Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Homebody Holiday

All the hullabaloo over one minute in time.  All that chasing down the good party; the right place to be at the stroke of twelve. Down in Georgetown or up in Adams Morgan?  Should we go to a bar?  Or to that crazy group house party on T Street? Consequently, back in the day, I spent a lot of midnight moments stuck in a car on the way to somewhere else.

One year when I was in college, I gave up the hunt and made what I thought was a rather mature decision to stay home. I lived in a group house near the railroad tracks in College Park which we fondly referred to as "The Erskine Road Commune." We were a congenial bunch of university students, and we got along quite well despite our differences. Meat eaters co existed with vegetarians. Cairo the cat lived with Devo the dog.  But for reasons I can't quite recall, our crew was evicted that December.  We had all been hunting new digs and packing, but this seemed a rather low priority with the holidays upon us.  

That New Year's eve I spent a pleasant anti climatic evening reading in bed under the covers. (We'd run out of oil again, and there was no heat.) All my other housemates were out and stayed gone most of the night. I found out the next day that one friend (I only knew as him as "Timmy the Chef") came over in the wee hours hoping to find a party still going on, but all was quiet. Tim, probably only momentarily disappointed, passed out in his coat in the front hall.

Sadly the peace did not last. A very angry man stepped over Timmy's prone form around 9 a.m. New Year's morning. Our landlord had arrived. He  expected his house to be vacant.  Really?  On a holiday?  What was he thinking?

We woke up Timmy, gathered the troops and went to Hojo's for breakfast. Then we staggered around calling friends to help with the move. My stuff went into storage in a house mate's parent's basement. Another friend coughed up an empty apartment- vacated until school resumed.  Somehow working together, we were all gone by the end of the day. We would never be in one place again.

So this year I send out a happy new year to all my friends and readers sheltering in place tonight. And to my Erskine Road gang. You taught me a lot about getting along - even if it was short - it was memorable. Best wishes for 2014 wherever you are.

                                this posting dedicated to duane  and cher, eel, rick and "the scourge"

Friday, December 27, 2013

DC Rocks on Sabbatical

Be back sometime next week. Happy New Year you all.. Stay safe... stay warm... and get some rest!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Don Ho Ho Ho

Wanna duck the whole December/winter thing? Try closing your eyes. Now pretend you are at a party. How about a party in Hawaii? You're wearing a gaudy flowered shirt, and you have a tarted up cocktail in your right hand. You can't quite hear the waves because a live band is playing. Hear the ukelele solo?

 If your imagination's not cutting it, try the Quarry House this Saturday night, and let the Hula Monsters take you right where you want to be.  They'll provide the music (and even sell you a gaudy flowered shirt.) Music starts round 9. Great music- no cover. Aloha!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Deep Roots Rock

Dug up this LTH X-mas card w/ photo by Matthew Worden)

This weekend is the traditional Last Train Home reunion/holiday/flash mob event at IOTA. I've been to more of these shows than I can count, and they are always a lot of fun-more like a friend's party with great music than a concert at a night club.

DC ex- pat pal Eric Brace returns from Nashville as band leader, but each night has an added twist. Friday's show includes songwriter/musician Karl Straub (whose songs have been covered by Last Train Home.)  Karl and Eric have a new project together so expect to hear what they've been up to lo these past few years. Saturday Kevin Johnson is back with The Lineman- another cross breed of sorts with the Last Train Home gang, reformed and back together once more. Music starts at 9 pm sharp for both nights- though expect the party to start earlier.

 $15 cover.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Field Trip to Frederick

There once was a time in my life when finding the perfect Christmas tree was paramount. (I completely related to Charlie Brown's search for a sincere pumpkin patch, but not to his choice of pine foliage.) Sometimes the hunt took us to Florida Avenue Market where the tree sellers huddled around ash can fires. Other forays took my whole family to far flung farms between here and Frederick. We invariably would get lost at least once, but somehow my DC native dad would manage to find a half smoke on the menu when we stopped for lunch.

If you are out tree hunting, this is a good weekend to kill two birds with one rolling stone. (haha) Stop in and see DC music legends Martha Hull and Bob Berberich in their new enterprise-Vinyl Acres-a record and gift shop in downtown Frederick complete with great stories of the DC music scene.

And this Sunday only- also in Frederick- check out what Stephen Blickenstaff is up to when he's not playing theremin for the Atomic Mosquitos. His artwork is weird enough to please the hard to buy for on your list as well as  eccentric creatures all through the house.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Clinging to Sanity by a Thread

I get the need for the holiday season. The days are dark. We are sad. (or SAD) We need light in our lives so we burn things. It used to be yule logs. Now it's LEDS. We feel the need to gather our tribes together and give gifts to fight the gloom. It used to be frankincense; now it's Chia Pets. But here's a shout out to our friends in Norway for taking the quantum leap beyond Charlie Brown's disillusions with Christmas by giving us the perfect symbol of our seasonal frenzy. Yes, this year the tree at Union Station is decorated with 700 Edvard Munch themed ornaments inspired by his painting "The Scream."

But you can tone down those panicky feelings. Turn your back on the big boxes and seek solace in the little guys like Sullivan's Toys-a family business still owned and operated by a genuine Sullivan.  If you are clueless about what to get your girlfriend's sister's kid, the staff will guide you, and wrap up your purchases to boot sending you out into the world mission accomplished.

