April 30, 2008

Notes on Brotzmann/Bennink at the Big Top - 4/28

Giant Sits

-Is this still how it sounds when the world falls apart?
-Brotzmann on soprano, I am digging the cieling fan.

-Bennink, in a bandana, so often ignores the cymbals, which to me is a real shame during Brotzmann's long notes (this manifests thru the evening...).

-Thinking about the reference points they work from, i.e. how their ears and art evolved. Probably the N.O. in me. More math and operatics in this, less spirituality, less marching music.

-Imagine Brotzmann's hotel room, with the curtains all blown horizontal, sucked in by a sleeping beast.

-There is a basic imbalance going on, and it doesn't work for me tonight. Bennink is waaay louder, and constant. What I mean is, the beat changes, but never stops, and is usually frenetic, if steady in segments. A great sound alone, but the disconnect from Brotzmann's more, uh, thoughtful, quiet stretches is unfortunate. Aging prowess: it can congeal into squarer beats, or it may bare emotion. Brotzmann searches, groans, and Bennink mugs a bit for the audience. This isn't my kind of dialogue, even though it does leave me more interested than before in Brotzmann.

-Maybe the drum always blows out the breath (me and my lion/lamb fix)

-In Violence City, isn't it something to hear this tearing of sound? Bludgeon & bleed soundtrack, but how it fits in this almost bucolic city of ours, that's a wonder well worth recieving.

Thanks to Rob Cambre for bringing in the giants and setting the table.

April 29th Set List

Good one last night, dedicated to Bonzi Wells and the city of Lafayette. Jean Luc Ponty-of-View was a request for a statement of purpose from the folks at the Shell Oil Jazz & Heritage Foundation. In the middle, did a run of Tuts-Fess-Touissant in anticipation of tomorrow's movie night (and then I lost track). Be nice to see you there...
Artist - Track - Album - Label

James Booker - Classified -A Taste of Honey - Night Train
Nina Simone - Feeling Good - I Put a Spell On You - Mercury
John Cale - Big White Cloud - Vintage Violence - Columbia
Declared Enemy - Black Panthers - Salute to 100001 Stars A Tribute to Jean Genet - Rogueart
Tom McDermott - Choro #1 - Live in Paris - STR Digital
Fred Anderson/WIlliam Parker/Hamid Drake - II - Blue Winter
Peter Brotzmann Sextet - Side B - Nipples - Unheard Music Series
Habib Koite & Bamada - Ford Bana - Maya - Putumayo
LM5 - Even Ash WIll Linger - After Math - Lily Mase
Lee Morgan - That's All - Introducing Lee Morgan - Savoy
Sun Ra - Drop Me Off in Harlem - Nuclear War - Atavistic
Kahil El-Zabar's The Ritual - Return of the Lost Tribe - Another Kind of Groove - Sound Aspects
Tuts Washington - Tee Nah Nah - Louisiana Spice - Rounder
Professor Longhair - Mean Old World - Rock n' Roll Gumbo - Dancing Cat
Allen Touissant - Do the Do - Connected - NYNO

Who's a Sucker?

The Hornets sure ain't.

“Everything that we have done is all about this city,” Paul said. “It’s about rebuilding the city of New Orleans.”

April 26, 2008

Hornets Fall, Lead Series 2-1

Sorta predictable loss, and actually not that frightening. Notes up on SLAM. Honestly, timeouts are a good thing in the playoffs, Byron. Especially when you go down 16. Really, they're OK.

April 23, 2008

Bees Gut Mavs, 127-103

Our GreyTone production is up at SLAM. This was a full-scale beating, and if we expected to witness a passing of the torch from Kidd to CP3, Chris turned into one angry pro-Tibetan protestor, shutting the ceremony down in front of the entire world.

One other thing I noted in the report: the Hornets now have a real hometown crowd, which erupts, boos, stands, dances, and does everything it can to push the team and make it hard to win in the Arena. A big key to that: cheap tickets. This was why Golden State was so great to watch last season, and one of the reasons they let down this year. You have real, working-class New Orleanians supporting the team, bringing families to the game, eating $1 hot dogs and drinking $2 beers beforehand, and crowding the merchandise shop afterwards. Let's hope this continues next year.

Also, a new nickname has fallen on our Chris: Obama of the Bayou. Huh.

April 22, 2008

This Shouldn't Fly

How does this pass?

