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
March 09, 2016 - 12:45 p.m.
I'm going to start with an honesty fiat. I have something to write about today and I'll be my usual funny, weird, enthusiastic self but that doesn't mean that things are looking better than yesterday when I was bleak. I just have a better distraction.
Yesterday was the second Tuesday of the month so I went to John Platt's On Your Radar. I had planned on walking but couldn't get my motor running. In fact, even making good time on the subway I got there half an hour later than usual, 6:45 for the 7:00 show. I usually get there at 6:15, before doors to check out the room and hang out with musicians during sound check. The last time I wasn't there before doors they forgot to put the reserve sign down and somebody took my seat. That was so traumatic it still haunts me. I had to sit with the peasants. I was magnanimous to them and let them eat cake. Mmmcake.
This time I texted John to let him know I'd be late and to not give my seat away. This month's performers were Jessy Carolina and the Hot Mess, Aaron Nathans & Michael Ronstadt, and Kirsten Maxwell. Jessy was the only one I didn't know. I've known Aaron for ages, socially. I didn't even know he was a musician when for a while. I know Michael through him, and I knew there'd be socializing after the show. Kirsten is in between, I think I met her the Falcon Ridge before last.
Most of my crowd was sitting up front near me, Richard & Viki, Dan & Phyllis, Marty, and and and, I'm pretty sure I'm missing someone. There was a Long Island contingent there to see Kirsten including Mike. I was expecting them and was surprised to not see them there when I arrived. There was an accident on the LIE so those driving in were delayed. It was a day for things like that. Jessy didn't make it at all. She had car trouble. But the band found an excellent sub to sing, Cara Dineen. I'm proud of myself that I remembered her first name. I do because of connection. I was talking to her after the show and suggested that she come to the open mic this Sunday at First Acoustics. The featured performer is Villa Palagonia. I had been singing of their songs yesterday, Bacami Caro. If a man had been singing it to a woman it would be Bacami Cara. it means "Kiss me baby." Did I get that right Allison?
Kirsten was up first. Now I get to be pretentious; Kirsten sings in the Bel Canto style. It literally means "beautiful song." I guess it's Italian lesson day at Wise Madness which funny as I don't speak Italian but I do speak pretension and nothing says pretension like foreign language phrases. I'll have to throw some Latin in. I know about Bel Canto singing in a folk context through Dave Van Ronk who distinguished the Bel Canto singers, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Judy Collins, from the Neo-Ethnics like himself. If you know how any of them sing that's all you need to know to understand the terms. Kirsten mentioned both Joan and Judy as role models and it shows. She's clearing following their path with her clear ringing voice singing mellifluous songs.
Nathans and Ronstadt are of course very much my people. What do they do? Aaron first caught my attention with his funny songs and also writes in both the folk and singer/songwriter traditions. Michael is a conservatory trained classical musician with strong Americana and Mexican roots. They are both weird. Hey I said they are my friends, so the synthesis goes all over their place and their set showed that. They did chamber folk, Bel Canto, folk history, unusual harmonies, and ended with a funny song about peanut allergies. Oh yes they did what John calls an "unconventional cover" that I don't want to ruin for you. Not knowing what the song is till the chorus is half the fun. Hell I've heard them do it before and couldn't remember what it was till then. It's what I love in a cover, it reinvents it revealing things in the song that were always there but you never heard.
After the show I did not make a quick exit. That's when I got to talk to Cara, I was waiting for Aaron and Michael to finish with the merching and schmoozing, we went out to eat afterward. This is only their second time playing in New York since I met Michael but I can honestly say I went out to eat with them after the show every time. This time we went to Katz's Deli; Michael had never been there. It's so much fun to talk to those guys. We had my favorite kind of conversation ranging from very intellectual to totally silly. That's pretty much what their music does too.
Then we walked to the train together and as so often happens I went with them for one stop.
I got a late start writing today and did this very fast. You might notice that I eschewed giving links to things that I don’t' have macros for. You'll have to google to find the bands. That's doing you a favor if you do it today. The Google Doodle is a marvelous one in honor of the world's greatest thereminist, Carla Rockmore. It's a virtual theremin. You'll have fun with it.
Now to make a sausageeggandcheese on a bagel then get to the scary part, facing the day.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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