Monday, September 17, 2007

26 years, has it really been that long?

Saturday was a milestone day for me. I saw Jay Rosen for the first time since 1981 when I left Omaha. I picked up Jay at the Burbank Airport (I was late on account of a traffic jam in Camarillo) and we spent a bit of time driving the LA freeway in search of the museum district- which we did eventually find.

Jay wanted to go to the LA County Museum of Art LACMA, which I had not been to before. There was a great show of 60s & 70s west coast artists. Some really cool work. I really enjoy modern, non-representational and minimalist art, this was a real treat!
While we enjoyed the show we gabbed, caught up on the past two and a half decades and shared what we could about the perirheral events of our time during and immediately after the Better Beatles. After a lovely dinner of salads and hummus we headed to the venue, with plenty of what I call Lost and Found Time to spare. Even employing a Garmin I can manage to get lost in LA!

Jay plays with a performer that had a gig in Highland Park, a neighborhood in LA which until this event I had never heard of. The Venue was Mr Ts Bowl on Figueroa, a run down, repurposed hole in the wall that is the perfect place to see fringe rock and kooky antics.
Jay knew a lot of the people performing and otherwise, and introduced me around as "his friend from Nebraska, and his old band the Better Beatles... that he hadn't seen for 26 years"... I think that our reunion, if that is the right word, was a profound experience for Jay as well.

I met Jay's friend Klaus Flouride, a name you may recognize- the Bassist of Dead Kennedys fame. Klaus is a super nice guy, not what you might expect of someone that has achieved status of genuine Rock & Roll Icon. When he said that he was a big fan of mine I was overwhelmed, a man that comprised a vital quarter of easily the best Politi-punk band of my generation said he really liked my music! SOOOO COOL! I had a really nice time visiting with him.

I also met The Ledge, that's what the guys call the star of the show, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy. He is a mellow, somewhat introverted fellow with a quirky personna, that, when unleashed onstage, is like nothing else in the known universe! It's like he is a conduit channeling cosmic craziness from a non-sequiter region of the outer galaxy.
He does the hand jive, towel-snapping toreador moves, paper plate saucer flying, whooping, hollerin' and poetry reading. He tops it all off with a strut around in his underpants, like a three year old being silly-naughty while his parents are out of the room.

The entire show is driven by the well oiled machine that is his back-up band. Jay and Klaus have a simpatico relationship onstage. The drummer, Joey Meyers, barrels through the night's performance like a long distance trucker hopped up on caffiene, speed, sugar and Merle Haggard. They are real pros. They jump, whoop, goof and crash around, avoiding The Ledge's towel snapping and manic gyrations. It is ballet des lunatics. These guys could back a train wreck and make it a beautiful experience.
They mused about the fact that still, after all these years, The Ledge doesn't recognize the intros to specific songs, and that no two shows are ever the same. That is probably one of the reasons they enjoy the gig, it's always fresh.

During the show I also met a couple of Jays confederates, locals that came down to say "hey" and see the show. Pete and Eric are working musicians, sleep deprived and bleary but so fun to visit with. Jay has nice friends.
Jay and Co. were planning to crash at Pete's house. Pete lives near the venue and had planned to take them all back after the show. Unfortunately he was exhausted from a week or more of long nights and a looming deadline. He looked like he could be happy curling up next to the homeless man sleeping in the loading dock.
I got his address and put it in my iPhone so I could drive the gang, and he could split early to get some sleep. Unfortunately I seem to have messed up and somehow deleted the entry. So after the show Jay ended up having to call, waking him up, to retreive his address. Man did I feel like an ass!

Obviously it was a late night 4:20 by the time I got back to Oxnard & hit the sheets. I still feel a bit loagy, but it was so worth it. I had a great time, and look forward to seeing Jay next month and meeting his wife Michele. We will be attending Budget Rock in Oakland, with some of the performers I saw last weekend. More fun to be sure!

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I love the concept of serendipity, it is like the kissing cousin of the old saw "good things come to those who wait".
Those of us that wait often times are given no other option, maybe giving up was our other option- eh whot?

I am a lifelong needle work enthusiast. It is something I credit to the influence of my grandmother. She is forever in my mind's eye busy with knitting needles softly clicking, yarn slowly being looped into afghans, dish cloths, baby caps, layette sets, slippers and so on. She tried once, when I was about 11, to teach me to knit. I- like all kids, had the attention span of a gnat. Gramma pronounced me hopeless. I did not give up on needle arts, I learned to embroider as a kid and made great use of it throughout High School. I learned to sew in Jr. High & taught myself garment design as an adult. I learned needlepoint from my mother-in-law in my 30s. At age 40 I learned to crochet. I taught myself crochet because it seemed that my deceased gramma was somehow egging me on, saying come on honey- you can do it!

I do love crochet, it is both relaxing and an exciting creative outlet. I have come up with several cool designs on my own. I love freeform work and I would like to try my hand at it. I have looked at several books on the subject for guidance. There are some cool books, with lots of inspiration, but they all seem to overlook on important point. Once you have crocheted up a pile of motifs, how do you form them into a garment? The books I have seen all say "sew or crochet motifs together as desired". Well, DUH! I was hoping for a bit more than that revelation from a $30.00 book!

So, I have made up a small mountain of motifs, and over time have tried to figure out how to join them attractively- with no success. UNTIL NOW! I had backburnered the crochet project for a few months. Today, while looking for some simple large flower patterns to embroider on a camo jacket that I have, I struck freeform crochet joinery pay dirt! Serendipity n. an aptitude for making desireable discoveries by accident.

I googled embroidery flowers and found a site by a needlework enthusiast with a real do-it-yourself soul. She had some nice old DMC patterns posted, and after printing one of a bird of paradise (they go nicely with flowers) I decided to poke around her site. She has a sidebar full of links to pages on various knitting, doll making, embroidery, crochet and other needle crafts.

One of the links was to Crochet Design. There, Lo and Behold was a link to crochet joining flowers and squares the precise information I had hoped for in expensive books written by freeform experts. This lady, Jessica Tromp, has put it on the web for all to access. She has the attitude of the original web citizens, information should be free and accessible to everyone. She has sponsored links to support her site and I will be certain to visit some of her sponsors. Thank you soooo much Jessica! The photo accompanying this post is from her site.

So if you have been as frustrated as I was, check out the link and get to joining your flowers and other bits together. If you need some flower motifs and such, Jessica has lots of motif patterns for you. Just poke around and you'll find em!

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