and worked with the Sacred Well team at their Oakland location in past years, and they’re so grateful to have a new Portland location to visit! We hope you will be, too!
PLEASE NOTE: space is limited to 30, and bringing your own chair along just in case is advised. Seating will open at 6:45pm on the evening of the concert.
The Sacred Well Portland, located at 7927 SE 13th Ave at Lexington, proudly serves the spiritual supply needs of Pagans, polytheists, witches, Wiccans, gem & mineral enthusiasts, and metaphysical/new age communities of the greater Portland, Beaverton, Milwaukie, Clackamas, and Gresham areas. Your magic is our mission!
After Portland, it’s back to our favorite small stage for the first time in a long time!
SATURDAY, FEB 25, 7-10PM
Sooj & Betsy Live at Soulfood Coffeehouse!
15748 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
$20 suggested donation
Special guests are likely; everyone is welcome!
I’ll head home again for a stay-cation, a little remodeling, and some more recording time at the end of the month. Wish me luck on not working through the scheduled stay-cation!
Also please feel free to wish me luck this coming Wednesday, February 8. I’ll be having outpatient surgery that day. No crisis, but my PCP & my surgeon say it’s time for my gallbladder to say farewell. This should be much less invasive than the last time I had surgery, back in 2009. Unlike then, I currently have insurance coverage. Needless to say, after that’s been wrangled, if I need to put out the call for help or healing, I promise you all that I will.
I learned yesterday morning that a project very dear to my heart is gathering a whole lot of momentum.
Most of you will have seen my music videos for “Neptune” and “D&D” on YouTube by now. Film maker Ben Dobyns & Zombie Orpheus Entertainment who helped me bring those videos to life, is now making it happen with a project called Strowlers. The world of Strowlers is a world much like our own- people who are somewhat different, in this case who have magical talent, are persecuted and held in suspicion while just trying to get through their daily lives. Strowlers has the potential to be a very powerful story told on film, and I think it stands a chance at helping a lot of people.
I have seen the pilot episode of the hoped-for Strowlers series, which includes POC in leading roles, a healthy same-sex relationship, AND rebel librarians. I got to stand on a Seattle rooftop one morning and be filmed for a brief appearance in the teaser-trailer for Strowlers – keep reading and you’ll find out where to see this. Lastly, I have written two songs for and about the project so far. I found out today that Ben and his team have launched a Kickstarter for the production of two Strowlers short films: one set in Ireland and one set in Mongolia.
Filming is complete for the story told in Ireland. The story told in Mongolia will be told from the point of view of its local cast, including the shamans of Ulaanbaatar, who fell in love with the concept of Strowlers and invited Ben and his team to create a short film with them.
What I’m telling you is that Strowlers has got representation all over the place, which I think we need now more than ever. Storytelling is a magic that’s been with us longer than any of our nations have existed, and Ben & his team know how to use that magic for good. I believe in this project, and I’m so excited to see where it’s going. I’m also proud to be credited as “songwriter” in the Kickstarter description, something I neither asked for nor expected.
Bonus: if you watch the entire Strowlers pitch video for the fundraiser, you’ll not only see my little cameo, but you’ll also hear those songs I mentioned writing! They’re called “Mirror-self” and “Burn Me Out”.
TODAY, ALL DAY, Bandcamp.com, where all of my music can be purchased via download or CD, is donating THEIR SHARE of every single music purchase to the ACLU.
Our founder Ethan Diamond made a beautiful statement about this commitment Read it here.
If you’ve been waiting to order or purchase downloads of my stuff or music that my friends make, today would be the perfect day.
Even better is that this has become a call to action for us musicians, also.
I just committed to donating MY share of today’s sales as well, and so have over 400 other artists and labels. I hope you’ll support this cause with me. My download page is here.
This weekend I’m performing Fri-Sun at Glimmerdark in Princeton, NJ! If you’re here amongst the magical creatures, come and see me! The event is hosted by the Hyatt Regency Princeton.
I’ve got THREE different themed concerts AND workshop. Not bad for my first live gig of the year! Thanks so much to the whole Glimmerdark team for fostering more magic & creativity through the dark winter days!
If you’re interested in attending Glimmerdark, learn more here. Online tickets are closed, but you can still get in at the door.
8:30-9:30pm, WITHERSPOON BALLROOM TECH STAGE:
Themed concert, Mythpunks in Neverland!
Internal Alchemy workshop/presentation/mini-concert
8:30-9:30pm, WITHERSPOON BALLROOM TECH STAGE:
Themed concert, The Good Witch/Bad Witch Revue!
followed by Frenchy & the Punk! YAAAASSS!
3:30-4:30pm, WITHERSPOON BALLROOM TECH STAGE:
Themed concert, Shapeshifters & Siren Songs!
My favorite contest. So grateful to have the time and energy to send in a song again this year. Special thanks to the beautiful Renée Janski & Ronda Jean for all the help I could need (and the most adorable desk I’ve ever seen). Hope you all enjoy!
