Feeding The Beast

Crucial Roots Labels by Duane Sherwood
Crucial Roots Labels baby Duane Sherwood

I’m still “feeding the beast”, that is, ripping all the cds we have in the house in iTunes and building a library on an external drive. This has been a casual, ongoing, background activity for about a month now. I’ve got boxes of cds on the way out the door. Still not sure where to go with those.

I am really surprised that I haven’t burned out the cd drive in our old laptop yet. That thing has been a work horse. I did bring it to its knees a few times with homemade cds with paper stick-on labels. I put the first of Duane‘s Crucial Roots cds in there and it sounded like a helicopter taking off. I had to use a paper clip to bring it down. I asked Duane if he had a digital version of his essential, twenty cd set of Reggae/Ska/RockSteady/Dub and he set aside some time on Memorial Day weekend to make one. It fit nicely on a dvd and it’s now in our library competing with Pete LaBonne’s twenty six cd set, “Gigunda” in the “Party Shuffle” mode.

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Screwing Things Up

Bill Jones bought a plug-in for Cart Weaver (a shopping cart add on for Dreamweaver) that allows you to sell digital files and collect through PayPal. We are collaborating to set up a functioning store for Pete LaBonne’s entire oeuvre to date, entitled Gigunda. Today I scanned the covers of twenty six Pete cds. When we get the bugs worked out we hope to off this service to our website customers. Here is a sample from “Gigunda”. This track is from Pete’s “Ask Mr. Breakfast” cd.

I brought the Marlene Dumas book that Monica checked out of the UofR library to painting class last night. I had hoped to show it to Lorraine but she wasn’t in class. She has been really tearing it up lately. She brings in two or three paintings a week that just knock me out. My painting teacher really her work too and he has borrowed the book for a while.

I saw that Lucian Freud’s fat lady painting sold yesterday for more money than any other painting by a living artist. Beautiful tribute/obit to/for Robert Rauschenberg in yesterday’s NYT’s. I particularly like this passage.

The process — an improvisatory, counterintuitive way of doing things — was always what mattered most to him. “Screwing things up is a virtue,” he said when he was 74. “Being correct is never the point. I have an almost fanatically correct assistant, and by the time she re-spells my words and corrects my punctuation, I can’t read what I wrote. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.”

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Vinyl Is Better

Dancing at party after the concert.
Dancing at party after the concert.

Pete LaBonne’s performance in our living room was nothing short of amazing. Peggi and I have been singing “You’re a hundred monkeys typing on the bottom of my heart” all morning. We had about twenty people here. Peggi made banana nut bread and I made my best yet of hummus. We videoed the performance and will have something on YouTube soon. Just have to clear a few legal hurdles.

And just as I was extolling the virtues of our newly digitized music collection, iTunes froze up on me. It was about two minutes into Sly and Family Stone’s, “Sex Machine”and the dance floor was full. While I rebooted I played a forty five that had been sitting on the turntable for the last few weeks, “Hot Chocolate’s Don’t Turn It Off (I Kinda Like It)”. Damn did that sound good. Full and warm, not cold and digital. That may have been the number that got people taking turns dancing on our coffee table.

An article in yesterday’s NYT said today is Record Store Day. It coincides with the Grand Opening of Record Archives’ new store in Rochester. There are a bunch of bands playing there and we head over there. Might pick up some vinyl.

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Record Mode

Pete LaBonne Invitation
Pete LaBonne House Concert Invitation

Pete and Shelley are here so we decided to follow in Rick Simpson’s footsteps and have a house concert. Show time is 40 minutes away. Some of the email invites went out only a few hours ago. We’ll see who shows up. Two guests are already here. The sun will be setting behind Pete LaBonne when he hits the stage in our living room. We have the Sony mini disc in record mode and Peggi plans on videoing.

The Stones movie was sensational. The sound was better than any concert or movie I have ever been too. This was the first movie we’ve seen at the Imax theater in Gates. We had the best seats in the house for the 9:40 show and felt like we sitting on the stage. Mick was in full aerobics mode and the band looked was clearly having as good a time as we were.

