Monday, July 30, 2007

Less rocky than you'd expect

So I went to Denver last week to visit my gramma and aunt, who live there, and my dad, 5-year-old sister Yi Rong, and 11-year-old brother Micky, who were visiting. It was 95 degrees and humid, which was a nice change. I love vacationing in hot places. You just sit around in the hammock and read until you fall asleep or you hear the ice cream truck. That's the life.

Not that we hung around doing nothing all the time. In fact, it seemed like there was always something going on. This must be what it's like having kids: You're always in motion, chasing after them, playing with them, entertaining them. Then again, you can also fill a small plastic circle with water and they'll be happy for hours by themselves. Unless they get too cold. See, Yi Rong is allergic to cold. Yes, cold. Her doctor said he'd only seen 2 other such cases in 20 years. Summer is actually harder than winter for her, because she can't go swimming in the rivers and streams that they usually go to. And air conditioning gives her headaches. Not that my dad has air conditioning.

Anyway, us being Strachotas, we had to go bowling. It's in our blood. Micky bowled his first three games with big balls (in New England they have candlepin bowling, with balls the size of shotputs and skinny pins that you get three tries to knock down, which is all heresy to Midwesterners). Here he is, rocking the headband for some reason:

We also went to both the Museum of Modern Art, where they had an awesome video about the Roden Crater owned by artist James Turrell (who Paul has worked with). He's been working on it for 20-odd years, and when they asked him what it had cost him, he replied, "two marriages and a longtime girlfriend." Ouch.

The museum also had this chair out front.

The next day we went to the Museum of Science and Nature, where they had this horse made from car parts.

And here we have Yi Rong as a sad cowgirl. She really doesn't like wearing hats.

But you know what she does like? Restaurants with mariachi bands, waterfalls, cliff divers, turrets, Black Bart vs. the sheriff, fire jugglers, and scary caves. Okay, so she wasn't so keen on the scary cave. In fact, I was afraid I traumatized her forever in there. But she turned out okay.

Where were we? At Casa Bonita, the Disneyland of greasy Mexican restaurants. Russ and Megan turned me onto it, and told me how an episode of South Park had been based around it. It was pure gold, save for the fact that grams had to walk about 10 miles just to get to the food, not to mention climb up seven stories to get to our table. She almost made it too, before she took a big spill on the steps right by the table. You'd think a 91-year-old would be sprier.

We also went to a Rockies game and hooked up with Brent, Marlo and Sunil, who all happened to be in town. Afterwards, we got wasted with all the other white people at a bar with an outdoor patio on its roof. It's really amazing how creamy colored this city is.

Megan would've loved Coors Field. They frown upon PDA so much that they have a sign about it. Hey, if you call it "Mile High" Stadium, then you'd better be ready to pay the piper.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Everyone deserves to wear white

Keeping in this summer's wedding theme, I went to a party last week with Chris and Bruce (his yearly visit from South Korea) that was a "hey we recently got married in a Laundromat and would like you to celebrate with us" kind of thing. Yes, Dr. Todd and Kelly got married in a Laundromat. Seems that's where they had their first date, after it got too cold for eating their Mitchell's ice cream. So a month or two ago they got all dressed up and grabbed a basket of quarters and had a guerrilla wedding while people did their laundry. Pretty wacky, right?

You may be wondering who Dr. Todd and Kelly are and why we were invited. Well, it turns out they met at Three Kinds of Stupid 004, way back in 2004. That was the one at Victoria's old loft on Mission, the one where 200 complete strangers showed up and finished off the keg by 10:30, the one where the amp blew around 11:30. Well, the story goes that Todd put the moves on Kelly by whispering something in her ear, but she wasn't too impressed. However, later on the dancing got going, and they found themselves having a fantastic time doing some kind of "hoedown" in a circle (I recall Chris being in his Scottish jig DJ period). At the end of the night, Kelly came up and asked Todd how she could find out about more of these parties, and instead of pointing over to us Todd did the smart thing. He told her that HE could alert her, if she would just take down his phone number. Smooooth.

