Life, which seemed to be a little more open to interpretation a few short months ago, has become rather tightly focused of late. The destination of this journey is baby, and there several well defined hoops that we are jumping through. Even though I know its more about the journey then the destination, its hard to lose track of the destination at this point. Of course, life can always throw us a few curve balls, so every morning I tense up, clutch my sweet ass, and shut my eyes as I boldly attack my day.
The good word is that we’ve found our fabulous new home in the east bay. We’re wicked psyched about that. Now we need to move all our stuff from A to B. Fortunately, with Stina at the helm, we’re already ahead of schedule. We’ve already donated and sold all of our excess possessions, and there’s a solid showing of boxes stacked around the house. All the art is down, and this apartment now sucks way more then it did a week ago. As much as I’m sad to leave our amazing neighborhood, this long goodbye is on the verge of dragging on, and I’m beginning to anticipate starting the next chapter of our lives.
We celebrated Halloween in the only way we know how – in a cabin in Yosemite surrounded by hippies and killer music. I really brought my A game for our probable final appearance at Las Tortugas, the best music festival in the universe. Strangers commented on all costume changes. I freaking RAGED all weekend long, while Stina rested comfortably in our sweet sweet love cabin. Unforuntatly our neighbors raged much harder then we did, blasting the tunes till past 6 am. I was too tired to be affected by it, but alas, Stina complete lack of raging rendered her helpless to the onslaught of “bonus rock”. I think I’d give top honors to Dumpstafunk, with Umphree’s second, and Tea Leaf Green third. TLG really brought it big this year.
Last friday one of my band dreams came true when Sean Lehe paired up with Asher Fulero in “Mo-Ped“. They were rounded out by Marshall Harrell (New Monsoon) on bass and Dave Brogan (ALO) on kit. I started off the evening right at JP Cutler’s suprise b-day dinner, and then dove deep in the Mo-Ped show. Those guys can freaking jam. I ran into bunches of folks from Los Tortugas, and one person who knew me as the guy with lots of costumes. Booyeah.
My internet love is running at an all time high right now. Craigslist allowed me to trade an office chair for a bike, which is AWESOME. Craigslist did a head fake though with tickets to Widespead Panic, what with the dude bailing on me last minute. So I jumped on the Bart, headed to the GORGEOUS new Fox Theater, and got second row center balcony tickets from the box office! Aww yeah! Then I forced the two folks who had to accompany me in (cause I had a dangerous laptop and might be able to “take pictures” – no lie, this is the reason I was accompanied by TWO security peeps) to wait at the merch booth while I snapped up the LAST killer poster. Booyeah! Then I happily checked my bag + poster, and rocked the fuck out! WSP was awesome. No “Tall Boy” though.
On Friday we went to see Kate and Maggie dance in the Go Go Spectacular, which was surprisingly awesome. Its insane how talented my friends are. Like Tom, who competed in a Championship Triathlon this past weekend. Or Amanda Gean, who ran 20 miles. Or Dave SG, who not only helped clean and pack all our art, but ate all the food in the house.
Words cannot describe how much fun I had at this year at Burning Man.
An epic year by all accounts, leaving me with joy in my heart and the fire to return. I’ll be back, one day.
I thought this video did a good job summarizing 09:
We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in a three day orgy of gluttony and whatever else you do at orgies. I guess you mostly attend weddings and Broadway shows. Whoohoo for orgies!
We kicked it off on Thursday night with a surprise (to me) evening out to see Spam-a-lot. I’ve really come to terms with my dissatisfaction of the stage adaption of movies, and was only mildly amused during reenacted scenes from the Holy Grail. Fortunately, they added lots of new material and created an amazing stage production which was super funtastical.
Friday, the day of our anniversary, we cruised the coast down to Half Moon Bay for some ritzy lunch and beach time.
Then epic napping, dinner at our new favorite Italian place in the Richmond, and too many hours of Battlestar Galactica. I started rooting for the robots.
Saturday was celebrate other couples day. Lars and Kate had a pre-wedding celebratory BBQ in the park for Bay Area folk.
