People try to put us d-down just because we get around. Things they do look awful c-c-cold; I hope I die before I get old. Talkin’ ‘bout my generation. This is my generation. This is my generation, baby.
– Pete Townsend, The Who
I ran across a post on Facebook the other day from Claire Bent, a local songwriter. Trying to figure something out, she wrote, “Hi! I know I’ve posted kind of a lot about my gig, but it seems like mostly only my older generation friends have seen the posts. Will my generation friends please just like this post to let me know if you’ve seen any of the posts about my gig? Thanks! 🙂 just want to see who my posts are reaching.”
Claire was wondering about something that I don’t understand — the mechanics of FB algorithms — but the question had a secondary effect. The first people who responded were her “older generation friends,” who seemed genuinely apologetic about their oldness.
I wrote to her saying, “I’m a senior citizen, so maybe you’re not interested in reaching me, but I don’t know anything about your gig. Where is it? What time? (Forgive me if those seem like dumb questions.)” And I was curious about how she was reaching my g-g-generation vs. hers.
I knew Claire mostly from her regular gig playing at Libation solo, mostly with her ukulele. (Incidentally, that gig came to an end when the wine shop changed hands and for some reason thought they’d draw in a younger crowd without music, but that’s really a story for another day.) She was actually talking about a new band Citizen Funk, who are playing Saturday in the Palm Lounge at the Eureka Inn.
The band chimed in supplying details for a “big write up.” Drummer Jim Bent (Claire’s dad) noted, “I think we have a setlist that most will find ‘multi-generational’. We have tunes that go back [from] The Meters, Etta James and Aretha Franklin to more contemporary such as Amy Winehouse, Susan Tedeschi and Sharon Jones, to name a few.”
Bassist William Mitchell said, “In addition to ‘old school’ funk (Prince, James Brown, Chic, Herbie Hancock, etc), we play ‘new school,’ as well (e.g., Bruno Mars, Daft Punk, Jamiroquai).”
My friend Albert, wondered, “Do you want us to rope off a section of the venue for stodgers only?” That won’t be required. I’m happy that I didn’t die before I got old (and I try not to act my age). Claire’s query about algorithms went unanswered. IMHO, a lot of times social networking gets in the way of cross-generational understanding by polarizing people when it’s supposed to unite people.
Saturday mornings are generally yard/garage sale days for our household, so a Craigslist post about a “swap meet” on 11th Street in Arcata was a natural. I’d also heard about some shows coming up in a new space and I wondered if this might be at the same place. It was.
In December, the Union had a long piece about the local Breakfast All Day Collective, and their vision: “To act as a creative outlet for DIY (do-it-yourself) and DIT (do-it-together) performance, music and art.” (There’s more to the vision stated in a zine guide/manifesto.)
Zev Smith-Danford of B.A.D. Collective spoke of creating a “safer” space in Arcata. This is that space. I found Zev selling chai tea at the swap meet in the former home of Copeland Lumber on 11th St. (across from the Portuguese Hall). Another zine titled Welcome to Outer Space listed shows coming up from now ’til May. (I should note that when I bought some DVDs from Zev’s partner Alex about the name of the new space, they said they hadn’t had a final decision from the collective, but Outer Space is the working title.)
Next up in Outer Space show-wise: a benefit for the B.A.D. All Ages Arcata Project featuring Medicine Baul, described in the zine as “Humboldt’s experimental music collective.” The band includes my close friend Vinny DeVaney of Fogou fame (I am the co-producer for that radio show, Wednesdays 2 to 4 p.m. on KHSU.) If you know Fogou, you know what they mean by “experimental.”
Also, coming from Olympia, they have The Washboard Abs, described as “bedroom indie pop.” A brief bio also tells us “songwriting project of clarke sondermann since summer 2014 – anchorage ◊ denver ◊ olympia” with three other bandmates and a discography that starts with a tape, ‘whateverland’ (currently out of print). Showtime is 6 to 10 p.m. The zine flyer also lists “and more!” which could be a good name for a band, (albeit confusing). I’m not going to list them now, but there are half a dozen other shows coming, and I’m sure there will be more. They have a six month lease on Outer Space, more than enough time to build on their past reputation and create a great safer space. Give them your support when they need it.
The Age of Aquarius
Wednesday evening at HSU, the Queer Student Union hosts a screening of the “monumental and historic” documentary Paris is Burning about the colorful balls thrown by the African-American, Latino, gay and transgender community in NYC of the late ’80s. (Showtime 5:30 p.m. Founder’s Hall 125.) The film documents the art/dance form known as “voguing” (remember that Madonna song) and the culture around it.
