McCormick’s family moved from Michigan to Richmond when he was seven. He went to Meadowbrook High School on his way to VCU. “I studied with Doug Richard, Skip Gailes and Bob Hallahan, same as a lot of cats in town.”
To help create and promote this effort, McCormick teamed with Dean Fields , a singer songwriter who left Richmond last year for Nashville and who has aimed McCormick into the Internet and email marketing.
During the past month he’s charted 20,000 views on his YouTube site, 10,000 of those in the United States. “YouTube is an enormous tool for guys like me,” he explains. “It’s not a huge percentage who go from my YouTube videos to the web site. It doesn’t translate into thousands, but hundreds — a handful every day. And that’s been happening over the past several days. It’s translating into sales, Twitter traffic and sign-ups."
It’s about increments, whether writing a song a day, or a few people who like his on-screen persona, voice and musicianship enough to make a purchase. Like any independent artist, the hope is that eventually, this will add up to something big.
Another difference in the strategy is that McCormick isn’t pressing a CD. This is a digital release. Thus, if you go to Balliceaux tomorrow and pay $10, you’ll see the live show and receive a digital coupon for an album of 16 tracks.
“With the cost of pressing CDs, that’ll probably be my process throughout the future,” McCormick says.
If you’ve not yet heard or seen McCormick you’ll have more opportunities. He’s planning to play the region more, here and up to Fredericksburg and over to Virginia Beach, among others locales.
He’s not played much in Richmond in part because with a regular gig, potential audience members may choose to go see the show next week. And thus the dynamic of being a 21st century artist — the virtual presence allows you to be seen without wearing out your welcome.
A few blocks away, at the Richmond Public Library, is another opening reception, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., for Paint Me A Story, which moved from the Broad Rock Library to the Main Library at 101 E. Franklin St. The exhibit of Latiino children's book illustrations runs through May 31 in the Children’s Department.
The exhibit marks a month-long partnership of the Richmond Public Library and the Visual Arts Center of Richmond celebrating the art of book illustration by award-winning illustrators John Parra, Lila Quintero Weaver and Joe Cepeda.
In conjunction with the exhibit, mixed media artist and illustrator Sarah Hand from the Visual Arts Center will present two free youth art workshops about the making of books on Saturday May 4, from 2 to 4 p.m. and Thursday, May 16, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Main Library. The exhibit and workshops honor El Día de los Niños/El Día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) celebrated yearly on April 30. Call 646-7223 for details.
The JLR Book and Author Dinner is the oldest event of its kind in the nation. All proceeds directly support JLR’s work to positively affect at-risk women, children and families through volunteerism and developing women's potential.
Kate Christner, chair for the event, says that she and her assistant chair usually go to New York in the fall and meet with different publishing houses. "They take us through the catalog," she says. "We pass out galley books, we frantically read as fast as we can, and we choose books to appeal to a wide spectrum [of people]."
Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander died, but revived and wrote about his experience in Proof of Heaven; Michael Shelden sliced open the life of Winston Churchill to show the younger man behind the bulldog with a cigar in Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill; Alaskan/Baltimorean Leigh Newman’s memoir of her culturally bifurcated life is the subject of Still Points North; Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry Cravings concerns preparing food that is good, good for you, and satisfies; Andrew Gross gets a suburban mom into big trouble in his thriller No Way Back; and here, too, is Riley’s debut novel.
The event will take place at The Greater Richmond Convention Center, 300 N. 5th St., beginning at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Authors will speak about recently published books and their experiences as writers. An autograph reception will immediately follow the dinner, with books available for purchase. A cash bar will also be available.
Individual tickets are $75. A limited number of gallery seats (seat only, no dinner served) will be available this year for $30 (preferred seating will go to dining guests). Tickets are also available for the Book and Author Luncheon on Wednesday at the Country Club of Virginia, 6031 St. Andrews Lane. Seating is limited at the luncheon, which will feature an extended book signing session and offer guests the opportunity to dine with visiting authors in a more intimate setting. Tickets are $55.
I caught up to the real Matt Newman to discuss the idea of RCC’s comedy store. And it’s simple business sense. “We can take the money we’re spending for three different types of events and spaces and put it [in] one place and also have more control over what we do more, and go from two shows a month to two shows or eight shows a week. It opens more doors and makes for creativity benefit. We have these fantastic people with ideas for shows, and because we’ll have our own space, we can push at the walls of what we do. We can have shows put together by the troupe, or people who just want to get what they're doing up in front of an audience. It’ll provide room for more experimental material, maybe not quite as safe.”
Two weeks ago, auditions brought in 20 more comedians, doubling the size of the group in anticipation of needing to staff more shows. The RCC training center is in its third year of turning out students seeking to perfect their comedic abilities.
“The Kickstarter ask is really for the build-out for the space that we want, the lighting package, heating, painting, the finish for the stage. If for some tragic reason we don’t get there, we’ll still be taking that next step, we’ll have chairs and lights, but we’ll have the very baseline of the version we want.”
RCC is on a current two-year lease with the space through the Walter Parks architectural firm just around the corner. “We’re the kind of activity they want to see around this part of town. They were kind of hoping, though, that the frozen yogurt signs we had up were real.”
Here’s an excerpt from an RCC Richmond Famous show that joshes with regional personalities by acting out scenes from their Facebook pages. This one involves Sherry and John Petersik, the couple from the blog “Young House Love,” and concerns the naming and possible future of their daughter.
The harp performance ensemble is combined with the Virginia Choristers and the boys and girls choirs of St. Bridget Church.
Tonight at 7 p.m. is the last local concert by the group before heading off to the big lights. It’s free and open to the public, but you’ll probably want to donate after you’ve heard them. The concert is at St. Bridget's Catholic Church, 6006 Three Chopt Road.
Funds raised at this concert, and others soon following, will help to defer expenses when the harp ensemble, the Virginia Choristers and the St. Bridget Parish Choirs travel to New York City on April 27 to make their debut at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. There’s a Kickstarter campaign to assist in defraying the cost of transporting the musicians and instruments.
Development director Leath Hiegel explains that although the the harp ensemble was invited to perform for the first time at Lincoln Center, there are still costs involved. “We’ve never tried a Kickstarter before," she says. "Unless we reach our goal [of $5,000] we don’t get anything.”
A total of 65 performers will be upon the Lincoln Center stage. Getting them there requires a bus, a truck transport and a small van.
If you want to catch them after tonight, they’ll be performing in free concerts April 25, 7 p.m., at Hood College, 401 Rosemont Ave., Frederick, Md., and April 26, 4 p.m., at Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, 145 W. 46th St., New York City (Times Square).
The performance at Alice Tully Hall (1941 Broadway) will be at 2 p.m
The concert is a ticketed event: $57 for balcony, $95 for orchestra seats. For ticket information call 212-239-4699.