Laswell/Zorn, Konx Om Pax, Chapel SF 13.7.18

I saw fuckin Bill Laswell, the man, last night in SF with his frequent collaborator John Zorn doing a thing they call Konx Om Pax. I went with my old pal Dario Puga of A Fashionable Disease, the best band in Santa Cruz in the oughts, and his girlfriend Danielle, who together do various noise projects. One of my other old friends showed up at the Chapel by surprise and a fine time was had by all. Below is the lame cellphone proof photo of the Chapel, one of SF’s great newish venues in the face of so many old ones dying.
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Laswell’s doing his Material bass thing with all the effects and Zorn’s farting into his thigh with those red army camo pants. Tell me he wears those around Manhattan.

The coolest part was after the end when the two retreated upstairs after an hour, having said not a fucking word to the audience. Me and this other cat waited at the bottom of the stairs and finally our main man, Security Fred, offers to take our records up with him and get them signed. Thanks Fred! Laswell signed my old Celluloid Records Time Zone single!! Fucking stoked. Thanks Bill!!! It was a once-in-a-lifetime show, and even benefited something about pretending to care about abuse and destruction of migrant laborers over the last 50 years.
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For the uninitiated, it’s hard to put the scope of Laswell’s contribution to punk rock and alternative (in the true broad sense, not like the 1994 BMG catalogue) music over the last 40 years into a quick statement. Before and even with the internet, Laswell is the only reason we know about Fela Kuti in the US. He seems to have been playing a game of making the most connections throughout his life. His bands Material, Last Exit, and Praxis, just to name a few, touch punk, hiphop, new age, ambient, jazz, Coltrane’s biggest fans Pharaoh Sanders and Sonny Sharrock, Bernie Worrell, and the Primus guys. He’s all about collaboration and mutual aid amongst artists. If you play the six-degrees game in contemporary music, you will find Bill every time. That woozy light-funk bass he’s known for might sound goofy in today’s context, but remember that he did it first and never stopped. It’s further notable that both Bill and Zorn have worked tirelessly to unite musicians on both coasts.

Not until I saw the ad for the show did I really feel how much his stuff has informed my life. What a treat to see him play. You can look up the similarly-cosmopolitan Zorn, I’m not really an expert except to say that his record project Tzadik was the inventor of the $35 fucking CD in the 90s, so we never dared hear Naked City even though we knew it’d be the most badass hardcore skronk that we needed to hear. Dario’s band A Fashionable Disease was just a little influenced by Naked City, as it happens.

It was an old-guy set, which I loved, done by 10, and we were in bed by midnight.

 

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San José Floats On the Backs of Salmon

In The Guadalupe River and the Hidden Heart of San José, Eric Simons writes in the latest Bay Nature magazine about my beloved and trash-choked Guadalupe River and its system in the Santa Clara Valley. The interviewee, Roger Castillo, has showed the writer around the city where salmon, whom I never see in my stretch of the Guadalupe, are living in the storm drains of the freeway system. I found this astoundingly poetic. Homeless fish living under the freeway because they can’t afford the river! Thanks, successful people!

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Photo by Andrea Laue of the storm channel along the Guadalupe Trail facing Park Avenue from San Fernando Street. I disagree with the sanitization and happy color but it’s a good picture.

The article is worth a read no matter where you live. If it smashes some preconceptions about Silicon Valley, that’s a bonus. There are a lot of us in this town who would love to see the freeways, semiconductors and banks vanish with their neonazi brogrammer operators and have our cheapass stonefruit and goats back.

Those moved to help the river can sign up to clean it with the 222 Crew of South Bay Clean Creeks Coalition, a local organization with community-based anarchy leadership. Make it a punishment for when your kids are on their phone too much!

In related news, I recently looked and found out that people living downtown such as the Washington “Goosetown” and Reed neighborhoods use groundwater, so it’s in everyone’s best interest not to trash the river.

SJPD Clears Homeless Shelf Under 280/87 20 June 2018

Beginning approximately 1PM today, Wednesday 20 June 2018, cops cleared out the Shelf, a popular camping spot for homeless San José citizens.

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The Shelf is on the Guadalupe Path, beneath the 280/87 interchange, whose conception is documented in Jan McDaniel’s master’s thesis Demolition of a San José Neighborhood. The novel I’m working on takes place right here, as does much of my real free time.

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Was on my bike finally on the way to visit someone there, when the cops show up. Crews in trucks marked Tucker and Jensen came to pack up trash and whatever gets left behind. SJPD is known to impound and eventually destroy property during sweeps like these.

It is not totally illegal to sleep out in San José, which is a rare luxury in the area. However, a representative of the Santa Clara Water District confirmed by telephone today that it “owns” the entire Guadalupe River. Water companies in the city are known to frown on camping on their property, so the call to clear the Shelf could have come from them. There is also a restriction on sleeping in cars and “storing” vehicles on public curbs.

It’s a drag because the camp has held out for a solid six months, as peacefully as we can imagine without having seen it the whole time. A man I was talking to as a source for my novel was living there, though I did not see him when the sweep began , and now I’m not sure if I’ll find him again. We haven’t traded phone numbers. I would like to have shown him my appreciation better, even with just a beer or a sandwich.

Clifford Coulter – Sal Si Puedes

How in the hell did I only just find out, today, 19.6.18, about Clifford Coulter and his East Side tunes??? And on Impulse! Man, I owe a lot to Eric Avila for Folklore of the Freeway. His bibliography saved me from looking like an ignoramus. The book gave me the tip about the Mayfair district being called Sal Si Puedes (there’s one in Watsonville too, heh), as well as about Helena María Viramontes’ Their Dogs Came With Them that I finished yesterday. Let’s get out if we can.

Apply yourself and it comes to you …
If you believe in this lie, you’re a fool, my friend!
The odds are too high, you’ll never win. That’s the way it is.

The Real Three Californias

Three Californias: it’s one idea that appeals to both idiotic white trash and the technocrat fascists whom they worship.
Us versus them, dude! Self-determination, dude! Local, brah! But it’s really about what it’s always really about: a legislated goldrush. In this case, that’d mean annihilating a tax base and maybe a commercial system that barely hold things together as they are.
For you consumers who don’t pay attention to who and what make this state go, here are some realistic, yea, likely inevitable scenarios for a rich man’s three Californias after the November 2018 election. Vote yes, vote no, but vote your ethics!
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California:
1. Governor Antonio Villaraigosa, often costumed as a sea otter
2. Populated exclusively by billionaires paying each other no taxes
3. Populated exclusively by billionaires, no one minds that water from the tap costs $1.00 per gallon from those hicks in Northern California
4. Soon the entire entertainment industry is made of degenerate inbred celebrities from Los Angeles, who have to be made attractive using After Effects
5. The frigging air is “organic” and “artesanal”

Northern California
:
1. Governor Greg Gopman, because people fall for “redemption” in the media every time
2. Populated exclusively by billionaires and nonprofiteers
3. Constant warfare with the South over the aqueduct system, disguised as more-distracting hate crime
4. Robotic service industry: cooks, cleaners, landscapers, all of it
5. Every lightswitch and streetcorner is named after fucking Steve Jobs or fucking Ed Lee

Southern California:
1. Governor Don J Grundmann (after he gets booted from the North), because people fall for “redemption” in the media every time
2. Anything green to eat from Salinas or Santa Rosa basically costs a month’s rent
3. Robotic police, medical and service industry bought at a huge price from the North
4. Fresno finally gets to be the capital, with a banking system of crystal meth and slaves
5. Yosemite

In General:
1. Salinas, Pajaro, Santa Inez and Santa Maria valleys are to be bent to feed the Los Angeles Basin, while Sonoma is to feed the San Francisco Bay and the rest of the Northern state will likely be deforested to grow weed.
2. Northern and Southern states will be one continuous swath of freeway-dominated suburbs with no recycling, each population 50 million and therefore,
3. No government will ever be up for election not made of executives from Hovnanian, Alliance, Irvine Company, Webcor, Granite, etc., and therefore,
4. The Sierra Nevada will be completely deforested and exploited for all possible minerals in order to build houses and California’s tech gizmos, except Yosemite
5. Humanitarian crises at borders with California, each other, Arizona and Baja. At the border with Baja, a world-famous child-rape sales industry. The border with the North becomes the busiest and most violent border on Earth, bustling for a chance to work for Google, Apple, or Starbucks
6. 100% charter schools or straight-up private schools, and you can forget the state college system
7. The need for an enormous genocide against people of color in order to even get the thing to work

