A recap of 2011 – a very eventful year! 

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Listen while you read to  “March for the 21st Century”.  This was taken during TPO’s first rehearsal with our new drummer.  He’s a quick study!

I’d love to have soundtracked this post with John Lennon/POB’s “Happy Christmas/War is Over” (you know, the one that goes,

“so this is Christmas

and what have you done?

Another year over,

and a new one just begun….”),

but I maintain a policy of using only our own tracks because we own all the rights to them 😉

January 5, 2011 (Finally, a post that’s not months after the fact!)

A belated happy Christmas and New Year to everyone!

So what have we done during 2011??  Actually, quite a bit, but since it didn’t readily translate into a significant increase in income, it still feels like we (or perhaps to be more fair, I should say “I”) didn’t do all that much.  Ok, so what the hell did we do (and why do I conflate progress with financial gain, anyway?!)?

Well, 2011 commenced with Chi recovering from major surgery while I worked myself into the ground preparing a few extremely complicated, labor-intensive submission packages for some performance-related opportunities, one that succeeded (well, at least we made the cut.  TPO secured a place on the L.A. County Arts Commission’s Musicians Roster!) and one that failed abysmally (well, actually, the submission didn’t necessarily “fail”, but the response I got certainly did, i.e., they’re only interested in local bands willing to play “for exposure” [= “for free”] at a major venue with massive traffic, so of course in my current battle-hardened state I just dismissed it with my customary “Fuck this shit!”).

We also started 2011 off with signing Chi up with a calling service to get him booked for acting jobs in order to get that extremely time consuming burden off of me, and they kept him working regularly throughout the entire year!  Here’s an example:

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March brought about a series of catastrophic events in Chi’s home country of Japan.  Fortunately none of his/our family/friends were directly affected, but his reaction to it turned our world upside down, so I was especially thankful that he had regular acting work that got him out of the house productively engaged and interacting with other people.

Anyway, toward the end of 2010 we had begun a collaborative project with a San Diego-based band, the Bayou Brothers, which segued into another collaboration with an L.A.-based tribute to “Kansas”.  That completely consumed the first half of 2011, i.e., through June.

As soon as that wound down, Chi went to Cuba on the 4th of July for three weeks to study Cuban music and percussion, and I took that golden opportunity to do a major demolition operation on Panache House.  As soon as he got back from Cuba (and I finished about half of the demolition operation I had hoped to accomplish while he was gone, and was able to clear out and get rid of a bunch of stuff and organize what was left), we had a few days to rehearse intensively to perform at a wedding on July 31st, and then we commenced the process of expanding our format and bringing a drummer on board in preparation for the Cherry Blossom Festival that had been rescheduled for September since the March 11 disaster in Japan pre-empted it from its usual timing during Cherry Blossom season in early April (All their traditional sponsors had sent their money to Japan instead to help with the massive disaster recovery effort.)

Here’s a video clip from that show:

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Expanding the Panache Orchestra’s format totally consumed all of my time and energy Sept. – Oct., and much of October & November got consumed by editing/ uploading/ integrating all the new material into TPO’s web presence and offline promotional materials, and then I spent much of December in an especially bad depressive funk.  These depressive episodes routinely follow periods in which I am working intensely at producing a lot of creative output, typically at an order of magnitude proportional to the scale of what I created/produced, so this one hung on right up until Christmas.  That gave me one week after the depression lifted where I was able to get in a final productive burst where I compiled and sent out a bunch of booking requests for spring of 2012.

We were fortunate to be able to spend Christmas in San Diego with family and friends, and then back up to L.A. for a quiet New Year’s weekend complete with lots of good food (traditional Japanese: sashimi, ozoni soup, etc.), which brings us right up to the present.

We’re looking forward to a fabulous 2012!  How about you?

sashimi for New Year’s Eve, and Gureyo queuing up to get her share

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Ozoni soup for New Year’s brunch

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Nabe with gin-dara (hot pot w/black cod) for Monday (the day the holiday was actually observed)

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