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

August 10, 2013 - 12:51 p.m.

I Am the Others!

The only reason I'm going to finish writing about Falcon Ridge is that I'm starting to forget things. It isn't easy not having a brain. Actually I do have a brain but she lives in Chicago and didn't go to FRFF this year so it doesn't help. No I'm not explaining that. I did things that merit a long entry last night but I'm going to make it short so I can get back to Hillsdale before all my memories are gone

I had a musical double header, My first stop was the Radegast Beer Garden to see the Terrific Tomoko Omura. I have never been there before but I have to love a place that is named for a minor wizard in The Lord of the Rings and serves sausages and has free music. Every time I see Tomoko it is like seeing a different act. She is a violinist who can pretty much play anything. This time she was with Carte Blanche. They play 20s and 30s jazz along with latin music. I hit train problems on the way and got there late. I have never been there before but I had no trouble finding the place as even before I turned the corner I heard Tomoko's unmistakable violin. Good thing it was time for her solo as otherwise I might have had trouble finding it. I never did see the name of the place. No I have to make this short! The band rocks. I'm going to see them again and it shouldn't be legal for anyone to look as good as Tomoko does in her flapper outfit. You better sit down but I actually had an entire pint of beer! I couldn't resist it was a dark import from Germany on tap and the description said it tasted of chocolate and coffee. It didn't but it was good and I actually felt light-headed. I don't like feeling light-headed. During the break Tomoko joined me and ate her dinner. She had kielbasa, I had Easter sausage. Hers looked better. I'll try it next time.

My plan was to stay from 6 till 7 but there was debris on the tracks and I didn't get there till 6:30 and then there was the break so I stayed one song past 7:30 The reason I had to leave was to go to the Bev Grant and Carolann Solebello's Second Friday series at Two Moon, It's been way too long since I went there. I got there late and missed almost the entire first set. But I wanted to go as it is very much a home game for me. I know the regular performers, Bev, Carolann, who actually has a macro to link to her, and Ina May Wool. Then I know the crowd, Fred, David, and David's wife who I had never met before and whose name I'm still blanking on. David knows me well enough to know to expect that.

I got to see Wool & Grant's last few songs and then the guitar pull. They have a guest every week and I never heard him announced and totally forgot his name and I'm trying to keep this short so I'm not going into things so stop asking questions.

After the show getting home could have been tough as the is not running. I slipped into parasite role and asked Carolann for a ride to Atlantic Terminal. I know she drives Ina May there so it was just a matter of room in the car. From there I can catch the .

I really wish I could spent more time talking about it. I got Carolann's new CD Steel and Salt, which I can add to the pile that also has Wool & Grant's CD. I'm a bit behind.

No more about this except to say that I got to spend time with some of my favorite people.

OK now back to Hills of Falcon Ridge. We are up to Friday evening. I got back to the Budgiedome after the Emerging Artists Showcase and performed the executive duty of getting Paul and Steve to set up Kat's 25 room mansion tent with an indoor pool and tennis courts. I was a bit concerned that she wasn't there yet and wanted to make sure it was up before dark. She borrowed the tent and never saw it either and thought we might have trouble. We meaning Paul and Steve with Stuart and me trying to not get too much in the way. Actually Stuart was helpful and even I figured something out. I had forgotten to stop at my tarp to say hi to Katie and family, Al and Kevin and got to when they made their way up. When all that was done I went to the Loozer's Lounge in search of dinner. For those of you just arriving I spend Falcon Ridge mooching food. The music is just to fill the time in between meals and snacks.

At the lounge I get to hang out with a totally different group of friends. I spent some quality time with Rob, Kristen, and Heather. Then without warning a storm hit. The weather started getting rough, the tiny tent was tossed. We were sitting pretty much dead center and still got wet. This was squall. Paul's 12-year-old love child (sorry to whoever thinks he's his father but it is clearly Paul) came out looking at his phone and said, "I just checked the RADAR and this is an isolate cell and should pass over quickly. He was right. Good thing as I had no rain gear with me. I headed back to Budgiedome and that's probably when we really set up Kat's tent. I told you I was forgetting things.

