Gossip: Stu Dias and the Mad Men; Poulin to teach – Foster's Daily Democrat


By Jeanné McCartin

Dias and Mad Men join forces

Stuart Dias, the man of many bands, has a project afoot that will take him to the stage with the Mad Men of Oopsy Daisy Inc., in the fall – a most intriguing combo.

“I’ve been working a record for many years, a concept album. It’s seamless, start to finish, like ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ (songs) slide into one another,” he says. “Musically it’s a psychedelic circus album … sort of broadly explores death and loneliness.”

Aware of Dias’ project, musical collaborator Peiffer, who already marries the music and theater scene, set up a meeting between Dias, Ben Hart and Brandon James, Mad Men founders, to talk about a possible collaboration.

“So, I’ve always felt that the music scene and theater scene here operate in parallel and ‘not intersecting universes,'” he says. “I was a little sheepish about the meeting. I had no experience in that world. But, it was really amazing.”

His take away image is that of the statuesque James, cane in hand, approaching, then casually sitting and saying, “I listened to the stuff and it’s definitely on message.”

“And immediately … I was much more at ease. We were talking specifics and mechanics and what might go into it,” Dias said.

It’s all “very early stages,” but James already had ideas regarding direction.

“I really don’t think I could have done better, and it’s on Halloween night. It is not only this show, it’s the record release for the album,” Dias says. “The really fun thing about the album is, – you know Beyonce’s fierce alter ego Sasha – that’s what this is technically.”

To record the album, Dias turned to the best musicians he knew, which means he asked his co-band members in Soggy Po’ Boys, he says.

“I’m very very excited,” Dias says. “I’m really looking forward to working on it.”

It’s unlikely a lot will get down for a time, “March is a silly busy month, but in a good way.”

Dias is currently performing in “Paintbox,” the Jon McCormack, original concept album project, up at the Players’ Ring through March 24. (“Paintbox is the name of the album, band and show.”

“(This weekend), after the ‘Paintbox’ show, I’ll be running across town immediately to perform in a version of ‘The Last Waltz,’ The Band’s last concert film. It’s a recreation of that concert,” he says. “I’ll be doing the part of Muddy Waters and Van Morrison.”

By month’s end, he’ll be in the recording studio working on “Stujoy,” a working title. “It’s Sojoy plus me. Jonny Peiffer (and I) wrote a suite of music about a constellation. We each wrote half the song and merged them together.”

The project will be built around a show “a visual installation. … It’s in the early phase, in develop. We’re figuring it out,” Dias says. “It’s likely out this summer.”

Then comes recording of yet another album, this one for the Wizzardess, “which I’m absolutely thrilled about, a heavy metal band …, sort of a 1970s black metal,” Dias says. “I’m really, really excited.”

Poulin has a new project

Award-winning Maine humorist, playwright, performer and author Susan Poulin is up to something new that combines all the skills gathered during her nearly 30 years working her crafts.

Poulin has written and performed a catalog of one-woman shows, among them five featuring the very popular Ida LeClair, an alter ego that has two books, a blog, and a website (www.idaswebsite.com).

Next up, “From Page to Stage: Crafting Your Solo Performance Piece,” a project that puts Poulin center stage.

“Not in my 28 years of doing my own thing, have I really thought about teaching. I was just so engaged with creating,” Poulin says. “Gordon (Carlisle, multi-discipline artist, collaborator and Poulin’s husband) and I both do this – we get so into our creating.”

“But .. then I’d start thinking of a third book.”

Poulin’s idea came up in a conversation with an editor from her publishing company this past summer.

“The editor asked, ‘Have you ever thought of writing one as yourself?’ How Ida changed my life, the power of an alter ego, sharing skills of how you create how you stay focused,” Poulin says. “She (noted) I am so organized and goal-oriented and that a lot of artists don’t have that.”

“So then I got interested in this idea of writing a book that talks about all the tools based on almost three decades of creating work, … and started to have other ideas as well,” Poulin says. “One thing I’ve learned is to go where your energy is, not where you think you should, but where your energy is.”

Workshops were just such an idea.

“So, I thought, maybe I should start doing workshops, start experimenting with them, fleshing it out both on paper and experientially, actually doing workshops and working with people,” Poulin said.

Poulin shared the formulating idea with Carlisle. “And I swear to God that day, or that next day Michael Tobin (Footlights Theatre) wrote and asked ‘Hey, have you ever thought of teaching workshops?’ … the universe.”

The first workshop will focus on solo performance, but the tools are applicable to most artistic projects.

“I’m really interested in sharing my experience, how to deal with resistance, mind-mapping, developing a support system, looking at different ways of getting on your feet with the work, and performance anxiety.”

“From Page to Stage” will be presented at Footlights Theatre, Falmouth, Maine, April 7. More info at (207) 747-5434 and [email protected]

Poulin says she did worry it wouldn’t find its audience. But more than a month before the class, it was more than half full. (“I’m floored.”)

“I’m really excited about this,” Poulin says. “I’m also working on a workshop on how to have fun with book readings. A lot of writers don’t know how to do it.”

Poulin is actively looking for other locations to offer workshops. “When you’ve been doing it as long as Gordon and I have been, we’ve got a lot of tools.”

Poulin does plan to continue performing as well. She will be in Portsmouth for “The Best of Ida,” for Act One, at West End Studio Theater, in late August. More information on all things Poulin at www.poolyle.com.

Wingate Seavey mounts a campaign

Actor and musician Michael Wingate Seavey has mounted a Gofundme fundraiser in hopes of getting his band and personal finances back on track.

The short of it is Ash Berman, the band’s drummer, ran a recording studio and extended credit to a band for its recording session.

“He trusted them on collateral that didn’t exist,” Wingate Seavey says. “He recorded them for an entire season to get it done. When it came time for them to pay, they never paid.”

Sum total lost is $30,000. The fallout was the loss of his studio and home, “everything fell apart … and he was facing legal issues due to (non payment of his own bills).”

Wingate Seavey did what he could to help, even sold off his stage equipment for cash. Nearly two years later and neither has gotten their head above water.

“So I’m trying to make the dream happen,” he says. “Hopefully it will get some money coming in, and get us back to a successful business model.”

If interested in lending a hand, visit www.gofundme.com and search for “help-the-which-doctors-return-to-the-stage.”

Shatner Beat Night will be the last

The upcoming 10th annual William Shatner Beat Night will be its last. “It’s been 10 years and I feel as though we need to make a little more room for other events that could benefit the Seacoast area. It’s been a great run,” Steph Whitehouse, the current event Captain says. “I can’t believe it’s lasted so long. And people really gotten into it.”

The event is Saturday, March 23, at Book & Bar.

“I’m in absolute awe in how the community gathers for such an event – pun intended (we’ve raised funds for Gather),” she says. “Maybe in the future we’ll find another celebrity to make light of. But for right now – it’s time. We’re going to give it a ceremony of sorts and send it off in a capsule into the celestial body of stars.”

Jeanné McCartin keeps her eyes and ears open for gossip at [email protected]

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