Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Uh Uh Oh...

Mixed Company, a co-ed a cappella group from Yale, is in a bit of hot water for putting out a Beyonce parody, "Single Asians." (The refrain: All the single Asians...)

The video was yanked from YouTube (here's a screen grab), but the questionable lyrics include this verse:

"At the restaurant
I'll taste your sauce
And you can slurp my sushi.
I like it raw,
So bring it on,
And me love you long time."

IvyGate has the full story here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ben Folds Doesn't Care if You Think A Cappella Isn't Cool.

I was on WNYC's Soundcheck today with Ben Folds, talking about the paperback edition of Pitch Perfect (out April 7th) and Ben Folds's new album, Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (out on April 28th from Epic). Among the revelations: He doesn't care if you think a cappella is cool.

Give the show a listen here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Me and Ben Folds on The Radio

Early warning: I'm going to be on WNYC's Soundcheck this Thursday with Ben Folds.

From the Soundcheck site:

Revenge of the A Cappella Nerds
For years, college a cappella groups lived in the shadows, hiding their extracurricular indiscretions behind a veil of shame. But sweet harmonies are nerdy no more. University-based a cappella groups are touring the world, and some of the best appear on a new compilation CD curated by alternative rock icon Ben Folds. Folds joins GQ senior editor Mickey Rapkin, author of “Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory," to tell us about the college a cappella craze.

More Soundcheck info here. Tune in on Thursday at 2pm!

The Most Expensive Undergraduate A Cappella Concert Ever?

Would you pay $72 to see an undergraduate a cappella group perform? OK, what if that price included two reserved seats and a tax-deductible receipt? Still not sure?

Well, that's the awesomely ballsy deal on offer from University of Toronto’s Jewish a cappella group, the Varsity Jews. Their fifth annual fundraiser, Shticks and Tones, goes down this Sunday, March 29th, with the proceeds helping Te-Amim, an organization promoting tolerance education through the arts.
For more info, check out http://www.varsityjews.com.

Here's a taste of the Varsity Jews singing, yes, "Shul Of Rock."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NBC Announces A Cappella Take On 'American Idol.'

It's on. Daily Variety reports: "NBC has greenlighted the reality competish The Sing-Off, which will pit a capella groups in a battle sans instruments. Joel Gallen (America's Best Dance Crew) is set to exec produce the show, which comes from Outlaw Prods. and Sony Pictures Television. Eight-week show will feature contestants as they perform without backing tracks or a band and compete by crooning popular, contemporary songs. Winner of the competish will receive a Sony Music recording contract."

Click here for the full Variety story.

Tuesday's With Mory. Returning soon!

Good news for Whiffenpoof fans! Mory's, the supper club where the Yale men sang their first notes some 100 years ago, will re-open next year. The New York Post writes: "Renovation work is scheduled to begin soon," said an insider. Though Mory's will keep its name, "it will undergo a historical restoration costing $1 million," with board members picking up the tab.

Click here for the full New York Post item.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ben Folds Update.

The popular music blog Stereogum posted an item today about the new Ben Folds album, Ben Folds Presents: University A Cappella! (Sweet album art to the left.)

Check out Stereogum for the track listing and some audio. For previous Pitch Perfect coverage of Ben Folds, click here and here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Skit Hits The Fan.

When I was a student at Cornell, my a cappella group was not known for its humor. Though that didn't stop us Waiters from trying.

In the spring of 2000, we decided to give up the mid-concert skit, and shoot a video instead. At the time, this was revolutionary. (You know, back before you could shoot digital video on your phone.) And because we had no funds and no access to equipment, I went to a Cornell film class and pitched the project to the aspiring directors. And then I waited. And waited.

Finally, one girl took pity on us and agreed to shoot the Cayuga's Waiters Project (that was our working title). A few guys in the group wrote a skit (something about a cappella being a cult) and we met our filmmaker in the music building to begin production. She showed up with a hulking camera. And a healthy amount of patience.

We shot the next day out on the Arts Quad. We shot again that night. The result? A 13-minute opus that elicited exactly three laughs. A friend of mine insists he has a VHS copy of this film. I would like to see it. And then dispose of it.

Much has changed since I graduated. Groups now regularly shoot films, cheaply and digitally. And they're often times downright inspired. I'm not sure if this clip here, from IU's Straight No Chaser, will make you laugh. But it will make you marvel at the depths of their commitment.

Divisi in New York.

Folks, mark your calendars. The lovely ladies of Divisi—chronicled in Pitch Perfect—are coming to New York.

You can catch them in a special performance celebrating the paperback release of Pitch Perfect. Details here:

Date: Monday, March 30th @ 7pm
Location: Pianos, 158 Ludlow Street, New York City

In case you need a reminder of Divisi's musical prowess: