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 21, 2015 - 11:33 a.m.
I am going to the ophthalmologist today so I better get moving. Yes I'm terrible and think a 2 PM appointment is early. In my defense it's on the upper west side and I have to leave at 12:59. OK, for most of you that's late. I'm not most of you. You don't have to write this first.
Yesterday was a long day, right? Well not really but it was hot and I had a lot of time to kill. Raise your hand if you know what I do on Mondays? I always see the same hands. Yes I had therapy. Then I buy bagels. Then I leave them in my bag till the next day when I write about it and say, "When I'm done writing this I'll have to cut them and put them in the freezer." Being an idiot is not as easy as it looks.
Hi Kristin, yes I'll get around to writing about you.
Therapy gets out at 3:20 or so. It is supposed to be 3:15 but I always run long. In case you haven't noticed I'm not good at stopping talking. That doesn't look right with that double gerund. Could I have phrased that better? Yes I'm now deconstructing as I write. It's one of those days.
I went up to my PO Box at Columbus Circle and was done with that at 5:10. My next time commitment was 8:00 in Williamsburg though I wanted to get there at 7:30. I could have gone home, sat for 45 minutes and gone out but that did not seem worth it especially as it's easier to get to the The Living Room from Manhattan. Yes it's in Brooklyn but you can't get there from here. I have to take a bus then walk a mile.
I tried to buy a new USB to micro USB cable at Best Buy but they were out of the 6" ones. I decided to go for dinner and ice cream. I went to the Village and ended up eating at Peanut Butter & Co. I tried something new but so obvious. A Fluffernutter made with dark chocolate peanut butter. Why is this not how it's always made? Chocolate, peanut butter, and marshmallow. It's the food of the gods. And yes I felt the need for dessert after that so I went to Cones, the best ice cream in the City. I had my usual dark chocolate cone and did my usual schmoozing with the owner. I pretty much worship him as a god. Yes there's lot of chocolate and god in this. You know that the genus name of the cocoa plant is theobroma which means food of the gods.
I still had time to kill. I walked up to 14th street to go to my bank. Then I hopped on the to Bedford Ave, the first stop in Brooklyn. Of course that's not very close to the Living Room because no public transit is very close to the Living Room. It was 8 million degrees out so I stopped for iced coffee. No Kristin I did not forget you. But My Gentle Readers want to know about everything I eat and drink. It was at New York Muffin. I was 18 cents short of exact change and the barista let me get away with paying that! She then made the coffee perfect. They always put in too much milk. I might have to marry the barista.
I eventually killed enough time to get there at 7:25. I didn't see Kristin or anyone else from her band. But I did see Lauraly. I haven't seen her in ages. She used to run the PostCrypt Coffeehouse. She managed Anthony da Costa. She worked at the old Living Room. We think we haven't seen since that closed. I love running into an old friend that I haven't seen in while. I got hugs. We talked and caught up with each other. I found out what she's doing now, she doesn't often work at the Living Room so that's why I haven't seen her there. Then I had to let her work so I went in to see the act before … Oh I haven't told you who I was there to see. But you're smart you figured out that I was seeing Kristin Andreassen. Yes I just saw her on Thursday but I can see her as often as that easy. This was a can't miss show; she and Critter are moving to Nashville this week. It was there farewell party. Nashville is stealing all my friends. Meg Braun is doing a show on Saturday so I'll get to see her again soon. I told Kristin I'm going to get everyone I know to book her so she keeps coming back.
I think I had something I wanted to say about the woman on before Kristin, but it's gone.
Another reason I had to be at the show was that I arranged for Kristin to have a videographer. She needs performance footage. I hooked her up with Noah, from The Lords of Liechtenstein. He made the movie about me. My sales pitch is "If he can make me look good imagine what he can do with you?" You need a videographer and I'll hook you up with him.
