Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ratty's Reading

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2007 at 2:55 AM

Ratty Scurvics is the most talented and original artist/musician in New Orleans. For true. In his one-man-band, Singularity, Ratty pounds two keyboards perched atop a bass drum positioned beside a snare on the floor – both drums equipped with foot pedals, allowing Ratty to simultaneously play drum-kit and keyboards while singing. Regardless of this spectacle of dexterity, however, Ratty’s songs hold the main focus. Comparisons to more famous one-man-band Quintron are inevitable, but while Q’s musical point is mostly ‘Party! Party! Party!’ Ratty’s music stirs up dance frenzies while remaining pathos-driven and deeply personal. Don’t worry though, New Orleans, you’d hardly notice unless you paid close attention, which you won’t, cause you just wanna drink and dance and party, party, party. Doesn’t that get old for you? Nevermind, I won’t criticize…

On rhythm guitar, Ratty also leads his band The Invisible Gambling Jews, which features trombonist Rickshaw from Morning 40 Federation, old-timey accordionist Merry-Go-Round, and Miss May on cello, rounded out by a revolving rhythm section. In The Jews, Ratty’s voice is given center stage – a raspy-yet-powerful voice generally buried beneath all Singularity’s other loud elements is, in The Jews, shown to be Ratty’s ace in the hole. His attention-grabbing voice belongs on the radio, though as of this writing, not many people outside of Bywater even get him. Maybe fans of more traditional and already-famous New Orleans music would be more impressed if I told you Ratty is also the son of local legend Vince Vance? Tis also for true.

Lately though, the colorful Mr. Scurvics has been writing a book, an “adult fairy tale” entitled, What the Fat Little Man Told Me -- from which he will read, one last time, this coming Wednesday night at Dominic’s, 219 Corondolet. Turns out Ratty’s an amazing writer as well (he also attended the prestigious Chicago Art Institute, for painting. I’m telling ya!). Fat Little Man is Ratty’s, “true tale of growing up in New Orleans across from Armstrong Park,” where at four years old, in the course of running away from an impending punishment, Ratty supposedly met a tiny man, “a croquet ball in a tailored suit,” per Ratty’s description. This fat little man let Ratty in on some rather adult secrets. The story goes on to involve a City of Forgotten Dolls, a butcher selling mysterious meat on the blackmarket, plus other twisted characters and dark events. “Like the fairy tails we’re told when we’re children,” Ratty explains, “all the imagination and wonder, except with murder, sex, strife. In a similar vein to the real Brothers Grimm.”

Ratty’s read publicly from his book – which is in the process of being illustrated by local painter Myrtle Red -- every Wednesday this month. But don't fret: this last installment will include a re-cap of previous installments. Somewhere in this heady mix, Ratty will accompany the aforementioned Merry-Go-Round on some of her original accordion songs, plus some old standards. This last installment also happens to fall on the birthday of singer Edith Piaf, and thus will feature young-but-old-timey band Loose Marbles doing Edith Piaf’s covers.

Again, that’s this Wednesday night, 9:30p.m., in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express, a.k.a. Dominic’s, 219 Corondolet. The event is free of charge. For links to chapters from What the Fat Little Man Told Me, and samples of Ratty’s great music, visit myspace.com/rattyscurvicssingularity

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