29 August 2015

Lake FX Summit & Expo Registration Opens

This in directly from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE):

Lake FX & Summit Chicago 2015

Lake FX Summit + Expo
April 16-19


Pre-registration is now open
Full schedule is available 

The Lake FX Summit + Expo presented by Google is the region’s largest FREE conference for artists, creative professionals and entrepreneurs in the areas of film, music, fashion, culinary and the visual & performing arts. The inaugural four-day event, running April 16-19, will host keynotes, panels, professional development workshops and interactive labs featuring leading artists and industry innovators at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Virgin Hotels Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center, the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago and Macy’s on State Street.

Pre-registration for the summit is encouraged and allows registrants access to a “Fast Pass” to some programs at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Claudia Cassidy Theater (priority seating based on availability) and special giveaways including a commemorative Lake FX Summit + Expo poster created by internationally renowned Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolón/DZINE (while supplies last). Only the Google Workshop on Friday, April 17, requires advanced registration which opens separately at 10am on Monday, March 23.

By signing up in advance you will also be entered in a chance to win reserved seating to a future DCASE produced event in Millennium Park between May-September 2015. Paid, ticketed and contracted rentals are not included in this offering.

The Lake FX “Fast Pass” will give you priority seating (first entrance based on availability) for the following programs (schedule subject to change):

Friday, April 17

  • 10:30am How to Win at YouTube
  • Noon Website Demolition Derby
  • 1:30pm Breaking Down the Walls: Art and Creative Industries and the Making of Community
  • 3pm The Improv Toolkit: Bringing Yes, And to your work

Saturday, April 18

  • 10:30am Visual Art Keynote: Carlos Rolon/DZINE
  • Noon Maker to Market
  • 1:30pm TBD
  • 3pm Film Keynote TBD

Register here and tell your friends!


 City of Chicago Seal and DCASE Logo

Welcome to With A Voice Like This

Happy Holidays and welcome to my site! If you want to see my calendar of upcoming shows, simply click the link below

Jim’s Upcoming Shows

Also, if you’d like a little more Christmas music, buy my Christmas EP With A Voice Like This Christmas directly through me.

Thank you for stopping by, I’m glad you did and I hope to see you back soon!


Phlegm is your Friend

[Note: This is one in a series of posts on being prepared to weather the best and worst of times when you depend on your voice for your livelihood.  As stated in the preface for this series of articles these tips aren’t meant to take the place of advice from a Medical Professional, if you need to see a medical doctor, see one!]

There’s a story I heard that was credited to a well known piano accompanist (I don’t remember who) about accompanying a famous diva. The accompanist was on stage and the diva walked out to begin the program. Just as the accompanist was about to start playing, the diva, leaned across the piano and hissed in a stage whisper “Don’t play too loud.”  Taking a moment to recover from being startled by the outburst, the accompanist was just about to start again, when the diva leaned across the piano again and hissed “But don’t play too soft.”

Flickr Mints

Photo Credit Neal Fowler

While that story doesn’t speak specifically about phlegm, it does speak about something directly related to it; balance. While it’s pretty much there all the time, the only times you notice phlegm, mucus, snot or whatever you want to call it, is when you have either too little or too much of it.

Phlegm is the axle grease of the human body

Phlegm protects your nasal passages, throat and vocal folds by trapping all sorts of things keeps it from interfering with the works and it keeps them lubricated so things don’t get irritated or grind and cause more damage. The big difference is that a car doesn’t produce its own axle grease. The body does and because of that, it also has to get rid of it on a regular basis. That’s usually done by absorbing it or expelling it (yeah, I don’t want to know what you’re thinking right now). If that gets out of balance, then there’s trouble usually. You don’t want too much and you don’t want too little (Hello diva!).

Whenever the seasons change, I tend to have an issue especially when the weather turns colder. That also tends to coincide with one of  my busiest singing times of the year. If I get out of balance, then I can be sick through the entire season and that’s neither good nor fun.

So what can you do?

I start doing a daily Saline flush

I know some people use this as a last resort when they’re so congested they can barely breathe or they have a really bad case of post nasal drip that leads to what I call the “Naso-Pharynx of Fire”. I use it to flush the system and give it a fresh slate to do it’s work. I know it sounds gross to a lot of people, but it’s very similar to gargling with warm salt water (same principle). It cleanses the nasal passages without prohibiting production of more phlegm; giving a good base for the body from which to work. Once you’re used to the process, it can be pretty soothing too.

