So this was our big brand-name rock show of the year. Terri instigated it (I kind of peaked with Devo sometime in high school), but I figured what the hey.
Tom Tom Club opened. I wasn’t really a fan of their music back in the day and I’m still not. But I really enjoyed their set; they were really pretty solid, and they had a ton of energy and they were just a great dance band. And now that I have gotten a little more of a taste for the NYC post-punk scene, I kind of get their context a little more– they easily could have showed up in Downtown 81 alongside James White and The Blacks or Kid Creole and the Cocoanuts. It was also much harder back when the Talking Heads were still in operation to see them as their own thing, but that is a little more obvious to me now. And the very afro-beat / world music sound of the last Talking Heads record seems less of a David Byrne tangent.
Devo was pretty faithful to their schtick– no big deviations in their stage show from the DVD we have of their 1980 stage show. Pretty similar set list, too. Their yellow hazmat suits are a little wider. But the spirit was still intact, and they had people up and dancing from the start. Some of the little films that they projected were clearly vintage Devo, but seemed like they might have been re-dubbed. And for the last song, Boojie Boy came out wearing some kind of frock and a pink baseball cap with a rhinestone skull-and-crossbones on it; during his nonsensical diatrabe I could sense the mood in the place was patient, but there was just a touch of “um, maybe you could take that stupid mask off and play Whip It again?”, but I think it was probably my favorite part of the set. And you know, it really is something to see the little film of them from 1981 in their Duty Now for the Future outfits with the wind in their hair, projected 30 feet high, with the Devo Corporate Anthem playing, with a few thousand other people in a place called the “Bank of America Pavillion” drinking a fluorescent green “margarita” from a slushee machine on a summer night. Mmmmm. Devolution.
There were teams, and I was on one of them. Nobody in the scavenger hunt were originally from the planet we were on. We weren’t scavenging for stuff, it was for clues to some puzzle. But the puzzle wasn’t just some made up game, we were really supposed to figure something out that would help people everywhere.
This clue was in a ruined mansion near a lake. It was night. Everything was dirty and grubby inside and it smelled woody and earthen. The wooden fixtures were getting eaten by termites and decomposing into dirt. The lighting was bad, maybe there were candles, and we had flashlights. On the second floor there was a Vandercook cylinder press under a dusty tarp in one room. Other teams were racing past. We lifted up the tarp– other people had been there before us– and I started to read the clue spelled out in the type. There was one interpretation of the clue that the words seemed to suggest. but I could tell there was a trick there: I could see that there was some arrangement of other letters, mostly “C”s near the bottom that, along with the words, made some kind of design, but it was hard to see. I realized I should just go to my printing studio and get some ink and actually run the press and we would see something the other teams hadn’t seen.
I ran outside to get on my bike to go to my studio (which was still in Somerville, which apparently was on this planet). It was dawn outside, and hilly, and it smelled like Pennsylvania, and I think it was.
Speaking of Facebook, I just roundaboutly got found by a really good friend who I knew when I was in high school, who I sort of thought I’d never hear from again. I guess maybe that’s not quite true, we always seemed to run into each other at unlikely times and places. So I sort of thought we would just run into each other walking down the street in Boston or in an airport in DC or something. Back in the day, we lived maybe an hour and a half away from each other and went to different high schools, but we always seemed to run into each other in the city in the least likely places at the least likely times. Like the time that my friend Greg and I went into Pittsburgh to see a play; we saw her walking down the street on the way there, and she came with us. Meeting up was often that haphazard, but we were pretty close, we had long phone conversations and I think we went to her homecoming dance together as a pretext to go the the Rocky Horror Picture Show afterward.
Anyway, the last time I saw her was just after college in the weeks before I moved to Boston and she moved to DC, when we drank Mickey’s Big Mouths on her parents’ porch late into the night, and talked about Big Life Transitions and such. After that, we maybe emailed a couple of times. And then even the occasional “I’m still alive” messages stopped maybe five years ago. While I said earlier that I always thought we’d run into each other again, in truth, I’ve been a little concerned about the silence.
