Sunday, June 05, 2005

vacation notes

i've been pretty busy since i got back from vacation: at the office, catching up with work, and at home, catching up with tv and comics as well as working on other stuff i probably shouldn't mention yet. i haven't even fully unpacked my suitcase yet. and on top of that, we went to the video store tonight and rented 5 movies (4 of which i personally intend to watch).

but i drove up to the cleveland area last weekend to hang out with connie for the weekend, and to attend RRX. we had a lot of fun, and ate in a bunch of places: several mediocre all-night diners, and a bunch of other restaurants of varying quality. the big winners were mi pueblo taqueria and sahara, both on lorain avenue around W 120-125th st. (which are super close to each other; in fact, we discovered sahara because we were looking for mi pueblo and drove too far.) mi pueblo was very authentic mexican, with all the right stuff on the menu (though the chips were rather stale). their mole was delectable. sahara is a lebanese restaurant, and the food was quite tasty indeed, though the service was ridiculously slow, especially considering that the place was virtually empty. the loser of the restaurants was the chinese/japanese place around 160th & lorain avenue. it was notably worse than sakura, the sushi place in lakewood on detriot avenue that connie complains about so much (but that i think is okay, at least by midwest standards).

on friday afternoon we went to see star wars episode iii. overall, i really enjoyed it. it had some flaws, notably inserting things from the original trilogy that don't need to be there (the droid roles for example could be played by any two droids; there was no point in bringing back c3p0 or r2d2, though that's a problem with the whole trilogy). but it was very dark, and for the most part it delivered.

friday night was the first night of RRX. things were pretty laid back. thursday club played for awhile, and they were good. hetmana was supposed to play, but didn't show up on friday night at all. (she eventually showed up on saturday and played at 5am, which was a little too late for me & connie.) we hung out for a few hours and when things started winding down, we left. i want to say we went to some late-night diner. we probably did.

we spent saturday afternoon getting the last of our costumes and props ready. we also went to trader joe's to buy desserts to contribute to the vegetarian potluck dinner that was supposed to start at RRX at 6pm. well, the dinner didn't really start until after 7 and there were only a few food items available. so the potluck wasn't that great, but i ate some noodles, which along with my special cookies was enough to tide me over until connie & i could go to yet another mediocre late-night diner after we left.

for various reasons, this event de-emphasized the "musical performance" aspect compared to past recycled rainbows. this did help to tighten up the schedule somewhat (it only ran 2 or so hours late by the end), and new alternative activities were added, with more theatrical-type performances and a couple workshops. as a result, there were only 4 bona fide musical "performances" during the night, with occasional between-activity djing by bobby vomit & humdrum. AWIA was the first, and i think it went pretty well. i already posted the mp3 so you can judge for yourself. bobby & humdrum brought their gear, and virago collaborated with my on my gear. there were the typical occasional problems, and a new one: my mixer cut out suddenly, so for a minute or two connie & i were totally silent. eventually i slapped the side of my rig and it started working again, and the performance continued. by the end we had a small crowd accumulated in the basement, and at one point they even clapped & stomped along to a beat that i had playing... a first for animals within animals.

the other musical performances were by henry james, who did some kind of improv with guitar, electronics, and delay that was pretty interesting, and 9-volt haunted house, who as usual did a nice set as usual. their name is very apropos: electronic, a little noisy, and a little creepy. as i mentioned earlier, hetmana also played at 5am, but we were leaving and missed it. contrary to what bobby vomit posted on his blawg, i believe there was only one actual cancellation--jock trap--and i believe henry james was added to the schedule in jock trap's place.

i missed a couple of the non-musical performances, especially at first (and i missed the first workshop, which was on bookbinding, because i was busy setting up for the AWIA performance). but i caught several, of varying quality. there was a short play, frank lloyd wright vs van der rohe, about art in architecture, form vs function, and so on, using the narrative device of "dungeons & dragons rules" to keep the argument going. i thought it was pretty good. but i wondered: was frank lloyd wright really as big a dick as he was portrayed in this play? because i really wanted to agree with him a lot of of the time, but he acted like such a bitch eyes that i had to root for van der rohe (who designed skyscrapers and the like).

leia alligator's puppet theatre also involved dungeons & dragons, a humorous unforeseen consequence of the event's theme being legends and myths. i like leia's puppet shows, but i always feel somewhat bad for her because the audiences there tend to be over-the-top rowdy and disruptive. now, i don't mind a bit of friendly heckling at a loud music show, for example, but when 20-30 people are yelling out stuff during an unamplified performance such as a puppet show, it gets frustrating and holds up the show.

the other performance i saw was this thing about bill & ted's excellent adventure. i really wanted to like the performance, because i was all about bill & ted for many years, and they still hold a special place in my heart. but the thing was simply weak. this guy dressed up like ted (very accurately, i should add), played the movie on a vcr, and had volunteers from the audience read lines from his favorite scenes. that was it: he didn't even cue up the vcr or anything. he just had the video playing and had printouts, each one 2-4 lines, of some of his favorite exchanges, and would call people up to read the lines aloud. this went on for 20-25 minutes. even as a fan of the movie, i thought it was incredibly boring and quickly wanted to escape.

overall, RRX was a fun time spent with good people, but it wasn't as much as i'd had at past RR events. bobby vomit and humdrum, who only came up to cleveland for saturday night, were disappointed. i wasn't as disappointed as they were, but then i was there for a lot longer...

sunday we slept in late, then ate dinner at mi pueblo. there was a big soccer game on, but we couldn't tell who was playing. as i mentioned above, the mole was delicious. then we went back to relax at the hotel for awhile before it was time to leave for press the button on WRUW.

press the button was tons of fun; leia alligator had some electronic kids' book that he hooked into my kaoss pad & played through its fx. i was on the mic all night, spouting freeform bulldada along with everyman, kyle, people who called in to the show, and other guests such as ryan from thursday club. bulldada is pretty fun when they other people are doing it too; i at least need someone to riff off of if i'm going to be talking a bunch of nonsense for long periods of time. i had a lot of fun calling for price checks and clean-ups all over the galaxy, and our food-related riffs, inspired by all the food and grocery shopping in leia's book, eventually turned into an elaborate routine: i'm so hungry i could eat at subway! i'm so hungry i want to stuff your small intestines into your large intestines and eat them! i'm so hungry i want to chew your face off and smother it in frank's famous bbq sauce! i'm so hungry i could eat a whole batch of ecstasy rolls, or a bunch of condoms full of cocaine! at one point i tried to drive it into the realm of non sequitur (i'm so hungry i want to punch you in the face!).

then, 10 mintues before the end of the show, my mixer went dead again. i smacked it around and got it to come back for a minute, then it died completely. fortunately, it didn't matter much because the show was pretty much over. after the show, 7 of us went to a diner that's usually mediocre but that actually had really good service this time.

monday we ate lebanese, lounged around the hotel, and took a walk around the neighborhood near the hotel, while connie took pictures. she hasn't acclimated to the midwest yet, and was fascinated by things like robins and chipmunks. it was pretty cute. and there's some house only a couple blocks from our hotel that has a big yard full of sculpture... it's right by the lakeside, so it's probably not a cheap neighborhood.

tueday we ate crappy sushi and shopped briefly at bent crayon before i took connie to the airport and drove home.

my mixer still seems to be broken. i have a relatively important show coming up on june 17. i need to either fix my mixer or replace it before then. i wanted to eventually replace it with a fancier model, but i'd rather not be forced into it, and now is not the ideal time either. but if barry or i can't fix it, i won't have much choice.