The screening and a discussion come in conjunction with The AQUEERius Ball, Friday, 6 to 11 p.m. in HSU’s Kate Buchanan Room, “celebrating the age of Aquarius and QTPOC heritage and liberation” with a Paris Is Burning style/tribute ball, a runway competition, a costume contest (“Fabulous Prizes!!!”) for “Kingest King, Queenest Queen, and Queerest Queer,” and cabaret performances by Mantrikka HO (also the emcee), Ophelia Cox, Hugh Johnson, Grrrlz 2 Men and “many more.” The all-ages event is free. Need more preparation? On Friday at Synapsis Nova, Mantrikka HO offers a class and “werkshop” on “new school waaking” (aka voguing). Check Synapsis online for time and further details.
Saturday at the Eureka Theater, Va Va Voom Revue presents: Valentines Schmalentines!, an “anti-Valentines extravaganza with burlesque, draglesque, games and so much more!” Va Va Voom is Kitty Cox, Ophelia Cox and company performing and there are special guests: Pearl E. Gates from San Francisco (formerly of the ’70s rock band Pearl Harbor and the Explosions) and local draglesque star Hugh Johnson. Yes, there’s a bit of overlap between the shows. That’s just the times we live in.
Saturday, CenterArts presents the Maria Schneider Orchestra, 17-piece ensemble led by award–winning composer and conductor Maria Schneider. She has five Grammy Awards under her belt, including one for her recent collaboration with David Bowie on “Sue (Or In A Season of Crime),” which earned a 2016 award for “Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals.” Schneider and her orchestra also received a second Grammy for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” for the The Thompson Fields. On the side, Ms. Schneider has been speaking out on artists’ issues, especially regarding digital rights and music piracy. She’s working with MusicAnswers.org seeking “to unite, inform, organize, and protect our brothers and sisters in music” as they work to get equitable payments from digital music services (Pandora, Spotify and YouTube) in an age of “rampant, unchecked piracy across the internet.” Artists should get more than pennies for their art.
Earlier Saturday (2 p.m.) at the Morris Graves Museum, students and faculty from HSU’s Music Dept. offer a program of Chamber Music and solo performances with “all-ages educational interludes about the pieces being played and the composers who created them.” You don’t have to take notes. We promise, there’s no test.
Sunday at the Graves, the afternoon “Wine & Jazz” program (3 to 5 p.m.) has the vibraphone trio Good Vibes with local vibesmen Mike LaBolle, Matthew McClimon and Jonathan Kipp (plus drummer Brandon Rainbolt and bassist Danny Gaon from The Opera Alley Cats). An additional attraction will be the launch of a new line of vibraphones from Arcata-based Marimba One. Second bonus: artist Claire Iris Schenke will do live iPad sketches during the performance.
At the same time in Trinidad:
When I was in college, one of my girlfriends was working on her Master’s degree focusing on the work of Wilhem Reich, a revolutionary Austrian psychologist. In 1933, Reich published The Mass Psychology of Fascism, in which he explores how fascists come into power, and explains their rise as a symptom of sexual repression. He followed with The Sexual Revolution, expanding on his prescient theories. He also came up with a device called the “orgone accumulator,” which I never quite understood, that focused “esoteric energy or hypothetical universal life force.” How? I have no idea.
That’s where the L.A. soul/funk band Orgõne got its name. They’re a great band with horns, a killer rhythm section and tons of soul. “We intend our music to have an inhibition-canceling effect,” says guitarist Sergio Rios, “encouraging everyone to own the freakiness that lives inside them.” Perhaps there’s esoteric energy involved.
They’re on a “West Coast Soul Tour” with the like-minded Monophonics, a fine “psychedelic soul” quartet from San Francisco that’s equally funky and soulful. The tour hits Arcata Sunday night for a show at Humboldt Brews. Be there and be funky.
Speaking of the universal life force, Friday afternoon (1 p.m.) you’re invited to join One Billion Rising: Rise in Solidarity on the Arcata Plaza. Launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, the movement began as a call to action based on “the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.” Women dance together “to express their outrage, strike, dance, and RISE in defiance of the injustices women suffer, demanding an end at last to violence against women.”
The local group says, “Time to get out and rock the Plaza again. Join us and the global community to rise up in dance to say no to violence and injustice in our community and around the world.” At 1:30 be ready to dance a learned routine to Steve Aoki & Walk Off The Earth’s “Home We’ll Go (Take My Hand).” (Available online.) VDay Humboldt and support organizations have informatio