I am definitely a little surprised at some of the facts I’ve been able to pick up. But it’s good; she looks happy. Anyway, I’m very curious to see if she’ll actually get in touch with me again; I really hope so, but I’m also just glad to know she’s still out there.
I guess this kind of thing is not that noteworthy; I find people and people find me all the time. I just am really happy about this one.
Decent Slate piece on space imagery in African American pop, from Sun Ra to Lil Wayne. Could be expanded to be a whole thesis!
I started reading her blog for the stuff about letterpress, but stay for stuff like this.
Thanks to Terri’s photo class, I managed to (barely) miss the fun on the Red Line this morning. We left the house at 7:40 or so (normally I leave at 8:10 or so), so although the train was abnormally crowded, we actually made it all the way to Park Street. Though, we did notice that it smelled weirdly like fire when we stopped abruptly just after Porter Square.
After work, I met up with Terri and we walked around and she took pictures, and we ended up at Rosebud. We never go to Rosebud. It’s a well preserved little train car diner with nifty neon. But it pretty consistently has bad food, so we never end up going there, what with the infinitely better options in Davis Square. But we went, because Terri needed to take pictures inside for her class, and all the tastier joints were too dark. There was a sign on the wall behind the bar that said “try our world famous bloody mary!”. I recommend that you not bother with the world famous bloody mary, which was watery tomato juice, vodka, with a wilty celery stick. Just get a Harpoon IPA. The one thing that we ordered that was fantastic was the buffalo mushrooms. Some time in the last 5 years I’ve become sort of a buffalo fiend, and pretty much, you put buffalo sauce on it, I’ll eat it. (Shut up). But we left thinking that we should go back more often. It’s a place definitely where old-school Somerville character gets along pretty much fine with the gentrificators like yours truly. The waitress saw Terri taking all kinds of pictures and brought her over a postcard and said, “this one’s probably going to be better than the one you shot outside”. We explained that she was taking a photo class, so we hoped they didn’t mind us taking pictures. The bartender heard that (it is a train car after all) and said “OK, just make sure you only shoot my good side” and turned his face to the left and pointed to his right side. When we were wrapping up, a couple came who appeared to be regulars. The waitress asked them where they were last night (for the Celtics game). The woman said that they were down on the cape. There was a picture of Larry Bird taped to the side of the TV over the bar.
Anyway, we left thinking we should go back there more, if only for drinks.
I caught this nugget in a Reuters article today:
The 2007 World Series-winning Red Sox baseball club last month became the first professional sports team to go solar, installing solar hot water panels that will replace a third of the gas used to heat water at Boston’s historic Fenway Park.
Note, I noticed the article caught it because someone from my company was quoted in it:
“The solar industry will look very different just two years from now,” said Ted Sullivan, a senior analyst at Lux Research, a New York market consultancy.
He said he expects “a shake-out among companies that aren’t prepared to thrive in this new environment — particularly crystalline silicon players that haven’t invested in new thin-film technologies.”
Turns out a couple of friends have been quietly blogging.
First, Doug, who is the mutual friend who introduced me & Terri, and in whose wedding party I wore a kilt, has a blog. Encourage him to post. It’s good for him.
Second, Cheri, whom Terri met a couple of jobs ago, and whom we see all too seldom since she moved to the West coast, has a great, great blog going at Parlancer.
Third, Jenn, a college friend, is blogging here, and I’ve gotta say, reading her blog pretty much approximates having a conversation with her, which is a Good Thing.
And actually there are some other people, but I don’t know if I should out them or not.
And, for what it’s worth, I’ve found most of them on Facebook. It seems like sometime in the last 6 months, absolutely everybody I have ever known (or am related to) in my whole life suddenly appeared on Facebook. I don’t love it, I don’t have any special objection to it (I am not a privacy nut, I crossed that bridge a long time ago), but it doesn’t make my eyes bleed like MySpace, and now that everybody I have ever known (or am related to) in my whole life is on it, it’s kind of interesting to keep superficial tabs on everybody. It’s kind of like using finger on the VAX back in the day to see what everybody is up to. Don’t take offense, though, if I don’t accept your invitation to the green patch where your zombie vampire hatchling plays scrabble with my good karma, it’s not personal, I just need to draw the line somewhere.