"'You can see hope in the fact that people (who frankly I could give two shts about, 'cept for this funny hornman) are absolutely determined to make it better than it was before...(which was, heh heh, a place where, runny-nosed and loudly)...I spent many a fine day here in New Orleans," he said, pausing for the punchline, "and a pretty good night, too."'

Dig the blackheart.

I'm walking over to Gallier Hall right now. Supposedly homeboy is planting a tree.


Well, there was the tired, jock/nerd dynamic across the barricades, as a handful of hoarse protestors asked the porky secret service agents how it felt. Only about 15 to a side. I saw an old neighbor, who talked about free-trade and apathy. For some reason, two streetcars were positioned in front of Gallier Hall, and a set of bleachers stood across the street, Mardi Gras- style. No one but press to watch, and it wasn't clear from Poydras and St. Charles what exactly there was to see.

To follow this act, we may get a fatigued senior citizen who sold his soul to play Reagan for a few months. We may get a former first lady ala a South American dictorship, or a battered African American man who somehow survives an emasculation effort from both sides. But, while I'm feeling a little better about our town this week, we should admit that we lost to Bush. He moves on, leaving his keepers and detractors to mumble in the street, the vaults empty and the pumps encased in gold, the war in bloom and the enemy still hidden. You think Bush is stressed about any of that?

On the way over there just now, I thought I saw Alberto Gonzalez at the corner of Carondelet, walking with a group toward One Shell Square (pretty sure not him). I wasn't shocked at the sight, but at the possibility that it wouldn't shock me at all.

At least for this stage, the game's over, and the bad guys give toasts in Gallier Hall.

April 20, 2008

April 17, 2008

The History of the Creole Wild West (as told by themselves)

Come check it out on Saturday.

April 16, 2008

April 16th Set List

Happy Birthday, Bessie Smith (1894).

Artist - Track - Album - Label

James Booker - Gonzo's Blue Dream - Spiders on the Keys - Rounder
Roy Campbell Ensemble - Aten and Amarna - Akhenaten Suite - AUM Fidelity
Lindah Kallerdahl - Body & Soul - Gold - Esp-Disk
Right Hemisphere - Falling In - Right Hemisphere - Rogueart
Vandermark 5 - Speedplay (for Max Roach) - Beat Reader - Atavistic

Bessie Smith - Careless Love - Marty Scorcese Blues - Columbia
Abbey Lincoln - People in Me - People in Me - Verve
Nina Simone - Go to Hell - Best of Nina Simone - RCA
Bessie Smith - Send Me to the 'Lectric Chair - Marty Loves Blues - Columbia
William Parker & Hamid Drake - Japeru - Piercing the Veil Vol. 1 - AUM Fidelity
William Hooker - Spirit World - Armagedon - Homestead

Bali - Pemungkah - Music for the Shadow Play - Nonesuch
Metaform - Sunday - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants - Just
Sonny Fortune - Long Before Our Mothers Cried - A Better Understanding - Blue Note

Gil Scot Heron - New York City - Its Your World - Rumal-Gia
Mark O'Leary & Han Bennink - Track 3 - Televison - Ayler
Peter Brotzmann Group - Part 2 - Alarm - Atavistic
Rob Brown Quartet - Step With Care - Jumping Off the Page - No More

April 8, 2008

Salman Rushdie and N.O. Hip-hop, ha

On Saturday morning, we woke up early and headed to Freret Street to prepare for the festival. Preparations at the neighborhood center went well, though the work began with me and a very strong man digging heavy sludge out of a storm drain, not exactly the fairest of sights. Up and down the street, tents went up and vendors prepared for the thousands of festival-goers. By 11am, I was done and took a walk to eat and catch some music. At 1pm, I returned for the scheduled sound-check in the backyard of the center, where there’s a small stage for a planned rap showcase put on by some neighborhood kids. Well, long story short, we had to hustle together additional microphones and no one had a cd player or mixer, or a DJ for that matter. So to the Bywater and back I go, returning with my equipment to serve as best I could. Like the song goes: Toney’s his name, he lives on his own.

