Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas From Us' To You's

 (photo John Hancock)
Last night was the big Christmas Party and 10 year anniversary for the San Diego Troubadour Newspaper, and what a celebration and gathering of tribes it was. Everybody got up and played a song or two on stage, while out back around a campfire there was a perpetual trad/music-jam going. Kent and Liz, the owners of the newspaper hopped on stage and sang some Everly Bros.,  Lou Curtis a long time accomplice to, and purveyor of, the San Diego folk scene sang a traditional tune and accompanied himself on auto-harp. There were too many cookies, alot of wine and even a few kids. 

(photo John Hancock)
My son Alexander and I were down in the city all afternoon because we'd gone to see the Old Globe Theater's wonderful production of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. We wandered around Balboa Park and then came over to the Troubadour party at nightfall. Folks were already up on stage playin' music and the party was jumpin'. Alexander was up for playing a song on mandolin and so we played House of the Rising Sun. Sure, not very christmas-y, but the only song he knows all the way through and plays melody on. 
(Last Christmas the Women's Group Widow's fund from Pilgrim Church-UCC  gave us a money gift toward a musical instrument for Alexander. He chose mandolin and has been taking lessons for about 4 months)

(photo Dan Chusid)
It turned into a little media-fest with our friendly neighborhood paprazzi-pals snapping lots of photos of Alexander's first time playing mandolin on stage and solo-ing (his idea). I was just the backup musician here, while he made his fedora-hat-wearing-debut. Fearless, is what I'd call his performance.  

(photo Dennis Andersen)
Other notable news of the night; Alexander learned how to play pool from some kids dad and later got more pool shark pointers from Skid Roper (Mojo Nixon's longtime washboard player).
(photo Dennis Andersen)
(photo Dennis Andersen)
I'd like to express my appreciation to the San Diego Troubadour for supporting acoustic music and artists in our community. You guys have a tough job getting the zine together every month but we musicians thank you for your ardour and commitment, from the bottom of our hearts.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Steel Drum Concert-Kainga Music

My son Alexander playing with his steel drum ensemble at the State Theater in Carlsbad, CA. His teacher, a gifted pianist and arranger explained that the word Kainga comes from the language of the Tonga, a Pacific island where his family is from, and means 'coming together' or community. And so we did have community tonight around the steel drum which is actually from the Caribbean.

Alexander in the white fedora and his best friend Guthry Hahm without fedora.

They started with Santana's Evil Ways then played Winter Wonderland, the head-banging I Don't Wanna Be (Davin DeGraw) and finally Dog Days Are Over (Florence and the Machine)

The closing act... (the girls brought the fedora's and deemed the group The Fedorables for the night.) There'd been several other groups earlier of equally inspiring yet older kids and even adults, with solos on the drums and some galloping 16th notes, a sublime steel-drum dream version of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and a nod to Dave Brubeck.

Taking their son in front in blue and his friend, beside him. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December Moon

Driving home at midnight along Coast Highway 
the moon called 
to me

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Fest at Alexander's School

Alexander and middle school kids dancing to Gangnam Style at the Phoenix Learning Center holiday night (no relation to Phoenix Az btw)

We won the one of the most popular prizes at the raffle (gasp), a popcorn popper...
Here's the funny synchronicity thing Alexander pointed out today: We've had 2 run in's this week with popcorn poppers. The first one on Saturday where we were evacuated from a movie theater very suddenly/screen goes dark/alarm wails/pre-recorded voice "evacuate immediately"/ and with much urgency...and later, calling them, finding it to be the fault of a smoking popcorn popper that set off the theater alarm. And now winning this big popcorn popper at Alexander's school. What's next?

The 6th graders and their teachers did some kinda dance thing together. It was warming and heartning to see the teachers, staff, students and parents all having such a good time at the school last night. Alexander's in 6th grade now but has been at the school since kindergarten

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Better 'n a bankers holiday

Playing songs at Culver City's premiere dive bar, The Cinema Bar with Randy Hoffman on glockenspiel and cardboard box and David Schwartz on upright bass. 

My pal Syd Straw jumped up and joined us on a shouting match of Make Way for The Handicapped

I went from walking into this place, when we were unloading our stuff, and thinkin' "oh crap, the band is gonna hate me" to "hot damn, we is havin a helluva good time". I think everyone in the crowd played some kinda of instrument so at some point we had a Ravi Shankar tribute with a bunch on droning notes and the lovely and talented Lucy Schwartz doing some free-jazz spoken-word-verse. 

Buddy Zapada, Phil, Jeff Turmes, Greg Boaz. Thanks to Buddy for setting up the show and overseeing everything. More fun than a payment to the spa, more nourishing than a field trip to Chik-fil-a, and better than a bankers holiday. Plus everybody in the audience got a lollipop.

Randy and I outside of David Schwartz' recording studio. I met David a few months ago and Wednesday was our first time running through these songs with the three of us. Randy kept saying "Man, I've never heard these songs with a bass before". David was a blast to play music with, and true to my long-time mission statement; he was willing to 'play well beneath his innumerable abilities'. 

See you all February 14th for the next round at the Cinema Bar

(photos by David Schwartz and Greg Boaz)