When I was down at the WFUV tent Janeen asked if I was going to bring down the Budgiedome schedule or would I send my intern. That percolated for a while and was fully brewed after dinner. I could use an intern and asked Brianne if she'd like the job. She said yes. She is now the official assistant music director of the Budgiedome and a member of the Budgiedome executive committee. This was brilliant of me as she ran a coffeehouse when she was 15. She could totally do my entire job now. Not that I'm giving it up. But I guarantee things will run smoother next year. When I start having an anxiety attack I can leave things in Brianne's hands and have full confidence that she can handle things. I won't have what happened this year that I had to tweak the schedule after I was at the festival. I had to find someone to fill the time slot that I had been playing musical chairs with. Everybody had a conflict because I waited so long to give people their times. Next year we do things early and with Brianne it will be "we" and it will get done.

We managed to get things done in time to go down to the main stage for Dar Williams. I went down with Brianne and we were soon joined by Katie and family. We got there and it started to rain again. no hard but not enough to ignore. I have this amazing tarp poncho that would have kept me and all my stuff dry. I didn't bring it down with me. All I had was an WfUV poncho in my bag. It was only after we had been sitting for a while that I realized that I had three other ponchos in my pocket. I had picked them up earlier when I visited the WfUV booth. Like I said it isn't easy having a brain in Chicago when you are in Hillsdale.

None of that dampened my spirits. I was seeing Dar at Falcon Ridge. I have done that in far harder rain sitting by myself. This IS Falcon Ridge. I had my first Falcon Ridge cry as I joined in with everyone else in singing "I am the others!" That just about sums up everything. We live our lives feeling like outsiders. that we are different from everyone else, that we are freaks,. And then here is this magical being disguised an adorable blond woman on stage and thousands of other people feel the magic the same time you do and you are now happy to be the others. We are all others together. I can stop writing now. I said it all. I won't of course but I could.

Dar was followed by Red Molly. Yes my girls are now given the headlining slot with Dar there. They've gone from emerging to headlining and FRFF needs to do more of that. Red Molly just needs to keep doing more of what they are doing. They are a band I should theoretically not like, They don't go off in strange musical directions. Their harmonies are beautiful not inventive. They don't even have a banjo any more. And I dont like them, I love them. They just do everything right. It was an interesting pairing as Dar is the prototype singer/songwriter that I so often decry. The difference of course is genius. They do what everyone else does but they do it perfectly. And yes being adorable helps too.

The song swap had a good lineup, Ellis Paul, Mary Gauthier, Susan Werner, and Vance Gilbert but as usual I eschewed it. I go up to help set up the Budgiedome. Yes you can hear the music from there but it is too hard to concentrate on it.

Kat arrived shorting after I did. I was worried about her and she was the opening act. She had actually gotten there earlier and seen Dar and Red Molly but hadn't made her way up the hill. She was delighted that we set up her tent. Yes now it is we. I am taking credit for making the talent happy.

I am going to praise myself for a minute. Yes I'm a quivering lump of anxiety but I know what I'm doing. When the show starts my job is over and I am in the audience and I watch the rest of the audience. What hit me was that people react almost exactly the way I picture them. The lineup works. I really do know not only who is good but who the audience will love.

Here was the Friday scheduled lineup.

  • Kat Quinn
  • Pesky J. Nixon with special guests
    • Efrat Shapira
    • Anthony da Costa
    • We're About 9
    • Jeremiah Birnbaum
    • Seth Paris
  • Roosevelt Dime+ with Molly Venter
  • Anthony da Costa
  • Carolyn Waters with Pete Kennedy
  • The YaYas
  • Karen Dahlstrom
  • Karyn Oliver
  • Jeremiah Birnbaum
The first slot I try to give to someone new to the Falcon Ridge audience. The performer starts shortly after main stage ends and plays for about 25 minute ending when we are ready for the headliner. The audience is small at the start and the singing attracts people. The audience is big at the end and the performer gets a lot of exposure. I want someone that will hit the crowd as a breath of fresh air. Kat fits that bill and she did her job. I even found time to make my paper airplane and throw it at her for her paper airplane song, A few other people gave her planes.