Man, hip-hop is such a weird world down here. Musically, the differences with New York are obvious, but the differences in the scene (as I know it, which is minimal) are another thing. I noticed this when I did that radio show this summer, but—straight up: a lot of people here look at a white dude who’s interested in hip-hop like he’s from another planet, especially if he doesn't dress/talk all over-compensated. Not hostility, but almost right through you, like there’s no way you could be there or understand anything. In New York, underground hip-hop in particular has people of many races who’ve been around for a minute. Sure, there are issues, but there’s nothing new about it. Hip-hop is everywhere up there—stylized, entrenched, often overly-dramatic and macho, but a part of the entire place.

Here, hip-hop is more street-centered, more based in the projects that are now gone, the devastating violence and poverty, the appreciation of dance and specific neighborhoods, and the teens so feared by the newspaper and its suburban readers. And it’s not just the image of hip-hop here that is isolated in a way, but the style of the music itself. New Orleans hip-hop owes so much to Bounce, which wasn’t a national phenomenon or even concerned with anywhere but New Orleans (this is a great thing in many ways, as is Bounce). Bounce, I always think, is a little like early dancehall in that it is purposely local. Dancehall was a reaction to the popularity of reggae, both roots and lovers rock, which became a world music. Dancehall was intentionally unintelligible to the non-Jamaican (well, there’s a cat from Dorchester, but…). New Orleans hip-hop is similarly focused on the immediate audience. A Lil' Wayne might happen eventually, but so might Buju Banton.

Secondly, the conditions of its arrival are vastly different than that of New York. The city’s perpetual paradox of brutal violence and popular creative catharsis meant either viciously menacing raps (“Make ‘Em Say Ugh”) or infectious dance music (“Back Dat Azz Up”). I remember a NY Times article after the storm that focused on the abscence of NO's hip-hop in the tributes to the fallen city. To which I replied: no one gave a sht about it before the storm, and it pretty much didn't give a sht about anyone else, and you weren't going to find a "Do You Know What It Means..." in the catalog.

There’s very little “conscious” shit out there from N.O. artists (perhaps a result of the political realities), and the style of emceeing is much more tied up in flowing with a trigger beat, or repping a neighborhood, finding the best phrase to repeat. That’s not to say anything negative at all, as such styles demand things that many a rapper couldn’t handle. My point is that New Orleans rap is highly unique, developed very much on its own terms. And though I know a little, I don’t know a lot.

But there I stood, spinning back up tracks to a yard full of spectators, many young, some older, most of them offering little visual response to my choices or the performances of the artists. Years at EVR taught me to just keep on with it, to roll with intrusions, attitudes, surprises, and beefs. There were young cats who didn’t know how to act, and young girls who have local radio hits. Once we finally got started, it was fairly smooth, but, man, was it a trip.

I stood under a blue tent with blue netting and played the backup tracks and some commercial NY hip-hop I had with me. The artists were fairly amped to be there, and much professionalism was attempted. At one point, one of the girls very solemnly asked if I had a card, and I handed her my business card, for “Executive Manager.” Another asked if I could play some Bounce, and I said I would if someone gave me some, since I was being fed a mixtape of new R&B and some Weezy at the time. The order of performances was never clear and constantly revised. The level of posturing was high all around, as some dudes had matching outfits and a stage mother instructed me on the order of her daughter’s tracks.

But everyone wanted to be on that stage. They wanted to do hip-hop in front of people and to rock a crowd, and they wanted to stand out. I can relate to that, though this time I pulled my hat low and drove through the sets, content to be a bit player/observer.

I guess there were some complaints about the cursing, both my selections and the live ones, but that’s hard to stop. What’s funny is there wasn’t a hint of menace in the air. People—hustlers, family members, little kids, a couple white hipsters, whoever they all were--didn’t express much of anything, but they took it all in. In this city, a live performance is nothing special, unless of course you’re repping for your friend or cousin who’s onstage. Everybody knows a musician, so you watch and think who else you’ve seen, if you could do that, if maybe there’s something else to be heard down the block.

In the end, I had a seat on a very normal, if hectic, day in New Orleans hip-hop. I’m not so into songs where the hook is just “Money-ma-money-money/money-ma-money-money” (really, that was one), but rappers did their thing. If there were awkward or ridiculous parts or an abundance of fronting, there were moments when someone really felt they were making it, like they were that video star they’d been emulating for the last two months, the hardest or sexiest one in the whole joint.

I’ve dj’ed in some funny situations, and I can always relax once I’m in the set and hooked up, going with it and choosing music. Which is good, because this one was a whole other thing. Like a few other times I can think of, though, it was a bizarre, fresh time to be DJ Toney Blare.