It was fantastic catching up with so many folks.
Then is was off to Josh Adler’s and Katriene’s wedding celebration in West Portal.
This celebration was the perfect marriage of extraordinarily delicious food (Josh is the wine buyer for BiRite, a high end food store) and a super relaxed environment. They performed the ceremony when they felt like it, and the food kept coming. I sat next to some of Josh’s co-workers, who walked me through endless barrage of delicious offerings. It was a really special wedding – so chill and overflowing with positivity.
Then today, I went to the Fillmore to go pick up tickets for a show to discover that the ticket office was mysteriously closed and the Fillmore street festival was going on. I’ve never been to the Fillmore street festival, and that is a damn shame. It’s enormous, with four or five stages, and stellar jazz, blues, and funk music. I caught at least five bands today, some whom I’ve been meaning to see for a while now. A great, totally unexpected day.
The surreal moment of the weekend award goes to Saturday night post wedding. Around 11pm, still rather under the influence from the aforementioned celebration, I was working on some fuzzy tunes when out of the corner of my eye I think I see a flashlight on our private deck. I take off my headphones to hear someone saying “hello?” from the hallway. Thinking its possibly my downstairs neighbors, I’m surprised to discvoer two police officers peeking into my apartment. Apparently, someone had called saying they had heard someone walking on their roof, and the police though it was me. I explained that I had not called the police, and being the top apartment, had not noticed anyone on my roof. I then go to my deck to discover three additional officers. I explain that I didn’t call the police, and invite them in so they can walk down the stairs (instead of the fire escape). They call up to the roof where there is yet another officer on top of my apartment. The four officers gratefully come in, compliment me on the killer posters, and disappear down the stairs. One asks if I’m a producer and gets a CD, cause WTF just happened?! That was some seriously random shit. Were there really just 6 cops in my apartment? Was that many officers needed for the call? And how did they get in my building?
Last year we derived that nature + jambands = good times. Actually, we learned that nature + jambands + a cabin = good times. We attempted to verify our findings by revisiting our favorite festival, Las Tortugas, bringing a few friends (Joe, Rachel, and Dave motherfucking Patry) along for the ride. There was some rain and coldness, fantastic music late into the night, and simply exemplary times.
The great majority of the attendee’s are totally hardcore camping in these conditions. And the word definitely got out – this year had far greater attendance. The festival producers (Blue Turtle Seduction puts this thing on) made improvements on layout and food options. The space got pretty trashed what with the rain and hippies though. We are far from hardcore, and we collectively treasured our cabin. Repeatedly.
There were 27 bands at this tiny festival. It maxes out at 1000, and I don’t think they ever sold out – but I’m sure the weather impacted sales. Hands down my favorite band was On the One. They freaking KILLED it on Friday night. Their Saturday set was no slouch either. They just need to write some more songs. For a good time, ask Rachel to sing one of their tunes.
It was awesome to catch three general fuzz collaborators in different bands: Sean Lehe is still bringing the heat in Izabella, Anthony Rogers-Wright with his furious bass to Underground Orchestra, and Dan Lebowitz is Dan Lebowitz.
Halloween was rife with excellent covers. I was surprised by how riled up I got with some choice Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult covers from Guitarmeggedon. Not one, but two Daft Punk songs from On the One and Underground Orchestra. Everyone was firing on all cylinders. Too much fun overall, really. I’m struggling to form words right now.
We peered out at Yosemite valley mostly through the car windows. Otherwise, the rain would get us. That frightened me. Stina still took some nice shots though.
Having now spent 70odd hours in close proximity to DP, I now talk like him and swear a lot more. Stina is thrilled. He taught me that leaving your glasses behind is going “eye commando”, which made blurry vision infinitely more fun.
It’s pretty tough to describe Burning Man, so I won’t bother trying. Everyone is going to have a different experience anyways. All I can say is that it is the most important event I’ve ever attended, and I’m really glad I returned to the playa this year.
