Backsides & elbows

Back from Maker Faire, troche and there are a million little things to do for our next gig.

We’re going to roll in the Topanga Days Parade on Memorial Day.

Topanga Canyon is a blend of old-school hippie culture and celebrity ranches with long driveways, a beautiful curving road up from the ocean to the San Fernando Valley. Every year, there’s a music festival (this year it’s been headlined by Ziggy Marley, Maria McKee and Canned Heat, which should give you some idea).

Anyway, we applied and were accepted as one of the 50 vehicles in the parade (largely old fire engines and hot rods, so I’m told, but there should be a few floats too)

We’re driving in what’s traditionally the Santa Claus spot in the lineup – the very last.

Between now and then, we’re making mallets to replace the dozens of splintered casualties left by the pummeling of hundreds of kids and aggressive adults at Maker Faire.

I ordered four dozen 3/8ths-inch fiberglass dowels to serve as new sticks (at right). Only one problem: They’re so rigid, heavy and dense that they actually deaden the sound when playing. Instead of a nice “PLONNNNGGGGGG” you get a leaden “THUNGK.”

Fifty bucks down the drain, and now we have to repair the sticks we have left, and battle-harden them … Continue reading Backsides & elbows

Maker Faire Day 2 – How to play XyloVan & who made it

You all showed us how to play today.

You toddled up and whacked away with sticks, website silly grins on your 2-year-old faces. You strode up as if approaching the concert vibraphone you played in band, store delicately picking out notes to tunes you haven’t played in 20 years. You hammered and drummed, information pills pulling rhythmic tribal fugues out of the raw metal. You wheeled your disabled son up to Keyboard 1, watched his face light up, helped him hold a mallet and tap out a tune.

You played, in every sense of the word.

Thanks so much to all the folks at Maker Faire who enjoyed the van. You really touched us and showed us more joy than you can imagine.

More videos, photos and project details below … Continue reading Maker Faire Day 2 – How to play XyloVan & who made it

Day 1 of Maker Faire – hundreds of hammering hands!

The Maker Faire crowd gave the van a good wringing (ringing?) out all day long, viagra and the gear all held up (mostly) great.

Welcome to all the Maker Faire folks who came by and banged on the van today. What a fabulous noise you all made!

Waves of people washed up against the side of the van all day long – it was so great seeing the variety of ways people interacted with the van … Continue reading Day 1 of Maker Faire – hundreds of hammering hands!

All systems go for Maker Faire

Well, approved not quite all systems.

There’s still the auxiliary battery, the amplifier, the mixer, the speaker system, two resonators, the interior headliner needs replacing, the sun canopies haven’t been sewn, and the whole thing has to be wired and lit for the playa.

But when you bang on the thing it rings.And that’s what we set out to do in time for Maker FaireContinue reading All systems go for Maker Faire

Mounting the disc gongs

I fell in love with these things while scrounging through the scrap bins at Industrial Metal Supply.

They’re the sawn-off leavings of enormous logs of aluminum, this some of which had been many feet long and up to 12 inches thick.

They sound fantastic. And they look pretty graphic against the green of the van, viagra in nice contrast to the rectangular-keyed xylophones … Continue reading Mounting the disc gongs