It doesn't take a genius impresario to know that the crowd is going to go wild over Pesky J. Nixon with special guests. This has become the jam timeslot. I had asked Jeremiah to be the house band and even though he didn't know PJN he joined in. That's why I asked him to be the house band. He can play with anybody. He and his friends, sorry I forgot your names backed up Kat and she was thrilled. That is another reason I wanted her to come so she could become part of the community of wonderful musicians who do things like that.

Pesky, Anthony, and We're About 9 (sans Pat) are as core Budgiedome performers as there are. WA9 has played the dome more than anyone. Seth is the sax/clarinet player from Roosevelt Dime so we had a horn section. If you weren't there and aren't jealous you should be. I'm jealous and I was there.

I had targeted Roosevelt Dime to play the Budgiedome since the first time I saw them. This year they were emerging artists so they were there (sans Bruce) and they played. Why shouldn't the Budgiedome host steamboat soul? Remember all music is folk music, you never heard any horses singing it did you? They kept up the high energy pace.

I didn't know Anthony was going to be at Falcon Ridge till after I got there so he wasn't scheduled. He is such an Budgiedome institution and he hasn't played in a few years so we squeezed him in for one song. He is family.

Carolyn was another change of pace. I am proud that she quotes my description of her on her website, socially conscious soul. You might have heard of her guitar player, Pete Kennedy. There was nobody else like her at the festival which meant we had to have her. When she asked I said yes. She blew the crowd away and that's when it hit me that I know what I'm doing. I whispered to Lori, "I knew the audience would love her." There are musicians that I love that I know are too adventurous for most audiences. I knew that Carolyn would hit people's sweet spot. She did a brand new song that she didn't even know the words to yet that was the best thing I've heard her do. Look out for her, she's an up and comer.

The YaYas (get the orthography right) are family too. They haven't played that many times but they camped with us last year. They would have camped with us this year if Paul didn't smell. Reports that it was due to my snoring are propaganda and not to be believed. Why is anyone my friend? In any event this is now longer than War and Peace so I'll write about them when I get to their workshop stage set.

Karen is in Bobtown so she played the Budgiedome more than anyone this year. I wanted her solo too because she rocks like Slayer used to (I'm contractually obliged to use that phrase every entry). I am not sure which is more mind blowing her alto voice (am I write an alto?) or her songwriting. She's talked about doing something with Honor but it just hit me this second I'd love to see her with Paul Sachs. You to work out a gig together, Deep voices: Deep writing

Somehow this was Karyn's first Budgiedome appearance. She's a chick with dip. No idea why it took this long. She's not Budgiedome family but she's on my home team. Jeremiah and his band became her band, Buxom County. Just look at Karyn's picture to understand the name. Good thing she said it, if I did I'd have gotten slapped. When she starts singing all that is forgotten. Mellifluous is the word that comes to mind. Well my nerd mind. For someone that doesn't go for voices, there were a lot of great voices that night.

Jeremiah was last but not least. I've been seeing him and writing about him quite a bit so I'll keep it short unlike Jeremiah who is tall. Jeremiah does not play the songs you'd expect from looking at him but he does play what you'd expect from talking to him. They are gently quirky or is that quirkily gentle? They have a sweetness that is never saccharine or HFC. It's the real thing, Kosher for Passover Coca Cola.

After the scheduled performers comes the open mic. Is it terrible that I was happy only one person played? It meant I got some sleep and the one person that played was someone that I felt bad that I couldn't fit into the schedule, Bethel Steel, one of the emerging artists. There is a lot of great talent out there.

OK this took me 2738 words but I finished Friday. Only two more days to go.





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 August 10, 2013
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