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Getting With The Program

Winter aconite flowers in the snow.
Winter aconite flowers in the snow.

It snowed yesterday, a wet snow, and during the night clumps of snow fell off the pine tree that hangs over our bedroom. It sounded like squirrels jumping from the limbs to our roof and it sounded like they were digging into something. I figured they had found a way into our attic which is about a foot and a half tall at the peak. I imagined they were tearing up the place. I got the ladder out in the morning and went up on the roof. There were no footprints.

It was good packing. We rolled up a dirty snowman.

Work is so slow, I’ve been spending days organizing my digital life. I have all our mp3s on one drive and a backup of that folder on another drive. Each computer had its own folder of photos and random backups were scattered about. Never again. Our photos are all on one drive and we have a backup of that. Our primary computers are all running Time Machine. And there is a hard drive next to the stereo with the mp3 library on it. New cds get ripped when they walk in the door. I’m even letting iTunes manage the batch.

With all our mp3s in one place the Party Shuffle feature gets a good groove on. We just listened to a Coltrane tune from Impressions, Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent, a 20 minute Mingus Medley, Respectable by the Stones (their last good album), Eric Dolphy Springtime, The ChiLites Oh Girl, Tommy James Cellophane Symphony, Bob Dylan I’m Not There, Maggot Brain, I Got It Bad by Peggy Lee and Marquee Moon.

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We Live Like Kings

We had dinner with Peggi’s mom at Max’s on Monroe Avenue. We sat below some bad collage art. I tried not to let it spoil the dinner. We each ordered a roasted beet salad with orange slices and pistachios. Fantastic! We followed that up with an order of wild rice with dried cherries and pine nuts. I forgot all about the art.

Our NetFlix queue had two documentaries lined up in a row. We sat through Sicko a few nights ago and the Ralph Nader movie last night. I had a couple questions about Sicko. Isn’t Michael Moore big enough to stay out of his movies? And why is he so big anyway? And during the Nader movie I kept wondering why he wasn’t in the 2008 race and then he announced his candidacy this morning. We need more parties but how about somebody younger with a sense of humor? Hillary’s crack about “Change you can Xerox” rang a little differently in Xerox’s hometown but it still landed like a clunker. Xerox hasn’t been synonymous with copy since the desktop revolution.

We walked to the library and returned “Duma Key” which was two days overdue. Peggi did manage to finish the 600 pages. She told me I should read this one because it is all about painting. Some guy loses an arm and then takes up painting and discovers his paintings actually affect people’s lives. I’m busy reading “the Object Stares Back” by James Elkins. We stopped at Wegmans and picked up the ingredients for the “Hot and Sour Soup” recipe that was in the paper. Shitake mushrooms, Bella mushrooms, tofu, ginger, scallions, garlic and red pepper. Peggi also made some bread with buckwheat flour because we ran out of unbleached and we ate like kings.

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Why Doesn’t This Person Explode?

Nod cd cover by Susan Stanton
Nod cd cover by Susan Stanton

As we were leaving town to celebrate Peggi’s birthday on Friday we got an email about a a Nod show at Monty’s Krown. Nod shows are kind of rare these days and we were bummed that we would have to miss this one. Chris Schepp (see Chris’s reviews of Pete LaBonne) is playing keyboards with them now and we haven’t seen him with the band yet. Frank De Blase interviewed Nod for “City Newspaper” this week and he asked them what they had that wasn’t being offered. Joe Sorriero (guitar and voacals) answered, “Just a lack of freedom. Sometimes you see music and wonder, “Why doesn’t this person explode in some manner now?” Or “Why isn’t there one part that’s just off-kilter or wacky before coming back to the song?”

These few sentences perfectly describe Nod’s indescribable music. They have released a few cds on Steve Shelley’s “Smells Like Records”. 4D did the scan of Sue Stanton’s needlework for the cover of the cd shown here. Joe and Sue got hitched this summer and Tim and and Brian (Nod’s bass player and drummer) did a Nod tune during the outdoor ceremony. I’m looking forward to hearing the whole threesome with keyboard next time.

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