I was lucky enough to get an invite to a “super secret” Nintendo event, billed as “World 1:2”. I wasn’t sure what it was about, but it happened early enough on Saturday night to warrant checking out. I figured there’d be food and video games, and was right on target. I brought Dave SG with me, which turned out to be the correct thing to do.
The event took place in the gallery of an amazing non-profit arts organization called Root Division. I ended up talking with the director of Root Division for a while, and was totally captivated by their mission to both enable artists to work towards a sustainable living and enrich the community with free arts education. It’s a beautiful goal. Dave SG is a professional artist, and really lit up when he learned about the goals of the organization.
The event was for only 50 people, which is insane considering how much effort went into the event. Nintendo completely transformed this small gallery space bringing in huge amounts of scaffolding, a stage, and Wii Kiosks. There were contests, a DJ, shwag, and ample Nintendo staff. We got to play their two new unreleased flagship games – Excitebots Trick Racking, which was sorta fun, and the new Punch Out, which was AWESOME. They totally nailed bringing Punch Out to the current console generation without sacrificing any bits that made it so fun in the 80s.
My favorite part of the evening occurred when I went to the entrance to grab my water bottle. At this point I was down to my tee shirt, which read “I love Dave Stern-Gottfried”. The tee-shirt doesn’t lie. A lady from Nintendo’s PR firm was working the door, and asked if Dave was from Philly, which he is. Turns out she went to high school with his younger brother. She figured there couldn’t be a ton of Stern-Gottfried’s. That tee-shirt keeps paying out dividends.
As awesome as this event was, to me the most amazing thing was that Nintendo decided to rent out this non-profit arts space. I find it truly inspiring that Nintendo made the extra effort to find a space that really makes an positive impact on the local community community and surely needs this type of corporate sponsorship.
It’s always a treat to see one of my favorite guitarists, Steve Kimock, play at one of my favorite venues, the Great American Music Hall. His current band rotation is very similar to his previous – he continues to have his son John on Drums and Melvin Seals on keys. I fell deeply in love with his new bass player, Janis Wallin. She was crazy cute, and she’d clearly been bitten by the radioactive groove monkey when she was little. She wasn’t a flashy player, but a deep pocket player. She and John already had some solid swing chemistry, and I’m sure that’ll solidify over the next four months of constant touring. They also brought along the classy JGB ladies, who came on and off the stage all night, which made for a far more vocal Kimock affair then I’ve ever experienced. Since the singing is of such high caliber, I have no beef with that. No beef, I say.
Kimock never lets me down. He likes to do some introspective songs which appeals to me probably much more than most people – they just wanna get their dance on. To me, the sign of a true musician is one who needs to explore a wide range of sonic palates. That, and I write downtempo music. Go figure. It’s also been fun seeing his son play over the past 3-4 years. He’s only 19 now, so you can imagine his growth, both physically and musically.
What I walked away with the most though, is that I need to Janis in her own band, the Family Groove Company. If she’s any indicator, then their group name will be right on target.
Last summer I got a car accident. Boom. A day or two later I apprehensively and rather sorely went to Yoga. The teacher decided that her students appeared a little beat up, so she decided to teach a restorative class. The second half of the class was my first experience with Pranayama, which is a basically intensive breathing exercises. Towards the end of the Pranayama practice, I started swelling up with emotions. It was rather intense and very unexpected. I decided that the experience was important, and should be revisited.
I started attending Pranayama classes about two months ago. Now I unexpectedly find myself walking on the more spiritual path of Iyengar Yoga. During my third class I experienced the emotional charge again. For a couple days after I was a bit manic – extreme highs/lows. Since then I find that I’ll be far more sensitive for a day or two after the Pranayama class. On one hand, it’s awesome and important to get in touch with my deeply buried emotional self. On the other hand, it’s a lot to deal with, it spills over onto Stina, and moreover, when things are not going well I wade too deeply in a pit of despair. My work life has been insane for the last few months. It’s a lot to deal with on its own, and I’m now amplifying the negative impact its having on my self esteem.
I gifted Stina tickets to Wicked for Christnukah. When the day of show arrived last week, I wasn’t sure if I could go. Last minute, I pulled enough work stuff together so that I could take off for a few hours. It was amusing, and a great break from work. We got out around around 11, I promptly began a freak out about having to get back home and start working again. As we walked towards the train home, Stina pointed out a homeless man attempting to sleep on the sidewalk with his socks hung over the sewer vent. That was all the perspective I needed. I have it so amazingly good. I need to not lose perspective of that.
I fully plan on continuing the Pranayama classes along with the normal classes and see where it takes me. I never would have predicted the impact Yoga is having on my life.
I heart me a random conversation, especially one that Hans lovingly transcribes for me so I can blog it. I feel Hans last remark is why I would elect him supreme overlord. Of my pants, at least.
J = me, H = Hans, RG = (big, possibly intimitating) random guy
RG sits down saying he came in b/c our heater was running.
