El Radio Fantastique

Cycling Pt. Reyes/Petaluma today, stopped off to check out a trailhead I hadn’t seen before, when suddenly I heard a band. Just over the hill, this family – Mom and Dad and two daughters – shooting a music video out in the middle of nowhere. “El Radio Fantastique” they call themselves. As Beefheart said, “Practice in front of a bush.”

Felt a bit embarrassed when I realized too late that they were in the middle of filming a music video – I had thought the guy with the smartphone was another hiker surprised to find a band playing on the trail! My apologies to the band if I interrupted your creative flow.

More about the band here.
Listen on Apple Music here.

Miles on the Cigar Box Uke

No, he’s not really into playing (much more into piano) but one day he did decide to doff my hat and jam with the cigar box. Managed to grab this excellent frame from a set of blurry grabs (which would probably work very well in an animated gif, hmmm).

Beyond the Bayou Auction and Soiree

Miles attends the most excellent co-op elementary in Richmond, CA. Very strong parent participation, rich involvement in music and the arts, strong emphasis on science and the environment, loving teachers, etc. But the school struggles to make ends meet. Every year we host a public auction/soiree’. Local businesses donate products and services, great food comes out of the woodworks, hot bands play.

This year the auction night will be Bayou themed, and we’re really looking forward to it. Live in the Bay Area? This is a night not to be missed, especially if you’re looking for a fantastic elementary school. But even if you aren’t, there are great deals to be found on everything from days at the Chabot Science Center to bottles of absinthe. I’m donating a year of Plan B web hosting.  Pre-bidding on items starts at biddingforgood, with additional bidding continuing at the event.

It’ll be a great night out. Interested? Contact me, or see the school’s auction page for more info.

How to Pack a Weekend

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been repairing earthquake cracks in the living room with mesh tape, Flex-All, and stucco. In the process, digging through previous generation’s layers of accreted paint, realized for the first time that our living room was once upon a time coated in gold glitter, top to bottom. Trying to visualize this former hey-day, and the shag rugs and chandeliers that must have accompanied it.

Friday moved everything to the center of the room (including 300 lbs. of LPs and a 1950s capiz shell console) and went at it with the orbital sander. A little detail work with Crawford’s spackling paste, then out for a couple of beers with a friend. Saturday up early, friends took Miles for the day, and Amy and I dug in on a long-overdue paint job (we’d never loved the chiffon yellow LR paint we inherited, but over the past year it had started to make both of us nauseous). Six hours later it was a more mature “Woodwind” (named, I think, for the color of the bamboo reeds in saxes and clarinets), and looks FABulous. We’re so stoked.

Saturday night, off with another friend for a mind-blowingly good sushi dinner, then off to see Martin, Medeski and Wood with John Scofield at the legendary Filmore Auditorium. Amazing 3-hour show (will write it up for Stuck if time permits) left me inspired and exhausted.

Today up early again to touch up the baseboards, then get ready for Miles‘ fifth birthday, at Head Over Heels gym, where circus performers train. M’s friends had full access to trampolines, trapezes, a deep foam pit, balance beams and an obstacle course of misc. gymnastic equipment. This is the third year running we’ve had his birthday party at the same gym. The kids dig it, why mess with a good thing?

One of his friends, whose mother is way into letterboxing, put together a multi-stage geocache for Miles, so after an afternoon wrangling tiny Playmobil parts, he and I took off to discover it. Such a cool, thoughtful present, with hand-drawn maps and clues, and plenty of places to play along the way. Amazing.

Returned home in time to start putting the LR back together, do some grilling for dinner, and get the DVR hooked up in time to record the start of Ken Burns’ The War.

Life is rich.

Music: Don Preston :: Ode To The Flower Maiden

Rock. It. Man.

In 1992, I moved to Boston to become Pagan Kennedy‘s pre-arranged husband. Fun while it lasted, but, in retrospect, doomed to failure (I should have known in advance when she sent me a letter with a bug squished on the page, circled in pen and labeled with my name).

Anyway, Pagan had her own TV show on local cable access, and one particularly amazing episode was themed around William Shatner’s delicious 1978 reinterpretation of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards. At the end of the episode, a friend of the family re-created Shatner’s performance note-for-note, puff-for-puff.

If you’ve never seen the original, it’s worth five minutes of your life. Gawker has it. The highlight comes 3/4 of the way through.