The fascist Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper, who really has nothing better to do than sponsor this bill, not pick up garbage, not rent housing to people for cheap because he doesn’t need the money, not help the state buy up old ranches for open space, said the following:
“Three states will get us better infrastructure, better education and lower taxes…”
Such a brazen lie gets past voters all the time. What he means is better control of infrastructure, education and taxes that favor the interests of the rich; not the self-determination of a working republic who don’t have to choose housing over healthy living, but the self-determination of plutocrats who redraw a country in their own image. One thing’s for sure, it already can’t get any worse for the immigrants who will continue to come because no in all three states will pick their own food or clean their own house…

Eastside Meadows Loop Ride


Found my new favorite ride in the Sierra de Santa Isabel region of San José this morning, which I dub “Eastside Meadows Loop.” I’d been looking at the maps and interested in two new routes: Sierra over this gnarly fire road back down into Alum Rock Park itself, and another route that went up Clayton over either to Alum Rock or Quimby via 130, the very top. I’ll write more about Sierra when I get around to it, but it’s a widowmaker, and I want to ride it strictly out of completism.

Instead of heading to specific spots, I started out straight down Story and just went until I ran out of road. The backroad that joins to it is called Fleming, which went northwest the high road along a nice deep cut between the first hill out of the city and the proper rise of the mountains. When the sun is behind the trees, it’s cool even on summer mornings. It’s definitely suburban, but there are spots that are still more country, even down that low. Beware: Corralitos Road, which sounded good, doesn’t have a dead-end sign like its neighbor roads, but is indeed a dead end, and steep one at that.

Fleming ends at Alum Rock, and then just as it gets steep it connects at right to 130. As the Google Map insists on rendering for you, there’s a shortcut up Porter to Alum Rock. To be honest I still never had done that hill, and I see why those Amgen CEO-ride ninnies use it. They weren’t kidding that it’s the easy way up the mountains, and also the most scenic, with views of apricot orchards, Dario’s Ranch, some old weird dead yuppie palaces with dead-walnut yards and neglected tennis courts, wild turkeys, quail, horse pasture and of course durr. And of course the rotting pustule of Silicon Valley poking out below.

Somewhere around the 12000 address mark of 130 (Mount Hamilton) there’s a doppelgänger for the two shithouses approximately at 4000 Quimby that ruin not one but two peaks standing mightily against the view of the valley. Some douchebags are going around like “hey! It’s the finite resource of two peaks shoulder to shoulder. Let’s wreck it for everyone and put two shite McMansions there!”

Just as one starts to feel the very easy but long 4% climb, the option appears to either keep going up another mile to Quimby or head down Clayton. I’d found Clayton in spite of myself! But the funny part is, when I got down again, I saw that I’d started there and not bothered to read signs to the right when I went up Story! So it was a big perfect loop.

The land up there looks like a solid wall from down in the valley, but it’s actually a slow stepping landscape of slopes and wide meadows. I thought about taking a picture with my Capitalist Scum device, but then I thought, nah. You want to see it, you got to ride it yourself!

I’m glad I did Clayton on the down rather than the up this time, because I enjoyed the Mount Hamilton section more than I otherwise might have. But I did go right past the monastery of the Descalzos and didn’t even notice. Clayton’s land is a little more like Quimby’s, not an easy grade up through high meadows but an express-elevator to the top. Much preferable for making a lovely loop to enjoy the season. Plus, Quimby’s surroundings suck at the bottom; there’s no fast way to get out of Tully-land up to the center of the city.

Once I got down I also accomplished a goal of going to a new liquor store, Jack’s, at the end of Jackson. Where the hell do you go to drink a beer in public at 10am on the east side, besides everywhere? Finally went to Emma Prusch. When you got the best, forget the rest.

Got an under-reported ride in the Santa Cruz or Diablo mountains? Comment it below!