Orange peel moses is on the hunt for music publicity support for his upcoming single release "Butterflies." Interested candidates can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orange peel moses is on the hunt for music publicity support for his upcoming single release "Butterflies." Interested candidates can email email@example.com.
My friend Michelle and I eat bugs together. It all started about a year and a half ago. We went to see Cirque du Soleil's insect-themed show Ovo in Loveland, Colorado. We were so excited that we dressed up for the occasion, she as a bee and I as a mantis. We looked so good that other spectators thought we were part of the show. Some stood in line to take pictures with us during intermission. If what's left of my memory serves me correctly, some even tipped us. I was so inspired that I went home and wrote an insect-themed song called “Butterflies.” It's a bona fide ear worm.
The following day, I picked up a cricket protein bar from Natural Grocers and shared it with Michelle at an AcroYoga jam. My own personal interest in edible insects began with a book written by National Geographic-caliber photojournalists called Man Eating Bugs, but intensified after seeing Denver cricket rancher Wendy Lu McGill speak on the subject at a 2013 TEDx RiNo event. Michelle was one of the first to share my enthusiasm for entomophagy – the practice of eating bugs.
Thanks to social media, many of our friends are familiar with our fondness for six-legged fare. One such individual is a go-go dancer and aspiring pastry chef named Jessica. In the green room at Global Dance Festival, a long-running Denver EDM event we were all three involved with, Jessica mentioned that she'd eaten silkworm pupae before. I'd read about the delicacy and had been dying to try it. Jessica explained that her Korean-born father had prepared it for the family when she was young, and that he might be willing to make it for Michelle and I sometime. Music to my ears.
Jessica's dad was game. Michelle and I carpooled to his apartment on the designated day. Jess, Michelle and I soon found ourselves watching her father vacuum the hyperactive family Pomeranian. Once the dog was relieved of loose hair, the old man set about preparing his spin on Korean-style “beondegi.” He started with marinated pupae from small cans he'd gotten at the Asian market. Fresh green onion and diced pepper spiced up the exotic snack. Following an appetizer plate of yellow Korean melon, we were chopsticking the littler buggers into our curious mouths in no time. The brown segmented pupae are about the size of kidney beans (see above photo). Each pupa pops a little when you bite into it and they're definitely a smidgen chewy. This particular batch had a bit of heat to them, which Michelle and I definitely appreciated. Our insatiable thirst for culinary adventure had once again led us to an interesting place.
When Jessica was young, she was apparently clueless as to what beondegi consisted of. She apparently stopped eating it for years when she eventually found out. Fortunately, she's old enough now to once again appreciate the unique Korean grub.
I was born to do singing telegrams. And although I've had many unique, creative ideas over the years, some of my most memorable routines have been collaborations with my customers. Planning a hilarious surprise for recent recipient Nicole Isaacson is a great example.
Nicole was turning twenty-one and her parents wanted to embarrass her in front of her friends. Her mother knew that she liked EDM, so I suggested Daft Punk's celebratory “One More Time” as one of the songs I should definitely perform. Nicole's parents and I debated a bit about what costume would be best. Lady Gaga was suggested (Nicole is a big fan). Although I've assembled a killer Gaga ensemble before, several key costume pieces were borrowed from my friend Staza (and I wasn't sure I'd be able to procure them on such short notice). The Cop was brought up as a possibility. Nicole's dad was hesitant that the character would remind his daughter of a slightly jarring past experience involving a policeman, though. Then Nicole's mom had an idea: what if the Cop asked Nicole to relinquish her fake I.D.? Bingo.
Because I'd gotten the stink-eye from a security guard the last time I'd sung at the venue where Nicole was celebrating her twenty-first (I think he had assumed I was a street musician who'd wandered in to solicit tips from strangers), her mom called ahead to give someone a heads up. I checked in with the manager downstairs upon arrival. “You're looking for the girl in the green side cut out dress – it's very obvious she's not wearing any underwear,” explained the manager. “This is gonna be P.G., right?” One of the funniest aspects of being a singing cop is that people often worry I'm going to be a stripper. It can be fun to play with those expectations a little when it's appropriate. I assured the manager that my shtick was going to be P.G. Implying decency was especially important on this particular occasion, he replied, “Because the owner's upstairs having dinner with his family.”
