Friday, August 13, 2004

sf part ii: no other possibility

okay, quickly because i want to get to the nuvo party for mms (& the liquor is only free from 4-5)

wednesday connie had an errand or two to run without me, so i laid around reading cryptonomicon for a couple hours until she was done. it was relaxing. after she got back, we went out for sushi. we had planned to go to a place called "tokyo go-go" but when we got there we discovered it was closed for a private party. but after walking only about a block, i spotted another japanese/sushi joint called "restaurant yo yo"... such is the magic of san francisco. & yo yo was probably cheaper than go go, to boot.

after dinner we headed down to the odeon bar (connie's favorite bar in the world) to see "ask dr hal". dr hal is a well-known subgenius (he's on the puzzling evidence show on kpfa, right after over the edge). for the ask dr hal show, audience members write down esoteric questions and enclose a small gratuity. chicken john, odeon owner, moderates while dr hal tries to answer every question, typically with a stream of beautiful bulldada and rambling genius. musical accompaniment is provided by krob: perhaps somewhere between djing & live performance? (i had seen a variation of ask dr hall at indyvival 2003, but that was moderated by ivan stang, with no krob, so it was not quite the same.) we also saw a couple short films, one by an odeon regular/employee about how television affects people, the other a new short by stang called "bug porn". good times. after the show they were rounding up people for a bus trip to go bowling in some suburb (daly city?). i like bowling but wasn't too eager to get potentially stranded in some strange town late at night, so we headed home.

thursday was my birthday. instead of the usual "breakfast" of pop-tarts, i decided i'd rather go to st. francis, a soda fountain & pancake house that's only a block or two from connie's house. i had french toast and ham; i think connie had a sandwich. the first time i went there, in december, i noticed that they have a great collection of vintage (or retro) stickers & trading cards for sale: garbage pail kids, wacky packages, & all sorts of other such campy goodness. so i spent more than $20 on wax packs of cards & stickers like yo mtv raps, wacky packages, pee wee's playhouse, and rocky horror picture show, as well as surprisingly lame cards starring the simpsons and bill & ted. we went back home for a few hours, before eventually going back out to get tapas for dinner, connie's treat. i'd never had tapas before: basically like ordering a half dozen appetizers for dinner. some of them were quite good, some were not quite as good. it was also my first time drinking sangria: it will not be the last.

from there we began the walk to the somarts gallery, to see the first night of the san francisco electronic music festival. during the hike i spotted a busted computer lying on the sidewalk (not the first i'd seen, but the most picturesque). so i finally took out my camera & used it for the first time in the trip (after carrying it with me every day): take a look.

note: all pictures are 1280x960 & are like 200-300KB. deal with it.

eventually we found the venue. it was basically some old warehouse space, with a very nice stage built in a back room, & an art gallery in another section. i thought the music was all excellent, but for a ticket price of $15 i was underwhelmed. if it had been $10 i wouldn't have complained; if it had been $5 i would have most likely raved about how great it was. but for $15 it was rather boring: just sitting in a dark room, theater-like, watching some guy stand there in front of his gear.

first up was marcos fernandez. i was in the bathroom for the first part of his set, but what i heard was pretty good avant garde ambient type stuff. (it's been a full week since i saw these shows, so you'll have to forgive me if i can't remember too much detail about what they sounded like; i've seen lots & lots of live music recently.) apparently there was some kind of internet stream going out: whether audio or video i know not. but i didn't see anyone taking any flash photography, so in an effort to not distract the artists, i tried taking some pictures without my flash. it was really dark, meaning the shutter had to stay open for a few seconds, & i had some trouble holding the camera still for that long. at one point i gave up trying & decided to just let the camera jiggle or capture movement. i took several such pics, most of which came out looking like this, but the most abstract one looked like this (i think for that pic, i actually rotated the camera 90 degrees while the shutter was open).

up next came cenk ergun who did some experimental laptop work. it was similarly avant garde and ambient sounding, although i think he got pretty dissonant near the end, which i definitely enjoyed. i only got one pic of him, and it's not very good.

following cenk there was an intermission. we went outside while i had a cigarette. after that, i finally found the bar area & got a glass of white wine. the merch table was next to the bar & picked up a wobbly 12" called multiple pleady. it appears to be a remix disc, with mixes by blevin blectum, people like us, and someone else (too lazy to check right now, & there's little time before i leave).

after the intermission came perkis/wobbly, a collaboration between plunderstar wobbly and some guy named tim perkis. they were a bit ambient, a bit noisy, occasional hints of rhythm... none of the recognizable pop samples that are prevalent in much of wobbly's work, but i'm sure many or all of wobbly's sounds came from plundered sources. here's another photo.

after their set i ducked out to get another glass of wine. while out there i ran into wobbly, who recognized me from when we'd met in december. he was about to rush home, sick with bronchitis. but we talked for a minute & he said he would put me & connie on the guest list for the following night. that was good, because i wasn't going to spend another $30 for two more admissions to the festival, but i was indeed interested in coming back.

last for the evening was joan jeanrenaud, who i discovered was a former cellist for the kronos quartet. i took no pictures of her because, from my vantage point, there was a mic stand that would have been right in front of her in the shot. she had some kind of electronic device (sampler? delay?): she would play a cello part, then loop it electronically while she played on top of it. quite excellent; possibly my favorite performance of the night.

then the show was over. we took the 9 bus home, and laid in bed watching episodes of strangers with candy and upright citizens brigade an old vhs tape i'd brought. connie's cat, girl, was lying on the foot of the bed... at one point connie pointed out the interesting effect of her red room lights and the blue light of the tv screen on girl's white fur. so during a bathroom break i took a few more no-flash photos.

okay, it's almost 4pm, which means i'm off to broad ripple for the nuvo party. coming soon: part 3: friday night (more sfemf), saturday night (bootie), & sunday (my return trip).

No comments: