articles and tips from Fran Snyder and concertsinyourhome.com
“… that guy in the wheelchair” tours the house concerts of north america with high def video and a souped up van.
This is going to be very cool, I hope you can participate in Ron’s voyage. We need house concert hosts and artists to reach out to Ron to make his trip as musical and friend-filled as possible. — fran
My name is Ron Sarfaty and I’d like to share a little information about myself with you. I’m 49 and will be turning 50 this summer. I’ve spent my entire life living in the Los Angeles area and I was forced to retire about 6 years ago when I suffered a stroke that left me left-hemiplegic. (more on my condition at the bottom)
This March I’m going to embark on a journey. Very likely my ‘finale’ road trip.
My health is not great but it’s the best I’ve felt in a few years yet I’ve slowed down too much to look more than a year ahead at any more long vacations. I feel that if I don’t do this now I may not have another chance and it’s the only thing left on my Bucket List to accomplish. This journey is something I’ve tried to plan many times over the years but something has always backed me down so this time, I’m going for glory.
My plan (crazy as it may seem) is to drive all the way around the United States and thoughout a good portion of Southern Canada in my Wheelchair Van. I’ve recently spent about $10k to ready it with a new engine, transmission and associated mechanical repairs.
Why spend $10k on a 1995 Van? Because I like it : ) It has a full function Ricon hydraulic lift with Power Doors and a remote control and a new van would cost $40-$50K and somebody elses used van would cost about $30k in good condition and I still wouldn’t be as happy as I am in “Astro” (my van). My powerchair weighs 325 pounds empty and the van handles extremely well with that weight locked in behind my driver’s seat.
So here’s my question:
How many of you out there would like a nice visit to your House Concert venue from a guy travelling about 12,000 miles over about 10 weeks? I’d like to offer a trade. I’d like to document your Venue and your Performer using my HD Cameras and add you to my Compilation DVD entitled “House Concerts Across North America” from ‘that guy in the wheelchair’ as I am affectionately called by those who can’t pronounce my name.
In exchange I am asking for space to lay my air matress and a wall outlet to plug in my power strip for my CPAP machine (so I can breathe at night) and to recharge my wheelchair and camera batteries. I’m hoping to save money on my trip by meeting and making new friends. Your Home/Venue does not have to be wheelchair accessible as I can hop a few stairs if need be and I will be travelling with my retractable extension cord so I can leave the chair in the van and still recharge it.
Also, I will be creating a weblog as I go (here’s a link to the one I did while in Asia: http://sarfaty.us/asia ). This time I hope to use the latest technology in conjunction with Google Earth & Facebook to give my family, friends, supporters and the curious a closer eye on where I am and what I’m doing - next. I’m working with Fran to align my travel dates and distances with Concerts.
My basic course of travel will be: East from Los Angeles to Cape Canaveral, North to Boston, West into Canada to see Niagra Falls and then continuing West through Manitoba and other cities along the South Canadian Border all the way to B.C. and finally South down the West Coast with stops in Seattle and the North Bay where I have lots of family and friends.
Add me as a friend if you like on Facebook, just add a personal message with your friend request that says “Road Trip” so I can add you to the right group.
I had been warned previously that I had Athero-Sclerosis so it wasn’t a big surprise that it happened; it was more of a surprise when it happened. I’ve since regained only a very limited amount of use on my left side. The bad news is that I pretty much lost the use of my left side - but the good news is that I am right side dominant.
Rather than lay around and feel sorry for myself (thanks to my incredibly loving and supportive family) I decided that I would “make do” with what I have and exert my energy doing what I can to help others. I travel in my Jazzy Powered Wheelchair wherever I go and have taken this unusual opportunity to become a staunch advocate for the ADA in the U.S.A. Prior to me spending my first day in the chair I had never even considered what other’s that live this struggle have to put up with. Since my stroke I have travelled more than I had in my first 44 years.
