Jennifer Batten: Joins Zumanity

The summer tour is finished and it took about a week to recover and figure out what to do with myself. I then focused on finishing up a few steampunk art pieces for my first gallery showing at the Peculiarium in Portland OR. It will remain up until the end of August. I played my multimedia show for opening night and had a blast with loads of friends and newbies present.

And now for the newest exciting news. I'll be playing guitar in the Cirque Du Soleil show "Zumanity" in Las Vegas from October through February. It will be cool to remain in one city for that long and do something completely different from anything I've done previously. Just when I thought I was done with the desert living of Southern California, I'll be back with the scorpions and rattle snakes!

The summer tour had us driving down and back up the USA west coast, then heading east through Boise, Fort Collins, Denver, Kansas City's Knuckleheads Club (which was a fantastic audience thanks to the efforts of newbie promoter Brent Searing).

We then drove to Saint Louis and dropped off the dog to hang out at my pal guitarist and M.I. alumni Randy Hetledge's place with his pony sized Bermese Mountain dog, while we flew to the east coast for two huge and wonderful house concerts. New York City's Iridium was next, where they're still keeping Monday guitar nights alive after Les Paul's passing. Ah NYC. We paid $72 for one day of parking. Couldn't wait to get out of there and back to less stressful driving.

After a great time going through Graceland in Memphis, we took our cheesy Elvis souvenirs to Texas where we sweat like pigs in the record heat/humidity. Houston's Hard Rock Cafe was the best of the 3 HR's I played. The manager did it up right.

Travel mate Michael entering the Lisa Marie in Graceland

Following a couple Camp Jam workshops in Houston and Dallas, I flew to the absolute highlight of the tour in Poland. I toured the country for 8 days to enthusiastic crowds everywhere. I loved it, and also discovered the best vodka on the planet.

The last Polish show was on the beach and featured a daytime LED screen for my films, a wireless system, and a ramp they built for me so I could get up close and personal with the audience.

Fun times in Poland

I've recently had my steampunk art shot by photographer Sam Forencich, and the results are added to my shots on flickr (to look at) and etsy (for sale)

And last but not least, the "Embrace the Sun" CD project is out. It's available on iTunes. I offered an acoustic track entitled "Sakura Season" to benefit Japan relief, organized by my record company Lion Music. I've been flying to Japan every April for almost 10 years during Sakura (Cherry Blossom) time. These trips combined with many wonderful memories of being in Japan with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck make it that much harder to see the devastation from the tsunami. They still need your help, so please check out the benefit CD and give what you can from clicking the Red Cross link below. Thanks!--JB