There are many potential routes to stardom, and one of them is to make a video of yourself serenading a maniacally grinning Pee-wee Herman doll who's perched over a copy of Church of Satan founder Aleister Crowley's The Book of Lies. Or at least that was the path chosen by North Carolina singer-songwriter Brooke Telarico, one of many entrants in NPR's ongoing Tiny Desk Concert Contest, which is posting selected video submissions at tinydeskcontest.tumblr.com.
But maybe you've got a better idea, one that's guaranteed to land you a slot on the public radio network's "awkwardly intimate" series of concert performances that are all recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
In that case, you have until Monday to record a video of yourself playing an original song in close proximity to a desk — tiny or otherwise — upload it to YouTube, and fill out the contest entry form you'll find at tinydeskcontest.npr.org.
If you win, you'll be flown to Washington, D.C., where you'll get to follow in the footsteps of Tiny Desk graduates Chvrches, Trey Anastasio, Lucinda Williams, Gogol Bordello and T-Pain. You'll also receive an all-reasonable-expenses-paid trip to the South By Southwest music festival, where you'll be one of the featured performers in NPR's "Couch Trippin' to Austin" showcase.
There are rules, of course: All musicians and "videographers" need to be 21 or over. You cannot have a current recording contract. The song must be an original composition, and it can't be more than 10 minutes long. (Sorry, God Speed You Black Emperor.)
Also — and this is my favorite part — your video cannot "contain material that is (or promotes activities which are) sexually explicit, obscene, pornographic, violent, self-mutilating (e.g., relating to murder, the sales of weapons, cruelty, abuse, etc.), discriminatory (based on race, sex, religion, natural origin, physical disability, sexual orientation or age), illegal (e.g., underage drinking, substance abuse, computer hacking, etc.), offensive, threatening, profane, or harassing."
Moving away from the world of tiny desks and into the realm of live music, The ReMINDers will be playing an all-too-rare hometown show on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Gold Room in the Mining Exchange complex.
The hip-hop duo hasn't played locally since last September's What If? Festival, but they've been far from inactive. Over the past year, Aja and Samir have toured with Lauryn Hill, traveled to Europe to play a headlining slot at the Festival Expressions Urbaines, and released two new tracks as part of the Colorado-based 3hree Project, which can be found at thethreeproject.com.
The Gold Room will also be hosting the debut of a new jazz-inclined trio on Friday called TAG — which features jazz guitarist Tom Taylor along with new Springs émigré Pat Abbott on bass and Bud Gordon on trumpet — while the more classic-rockist Out to Dry will take the stage on Saturday.
Also this weekend, talented and prolific singer-songwriter Stephanie Pauline will be performing in the God-fearin', boot-scootin' sanctity of the Cowboy Church of Peyton on Friday.
Alternatively, you could hit the Black Sheep on Saturday and worship at the altar of Tree of Woe, Crown-Magnetar, You'll be Sorry and Pain Machine.
The choice is yours. As Aleister Crowley would say, "May the New Year bring you the courage to break your resolutions early."