Friday, April 30, 2010

Si, si.

Babbo has an assessment interview for the dual immersion Spanish-English kindergarten program on the 26th. No pressure or anything, Babbo, but it'd be sweet to have our own personal translator.

We've also applied to get Babbo into Round Valley Elementary. This school is 15 minutes away in a green pasture and where Matty and Walter (my father in law) went to school as wains.

Buffalo - The new Phoenix Foundation release is out

I was already obsessed with this tune, but in light of the BP oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and tomorrow being May Day, I'm spooked.

<a href="">Skeleton by The Phoenix Foundation</a>

the economics of a Bishop Potluck Society Presents potluck

Old Coyote Moon played in the living room last night.

Dave Huebner described OCM as a jam band, which was new territory for us. It worked well in the house party setting. Folks filtered in and out over the two hours, had a good boogie to the country, funky, bluesy, folksy tunes, then wandered back into the kitchen to catch up with somebody over a some new dish that'd just come in. The band expanded from its normal five (drums, bass, two guitars, and a didgeridoo) to seven, with the addition of banjo and mandolin. They made joyous sounds, and it was a lovely, lovely evening. I still am a sucker for Huebner's cello playing.

These musical potlucks are a bit of a financial roller coaster for me. I always offer a guarantee (my motto is, "My guarantees may be modest, but there's whisky on the rider.") because we are a very, very long way from anywhere and because, frankly, it seems that fewer venues in the big cities do so anymore.

My sister-in-law Kate used to handle the door, but she's wanting to catch more of the music these days. I don't blame her. With Kate on the door, we always took in more than what I guaranteed. Blink, who brought Over the Atlantic and Disasteradio, never worried about the guarantee because he could tell how good Kate was. We just handed over the "koha" (Maori for "donation") bucket at the end of the night, and all was good.

Since Kate became a punter, we've tried using unmanned donation buckets. It's been so-so because folks don't see or choose not to see the buckets. A few folks do come in with their donations over the next few days. Last night, we tried the donation buckets, plus Matty going around with a hat . That worked better. There are always some folks (Karen Robb) who give too much, and I've got to work on finding some middle ground.

There is the perception, especially by some of the younger kids in town, that I make money at these shows. I don't. All donations from the shows go to the bands and to Derik, who usually provides the sound/lights. The only time I've ever paid myself back was when I fronted the money for a hall.

Labretta is coming next month, and I've extended a lot cash for this show. I had been a bit nervous, but I've done a fair bit of Bishop-style, word of mouth promoting. Things will be fine. The"koha" bucket will be in the doorway of the VFW hall, and we'll take shifts handing out wristbands to those who've donated so we know whom to hound.

I can't and don't want to put on these shows as a proper business. For one, the economics are such that I can't afford to pay $300 (often more than my minimum guarantee) for event insurance for each show. I believe, and I may be wrong, that as long as these things are ostensibly not-for-profit private house parties/potlucks, they are covered by our homeowner's insurance.

I'm lucky that I'm still married to an easy going and generous guy who understands how much fun I have. He enjoys hanging out and meeting new folks, (maybe even more than I do). He plays co-host, and together we provide a bit of food and drinks for all the folks who come through.

Matty said the nicest thing to me after Easter when I thanked him for letting me host what was really just a huge sleep over for a bunch of New Zealand music geeks. He said, "Well, these shows are like your powder days" (ski terminology for the kind of day you call in sick for to play hooky). Yes, yes they still are.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Out of the infirmary gates, running

with love to Patria Jacobs for use of the photos.

The girl that you were in the back of a car
there was nobody left there to tend to your scars
all the aspirin in the world
couldn't make you less that girl
do yourself a mischief
if you could

Steven Schayer sang those words Easter Eve, and I think there were a few of us old gals in the audience who could identify. Heh. It *was* a week, and I'm glad that I came out the other side, alive, smiling, and still humming from the gathering we had.

Bibi flew out from Atlanta on Tuesday. It was stormy as hell, and her flight to Mammoth was canceled. We figured out how to get her on a bus to Lancaster, and I tore out of the house and picked her up 3 hours later. It was an interesting drive, with at least 3 semis knocked down from the west winds picking up speed out of the Sierras. The Owens Dry Lake looked like a 20 mile long witch's cauldron. We celebrated our safe return to Bishop with a few single malts. This was Bibi's fourth visit to Bishop, and she hit the ground running and made good use of the workout and caffeine resources we have while I did a bit of work and started to makes lists for the weekend.

Sue, AKA "the new girl from Wis-CON-sin," flew out Wednesday. She got to use Mammoth Airport, and it was smiles all around. She was a trouper and fell in to the flow of drinking what we were pouring (tea, wine, belgian beer) and thoughtfully chiming in about all things New Zealand music and everything else. Her New Zealand music "thing" started in earnest in the early 1980s and predates Flying Nun. Meeting Sue was like meeting a long lost sister- one who'd been to all the best shows and had all the best memorabilia.

Friday found the first wave of musicians Patria, Volita and Moss - a sister and brother from Auckland who are in the States to play and to record- rolling in from Los Angeles. I'd met Patria briefly in LA at Steven's last solo set in October, and we kept in touch over the months. I hoped that culturally and politically, she'd find Bishop full of kindred spirits. She is wry and cheeky and nurturing- my kind of woman.