About two years after I suffered the stroke I relearned to drive (daylight and fair weather) and then drove halfway across the country to see a dear friend in Nebraska as a “trial” of my stamna. My next trip was to London. About 7 days there visiting another friend and seeing the sights made me realize that even in a Country where they have no regard for wheelchairs I could get around.
I decided to give my moxie a really good challenge when I went to Asia for a month. I stayed with family and travelled to Philippines, China and Malyasia …. you wanna talk about challenging? How about having to go up and down an escalator in my power wheelchair!! Yep, Yikes!
Those that know me well say I’m ambitious. Some tell me I’m an inspiration to them and other’s have said they think I’m just crazy. I see myself as a cross between determined and bored. I love music. I really love music. I’ve been a record collector since my pre-teen years. I’ve amassed over 2000 45’s and 1500 LP’s and my CD collection is still growing.
My oldest friends say I have the most eclectic collection they know of and my long term memory is still holding up so I can remember a myriad of trivia about some of the wax I own. I own every spoken-word record (sans 1) that ever made it to the top 40 from 1955 through late 1985. I listen to just about every genre of music available but I live for more.
Up and Coming Singer/Songwriters are by far my favorite past time. Living in Los Angeles gives me an opportunity to visit a number of venues in the same week. Some of my favorites are Kulak’s Woodshed (North Hollywood), Coffee Gallery Backstage (Altadena), Russ and Julie’s House Concerts (Oak Park) and Duncan’s House Concerts (Ventura). I consider these my “Cheers” because everybody knows my name. I usually show up with my video cameras (2 Sony HD’s) everywhere I go and I’ve only been asked 1 or 2 times not to post my videos online. I keep adding to my YouTube page (http://youtube.com/songwriterperformers) to give these wonderful performers International exposure.
All the best, and I look forward to meeting you!
This pertains to artists, hosts, publicists and anyone interested in house concerts.
Thank you so much for responding. This is exactly the information I was looking for, and I can see how some house concert hosts would rather avoid the complications and misunderstandings that could come from publicizing their event through traditional channels. For those who think they could benefit from the occasional targeted publicity effort, I hear you saying to follow these 3 Golden Rules of house concert publicity:
Absolutely feel free to blog about this.
On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 5:37 PM, Fran Snyder wrote:
Good question, and a very important one.
If house concerts were deemed to be public events, ASCAP/BMI/SESAC would have the responsibility of licensing those public performances. Those fees would dissuade most people from even hosting house concerts, since they make no money to offset the cost. House concerts are an altruistic hobby, not a business.
Because people who don’t understand house concerts sometimes like to mettle in things, publicity can sometimes result in zoning complaints and accusations that the host is running a business (music venue) in their home. Several have been challenged (somewhat unsuccessfully, but at high cost) in court.
Therefore we strongly recommend that house concerts promote themselves as private, invitation only events, even if they put up a few posters or do a newspaper/radio interview. Those who find out about the event may “ask for an invitation” by contact the host through their website, or ours, but it should be clear that people cannot just walk up to someone’s house uninvited.
Another very important point is that there should be no mention of tickets, admission, or a charge. The ONLY acceptable language is a “suggested donation.”
One last point: You should never, ever publicize a house concert without the hosts consent. They should have complete control over what information appears (such as email, address, etc.) and where.
I hope you’ll find this helpful. Happy to continue this further if you have questions.
Incidentally, with your permission, I would love to share this exchange on our blog, since it has not been properly addressed before.
Best, Fran Snyder
On Jan 29, 2010, at 5:25 PM, Rob Crissinger wrote:
K.C. Clifford gave me your contact info. I’m helping her publicize her new album, and have noticed that not all of the house concerts she’s booked for are interested in receiving press coverage. K.C. thought you might be able to explain this strange (to me) phenomenon :
Also, she’ll be in Kansas City for a Brown House Concert next Friday (Feb. 5). Do you know if this is a “no publicity” house or if they’re OK with attention. Also, can you think of anything about this particular concert series that the local media might find interesting?
Thank you for your time.