Whiskey and Beer With the Marimba Queen

The Situation It's midnight on Monday, Sept. 27, and I'm sitting in the classy, lo-fi Sitting Room in Queen Anne with the mistress of marimbas, Erin Jorgensen, who lives right across the street. The Beatles' Help! is playing, but we spend a good 15 minutes raving about the Kinks instead.

Intoxication Jorgensen, a petite redhead who released an album of French pop tunes called Cet air-là ("This Air") earlier this year, is a little shy, but has a huge laugh and an endearing habit of responding to everything with "Right?" As in, Thompson: "The south of France is great." Jorgensen: "Right?"

I'm having a Stella; Jorgensen's drinking a Jameson on the rocks. Currently, she's less about the nightlife than about learning to sew. Today she shopped for wool at a fabric store with a friend who's going to give her some lessons. "I don't have a clue how to sew," she admits. "It can't be that hard, right?"

How She Got Here For the past seven years, Jorgensen's worked at On the Boards (located in the same block as the Sitting Room; Jorgensen lives a life of convenience), a job she's very invested in. "This morning I had to go make kiosks [to advertise upcoming performances]. They're all colored with glitter and crayon," she says. "I worked on the weekend! But it's a nonprofit, so everybody works more than they're supposed to."

As an added benefit, she gets to store her massive instrument at the theatre. "The marimba is like a huge, nine-foot xylophone. It fits in my apartment but it's too loud," she says. "When I first moved into my apartment and played, people banged on the ceiling."

Shop Talk Jorgensen is a self-proclaimed Serge Gainsbourg nut, and her songs are eloquent and mysterious, buoyed by her lovely, sophisticated voice. For her next album, though, she plans to aim for "a more Laurie Anderson vibe, like a lot of talking. I want to experiment with [spoken-word] type stuff. I think I'm gonna try it at this REVERB show and just see how it goes."

BTW: If you see a forest-green, 10-year-old Toyota minivan cruising around Ballard on Saturday, it's probably Jorgensen. "I needed a big car for my marimba," she says, "so I got the minivan. I'm really into it for some reason. It's so soccer-mom and incognito."


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