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Tonight, live on the radio via the telephone

“Phoning It In’ is a nifty radio show from WMBR in Boston and WBSR in Providence where they have musicians engage in what they describe as ‘live over-the-phone performances and awkward conversation’.

Earlier last winter we did an unplugged performance on “Phoning It In” with Nadav Carmel on WMBR. It was a hoot and we definitely provided our share of awkward conversation and impossibly-long converstional pauses. And we played a few songs (we’re looking for the link for that one as we type this).

But tonight (Thursday, 5/31/07) at 9:00pm, Charles will do a few songs solo-wren-style for the partner show on WBSR with James Brandt...



the wrens on "Fair Game"

Kind of last-minute thing, but we wrens will be playing on today’s episode of the PRI (that’s Public Radio International, NPR-listeners) show ‘Fair Game’ hosted by Faith Salie.

Wikipedia describes it thusly:

“Fair Game with Faith Salie is a satirical news and entertainment program distributed nationally on PRI. Hosted by Faith Salie, Fair Game covers the important stories of the day and uses insightful humor to tease out what it all means. The show also features newsmaker and celebrity interviews, live music and regular appearances by comedians.”

…so I gues that makes us the celebrity interview – yes!

Oh wait, we’re the live music.

And when I say ‘we wrens’ in this case, that just means two of us: Jerry was 2 over par at an important business meeting and Kev was tending to his many illegitimate children.

So check it – the vocals are iffy! The maraca playing is intermittent! The guitars sound like banjos recorded at a distance!

But we did actually have a really good time and were already fans of the show so it was very nice to be asked on. Faith is pretty hilarious.

In the Big Apple-area, it plays at 8:00 on WYNC.

Fair Game w/ Faith Salie


Thanks…as always




Tour de Foncy Ponts


Maintaining our more-or-less ‘two weekends a month’ touring schedule for about the third year going now, we’ve added a peck o’new tour dates (Ohio, Georgetown, Baltimore, Seattle, Texas).

Relatedly, one-man notefest Charles is hitting the boards solo-style tomorrow night, 2/22/07. He’ll be reprising his crowd-wowing solo turn as Petruchio in ‘Taming of the Shrew’ as part of the Brooklyn Next Festival at Southpaw. Kidding – it is the Brooklyn Next Festival but he’s just playing the same tired wrens songs with loops & stuff.

Mentioning this not because it’s so great, but because it’s one-day notice at this point and the good folks of Southpaw deserve better.

Click on this funny-colored sentence to see the grueling details of our non-consecutive show dates on the ‘tours’ page



Esopus Event

Here are the official details for tonight’s Charles/Kevin duo show thing at the Kitchen in New York for the really wonderful biannual arts magazine, Esopus:


For its first event at The Kitchen, ESOPUS presents an evening of readings and performances whose theme—creative collaboration—is approached from four different angles by four different groups of collaborators. In "Autographs," an audio-visual presentation recorded exclusively for this event, actor/filmmaker Jennifer Jason Leigh reads a series of short poems by Vincent Katz, accompanied by projections of never-before-seen drawings by his father, artist Alex Katz. (The entire suite of 12 drawings and poems is published in ESOPUS 7.) Film production designer Thérèse DePrez ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch," "Happiness") and cinematographer Ellen Kuras ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Unzipped") discuss with critic Amy Taubin the process of working together to create the look and tone of films like Mary Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol" and Spike Lee’s "Summer of Sam." Playwright Christopher Durang ("Beyond Therapy," "Miss Witherspoon") stages and co-performs with actress Alma Cuervo a reading of a short parody of "Medea" that Durang co-wrote with the late Wendy Wasserstein (whose plays often featured Cuervo in starring roles). The evening ends with a set of guitar, loops, piano and vocals from Charles Bissell and Kevin Whelan from acclaimed indie band The Wrens. In keeping with the evening's theme of collaboration, their performance will include a song for which they will ask audience members to join them onstage to contribute single-note drones on extra guitars...



Charles solo residency at Knit continues…


Charles’ solo August residency thing at the Knitting Factory Tap Bar (NY) continues tonight with one of the wrens’ bestest old friends, Koester:

And next Tuesday, 8/29, with Roman Kuebler (from the Oranges Band) and John Ralston:

For both shows, it’s $8 to get in the door, those doors open at 7:00, and the show you’re paying for starts at 8:00.

These solo thingies of his are definitely not ‘acoustic’ – more like a bunch of loops, pedals and an ill-chosen set-list of older weirder wrens songs (no turntables although there is a microphone).



Charles solo benefit show added for this weekend...

But grim reaper willing, charles will be playing solo on Saturday in Brooklyn at a benefit show for Emergency Communities, a relief organization based in Brooklyn, NY and Arabi/New Orleans, LA who continue to provide community-based relief (meals, medical care, legal advice & education) following Hurricane Katrina.

Their website sums up their mission statement far better than we ever could:

Doors are at 8PM (music starts at 9pm. Free beer from 9:00 – 10:00 courtesy of Greenpoint Beer Works). It’s $20 to get in but with all proceeds going directly to Emergency Communites’ efforts to help rebuild the Gulf Coast.

The venue: www.supremetradingny.com213 N 8th st, Williamsburg, Brooklyn,just three blocks from the Metropolitan stop on G train (the L is not operating this weekend. Surprise).