Guitar slung over my police uniform, I ascended the stairs to the second floor. To the next level is exactly where I hoped this gig was headed. Nicole's friends were obviously expecting me – they pointed her out as soon as I rounded the corner. I strolled over to the birthday girl. “Nicole Isaacson?” I asked. She was taken aback. Her friends were on the edge of their seats. “This is your twenty-first birthday party, correct?” I inquired, setting up the coming punchline. The anticipation was palpable. “Would you like to relinquish your fake I.D.?” I asked smiling. “You won't be needing it anymore.”
My man in blue singing telegrams almost always kickoff with Inner Circle's “Bad Boys.” I launched into the theme song for the TV show Cops. Nicole was probably in shock, as is often the case with singing telegram recipients. Someone noticed the business card I had threaded through my guitar strings that implicated Nicole’s parents as the pranksters responsible and pointed it out to her. Understanding who was behind the hilarious surprise probably didn't make it any less shocking. A birthday rap called “Birthday Party” by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five was next up in my medley. I drummed on the strings of the guitar, utilizing it as a percussion instrument of sorts. There are certainly many more talented rappers out there, but singing telegram spectators are generally impressed by my verbal flow. Nicole's friends were entertained.
The moment had come for Daft Punk's “One More Time.” Hearing EDM played on an acoustic guitar generally throws people for a loop. Putting a familiar tune and lyrics in a new context is fun, though. I wrapped up a short version of “One More Time” and her friends kept egging me on. “One more song,” some of them piped up. So I played the first verse and chorus of Lady Gaga's “Born This Way.” Then I led the group in a traditional version of “Happy Birthday.” When I was finally finished singing, Nicole got out of her chair to come over and pose for a photo with her singing cop.
Surprising the birthday girl was a hoot. But that's not the end of the story. I descended the stairs, where I found the manager I'd encountered upon my arrival ten minutes or so earlier. “My performance was more P.G. than the birthday's girl's outfit,” I joked. “You know what's funny?” he replied. “After we touched base, I radioed up to the owner to let him know that a singing telegram was on his way up but that you’d promised to keep it P.G. The owner said if you didn't abide by that promise, he would literally tackle you. It turns out the chef overheard this exchange via his own walkie talkie in the kitchen. During the performance, said chef got on the walkie and said 'The pants are off!' The owner immediately started sprinting toward the table where you were performing.”
“See? It's fun for all involved,” I said, smiling.
My music producer is a recording studio stud. Some of you know I've got an insect-infused single coming out soon called “Butterflies.” Daniel Iyere, the Nigeria-born producer who helmed “Butterflies,” is the mastermind behind a Denver-based future R&B project called HVN. For anyone familiar with kid astronaut, the recent Westword award winner and onetime Air Dubai vocalist is featured on HVN's upcoming single “Fighter.” Its accompanying music video, directed by Jasmine McGee, was shot in nearby Nederland and right here in The Mile High. The short film-caliber clip took three days to make, and stars Kaylee Carey, the beautiful young actress featured in the photo above. It’s an impressive cinematic achievement, especially considering the act’s lack of label backing.
Curiosity piqued yet? Join me for the premiere screening next Sunday, August 12 at Alamo Drafthouse Sloan's Lake.
Citric Acid Arts is on the hunt for a sign language coach. Interested candidates can email a resume and rates to George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Citric Acid Records is on the hunt for a graphic designer to design and layout artwork for an upcoming Orange peel moses single release. Interested candidates can email a portfolio or website link to email@example.com
It shouldn't be any secret that we can stand to learn a lot from Native Americans. Insects were a staple of many Native diets, especially when the hunters didn't bring home the bacon (or buffalo, as the case may be). Many of our primate ancestors ate bugs too (many modern primates still do). And it turns out that insects are incredibly efficient at converting plant matter into a healthy protein source for humans, while emitting minimal greenhouse gases and demanding significantly less land. To paraphrase Edible author Daniella Martin, cows are the SUVs of the animal agriculture world, while insects are the bicycles. How 'bout them apples? Cringe all you want, but insects are eaten by humans in 60% of countries around the world. America's aversion to eating bugs is actually strange. Some may remember that eating sushi was actually unpopular in America too before the 1970s, but we were able to overcome the psychological hurdles and gradually embrace the once-unfamiliar cuisine.
