I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

June 19, 2012 - 12:00 p.m.

Clearwater 2012

I have so much to write. Why was I wasting time looking for things to do? Oh right, because I'm an idiot. Duh.

I have three days to write about. I could combine both days of Clearwater together then write a separate edition on yesterday but that doesn't make sense. I did so much more at Clearwater. I could write one entry on social interactions the last three days and another on the music. I could do a Clearwater edition then put some other things that have been banging around head into the other edition. I think that's the way I'll go.

I thought you'd like to know what's going on in my head when I start writing. I might get rid of all this before I post this. It is largely a trigger mechanism to get me writing.

I go to Clearwater at least one day every year but this day I did it differently. First off it was my first time taking the train up. Secondly I think this was my first time going by myself. Because of those two things I did not get their super early. I figured most of the time I could find an open spot to sit for any act I wanted to see especially as I wasn't going to be at the Rainbow Stage, the main one, for the day's headliner.

I spent Saturday and Sunday totally differently. On Saturday I went back and forth between stages and spent as much time socializing between stages as I did listening to music. My mean free path between running into people I knew and talked to was about 50 paces. I know a lot of people at Clearwater. The one person I planned on spending a lot of time with was Jessica. It's been a couple of years since we hung out together and I wanted some quality time. She got there a bit before me and I used her blanket space as my base and spent at least a plurality, perhaps majority of my time with her.

Here was the music I heard on Saturday. I didn't hear all of every set. Many of them I heard just parts of because I was running from stage to stage. To save time I'm not giving links.

  • Vanaver Caravan
  • Jay Unger and Molly Mason
  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
  • Matt Turk & Hobo Caravan
  • Guy Davis
  • Spuyten Duyvil
  • The Punch Brothers
  • Josh Ritter
  • Tim O'Brien
  • Bela Fleck
  • Aoife O'Donovan

Other than Jessica the only one I made plans on spending time with was Melissa who was there with her toddler Mira. As soon as she texted me I ran over to join them at the family stage as I knew they wouldn't be able to stay long. I've had some of my best festival times with Melissa and now that she's a mom it's tough for her to find the time so I wasn't going to miss the chance.

Lori not LORi and the rest of the WFUV gang were looking for each other all day and kept missing each other. I finally caught u with them in the middle of the afternoon.

The new music that blew me away was Tim O'Brien. I knew his music, I've heard him before, but never saw him live. I am going to have to see him again. He's not just a brilliant musician but he's so much fun. I can't resist that combination.

The Punch Brothers was the other first time revelation though I had seen Chris Thile before. I loved it when they were at their most bluegrass. Some of the other stuff was not as inspired.

The tough decision at the end of the day was Arlo or Aoife. I was with Jess who had never seen Aoife solo so it ended up being an easy decision. Not only that but she was at the Hudson Stage at sunset which is beyond beautiful.

I ran into Aoife earlier when she was watching Tim O'Brien. We experienced the Summer Festival in cognito effect. We were both wearing big hats and sunglasses. You have to protect yourself if you dont want to be burned and stay cool. When I first spotted her it took me a bit to make sure it was Aoife. Then I waved. She looked at me, squinted, thought for 30 seconds then I saw the light bulb go off on top of her head as she figured out it was me. I once went right up to Maura Kennedy and she didn't realize it was me till she heard my voice, aka dissonant piercing wail.

When Aoife's set was done we raced to the shuttle bus to the railroad station. We made the train with 4 minutes to spare. Pretty good as we had no idea what the schedule was.

On Sunday I learned a lesson and traveled much lighter. My gear weighed a ton on Saturday. Not only that but the melted ice in my cooler leaked out over everything including my pants. That was cold. On Sunday I replaced the ice with freeze packs that I bought when I got home on Saturday. The problem with that is that it didn't keep things as cold or last as long.

On the ride up on the train the woman in front of me looked at me but said nothing. Then I put in a hair tie as one had broken when I was getting ready in the morning. I didn't want to waste any time and figured I'd put it on in the train. When I pulled my pony tail in front to put it n the woman said, "Are you Gordon?" She was Joyce aka Joyce from Manhattan on the Facebook WFUV Question of the Day Group. She wasn't sure it was me till she saw my ponytail. I felt like I was in the Christine Lavin song, Prisoner of their hair-dos.

When I filled out my music schedule I saw that I was spending almost the entire day at the small Sloop Stage. That was great. I just set up camp there. My plan for the day was to sit and listen to music and if friends wanted to join me they could. I saved enough space for them. On Saturday Jess and I sat way back under the shade of the willow tree. On Sunday I was in the second row. I have the big hat so as far as I'm concerned I'm always in the shade. Here's who I heard.

  • Singing Clear (Bev Grant, Ina May Wool, Colleen Kattau, Dave Lippmann, and Sarah Underwood).
  • Alsarah & theNubatones
  • The Klezmatics
  • Loudon Wainwright
  • Dala
  • Jill Sobule
  • Bhi Bhiman
  • David Wax Museum

On Saturday I was the social butterfly flitting about. On Sunday for the most part I let the world come to me and they did. Ina May and Bev are friends with Carolann and Mark and I sat with them and Felix at the Circle of Storm. The rest of the day somebody or other was joining me on my blanket at the Sloop stage. There was Lori and George with his daughter Bree Ann, Howard, Carter, (not Howard Carter the discover of King Tut's Tomb) and who else? I really should take notes.

Sunday was better musically than Saturday. Alsarah, Bhi Bhiman, and David Wax Museum were all major first timers for me. Alsarah was totally out of the blue. She's Sudanese, lives in Brooklyn (my peep!) and plays music from Eastern Africa, not just North Sudan. The music was great and totally accessible even though I couldnt understand a word. You want to hear her. Don't pass up the chance if you can.

WFUV plays both Bhi Bhiman and David Wax Museum. They play the wrong song of Bhi. The reason I wanted to see him was because the blurb in the guide compared him to John Prine and Randy Newman and the comparison is apt. WFUV plays a far more conventional song. Both Bhi and David Wax take you to places you won't go otherwise. That's one of the hallmarks of being a great artists. It is more than making pretty sounds. It can change how the entire world appears to you. Bhi is more intellectual and David more visceral but both ways work. You aren't quite the same person you were after you hear them than you were before.

I can say the same for most of the artists I was already familiar with, The Klezmatics, Loudon, and Jill. The only one that really doesn't succeed on that level is Dala. The first time I saw Dala I loved them and I recommend them to everyone. The thing is that everything with them is on the surface and every show is the same. They had some new songs this time but they sounded just like the old ones. They are pretty and well written and pleasing to the ear but they don't get me thinking. They are two beautiful women playing beautiful melodies but that is all that you get. I also find them a bit calculated, everything feels planned. They don't show themselves. They are actors playing a part. I've discussed this with some other people and they feel the same way. So yes if you want pop music that will entertain you they are the band to see. That's why I recommend them. I know that's exactly what most people want. I'll see them again, but once or twice a year is enough.

I finally got my the gas to my stove hooked up today but it took me so long to write this I don't have time to cook my breakfast now. Lisa will be here in a hour and I have to go shopping. I have nothing to eat in the house oh well, today will be my last breakfast out. I'll go shopping later after Lisa leaves and make dinner tonight. Tomorrow I'm having a homemade Taylor ham and pepper jack omelet.

Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017

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Horvendile June 19, 2012
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