By Julie Garisto
Who is this Ryan Wendell Bauer? A Tampa transplant, he lives just outside downtown St. Pete with girlfriend Laura Cameron. When not playing keyboards for the band Auditorium, he writes his own synth-pop tunes that are humorous and, at times, poignant. He has a modest, unassuming charm with childlike goofiness.
Recent success: Bauer made quite a splash on Feb. 22 while opening for Leslie Hall's humor-pop act, Leslie and the Lys. A large crowd gathered and rewarded him with resounding applause, most likely for his over-the-top dance moves and animated expressions. Of the show, Bauer says he relates to Hall. "The ingredient she brings, that I try to bring, is sincerity. You never feel like she's conning you or just putting on this big show. She brings a lot of human characteristics to her performance."
More Zappa, less Yankovic: "I never consciously try to be funny for the sake of being funny. I'd like to be more of a Frank Zappa than a Weird Al. I'm not looking to be zany. There's a place in music for humor and lightheartedness, and not all of my tunes are happy and lighthearted. ... In Happy Friday, a song about cold interpersonal relationships in the office, I couldn't perform that straight and pull it off. It's got the call and response, two sides of the conversation. That way, I can sing about things and not be so caught up emotionally."
Another funny tune: Vacation Beard
Wish him a happy birthday: On March 14, Bauer turns 28.
Too stand-up for stand-up: "I started doing stand-up at the Improv in Ybor City around 2000. What got me out of that scene was that there's a lot of one-upmanship, drugs, shady things. It's totally different in the music scene. It's welcoming. Everybody wants everyone to succeed. It's not like that in comedy."
His gear: Korg Triton keyboard, MicroKorg synthesizer, drum machine and KAOSS vocal effects processor.
New CD? It's now 90 percent complete, he says, and due out in May.
Favorite movie: Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
Weirdest item on desk: A memorial totem to The Office, created during the writer's strike. The miniature lighted Christmas tree has at its top a squishy ball bearing the face of Dwight Schrute and the recurring line spoken by Michael Scott, "That's what she said," scrawled on a paper sash.
Other cool gig: Bauer co-hosts the Southeast Music Alliance's SMAsh Radio Podcast.
Self-defensive: Bauer prefers to walk home from downtown St. Pete, even at night. When asked how he gets by safely, he responds, "I walk with a swagger and don't let them know I'm gentle."
Hear him: 9 p.m. Friday at Joran Slane's CD release party at Star Booty, 681 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Also playing: Scott Harrell, the Ditchflowers and Katherine Kelly. $3. (727) 895-7827.