Karen, my rock of Gilbraltar, regaled us all with love (in the form of her famous crack and mac mac and cheese, West Coast brews, and promises of freshly caught trout), tales of playing pool with Jeff Buckley, and her enthusiasm. Uncle Sniffy Mark came from the Bay Area and brought the gorgeous and kind Renee, who'd been raised in Mexico City, but conceived in Russia! It was lovely to sit in the semi-dark around the fire and the stage, telling tales, hearing snippets of live songs (including one from Volita called "From Russia, with Love"), and having a good laugh.

The second wave of musicians, Steven, Marc Horton (whom I met from the Mutton Birds' list back in '03 or so), and Chantelle, arrived early Saturday morning. Sue and I were bathing in the glow of Facebook on two laptops when they arrived. We promptly whipped out the meat products (tri-tip and carnitas), shots of single malt whisky, and silly hats. Steven treated us to cartwheels in the backyard and tales of an intensive New Zealand tour with the Black Watch.

Five shots of whisky (Old Pulteney, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, Springbank Sauternes finish, Bowmore, Jameson) later, we bade each other a good night and went to bed. Incredibly, nobody was hungover the next day. I credit ginormous pots of Irish Breakky tea.

Owen, the Kiwi who flew out from Chicago, arrived with with his friend Amy Saturday morning. They had a hell of a long day coming from Phoenix, getting stuck on Hoover Dam, overheating in Owen's '66 Mustang, and calling it a night in Beatty, Nevada. They still had what I refer to as "the alien abduction highway*" to contend with, so I'm glad they tackled it with fresh eyes and some sleep.

Matty took some folks to see Sky Rock, our local petroglyph. The soundchecks went well. Davey Cello Man Huebner turned up after a ski and met Steven minutes before their set.

The wind picked up. There was to be no potlucking outside. I forgot to cut the rum punch with seltzer. Folks arrived. I was strict with the kids about where they could and couldn't play - I hope I wasn't too mean. Patria picked up Derik, my sound man, for country lead guitar and Chantelle for pick up drums.

Wee babies - Eloise, Amaya, Soren, and their mommies and daddies turned up. Cousin Deanna and Nellydog (both whom we hadn't seen in ages) turned up.

Songs from both sets sent shivers down my spine. Patria sang with an effortless grace about grown women and little boys. Dave and Steven played beautifully together - like they'd been playing together for years. Bless Dave for putting in the time to learn Steven's songs. Bless Steven, the boy with the voice the size of a house, who, for the sake of decorum, changed the phrase "God damn" to "Gosh damn" on Easter Eve. Steven made Karen cry with his line that goes something like:

I'm going down to the Mission
going to light a candle for my mother
everybody says this won't hurt a bit
that's a lie that people tell each other

Post show, the group staying at the house and a few others sat around for singalongs. We Humphreys and Keen fans murdered the tune "The Liquor Talking" but did an alright Able Tasmans' "What Was That Thing?" with Owen on drums. Steven scatted a fine "Blister in the Sun." Marc and Chantelle led lovely Verlaines (Joed Out?) and Big Star tunes. Chantelle is this gorgeous auburn haired, dark blue eyed slip of a woman who plays drums. I am in love.

Volita and Moss played an impromptu set, rocking out and letting Karen and me to shake a leg.

Davey Huebner is a genius and slayed folks with his cello playing and singing. His "House of the Rising Sun" made me come running out of the TV room (I was hanging out with Babbo and Orin, who were watching Sponge Bob) because folks were stamping and hooting. Steven kept saying, "Please make him stop. It's depressing me!"

Steven tried out a very punk stream of consciousness "Walk Like an Egyptian" on Davey's cello.

We ended the evening with drinks, cups of tea, leftovers, and more drinks, with most of the crew going to check out the local honky tonk, Rusty's. Karen was the tourguide for the expedition and Matty, the chaperone. A few of us more sedate girls stayed home and got our jammies on. I had to send Humphreys and Keen's Peter Keen a note about the evening. I'd been calling the weekend a convention in H&K's honor and Marc, without knowing that, turned up with the chords to "The Liquor Talking" learned and the lyrics printed. All our geeky threads are long and intertwined.

The drinking party returned like waves of loud geese - so loud that Patria and I got out of bed to see what we'd missed. I came downstairs to find Karen madly making scrambled eggs for everyone. She had to get up at dawn to get AT from LA. Folks stood around the kitchen proclaiming how much they all loved each other and how talented they thought everyone was. Steven was plied with eggs and meat products and put to bed.

Babbo was in his element that week. Aunties and uncles played with him, read to him, sang to him. He got to play boy host. "Steven, my mommy made you this yummy (as he's chomping away) Carnitas!" He wouldn't dance to Steven's set, but did play a little light sabre air guitar.

Most of us went to Macey's Easter Sunday potluck in Keeler. My dad was there and it was nice to introduce him to folks. Sundays at Macey's are mellow affairs, and it was a good place for us to say our goodbyes to the LA-folks and to Owen and Amy.

Perhaps one of the loveliest memories for me from the entire week was being in the car with Bibi and Sue on the drive down to LA on Monday. We sat for long stretches without talking, but we did sing along to hours of the Able Tasmans on the car stereo - all this, without apology.

The weekend had been a Jameson and pots of coffee/tea-fueled affair. That, coupled with the late nights and adrenaline made it a wee bit hard to come down. Over a week later, some of us are still floating.

* alien abduction highway = HWY 168 desolate, mountainous, full of free range cattle and sheep, dark as all get out, and you're going to get abducted and probed.