The Porkchop Express Does the Cooking at Home
WOMR has asked its DJs to write to the Independent and describe the experience of recording at home, since Outermost Community Radio (92.1 FM) recently closed its live Provincetown studios due to the Covid-19 crisis. Here’s what we heard from Sean Gardner (a.k.a. DJ Jack Burton or DJ Potato Salad), co-owner of the sandwich shop Pop+Dutch in Provincetown and the host of the soul music show The Porkchop Express, which airs every other Monday night from 9 to 11 p.m., including this Monday, April 13:
“I was able to transition pretty quickly into recording shows from home during this quarantine period,” Gardner said via email. “Because I already own most of the equipment I needed, I was able, with the help of Matty ‘Dread’ Dunn, to piece together the remaining components and was pretty quick to getting shows on the air.
“I know firsthand, through social media and listener calls, how much people appreciate the local voices coming out of their radios. In our current period of uncertainty, it’s nice to hear those familiar voices and get some sense of comfort and normalcy. In the first week of my quarantine, I recorded shows designed to soothe the brains of our listeners, eclectic sets to go with our uncertain times, all meant to provide some comfort. It was a special treat to gather around my tiny quarantined family and listen to our voices as we cooked, played cards, read books, and recorded more radio.
“The schedule at WOMR is back up to (almost) normal, as those voices I’ve been missing put in the time to learn new technology and share their musical (and spoken word) world with us. I’m thrilled to play a small part in that.”
Cream or Cello With Your Coffee?
If you’ve been to Kohi Coffee Co. at 199 Commercial St. in Provincetown recently, you might have wondered about the barista playing a cello in the back. That’s Parker Ousley, a cellist and singer who used to be based in Boston. After the pandemic canceled all of his gigs and closed down the two Boston branches of Kohi, he decided to relocate to Provincetown and keep working for the branch here.
That hasn’t stopped him from practicing, however. “Since we’re takeout only now, I’m the only person in the little shop most of the time — perfect for practicing,” Ousley says. “In the back, near the window that overlooks the water, I’ll stack a couple milk crates to make a seat. These days I’ve been doing a lot of free improvisation. It’s sort of the musician’s version of a diary entry, I guess — my own way of trying to process all of this.”
Parker is no stranger to playing the cello in unusual locations. He made a video, for example, playing Donovan’s “Universal Soldier” in the middle of the woods. “People often think of the cello as an orchestral or formal instrument,” Ousley says, “but it makes more sense to me, considering that it sounds so much like the human voice, to play it in all kinds of places.”
Since graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2018, Parker has performed in a variety of genres, from classical to funk. His technique incorporates guitar-like strumming and fiddle-like bowing patterns. And other than Kohi, you can find his band, Dalia & The Big Violin, on YouTube and Instagram. —Saskia Maxwell Keller
Front-row Virtual Seats to the Provincetown Theater
Whoever originated the phrase “The show must go on” probably didn’t have any inkling of what the coronavirus would do to the theater world. Broadway is dark. Lincoln Center is dark. And everything there is to do in Provincetown with other people is on indefinite hiatus.
The Provincetown Theater has a solution: virtual programming. The Mosquito Story Slam that was originally scheduled for Saturday, April 11, at 7 p.m. (the theme: “Spring Awakening”) will be presented live at the appointed time, only online at provincetowntheater.org/virtual-programming/. Favorite storytellers from slams of the past will do their thing, and the public can submit prompts via email at [email protected] or by visiting bit.ly/mosquitoapril. The virtual performance is free, but donations (submitted online) are appreciated.
And that’s not all. Over the next few weeks, the theater will present recorded performances of past productions, starting with The Laramie Project, a powerful real-life drama about the murder of Matthew Shepard, streaming free (donations appreciated) from Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m. through Sunday, April 12, on the theater’s YouTube channel.
The theater’s artistic director, David Drake, adds, “As we did with the production of The Laramie Project in 2018, we will be hosting a ‘community conversation’ for an hour on Tuesday, April 14, beginning at 4 p.m. on our YouTube channel. Community panelists (to be announced) will be speaking about ‘The Importance of Telling Our Stories in a Time of Crisis.’ For details and updates, go to provincetowntheater.org.”