Oh yeah, she told me that the reason she'd come to the party was that someone had described it as "the kind of party where cops show up, even though the guys who throw it really don't seem like the kind of guys who throw parties where cops show up." Too long for a bumper sticker but still cool.

So, I can't promise that you'll meet the man or woman of your dreams tonight and I'm pretty sure the cops won't show up, but I can say that the Three Kinds of Stupid Presents party will feature two fun bands (Music For Animals, Airborne Toxic Event) and a bunch of DJs (me, Chris, our pal Eric subbing from Brent) spinning dancey rock, booty rap, 80s pop, and just maybe some Yiddish electro-rap. Here's the flyer:

And new Grumpy Guy:

Friday, July 20, 2007

post-teenage riot

So I went to see Sonic Youth perform Daydream Nation last night. I hadn't seen them since 1990, when I went to a free show at the Columbus Street Tower Records (RIP), and they passed out free donuts to the audience. But you know what? They've still got it.

Which I was a little surprised about, because I'd gone back and listened to Daydream Nation in preparation for the show, and it hadn't seem that legendary anymore. Sure, there were still a few great songs -- "Hey Joni," "Total Trash," "Teenage Riot," "Kissability," four is more than a lot of albums have -- but there was a lot of tracks that were just moody and murky and laid there. But dang if they didn't sound way better live. Kim told me later -- yes, later, backstage! -- that when they'd agreed to play the record en toto they'd all gone back and listened to their parts and kind of hated how crappily they'd been played and recorded. So I think they took a lot of time to work them out to where they liked them. Reminded me of what David Lowery said about the Camper reunion: that they -- or at least Jonathan, boy, that Lowery is a prick -- were all way better players than they were the first time around.

Anyway, Camille and I arrived late and missed a couple tunes. So I turned to the humongous, goateed guy standing next to us and asked how long they'd been playing. He just put his hand to his lips and shhhhed me. O-kay. So Camille turned to the swaying girl next to her and asked, but she just mumbled something about incoherent. Right, suddenly I got it. Everyone was super high. Which made sense, because I'd sort of forgotten that Sonic Youth was a jam band. They even have a new song called "Jams Run Free," which sounded like the Allman Brothers a bit. In a good way.

I also sort of forgot that SY is a metal band, or at least alternametal. Remember how all those bands like Jane's Addiction and Screaming Trees had a big metal crossover crowd? There was some serious headbanging going on. Dig.

Ha ha. Dig. Anyway, the encore was made up of songs I'd never heard before, which turned out to be on the new album, Rather Ripped. The funny thing was that they all sounded like Pavement songs. Seriously. How fucking cool is that? Especially since when they'd been playing "Total Trash" I'd thought, "Fuck, Pavement based their whole early career on this one riff/guitar sound." And there was Mark Ibold, the one-time Pavementboy, playing bass. It got me really excited for the Pavement reunion, whenever that comes about.

So afterwards we got to go backstage. You can read why here. I met Kim and Thurston (who looks a lot like my dad now, he's filled out but still looks about 30) and Coco. As Jerry Harrison lurked nearby, we talked about my dad, who they said they really loved. Thurston also said he seemed like the kind of guy whose bad side you didn't want to be on. Could that be any cooler? The raddest couple in rock is a little bit afraid of my dad.

Anyway, here's some more Grumpy Guy. This one's for my dad, who says he hates the more sexual ones...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

c'est magnifique

I think that some of the purest happy moments in my life have been while DJing at Bardot a Go Go. The first one at the Cocodrie, when all the songs were so brand new and exciting; the second one when all the KALX people came, and it seemed like we were at the epicenter of cool; the time at 330 Ritch during the height of the dot-com boom, when people waited an hour in line and French girls stripped down to their bras and the crowd sang along with the songs; the time we had cute French girls follow us to an after party where suits talked about how "rolling" had changed their lives.

