This is a followup to my day yesterday (Sunday) at Bumbershoot
, just making notes about music I liked.
Quasi Nada was there -- a local gig -- doing a pretty cool samba/hip-hop/rock-n-roll fusion; of course the only POC in the band was the black lead singer, but, well, it's Seattle; I guess that it's mixed-race at all is progressive. The late-40s guy playing trombone was cool to watch -- nice to know that you don't have to be 20-something and gorgeous to be in a fun rock band in the Emerald City. The crowd, of course, was lily-white, unless you count the super-tanned and tattooed 65-year-old skeleton-man who danced wildly around the front of the crowd. Their song My Utopia
was the one that got me to get up and dance.
K. and I wandered over to watch the "Northwest Lady Blues All-stars", who turned out to be a lot of fun. I wonder who came up with the idea to pull together several (maybe ten?) of the better blues-playing women in the Pacific NW and put them all on the same stage. The front woman from Mama Johnson (I didn't catch her name) got up to sing the lead for a few good songs; she has amazing
voice control. She was throwing gravel in and out, hitting every note, but bending it like Koko Taylor, despite being a slight, butch white woman with a resemblance to Tom Cruise (in Risky Business
). A fun show, and the audience was substantially older. Well, bimodally different than the QN show: this audience was older folks and also kids. I saw one family with a six-year-old daughter and (perhaps) an aunt or younger friend, who came back to the seated area and took this little girl up to the dancing mob in front of the stage; as the two of them walked into the crowd, hand in hand, the little girl turned to look back at her parents, and -- just when I expected her to wave -- she did the devil-horns "rock on" hand sign, and disappeared into the dancing crowd. It made me laugh.
After a cool-off break, where K. and I found a biergarten and spent our drinking-time pointing out cute girls (for me) and boys (for K), we dove back into the concerts: DJ Cheb i Sabbah -- a South Asian turntablist -- did a great show, with two (hot!) female belly-dancers and a strapping young drummer guy; what surprised me about DJ CiS's show was Chebi-ji himself (the MC actually called him "Chebi-ji", which I thought was cute). Cheb i Sabbah is older than I expected -- he's probably in his early fifties, but has a sort of childlike pleasure in doing cool things with turntables -- he'll set up a beat, and a transition, and then a big smile will come across his face, and he'll step back from the tables, point at the drummer or the dancers or the sky, and then -- chop! -- mark the point where the transition works, laughing with wonder, like "it worked again! I love it!" He's so clearly having a good time.
K. and I also went to go hear Jessica Abel give a reading. I haven't been reading her older work for a while, and so when she did a reading from her early Artbabe
work, it was nice to remember why I liked them. She read Jack London
, one of the winter stories from Artbabe
volume 1, and the "Jamal" story from Artbabe
volume 2, and an extended sequence from her latest work La Perdida
. Doing a comics reading is different from a dramatic reading -- in a dramatic or literary traditional context, the reader is deliberately presenting a written work orally, translating it completely out of medium. But reading comics aloud, as she did, while showing the comics on an overhead, is only a partial translation out-of-medium. Comics are, she said, much closer to film than to novels or other prose fiction, and I think I would agree. (I missed Harvey Pekar's presentations, which were today). However, Abel's working on a novel; I look forward to hearing about what she comes up with.
In the middle of Abel's talk, my cell-phone buzzed (lucky I had it on silent!). L. had called me, which was unexpected to say the least, and I hit the can't-answer-now button but showed it to K nonetheless: she was as surprised as I was. Maybe more on that later.