This year it was Haber, John O’Duinn, and his friend Liz. Tiny camp = no drama. We brought minimal supplies which worked out fine. Food consisted of a Pasta Salad which lasted for three days. When the forth day arrived and we were going to resort to breakfast bars for dinner, miraculous delicious Beef Stew from our kick ass neighbors saved the day.
Biking was treacherous this year, so I saw maybe 3 percent of the art and camps. We got extremely lucky with the weather though – we missed both of the major dust storms, sneaking in after one and bowing out before the other.
When the sun slips behind the mountains, cheers erupt from every direction. Right after that, there is the feeling that I’ve only experienced at Burning Man – that moment when the switch is flipped, and you feel everything is about to go OFF. There’s going to be trouble, and my mind is about to be blown. And it was, time and time again. I wasn’t so good with the camera, but I brought it to document how a single night at burning man went down for me. Right as the sun was setting, there were giant smoke rings and 30+ people sky diving simultaneously.
Waiting for Haber to get ready to go out, I heard a slamming jam band off in the distance. This year I found lots of variety in music and ran across a plethora of bands. A very welcome change from techno and more techno. So off I went to find this band. And, they were indeed slammin’
They did a fly cover of “Superstition”. Then we walked up to center camp to discover a different funk band covering “Superstition” – so we had do an apples to apples comparison. Several interactive art pieces later
|From burning man 2008|
we stumbled upon a huge stage erected in the shallow playa where a professional dance troupe was doing a show. They were AMAZING. I lost my shit right there and then. Burning Man could not be a more amazing place.
That is, unless you then stumble upon a totally difference type of dance performance immediately afterwards.
We discovered a GIANT field of glowing orbs and lights synced to music. Then I found a discreet small pillar with five buttons that allowed me to alter the light patterns. Ooooo boy.
We found the humongous double dome rave at 2 o’clock, then wandered out to the temple where we ran into Anat and Ben, freshly married the weekend before in LA. That was totally random and glorious. The Haber wanted to see what was going on at the giant tetris pieces. Guess what we found there?
Yeah. This place inspires awe. During the long trek back to camp, I saw
Flame is not normally green. This turned out only be a tease of what would happen the next night, when the sculpture garden went off.
Needless to say, I had an amazing experience. A different night, when waiting in line for the cluster fuck that was night art tour (never do something @ Burning Man that involves tickets) we saw those same 30+ people do a NIGHT dive from a very high height. They had flaming colors so we could see them descend, and they released awesome pyrotechnics as they got closer. So my mind was blown just waiting in line.
500 cds were distributed in one long afternoon. I did it slowly, allowing for time interactions and experimenting with different distribution techniques. Art within art, if you will. That was my contribution to the playa, and I hope it affected a few people in a positive way.
After spending the last couple years working from home a lot, obsessing about my personal music project, and going out by myself, I’ve become a somewhat insular person. This is not really my nature. Burning Man allowed me to communicate with some fabulous fringe folks, and my love for the absurd interaction was rekindled.
This festival was the epitome of convenience. A giant, Bonaroo sized festival half a mile from my house, in GG park. How sweet it was.
Friday was the day when fences came down. It was the shortest day with the biggest headliner, people had to come in from work, and everyone arrived around the same time. Things got out of hand with crowd congestion, and I bet a lot of people had a negative experience. I didn’t. I sat with Stina on top of a hill and watched it all happen, greatly amused by crowd dynamics. We even magically ran into Angel and Thom while playing throw the bottle. I saw a little of the duo, a little of beck, and plenty of Radiohead. Then it was fun watching all these people spill into our neighborhood. All the local stores had a banner night.
Saturday was all about laying the tarp down in the main stage area, and staying put. It’s an approach that works well for me at a festy. I saw Dredg (meh), Galactic (always fun), Steve Winwood (still strong and spy for his age), Ben Harper (A-MAZING), and a little Primus (Les Claypool is a normal dude, I swear).