When we pulled up on Broadway tonight, I was feeling giddy. In my wizened alumnus-hood, I often feel this way when I’m on Tulane’s campus. The resentment of the place’s absurdity is gone now that I don’t pay them, and I can embrace the whole joke that is that university, crack up at it, even. And there’s nothing more ridiculous than Tulane’s rare attempts to act like an institution of higher learning.
Like, for instance, hosting a public lecture. Last week, as I strolled to the WTUL studio, I stopped in my tracks to appreciate a sign of the times. Strewn across McAlister Drive from one graceful oak to another was a banner that read, “Salman Rushdie.” Respek, Tulane, I thought.
For how very odd it is that Rushdie is a minor star on the college lecture circuit, and that said circuit would bring him to New Orleans. With Islamic fundamentalism a full-blown scourge of the planet, this freed former enemy takes the stage in an American city stricken by the consequences of a war against that scourge. A decade ago, Rushdie was in hiding; today, he’s at Tulane.

And apparently everybody had heard about it. Kim and I arrived at Dixon Hall to find a crowd of students and some adult types who eagerly told us that the lecture was sold out. We walked right in to find a lone Tulane cop trading hysterics with an Asian couple.

"Ma'am! Ma'am! Get back, ma'am!" he cried.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we’ve been waiting long enough!” the lady said. The cop told her “No!” then turned to me and told me I couldn’t come in. “Can I use the bathroom?” Nope, scheme denied. The Asian couple remained obstinate.

“Put a fatwah on her!” I yelled as we left. Then we followed some sneakier students through a back entrance, found a side door to the auditorium, and took a place to stand along one wall near the stage.

Except for basketball games and a crawfish boil or two, I’ve never seen that many people at any event on the campus. The balcony was full, as was most of the standing room. Scott Cowan growled some praise, and then two English professors affirmed the greatness of Rushdie, and then Sir Salman Rushdie entered stage right.

The title of tonight’s lecture: "Public Events, Private lives: Literature and Politics in the Modern World." And let me tell you, Salman Rushdie is quite comfortable at Public Events. He began with charming remarks that included jokes about outliving Khomeini and the cheapness of Paris Hilton. The young folks were putty in his hands, and Rushdie took his time, with many a humorous flourish en route to a general musing on the role of the fictionist as truth teller. Many hands moved in note-taking, and the crowd switched on a dime from laughing with Rushdie at Saul Bellow’s line “We don’t have responsibilities—we have inspirations,” to agreeing with him that, actually, Bellow was right. People were eager to be pleased and to agree.

Rushdie did hit lightly on some interesting things, one of which was the idea of memory as a political act. Having noted that the novel originally served a journalistic role (see Dickens), he discussed his own work’s clash with Indira Gandhi’s official record, all to show that the resilience of memory is vital to countering propaganda and dictatorship. Fair enough. Thing is, I don’t think its official truth that’s killing us: I think the exponential increase in the versions of truth, and in the public exchanges of those versions, are what weakens our memories and our ability to tell the facts from the dictator-speak.

Now to Khomeini, the change of subject that, Rushdie laughed, was like the Stones playing the opening bars of “Satisfaction”: OK, here’s what we came for, the hard stuff. But then he chose a funny story to discuss the experience. Apparently, a movie called “International Guerillas” came out during this time, with an evil caricature of Rushdie battling a team of Muslim assassins. The movie was horrendous, but Rushdie stood up for its right to public screening in an immigrant neighborhood in Yorkshire, England. By killing the censorship, he and his allies killed the movie, which no one went to see.
His point was that resistance was best done through an insistence on freedom. I thought we might flip this over and say something about The Satanic Verses (which is a fine novel): by trying to kill it, Khomeini birthed an international sensation, submerging for most intent that actual contents and quality of the book. And while I’m sure such an argument is not new to Rushdie, it was weird that he didn’t acknowledge it. He seemed to think we'd triumphed over Khomeini, even as Sadr plays with the fate of Iraq.

Instead there was an acknowledgement of the great risks and valor of booksellers and writers who supported him through that dangerous time, occasionally in the face of pipe bombs and book burnings and even a shooting in Norway. Huh, I thought, but no mention of all the explosions and fires that have followed Islamic fundamentalism in the 10-20 years since. No mention of, say, the life of present day Pakistani writers under Musharaff, or the Bengali poet laureate who died a few years ago after a fierce beating by extremists. Certainly no shout out of solidarity to those who wrote in the wake of natural disaster.

Not that he must cover these things, but it was all too cozy, these omissions. Like Tulane itself, the detachment of Rushdie’s talk from the realities of our world left us a little hollow. When he closed things by advising writers to reside on the frontier, to push the frontiers, well, I immediately thought of his posh life in London and the strange lack of mention of his more recent works.

And as usual when someone visits and pontificates, I wondered if he noticed the frontier he stood on, the blown apart America that is no longer just Bellow’s alienation, but a battleground. He tied New Orleans with New York, which misses a ton of points, and yet doubled the disservice by not tying his own sufferings more directly to those events, and to the rest of us. He mentioned the effects of public events on private life, how your character can’t determine your destiny in such a world, and how the novel resists such a development. Good points, but he pretty much stuck with how his novel survived, and all the goofy bumps in that road, and avoided any talk of other public events or possible destinies. To be blunt, he and Tulane didn’t have much to say to New Orleans, and I can’t laugh at that so much.


Public events in this town are legion, and the holding pens and amphitheaters and barstools and backyards do well as ecosystems. Truth, your story or hers, can pour out in letters to the editor, or stutter over microphone feedback. People do their best to share, to appreciate the exchange. There’s a hitch, though, in the presentation, and I believe it reveals a lot more than the story that is struggling to come out. That hitch is a comparative reflex, like when I wonder what Rushdie noticed on his way to the airport, or that security guard found himself nearly overwhelmed by literature fans. It doesn’t make sense; it doesn’t follow a norm or a system. People front or get too eager. You can’t be sure what’s an authentic performance, and what’s an exercise in holding one’s breath. In the end, the bottom could drop out and everybody ends up naked or no one shows up in the first place and the electricity is out.

It is so very, very weird to gather and watch these days. I don’t think I thought that 10 years ago. Not sure what that means, but maybe this is the accumulated lack, the way the empty neighborhoods call to us when rooms are crowded. The way violence is both a kid’s show and a block away.

Representing: old as it is, it needs some working out in New Orleans.

April 4, 2008

The Hoarders Are Defeated! Long Live Property!

Imagine my shock when I unsheathed the Times-Pic from the plastic wrap this morning and saw the hoarders on the front page. Then try and imagine them at the exact same time as the demolition crew descended on their family's home, leaving them with no place to live and a flat plain where their world stood just the day before. Then focus on the honk-honk up the block, the one with the marble porch and the short shorts and the Escalade, as he cradles two weiner dogs and smiles at the progress that's come to his end of Magazine Street, to the home he'll never sell in this market.

I wrote about this here, here, and here. This was coming, and many will say that nine years is more than enough time to deal with your problems, to accept the solutions offered by the city, to swallow the benevolent medicine of Stacey Head. Yet these are mentally ill people who for the better part of 5 years lived on a street with no traffic and a barrier that blocked them off from the rest of the city. They weren't a danger until they threatened property value and someone else's out of town dreams of gentrification. And they weren't in danger until the city got its demolition act together a week ago. And even then, when you thought blighted property, you probably thought of thousands of storm damaged houses that were left to fester by FedNaginBlakely.

But, no, first on the list is the family home of the hoarders. For they cannot fight, their neighborhood has no interest in them, and they live in the middle of high-rent land. Soon, developers will steal the land from them and we'll get a loft or condos and imaginary young professionals with jobs in an imaginary economy with imaginary cars and imaginary gas prices and imaginary needs for new clothes and hairstyles will move in and fit in and yes, yes, yes.... As Kim said this morning, those Africans who run the body shop on Melpomene will be next.

What bothers me almost as much as this forced evacuation of those without use-value is the course to come. If, in the history of the world, the lion has always eaten the lamb, Americans living in the wake of 25 years of neo-conservative, anti-gov't policy can expect no safety net and the inevitable triumph of the rapacious. We can mourn it, but that's the consequence of voting and stolen elections.

However, when the lions (be it the fenced-in little homeowner at Terpsichore and Magazine, the salon owner, the childish Councilwoman, the pasty real estate tycoon) are so deformed, sickly, and delusional, the equation serves no purpose. Really, if the supposed "strong" in this New Orleans are to win out, all we'll get is a better track for tourists and fesitval mongers. We won't get a better economy, better schools, or a better shot at longevity. These people aren't trained or equipped for success ala Seattle or DUMBO, they just have the money to buy CliffNotes on the book "How to Get Over in the New Cities Game." No one wins.

