Whatever You Do…

7-footed Fem-o-saur

When I last visited Vermont [in Aug. 2004], I spent 3 crazy days in mud, sadness, and relief at Phish’s last stand, Coventry. Mud season had hit early via three tropical storms that blew over right before the festival opened. All the planned fields of parking were fields of shit-smelling mud. My life-long friend and brother Mark helped me make it to the show, wanting one last goodbye to all our years of Phish shows (and hoping to cheer me up as my life began to unravel). The locals were super nice, the sunsets were amazing, and I promised myself that I’d return to Vermont soon. – HappyFeet Travels entry, from VT, in April 19, 2006.

The Photographer, at Coventry, VT

Once again, I have written a comment about a Phish festival experience (I wrote about the Clifford Ball here). Someone on the Phish subreddit asked if anyone had fun at the Phish Coventry festival. I had to think about that for a minute. Was it actually fun? Two memories vividly popped up; one was spending a few hours near the entrance cheering on the folks walking in from the freeway. Another was seeing my friend Mark’s hilarious photographs of shoe wear (or lack of shoes) from other phans. And a police horse.

Hoofin-it

Getting digital photos back in 2004 wasn’t as easy as it is now (Cloud storage was about a year away from becoming a new and easy way to share). Mark didn’t even use a phone camera to snap the pics. He eventually gave me digital copies, which ended up on a hard drive with other photos. I rediscovered them a few years ago, and frequently look through them for a laugh. Mark had a great time meeting folks and giving their shoes, etc. funny titles. It was a great way to participate during a sad, dreary, shit-smelling weekend.

The Phorgotten

The following is what I wrote for the subreddit post (with a few revisions for clarity). We had a madcap adventure, which swore me off of flying around for music festivals. It was the end of the 2.0 era of Phish, which was thankfully short. I didn’t mention a few other memories on the subreddit post. One that really stands out is of a strung-out young hippie coming up to our car/camp site and asking us if we knew where any “pharmies” were. Before we could ask her what she meant, a neighbor interrupted and furiously told her to piss off. We asked him what she meant, and he explained that it was legal prescription “hillbilly heroin” that was ruining the scene. And Trey’s life. Oooooooh. That’s what Trey is addicted to. Damn.

Latest Mummy Fashion

Coventry was a surreal, exhausting, muddy experience.

My bro and I flew into and met up in Montreal a day before gates opened. We saw on the hostel’s desktop that phish.com had a notice saying that three tropical storms had delayed the gate opening the next day. Wait to drive in, they asked. I looked at my bro and we both agreed to “leave first thing in the morning and get there ASAP!”

Driving into the USA sucked, but were were older phans and intentionally drove in looking clean cut with no contraband. The dogs found nothing, but a few other cars/phans weren’t so lucky.

We bought groceries (and mud boots) in town and a tow truck driver shopping there told us how bad things were on site. He drew us a shortcut to get closer to the gate and it saved us about 8 hours waiting! Driving in was a painful experience (I’ve had worse, but this one was brutal) People kept falling asleep in the car line and we spent 8 hours hopping the sleepers (I’d yell to try to wake them).

Golom in Goth

Finally through the gate, we saw a surreal scene of empty fields of mud with huge-wheeled tractors pulling cars into the middle parts. “Screw that” we said and literally drove into the mud on the edge of the “roads” (where most cars parked) and called it a day. We instantly passed out, and I awoke to hearing the “do not come to Coventry” message and all the buzz over what was going to happen next. Later, we saw an RV alone in a muddy field flying a South Carolina flag (our home state) and we trudged down there to say howdy. They were exhausted, not too happy, and freaked out about how to get out of the field (they paid the huge tractor to tow them in there). Bummer. I saw a beautiful sunset that day and told the person beside me “what an amazing sunset!” She said “I know. I live here!” umm, ok.

