Friday, June 3, 2016

No Parking Zone

Tea Party sounds so much nicer than "mob of racists and homophobes."
~ bumpersticker on Park Avenue

Looking great! Flowers look pretty good, too!
~ guy calling out from car with out-of-state plates after driving the wrong way on a one-way street and spotting me watching his idiocy as I water my garden

Hey! Got any time left you could share?
~ stranger asking for my parking receipt as I get back in my car (I gave him my leftover hour)

My cross-country adventuring friend is back, so we decamped to the North to mingle, watch potters at the wheel and listen to men in pink shirts play music in the garden before servicing my hired mouth.

Gleaned from her trip to the Left Coast and back: never visit Oklahoma City on prom night, casinos on reservations are depressing but watching talented bowlers is stellar entertainment and having a cold when you're in a car for four weeks is taxing on both parties.

Oh, yes, and a bracelet suggesting the rhythms of life is worth the price.

As we're leaving the restaurant, we spot a family table with all four children under 10, heads bowed and engrossed in the blue lights of screens.

Tragic, we agree.

"They've been like that since they sat down," the impossibly young-looking hostess pipes up, her blond ponytail swinging as she shakes her pretty little head. "Headphones, too. We weren't like that when we were little."

And by we, I have to assume she means her fellow young millennials (as opposed to older millennials or Generation Z, the latest demographic target of fact-finding marketers) who had to wait until middle school to be granted device privileges.

Cry me a river.

Even the drive back from the hinterlands passes quickly with talk of Republican-baiters, wedding officiating and eleventh hour house tours. Fireworks are exploding over the Diamond as we drive by and she reminisces about a drive to the North Carolina beach on a long-ago July fourth, passing fireworks for miles along I-95, a sight you never forget.

Four weeks is really too long for friends to try to recap in a matter of hours. Hence, impending lunch plans were made to further the insider tip sharing of a two-time Paris pro.

She waved me goodbye with an armful of books - Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Visit from the Goon Squad" and Moore's "Sacre Bleu, a Comedy D'Art," among others - while at the same time clarifying that they were not birthday presents, merely fodder for discussion.

Be still my conversation heart, let's do read and dissect together.

But for tonight, let's instead invite a fellow music-lover (coincidentally a fellow) to take a somewhat steamy stroll over to Strange Matter for a show, arriving well enough in advance (okay, 20 minutes) to slide over to Ipanema and have a glass of wine and share some social intercourse in the uncrowded restaurant.

The music isn't loud enough, but the vibe is comfortable and music awaits us a few doors down.

Loop master Dave Watkins has gone and built himself another instrument, this time with a $99 Telecaster kit and the usual obscene amount of elbow grease, and proceeds to make music on it, magnificently layering sounds made by playing the guitar, tapping on it and singing into it to create dense soundscapes that entrance the room.

And by room, I mean a semi-circle of young men standing around Dave, worshiping at his altar and trying to absorb his genius.

Between songs a friend says hello and shares that just a few minutes earlier, he'd noticed that everyone in the audience was male until I walked in. "Women don't like this kind of music, I guess," he says. "Too technical?"

But I like it a lot, I remind him. "Women don't like power pop, either," he insists. Well, I love that, too. "Well, you're not a typical woman."

Thank you, I'll take that as a the compliment.

Philly's Laser Background took the stage and played their new album "Correct" from start to finish, effectively taking the crowd on a mildly psychedelic electronic journey complete with synthesizers and, as my date so perfectly put it, cosmetically-enhanced voice work (loads of effects).

Naturally the requisite non-stop dance guy threw his waist-length hair around as he stepped erratically and shook his body directly in front of the stage to the trippy sounds that deserved visual effects.

Born too late, he'd have made a terrific Dead follower, forever searching for a beat.

I'd shared with a friend that I'd seen Laser Background referred to as "paisley pop" and it took only one song for him to turn and deadpan, "I hear no paisley." Turns out he spoke too soon because a few songs later, a decidedly whimsical paisley pop feel emerged and I savored the moment almost as much as the music.

This, kids, is why we come out for live music on a Thursday night.

Recluse Raccoon closed out the show, trucker hats on heads and rhythm section keeping things lively as guitarist Timothy sang his succinct and slightly mournful songs to close out the evening and send the two of us walking home along a mostly deserted Broad Street, a far cry from the suburban landscapes of Henrico County and any clandestine Tea Party activity.

A women doesn't have to be typical to appreciate a late night post-paisley walk when the company's right and there's time left to share.

Things move really fast now. How did that happen?


  1. Read Sacre Bleu! Have Goon Squad!!! Count me in on discussionsđŸ˜‰đŸ¤—

  2. Yes, ma'am! Wine will be required at all book discussions,by the way.