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

October 08, 2017 - 3:01 p.m.

Be Sorry You Missed Mari

I'm sorry for the last posting, especially as yesterday's might have led you to believe might have led you to believe that I might not write at all. I slept late this morning and after eating I had to meditate to get myself to do something anxiety producing. I did it so now I can write. Imagine Kermit saying "Yay!" You should often imagine Kermit saying "Yay!" You'll be happier if you do.

Last night was a home game, I went to see Mari Black at the Jenkins House Concerts. That's one of my favorite house concert series. Some are house concerts, others are home concerts, the hosts make you feel at home. That's what Sandy and Rich do. I was joined by my friends Gidge and Loyse, of Spiral Sounds Concerts. I have wanted them to meet Sandy and Rich since Spiral Sounds started. Spiral Sounds is beyond being a home game, I'm on the list before there is a list.

I've only seen Mari at NERFA and that was two years ago, no matter, she instantly became one of my people. I was walking through the halls and heard incredible string music, it reminded me of Haas Kowert Tice, now Hawktail. I followed the music till I found Mari's band in a room by themselves. They were practicing, not performing. They thought I was from the conference and was going to kick them out for using the space without permission. After humorous confusion we figured out what's what and I stayed and listened. It was love at first hear. This happened one other time at NERFA, when I discovered Cassie and Maggie.

The only other people I knew there were Sandy and Rich's kids, Stephanie, Cassie, and Reed and Steph is the only one that really knows me. No matter, I was still at home. There's always fun people to talk to there; people that love music.

I had my usual second time seeing someone when it's a long time after the first experience. I wondered if the reality would live up to my memory? Was it the circumstances as much as the music that enchanted me? Thirty seconds into the show I knew that they weren't as good as my memory, they were better. I talked to Mari about that after the show and she said, "I should hope so, I had two years of practice since then?" Don't tell her that doesn't happen with most artists, that they achieve their level then just stay there or slowly improve. I want her to keep getting better. If this is not her peak then it's scary.

What I forgot was how silly Mari is. That's more of a tribute to her musical talent than anything. I love silly. If Mari's music was mediocre I'd still love her as a person. Back in the day I'd call her a Batnose. Now nobody knows what that means. OK, I'm bringing the term back, there is no English equivalent. There should be a word in Yiddish, that's the language's strength but this nice Jewish boy doesn't know it. What's a Batnose? Someone that is creatively insane, a cool nerd, happy being a weirdo, not a Normal but in a good way. Mari is a Batnose. Most of my friends are Batnoses.

Mari plays chamber folk/dance music. It's chamber folk as the music is as intricate and well performed as classical chamber music. I have to add the dance, so that you know that it swings. She is a Scottish Fiddler that plays music that goes far afield of Scotland and Ireland. Duke Ellington said that there were two kinds of music that had swing, Jazz and Scottish. Mari goes where the swing is, French Canadian, New England, where she's from, and Klezmer. She has a map laid out of where else in the world her music will travel.

She catches her own tunes too. She says catches, not composes; when she sits down with pen and paper and tries to write the music comes out terrible. But sometimes a tune comes fully formed into her head and all she has to do is learn it by ear. I get that, I often find myself humming tunes that I realize didn't exist till I started humming. I lack the skill to learn them by ear and write them down for posterity. Just as well, I can assure you they aren't brilliant like Mari's.

She did one original called "Song Without Words" that is slow and beautiful and filled with the sadness of Middle Earth; tune worthy of an Elven harper. The crowd went wild when she finished.

Mari is very different than the music that Gidge and Loyse present or the music that we usually hear together. I was delighted that they loved her. Their musical sweet spot is good music. That's how it should be. It always feels good when your friends love what you love.

I forgot the openers. The first set it was proceeded with a song by Cassie aka Cassandra Jenkins. It was a song she performed on E-Town. For most house concert series having Cassie as a headliner would be a coup. Not so much when she lives in the house. In the second set the opener was Cassie's Brother Reed. This is a talented family. Rich is a pianist.

I brought my real camera and took photos and videos but they are still on the card. I have to leave in an hour so I probably won't get to that today. I'm off for another House Concert on the Upper West Side, Robinson & Rohe. Tomorrow I'll see what I can get to.

I had the world's greatest commuting luck coming home. No wait for the first bus, a two-minute wait for the 6 train, and one minute for the BX29. I was home in an hour and a quarter. When I got home I was surprised to find that Jane was still up. We talked while I ate and I discovered that since she changed the password on her Gmail she has not been able to get her email on her phone. I'm the house IT department so I went to fix it. Her android works very differently than mine. I couldn't find a way to change the password on her Google account. I ended up having to delete the account on the phone then add it back. When I did it still said there was trouble syncing the email. Nothing new showed up. I tried sending an email to myself. That did it. Once I sent that the inbox started loading with new mail. I love that I can fix things even when I don't quite know what I'm doing. You know, the way I blog.

Now I have to get ready to go out. I have to get to tonight's concert to help set up. I'll be writing again tomorrow and with luck every day. I won't write just for the sake of writing but most days something compels me and I simply have to remember to make a note of it.





Music, Baseball, and Food - October 12, 2017
Shouldn't it be On Your Sonar? - October 11, 2017
Fight Fair and Cook with Garlic - October 10, 2017
That Time That Dylan Opened for Robinson and Rohe - October 09, 2017
Be Sorry You Missed Mari - October 08, 2017



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