Heading to the first show was surreal. After a very long walk from our car, wooden crates literally lined a small path through a pond of deep mud. Cut the line in the mud at your own risk! Kept hearing the “cowbell” SNL skit as we trudged with the masses on the tiny path. I consider it a ring of hell to this day. At the gate to the show, fences were torn down. No one was looking for tickets, and it was a free concert. Too bad the music quality was mixed. Trying to get close meant hitting a river of mud. Huge boulders were in front of the stage, a literal reminder that Trey’s addiction was blocking the whole experience. After a few horrible flubs, I couldn’t take it any more and went back to the car to rest and listen on the radio. I had to turn it off after a while.

Severe Gang-green

Day two was actually quite fun, in a schadenfreude kind of way. We set up chairs at the entrance and cheered on the immigrants from the Interstate. The sun was shining. It was great to see the exhausted shoe-bums finally get into the last-ever Phish show! I recall the most popular item brought into the festival area were coolers. Beer and food! My bro took his camera and photographed muddy feet and shoes. His photo project was hilarious once he developed the film (I have digital copies if anyone is interested). There was food, fresh water access. We had beer and bud. No one really wanted to talk about the quality of last night’s show, but seeing people arriving from the Interstate was all smiles and cheers.

Getting in that night wasn’t as miserable as first night. We tried to get closer, but ended up on the audience-right wall that was officially an open urinal and smelled horrible. Back to the Page side of the stage, where we climbed a hill and watched the scene. Again, the band was barely together. Hearing Page and Trey cry was such a sad moment. We heard the encore at the “gate” of the concert area, ready to leave fast to beat more hell traffic. It was a sad moment to an exhausting weekend, but we did manage to have some fun.

Truffle Probes

We had neighbors help us push our car out before the last show, and we parked in the “day lot” to get a fast exit out of the festival. After that last note, we beat a downtrodden path to the lot. Security blocked us off as we all watched three different buses pull out from backstage. Page actually gave a forlorn wave to us from one of the windows as we gave one final cheer to the boys. We all knew that Trey was probably alone and isolated in his own bus. Damn.

We were probably one of the first cars out. Driving past dozens of cop cars with lights blazing, we wandered Vermont back roads until we found a lodge with a clean bed and – most importantly – a shower! Drove back to Montreal the next day and, after trying poutine for the first time, flew back home.

Convertibles

After all of that, I swore that I’d never travel to see Phish, or go to another festival. I’ve broken that first vow, and may eventually break the second…

Postscript: When I went back to Vermont in 2006 to work for Ben Cohen’s Sensible Priorities art car carnival, I managed to head back to Coventry for a visit. The site was easy to find, especially with no traffic! I parked my van, and walked onto the field. After only two years, the fields had recovered. I recall that the boulders were still there, as well as some infrastructure that had sunk in the mud. As always, the vistas were of beautiful Vermont countryside. During that quiet moment, I tried to visualize the mud and masses, the sadness and exhaustion. Phish was gone. Trey hadn’t been arrested yet. And, in 2004, we all had to take care of our shoes that weekend. Some of the unlucky ones are probably still stuck in the cow field muck. And the others are photographs and memories.

Stencil Nation: Flashback Radio Interview

Stencil Nation on Cross Currents (2009)
(Click link to access player)

I’m in the process of saying farewell to StencilNation.org. The book is officially out of print (Manic D Press has corrected me, stating that the fourth printing is still in print) and the website was designed (by Antonio Gomez) in the heady days when Adobe Flash was du jour. With the rise of mobile phones and HTML5 (and the whole responsive site mania), it is time to retire the Stencil Nation site and redirect to Stencil Archive (the mothership).

While backing up Stencil Nation one last time, I saw a random mp3 file on the top level of the site’s backend. I clicked listen and it was a Cross Currents interview I did while on the book tour. It was a great experience and it actually riled up a listener who felt that all public art was vandalism. Fun!

I guess I was worried about taking up too much memory back then. Good thing the cloud revolution caught up and now memory is practically infinite. The interview mp3 is on this site’s cloud, and WordPress even allows super easy linking via its “Add Media” button.