Anyway, this one was pretty fantastique too. It's all a bit of a blur, but here's what I remember. A lot of people came -- and early too. So early that Alan was almost not worried, but not enough that he didn't play a 12:30 song at 10:15 (the original "Tainted Love," which I really wanted to play later, but didn't want to be one of those DJs that knowingly repeats a song). I made a funny blunder because I was so happy to see some friends arrive. Seeing Wendy, Michelle and Kristina, I walked up and gave them a very loud, happy greeting, complete with arm squeeze -- only to realize that it wasn't Kristina. It was a friend of Wendy's who gave me one of those "who the fuck are you looks?" that women must dispense in nightclubs a lot. Here's a pic of her and Kristina, later on.

Waldo burned me a French rap song by Yelle right before the show and it killed. Same with that Flosstradamus remix of Matt & Kim's "Yeah Yeah." Johnnie's ELO track at the very end was awesome, as was a French version of some second wave ska song he played. Alan gets the low grade for playing that horrible "Stroke It" song by Clarence Carter. Apologies to those two indie boys who really wanted to hear Jacqueline Taieb -- I swear I couldn't find any. I played a song for Megan, this odd track "Nicolas" by Vetty, because it seems to be sung by a little boy, which is something she likes. Here she is with her cool nails.

More nails from Sarah, who's been there since almost the beginning.

There were lots of great looking folks, including Jo and her friends, who came as French maids.

And then this guy in a Browns T-shirt and big 'stache. He was going nuts on stage all night. Go figure.

I overheard one kid in the bathroom at the beginning of the night say "This night is gonna rock! There are gonna be hot girls everywhere!" And he was right. And now I have to be teased about making out with one of them. Which is a small price to pay, even if when I was doing it a little part of my brain was thinking, "Oh god, I hope Megan can't see me, because just last week she was saying how much she hates PDMO (public displays of making out)." But she gave me the ok later on. Whew.

The next day was debauched as well, as I joined Joanna for her friend Susan's birthday celebration in Dolores Park. It was also Symphony in the Park day, which made for an odd cross section of old classical music folks, hipsters, and Jo's hella gay contingent. I'm sad to say I didn't get any photos -- I was a bit Amsterdammed out. You'll just have to imagine Susan in her Hello Kitty bikini, the Peewee Herman impersonator with the giant dildo who attacked her, and everyone singing "You're So Gay" to the tune of that Carly Simon song (sample lyrics for Susan: "I bet you think this song is about sex").

Suitably faded, I decided to check out the end of the Good Magazine party on Minna Street. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, Diplo and Kid Sister had played, so all I heard was A-Trak (Kanye West's DJ, big woop) playing Top 40 remixes, crunky bangers, and disco. Lots of kids in oversized glasses and sideways hats, save for Frank Cho, who wore his usual suit. I did get a nice shot of the sun going down. Oh wait, that's a prop light. Still, it pretty much set the tone for my enjoyably wobbly walk to BART.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday the 13th comes on a Friday this month

Kathleen and Eric are leaving town! For at least 10 months! This will cast a pall on the face of many a person. I guess we survived Kathleen's long sabbaticals in France, so we might be able to survive this. At least they've promised to keep a travel blog.

In other news, Paul is single again. (Man, I feel like I have to blog for all my friends who don't have blogs. Let's see, the cat next door had kittens…) I went out with him, Brent, and Chris to commiserate at the Missouri Lounge. It was the first time I'd been in a majority single-person gathering in hella months. Felt kind of feral, like one of us might leap off our barstool and start howling at the moon. Except Brent. He looked strangely content.

Have you been to the Missouri lately? It's undergone a retrofit or whatever they call it when the hipsters descend and the ho's and pimps move on to somewhere else. It's a pretty cool place, although on this night the DJ was spinning all country music. I have a low tolerance for country -- I dig some of the old, sad stuff, a bit of Willie Nelson, and more than a bit of the clever altcountry stuff, but I can't really take 3 straight hours of it. Not to mention that people were wearing cowboy hats. Someone said wearing them makes all girls at least 10 percent more attractive, but I think that goes for most hats. Throw in some line dancing and I started to retch. Could you get much whiter? Although, I hate when people start swing dancing in rock clubs too, so maybe I'm just anti-couples-learning-steps-in-dance class.

