Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hank Comes To Our House and Then Off To Seattle

street light stanchion in front of the ace hotel, seattle
It's starting to hop in Belltown this evening.  We got up here in the evening last night after a rough 7-hour drive with two significant traffic jams.  (This R.A. Dickey interview on Fresh Air made the drive easier.)  Tracy had work this morning and tomorrow as well, so it's her hard work that got us up here this time around.  And she did the driving.

 Dinner at Black Bottle was fantastic.  Our waiter was cool and the food was great.  I am my father's son when I say: I'd go there again, and after that, it would be a habit. 

While Tracy was doing her thing this morning and early afternoon,  I got to catch up with Rick and Jackie and Rick's daughter Anna.  That was a delight.  We walked around for a bit and went into some fun shops, and tried on army helmets from all over the world at the big surplus store here on First Ave.  Also, alot of Moleskin notebooks and fountain pens on this drag.  The pen, they say, is mightier than the sword, but don't forget helmets, disarmed grenades, and Gerber tools.

Jackie, Rick and Anna

I have popped up here for the odd gig over the years but it has been a while since I kicked it, other than a Royals game with Rick and Jackie last summer.  It's kind of hard to kick it down to low gear on a short weekend trip.  Decompression takes a long time sometimes. Life has been busy and stressful lately.  I know there are a million things to do but kicking it into low gear here at The Ace, maybe getting a pizza from across the street, sounds good too.  If we were at home, I'd be in whatever the most overgrown section of the yard is, pulling weeds and getting dirty.  So many nasturtium have volunteered in the main garden bed that it is a full time job turning our half acre into nasturtium cloud city by transplanting them.  Little divine clouds of orange here and there.  I hope the sun will come out for more than five minutes soon.

I finished the Tatsumi graphic novel A Drifting Life and started a new book, The Wisdom Of Tuscany by Ferenc Mate--kind of a funny choice as we sit here in our hotel listening to traffic blow by and kids parking their cars and getting their nights going.  There's a stretch hummer down there right now, about a half a block long, with a bald man driving it and blasting cheezy r & b.  Tracy loved this book and now wants to move to Tuscany, at least for one month of the year.  I say to myself, why not?  Olvera for one month, Tuscany for one month--that leaves ten other months.

I got the new Lee Ranaldo record--it's fantastic.  The press made it sound like it would be a sedate acoustic record, but it is a beautifully arranged and layered ROCK record, full of good singing, melody and lyrics that are opaque enough to capture your curiosity but direct enough to relate to.  I love it.  It's sad to think of Sonic Youth calling it a day but this does more than fill that void; this is new and different and equally as exciting as the annual or every-other-year SY slab.

Given the need for a little recharge and scrape-the-moss-off-the-shed time I'm feeling at the moment, I am glad to say we are not playing any shows in July, but have just added a sweet one to the calendar in PDX, with Ezra Holbrook's band The My Oh My's and soul singer Redray Frazier.  Very VERY excited about that--at The Secret Society on Friday, August 3.

I almost forgot: because we had a show at Cozmic Thursday, I missed Julian Snow and his new ragtime persona, Hank, playing at the Campbell Club.  Julian stayed at our pad that night and we got the gift of some spontaneous rags in the morning yesterday before we left for our trip.  These aren't your average cornball ice cream suit rags inspired by a secondhand PBS take on Scott Joplin.  These are short, sometimes dissonant, rural pieces.  It's Fahey country--a little bit kooky, technically brilliant, and harmonically dense, and fun and spooky. Hank makes one-off cassettes on commission, at nine dollars a pop.  You should get one.  I got one, kind of, on my Iphone, and feel lucky.  

We talked about having a house concert soon.  That sounds really fun.  Talking about music with Julian is refreshing because he gets the spiritual/energetic part--aside from the public part, the high hopes and the mixed real world results--and the need for keeping it vital and personal and communal.  It was an inspiring visit from Hank.

Hank appears at our house.

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