By the way, musician friends, entries are open until January 29. You’ve got time! Get in there! 😀
I wrote an article for Vex Mosaic, the magazine of speculative thought, and it’s on their front page today!
Please check it out when you have time; I’m very proud of it!
Here’s an excerpt.
Creativity’s best magic exists in the unknown, in that fraction of things that can’t be measured or predicted. As creators, we cannot know how people will react to the things that we make and share until we have the courage to get them made and shared. If someone’s work gives us a new memory or a story to tell our friends, if we are affected by the experience of a concert or a ballet, then we come back for more again and again. If we as creators get the chance to see the effect of our work as it lights up someone else’s eyes, or if someone later tells us that a song we wrote got them through really hard times, then we have proof of that magic’s existence. But none of us can predict it. None of us can predict people’s reactions when we walk into the room with our treasures in hand, just as we did when we were tiny children who used up reams of paper and oceans of crayons. In some ways, we’re still little kids running up to bigger people to say “look what I made” in hopes of praise.
Maybe this is why there will always be people who dismiss creative pursuits and creative people: no matter the serious subject matter of our creative works, we will always move forward with a childlike spirit of sharing.
I hope the weather, work, and your blood- or chosen-family are all treating you well, and if not, I hope the tide changes for you soon.
I’m also hoping you can join me this evening – I get to share a concert with my sweet song-sister Bekah Kelso, online, everywhere the signal can reach, just for you.
Here’s the link for the concert broadcast, which will begin at 7:30pm CENTRAL TIME, and wrap up at 9pm Central.
Here’s the Facebook event if you’d like to be part of the discussion there, and also share the info with your Facebook peeps. Feel free to invite anybody you think would enjoy what we do, together and apart!
In Bekah’s words, we’re gonna music & chill, y’all.
It’s my last concert of any kind for this year, so expect it to be one of a kind. Bekah and I have been singing together for more than a decade, through years and years of beauty, life changes, and revelations. I cannot recommend her music highly enough, and I cannot wait to sing with her again, live from her living room, for all of you! It’ll be a warm and welcoming acoustic concert, and you can watch from any device that connects to the web. Bonus: if watching from a computer, you can take advantage of the “chat room” feature on Concert Window, which is always a treat! Join that flock of friends (some you’ll have met, and some you haven’t yet) and chat with us as we share songs and stories, harmonies and happiness.
Bekah and I each have a song on The Green Album! Have you heard that yet?
OTHER (BRIEF) NEWS
Remember my Traveling Songs promotion? As the greatest fan family ever, you’ve all helped me raise more than thirteen monthly car payments for my new touring vehicle since mid-July! THANK YOU from the bottom of my happy heart! Shadowfax is going strong, and it looks like that shiny new odometer is already going to read something around 25,000 miles at the end of this year. Shadowfax is an absolute pleasure to drive! Thanks also to those of you who’ve sent me your feedback about those Traveling Songs- it means the world to me to know which ones you love, which ones you keep going back to, and which ones you truly love best of all! If you haven’t heard about this and you’re curious, click here to learn more.
I released a polished version of one of the Traveling Songs, “Moving Meditation”, just a little while ago, as part of a new playlist. Check it out and listen here. It’s free to download if you like, but I’m using money from any paid downloads of that collection to beef up my year-end donations to Planned Parenthood, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, and the Water Protector Legal Collective. Those donations are looking pretty respectable now, thanks to those paid downloads. Thank you all so very much. Not only are you helping to make a difference, you’re doing so when you could have had the music for free. Thank You!
Before I go, I just want to reassure you all that, no matter what’s in store for us in 2017, I have a WHOLE LOT of music planned for you. I have a whole lot of concerts, starting with some really fun stuff at PantheaCon in California this coming February. I have a whole lot of goodness to send your way, I am gonna keep making songs and sharing them with you, and I’m so glad for the connection that we all have through those songs. 2016 was rough on a lot of us. I just want you all to know that it wasn’t so rough on me that I won’t keep singing, keep traveling, and keep doing my best to give you all something new to enjoy, as often as I can. You’ve told me, via the internet and face to face, that it makes a difference, so I’m going to keep doing what I do. We are a community here in this little fandom, beautiful and diverse and strong. May we continue to be so. May we thrive. May we grow in strength. May we keep learning, doing our best, and learning how to do better when we fall short. May we do right by one another, by friends and by strangers. May we conquer whatever there is to come, together.
Movement and dance have really helped me to reset for the past week- for most of my life, tbh. I know I’m not the only one. So here’s a new mixtape and a new song. Grab it for free if you like. Any paid downloads will help me beef up my upcoming donations to Planned Parenthood, the Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, the Water Protector Legal Collective, and other local causes I support. $300 so far, since I launched this yesterday evening; nice work, folks. 🙂