Time to visit www.exitosngnosis.com and pre-order your Byebye and Shlort, recipient of a 4.5/5 score from IndieReader! It’s much cheaper before May! Or be smart and tell your library to get it for you!
Review here: https://indiereader.com/2019/03/byebye-and-shlort/
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!
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.
This late in December, finally the avocado tree at our building is ready to glean. There’s a whole lot of fruit on it. Today my neighbor invited me to borrow his gancho and I took just this much, trying to take from the highest reaches so he could get the easier stuff. As you can see in the photo at left, some even matured on the tree.
After a mellow but bastard-long summer, and what looks to be another bleak winter, my faith in San José is restored when a distant good winter gives us this many avocados. My landlord is barely aware of the tree and will get nothing from it as he grasps after the paperwork simulacrum of his genocidal private property, where we can now choose to feed ourselves on it or give it away to those who need it more than we do. I sure as shit won’t be letting any millennials make toast out of them!
There’s got to be like $1000 in market-value fruit on it if we could safely get at all of it. No narco conflict, no gasoline, no exploited labor, no dipshit agribusiness, no [further] deforestation, no sprays or chemicals of any kind, no Whole Foods, and no fucking organic certification!
Si se me acaba el dinerohh oohhhhhh … ¡les pagoohhhh con aguacate eeees!!
Finally, finally made it to the fourth floor of my beloved King Library, after a bitter monthlong absence, to be shit last in seeing San José old hand David Mejia’s exhibition Before and After Thanksgiving. It’s a painting (watercolor, right?) exercise and a modest history lesson. Mejia has been pushing his stuff for years. One of my favorites is the profane and puerile Ballman. It’s excellent that he’s getting some love at the library. Go see the paintings before November 30! I’ll let the paintings speak for themselves:
Low-res, off-center photos posted for collegiality and appreciation only. I really dig the playful but purposeful use of color and the comic book-style planning in general. It gives an emotional directness needed by the subject, just as an improvised shamanic performance would in a more advanced culture than our own.
I also like how he mentioned using fish as fertilizer in poor soils, because it reminded me of the many years of my life I spent wondering why the fuck, as it said in some school textbook of mine, they “planted fish.”
Found this guaife-proof Coronita, seven lousy ounces, once again tossed in the recycling in a pack of empties. Froze solid on top in the freezer. Approaching the mid-20s of how many road beers I’ve found since I started looking!
Don’t know why it took me a week to publish this. The Jazz Fest this year will remain in my memory as starting with a raging, vacant-lot-squatting Friday, and as plagued by music-killing hour-late starts, but there were still several acts that I really liked. Here are the ones of whose sets I saw at least the majority proportion. See videos of all of them at SJ Jazz.
On Friday the standouts were Howard Wiley/Extra Nappy at the tiny boombox stage, and The Seshen at Stritch, where the drinks are overpriced and the ambience is perfect. What did we do downtown after Cactus Club and before Stritch?? It was great to have the Seshen to turn to when George Clinton’s band turned out not to be present. I don’t know what I expected, other than that they’d put some fire under it.
This below is the College Fund Street Band, as the sign says. From very little sister to dad, on bass, were singing pop songs. They had two gigs that I know of, this one Saturday in front of the Chinatown monument and one Sunday on the corner of San Fernando outside the art museum.
They weren’t at all as thrilling, nevertheless, as the stumbling drunk guy sitting on the history table fifty paces away. His buddy says that it’s like babysitting today, they’re both drinking Mike’s God Damn White San José Men’s Obsession Lemonade, and he’s got a guitar on his belly. So I sez do a song about Mike’s Lemonade. He asks me for seventeen cents, or a dollar fifty nine or any amount within that, and I find a dollar for his drunk ass.
He stands up on the history table, almost falls on his face, slams down on his ass to play the guitar, still can’t hold steady, and then gets down on the paseo. He gives his buddy the guitar like, PLAY, and DON’T BREAK A STRING, then stops him tells him to play softer, and his buddy is mad and hisses never make me stop. Later I thought that’s not what she said. Finally with his friend holding the guitar he does the Homer Simpson pose, knees bent, ass out, huge belly forward, head back and belting the words MIKE’S HARD LEMONADE, and he picks up the pop tune that the College Fund Band are playing. I sez thanks and walk away and he calls after me (reading my shirt) EYY!! GET BACK HERE GIZDICH!!!
Saturday felt like kind of a wash because the damned shows kept going on late. But Ray Obiedo was awesome. He had fusiony unison heads on clean texmex guitar, soprano sax and steel pans. Hip! Also at the hotel was Kalil Wilson, whose standard croons put lots of young children to sleep. And of course half the fest is just the Salsa Stage, where I saw, amongst others, Conjunto Karabali and Carlitos Medrano y Sabor de mi Cuba. Never miss Cubans playing in your town! I wanted to see a lot more people, such as Millennium Sounds, but again the gad damn late starts killed it. Standout of Saturday Night was vocalist Kavita Shah and her bassist Francois, who were so good that we missed Chris Botti entirely. Darn!
Above: Junior Dixieland Czech Republic, directed by Bedřich Smrčka. These kids got dragged all the way out in their school uniforms from the Czech Republic and made to play their stuff for us, and were incredulous when I told them how great it was and how much I loved the whole notion. I sed, it’s a shame when the Czech Republic across the world cares more about our awesome historical music than we do. The singer/washboard is probably 11 and the low banjo is probably 16, 17.
Above: Crowds were very warm for Jackie Gage, just happy to see a San José native making it and singing songs. Her bassist was very good. She did a shuffle version of Afro Blue, which was alright. Maceo Parker’s band was also pretty straight-ahead, but not as mechanical as George Clinton’s. Below is Sunday night’s Allan Harris, photographed as above at Jade Leaf, which remains way too small for the kinds of crowds at the Fest as long as they insist on seating, but sounds great. Harris’ high string licks were spot-on.
Lastly, can’t forget the “jazz noir” put on by Dmitri Matheny, who was so stoked to be there with his “bay area Wrecking Crew” of Ron Belcher, Leon Joyce and Matt Clark, that it was infectious.
I didn’t really see any acts that redefined my sense of music, such as Sonex ’15 and Miguel Zenón ’16, but it was still fun. I hope the organizers read this and crack down on the late starts. For those of you reading this out of town, the Fest is setup so you hear 2 different bands constantly, so late starts or false starts, like the band that never started at San Pedro on Friday, are a major buzzkill. Still it’s a hundred bucks for three days of music. That’s an investment, kids!
All photos by the author on a piece of shit Samsung shart phone.