Here’s my original post about the interview:

Had a great bike ride over to the KALW studio near McClearen Park this morning and interviewed with Penny Nelson for Cross Currents. The engineer, a bike commuter, told me another route that sent me through the park and then down Mission St. in the Excelsior District. Found some stencils along that ride home! They posted the show early so here’s the goods. Fast forward in about 3 and a half minutes to hear my segment. About 10 minutes long total.

27 Sep: The Critical Mass Birthday Party

critical-mass-20th-birthday-party

Bikes, Bands, and Brews
The Critical Mass 20th Birthday Party

Live bands – check. Beer – check. Bikes – hell yeah!
Rock your way into Friday and help build the momentum towards the Interstellar Critical Mass.
Got SUV pinatas? Birthday cupcakes? A bike crew? Bring it if you wanna…

PERFORMING LIVE:
Grass Widow (grasswidow.org)
Apogee Sound Club
The Rabbles (therabbles.wordpress.com/)
Future Twin (futuretwin.com)

Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012
7pm to 1am
21+
$10 – $20* sliding scale
*door proceeds cover costs of event; profits go to the bands… please give generously if you can

CELL
2050 Bryant 
(b/t 18th and 19th sts)
SF, CA 94110

also:
bike stencils by Mission legend Scott Williams
DIY culture share… sell your bike-themed wares ($10 extra at door, byo table, while space lasts)

http://www.sfcriticalmass.org/

Copyright Yer Sh!t ??

Woe be the artist who doesn’t dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Who would expect to have that song become a YouTube sensation, or that illustration to end on on the cover of a magazine? FaceBook and Google+, etc. may weasel in on your rights too, if you post things on there. After the success, what do you have if you haven’t covered your ass?

And did you co-create a work? Do you have a collaboration agreement with everyone else? If you have a project that becomes successful, © and ownership issues may become messy.

Then again, there is also Creative Commons, which Flickr.com allows for content sharing. I protect my content under ©©. This allows creative re-use, but not to make money from re-use. You can scroll to the bottom of this page and read all about it. Try to make money off of my content, and >:)

A funny video on © your music:

This is not legal advice btw. Need that? Ask a lawyer!

Music

YouTube has become the great DJ in the cloud. Can’t quite remember that song you last heard in 1987? Find it on YouTube! Digging through the shaky, poor sounding live vids and other detritus can be a pain. But usually, good nuggets are easily unearthed  in a matter of minutes. Trading links is fun too, so here are some recent tunes I’m spinning in my video cloud DJ player:

In Nov: Red Curtain Variety Show

I’ll be stage managing (and possibly DJ’ing) this gem of a weekend at CELLspace in November. Long-time collaborators from the Funky Puppet Supper and CELLspace will be on stage, thrilling the audience with top-notch entertainment.

Hope you all can make it!

Red Curtain Variety Show
One Weekend Only!

For one short weekend this November comes an astounding array of talent, housed in one of San Francisco’s most beloved community theatre spaces. A collaboration between some of SF’s finest aerialists, dancers, clowns, and other artists. An evening of the wittiest of wit, the silliest of silly, and a guy who can stack up 7 chairs and do a handstand on them. Don’t miss the Red Curtain Variety Show!

Featuring: Westley Fredenburg as MC, Aerial performances by Eve Diamond, Soprano Diva Dian Meechai, poplocking manipulation from Devinio, the crazy clown antics of Judy & Punchy, Paradizo dance, puppetry by Alison Daniels, and more!

November 10th-13th.
Doors 7:30pm, Show 8pm.
CELLspace at 2050 Bryant St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
$15-$20 sliding scale, at the door Continue reading “In Nov: Red Curtain Variety Show”

July 29 :: SLR: Launch Party at CELLspace

Come out and support my Sustainable Living Roadshow eco-carny people later this month. They will launch their tour with 2/3 of Beats Antique (and yours truly running house).

