sum greater entertainment

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the saturday night before halloween this year saw Clark’s Pub in Hillsboro, Oregon packed to the brim with sweaty monsters and demons drinking microbrews. Clark’s was hosting their annual party, Boos, Booze, and Brews: Bayou, and this year i got to participate both on stage and behind the scenes as part of a new Hillsboro entertainment business, Sum Greater.

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Clark’s has been a major part of my personal musical experience for the last year, as they do rock and roll shows several times a week and open mics and jams to boot. As for the acts they hired through Sum Greater Entertainment, none could claim that we have been unaffected by the open atmosphere, great stage, and opportunity to try out new sounds that Clark’s provides.

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a few facebook pictures won’t quite do the evening justice, but take my word for it when i say the place was packed to the gills. i opened up the show early while people, decked out in their trick-or-treating finery, were just starting to trickle in, and by the time Brotherman played the stage had disappeared in the swaying – and shouting, and singing – crowd. in between our acts the pub shook like a subwoofer to the amazing talent of Loveless Root, Tied to a Grizzly, and Swampy V and the No Motives.

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the show, with the musical talent and the energy and the positive atmosphere and the creepy sexualized dollar store dress-up, was a blast, but it meant even more for me because this was the first event that Sum Greater Entertainment helped organize. it was satisfying to see 100 people lining the walls around the bar, and it felt like it confirmed what i and a few friends had been hoping to find: that Hillsboro is excited about live music, and the people in the city love original art and rock n roll, and that Sum Greater just might have a shot at making a big impression on the music scene in Portland by organizing more shows, at more amazing local venues, with more amazing local talent.

the idea behind Sum Greater is to make an entertainment business to help connect musicians that want to play their music to venues that want to hear it. all of us who are involved with this fledgling pursuit are either artists or patrons ourselves, and we can see opportunity for downtown Hillsboro to keep expanding as an artistic hotspot. Sum Greater Entertainment is, for now, just an idea crystallizing into a real thing, but our foundation is solid:

  • we want to encourage the Hillsboro music scene and start-up artists by connecting them. we don’t want a single empty stage on a friday or saturday night at any bar or coffee shop, and we hope that we can fill those places to standing room only as our talent builds followings and ties with the community
  • we also know that we want to find a way to make Sum Greater profitable enough to use our business to generate income (51% of our proceeds) to a charity founded by one of our board members – more on that to come in another post.

i’ve never tried to start a company before, and i have to say that the process is confusing and exhilarating. already, we have a core group of Oregon musicians involved, along with visual artists, and we can boast years of combined experience in business and the music industry.

we have a lot of work to do: currently we have graphic designers whipping up our business cards, a twitter account and a website in the works, and, of course, a few piles of paperwork to file. i’m encouraged by the interest that i can already see from the community, and from the outstanding success of our first show, made possible by the fine people at Clark’s. and we are looking towards the next show: last friday i and a few other reps from Sum Greater met with the board of Influence Music Hall, a Hillsboro institution that has become synonymous with great music downtown, and in just a few minutes managed to come up with some exciting ideas for future shows (nothing set yet, but consider this a teaser of big things to come).

i’ll be writing about Sum Greater for the next few weeks as we keep working. consider this a cattle call for all music acts, visual artists, and performers of all kinds who want to be a part of a scene. we can make it, but we need you: Sum Greater needs board members, partners, and venues that are as passionate about live music and great shows as we are. if you are interested in helping or getting in on the ground floor, or if you have any questions, feel free to hit us up on the facebook page, and stay tuned to my blog for updates as we polish up our social media outreach. if the halloween show was any indication, this could be the start of something big.

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sycra, who is canadian.

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this guy is fun to listen to, and i even like the look of his art on his website. so even if it turns out all his advice is wrong, he still has that 2/3.

the next step to being a professional

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i finally bought a domain name, got hosting, and am working on organizing my art portfolio and blogs and all this crazy social media. when i see that the site looks pretty okay it makes it worth it.

bed eek rock her

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bed eek rock her

betty crocker cake mixes did not sell well when they were first released, even though focus groups – still a new idea – were full of women who said they would be open to the idea of saving time when baking their daily butter-caramel-bacon-grease cakes. betty asked one of the social science experts that had popped up after freud released his books in america. he told her to add instructions on the box telling the pearl-necklaced honey to include a superfluous egg. he said that 1. having a few simple steps would alleviate medically-methed-housewife-guilt about being lazy and taking shortcuts and 2. would symbolize sacrificing their own eggs for their chain-smoking WWII vets. sales sailed through the glass ceiling.

if you click on this picture it will take you to an amazon page where you can buy my novel. just imagine eggs, or something.

contests and queries

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i have entered, and usually lost, a few writing contests every year for a very long time. i have a love/hate relationship with them, as you can never rely on them to boost your ego. the actual logistics of entering contests blends together smoothly with sending query letters out to agents and publishers. local contests and grants, national foundations, get-rich-quick-writing-schemes, literary magazines, online literary magazines, and pretty soon you are washed out to sea.

 

when you lean in for a closer inspection, you start to notice that you don’t have nearly as many choices as you thought you did at first. it takes a few hours, but you can start to wade through contests that don’t apply to you, or agents who don’t represent your genre. some prizes are only for women, or people who live in philadelphia, or are given for essays that deal with LGBT issues. you pick a handful, almost but not quite at random, and then you have to start figuring out each person’s guidelines.

 

submitting manuscripts requires the same delicate approach as turning in a paper to a cranky professor. double space, don’t double space, never double space. font types, word count limits, what info to put in the header and footer. this stage seems to really shine with the old fashioned, slow, obstinate energy of the publishing industry. it is a publisher’s world, right now, and self-publishing is probably the champion who will dethrone the king. even if it is a pipe dream, i still like thinking that some day i might be able to write a story and then simply email it to a magazine without the fear that it would be rejected for having the wrong margins.

 

but, i digress. at least there is some sort of infrastructure to try to make a name for yourself as a creative writer. right at this moment i don’t look too kindly on the subject, since i have been getting piles of rejection letters from agents for the last novel i wrote. but let’s be honest; all it would take is one of the ten or twenty contests i enter to toss me a second place prize to make me as happy as a clam.