Sunday, December 14, 2003

greetings from san francisco! the flight here was unexciting (the highlight was the in-flight movie, seabiscuit, which was watchable & well-done but rather slow-moving).

yesterday i blew $160 at aquarius records... the store itself is pretty small but proportionately speaking their selection is amazing. the good/bad ratio is far better than most record stores i've been to. lots of interesting experimental cds. we might go to another record store, amoeba, soon... connie says it's the biggest independent record store she's ever seen, so that might be pretty cool.

then last night we went to a show at the rx gallery, which is in a shady neighborhood called "the tenderloin", which just happens to be right next to a relatively affluent shopping district... you turn a couple corners & you can just feel the immense updraft caused by the plummeting property values. we even missed the gallery the first time we walked past it because the only distinguishing marker was literally an 8x10 sheet of paper with the "RX" prescription symbol on it, so i got a decent tour of the tenderloin at night. sweet.

anyway, the rx gallery is pretty new & the current exhibition has several pieces that involve sound & motion; basically electronic sculptures that move, freeform recontextualizing audio work, & stuff like that. this was their second night of audio performances, which i found out about on blevin blectum's site. i took a few pics, but i can't post them (or really even see how good they are; the preview on the camera LCD isn't very helpful) until i can get them onto my hard drive at home.

before anyone started playing, we talked to wobbly for awhile; we traded cds, talked about online plunderphonic discussion groups, & fun stuff like that.

first up was a performance by seth warren & dave dupuis. their instrument consisted of a water bottle with various tubes coming out the bottom. each tube had a valve at the end, which could be tweaked to drip water at varying intervals onto the pots, pans, cymbals, & other percussive items below. these pans were all mic'ed & one of the guys controlled the sound at a mixer while the other guy manipulated the water valves & occasionally played the pseudo-drums using drumsticks & brushes. the performance was fine, though i thought the instrument itself was by far the most interesting aspect (the audio itself was nothing spectacular).

next up was a set by joshua g churchill, who played using a guitar, laptop, various pedals, & probably some other things i couldn't see. he played some nice looping ambience & random noise; audio-wise i liked this set more than the previous (in fact, i think each set was probably progressively better than the one before).

after that was a set by sean rooney. sean apparently had a couple tracks on illegal art's commercial ad hoc compilation under the name peekaboo hudson (wobbly made a joke about how sean is a "serious composer" now, meaning he can only perform under his own name). anyway, this was some nice digital noise, often getting rather harsh. during the louder parts of this set (actually, starting with joshua churchill's set), connie would cover her ears... now i admit that we were really close to a speaker & things got pretty damn loud from time to time, but she would cover her ears long before things got uncomfortable to me. this made me wonder whether i'm simply more accustomed to high volume at shows (some of our bad taste shows... hell, even when we're just hanging out in someone's basement... have been extremely loud. anyone who was at the pleasurehorse show knows what i mean), or whether i've already started to develop minor hearing loss & i simply couldn't hear the frequencies that were bugging her. anyway...

last up was the performance i was waiting for: it was billed online (in the few places that promoted or even mentioned the show) as blevin vs lesser... but wobbly performed also, even commenting beforehand that he thought he was now a member of sagan... so i'm not totally clear on whether this was a sagan show, a blevin/lesser/wobbly show, or whether there is even any distinction between those... anyway, i thought it was a good set, much more rhythmic than any of the other performers (except possibly the first set), although afterward i heard that blevin was having trouble (she'd just installed OSX & it wasn't working for her), so i have no idea what it would have sounded like if not for technical problems.

afterward we hung out & briefly talked to lesser & wobbly (blevin had left to go get the car so i didn't get to talk to her). i gave lesser a cd, & it was established that all of us planned to go to the one-year anniversary party tonight (sunday) for the creative commons. so that might be cool. or it might be pretty boring. but i've heard good things about lawrence lessig's speeches, so that should be interesting at least, plus there might be free drinks, & at least a few interesting people (after all, lessig, lesser, & wobbly should be there, so one can only guess who else might stop in).

san francisco is interesting. i don't have a total feel for the city yet but the neighborhood where connie lives is called the mission: a largely latin neighborhood with tons of beautiful murals, taquerias, panaderias, mexicatessens, & even a fortune-teller nearby. it's maybe a mile or less from the bart (bay area rapid transit [aka train]) station, & connie can't drive, so we've been doing lots of walking & riding public mass transit. that in itself is pretty different from indy, where you can't get anywhere worth going in less than an hour via bus.

still lots more to see & do before i come home on wednesday... i'm not sure if i'll be posting again before then (i certainly will, at least briefly, if that kpfa thing pans out) but i had some free time right now with nothing better to do... more to come before too long, i'm sure.

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