John Chapman’s photos from Monday night’s show at the Van Duzer almost say it all: Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra were smooth, cool, swingin’ in that sophisticated old style that some folks in the audience likely were lucky enough to experience first-hand and in-time -- that is, back in the traditional jazz heyday -- and that others of us might recall more artificially from moments spent in front of the television, as children, watching some swanky do take place somewhere more elegant than wherever it was we were at the time.
Marsalis and the LCJO are on their Love Songs of Duke Ellington tour, bringing us music from the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. And with the first tune, Satin Doll, those in the know in the audience were exclaiming, "Oh, wow!" as if their younger selves had swept back for a cheery visit. Me, I was swept away also, to another time I never knew, into a nostalgia I certainly didn’t earn firsthand but felt overcome by just the same. But who cares: The Duke’s tunes, rendered so beautifully and effortlessly by the LCJO, have infiltrated the American consciousness. The nostalgia is everyone’s to claim.
Still, I found myself wondering -- being a rube and all -- if it was OK to be comparing this warm, live, personable and professional performance (for Marsalis tells stories between songs that educate and make you laugh) to the usual mode: in my apartment, eyes shut, music pouring out of the ratty little white speakers someone passed down to me 10 years ago.
Well, you may think the answer is easy: warm, live, personable. And I agree, especially because the speakers are shit. But I’ve grown conditioned, having mostly lived in podunk without easy access to hearing the greats play live, to hunkering down for a nice, quiet, uninterrupted listen in the privacy of my own squalid digs when there’s something really good I want to hear. And if you dare to attend a live performance, and to sit up in the rafters, in a venue in Humboldt County, at some point you will be confronted with this very question: Is live music better? I mean, normally I’d shout, "Yes!" But then when the person sitting next to you takes his shoes off and a reek of old-tunafish-sandwich pervades your nose space, and then the kids behind you start kicking the seats and chattering, you gotta wonder.
There was no doubt about what Marsalis prefers, however. Being a sophisticate, he found the Humboldt audience charming (or maybe he says so to every audience he meets). "It’s nice to play in a smaller room [like this] where you can feel everybody," he said as he introduced the next tune, "Concerto for Cootie." "The Duke always said, ‘I love you madly.’ We love you madly."
After that, they swung into the sly, squabbly "Cootie," and my mind was made up: Live is of course much, much sweeter. This remained true even when the audience fell all over the place when the band played, "Dancers In Love," from Ellington’s Perfume Suite, and they were supposed to snap along: "SNAP SNAP SNAP. SNAP SNAP SNAP" became "SNAP snap SNAPsnapSNAP." We were all outta sync.
But, really, other than the sweaty sock incident -- would the dressed-up audiences of old even have dreamed of doing this? -- I was hooked from beginning to end. It’s one thing to hear Carlos Henriquez’ bass trodding languidly through the smooch-inspiring paces of "Mood Indigo," and another entirely to watch his fingers walk slowly over the strings as you listen. And who could deny the cheeks-stained-with-teardrops power of watching Joe Temperley reach out with his clarinet and softly stroke your squishy romantic heart with "The Single Petal of a Rose"?
Retired Judge James Warren presided over two days of testimony in the Reggae lawsuit, Mateel v People Productions LLC & Tom Dimmick today and yesterday. So far only Dimmick has testified, and he's not done yet.
While on a break, Warren mentioned some of the significant cases he worked on while on the bench in San Francisco: the notorious dog mauling case ( People v. Knoller and Noel ), the 2004 same-sex marriage cases and " re 101 California Street ," a suit against a gun manufacturer in connection with a crazed gunman who murdered eight people in an S.F. highrise.
Details on the Reggae hearing to come...
A fire broke out earlier today in Old Music Building 8A on the Humboldt State University campus. The cause of the fire is still unknown.
At 1:30 p.m. HSU faculty noticed smoke coming from a locked custodial closet in the music building, according to HSU spokesman Paul Mann. After the fire alarm was pulled, university police and the Arcata fire department arrived on the scene. The fire was extinguished in a very short time, Mann said, and there were no injuries.
Mann said the extent of the damage is still unknown, but he suspects water damage occured. Smoke filled the entire building, but the structure remains completely intact. This afternoon, as firemen ventilated the building, prevailing winds blew some smoke into Siemens Hall which was subsequently evacuated.
Classes scheduled for the music building will take place elsewhere. Visit the HSU homepage for updates.
It looks like The Marching Lumberjacks posted this Kabuki interpretation of the (Alleged) Great Arkley Shove way back in October. But it flew right past us until a sharp-eyed loyal reader brought it to our attention a few minutes ago.
The pertinent routine begins at minute mark 4:30. Deeply unfair to everyone involved, no doubt.
In a 5-2 decision
Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled that
the 1996 initiative, Proposition 215, which
exempts medical marijuana patients and their caregivers from state prosecution, does not
limit an employer's authority to fire workers for violating federal drug laws. (
"We have no reason to conclude the voters intended to speak so broadly, and in a context so far removed from the criminal law, as to require employers to accommodate marijuana use," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar said in the majority opinion.