Friday, July 29 from 6pm to 2am

A evening of performance, speakers and getting our groove on to benefit the 2011 National Tour of Sustainable Living Roadshow.

Featuring:
– Zoe Jakes (Beats Antique)
– David Satori (Beats Antique)
– DJ Shawna
– DJ Clay (Yoga Tai Chi)
– Fossil Fool The Bike Rapper
– Pamela Parker
– Yari Mander’s Particiformance
– BALLYHOO Carny Crew

Pedal Powered Ice Cream from Rock The Bike

From August through November 2011, Sustainable Living Roadshow will be traveling across the country producing educational eco-villages at community events, college campuses, and music festivals. Our productions focus on creating main-stream platforms for local and national “green” communities to gather under a collective banner to empower attendees with options for a sustainable planet. In addition, SLR will be working with the Right2Know March, a national campaign to label GMOs.

CELL:15 Funkathon (video)

Here’s a YouTube of the band Action Jackson at CELLspace’s CELL:15 Funkathon Party. They were a great help, putting the “c” in community with their help repairing CELL’s stage, setting up all the extras, promoting the night, volunteering, and funking things out.

CELLtv: World Remix III (video)

August rolled around in 2001 and the SoundLab couldn’t pull off a third concert three months in a row. I had an idea: Israeli master musician Yair Dalal was going to be in the United States in September. I had several of his CDs and loved his music. I found his website and cold-emailed him with the proposal of playing World Remix at CELLspace. Dalal plays many instruments and fiercely upholds his beliefs in peace for all peoples through music. His family hails from Iraq, making him a Mizrahi (Eastern) Jew. He always plays with Muslim, Christian, whatever-religion musicians with no hint of animosity towards their beliefs. When the Oslo Peace Accords were signed, Dalal set up a multinational orchestra that played in celebration of the event.

He was perfect for World Remix!

This flyer was never printed, and only used online. I took this photo during a 1999 trip to Israel. The hamsa design was based upon a stencil I had created and cut out for Chales Gadeken’s 2000 Illumination Project. The hand-written Hebrew and Arabic was from Deborah Ben-Eliezer’s cousin Roy (the IDF taught him to be fluent in Arabic). The Hebrew text to the right was taken from Yair Dalal’s CD insert and speaks on music and peace.

As the SoundLab tried to craft a concert around him, Dalal waited a while to confirm the gig. I assume that he was looking for better money and a better hall to play in. He didn’t find one, mostly because the Bay Area didn’t really know him, his politics, and his music. I got the Jewish Voice for Peace involved with the project and let them sell cabaret-table tickets for a higher price. They also got to serve concessions to the tables and took all the profits. The SoundLab got the door.

I also got Judy Cohen, a friend of Deborah Ben-Eleizer (whose father is from Iraq and attended the concert) to perform a one-woman piece about a sexual experience in Tel Aviv. I had seen Yuri Lane beat box about a year prior in Oakland, so tracked him down and booked him as an opener too. He rocked the house and went on to book CELLspace for a one-man show that sold out, got extended and then toured. I think the African band approached us to perform, and they ended up being OK and running way too long! Dalal was impatient to go on early: “If I play late, they will fall asleep to my music!” Deborah hosted the event, bridging the gap from the Middle East to San Francisco. DJ Sep barely played due to the over booked night (my mistake) but she got paid and thoroughly enjoyed the night.

About 250 people attended and World Remix again proved to have a deeply diverse audience. Dalal was nothing but sweet and supportive of the event and the space. Jef Stott got Jim Santi Owen to play tabla with Dalal, adding a great layer onto what would’ve been a duet with Dalal and his amazing percussionist. The event was nothing but perfect in my mind. Everything worked out and came together with flawless satisfaction. We even had an amazing camera shoot of the whole thing, which is what was edited down for the segment on CELLtv.

