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 18, 2013 - 11:27 a.m.

Dance Your Cares Away (clap clap)

I am semi frozen at the moment. Let's make it less dramatic and just blame he Chronoklepts.

Now let's get back to Clearwater and the three women I met that I'm going to marry. Yes you read that right.

After seeing the Klezmatics I had my planned lunch break. I did much better than on Sunday. I went to the Jamaican place and got jerk chicken and two sides for $10, That is not overpriced at all and the food was good. Being me both sides were plantains. I then did something I feel guilty about, I did the moral equivalent of adultery. I didn't have dessert at Taste Budds but at the place next to the Jamaican stand. They have frozen chocolate dipped cheesecake on a stick. I'm only human. How am I supposed to resist that? But I'm still racked with guilt. Yes I am OK marrying three women but feel guilty cheating on chocolate. You gotta problem with that?

Then I was off to the Circle of Song for Worldwide Ukulele. That can't surprise anyone. Donna and Rick Nestler were among the players. I met them at Clearwater years ago, friended them on Facebook but have not talked to them since. I wanted to They play ukuleles, that is good people. the Edukated Fleas and Evy Mayer were the other performers. This is what makes Clearwater great. They have big stages with big stars but then there is the circle of song which feels like a house concert. Sure they aren't household names but great performers play there and you can sit an interact with them. Most of all you sing along. For the Uke thing people played along. They lent out instruments to people in the audience. I dont play and was too late to get one in any event. But this is what folk music is all about. What is it about ukes that bring out funny songs? Whatever it is, it's a good thing. That was fun.

Even better after the show I reintroduced myself to Donna. Not only did we talk but she gave me a quick ukulele lesson! She showed me C and F and I figured out G on my own and practiced. When I get settled down I need a ukulele.

My next port of call was the port. I went to sea, well to river, well to cove in the river. I had planned on my usual kayaking but couldn't find the sign up booth. I did fine one for rowing. I had no problem with that. It was something different. I've rowed many times. I'm pretty good at it for someone with no upper body strength and not the best back in the world. It's something I've done all my life. But this was different. It was a big boat with other people and instead of holding two oars I just got one big one. They asked if I wanted to row and I said, "Of course, that's the whole fun of it." I went out with a father and very young daughter, two young men from the rowing organization, and an older gentlemen to lead us. It was new to me. There was no oar lock. You tied the oar to a post with a rope. I was the front rower so I got to see everyone else. You face backward when you row. I have a feeling the two young men did all the world but I got a good workout. The boat goes fast, way faster than the kayaks. I will do this again next year. It would be great with a group of friends.

So yes I took time out from the music to go rowing. That's a huge part of Clearwater. It is not a Folk Festival. It is the Great Hudson River Clearwater Revival. It's as much about the Hudson and the environment as about the music. Maybe more so, The music is the candy to lure you in.

Then I was back to the Circle of Song to see Hope Machine. They were the only people that are real life friends playing this year. I ran into Fred before the Uke show and mentioned that he was the only friend that he was the only musician friend I had run into. I usually know lots of people playing. He said he didn't run into any friends either. It just worked out that way. Hope machine has a changing cast, but always includes Fred Gillen and Steve Kirkman. This time they were joined by Matt Turk and two people I didn't know. They got their name from Woody Guthrie, "a man ain't nothing but a hoping machine." They play songs in his tradition. They can always get me singing along, They are so Clearwater. Like Pete they talk and sing about serious things but always see the humor in it. They are silly. My people.

I hung out with them for a bit after their set then needed caffeine. I went back to the food area. I was still feeling guilty about not going to Taste Budds. I still felt a day without a Frozen Cocoa Chiller was not a complete day. But I needed caffeine. I told the beautiful young women behind the counter this and she suggested the Frozen Mocha Chiller! This is why I love Taste Budds. And she was the first of my new brides to be. We talked while it was being prepared. She works at the culinary institute. She works the festivals because they don't interfere with school and she loves music. So let's recap. She is beautiful, loves music, can cook, and gave me chocolate and coffee. If that is not a basis for marriage what is? I probably should have asked for her name.

My god I'm writing a lot. And I don't even have a god.

One thing I haven't been discussing much is what it's like for me to walk at Clearwater, Most years my mean free path is 20 steps. That's how far I get before running into someone I know and stopping to talk. This year it was slower, I got twice as far. That still means lots of stopping and talking. That's why getting food takes an hour.