Sunday was ballz to the wallz. I’m trying to build up my Burning Man legs, and I gave a full 100 percent. We started with our first glimpse of sunshine that weekend with ALO, then Stars (bad sound), Andrew Bird (only interested when he’s playing the violin), Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (she gave 120 percent, and they were totally smokin), Broken Social Scene (I love their albums, and they recreate those songs with a ten piece band – it was stellar), Rodrigo Y Gabriela (unbelieavable), Widespread Panic (finally a full jam band – Jimmy Herring kicks so much ass), and then finally Mike Gordan (Mike’s unique brand of jam band). Whew. I bounced from stage to stage all day long – and they were pretty far apart. I was so done after that.
We ran into all of our friends at one point or another, made a few new ones, and I officially started passing out my new CD. The festival was probably not the best thing for GG Park, but I sure had a BLAST. My top picks were Ben Harper, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, and Broken Social Scene – all bands I’d never seen before. The food was expensive (well, everything was expensive – but lax security helped make up for it), but super tasty selections from local merchants was a good idea. Actually, the whole thing was a good idea from my perspective – but I’m sure lots of residents feel differently.
I do have some pics, but the computer + internet seems to be cranky, so, boo to that. I leave for Burning Man in few hours. . . . .
Steve Bolinger invited me to join a group of his buddies that were “renting a limo” to go up to Anderson Valley for the beer festival. It sounded like a good idea, having never attending a beer fest like that before. The circulated emails seemed vague and a little sketchy on the limo, which I assumed would be a van. Steve bailed last minute, but I remained stalwright, so DanT, Angel, Lisa-Ruth, and I remained on board for journey. And what a journey it was.
I arrived at the appointed house in the morning, and met our new trusty companions, mostly comprised of true beer aficionados. I then learned that this “limo” was actually a real limo, which seemed odd for the proffered inexpensive price. Things got a lot weirder when the limo actually arrived. It was the longest limo I’d ever seen – complete with an extra axle – and it seated 11 fairly comfortably. We got in, and there were still beer bottles and cigarette ends in the random holes that might have one been used to hold things. There was an extra set of seats you could climb into in the back, an area which we immediately dubbed the “Vomitorium.” The limo was pretty run down, and the sounds it made when it started up did not inspire confidence, especially if we were to take this monster up across the hills to Anderson Valley. It was complete with not with one, but two stoner-esque drivers, who seemed more ready to party then we were. The front passenger door didn’t seem to completely close, and I was really concerned about someone falling out when we hit the mountain switch backs – especially since there were no seat belts to be found.
We winded our way up the festival, impressively navigating the switch backs. It probably took 3 hrs. We sampled some excellent beers on the way up – the organizers were very generous and pretty serious about beer. My kind of people.
The festival itself was pretty amazing. There were over 50 brewers sampling multiple brews. You got a 6 oz glass on entry, and the price of admission ($35) allowed unlimited tasting.
I sampled at least 40 beers during the festival. I always asked for just a taste – my goal wasn’t to get drunk, it was try beers, and, man, I had some fantastic beer. The non stop afternoon buzz was a bonus though. I tried to photograph every beer to keep a record.
I had gotten some advice from festival alumina on the ride up, so I knew who to try first off. I headed straight to “Pizza Port Brewing Company”, and then had one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted: “Attenuation”. It turned out to be my top pick for the festival. I verified this towards the end with a second sampling.
Second place went to Russian River Brewing Company with their “Blind Pig” IPA.
Third place was a tie between Moonlight brewery’s “Moonlight Special”, which was a one off brew and Iron Springs’ “Sless Stimulating Stout” (though Rogue’s chocolate stout was a contender).
Worst beer award goes to Alpine Beer Company’s “Captain & Vanille”. Vanilla does not belong in beer.
The festival was a great melting pot of hippies from Mendicino, business folk from San Francisco, and true beer heads from all over California. There wasn’t much of the frat boy vibe that I had anticipated. People were extremely friendly (well, beer didn’t hurt), but I really appreciated the overwhelmingly positive vibe. While it was full of people, it wasn’t too crowded – there was lots of space to sit in the shade and chill. I never had to wait more then a minute for a beer – and most times I could just walk on up to the bartender. For a festival that ended at 5, there were a surprising number of places shutdown by 3:45. It sure was a great time.