Pat Crowley is a rafting guide on the Colorado River. He's also a passionate hydrologist – someone that cares immensely about water conservation and the future of our water resources. The Colorado River that Crowley leads rafting expeditions on sadly no longer flows all the way to the Sea of Cortez due to the demands of high water-use crops grown as livestock feed in the middle of the desert. Crowley was listening to a TED talk about eating bugs when he learned that insects represented a nutritious protein source whose water needs were minimal. Thus, the cartoon lightbulb in his brain was illuminated. With the help of friends and family, Crowley conceived and founded a cricket protein bar company called Chapul. Deriving its name from chapulines, the spiced grasshoppers eaten in Mexico for hundreds of years, Chapul is dedicated to introducing edible insects into Western diets as a healthy and sustainable protein source.
The good news is, you don't have to eat cricket bars solely to save the planet. They actually taste good too – I buy boxes at a time, sharing whenever possible with those around me.
Insects bug most Americans. Captain Obvious strikes again. But a steadily growing number are opening their minds (and mouths) to potentially eco-friendly, often-nutritious six-legged grub. My bug buddy Michelle and I met one such fellow edible insect enthusiast while in Mexico to perform at a music festival. Tiffany was one of a group of performers and staff who'd decided to explore Teotihuacan, Mexico City's nearby pyramid complex, on the day before the show. Following the pyramid climb, Michelle and I wanted to patronize a nearby cave restaurant called La Gruta, and were ecstatic when we realized there were bugs on the menu. Tiffany was similarly excited, showing us a photo of her with a Giant Water Bug at a Seattle restaurant. Spiced caterpillars, chapulines (spiced grasshoppers) and escamole (ant eggs and larvae) were among the delicacies we dined on that day.
Fast forward several months. I'd gotten booked to dance on stilts at a Washington festival called Paradiso, and would be carpooling with Tiffany from Seattle. Patronizing the eatery where Tiff had imbibed Giant Water Bugs was a must. Upon arriving at Nue, the restaurant in question, I was hardly surprised to learn its menu is inspired by global street food (Linger, a Denver restaurant I blogged about recently, operates on a similar concept). In Japanese mythology, a Nue is a supernatural creature with the face of a monkey, the torso of a tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog), the limbs of a tiger and the tail of a snake. In other accounts, it has the back of a tiger, the legs of a tanuki and the tail of a fox (in yet other descriptions, it has the head of a cat and the torso of a chicken). It's an appropriate metaphor for Nue's menu, which is currently influenced by culinary treats from Bali, Barbados, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Ecuador, Holland, Hungary, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Syria, Thailand and Vietnam.
Thailand is a hub of the edible bug world. No single country devours more insects. According to some accounts, vendors can barely keep pace with the demand, importing what they can't farm or harvest locally from neighboring countries. Unsurprisingly, Nue gets its Giant Water Bugs from Thailand. Flash frozen for the journey, the insects are thawed, blanched in salted water and served. My absolute favorite aspect of the experience was the smell. Giant Water Bugs smell intensely of flowers. I couldn't get enough. I probably inhaled the large insect's aroma for several minutes before even contemplating tasting it. A short photo shoot followed. To be clear, I don't pose with my bug bites to shock people. I do it to engage people in conversation, whether it's illogically biased bystanders, curious potential converts or hardcore entomophagists (edible insect enthusiasts). Being the only Giant Water Bug vet in our party, Tiffany demonstrated the ideal, shellfish-informed ingestion method (all insects are arthropods, which means they're related to shellfish).
Finally ready to dine, I tore the bug's wings off and broke open its body in order to suck out the insides. There are some 1900 species of insects known to be safe for human consumption. And it's estimated that about two billion people have intentionally tried at least one. Still, that's hundreds of flavors that many of us may never experience. Some of us refuse to sit idly by while global culinary adventures await. Nue's Giant Water Bugs certainly tasted strongly of the salt they were blanched with, but I have no words to describe the remainder of the unusual flavor.