Bardot a Go Go is tomorrow at the Rickshaw. I've got tons of new French and Euro stuff to play and Johnnie and Alan made new decorations, so I'm pretty psyched. I wish, however, I wasn't sick. You know how they have those warnings on the cold medicine say "stop if causes sleeplessness"? Well, that's never happened to me -- until last night. I was frigging peeing every hour on the hour all night long. And not sleeping much in between. Merde.

While poking around, I came across a photo of an old Bardot, probably from around 1998 or 1999. It was at the long gone Cocodrie, with its all-ages afternoon metal shows and funky toilets and drug-dealing bartenders. Good times! And look at Tim's long hair!

Grumpy Guy will return when I'm less sick and grumpy.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

die katzen

Just got back from wedding number two, Shana and Niko's, which was fantastic, partially because it was like a mini-vacation. They chose a spot called Nestldown (yeah, I don't know where the extra 'E' went, either, but you can insert your own Burner/raver/doorperson joke here), which was located 30 minutes from Los Gatos.

Frankly, I had no idea where Los Gatos was before this. Turns out it's sort of near San Jose and Santa Cruz, which means it's only an hour away but feels like you're suddenly in another country. Because it's friggin' hot and there are more palm trees and when I walked into the motel to check in they were cranking AC/DC. Awesome in all ways.

So a bunch of us went a day early and bbqed by the pool for July 4. No trying to see fireworks, no fighting traffic, no awkward picnics. Just good times by -- and in -- the pool. I think Tim and I had the same reaction. We both were just glued to our chairs, happily unable to do anything besides sit in the heat and bake. The every day worries of life (when will I ever get a career, a girlfriend, dental coverage) disappear and everything slows down to a sweet, languid pace.

The wedding was on Thursday. Everyone who didn't go to the wedding seemed flabbergasted that the wedding wasn't on the weekend, for what reason I do not know.

Anyhoo, it was only about 85 degrees down in the glen where they had the ceremony. No speakers hidden in the ground playing "sexy electronica" like in Russ' sister's Mexican wedding, but they did have a fountain in a pond and a bazillion redwood trees. Shana's Jewish and Niko's German, so they threw a bunch of language and cultural stuff together and it all came out nicely. Shana's sister sang an aria in German, Niko read his vows in German and English, the moyle held the knife steady. Oh wait, that's nine months from now. Um, the rabbi had the couple each write letters about why they were getting married. Shana's was pure Shana: lengthy and sweet-natured and funny and brutally honest, more honest than you're ever likely to get in a wedding ceremony, especially about the difficulties and worries ahead. Niko listed "You're hot" as one of his reasons. Awesome!

Let's see, what else? They had a kiddie train that we all rode on. I learned that people love hothouse flowers, er, tomatoes, but I'm still not sure why. I discovered that the wedding cake they serve doesn't come from the one they cut, but rather from a bunch of sheet cakes that they've baked separately and already cut up. Also, there's no such person as the Easter Bunny.

I wish I had a picture of Jake's son Elijah getting humped from behind by a little girl. Oh the look of confusion and uncertainty on his face. Hilarious!

The wedding ran a bit late, so the DJ only had about 45 minutes, but he made the best of it, rocking "99 Luft Balloons" (Niko's request) and that Jay-Z bhangra track (Shana's). But probably my favorite moment was seeing Shana in her full-on wedding dress dancing with her mom to "Party Like a Rock Star," a recent, odd rap hit.

Afterwards, we all went back to the hotel and splashed around the pool until we got kicked out for making too much noise. Sometime after 2, I crawled into the bed I shared with Kristina. No dirty dreams about her making out with truckers this time.