Saturday, December 27, 2008

Amanda Brings Bad Intentions to Badlander

Amanda Cevallos came to the Badlander with her new band, Bad Intentions, after debuting earlier in the Palace. Once upon a time, she played bass behind Wolf Redboy, but she quit taking a back seat to anybody. She takes the stage with great energy, and already has a growing fan base for this line-up and the mostly original material. The one cover, when it comes, is a rocking version of Jolene, which has the crowd singing along.

Not content with a single set, Amanda is back on stage with another band immediately. This was a group hastily assembled to plug a hole in the program. March of the Black Queen was supposed to play, but had only two members available. Streetlight People, also had only two members. Adding Amanda to the mix and jamming like a jazz band provided a peppy and original sound.

That is, of course, Thomas Pendarvis of The March of the Black Queen looking over Amanda's shoulder. To see his band, go to the flickr archive and view the set for the cancer benefit at the Badlander and see the previous post here titled Ravin' at Dauphine's.

Secret Powers capped this evening at the Badlander. I'll have some images of them up soon.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Original Holiday

Am I the "bah, humbug!" type a friend asked. Oh, yes, indeed I am. I try not to rain on anyone's parade, but Christmas just does not melt my butter. I think the lies about Santa Claus were the beginning of my disaffection, and it grew, as the holiday was an annual disappointment. The music was awful, too.

When my doubts about the existence of the jolly old elf in red led me to ask my parents, they assured me he was real. I launched an energetic defense against my doubting peers, but when I discovered they were right, my parents had lied, and I had born the scorn of my friends for it, Christmas lost it's glow. Years later, my parents resented the grandparents honest answer to my sister, when she asked the same question. I was with the grandparents, because honesty saves embarrassment.

Later, I would discover Santa wasn't the only fraud linked to Christmas. History showed no evidence whatsoever that Jesus was born on that date, or even that time of year. Placing it on the calendar was a political act.

The solstice was the original holiday, and, for me, it is still the true holiday. The ancients studied the heavens, and they knew the movements of the sun and stars, the progression of the seasons and the faces of the moon. Their rituals were linked to those natural cycles.

The winter solstice merges reality and metaphor. It is the turning point of darkness and light. The sun, our primary source of light and warmth, seems to have moved away, and the nights are long. The solstice marks the time when the dark has grown to its greatest point. Now the sun will turn back to the northern hemisphere. Many ancients celebrated the birth or rebirth of their gods at or near that time. Apollo, Baal, and Sol Invictus were all dedicated to the return of the undying sun. The solstice also marked the resurrection of Osiris. Choosing December 25 as Christ's birthday made it easier to convert the worshipers of Mithra, whose birthday was being celebrated on that day, with just a simple name change.

The solstice signifies a turning point in an eternal cycle. It symbolizes revival, renewal, recovery and resurrection. The old is discarded; the new is introduced.

Everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning so that return leads to flowering. Hurry nothing artificially. The flowering of spring is still a distant hope, but we move towards it, and the ripening which will follow.

Ching says return is the stem of character, which leads to self-knowledge, as one turns from the confusion of external things and back towards the inner light. The oracle also says it is always wise to follow the examples of good people. Return leads to success.

I like that bit about turning away from external things. It is a counter-point to the yearly greed fest god's birthday has turned into. As I said, I celebrate the solstice. Darkness has peaked, the sun returns and spring is on the way. It is time to nurture small things and prepare for the new year.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sliding Through the Club

Mudslide Charley on the stage at the Union Club, on Saturday, December 6.

Three of my favorite songbirds made the scene.

The dance floor filled up as soon as the band began to play.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ravin' at Dauphine's

I arrived in Missoula too late to experience The Raven, but evidently it was a kick-ass joint. Friday, December 5, its successor, Dauphine's, was rocking with kick-ass music. Good Neighbor Policy, whom the Missoulian said might be zoo town's best band is also gone, but again there is a worthy successor. Thomas Pendarvis has put together another band, The March of the Black Queen, and on this night they ripped a powerful set to climax the evening. Thomas fronted GNP, and here he is with the new band.

Earlier, Pluto's a Planet (formerly LP and the Federales) took their turn on stage and pleased a packed house with their sound.

Fiancee' started the evening with a creative rampage. I had not heard them before, but will make damn sure I hear them again.

It was a great night in the old Raven, and maybe a new beginning for Dauphine's, since Thomas says he wants more music there.

There are more photos from this night on flickr. Go there, find the set Ravin' at Dauphine's and hit the slide show button.

Next time you see a poster for music at this venue, be there, and maybe I'll take your picture.

I Saw the People Dance in 2007

Two of the best times I ever had occurred in the summer of 2007, when I went to the powwows in Arlee and Elmo.

Each location had its own photographic problems. There was a muddy red dance area in Arlee and a football field like green carpet with duct tape in Elmo. Both were roofed with some lights, while the sun glared around the edges. I spent two days in Arlee and corrected the first day's mistakes on the second. There is a set for Arlee of 140 images, and one for Elmo with 198 photos on the flickr archive. Go to flickr and choose the powwow sets in the right column and view them as slide shows.

This particular post is dedicated to Adam Sings in the Timber, who made me a contact on his flickr site. I reciprocated, and after looking at his photos upgraded him to friend, because his powwow shots were terrific. I was inspired to digitally dig up these photos from before the blog started. Thanks, Adam