If you find yourself in the shadow of the Space Needle, consider embarking on a culinary journey at Nue.
The 2018 edition of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas will mark my tenth straight year performing for global EDM promoter Insomniac Events. In 2009, Insomniac Entertainment Director MsEasy invited me to join her team of Murder and Rodeo Clowns at the LA Coliseum for EDC’s flagship L.A. incarnation, and I've been involved ever since. I've inhabited a menagerie of characters in the past decade, in far flung locales including Brazil, China, India, Japan, London, Mexico, Puerto Rico and all over the U.S. Below is a laundry list of highlights to date (plus a special announcement about my role in this year’s tentpole event):
Being summoned to Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rotella's Park City VIP table as he was telling wife Holly Madison about my orange peel sculptures
Buzzing over Headliner heads as a giant purple bee
Careening around on jumping stilts as a florescent orange Furbie
Channeling Jimi Hendrix as a ukulele-playing, stilt-enhanced Marching Band Clown
Chauffeuring New Yorkers and Bay Area residents around in pedicabs and lady bug golf carts
Clowning around onstage with skateboard-riding members of LMFAO in Seattle
Dragon Knights stilt performers straddling the saddle of my four-legged stilt unicorn
Entertaining Pasquale’s daughter Rainbow with my Beanie Baby stilt pants at Sundance premiere
Filming EDC China trailer footage on the seventh floor balcony of Shanghai's W Hotel
Flailing the abnormally long slinky-like arms of Wildchild World's Slinky Stilts costume
Frolicking around Electric Forest as an ukulele-playing, jumping stilt-enabled Pan
Galloping over Forest family as a nine-foot tall, four-legged stilt zebra
Getting high fived by Pasquale after dancing EDC Brazil main stage as a Bee Boy
Having my balloon headpiece popped from behind by a confetti canon at Electric Forest
Hosting EDC Town Post Office as a Hunter S. Thompson-inspired Postmaster
Hugging Orlando attendees as a walking stuffed animal-esque pink octopus
Interviewing Pasquale, MsEasy and Insomniac Creative Director Bunny Eachon for Vegas Seven Magazine
Lassoing unsuspecting Headliners from atop stilts as a Rodeo Clown
Nodding off atop stilts in India
Orchestrating a main stage crowd-blanketing spiderweb in London
Partying at Insomniac HQ with my beloved fellow Insomniac Entertainers
Personifying Super Mario on jumping stilts at Electric Forest
Piloting an inflatable dinosaur in Puerto Rico
Pole vaulting over festie besties as a four-legged stilt tree
Providing a mobile backdrop for the Red Queen and her royal entourage as a four-legged rosebush
Puffing on a hookah and reciting nonsense as a giant foam caterpillar
Roller skating with the EDC Roller Girls
Scaring the bejesus out of EDC LA patrons as an axe-wielding Murder Clown
Serenading a VIP stranger with my original song "Butterflies" during main stage set break in Mexico
Squirting Bunny with my enema as forearm crutch-assisted Stilt Grandpa
Stilting in the sand at EDC Japan’s beach stage
Swallowing unsuspecting Headliner heads as a Muppet-inspired stilt fish
Tapping Halloweeners on the shoulder with my bony, animatronic Stilt Witch hands
Terrifying Escape patrons from my antique wheelchair as a Psych Patient
Wearing prosthetic rabbit mask and fur pants on jumping stilts
Though I've been singing and playing ukulele as a stilt clown for years, not to mention leading performer shuttle sing-alongs, I'd never gotten booked to perform amplified music at an Insomniac event – until now. I'm beyond ecstatic to announce that I'll be playing EDM unplugged in a VIP speakeasy called The Blind Owl at EDC Vegas 2018. Brace yourself for acoustic renditions of hits from Avicii, Benny Benassi, Black Eyed Peas, Calvin Harris, Daft Punk, David Guetta, Disclosure, Moby and Zedd. My set times for each night are as follows:
Friday: 9 pm - 12 am - 3 am
Saturday: 8 pm - 11 pm - 2 am
Sunday: 10 pm - 1 am - 4 am
Click on the gallery below to see more images from my Insomniac tenure. And see you under the Electric Sky:)
For some reason, insects bug Americans. Most would rather poison themselves with pesticides than admit to the nutritional value of terrestrial arthropods. I do not fall into that category. I was mostly vegan for two years, but even vegans eat insects. It's literally impossible to keep them out of our food. Why live your life resisting something that's inevitable? If you're a serious foodie like myself, edible insects represent some nineteen hundred new flavors. That's an awful lot of possibilities to ignore based on an illogical bias.