Dissenting Justice Joyce Kennard said the voters never intended to subject medical marijuana users to the "cruel choice" of forgoing their medication or losing their jobs. A state lawmaker spoke in similar terms later in the day in announcing legislation that would overturn the ruling.
In other news, SFist writes that LA will be home, starting next week, to two marijuana vending machines.
Yes, Mary Jane is now available via vending machine, but just how many hoops will you have to jump through to get at her? First, you must have a medical marijuana prescription. Next, you will need to be fingerprinted before purchasing a pre-paid credit card with your dosage imprinted upon it. Once you have the credit card in hand, you can enter the "standalone room" that is "protected by round-the-clock security guards." Then you can run home in glee at having paid for weed. from. a. vending. machine.
There's a damning leader on Bill Clinton in this week's New Republic. (Subscription required, proles.) It's entitled "Reduced Bill":
The post-presidency is usually a good phase of a president's life. At their best, these retirees largely extricate themselves from factional politics and remake themselves as servants of the common good. That's basically what Clinton has done. True, he has made a fair amount of cash, speaking in Dubai and palling around with Ron Burkle. But he also claimed some important achievements through his foundation work. And, in the course of these good deeds, he rebuilt his reputation from his last ignominious years in office. He became a kind of Global President, or at least, the Crown Prince of Davos-land--a symbol of a prelapsarian era.
Even if Bill helps Hillary eke out a victory over Obama, he will have diminished these recent accomplishments. When you go to watch Clinton as he makes his case to small crowds in Podunk locations, you can't help but view him differently. He loses his post-presidential luster and dignity, turning himself back into just another pol. And not an especially classy one.
And "small crowds"? Whose fault is that?
On Tuesday, Aiy-yu-kwee Mobile Home Park resident Cory Holderman asked the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for help.
According to a report in the Times-Standard, the board voted to direct the Economic Division of Humboldt County Community Development Services "to assist in identifying and preparing grant applications and/or other funding sources for relocation assistance, if available, for the residents of the Blue Lake Mobile Home Park, and to coordinate with the city of Blue Lake."
In a press release issued today, the Blue Lake Community Support Group, "an ad hoc committee of community members who have come together to assist the residence of the Aiy-Yu-Kwee Mobile Home Park evictees in their quest for fair treatment and equivalent housing," responded to comments that Blue Lake Tribal Administrator Arla Ramsey made on Channel 3's Six O'clock news on Wednesday. (Ramsey said that the tribe decided to evict residents for financial reasons and that it had been "subsidizing" park residents since it purchased the park in 2002.)
In direct response to Ms. Ramsey's assertions that the Tribal Council is subsidizing the mobile home Park and that its infrastructure is failing, BLSC Group's research indicates otherwise. At the time of the Park's purchase by the Tribal Council five years ago, local sources report that the septic system was in good shape. Its annual budget was $600 and that covered the costs of pumping out the tanks every few years. Mowing and weed whacking the dirt driveways and around the asphalt one have been the only maintenance applied to the three, short, narrow driving lanes. Since a live-in caretaker handles the mowing and weed whacking, its annual cost to the Tribal Council is minimal. On the income side of the Rancheria's ledger, the BLSC Group's research reveals that the Tribal Council collects over $50,000 per year in rent from the Aiy-Yu-Kwee Mobile Home Park residents.
Unless Ms. Ramsey can disprove these estimations by providing the actual revenue and expense figures, the BLCS Group alleges that during the Rancheria's five years of ownership, the Tribal Council has enjoyed a quarter of million dollars in profit from its Aiy-Yu-Kwee Mobile Home Park.
And here's the BLCSG's whole press release: Win-Win Solution
Not really. It turns out that the Chinese have their own Sasquatch and he/she lives in the forests of Hubei Province (central China).
If you haven't read it already, check out the Journal's recent Bigfoot exposé.
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Marin County Judge James R. Ritchie did the expected thing earlier this week, issuing an injunction on all new repair work at the south end of the North Coast Railroad Authority line.
The judge appears to have thrown the authority a small bone: In his preliminary order, he proposed a cutoff date of Oct. 15, 2007 -- any work contracted after that date would be brought to a halt. In the final version, Ritchie bumps the cutoff date up to Jan. 7, 2008.
Apropos of our recent story about Northcoast visionary artist Reuben Sorensen, who some claim is an outsider artist, the other Journal (from Wall St. not G. St) sheds new light today on just how hard it is to get into the outsider world.
NEW YORK -- This morning, Ross Brodar plans to rent a 24-foot truck and load it up in Brooklyn with scraps of wood and sheets of paper, all covered with the pictures he paints of boxy faces and stick-figure bicycles. This afternoon, he'll drive it into Manhattan and park in front of the Puck Building in SoHo, just in time for tonight's opening of the Outsider Art Fair -- the premier showcase for art that doesn't quite belong anywhere else.
Outsider artists are mainly self-taught and often troubled. Mr. Brodar believes he fits right in. He wants the fair to hang his pictures. But the fair's insiders decide on that and, for reasons he says he has never heard explained, they and Mr. Brodar are on the outs. So, for the next three days -- and for the 10th year running -- Mr. Brodar's art, along with Mr. Brodar, will be hanging out outside.
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Not for me... Make California Great Again!