52 364/365

There are oh so many reasons why I’ve been away for so long…actually, there are only a few reasons, but each one of them is a pretty big deal…good thing I’m back to tell you all about them!…for your own safety, you might want to grab something to drink or use the restroom before reading any further…it’s okay, I’ll wait…

Back already?…great, here goes!…

I found some stickers in the kitchen last Wednesday…they were evidently sent from Aetna and are supposed to be stuck on a calendar to remind you to do various health-related things…as if that wasn’t great enough, they all have pictures and half of them are in Spanish!

Day 330 – July 9th, 2008 Dr. Jazz Dr. Jazz/Bake my jelly roll

The ‘Obtener Medicamentos’ sticker would most definitely be all over my calendar following the activities of the long weekend…

Thursday night kicked off the 2008 XPoNential Music Festival…though I was not working there, I went to the grounds that night with Mom and Dad to enjoy the music of Jim Boggia and The Blind Boys Of Alabama…there were a few other performances that were just okay (which would be the theme for the whole weekend, at least for me)…the Blind Boys were pretty neat, since they have been around for so many years but have only recently gotten the attention and the acclaim that they (and all the members that have passed away) deserve…it was quite literally a religious experience, akin to Dr. John‘s NonCOMM performance or the legendary Allen Toussaint at our festival a few years ago…

Day 331 – July 10th, 2008 He'll hit like an atom bomb when he comes

Friday was slightly more complicated…XPN was broadcasting the entire festival (from both stages, natch), so I was scheduled to be on the board at 3:00 after an abridged World Cafe…I figured that I would have enough time to get over to the XPN studio after my Y-Rock shift (which ended at 3:00), but I really had to rush myself over…it all worked out, both for me and for the technical stuff on the Festival end that fed the audio from each stage…there weren’t really too many bands over the course of the weekend that I just had to see, but one of the groups I was glad I saw was The Redwalls…they were already a Project 365 picture from when I saw them at the Drexel showcase, so I picked a shot of the waterfront and skyline during Alejandro Escovedo‘s set…

Day 332 – July 11th, 2008 Always a friend

It was really funny how all weekend (as well as at previous XPN festivals) artists are saying “It’s great to be back in Philly” and “Thank you, Philly!”…I guess if the stage was facing the other way (or if they took time away from making interns bring bags of ice to the tour bus they refuse to leave), they’d realize that they are in Jersey, which is pretty much Philadelphia anyway…

Saturday was the real start of my stint at the Festival, as I mixed the live audio for the performers at the Kids Corner Garden (insert retired fanfare)… it was really great working with all of the performers, like Bubboon’s Tunes (“The Cheese Song”), John Hadfield (“Robot Monkey Head”) and Skip Denenberg (“Teach Me Your Magic”)…most of the setups were very small, at most a guitar and keyboard, and the performers themselves were very helpful (even if they were wearing costumes that made the heat even worse)…

After the Kids Corner Garden closed Saturday evening, I got to see the one band I had not seen before that I was particularly looking forward to…from his work with shoegazers Galaxie 500 to the psychedelic dream pop of Luna, Dean Wareham has done so much in contrast to what’s popular in the music world…his wife and collaborator, Britta Phillips (the voice of Jem of ‘Jem and The Holograms’), now perform as Dean & Britta…though their new material might not be as arresting as Luna‘s best, they are still a cut above most other acts that emulate the 4AD style…you may remember that I met Dean and Britta when Dean came to XPN to record a World Cafe interview about his book, Black Postcards, and that Dean wasn’t feeling so well…Saturday, however, they were both in top shape and wowed the audience with renditions of “Words You Used To Say”, “Singer Sing” and “You Turn My Head Around” (all from their latest, Back Numbers)…also in the mix were some of their classic covers, like Serge Gainsbourg‘s “Bonnie And Clyde” (a hidden duet with Stereolab‘s Laetitia Sadier on Luna‘s Penthouse) and a version of New Order‘s “Ceremony” (from Galaxie 500‘s On Fire)…

Day 333 – July 12th, 2008 She was pointing at me but I was pointing at you

I was joined on Saturday by my cousin, Blair, who seemed to enjoy the bands that he saw (since I was in the Kids Corner Garden all day, though, I’m not sure who any of those bands were)…