The ride back was less fun. Chris, the limo organizer, had been hurt due to proximity of people jumping on each other. While the limo was in place an the anointed time – the driver didn’t show up for another 20 minutes. Some random dude poked his heads in the limo and claimed he had been in it the day before and that, man, the driver was sketchy. While he could have been lying about the limo, he was seriously right on about the driver. I felt quite ill on the windy road to 101. Then there was a huge discrepancy between what we thought we were going to pay for the limo and what the limo drivers wanted to charge. It was a bit of a mess. We made it back, and even though we all pitched in extra money, I believe that our host probably ate the bulk of extra limo cost – which was a pretty big deal. It was more then generous – and I feel a little guilty about it. Next time we should just rent a van and pay a friend to be the DD. I think it would have worked out far smoother.
So, in review – the limo = hella sketchy. the festival = kick ass.
Earth Day Weekend is always a good time. It’s the one weekend when we humble San Francisco folk actually pay attention to the earth and all the “bad vibes” chillin high in the atmosphere. Its also an excuse for a whole mess of music, which is something I can definitely get behind. If you know what I mean.
So Rachel, Joe, and I checked out Toubab Krewe at 12 Galaxies on Friday night. Turns out, they were real good time. All instrumental, afro bent, high energy songs, kept me swaying on my feet the whole show. We had a real tasty, but late dinner right before heading over, so internal grooving was all I could muster. It’s these type of insignificant details which I choose to share that endears me to you. I hope.
That and the kick ass sentence fragments.
We spent all of Sunday afternoon hanging in GG Park, checking on the free show there put on by green apple. There were many speakers, including a truly annoying green puppet, talking about all the steps we need to take to save the earth. This, in turn, will save millions of lives. This seems like a great concept. My current dillema is that scientists just went through the hassle of explaining to me the overpopulation is going to kill us all. So, at least in abstract, these two positions are pretty contradictory.
Fortunatly, I didn’t need to get all bogged down by this since there was some sweet sweet music and gorgeous weather. Yonder Mountain provided a great spring day backdrop. Micheal Kang was everywhere (and I’ve seen him in a number of places recently- wonder if he’s living in the bay area now) There was a special segment when on the stage was Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, Joan Biaz, Kang, Jon Fishman, and Tommy Lee (!) playing not fade away together. One for the books.
Yuri’s Night, or “nerd day as NASA”, was one of the most fabulous events I have ever attended. It was the cumulation of extreme geekiness, burning man, circus, and music – both of the jamband and electronic varieties. Much like Burning Man, there were two totally different, yet equally important, parts of the event: daytime and nighttime. There was far too much to learn – so I opted out of most of it. I did see some amazing music projects, discovered that bio-feedback is the coolest thing ever, and learned that exponential population growth is going to destroy us. I’ve started using this last phrase to finish many sentences: “We better get dinner started before the population explosion kills us all.” Its kinda fun, slightly alarming, and certainly annoying, which in turn makes it more fun (for me).
There was lots of great talks, which I missed most of. There was tons of interactive technology and art which I played all day with. There were a couple downtempo artists whom I adore that played in a giant hanger- Zoe Keating, Tycho, and Digitonal. Later this space turned into a full on Rave, featuring acts like Tipper and Amon Tobin. It was looney tunes, I tell you. They even created an amazing chillout space under a giant airplane wing. The whole event exceeded my high expectations. We (Stiners, Tony, and I) arrived when the gates opened at 2pm, and left after midnight (it went till past 2am, and Stina was dancing to Particle most of the way to the car). Elissa did a far more thorough job that I’m going to describing all the things she did. I’m just happy to say that it was AMAZING, and I encourage everyone I know to go next year. The only disappointing thing was when Telestar (a band consisting of Phil Lesh, John Molo, Steve Molitz, and a trumpet duder) did a free-jazz style set that lacked any sort of cohesion. Probably the only time in my life I can walk away from those musicians to go take in a trapeze act.
Here’s a bunch of fantastic photos that Tony took:
The amazing Zoe Keating:
My favorite shot: