Thursday, December 31, 2009

Santa Musings

Somehow I came out of the Santa job without a single image of myself in costume. That suit was so hot, one Santa told me he lost a belt notch to dehydration the first week. I, on the other hand, felt I was in a Tim Allen movie, as my belly grew noticeably in a few weeks as Santa. It wasn't enough to replace the phony belly bag I had to wear in my role. Why does Santa have to be too fat to be healthy? Some older European versions were slim.

I took my Santa duties seriously, vowing to brighten kids lives, when they came in to see me. It was a revelation to me, because I didn't even know I liked kids. At a very early age I realized I didn't want to have kids, and never did to my knowledge. My jobs never put me in a position to deal with lots of children. Wal-Mart came the closest, and I remember feeling compassion for some of the kids I saw there for their home lives were worse than anything I had experienced growing up. That feeling came back, while doing Santa.

As I reported earlier, Nintendo soundly thrashed both X-Box and Sony. Somewhere since Christmas I caught a glimpse of television with an ad for the Lego Star Wars and understood why it was a popular choice. I'll bet that ad was in frequent rotation. Strong movie tie-ins put Transformers into the top three, and I'll bet they had a saturation ad campaign going, too.

The Santa union petitioned the government to put Santas high on the H1N1 vaccination priority, since Santas had to handle kids all day and some were bound to be sick. Santa union? I didn't realize there was one. I knew of two organizations who recruited Santas, but a union?

I'm looking for more of a Santa Society dedicated to brightening as many lives as possible 24/7. It can't be limited to children, although they would still be a priority, and it can't be limited to a single season. Many religious groups claim to share this duty, but their results don't impress me.

It's time to trim my beard. It is swallowing my face and getting caught in straps and zippers. It will be back to Santa size by next winter, but it needs some quick size reduction now. I think my next persona will be Uncle Sam. The specs stay the same, I have the hat, and the beard's smaller.

There are some other items higher on the to do list. First, my next show is coming in February at Food for Thought. The display concept fell into place in my head yesterday. An alternative for my unavailable flickr archive is still an issue. I've looked at the remaining 200 images several times, but still haven't decided what to do with that site. It could be time for an upgrade. I looked at Zenfolio. Their base rate was close to flickr and offered more services, and I found myself wishing I could afford their premium service level.

It's First Night in Missoula. Events start at noon and roll into the new year. I've got my batteries charged, and I'm packing my camera bag. My first stop is MAM for the jazz. The university has many good performers in close proximity for easy walking. I'll have to get back downtown for the Volumen and El Zombi Gato at the Palace, plus Wartime Blues at the Old Post. I wonder what the weather is going to do. The forecast says wintry mix, which is not a good thing. I don't want my car downtown at 2am, if the streets are dangerous, and the possibility seems likely. Walking might be as dangerous as driving, and I might not be in shape to walk.

As always, life is full of so many possibilities.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

John Prine said, "Blow up your TV..." Someone decided to abandon their's outside. After being king of the living room for years, it looks a little lonely in the snow.

Watching television is sometimes a problem, if one does too much of it. It is always a problem, if someone confuses what appears on television with reality. Television is designed to entertain and create corporate profit. Any appearance of reality is an illusion; any claim to being real should be considered false advertising. I've ranted about faux news and the fools who believe it more than once, and I won't go into that again, at this time.

I've got something else on my mind. Has anyone noticed my flickr archive now has only 200 photos instead of 6000? 200 is the normal limit on free flickr accounts, which is why I paid $24.95 a year ago to purchase a Pro account with unlimited storage. I recently received an email notice that it was time to renew, and I have attempted many times to do just that. Yahoo, who owns flickr, says there is a problem with my card and would I please use another. My bank says there is nothing wrong with my card. In fact, a nice young woman at my bank showed me on screen where Yahoo attempted to dun my account, but because they didn't have an amount on the transaction, nothing happened. She and I spent 90 minutes on the phone with someone at flickr's 866 number, and that person spent the last 20 minutes of the conversation repeating, "I can't help you."

Maybe this is the universe telling me to start using Picasa. Maybe I should develop my own site. Maybe flickr could become a monthly summary of Zootown music events. My head is full of maybes...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Lights @the Hat

The Top Hat has invested in new stage lighting, which creates dramatic new effects. Luau Cinder played under the lights on Saturday, December 5.

There are more images from this performance on the flickr archive.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sold Out Again

Holy irony, Batman. Award a man the peace prize, watch him go to war and refuse to ban land mines. Can you say sold out again? Change you can believe in became the same old thing and worse in no time.

Back during the elation of victory on election day, I posted right here a warning about the exuberance we felt after getting Bill Clinton elected, only to watch him continue the policies of Raygun and George, the First, which sent American business overseas. After pointing out how those two paid American companies with tax dollars to move overseas, while debating George I, Clinton continued the same programs. Corporations were given tax dollar assistance to move their operations to other countries. Americans paid to have the new employees taught English.

As soon as elected, Obama dismissed the people-oriented progressives who guided his campaign and brought in a financial team made of the very assholes who created the economic disaster in the first place. They immediately threw more money after bad by continuing the Bush bail out. That sell out came quickly.

Then the whole health care crisis was discussed as a health insurance crisis. We have too much insurance getting in the way now. What we need is health care. Fund clinics and hospitals. Fund medical schools. Fund all kinds of schools. Stop funding war.

Getting rid of the criminal Bush coalition should have freed our government of Orwellian double-talk, but again peace has become war and visa versa. Does one have to become a liar in order to be a politician? It sure looks like it. I've been tired of voting for the lesser of two evils for so long, but I thought the differences this time ruled out another vote for Nader. I was wrong, although perhaps McCain would have already pulled an Iraq on Iran. That was one scary possibility, and the other big one was Palin.

Pundits are already giving Palin an even chance of making Obama a one-term president. I think that is premature. Holy shit, that woman is nuts. How on earth can anyone take her seriously? We're off the scale into the absurd now. She can see Russia from her porch, you betcha. Whoa Nelly, back the truck up.

Speaking of sell outs, McCain committed a huge one when he reversed himself on torture. Likewise, the new president when he said there would be no investigation of possible illegal acts by the previous administration. Clinton made that same mistake, forgiving the previous administration. Should be blowing those fuckers out of the water, while the evidence is fresh. Make it impossible for them to come back any time soon. Drive Bush and his corporate cronies to live in their fortified South American estates.

How does he win the Nobel Peace Prize for selling out so completely to the military-industrial complex? Kissinger did the same thing. Eisenhower was the first to warn of the complex and its growing power. Kennedy and Johnson, two peace loving Democrats, got us into the Vietnam mess with much lying. Here we go again. Dammit.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baby, it's cold outside

It was five below zero outside, when I first looked out, and everything was dusted with snow. The old myth of too-cold-to-snow was shattered. I was planning to visit my bank and do some errands downtown. Now, I'm thinking it's a perfect day to do some filing and to sort my t-shirts.

Earlier on KBGA I heard someone say they had once equated punk rock with Cheap Trick. KBGA is way too hip to call Cheap Trick punk. I'm thinking X, the Motels, Agent Orange, and the like, while Cheap Trick is merely a novelty. And in that category, I think the Red Elvises blow them out of the water.

Vera is on KBGA discussing their new CD and playing cuts from it. The release is this Friday at the Badlander. Secret Powers and Butter will also play. That is one hell of a line up. This will be the hipnhot event in Zootown on Friday, December 11.

This is Vera playing the November Artini at the Missoula Art Museum. There are more images on the flickr archive from that event. Of course, there are many images of Secret Powers and Butter, as well.

The hipnhot event for Saturday will be at the Top Hat, when Zeppo plays and Reverend Slanky gives their final performance with this line-up. Someone is always leaving Slanky amid rumors the group will be no more, but Cody has always plugged, patched, adjusted and continued on in the Reverend's name. We'll see what happens this time. Chris Ente and Sam White are the departing members.

There's a rant building about the Nobel Peace Prize winner expanding the war in Afghanistan. It's beyond irony and into the adsurd. Holy shades of Kissinger, Batman! Don't you dare compare this mess to Vietnam the neo-con Bushites demanded. Surely, it is OK to make the comparison now. I'll leave it there for now, because I want to work on my next show.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Later, Upstairs

Friday didn't end with the Gallery Walk, nor my show in the Palace. Later that night, Wartime Blues celebrated the release of their CD. Wolf Redboy opened that show in the Badlander.

Wolf, with Lee at his side wowed the crowd.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Friday @the Palace

Oh boy, people having fun, what more can one ask for? It is Friday night in the Palace, and my first print show has just opened. That's not what put the smiles on these folks.

A romping, stomping performance by Travis Seahorn created the smiles and general celebration. Earlier there was a raffle to benefit the American Humanics Student Association.

Mayor John Engen was his usual jovial self, as he drew and read the names of winning tickets.

Ross Voorhees opened the program with a folksy sound aided by a kazoo.

Thanks to friends, Maria Kendra and Hermina Harold, of Butter, and more of their friends, the show went up on Thursday night. The effort was complicated by Metal Militia night with sound volumes, which made communication by anything but sign language impossible. 

There was some wild drumming. 

One of my favorite groups, Walking Corpse Syndrome, blasted out their usual power rhythms with two drummers in the back. If I can just manage to capture a few more good images of the fiddle player, I will have a good grouping for an upcoming print show of metal bands. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Show is Up

And opens in 90 minutes. Some friends and I put up the show in the Palace last night. I forgot some basic tools for the installation, which led to some sloppiness on my part. My friends did very well with the Butter module at the end of the pool tables, and Knot Knocked Up was given a properly random alignment. El Zombi Gato is limited to four smaller prints of the guitar and bass players, but I plan full band coverage soon. Adelaide and Chelsea are already stars and feature prominently here.

