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
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 17, 2013 - 11:50 p.m.
I'm having internet problems so while I wait for streaming video of Dollhouse to load I'll write. The apartment has no AC, outside door knob, or bed, but the only thing that really bothers me is the marginal internet. I never get more than 3 bars. If I'm patient it will probably load before I go to bed. So now let's go back to Clearwater.
I forgot one important personal thing from Saturday night. When I tried to stand up and walk when I got to the Harlem station on the Metro North, I couldn't. My right leg fell asleep in a way it's never done before. You know how usually when your leg falls asleep it goes numb and feels like dead weight but you can still walk with difficultly. I didn't feel numb, I had no sensation whatsoever. it was the opposite of a phantom limb. When I tried to stand I had no control of the foot. Most importantly the calf muscle that you use to push off and hold the foot steady wasn't working at all. When I put weight on it, the leg crumpled. The ankles didn't hold the lower leg vertical; it moved forward. I felt like something was wrong with my shoes. In fact I looked at my shoes. I got up, sat down, got up again. I finally had enough circulation to stumble to the door just as it was closing. I made it but then would have fallen down on the platform if I hadn't grabbed hold of a pillar. I had to stay there a few minutes till I regained control of the foot and could walk. That was scary. I hurt something in the process and the ankle hurts. I think I pulled a tendon. It isn't severe and I can walk but every now and then I feel it. I took a long walk today so it isn't anything to worry about. But it is hurting at this moment.
On Sunday I had a brainstorm. I didn't have to get there early to grab a spot on the Rainbow stage. I was just going to be there for one act, Pete Seeger, and I knew I could find one small spot for my chair and me. So instead of getting there by 9:00 I planned on getting there by 11:00. I had time to stop and get breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts before taking the 9:50 train. I took the 7:50 on Saturday. I got my ticket and at the stage 18 minutes before Stephen Kellogg went on. I decided to miss Vandover Caravan this year because I haven't seen Stephen in years. He appeared without his backup band, The Sixers. He seems to see the band as his natural habitat and he rocks out with him and even has groupies. I prefer him solo. Why? Because I actually like him as a personal singer songwriter, He's charming and that comes out more solo. If he were a woman I'm pretty sure I'd say he was adorable. The first time I saw him was opening for Voices on the Verge, That was Erin McKeown, Jess Klein, and Rose Polanzani. Am I forgetting someone? Carey and I saw them someplace near DC or Baltimore. Carey and I both said we were going to marry him. A gentle reminder that I'm straight so that's somewhat extreme for a man that didn't give me really good food. All the Voices on the Verge were wanted to take him home, even Erin and she's gay. it isn't a matter of looks he is just charming and played a kazoo in a harmonica holder and had a stuffed chili pepper named Rellogg.
OK now back to the present. I sat down and waited for him and the sinus headache from hell started. I had acetaminophen, I took two. He started playing but I had trouble concentrating, the pain was intense. I finally broke down and took two more. That did the trick. but I was hurting somewhat his hole set. I still enjoyed it. He is still charming but I am not going to marry him.
Next up was Pete Seeger and Lorre Wyatt. I can't miss Pete at Clearwater. They should declare Pete a National Monument. Sure he can barely sing now but he can get the crowd to sing for him and he can still play a hell of a banjo. Lorre fills in what Pete can't. He still tells the best stories. Nobody is more politically dedicated than Pete but he never gets overly earnest. He finds the humor in everything. He's pure delight. He plays great songs and gets the crowd to sing along.
I found Bob there. I got the TDF tickets through his sister. He gave perfect directions so I found them in the huge crowd in seconds. I gave them the money I owed for the ticket but there was no place for me to sit there so I found a bare patch of ground up closer and watched Pete from there.
I left Pete a bit early as I wanted to see the Klezmatics on the Sloop stage. I figured I'd get to hear a full song as I walked away. It was Turn, Turn, Turn. When I got to the edge of the seating area I heard someone call my name. It was George and his son. George is a FUV volunteer I've known since the early or at most mid nineties. His son is an adult. I stopped and talked to them for a while and knew I'd see them alter at Jill Sobule.
the Klezmatics had already started when I arrived and I was surprised to find the area packed. This was the small Sloop stage and they were on opposite Pete Seeger. They are clearly too big an act to play there. Next time they should be at the Hudson or even Rainbow Stage. I love them beyond love. For one of the few times when I say "they play the music of my people" it actually is what the rest of the world considers my people, Ashkenazi Jews. As I explained to someone later, that's a good story coming up, Klezmer was the celebration music of Jewish Eastern Europe. The Klezmer combos, a clarinet, violin, and whatever else they could get, would travel from village to village wherever there was a wedding or other celebration. I saw them again at the dance stage and I'll discuss the music more when I get to that. I wanted to see the concert set too. I knew it would be quite different. For one thing they did their adaptations of Woody Guthrie songs. Yes they are one of the posthumous collaborators of Woody. They took songs, often about Brooklyn, and put music with a Klezmer feel to them.
OK, the internet is sort of back. I've written over a thousand words so I am going to post what I have. I will finish the festival next edition of Wise Madness The best is yet to be.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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