The final day of the Festival came rather quickly…maybe it’s because I was away from the hectic hustle and bustle of the main areas of the Festival, but everything seemed to glide by without issue…Sunday featured a special celebration for Kids Corner’s 20th anniversary, featuring a performance by Trout Fishing In America (truly the greatest band in the world…take that, The Hold Steady!!)…not only did the duo put on a terrific little set, but they drew a huge crowd of people who came over from the main Festival area to join the celebration…I got to talk to Ezra and Keith afterwards, and they were very thankful for all of my help, and I told them how they were not only my first concert, but probably my first, like, eight concerts since they played at the Keswick about every other week in the early 90s…they got a kick out of that…

Unfortunately, Trout Fishing put on such a great show that they were a tough act to follow…I kinda felt bad for Miss Amy, who played to a considerably smaller audience than Trout Fishing did not minutes before, but she had one thing Keith and Ezra didn’t have: a penguin-shaped hamper full of scarves…

Day 334 – July 13th, 2008 Full of fish? Not entirely.

The Kids Corner stage rolled to an enjoyable close with a set from local favorite folkie John Flynn, who leads a double life as a Guthrie-esque folk singer and as a wonderful family songwriter…most of the time, it’s a combination of both of those lives that makes John such a great performer, for the kids and for the adults…the Festival itself ended with a set from Joan Osbourne, and yes, she did “One Of Us” (which she didn’t even write; Eric Bazilian did!)…

After the Festival weekend, I was too tired to do anything…of course, instead of sleeping for a week, I went into work at 9:00 for a Y-Rock shift on Monday morning…that acted as a sort-of bucket of ice water remedy instead of a good night’s sleep, but I’ll take what I’m given…Mom came to pick me up after work, and we headed to Atlantic City…we would be visiting my aunt and uncle and their new baby (spare no exclamation points) early the next day, so we stayed overnight at my grandparents’ apartment in Ventnor (with my grandparents, of course)…it’s been a while since I was in Atlantic City at night, and I was fascinated by the light projections being thrown on a newly built tower behind the Borgata casino…

Day 335 – July 14th, 2008 I've been gambling like a fiend on your tables so green

Yeah, I know it’s not a great picture, but the apartment is rather far from the Borgata…luckily, we’re on the sixth floor, so I didn’t have anything blocking the view…

Yesterday was my new cousin, Elijah Walter’s Bris…in case you don’t know what a Bris is, it’s a ritual circumcision…if you’re still in the dark, do yourself a favor and stay there (or look it up yourself, because there’s no way I’m having my blog come up in searches for descriptions of it)…as it turns out, though, I’m not so bad with kids after all…I took my other cousins, Alyssa and Isabella, out of the room while the Bris itself was being done, and kept them occupied until all was well…we did all sorts of things, like feel the breeze coming from an air conditioner vent and play with our feet…it’s true, I’m the best cousin ever…and for those with even the coldest of hearts, behold my new cousin in all his ‘aww’-inducingness!…

Day 336 – July 15th, 2008 Walter, isn't it a shame the way our little world has changed?

I said that I’m going to get him a tiny pair of Doc Martens and a onesie with the Ramones logo on it…he’s going to be the coolest kid in school…man, I’m going to be 42 when he’s my age now…yeesh…

Yesterday was also my parents’ 24th wedding anniversary…next year, we’ll be singing the “Happy Anniversary” song in Vegas!…

I was back at XPN today where I sat in on a World Cafe taping with the Dodos…the San Francisco-based duo’s music is hard to pin down…it crosses into many styles, including folk, experimental, and even country, and their new album, Visiter, features intense, claustrophobic interplay between guitarist/singer Meric Long and drummer Logan Kroeber…their session wasn’t bad, though I am disappointed that they didn’t do “Fools”, the one song of theirs that both XPN and Y-Rock are playing…I would have loved to see them perform live, but they cancelled their performance (which was supposed to be tonight) a couple weeks ago, but curiously remained on-board for the Cafe taping…

After all this, it’s a good idea to get a lovely beverage (because you’re likely done with the one you got at the beginning of this post)…why not enjoy my recent find at a Jersey Target:

Day 337 – July 16th, 2008 And we'll all float on, okay

If you want to know what they’re like, check out the Onion AV Club’s Taste Test feature on them…it beats the socks off of anything I could’ve come up with for the seemingly comatose Main Fizz…

Tomorrow I’m seeing Robyn Hitchcock with  …think of it as a cross-blog experience (as the kids would say)…

E.

Lyric of the Time:
Don’t say what you mean
You might spoil your face
If you walk in the crowd
You won’t leave any trace
It’s always the same
You’re jumping someone else’s train

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~ by E. on July 17, 2008.

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