H: “(looking at the heater that’s barely still alive) Not really.”
RG: “I can still feel it though.”
Meanwhile, across the circle, Dave SG is talking about how he wants to paint a giant mural of an orangutan.
H: “(turns to J and RG) I’d like to BE an orangutan for a day…just for a day.”
RG: (shakes his head, looking in disbelief at H)
H: “Just for a day. An orangutan for a day.”
RG: “What’s an orangutan?”
H: “You know, an ape…monkey thing, you know.”
RG: “Oh yeah. (makes like an ape with long arms) Naw, man, I’m not…that’s not…”
H: “(points to RG and says to J and RG) Oh, he says a day isn’t enough; he’s down for a week.”
RG: “(looking at H like he’s crazy and shaking his head) Naw. No way. Not gonna…no monkey.”
H: “(turns to RG) OK, how about if you got to have a tail you could grab onto things with?”
RG: “Naw. I have hands to do that.”
H: “OK, how about if you got to stay a person but could have the tail to grab onto things with?”
RG: “No way. I still got the hands to grab things.”
J: “I’d take the tail.”
H: “See, he’d take the tail. Me too.”
RG: “But then people might call you a freak.”
H: “People already call him a freak. (laughing)”
J: (softly and seriously, after the laughter quiets a bit) Its’s not true.”
H: “Hahaha, ‘it’s not true’.”
RG: “Oh, see, he’s assassinating your character.”
H: “Oh, shit! That’s true! I WAS assassinating your character. (aside to J) I can’t believe he just said that.”
J: “(to RG) That’s why we call him Fuckface Jones!”
RG: “Cuz he eats a lotta ****y?” <– and you might wonder why I decided to asterix that one. Wonder away.
J: “Huh… maybe…I guess that could be part of it.”
RG: (looks across and sees Stina and Erin leaning on each other and turns to J) Are they gay?”
J: “Uh, no.”
RG: “A little bit?”
J: “… maybe a little.”
RG: “I tried to convince my friend to…swing both ways, you know? She was into it one night but that was it. It was cool…but then I saw the other woman and I said ugh, no way.”
H: “She had a tail?” <— moment of brillance
RG: “…I think she had hooves.”
H: “Oooh, that shit hurts.”
On Thursday, I was not well aligned with the universe. Everything was off kilter, including my decision making process. At the end of the day, I decided that attending the one off Dragon Smoke (feat. Eric Lindell, Ivan Neville, Robert Mercurio, and Stanton Moore) show at the Boom Boom Room on Friday would be a good idea. It was crazy sold out. My only option was to buy five tickets (since all they have is names at the door, it would be me + 4) from some dude, and I went for it.
It was cake to get A-town “I make lego’s self-aware” Fudd on board, and I picked up some scragglers on craigslist for the other tickets. I was apprehensive about the whole thing – I was particularly tired, all I had was a print out of a confirmation note with a different name on it for five rather expensive tickets, it was gonna be packed beyond belief, and the cosmos and I were at odds. I swore off really crowded shows at the BBR years ago, and wondered why I was going to subject myself to such a scene. I guess the funk called, and I had to answer. Maybe I should have let it leave a message.
We arrive at the BBR, and I’m supposed to meet “Mark” outside. He just called to say he was arriving with two hotties. I see a dude flanked by two girls arrive, I say “Mark?”, and awkward conversation ensues. Turns out a to be the wrong Mark. The right Mark arrives, and we attempt to gain entry. The guy at the door flat out rejects the confirmation letter. Apparently the seller was supposed to also supply a copy of his drivers licence. Well, fuck. I plead/cajole/jedi the doorman, he disappears for a few minutes, and on his return he very begrudgingly lets us in. Sweet sweet relief, followed by cold beer.
Inside, DJ’s spinning some funky tunes. The opener takes the stage. I’m quite aware how much easier it is to be a music critic then a performer. None the less, it felt like they took a homeless busker off the street and put him onstage to open up for the most highly anticipated funk show of the year. It made no sense.
Close to midnight, Dragon Smoke takes the stage. Anthony and I are deep in it. Its crazy crowded – and we’re smack in the middle. This place is not designed for this capacity of people. We are equidistant (= equa-fucked) from the emergency exits – something Stina has made me really aware of in the past few years. Right after the count off for the first song I swapped my apprehension, tiredness, and high priority of comfort with deep deep pockets of funk. I felt alive, and celebrated it. It looked like New Orleans, but smelled like San Francisco.
Just a short week ago, Stina brought Angel and I to the Connecticut Yankee to see Counterclarkwise (Josh Clark, Scott Rager, Steve Molitz, and Steve Adams). That was similarly jam-packed, but much easier to navigate. We arrived early enough to have dinner there, and enjoyed the close-knit TLG scene in full force. These are the same people I’ve seen for the past five years, and we’re all getting older together. I enjoy that sense of history with a musical community.