People who are weird and don't get with the "program," like the hoarders, are made homeless, people who lost their homes in the storm have to wait for Magazine Street demolitions, and people who want another gelato shop wait in line with some fcker in a fanny pack who read about good shopping in a guide book. It's not progress, it's playtime, except that real folks get hurt while wannabe titans swing their limp processes around.

And by the time I finish this post, three more feeble people will have no home. Just in time for Jazzfest.

April 2, 2008

4/1 Set List

Order this album right away
Premiered three new discs--this one (thanks to Matt Shipp for the mail), Irvin Mayfield & Ellis Marsalis new release (the first from Basin St. Records since the storm), and The Roy Campbell Ensemble's live recording from the 2007 Vision Fest (dope). Jean-Luc Ponty-of view: at a recent panel/performance, I heard two local clarinetists bemoan a "lost generation" of musicians that came up in the 60's and 70's who never paid their dues in trad bands. I maintained that this missed the point, or rather condescened real political issues + the development of R&B and Funk + the basic fact of a musician's life in this city: you play every style, whatever they'll pay you for. Just because these two didn't see their contemporaries at Preservation Hall, that doesn't mean the music was lost. And what of today's lost generation? Can trad save them? As Jean-Luc might say, Don't Let the World Pass You By.

Anyways, this includes some left over marathon requests in the 1st 30 minutes, which worked pretty well, actually...

Artist - Track - Album - Label
James Booker - United Our Thing Will Stand - Tipitina's 1977 - none
Billy Martin - Coconuts Feeding Birds - Solo Live Tonic 2002 - Amulet
Joni Mitchell - The Last Time I Saw Richard - Miles of Aisles - Elektra (marathon request)

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky - Sky Blue Sky - Nonesuch
Joni Mitchell - You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio -Miles of Aisles - Elektra
Billie Holiday - Georgia on My Mind - Lady Day: The Master Takes - Sony
Howard Wiley - No More My Lawd - The Angola Project - HNIC
Right Hemisphere - Right Hemisphere - Right Hemisphere - Rogueart
Right Hemisphere - You Rang

Chick Corea & Gary Burton - Bud Powell - The New Crystal Silence - Concord
Irvin Mayfield & Ellis Marsalis - Blame it on the sun - Love Songs, Ballads, and Standards - Basin Street
Mayfield & Marsalis - A House is Not a Home - Love Songs, Ballads, and Standards - Basin Street
William Parker & Hamid Drake - Bodies Die/Spirits Live - First Communion - AUM Fidelity
Right Hemisphere - Lava
The Roy Campbell Ensemble - Aten and Amarna - Live at Vision Festival XII - AUM Fidelity
Campbell Ensemble - Sunset on the Nile
Right Hemisphere - Dice
Jean-Luc Ponty - Don't Let the World Pass You By - Cosmic Messenger - Atlantic
Albert Ayler - Softly As In a Morning Sunrise - The First Recording Vol. 2 -DIW
Hamilton de Holanda - as rosas nao falam (the roses don't speak) - Intimo - Adventure
Bill Dixon - Mandala Per Mandela - Son of Sisyphus - Soul Note

April 1, 2008

Stella and St. Claude

Sunday was a rambler. I worked the Tennesse Williams Festival's music events at the Palm Court, which mostly involved sitting at the bar and sipping some beer, occasionally tilting my head at a comment or verse. At one point, I strolled back to headquarters at the Bourbon Orleans to pick up checks and credentials for a few of the performers, and got caught behind these men (and woman) of the cloth.

When things finished up, I biked into Jackson Square, where I ran into a friend who got me up onto the judge's balcony for the Stella contest.

I don't know who won, but I was rooting for the gold-painted mime who simply mouthed the word "Stella" three times. These lil' children took a shot after the judges retreated to their quarters. Initial shyness wore off and these two fellows shouted for about 15 minutes.

Kim was at the big PGA tournament on the West Bank, cause that's how she rolls. After I got home, I took a drive to pick up some food for us.

I'm repeating myself, but certain stretches of time bring you back into the fold, even while completely alone in a minivan: a believer, a member, adrift in the haze and sun-struck grace of the city and its many odd hours.