There are two main ways to do this: a Neti pot, which uses gravity to circulate the Saline through your nasal passages and a squeeze bottle, which combines gravity with the force the fluid as you squeeze the bottle. You should figure out what works best for you, but always be careful and read all instructions first. There are specific ways to use these flushing techniques and you need to know what you’re doing before you do it. If it’s done right, it’s a very good thing and if it’s not, you can easily damage yourself, so be careful. It takes a little getting used to.

Stay hydrated

Yes, you’ve heard that you should drink water, but or the most part, as long as you’re drinking something, you’re hydrating. I’m not going to give you a set amount of fluid to drink in a day, you can figure that out by paying attention to how you feel. You might have to focus on that or a bit until it becomes a habit, but if you feel dry, drink something.

The exception are fluids that dry you out or make your vocal folds feel thick. That can vary from person to person, but things like red wine, caffeinated drinks (yes, that means a ton of those energy drinks), heavy sugary drinks and even milk. It all depends on you, but you know what affects you in which way, so be smart about it. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of remembering (Oh yeah, I’m singing for six hours tomorrow, maybe I shouldn’t drink red wine tonight).

Just some things that I do and make my habits to keep it all in balance and my phlegm friendly. I’ll talk about some other things that can have an affect on this, but aren’t directly related to this topic in future posts.

Up next: Protecting your energy.

Keeping Vocally Fit – Preface

Working that voice.

This is not the Medical Doctor you’re looking for.

I am NOT a Medical Doctor.

Who I am is a professional singer with a Masters Degree in Vocal Pedagogy (Teaching Voice) and over 25 years of professional performance experience.

Having said that, I’m currently in my busiest time of year as a singer. Which means that I’m pushing myself as hard as possible. And that means I’m concentrating on taking care of myself and my voice to make sure that I perform to the best of my ability.

That includes a lot of things that I have learned over the years through training and experience that I can pass on as tips to you. So I’m starting this series – Keeping Vocally Fit.  I’ll try to keep them short and I can’t guarantee a set schedule for posting them, but they’ll be here.

These tips aren’t meant to take the place of advice from a Medical Professional, if you need to see a medical doctor, see one!

First up: Phlegm is Your Friend!

 Photo Credit: The Local Tourist

Where is your tip jar?

tips are appreciated you sexy beast rawr

Photo Credit: bradleygee

If you follow us, you know we had a gig at El Sombrero Restaurant last Saturday night.

We had a great time and from all the indications, so did everyone else. There was a lot of dancing in a room with no dance floor (the aisles were packed), a few of “That’s my most favorite @#$*in’ song” proclamations and then singing every word along with us, a request for a ‘foot’ song (I don’t think I can tell that story by myself if I wanted to, but ask me sometime and I might try) and a couple of impassioned pleas to the bartender to let us sing ‘One more song’ at the end of the night. But the one that got me thinking was when one of the dancers danced close to us and at the end of the song was looking around to the side of us and on the floor, looked at us and asked

“Where’s your tip jar?”

And we replied in unison “We don’t have a tip jar”.

First, let me tell you, I’m all for tipping. If you want to tip us, we’re going to let you. We just don’t have a tip jar. And that got me to thinking about it and why we don’t.

I think that like all things, tip jars can be used well and abused. That goes for musicians as well as anywhere else you see them. I expect to see tip jars when I see:

  • Someone Busking
    It’s the way they’re making money, after all
  • A piano player at a piano bar or a house band that appears more than once a month at a venue
    They’re usually taking less money per performance, they take a ton of requests and are building a fan base and that’s the way people will show their appreciation

Where I don’t expect to see tip jars:

  • A band playing at a festival
    It’s a one time shot, or you’re looking to get asked back next year
  •  A band booked into a venue once or on a long rotation (every other month)
    Same reason as above
Jim & Tim setup at El Sombrero

Jim & Tim setup at El Sombrero

Last Saturday’s gig falls into that second category. In that case it’s not about us, it’s about you. Now before you go thinking I’ve gone all saccharinely sweet “our music is all for you” on you, there’s a business reality to that statement too. If the owner thinks that having us back to play will get you back as a customer, we’ll be back to play.

So dance in the aisles, tell us that’s your most favorite song, sing along with us, beg the bartender to let us play longer, tell the staff you’re having a great time listening to us play and even ask them when we’ll be back there. Have a great time and let the staff know about it. If that happens, we’ll all be back together to do it again.

And if you feel like it, feel free to tip us. We’ll take it, just don’t expect to see a tip jar at our gigs anytime soon.

Where is your tip jar? originally appeared on Jim & Tim on July 10, 2012. Tweet This

The post Where is your tip jar? appeared first on Jim & Tim.