I have a list of my ****ups to avoid next time, and an improved step list. It's a big step for me to go from digital to print. Holy analog, Batman. My full report on the event should be out by late Sunday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Catch Up, with Three Exciting Performances

Once upon a time, a long time ago, Tonsofun opened for the iNHUMANS at the Badlander. 

Recently, on the Top Hat stage, he sported a different look. 

He invited Ruthie on stage for a rapping, hip-hop duet. She poured her heart into it, as she always does, and the two of them produced some truly original material.

I'm still having trouble with the new google image uploader, and I can't get the truly dramatic shot of Ruthie belting it out to upload here. Well, (bleep!)... There are more images of these two on stage at the Top Hat over on my flickr archive. Look for Tonsofun among the sets.

Other recent events of note included TSMF, followed a day later by This Band Kills Fascists, both at the Palace.

 I must mention here my first print exhibition opens at the Palace tomorrow, Friday, December 4, during the First Friday Gallery Walk, 5-8pm. Another band has cancelled, due to illness, but the event is finally on. The bar will be open, and there will be music. The American Humanics Student Association is holding a raffle, and a large number of prizes will be awarded, at approximately 7p. Mayor Engen is expected for that event.

Here's another big fellow who is a lot of fun. Charlie is up front leading the charge for TSMF.

Behind Charlie is a hard driving sound. Yes, the bass player is also with Punchy and the Knockouts.

This Band Kills Fascists is another group, with TSMF, high on my up and coming band list. There's a dramatic story here far beyond my current abilities to tell. I'll end with some images, and a reminder there is more of everyone in this post over on flickr.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Open Mike @B&B, Dec 1

Last night, Tuesday December 1, the open mike session at Brooks and Browns showed us something new, as Lefty Lucy led a rousing set of classics.

Every week, the regulars gather and are joined by some new faces to produce new combinations of performers and music in the bar of the Holiday Inn.

Last week, Sabin brought her guitar down from her room and launched into a Dylan song, followed by John Prine and a song she wrote. It wasn't the first time a guest at the Inn came down and joined the party.

Part of the attraction is having a professional handling sound.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bridgebuilder @Palace

Dave switched from guitar to drums, to electronics, as he celebrated 12 years with the Bridgebuilder name. It was an exciting night, as This Band Kills Fascists opened. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Santa at the Mall and the Archetype

Some people aren't serious enough about taking care of their kids. This photo was emailed to me and I am using it again, because it illustrates a problem in this country. As Santa, I'm seeing a lot of it. We must all take responsibility for the children. In short, I'm taking my Santa duties to brighten the lives of all the children I encounter very seriously.

Some children are filled with desires for presents. The Wii is very popular this year; Dsi is often repeated, because it has the music options. Musical instruments are desired by more 7 and 8 year olds than I would have thought. Barbie is still popular. Having a special gift for Mother or Father was the uppermost concern to about one-third. Some children were brilliant shining with good will, intelligence and creativity, while others screamed in terror as their parents forced them towards the strange guy in red.

My prejudice against Santa comes from the kitschy Coca-Cola Santa I grew up with. The roots of Santa are deep, going back to Scandanavian, German and Celtic gods. It turns out he is an ancient archetype, and can be found in many forms in many cultures. He carries a sack and arrives at each village with a jangle of bells or a flute trill. Kokopelli was thought to be a hunchback, because of the bag he carried. Hotei also carried a begging bowl. He ate the food people gave him, and used money place in his bowl to buy toys and treats for kids.

The image at the top of this post was captured by an RMSP student, while I was modeling for a class. The beard is longer now, and it really works for the Santa gig. I don't have the belly, however, and the pillow we used yesterday was uncomfortable. My ho,ho,hos are improving, but I can't do them and smile at the same time, which is what I am required to do most. My face is already half frozen. The Santa suit is so hot I'm thinking of doing a weight loss video entitled Sweating with Santa. Of course, the weight loss will be due to dehydration. Note to self: keep water handy.

Life is looking good. I invited the American Humanics Student Association to share the Palace with my photo show 5-8 pm, during the First Friday Gallery Walk in December. They needed a venue for a benefit. They bring a raffle, two bands and Mayor Engen to the event. How does it get better? Mark December 4 on your calendar, come see my photos of Missoula Women Making Music, hear Butter make music and meet the mayor.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good-bye Prophets

Full Moon Prophets performed their last set together at the Top Hat on Sunday. Then friends and fellow musicians joined the Prophets remaining on stage, and the jam began. A number of drummers participated with the array of drums,

Including Ed Stalling,

and Roger.

Ellie Nuno

Teri loves to invite her sisters on stage for some fun.

Some of those who played this night are regulars at Brooks and Browns open mike on Tuesdays 7-10pm. Find B&B in the back of the Holiday Inn at the end of Pattee.

After this party wound down, I caught the last act at the Palace. Electric Dandelion has its own set on flickr, and there is a large set of the Prophets farewell.