Leaving the house now and then.I have been out eating and drinking entirely too much lately, and it is beginning to show in the way my pants (fail to) fit. I would whine and carry on about how cruel life is... but good food is not exactly a curse, so it's not like I will earn your sympathy.
My efforts to reclaim my nightlife have been reasonably successful, especially with regard to live music. The first week of July I was able to enjoy the Charlie Hunter Trio (www.charliehunter.com) at the Great American Music Hall (gamh.com). It has been a few years since I've been able to see CH, and his show was excellent. I was wary at the beginning of the first set for no particular reason, but as the set became more intense, I remembered how fabulous a musician he is...
The first set, strangely enough, featured an arrangement of Blondie's Heart of Glass, which was done so cleverly that it took a while to identify itself, since it came through as pure jazz... And the second set was even better than the first.
The following week was the stellar Black Francis show, which I wrote about previously.
This past week brought me back to the Rickshaw Stop for The Definite Articles (who have a new song!), the Brass Liberation Orchestra (who gave themselves a longer-than-scheduled set, from what I understand), and Mucca Pazza (mucca-pazza.org), who were fun fun fun fun fun.
Who can I compare Mucca Pazza to? ("Your band is like a summer's day...")
They are like... The Extra Action Marching Band, except they all keep their clothes on!
They are like... The Infernal Noise Brigade, except they are still together and they wear mismatched costumes!
They are like... people I might have hung out with in school, if I had actually signed up for band/orchestra, which I did not, but those of you who were in band/orchestra who I do hang out with could have turned out to be these people if you had been... significantly less sedate and more inclined to grow facial hair?? Maybe?
MP is extremely fun. Talented musicians! Energetic peformers! They dominated the Rickshaw Stop. The show was enthralling, and audience bounced out merrily into the streets at the end of the encore.
Little did I know that I would be able to enjoy Mucca Pazza live TWICE in the same week, for they were also the headliners at the Tour de Fat (followyourfolly.com). The Tour de Fat is New Belgium Brewing's fabulous summer festival series dedicated to raising money for biking and open-space causes in the localities where they put up their tents. Which means that people can come out for a day of free entertainment, show off their fancy custom bikes, and buy delicious, 16 ounce New Beligum beers with all of the proceeds going to organizations I love dearly, especially the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
The weather was terrible for an outdoor festival, but the festival was a blast, and I was there from 8:30 until it shut down.
Have I mentioned that I love bike people? I love bike people.
Visit the bands' websites to hear their great stuff.
posted by Arlene (Beth)9:37 PM
Sunday, August 12, 2007
In the garden as fall approaches.It has been an especially wet, dark, foggy summer here the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco. Most mornings when I leave the house for work, the front steps and the street are as wet as if it had rained at night. The constant dampness has been hard on some of the plants. In our sheltered garden, fuzzy plants like lamb's ear and its friend, big ears (both stachys byzantina), are growing mildew on their soft leaves. This is the sort of dampness that prevents us from growing zucchini and basil, whose stems just rot before the plant can thrive.
Our apple tree, which blossomed more heavily this year than it has since we moved in, hasn't minded the constant moisture, and its branches are now heavy with red and green apples, which remind me of gravensteins with a slightly tart edge. The first apple that Steven collected, which is smaller than most of the others on our kitchen counter, is pictured here.
Our small lemon tree, which worked up the energy on its tiny stems to give us a wonderful lemon last year, is feeling more confident in its fuller shrubbiness, and just provided us with another tasty lemon, also pictured here. I'm suffering from asthmatic bronchitis right now, something that occurs periodically after a fit of sinus allergies, and Steven made me a delicious honey-and-lemon hot drink with the lemon to make me feel better. (Mmmmm, hot honey-lemon!) It helped quite a bit, and was very tasty. It will be wonderful to have fresh lemons regularly, as we did when we lived in a rented house in San Bruno, where a mature lemon tree scented the air with its blossoms and fruit for most of the year.
With so much fog, many of the hints of the approaching change in seasons are hidden. I can't really tell where the sun is rising. Through our rear window, the views of our neighbor's homes work as a sort of sundial: in winter, the sun rises behind the strange blue addition atop the roof of a house a few doors up, and in summer it rises just left/north of the giant fir tree that the birds and raccoons love so much. In recent weeks, the sunrise has been to vaguely defined to be certain, but the feeling in the air is fall.
Fall is San Francisco's most beautiful time of year. Not so much because of fall foliage colors, which come a bit late to us and are limited to our Japanese maples, plums, and sycamores, which don't turn colors are precisely the same time. (Most of our trees here are evergreen.) September and October are when we get some of our warmest, most beautiful weather. Especially at night, when the sky is clear, the air is nearly still, and the city lights are sparkling, the City becomes completely irresistible.
That time is nearly here...
posted by Arlene (Beth)10:46 AM