March 25, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Did you notice that Health Care Reform was passed by Congress on the first day of Spring? I partied pretty hard that night while watching it happen. And when Obama signed it, I went out and modified the sign that had been standing in my yard since last summer and through the long snowy winter. See attachment. It's a new season for America and, at the same time, it is a new season for Mark. I retired from Comfest. There were some "reasons" like the fact Comfest decided to close down the festivities early each day, even closing some stages earlier than others. But there also seemed to be some "signs" that this was the time for me to go. I lost my notebook where I made my notes for my band reviews, I got involved in a new music festival project and Comfest even demanded that I give up my license plates. There has been a lot of seismic activity around the world recently and I'm just feeling like the ground beneath my feet is quaking too, changing the world around me. I believe with the coming of Spring that the pendulum is swinging back in the right direction for our country and I'm hopping aboard for the ride.

One of the downsides to leaving Comfest is that I will no longer be seeing all the new bands that apply to play. As a result, I'm not sure I will remain qualified to offer up my suggestions for weekend music listening. Not sure what I'm going to do about that. For now I will just have to go back to keeping my ear to the ground. So if you have any tips or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, tonight, at The Gateway Film Center, the Dan Dougan Listening Hour features Jim Maneri & friends, Wonder Twin Powers is at Circus, Dick's has Magically Delicious and The Spikedrivers do the happy hour at Rumba.

Friday, Ghost Shirt shares the stage with The Phantods and The Lost Revival.

Saturday, Megan Palmer & the Hopefuls and Joey Hebdo are at Rumba and Skully's has quite a collection with Two Cow Garage, Mt. Carmel, The Compressions, DJ Detox and the Christian Howes Trio.

Don't let the past remind us of what we are not now. mark

March 18, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

The rumors are flying about Comfest. I would love to tell you all about it because, as you might guess, I have very strong feelings about what is going on and I've put a lot of thought into it. I will some day, but as long as I am still an organizer, I'm going to go along with the "No comment" party-line as far as the details go. I will say that there will very probably be a festival in June, 2010, in idyllic Goodale Park that will be known as Comfest. Comfest has gone through many changes in the past and it will probably be different this year also. It will still have the same purpose as outlined in the Statement of Principles. . It will still support community organizations and will attempt to educate festival-goers about important issues. There will still be music, food, alcoholic refreshments, an eclectic street fair and admission will still be...FREE! Walking through Comfest on a sunny summer day or seeing the twinkling lights of the Village of Joy that we create at night are the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. I've said many times that "Comfest is my religion." The 3 days of the festival have been a spiritual experience for me because it brings my people together to celebrate our humanity. I consider Goodale Park to be hallowed ground. My share of my son's ashes were buried beneath a pecan tree that we planted beside the shelterhouse in his memory. When my time came, I wanted my ashes spread in front of the Main Stage for dancers to pound into the grass with their bare feet. I always imagined that Comfest would outlive me. On the other hand, another one of my favorite sayings is "All good things must come to an end." Comfest may go through changes this year that will cause me to lose my religion. Over the past 20 years, I've allowed Comfest to define me, right down to my license plate. Leaving all that behind will be difficult but it might be liberating.

Happy Birthday, AnnMarie.

Thursday, tonight, Dan Dougan's Listening Hour begins 7 PM at the Campus Gateway Theater Black Box featuring Mark Sims, Miss Molly, Claire Pollard and Erika Carey, Dottie & Clyde and Time & Temperature are at Bernie's. Saintseneca is at Bourbon Street, The Floorwalkers do the happy hour at Rumba, Andrew Graham is at Treehouse, and Matt Monta & the Hot Coal Band are at Circus.

Friday....uh...Hoodoo Soul does the happy hour at Rumba.

Saturday, the locally-made film, "Taco Odyssey", featuring well-loved bartender and musician, Donovan Roth and music by local bands, screens at The Summit at 9:00, 10:30 and midnight. Wonder Twin Powers accompanied by the Superfriends Hip-hop Orchestra are at Skully's and Bush League All-Stars are at Treehouse.

Sunday, Couch Forts is at the Shrunken Head.

