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
July 27, 2015 - 11:30 a.m.
Long day yesterday and I did not get enough sleep last night; this might be interesting.
Yesterday was the 10 annual Huntington Folk Festival. Just for Mark I'll say Ten-year anniversary. I'm not sure how many I've gone to, maybe all ten. During the day there are two acoustic stages set up. In the evening the headliner and opening act perform on the permanent stage now called the Chapin Rainbow Stage. There were no rainbows.
When I had a car I drove. Now it's always a challenge getting there and back. My usual trick is to find a musician living in Brooklyn that's playing to give me a ride. I am clearly some sort of parasite on the folk community jumping from host to host in search of basic needs. This year I went to with two performers from Brooklyn that just so happened happen to be married to each other, Carolann Solebello and Mark Allen Berube. Mark played in the afternoon and Carolann is in the evening opening act, No Fuss and Feathers Roadshow. That's a lot to say; you can shorten it to "Feathers" in context. The headliner was Tom Paxton.
The plan was to be picked up at noon. My plan was to be waiting outside a few minutes before then. I would have been but I couldn't turn my AC off. The remote didn't work and I couldn't find the power button. I finally did. It was in the middle of a string of pressure buttons with very small print that I couldn't read. Of course when I got home the remote worked fine. No idea what that was about.
The ride out with the Berube/Solebello clan was fun. Their son was with them. I got to sit in the back with him so I had good company. We even stopped for snacks which was good as I forgot to make myself a peanut butter sandwich to bring with me. Musical compadre Mike Kornfeld puts the festival together so there are always many of my friends playing. I can't find my program so I know I'll be forgetting people but I also so Phil Henry, Lois Morton (good one I almost wrote Lois Maxwell), Annika, and Kirsten Maxwell (I almost wrote Lois Maxwell). Who knows who Lois Maxwell is? If you don't follow Honor Finnegan's advice and Google it. And yes I got lazy and stopped putting in links to artists names. You can google their links too.
This is a festival where I move between the two stages and socializing. I spend equal amounts of time on all three. I haven't seen Phil in almost a year so we decided to spend some quality time together. I have known him longer than anyone there. He lives in Vermont but that's not where he came down from. He does prefest volunteering at Falcon Ridge so that's where he started the day. He drove back there last night. He's dedicated.
I'm not going to talk about each musician but I'll say this. Some musicians are easier for me to write about than others. Mark is one of the easiest. I can come up with tons of reason that I love him. It's way harder with Carolann. With her I have to search for more than, "She's great." I was talking about Paul Simon with Phil and he's hard to write about. As a songwriter he's as good as anyone but he does it simply by doing everything perfectly, not by doing anything which you can point to and say, "What a brilliant idea! Nobody ever did that before!" Mark is doing John Platt's On Your Radar in September so I will try and remember what I was going to write till then. Wait I can do it after Falcon Ridge. But I have the same problem there, too many people to write about. OK OYR it is.
During the dinner break I eat with the musicians because I'm a parasite. I make a good tape worm. The food is always good there but it tasted better when I had to sneak in with a band I knew. Now I'm on the list. I sat with Phyllis and Dan. Who joined us? Marshall, Annika, and Ginger. I'm just showing off that I remember things. Take no notice. When I went over to talk to Karen Hudson. I knew I forgot performer friends, she's one, Tom Paxton joined the line right behind her. So I chatted a bit with Tom. It was about the park being pretty. Yes very profound.
The rest of Feathers is Karyn Oliver and The YaYas. The YaYas are Catherine Miles and Jay Mafale. There are too many layers. It has been way too long since I've seen them perform and too long since we socialized. But now they will never want to socialize with me again. Yesterday was Karyn's birthday. I wished her a happy birthday on Facebook. Despite seeing her many times and giving her hugs. I forgot to wish her one in person yesterday. Why did I do that? All together now. I'm an idiot. Wait I can salvage this. It's because cute girls make men stupid.
I watched the Feathers with Phil. They only had 20 minutes. I'm writing a letter to the editor to complain. The afternoon's music ended at 6 and the evening didn't start till 8:30. I understand the logic. They want to give people time to go into town and eat at the restaurants but it isn't far from town. They could start at 8:00. I am a bit prejudiced about this. But I have had to wait through opening acts I don't like play for an hour. One I love should get more than a third of that. And I did love them. If I had to use one word to describe them it would be fun. John Platt compared them to the Four Bitchin' Babes and that's apt. Part of the enjoyment Is watching them enjoy each other. Then there's the great singing and songwriting and arrangements and cute girls. Jay has a lot of cojones to be up there with the women. Well OK one cajon. This joke would be funnier if I didn't have to explain it. The drum that Jay sits on and plays is called a cajon. He's the percussion section.
How did I get to 1073 words? I thought I had nothing to say? I am not a man of few words.
Tom Paxton has been a favorite of mine forever. I can't remember the first time I've saw him. It was ages ago. I have seen him scores of times. If I hadn't I'd probably have loved last night's show. But I have and all I can think of is "This is the same show he did in 2002." A bit part of his act was topical humor, what he called "short shelf-life songs." He stopped writing those. I could tell that I was not experiencing his show the same as the people around me. He's start a song and when they recognized it get excited. They were immersed in nostalgia. That's now how I think of Tom. I think of him as bringing new things to every show. He was not phoning it in. And yes I was singing along to many of the songs and I enjoyed it. But there's a bit of regret around it. He's not going to be touring any more either. He's not retiring but it will be an occasional show. So this might be the last time I see him. And he didn't do my favorite song! The Marvelous Toy. And now I'll be a total hypocrite. That's one of his earliest songs but it's the one I wanted to hear the most. It's Marvelous. I always did like him best on the family stage. You put him in front of kids and it's pure magic. . I had a major bonding experience with Tom at the end of the show. He introduced the band and called Marshall Rosenberg, "Marshall Goldberg." Then he corrected himself and said, "I'm an idiot!" Yes Tom Paxton quoted me. Then he thanked the band again including "Marshal Rosenbloom." Tom is my people.
After the show I found my ride. Well actually found their bandmate near the merch table where I suspected they'd be. I told them to tell Carolann and Mark I'd wait over there by the stage entrance. When Carolann came out she called me "Stage Door Johnny." I asked for her autograph.
The ride home was fun too. I like road tripping with friends. I'll be doing that soon going to and home from Falcon Ridge.
Hey I'm finished earlier than usual. It's 11:18. That give me time to kvetch a bit. The light in the kitchen has been out for weeks. It's frustrating. I came home last night and the light in my bathroom is out. I can't put a table lamp in there. I keep the light in my room on, the door open, and turn on my phone's flashlight. I don't know how that will work out showering when I have to have the curtain drawn and I'd prefer the door to my room closed.
I might try and fix the light in the kitchen. I have a spare bulb there. I don't for my room. I couldn't even get the step ladder from my landlady. I will have to stand on a chair and that almost makes me nervous.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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