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
January 10, 2016 - 1:02 p.m.
I have some technical writing problems with today's edition of Wise Madness. I still have not solved them but I'm writing anyway. The important thing is not to write well but to write on deadline. I pretty much have faith in my ability to vamp.
Yesterday I of course had trouble getting myself out of the house till the evening. Then I made my way over to Coco and Bruce's to see Villa Palagonia and The Levins at a First Acoustics house concert. Now for the surprising part, when I arrived Coco said, "You're not the first one here." Yet that was not the headline in today's NY Times.
There were eight million shows I wanted to go to last night but this was the winner. It did have an unfair advantage, Allison's homemade cannoli. See there's one of the technical problems. I just wrote "Allison's" and assumed you know who she is. I will handle this seamlessly and retroactively by introducing the bands, Villa Palagonia (pal-uh-go-NEE-uh) is Allison Scola and Joe Ravo and the Levins (lev-INS) Ira and Julia and no I will not tell you their last name. If you can't figure it out, you will never figure out anything else that I'm writing.
The Levins do your standard mixture of uplifting New Age psalms and ridiculous Jewish shtick songs. I won't say whose responsible for the latter but totally unrelated to this Julia's maiden name is Bordenaro. I worry if I should say that because if they had children knowing their mother's maiden name would help you steal their identity. Wait they are folk singers; they only steal the identity of people with money. They are safe. When Coco introduced them she said "I sometimes find that I'm doing something else then notice that I have a big smile on my face and I'm very happy; then I realize I was just thinking about the Levins." That's a good intro.
Coco introducing the Levins
You might have noticed my finger at the edge of the first picture. That's my reference to the cliché of artists holding their thumbs up next to what they are painting. I'm saying that photography is just as much art as painting. It was not a mistake it was artistic expression. Brianne has taught me well.
In the intro to one of the songs Ira mentioned someone that I have not thought of in years, Jack Horkheimer. When I was in college and grad school he had short bits on PBS called "the Star Hustler" where he'd tell you about what you could see in the night sky. It was not surprisingly shown before Doctor Who. He was also the director of the Miami Planetarium and Ira used to see his sky shows there as a kid. I love little bonding things like that with the artists.
Do I really need to say anything about Villa Palagonia? How many zillion times have I written about them? Let me checks; 135.62 zillion times. There are a few bands that I not only love but find easy to write about, which is not at all the same thing. I've known Allison from before Villa Palagonia, she's one of the Chicks with dip. I like what she did solo but it did not leap out at me. My favorite song was Marco the Barber about her Sicilian heritage. She then had the revelation of turning her passion for that into her career. That's the one song that made it on to the Villa Palagonia album. I think there's a lesson to be learned there. I often hear songwriters lamenting they are having trouble writing. It might be that they are trying to write about the wrong things. They are writing what other people write about not what they are passionate about. Happy Rhodes was a tremendously talented singer/songwriter who wasn't afraid to write about whatever caught her fancy, including video games. She might not have been a commercial success but she was an artistic one. I find the same thing when I write. I of course write here every day and some things don't want to get written. So what I do is write what does want to be released into the world pretty much no matter what it is. I've also written short stories and poems. Sometimes I've been stuck writing but a simple change in point of view then lets me write it in one sitting.
Oh wait, I'm supposed to be writing about Villa Palagonia. Another difference from them than Allison solo is of course Joe is playing with guitar with her. Not only is he a virtuoso player he's also something that Allison feels passionately about. I think it's all related. As to their show I like what I said to someone over a cannolo; Villa Palagonia always look and sound like they belong in a Fellini movie. I'm pretty sure I've said that here too.
VP is not just easy to write about they are easy to photograph, what's hard is not taking a zillion pictures. Allison keeps changing instruments and I always want one pic with every instrument when I take pictures of a show. And she dances so I want to capture didn't poses. You take one pic with a woman with a guitar and you've got it all. The most you can do is different degrees of close ups. So here are some pics.
After the VP set the Levins joined them for some sing alongs. I didn't know that Ira was a flautist, he doesn’t flout it.
When the show was over I made a quick exit.
Don't tell me you believed that. Of course I didn't make a quick exit. Even though I didn't know a lot of the people at the show I knew the artists and the hosts and Katherine was there. So of course I hung out and talked. These are some of my favorite people to talk to. My subway is on the way to Katherine's house so she walked me there and of course we stood outside the station and talked. That station has a great thing, an alarm goes off a minute before the train pulls in. so I knew exactly when I had to say goodbye.
Let me see if there is anything I left out? Oh yes, the gluten free brownies. They were amazing. I talked about the cannoli though I didn't mention that they are intended as phallic symbols … till now.
I'm torn between bacon and eggs and a sausageeggandcheese sandwich for breakfast. I might not know which it is till I get in the kitchen. I'm good at vamping breakfast too. I have also decided that I leapt over my writing hurdles and managed to get across a reasonable facsimile of what I wanted to convey.
Annoying People - September 03, 2016
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