July 31, 2006 at 7:42 pm

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]Here is the invite we send out for PLOJ 🙂 [/FONT][/FONT]
[B][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][B][SIZE=2]What’s a PLOJ?[/SIZE][/B][/FONT][/FONT][/B]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]The world isn’t full of enough gatherings. The world isn’t full of enough music. The world isn’t full of enough food … The PLOJes solve all of the above problems by bringing dozens of musicians, music Lovers and their friends together. People bring food, people bring their enthusiasm, their voices, whatever, and we have a little celebration. In the past we’ve had flutes, drums, guitars, opera, fire eating, sword swallowing (this is all true), basses, pianos, bazoukis & poetry – We challenge you to bring something new. This is part song-circle, part open jam, and even if you want to just sit on the deck and listen, we encourage anyone and everyone to come on out.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]A PLOJ may sound like something you step in, but this is an ongoing festivity of music and mayhem, beauty and food, friendship and fuss.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[/FONT][/FONT][B][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][B][SIZE=2]All Are Welcome… [/SIZE][/B][/FONT][/FONT][/B]
[SIZE=2][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Originally, when PLOJes were held at different private residences, they were by invitation only. The [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]Northern Virginia[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial] chapter of PLOJ is still held at a private residence and Listeners and players are all invited, though everyone should bring a dish of food. Desserts are discouraged, because that usually means it’s knee-deep in cookies and cake. Frequently, there are both vegetarian and meaty meals. [/FONT][/FONT][/SIZE]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]We do have a minimum age limit – 11 years old – as having very young children running around in a small venue with expensive equipment around is not a good recipe!! There is no maximum age limit – so if you want to bring your great great grandparents, then feel free (as long as they are not transported in a decorative urn!!)[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]And the music is as eclectic as the eats – there are rockers and folkies and poets and rap artists – but it all stays acoustic. Original artists and cover artists are welcomed. Be aware that this is more than just a song circle – it’s also a jam. Though people will respect your wishes, unless you state that you want to perform solo, people will feel free to sing along, play along and tap more than their toes. Please respect other peoples music genres – you will hear a mixture of Christian music, rap and good old rock and roll – the only unofficial rule is NO BARRY MANILOW SONGS!! [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Percussionists are invited, but as with all musicians please stay aware of (and courteous with) your volume. There is also often a bass player or three, but only one bass amp may be set up at any given time. This is also true for keyboards. Recently, there have been difficulties with djembes, as their bass tones drown everything else out. There is limited space for a drum kit and one will be provided, but other percussion toys that respect the size and climate of the venue are certainly encouraged. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]It’s a great place to network, or just informally make friends. It’s a great place to swap songs and swap recipes. It’s a great place just to sit back and listen – and knit, for some reason. Big knitting circles at the PLOJ. Go fig. We even had somebody knitting chain mail at one PLOJ.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]This is all ages – please, no drugs or outside alcohol. This is acoustic. See more about how the mechanics of a PLOJ works in the Etiquette section.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[/FONT][/FONT][B][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][B][SIZE=2]PLOJ Etiquette[/SIZE][/B][/FONT][/FONT][/B]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Finally attracted to a PLOJ, you look sheepishly around…[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]You’ve parked, and you’re meeting a bunch of new people. You have your mandolin in one hand, your electric guitar in the other and you’ve forced your boyfriend/dog/wife/packhorse to haul your amplifier, drum kit, food item and songbook. In your pocket you’ve got your contact book, a bunch of fliers and a bag of weed. Ah, musicians, a predictable lot.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Well, first off, leave that bag of weed at the door… or better yet, in your car. These are all-age parties, and drug free. Now, some people have previously expressed the idea that you can’t properly appreciate music unless you’re high, stoned, rolling, tripping, dying, whathaveyou, but that is not the belief of the organizers. Alcohol IS served but we monitor age restrictions VERY carefully, and its consumption should be respectful of the group – beer & wine only – no hard liquor. While you’re out there, drop off your amp and kit, too. Think acoustic, guys. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Stumble inside with your load o stuff, thoughts, ideas, songs and pack beast of choice. Food all ends up in the kitchen. There is not a lot of room to spare, so instrument cases might be best left in your car, if possible. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Please, be aware of what’s going on around you. You might be entering during a Quiet Moment. Get drinks from the kitchen, say hey to the hosts, Jerry & Alison, and then figure out where to sit. If you’ve brought a cushion or something, sprawl on the floor. Your hosts are floating around somewhere. Feel free to say hey, and they’ll do their best to make you feel Loved and welcomed. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Music etiquette is tricky, but really it all comes down to listening. When you’ve got so many people playing, it’s useful to have a base-line for your tuning. If you’ve got a tuner, go ahead and use it. We try to have everything tuned to 440 rather than some circumstantial communal A. It makes Life easier for the harmonica players and the pianists. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a guitar stand. Dozens of precariously balanced instruments beg for trouble. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]At the PLOJes, there are some people who are there to jam, others there to share their songs and all sorts of other things are going on at the same time. Listen to yourself; listen to the other people in the room. This isn’t an open mic, and there isn’t a list. When you see an opening in the music, jump in. In any song, there will always be a “leader” – and if they can’t be heard, the whole thing falls apart. If you’re playing too loud to hear the changes initiated by the person leading the music, you’re playing too loud. This is the reason electric instruments and big drums are banned – it’s just too easy for them to get out of control. The most important thing is that we’re all having a good time. Don’t let ego get in the way of that. If you’re asked to turn down, or if someone specifically wants to play a song alone, don’t be offended. Also, with this statement made, please talk to one another if you can’t hear something.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[SIZE=2][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Please, keep in mind that your hosts, Jerry &[/SIZE] [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]Alison [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]are there to make you feel welcome, but they sometimes have to maintain a little bit of order, too. Don’t be offended if they ask you to turn down, or give someone else a turn. Generally, the hosts guide the flow. [/FONT][/FONT][/SIZE]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Don’t be afraid to mess up. You’re among friends here (or you’re about to be), all just having a good time together. The goal of PLOJ is not the goal of most music parties and open mics which are often covers for networking and selling CDs and filling your mailing lists. At a PLOJ, you’re meeting friends. Sure, pass cards to one another, and trade CDs – but try to avoid music community politics at all costs. Our music world is cut throat and merciless, but only because it’s allowed to stay that way. A COMMUNITY of ARTISTS can be built if we all just get past the business of our egos for a bit. It’s a worthy goal, and for years, over and over again, people have come together to realize it. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]

[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Stay as long as you like, play as much as you like, and eat. Pick up after yourself, don’t walk off with the wrong guitar and be open to meeting some new people. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]And again, have fun.

[/FONT][/FONT][B][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][B][SIZE=2]A History of PLOJ:[/SIZE][/B][/FONT][/FONT][/B]
[FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]The Pot Luck Open Jam was initially created by Syl and Sara Smith and ilyAIMY’s Rob Hinkal in 1999. [/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]Rob, with a penchant for unwieldy acronyms, dubbed the thing PLOJ, and after the success of the first one, it quickly became tradition.[/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT][SIZE=2][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]Every PLOJ is different. [/FONT][/FONT][/SIZE]

[SIZE=2][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial][SIZE=2]We are the unofficial[/SIZE] [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial]Northern Virginia[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Arial][FONT=Arial] chapter of PLOJ.[/FONT][/FONT][/SIZE]