Tuesday, May 29, 2007

shameless self-promotion

thanks to sfist for picking this shot...

...to represent monday may 28th's day around the bay post.

the carnaval parade was indeed a great opportunity for pictures. more later, when they're organized. for now, a few up on the flickr page.

***update...and on the tuesday may 29 round up as well..

Sunday, May 27, 2007

anarchy for sale

thursday night i ended up at the jello biafra spoken word endurance fest at gamh. for well over 2 and a half hours (!), biafra talked and talked and talked almost non-stop. he started with a few original poetry/prose pieces including a biting "die for oil suckers" which was what the title suggests.

biafra spent most of the night ranting about the current political situation, firing not only on bush but on "corporate democrats". by virtue of the dems wimping out on the war funding bill that day, biafra had good fodder for the performance. sadly he spent less time on that and the gonzales/d.o.j issues and too uch time rehashing stuff that frankly the audience should have or did already know. much of it sounded like things he's talked about many times, and much of it was dated. memo to jello...give your audience a bit more credit for being up on current events. we don't come to get a rehash of current events but for some original commentary by a guy known for cutting to the quick.

and in the height of bougie irony, mike and i drove up and found a parking spot right in front of gamh...him driving his late model audi sedan. like the man once sang...all the young punks, new boots and contracts...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

we will laugh and talk about the village green.

Though I am an avowed urbanite who loves living in a city environment, I also loves me my green space. Over the years I've been lucky enough (not by accident) to have lived within easy walking distance of awesome parks. Right now I live a block away from Dolores Park, a lovely piece of green with an amazing view.

It's a place with lots of opportunity for some good people watching and photography, something I try to take advantage of regularly. There's almost always something happening, like this past weekend when the Loyd Family Players showed up for an impromptu (for us) afternoon concert and stroll through the park....

My morning commute starts with a walk through the park to BART, and even at the early hour of 6:50am (yes, oy) there's a handful of folks taking their dogs out for a romp. Sometimes there's a fitness bootcamp group doing situps, pushups or some stretching. Very quickly I began to recognize the regulars for that time of day...I like the consistency of seeing familiar faces, especially that early in the morning...helps one to feel community, even before sunrise. And of course, the walk home is great -- on sunny days during the months where the sun sets well after the end of the work day, the park is filled with people, often with their dogs.

Community is a central part of Dolores Park, whether it's thousands gathering to watch the World Cup final or for a Cinco de Mayo festival or to see the San Francisco Mime Troupe or for Film Night in the Park or just to hang out with dogs and friends.

Another wonderful downtown green space is Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. I was lucky enough to live around the corner from it for a couple of years, and within a short walk for a few other years. I spent many a weekend day there, reading, napping, people-watching...it's my favorite spot in the city.

So I was pleased to find on Netflix a documentary about the park, Rittenhouse Square: A Year in the Life of an American Park. It's not bad, though seems to focus too much on girl-watching in the park, almost getting into dirty-old-man territory...it had an uncomfortable leering quality to it (I went to college with one of the associate producers, I wonder if I should write and tell him). That aside it also highlighted one of the best things about the park, the musicians who use it as practice and performance space. I think the people who've decided to cave into a small cadre of uptight nimbys who moved to the park without a clue as to what makes it great and now crack down on busking and playing need to watch the film to understand how vital a role music plays in the life of Rittenhouse Square.

It's these urban and downtown green spaces that add to city life, provide for a wonderful counterpoint to the fast pace and the concrete and steel that mostly defines being in a city.

**Update...the Chronicle gets into the act, singing the praises of Dolores Park.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

whatever happened to my rock and roll

if you're in need of new music suggestions and don't have time to comb through the excellent mp3 blogs like gorilla vs bear, my old kentucky blog and others i've listed to the right, the podcasts from kexp, kcrw and salon are awesome.

kexp, subject of frequent raves from me, has probably the best podcast lineup of any radio station or otherwise music-centered, web-based enterprise i can think of. there's a song-of-the day feature, a live set archive and others.

santa monica's kcrw has long been known for an excellent variety of programming, especially when it comes to music. in the stone age (pre-web, podcasts, etc) you could find vinyl and then cd releases of in-studio sessions, often by the artists in question as a b-side or extra track to a single. like kexp they have a bunch of podcasts, though with much more variety, given that they don't just do music (note the links to lots of npr podcasts). the today's top tune podcast is as strong as kexp's, and thankfully there's not much, if any, overlap.

the salon audiofile song of the day is another eclectic source, and somehow, magically, there's almost no overlap with kcrw and kexp.

Monday, May 14, 2007

i took out a loan for my patient soul

to say that the last month or two have been crazy is actually understating the case. work was super busy, but that was expected, not only because of the workflow cycle but because the analyst who works for me was on maternity leave. it took up most of my mental energy -- the rest of my time i almost felt like i was on auto-pilot. beyond that, however, it's been a period of personal ups and downs (and now downs again), friends getting married, some minor knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, a weekend at the ballpark (hey, the phillies were in town), some good live music...you name it. seems like just yesterday i was in tahoe, learning how to downhill ski.

and now, finally, the pace slows. only somewhat, though. the personal ups and downs shift a bit to down, as jp & i are done. if i were a better diarist i could write something worth reading that does the relationship justice and resonates beyond my own sphere the way good diary writing does (c.f. david sedaris, etc). as with any relationship i come away having learned something about myself, where i am right now, my capacity to open up, how i am received, etc. and now, beyond the emotional fallout, i've gotta find an emergency foster home for ernie, and then find an apartment where i can keep him. san francisco landlords are in the main surprisingly not pet friendly. it's a shame, as i have a great apartment with a great view and on one of the few streets in san francisco where parking isn't a total and complete soul-sucking pain-in-the-ass. oh well.

there has been plenty of good lately, though...a decent show by fountains of wayne, and i was there only 4 days removed from the knee surgery, though probably not the best thing to stand for a couple of hours. i hate to say that i'm dissappointed in the new record...doesn't grab me the way the last few have -- they can make a cute video with demetri martin, but it doesn't take away from the fact that "someone to love" is a mail-it-in song by their standards -- there's a few good songs on the record, but overall...bleh. last week was black rebel motorcycle club..good show, and i love the new record. upcoming is voxtrot (though sadly playing *the same night* as the hold steady. what's worse is the bands play game and slim's respectively -- the "sister clubs" should have tried to stagger the shows. having seen the hold steady twice in two years, i'll probably opt for voxtrot. it's a shame there even has to be a choice.

in other good good good music news, there's a new wilco record out! it's more mellow than i'm used to from them, and they've taken the jam-bandesque ethos they adotpted while on the last tour and put it to record. still, the songwriting is top-notch and i love that the band continues to follow their own muse as it takes them.

so now...onward. it's too late to put together any kind of summer adventure trip, may have to wait until fall. or next summer. asia, i think. so this will be the summer of little adventures. and of moving. ugh.