Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back a little early, but not really: I'm at Double Shot Coffee, a large and pleasant cafe in Tusla, OK. (n.b. that the Belle & Sebastrian playing here is much more unexpected, and hence pleasant, than the same in, say, Silver Lake; similar feeling about catching, say, Day to Day on High Plains Public Radio, or even Bill Moyers complaining about the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. That said, I have seen a Darwin-fish and a "Free Leonard Peltier" bumpersticker in the last hr., not on the same car.) Some raw travel notes --

sept. 2

out of L.A. approx. 10:05
lunch at Maria's in Blythe, typical but good Cali Mexican
3 or 4 hrs. of podshuffle, Silkworm's "Couldn't You Wait" about the 3rd song in as if it knew where I was headed
hit Tuscon around 7 p.m.; staying at Motel 6 b/c Club Congress was long sold out of this wknd, which happens to be a 25 yr celebration of Tucson music; gravitated to that vinicity anyway as it helps me get my bearings.
dinner at Pico de Gallo, killer shrimp and fish (usually manta ray) tacos as always
dropped Bree at motel, headed back to Congress, heard a couple of current bands I can't now i.d., then a one-shot reunion set by The Pedestrians, sometimes credited as the areas first punk band -- I don't think they released anything at the time, but this was a satisfying sort of cow-wave, a bit like the further out earlier AMC, caught a line something like "...sends down a perfumed angel and lifts up her skirt [skirt, skirt, skirt]." Then The Sidewinders, fairly standard-issue but spirited rootsiness; they were still playing, covering "Peace, Love, and Understanding," as I headed back to the car, too dead on my feet and anxious about next day's drive to stay up for G. Sand/Blacky Ranchette. Would have been curious as to the lineup, as John and Joey don't seem to be playing w/ Howe anymore -- they'd be playing as Spoke (the early duo-only name under which the first Calexico album was originally released) later in the weekend. Did run into Dan Seta, an old L.A. friend who played in Idaho (band, not state) for some years, his wife Jenny, and the sister of ex-Weekly crit Robert Lloyd.

Made it to around p. 370 of Sorrentino fils' Trance before leaving home -- quite sure I packed in the car, but it immediately buried itself somewhere in our sloppy packing job. Was enjoying it -- stands up to most DeLillo, which seems the obvious point of reference, though maybe not to his 2 or 3 best books. When Bree takes over driving, I'm picking through Ted Honderich's 1976 Political Violence, which I suspect is going to end with a stance against some forms of non-state-sanction forms of dissent, but is pretty withering about some of the stupider arguments against same on the way there. "We do not suppose, generally, that what can be said for or against a line of action is no more than can be said by those peresons who are or might be engaged in it. No such requirement survives reflection."

At some point, read Alec Bemis' long LA Times Magazine piece on freak-folk. Must admit to both much of this music and Alec's take on it (particular the positive valance given to its various 'quiet' forms of religiosity), and I wonder, as ever, what it is about being accompanied by music that draws some (ok, some poets) to admire lyrics whose particular mode of 'literariness' is precisely that which they would disdain on the page (pls. note Sufjan's New School MFA in fiction). And, while I'm bitching, we also have the mythmaking -- Devandra's music career took off "magically"! Freak-folks, you see, never try, never work -- see also the commonly told (though not in this piece) story of Newsom's first recordings 'just happening' to fall into Will Oldham's hands. Feh. All that said, I think Alec's piece is of real value in distilling a take on/defense of this stuff, one that is pretty reasonably seen as implicit in the work and its presentation. You should read it, even if you hate the relevant artists (I'm 50/50).

sept. 3

Taking Bree's cue not to eat a big American breakfast every single day; yogurt and plums from the co-op on 4th Ave.
Heard The Castaway's "Liar, Liar" -- one of the Nuggets-era tunes I haven't heard enough to be sick of.
dropped by Librio, a small bookstore w/ a surprising poetry section, on the way out of town; picked up Jarnot's a+bend chapbook, Bree found a $2 copy of Lust for Life
more radio, less iPod -- New Mexico oldies station played Pete Wingfield's wonderful and unfamiliar-to-me "18 With A Bullet".
hwy 26 for shortcut around Los Cruces, shaving maybe 1/2 hr. off our time on the 10 and 25; picked up program for the Great American Duck Races in Deming the previous weekend, then ran smack into the Hatch Chile Festival, many hand-cranked roasters of fresh green chiles, quesedillas, burgers, etc. topped or stuffed w/ same; noted 2005 Miss Chile -- they elect two, one red, one green, in otherwise identical homecoming queen-type satin dresses.
local senior citizen paper with oddly convincing piece on the daily cost of nursing care v. living on an endless series of Princess Cruises
local independent radio program feat. a long interview and in-studio session w/ one "Jaimi Faux," pronounced "Jamie Fox"* -- v. conventional Jewel/DiFranco stuff, plus a lot of recovery and "relationship w/ God" talk, one mildly memorable song called "High On Uncovering."
Santa Fe around 8:30; staying w/ my college friend David Carl, currently awaiting a tenure decision at St. John's, and his s.o. Marika, who's teaching creative writing and dance history at multiple colleges in SF and Albequerque while she works on a novel, and dancing in a company in the latter

*Presumably, the spelling is meant to avoid confusion w/ the star of Ray -- which I caught 1/2 hr. of in the morning on motel HBO: I note that I was not strictly correct a couple of days ago in saying that Percy Mayfield is entirely elided -- when Ray's fighting w/ the Raelette w/ whom he's having an affair, he's also working at his electric piano, and says (in a barely audible aside) "Percy only sent me the music for this one." Which is, I am pretty certain, false. I kinda dug Curtis Armstrong's Ahmet Ertegun, though; just sussed that he played the comic relief detective on Moonlighting.

enough for now

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