I made my way to the Sloop stage to see Jill Sobule. I met George and his son there. Jill has been one of my musicians since her first album. when was that 1995 or so? I have seen her scores of times and she never gets old. What always strikes me is how smart, funny, and weird she is. She's beautiful too. Why aren't I marrying her? What's odder is that though I've had quick hellos with her many times hardly ever have conversations. We should. She's smart, funny, and weird. I was a bit disappointed that Steve Bernstein wasn't playing with her. He is not only smart, funny, and weird, but he plays the slide trumpet, not trombone, trumpet. No matter. I have never seen her perform and not loved it. She is one of the very best songwriters out there. She has a unique take on things and the skills to share it with us. She lives in the folk world but she rocks out. Like a rocker she fills you with energy. And did I mention she's weird? She has a song, Big Shoes about having to wear orthopedic footwear as a kid. That's genius, realizing that there's a song there. But that's not my point. My point is that she calls her mother before sings it. Not on her phone but borrows one from the audience. So that person gets her mother's number. Sometimes she says it to the entire audience. This time they were able to hook the mic into the sound system so it worked great, In the middle of the song Jill's mother does a rap. Even her mother is smart and weird and funny.

After her set George and I waited around to talk to her. George knows her well. I'm someone she sort of thinks that she might know. We did the usual waiting for everyone else to talk to the performing thing first but that didn't work out as she had to run to the performer signing booth.

My original plan was go see the Klezmatics at the dance stage but the next act was a bizarre 30 piece marching band that is NOT Mucca Pazza. They are the Rude Mechanical Orchestra. Someone else in the audience was raving over them. I couldn't Susie or Justin if I didn't listen to them. The problem was that they are NOT Mucca Pazza. They were in costumes and tried very hard to be weird but they did not radiate chaos. They were not exciting. They were not worth missing the Klezmatics for. So I trekked to the far end of the Festival to the Dance Tent.

I got there and the Klezmatics were playing and people were on the floor in a big circle doing the mayim step. That's what Jews do when there is no direction and klezmer is playing. I'm a Jew, klezmer was playing, I joined in. As I wrote in my last entry Klezmer was the wedding and celebration music of Eastern European Jews. They might not strike you as party people but when you know that tomorrow there might be pogram or you might be forced out of the village you've lived in all your life you party hard when you can. Everyone is Irish on St Patrick's Day and everyone is Jewish when klezmer is playing, I was dancing with my fellow Jews some of whom were black, Asian, and Hispanic. The age range was from kindergarten to septuagenarian. Nobody tells anyone what to do. You feel the music and a consensus forms, Maybe you circle around. Maybe you make many little circles. Maybe you pair off,. Maybe this all happens at once.

This wasn't just klezmer, it was by the Klezmatics. This is like having the Beatles play your high school dance. I love them in the concert setting but it goes far beyond love when dancing. This is total release. You are no longer in and of the world. You're at the center of the maelstrom.

My philosophy is to go wherever the people are moving fastest. I am not one of the people that stands around and claps, I can't really dance but I can move to the music and keep moving, and moving, and moving. Remarkably when people pair off I can grab a woman and dance with her. You know I find that difficult but the rewards are so great I do it. I look for either the wildest women I see or someone that I can tell really wants to dance but doesn't want to ask someone. There was one woman there that was wilder and had more energy than anyone. She's the second woman I am going to marry. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to even dance with her. She was in high demand and was not at all shy about grabbing men to dance.

I also sing along to the music. It's easy because so much of Jewish song consists of saying "Dy Dy Dy" over and over again, It's got a good beat, you can dance to it. The songs go on forever. You get workout but don't get tired because the adrenaline is rushing. Kids might need ecstasy at raves but klezmer gives you all the kick you need.

This was without a doubt the highlight of the festival. I didn't take ecstasy but I felt it. the only regret was that I didn't get a chance to talk to Lisa Gutkin, the fiddler in the Klezmatics. We seem to have one conversation spread out over the years. I'm always shocked that she remembers me. I first met her when she played with Whirligig an Irish band.

The last song was a waltz. I can't waltz. I need another lesson. As much as I love to dance I won't inflect my waltzing on a woman. So what happened? A beautiful women asked me to dance. I am not one to say no to beautiful women after explaining that I can't waltz. We danced, not correctly but in time to the music and talked. I explained Klezmer to her. We talked about how much fun we had. We continued to talk after the music was over, Her name is Julia, She is the third woman I'm going to marry. I even know her name! We said goodbye and I decided to not look at the time or worry about the trains but to walk over and watch the gorgeous sunset over the Hudson. Who did I find next to me? Julia. We talked some more. I don't know if I read my signals wrong, I am not good at judging people's judgments of me. But I didn't exchange contact info with her even though I wanted to. I felt she didn't. But I didn't let that get me down. I was still high from the music.

I was surprised how short the wait for the bus was. I had fun talking to the wrangler who the people to the right lines. I had great timing. I got to the train station maybe 10 minutes before the express was to leave, I met Mors (I think that's how you spell it) on the platform. I know him from volunteering at WfUV and rode down with him. That was so nice having company on the trip.

I went into the festival not feeling happy and with low expectations, I am so happy I was wrong, I had a great time, There's a lesson there someplace.

OK now to try and get some things done today.





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 18, 2013
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