At 8 PM the show paid show started. Sharing the bill with Kristin was Anna and Elizabeth. Gary had talked them up when I stayed with him for the New Bedford Folk Festival. He played some music by Elizabeth, for some reason he couldn't get their duo stuff to play. Maybe he couldn't find it. He did such a good job that Stephen who also stayed with him came to the show too. He joined me before their set. Before that I was joined by Amy and her son Lucas. I have met Lucas so many times, but always in passing. I somehow didn't recognize him. Oh right, I'm blind and an idiot. That was an easy explanation. Amy does house concerts. I've seen Kristin and Critter there. I've also seen Kristin's bass clarinet player, Alec Spiegelman there with his band Cuddle Magic. And I've seen her fiddler there playing with a bunch of people and just in the audience. Not only that but she was doing a light box show in behind Kristin. So she was actually on stage.
1075 words in and I'm finally getting to the music. This is going to be a very long entry. Of course I'm in a rush.
Anna and Elizabeth more than lived up to their reputation. They do very traditional songs from the Appalachians, Virginia and Kentucky for the most part. For many of the songs they tell a story about how they met the songwriters' children or grandchildren. They are musicologists in the spirit of Harry Smith. They keep it as simple as possible with some combination of fiddle, guitar, and banjo. Their sound is as pure as anything on Anthology of American Folk Music.. They also have a cranky. I'm not going to tell you what a cranky is. I'll let them tell you and show you. Here's their Tiny Desk Concert. Yes I'm cheating. I don't have time to edit my pictures and this needs visual aids.
Oh wait that's long. You should watch it but I'll try to describe a cranky. It's a 19th century music video. A long strip of painted cloth is wrapped around a spindle stretched across the front of an open box, and then attached to a second spindle A crank is turned and the painting scrolls across the front of the box where it is illuminate from front or rear. Think of an illuminated Torah scroll. It goes so well with their music and storytelling. It is not a gimmick. It's an art form. They make the scrolls themselves. I now have new favorite musicians the second I've added in a week! The other was Family Crest.
Kristin performed with a quartet, Alec on bass clarinet, Stephanie on fiddle and banjo, and damn it I can't remember the name of the drummer. Yes she's gone over to the dark side. That's a good thing. This was a great band. OK here I can save time I've written about Kristin so many times. I'll add one observation. Kristin's music matches the lyrics perfectly It's not that they are catchy melodies. You might not go out humming the songs, though I always do, but they mesh with the lyrics. Once the words are written the music was created spontaneously out of the ether, or perhaps it's the other way around. People often ask songwriters which comes first. I never do. Says something about me, don't know what.
There was a rare encore at the Living Room. Critter joined her on a song then Anna & Elizabeth joined in and Kristin clogged. It was pure joy. I guess I should say that Critter is Chris Eldridge from the Punch Brothers. Hell I didn't know that for years. He was just Critter to me.
I often talk about how I don't see friends at Kristin's shows. I saw many last night but they were all presenters or musicians. I already talked about Steven and Noah. Before the show started Liam, Jean Rohe's partner in Robinson and Rohe, guess which one he is, came over to say hi. I thought I recognized the back of the head of the woman at the next table but on the other side of my table. When the show was over I went to see if I was right. I was, it was Karen Dahlstrom of Bobtown. It had been a whole day since I had seen her.
As it was their farewell party everyone went up to the rooftop after the show. I saw Alex Mallett and Andrew Vladeck of Fireship. I think I saw more friends and did more socializing than I did at my birthday party.
I made sure to introduce myself to Anna and Elizabeth and tell them how much I loved them because that's what I do. It took me a long time to find Critter. But then had a nice talk with him. He is so my people. We talked a lot about food. He gave me the history of Nashville's specialty, hot chicken. OK my other Nashville friends, how come none of you love me enough to have told me about it; that is clearly something of great interest to me. I told him about speedies at Sharkey's in Binghamton.
Oh and I found out that Alex and Sammi are leaving New York too. No fair. Too many favorite musicians and friends are leaving. Who can I talk into moving here?
I finally headed out well after midnight. I walked the mile to the bus which was late. I should have checked my real time bus time app and not trusted the schedule.
OK tomorrow I might post pictures. I might even have a video for you. Now to breakfast than I have to head out of here.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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