Denver restaurant auteur Justin Cucci obviously recognizes the opportunity that bugs represent. Crickets have been featured in several dishes at his global street food-inspired eatery Linger. The latest version of Linger's menu is divided into regions. You'll see Sweet and Sour Crickets in the Thailand section (black ant rice and spiced grasshoppers are other ingredients). Crickets are enormously popular in Thailand, so much so that they can barely keep up with the demand. In fact, it's estimated that two billion people around the world choose to eat insects consciously. Just because most Americans think entomophagy – the practice of eating insects – is strange, doesn't mean they're right. Insects are basically the terrestrial relatives of shellfish. Both are arthropods. Why is eating bugs any different from eating crab or shrimp? Some entomophagy enthusiasts will tell you that they taste similar.
So next time you find yourself at Linger, gift your palate an adventure and give the Sweet and Sour Crickets a try. You just might be pleasantly surprised.
Last year, I penned a bug-infused tune called “Butterflies.” While attending an edible insect tasting hosted by Denver's Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, I played it for bug wrangler Wendy Lu McGill. McGill then heard (and shared) a version of Kacey Musgraves' then-unreleased, similarly bug-infused “Butterflies” on NPR. I've been an enormous fan of Musgraves ever since a potential customer first turned me onto her early single “Follow Your Arrow” for a possible graduation singing telegram gig. My friend Kelsey and I went to see the Texas-raised singer at Denver's Bluebird Theater on my 4/20 birthday a few years ago, and it was one of the most fun shows I've ever seen. Musgraves and her gentlemen band covered an eclectic array of artists including Bob Marley, Gnarls Barkley, TLC and Roy Rogers. In between sets, each member of the group showed off a hidden talent: drumstick-juggling, joint-rolling and square dance were among them. They even passed out munchies to the stoner holiday crowd in attendance.
Musgraves and I certainly aren't the only two songwriters to pen songs about the physical sensation known as butterflies in the stomach. Michael Jackson included one on his greatest hits album HIStory. But the timing was auspicious, especially considering my demonstrated appreciation for Musgraves' artistry. Both tunes are love songs with multiple insect allusions/references. And even though the melody of each hook is certainly different, the cadence of the two hooks is eerily similar. Yet neither of us had heard the other's version when we each composed our respective ditty. When two or more scientists in different parts of the world come up with the same idea at the same time (Calculus, oxygen, black holes, the Mobius strip, the existence of the stratosphere and the theory of evolution are examples), it's known as multiple discovery. In her book Big Magic, Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert theorizes that the artistic version of multiple discovery is possible. Maybe that's what happened with Kacey and I. Maybe we tapped the same muse at the same time. I'd like to think so:)
Give Musgraves' recently released version a listen here, and stay tuned for details on my own "Butterflies" release.
My edible bug buddy Michelle and I have been fantasizing about entomophagy - edible insect - adventures in other countries for a minute. I first spied La Gruta, a restaurant inside of a Mexican cave, two years ago before hiking the nearby pyramid ruins of Teotihuacan with a few of my fellow EDC Mexico performers, and have wanted to indulge my senses ever since. When Michelle and I realized we could check off two bucket list items with one exhilarating stroke, we were straight giddy. La Gruta's spiced caterpillars were airy and crispy; the escamole – ant eggs and larvae – was the most delicious bug dish we've imbibed outside the States to date. We also had guacamole with chapulines - Mexican spiced grasshoppers (pictured above). Our friend Geraldy ordered the chapulines margarita by accident, even though she speaks fluent Spanish, but ended up polishing most of it off. Even our longtime vegan friend Taylor got curious enough to sample the caterpillars. Although most Americans have illogical food biases toward nutrition-packed edible insects, they were on the menu at three out of four restaurants we patronized in or near Mexico City. Next stop: Japan:)
You may have caught Justin Timberlake's recent performance during a certain high-profile sports ball game. You may or may not have heard he's got a new album out called Man of the Woods. In keeping with that theme, a recent NYC listening party featured fare that one might forage in the actual forest: insects. Click on the image to get the whole story.
