Another adventurous night in the Haight turned into an event filled experience. I had heard of a couple of things going on and I couldn’t quite decide which to cover so I ended up touching base at multiple places.
First off we have Amoeba Music who kicked off the week with an all ages free show featuring Japanese all-girl rock trio Stereopony.The band that originated in 2007 from Okinawa, Japan, drew in a crowd that swarmed the aisles of Amoeba’s CD racks. People found stools and steps to stand on to get a vantage over the crowd of about 70 people.
The band is currently touring and will be playing at Slim’s tomorrow night April 10 if any of you are interested in going to check that out. Be sure to follow Amoeba on twitter for more upcoming in-store events! Not only do they post what their store is currently doing but they also like to help out with anything music related. So if you are into music they are a great feed to follow.
Oh… and as for my other experience for the night… you are just going to have to wait for it! I will post it tomorrow. Here’s a hint—though I doubt anyone will guess(unless you follow my twitter feed @GonHaight which you should because it is awesome!)—sex and cupcakes. That is all…
The Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast Peaceful World Center at 1665 Haight St., played host to the e-book release celebration of Orna Ross‘ new novel, Before the Fall, on Tuesday night.
A group of about 15 gathered to participate in the event that was highlighted with readings from the new novel. Along with Ross, was a three-piece-Irish-folk group that provided a musical breath in-between readings.
People came from all over to take part in the book release, a few even were fellow Ireland-ers, but all were writers and peace-lovers who joined.
The new release, Before the Fall, has a great deal to do with the civil war in Ireland, and the framework is loosely based on Ross’ own observations growing up there.
“I was brought up in Ireland in the 1960’s and 70’s and the civil war quite simply was not spoken about,” Ross said, addressing her audience. “We learned history in school. It jumped straight from our glorious Republican operating of 1916 to the Eucharistic congress of 1932.”
She then continues to relate the book to her own reality.
“The story is told through the life a young woman,” she said. “She grows up in a village knowing that it is divided in two, but never really having that explained to her. She just sort of grows into it like its the air she breathes.”
Through research she finds that the war had torn friends and families apart, fighting on opposing sides and again relates her own experiences.
“I knew that my father’s uncle had been killed in that war and shot by his best friend… and I was absolutely fascinated by that. How on earth could it get to a situation that you would wind up shooting your best friend?” she said to the audience.
Ross continued on with more excerpts from her story. She closed the night with a poem entitled The Writers Calland the night was played out with one last song from the band.
Orna Ross has had a long going relationship with The Red Victorian and the staff, in particularly Sami Sunchild, the owner of the establishment.
“I have returned many times, alone and with my family,” Ross said. Her relationship with the bed and breakfast peace center has been going on for more than 15 years, and throughout that time, she has worked on numerous writings within its walls.
Once again struck by the musical artistry that is the Haight Ashbury, I walk the streets on assignment and am blown away by the soothing sounds of polyphonic harmonies accompanied by colorful melodies high and low! I stop, stare and watch in awe, and I am not the only one!
This group, Jugtown Pirates, stand on a porch with their instruments in hand fingering away at the stringed fretboards, strumming and plucking chords and phrases in folkish riffs. Crowds emerge throughout the performance and in between songs come new faces, and some old, returned.
“We were listening to them earlier,” says Roseanna Kauffmann, a Haight Street shopper. “And when we walked back, we crossed the street to hear them.”
Kauffmann and her friend Elise Filka were visiting from Oakland. Filka says that they were “just walking around,” because “it is a fun area.”
“We like to thrift!” Filka says laughing.
Like many other shoppers on Haight, the pair is moved by the sounds of the band on the porch that play effortlessly, like they are amongst friends, having a beer.
In fact… THAT is exactly what they are doing! Downing Pabst Blue Ribbon and playing bluegrass/folk to appreciative people!
One passerby, whom I am unable to track down, walked by applauding and yelling out, “Bluegrass and freakin’ PBR! That’s where it’s at!”
To sum it up, the clear-sunny sky needn’t worry about the bitter bite in today’s wind, because Jugtown Pirates kept Haight Street shoppers on their feet!
“They are fun! Folkish!” says Filka. “I felt like dancing.”
Wednesday Feb. 8 turned out to be quite the adventure. After waking up at 3 a.m., I switched on autopilot and biked to work as usual. One doppio macchiato later, my senses heightened as the buzz in my head signaled overly hyped movements and gestures in jittery nervousness. Caffeinated: Check!
The temporary fix wore off of course. After I worked a full day I wanted nothing more than to sleep, but I then sluggishly biked to school. By the end of class I felt like a zombie. Blaah… Despite my long start, the day had just begun; at about 6 in the early evening I set out to the Haight!
Quickly I was hit by a second wind. It was as if I was reborn in the midst of what seemed to be a revitalization of a long-established bohemian world. The night, full of life, captivated my curiosity and luckily led me to meet a couple of street performers in front of Amoeba Music.
Nate Miarecki and his companion whom chose to go by the alias “Rattlesnake Eyes,” were the first of many musical encounters for the night. According to Nate, they were “just hanging out,” and “trying to have a good time.”
The pair played some music for awhile, teaching each other songs before heading out to the Mission for the night. And then they packed up and left.
I spent the next few hours strolling the streets to see what else I can find to do, who else I can stop and talk to. In the end I came back to the area where I started and found that there was a show going on at the Milk Bar. The venue would become host to a gallery of catchy-garage-band noise.
Vocalist and guitarist of the unnamed opening act, Theo Slavin, was excited to have the opportunity to play their first show at Milk Bar.
“I just want to play,” says Slavin. “You never get to do it a lot.”
Drummer Taylor Meclroy adds that Milk Bar is a “cool spot,” and that “it’s a dope bar.”
The night continued and I mingled with the crowd. To my surprise, I was feeling more comfortable talking to people. I no longer felt like the lost child in the first week on assignment.
Two bands played before it was time for the headlining act. The Machetes were a throwback rock and roll band with a little punk edge. The crowd responded well, accepting the music, letting it absorb into their bodies as the beats pulsed with every dance movement.
At the end of the night, I left the show feeling amped. Being a musician myself, not only did the music resonate through me, but the words of Theo Slavin echoed in my head.
“I just want to play.”