The night was full of politics, which was great for World Remix. Dalal told stories of meeting Palestinian musicians who had their hands chopped off because they played secular music or played with Israelis. He preached peace with his music and between songs. This concert was held September 6, 2001. Five days after that the World Trade Centers in New York City crumbled to the ground. For the rest of my life, I will never forget the contrast that happened within a week’s time: the peace, love, and music of an Iraqi-Israeli and the war, hatred, and death of 9-11. There was a radical innocence at World Remix III, and it was lost a week later.

The wars, invasions, occupations, and stupidity of the coming years dispersed the World Remix project. Not until Pod suggested a Romani Remix in 2005, which Jef and I pulled off to mediocre effect, did we try to recapture the magic. World Remix III helped me find my center just before the wind got knocked out on September 11. Yair Dalal came back several times to the Bay Area to teach Eastern-Jewish music to the community and was an artist-in-residence for the Jewish Music Festival.

I’ll never forget that amazing night of music at CELLspace.

CELLtv: World Remix II (video)

Pod had the idea all along that the World Remix concert series would run often and have a political angle of some sort. With a serious lack of funds to produce the series, we still somehow managed to pull a second concert together in a short time. I always leave out the “246(i)” in the title of the series. Not sure why, but Pod put that in there to signify something having to do with culture and borders. Pod and I also developed a mission statement: 246(i) World Remix is “a new concert series emphasizing cross-cultural collaboration and active social context.” I have to remind myself that this was just before the 9-11 attacks, so Pod and I thought that we were doing something different here in San Francisco. And we were seriously trying to create change in the world.

I made this flyer art with a scan of a shirt I had bought in Israel (the background) and an oud from a CD insert. The right side of the flyer was intentionally pixelated to symbolize Lumin’s roots in the traditional and the digital.

World Remix II starred Lumin and featured Ledoh. We mixed together digi-Middle Eastern styles with East European vocals and Japanese butoh dance. I can’t remember who we brought in to be our political/grassroots guests, but we made a point to politicize World Remix and thus the people that came to the events. I was getting great feedback about World Remix. These were some of the most diverse audiences that CELLspace had ever seen. Before our eyes, we were really remixing things!

This concert came off quite easy due to the fact that Jef Stott was one-third of Lumin and a hard-working member of the SoundLab. Delphine Mae was dancing with Ledoh and a member of the SoundLab as well. All the other groups were connected to Lumin somehow, and so we had an smooth production. I recall about 250 people attended World Remix II, and the band (or most of them) got paid.

Once again, glad that Jonathan captured it all on video and put it on CELLspace.tv (I think it was him).

CELLtv: World Remix I (video)

“This is a critical moment in history for reinstituting the lauguage(s) of music as the primary mode of human interaction from neighborhood to global relations” – World Remix I statement

Ten years ago, Pod, Jef Stott, and I (along with 5-6 other folks form the CELL SoundLab), got the idea of creating a music series that, if anything, mixed genres and indigenous styles in a way that made people scratch their heads. So we mixed Cali-style Qawwali with beatbox/tabla improv for our first World Remix concert. Simran Gleason, Deborah Ben-Eliezer, Rob Penn, and Andrew “Kid Beyond” Chaikin also filled in many gaps for this first attempt at bringing different people together in CELLspace (probably the most amazing place in San Francisco for doing this).

I recall Jonathan Youtt as the man behind the video for this event. Nothing but appreciation for everyone who put this music series together (with almost NO BUDGET), including Meyer Sound for getting conned into loaning us an amazing PA system!

Spinning th’ Dixieland Jass, Mar. 3

I’ll be behind the laptop next Thursday, dropping some deep south beats just in time for Fat Tuesday….
It’s free so there’s no reason not to stop by 🙂

Join us for SpaceCRAFT
our monthly music and art show launching new works by CELLspace resident and guest artists.

Painting, sculpture, photography, and dance performances. Every first thursday of the month at 7:00pm

Live Music by
Birdlips
Magic Leaves
DJ HappyFeet

March 3rd
CELLspace Gallery
2050 Bryant SF CA
7pm till midnight
FREE!!!!