A few years ago, Late Late Show host James Corden and singer Demi Lovato joined forces to ambush a few unsuspecting folks with personalized singing telegrams. Click on the image above to watch the hilarity ensue.
Valentine's Day is the Super Bowl of the singing telegram universe. Orange peel and his Custom Singing Telegrams cohort Melissa Ivey have been featured on local TV and radio a number of times in conjunction with the lovers' holiday. Click on the image above to relive a few of the highlights:)
In a new episode of Vanity Fair's Secret Talent Theatre, actress Nicole Kidman shows off her affinity for eating insects:)
Citric Acid Arts is now scouting fortune tellers and Tarot card readers for a potential late July gig near Boulder. Ideal candidates should have a compelling aesthetic, creative, expressive voice and all necessary equipment to set up in outdoor environment. Interested candidates should email a short video demo, along with a quality image and short bio or resume to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Fortune Teller Submission" in the subject field.
I've performed some pretty funny singing telegrams over the years, but this Funny or Die short featuring Brittany Snow is def LOL-inducing:)
Last week, I was a nine-foot tall unicorn. Allow me to explain:)
Lifestylez, a travel agency that organizes winter resort trips for college students, is one of my clients. A few years ago, they booked a pair of parkour athletes and myself to provide roving entertainment for three of their Colorado SnoDaze events: Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone. Each night, as the headlining DJ filled the dance floor, I roamed through the crowd in my four-legged stilt unicorn costume. Mariah, my then-Unicorn Whisperer, occasionally rode atop the silver saddle strapped to my back. If what's left of my memory serves me correctly, I skied a half day at Breck with my dad in between show dates.
When Lifestylez' owner Steve Smolinski inquired if I'd join SnoDaze for another jaunt in early January, my interest was piqued. Having gotten tired of the awkward posture necessary for performing Unicorn version 1.0, I was chomping at the bit to upgrade. Also, I needed to enlist a new Unicorn Whisperer, as Mariah had recently moved to California. I commissioned a white bodysuit from my seamstress friend Sophie, and tasked my longtime fabricator/performance buddy Nate with fashioning new fur stilt covers and a unicorn head designed to sit atop a bike helmet. Michelle, a lovely go-go dancer I'd grown to know through Denver's Team Ez Entertainment, was invited to play Unicorn Whisperer on the week long mountain tour featuring sibling EDM duo Hippie Sabotage. The trek would include four stops: Crested Butte, Telluride, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs.
Departure day dawned. With my gun metal grey Toyota Corolla Tetris'd to the brim with stilts, food, costumes and makeup, Michelle and I set our sights on Crested Butte. Although I've been skiing since I was a wee kumquat, I don't recall ever having been to the tiny Colorado resort town before. I enjoy driving long distances even when I sometimes have the option of flying instead – many of my best ideas come to me while my body is fully engaged with motor vehicle operation. Case and point: a unicorn name brainstorm produced a great new contender – Hornelius. My transmission gave me a little trouble on the trip, but we arrived alive, checked into our digs and set about applying makeup and shimmying into costume. Michelle's Unicorn Whisperer wardrobe consisted of white boots, a bellydance hip scarf, a fur shrug, fingerless gloves and a long blonde wig. I wore a spandex bodysuit with a tail, fur covered leg and arm stilts and the aforementioned unicorn head.
TO BE CONTINUED
Citric Acid Arts is scouting storytellers for a potential late July gig near Boulder. Ideal candidates are creative, experienced and expressive, with a large repertoire and the ability to improvise and adapt on the fly. Interested candidates can send a performance resume, 2-3 video clips and performance rates to email@example.com with "Storyteller Submission" in the subject field by Monday, January 29.