Monthly Archives: April 2005

Just Intonation Network Concerts

Tonight I made it to my second concert in the Just Intonation Networks series of concerts, this one at Noe Valley Ministry featuring John Schneider on a variety of ‘justly-fretted’ guitars. He played pieces by Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, Terry Riley and one of his own. Nice! Many of the pieces he played on a newly created (2003) steel guitar with just fretting, he said there are now about 10 pieces composed for it.

Last week I saw Terry Riley at the beautiful St Gregory of Nyssa church over on Protrero Hill. There are concerts most weekends for the next month, so check it out if you’re in SF. (There’s also a 70th birthday celebration concert for Terry Riley in Berkeley on June 3).

SPD Open House

Wandered over to Berkeley today for the Small Press Distribution Open House, where I could peruse the shelves of the warehouse. Was happy to find a number of titles from Clear Cut Press, out of Astoria, Oregon, publishers of small pocket books.

Fiery Furnaces @ GAMH, 29-April-2005

A singular approach, to be sure. Fiery Furnaces appeared at the Great American Music Hall tonight, a four piece band with a standing drummer, base, guitar/keyboard/space sounds and vocals. The first ‘set’ went for 30 minutes or more, chunks of songs one after another, often with a very steady, non-swinging pulse. I found it to be a little monotonous; the details that come out on the recordings seemed to be missing. After that they played a few full ‘songs’ and that worked better for me at least.

Face in the crowd was a cute gal with curly hair, jewelry in her nose, a glimmer in her eye and a triangle with notations written on the back of her hand.

Greil Marcus @ Booksmith, 25-April-2005

Greil Marcus has a new book out on Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” and he was at The Booksmith for a reading the other night. As he mentioned, there have been a few books written on single songs, and indeed when the idea was first pitched to him, he was reluctant to take the bait. But after thinking about it, and hearing that surely someone else would do it if he didn’t, he went for it.

Having read a lot of Dylan books over the years, I was pretty familiar with most of the facts about the development of the song, but one point Marcus made was quite thrilling. He listened to the session tapes from June 15 & 16, 1965, and pointed out that the recording we all know was the very first time the musicians made it all the way through the four verses. So even they did not know how it would sound, how it would end. After that they kept trying and seemed to get even further away from a successful cut, and it was clear that had they missed it on June 16, the world may never have heard the song at all.

Upcoming Events

Lots of things coming in the next few weeks that I’m looking forward to…

April 22 – Camille Paglia @ Booksmith (Page St Library) – new book on short poems
April 25 – Griel Marcus @ Booksmith – new book on “Like a Rolling Stone”
April 29 – Fiery Furnances @ GAMH
May 2 – Gang of Four @ Fillmore. See brief interview at LA Weekly with Andy Gill.

JW on BJs

I recommend keeping an eye on James Wolcott… I think he’s right on target with this one.

Sunday in the City

Today I made it over to Nob Hill, to see the Universe Within exhibit at the Masonic building on California St. The exhibit features ‘plasticine’ bodies, apparently sent over from China, that have been sliced and carved up in various ways to show the internal systems of the body. So you see the musculature, the circulatory systems, the spinal cord, etc. These bodies are posed in some funny ways, including one on a bicycle, and another throwing a ball. From what I could see, there were plenty of doctors and medical folks there, who knew their anatomy, along with families and many other folks. Strange and interesting, especially as you look at the other people, imagining their internal systems humming away.

Then wandered down the hill to a favorite spot, Kayo Books, on Post St. While I was there they got a call from John Waters (yes, that John Waters) looking for a particular sleaze title.

Shamans in the Amazon – Mark Plotkin

Tonight I attended a lecture by a fellow named Mark Plotkin; it was in Golden Gate Park at the County Fair Building, sponsored by the Conservatory of Flowers. He runs an organization by the name of Amazon Conservation Team (ACT), which is dedicated to helping the indigenous people of the Amazon have more control over the land that they live on, and is especially interested in preserving shamanic culture. I haven’t read any of his books, but am quite interested now, as he has spent the past 20+ years working with the people there.
The ACT approach is to help the people map their territory, and then work with the local governments to get better land rights to protect the precious headwaters of the Amazon basin. It appears to be a very worthy cause.

Animal Farm – Hidden Villa

Spent a very nice couple of days down at Hidden Villa, a special getaway. Especially liked seeing the animals, quite a few newborns around!




Erik Davis on Led Zeppelin (four symbols)

A quick recommendation for Erik Davis’s new short book on the fourth Led Zeppelin record, where he guides you along the hero’s journey that peaks on the famous stairway and comes back down to be swept away when the levee breaks.LZ sigils
The book is part of the 33 1/3 series put out by Continuum, each one on a single record. I’ve read the one on Love’s Forever Changes, and have a couple more for a rainy day.