Oh no, I've said too much/ I haven't said enough. mark

March 11, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

My journalistic duties took a back seat today to my filial responsibilities. My 88 year old dad got his leaky aorta coated with foam yesterday at OSU and he was still recovering from the procedure this afternoon. Mom had spent the night but she'd gone home and it seemed like a good idea to spend my unscheduled afternoon with him. He wasn't very happy. They had given him pain medication that made him nauseous and brought up anything that went down. His biggest complaint was feeling so weak and helpless. He didn't have much fight in him and said he didn't think he would ever leave the hospital. We watched some basketball while he dozed in and out. I knew he didn't even want to talk so, like his publicist, I answered all the questions he was asked from the constant stream of hospital personnel. I got him to take the pills they kept bringing in and tried unsuccessfully to make him laugh. He's going to be okay I think in the short term but we all know his race is almost run. Dad's lucky. He has a devoted wife, five kids who all live in town, a great daughter-in-law who is a nurse and many other family and friends. There have always been and there will always be someone with him. No matter what brings you to the end, that's all you need.

I know it's late but...

Thursday, tonight, soon, Moon High and Vug & the Stallions are at Circus and Jim Maneri is at Dick's.

Friday, Death by Banjo at Byrne's, The Muzzleloaders re-emerge at Ravari, Old Hundred is at Rumba and This Is My Suitcase and Super Desserts are at The Summit.

Saturday, I must see the Peloton showcase with Andrew Graham & the Swarming Branch and Lydia Loveless at Rumba.

Sunday, Paul Brown is at Dick's and Bush League All-Stars are at Rumba early. A Sunday happy hour, eh?

This is the end, my only friend, the end. mark

March 4, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Sunday I attended a little bi-monthly get-together called The Family Jam out on the Near Eastside that brings together mostly jazz musicians and friends for a little soul food and music. It was a nice mixture of African-Americans and Caucasians, a social mix I don't get to experience enough. I enjoyed the company and ate some perch that had been marinated in lemon juice and yellow mustard and fried into a crispy Cajun shell. The host, a well-known veteran on the Columbus music scene, began the show by singing a bluesy number and playing acoustic guitar. Then the mic was handed to to a guy who might have just walked out of the neighborhood church that was next door. He launched into a friendly sermon built around the theme of of Black History Month of which we were in the last day. There was a lovely rhythm to the call and response punctuated by the occasional affirmation from the audience. He intoned the memories of many with whom I wasn't familiar and a few that I recognized like Martin Luther King, Jr., Eunice Johnson and Malcolm X. Then he moved into the subject of economic injustice suffered inside his community and the tone took what seemed to me to be a jarring radical turn when he repeated a number of times the thought that we may need to exchange "bullets for the ballot". I went back and read the 1964 speech by Malcolm X that coined the phrase "The ballot or the bullet." It was a fascinating and powerful speech given at a time when blacks couldn't vote in the South and when Democrats, the "friends" of blacks, were filibustering the Civil Rights Act. He definitely walked a fine line in his explanation of what he meant but I think it is fair to say that he wanted African-Americans to use the ballot and he only advocated violence when met by violence. With that said, Malcolm used the repetition of the phrase, I think, as angry code for "Be proud of who you are and stand up for your rights." The Civil Rights Act passed 90 days after he gave that speech and Americans of all colors elected an African-American president 44 years later. At the time. when he said blacks shouldn't be afraid to use an expression like "The ballot or the bullet", Malcolm couldn't conceive of either of those events happening. I have to wonder if he would still feel that a person shouldn't be afraid to use that phrase in 2010. Do we still need to say "The ballot or the bullet" to assert pride and bravery or is it just a relic from another age that gets waived like a ceremonial talisman to relieve the stress felt by those who continue to face social and economic discrimination?

I opened the sun roof on the car today.

Thursday, tonight, The Main Street Gospel is having a SXSW fundraiser with Vug & the Stallions and Trains Across the Sea at Hal & Al's. Wish I was heading for Austin. Rumba has Dane Terry, Jonathan Hape and Dottie & Clyde. The Sundresses, The Jellyhearts and Chris Burney are at Treehouse.

Friday, Carabar has Couch Forts and The Town Monster. Gerald A. & the Humans, Southwest Engine and Black Swans are at Treehouse. Woody Pines is at Thirsty Ear. I always say this when he comes to town, but if you haven't seen Hamel on Trial, it will be the best $10 you've spent in long time. He does the happy hour at Rumba and he's followed by The Spikedrivers.

Saturday, its Evil Queens and Pretty Mighty Mighty at Ravari, Two Cow Garage at Rumba, Hell's Fire Sinners at The Shrunken Head (fka Victorian's) and The Wet Darlings are at Thirsty Ear. Ruby's has The Racecar Reunion with the Ooh La Las and others.

Sunday Dick's Den hosts the annual Townes Van Zandt Tribute benefiting WCBE featuring Miss Molly, Andrew Graham, Jesse Henry, Eric Nassau, Casey Velker, Erika Carey and many more. Ghost Shirt is at Rumba.

Gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day. mark