Or take advantage of the Downtown Holiday Market on F Street NW which crams a lot of shopping in just one block featuring Washington local bands, artisans and vendors. The stalls will be open every day through December 23rd with comfort and joy type things to keep you going like live music, hot chocolate and fried to order donuts. (yow)  Look for exceptional gifts like hand made jewelry and knitted goods as well as Thomas Bucci's beautiful architectural drawings and water colors of DC.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Days Rock

People get awfully worked up about snow around here- even though we rarely get enough to write home about. Yes, there are the down sides: icy sidewalks, shoveling out the car, crowded grocery stores.

But on the flip side, all my teacher friends are happily sleeping in. I totally hated school so I still feel residual and vicarious ecstasy when DCPS makes the call to close. Even in college I felt the same way. I remember a particularly snowy day in February1979 when the University of Maryland shut down.

My housemate Alan got his camera, and we went outside to see what was happening. Students spontaneously had wandered into town- maybe hoping the Varsity Grill or the Vous would be open, but mostly just to be in the snow. (I like that so much I'll say it again. Be In The Snow.)

I don't remember how it started- from boredom or sheer exuberance- but suddenly a snow ball fight erupted.  The battle line was drawn, and it was Route 1. We happily heaved all sizes of snowballs at each other- two camps divided by asphalt, but occasionally united like the unruly fiends we were when a hapless motorist dared run the gauntlet.

This went on until a very irate man jumped out of his truck with a shotgun. He was not amused, and I think we dispersed at that point. At least I did. It was time to go home. College Park has never been high on my list of beautiful towns, but that day it was. Thanks, Alan for capturing that day and many others. Check out his site Alan Kresse Photography to see more.

(all photos in this posting  by Alan Kresse)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Correction on Zeppelin

Apologies Readers!

Yesterday's posting about the "Led Zeppelin Played Here" screening should have read December 11 at the Shaw Library -NOT December 7. The wrong date may have  appeared in your email, but it is corrected now on DC ROCKS' site.

"Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true..." indeed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Led Zeppelin Across the Sea of Years

What really happened on January 20, 1969 ?

 Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated president. The Beatles checked out their new basement studio at Apple, and Joe Namath made the cover of Sports Illustrated

What might have happened at the Wheaton Youth Center?

Ask local film maker Jeff Krulik, or better yet, go see the product of his quest for the Truth.  "Led Zeppelin Played Here" will be screened at the Shaw library NEXT Wednesday, Dec 11 at 7 p.m., or  at the Takoma Park Community Center  Thursday Dec 12 at 7:30 p.m. Both screenings are free. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Save Your Soul

Shop less. Dance more. If you have to buy anything, buy a ticket to a rock show. And maybe a beer.  Or a cocktail. Think of all the money you will save on those ugly ass storage pods that announce to everyone you've bought too much of just about everything. Not to mention no one gets hurt, there's no stampede, you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn, and it's a lot more fun.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

After Dinner Mint

This Thursday you may or may not find yourself sitting down with a bunch of people, drinking and eating and laughing. Or you might find yourself sitting with well meaning relatives, resisting the urge to scream or, in quiet desperation, steal a glance at your time piece.

Whatever you are doing (or not doing) Thursday evening, you might want to consider slipping out to JVs later - say about 9? Dave Chappell will be there commandeering the stage with another guitar crazy throw down. This week's band includes local boy genius Andy Poxton, Barry the Phoenix Hart on drums, and Claude Arthur sewing up the bass line like a trussed out bird. The show rocks 'til midnight or later so with any luck, you might be able to sleep right on through that evil plague also known as Black Friday.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kitchen's in the House

Too much going on this weekend as usual. I'm still trying to get to Gypsy Sally's in Georgetown; everyone I know that has gone there really likes the place for live music. This Saturday David Kitchen will be in the house with a great line up: Jack O'Dell on drums, Anthony Pirog on guitar, Jon Combs on bass and Ariel Francis on keys. David's a very talented songwriter and musician, and doesn't get to play his own music as much as I wish he could. David's opening for Randy Thompson- another gifted local whose band includes his son (an amazing guitar player according to David) and fiddle player Ricky Simpkins who also plays with Emmy Lou Harris and Robert Plant.  Check out this new club and all this music for just $12.

Rao Rocks DC

Film maker and musician Rohit Colin Rao will be going solo with his indie rock sound at the Velvet Lounge this Saturday.  Rohit's a busy guy. His award winning full length independent film "Utrasonic" was an all local production, shot here in DC and made with a DSLR camera. Rojit co-wrote the script, produced and directed this project, and made the movie as soon as he could afford that camera. He creates websites by day and still has time to play guitar- and- he's planning on getting a new album out next spring. The Velvet Lounge is a place where you can meet a happening guy like Mr Rao. No back stage pass required.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Real Life Guitar Heroes on Fire

This poster is not exaggerating. Two of the best guitar players I know in this burg are on the same bill at JVs Friday. And bass player, Claude Arthur plus Jack O' Dell on drums? Someone call the fire department- JVs will be smoking.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Old School Rock

Walt Whitman High, home of the Vi-kings, has been a strong school for as far back as I can remember. Its siren song lures DC parents to pack up and move to Bethesda, and Whitman, in turn, has churned out quite a few musical people. The class of 1970 was especially lucky to spawn a reunion band which included Joe Dolan, Stock Wilson, Matt Maury and Bill Euler, and now they've picked up Rob Fisher. (Class of '77)  Every time these guys play Clyde's in Chevy Chase, it's a fun and crazy throw back party, and it'll be happening again this Friday. No cover and a happy hour that starts back up at 10 p.m.  Go team!

photo by Ed Kirkpatrick

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Farewell Summer Pizza

Washington DC heartily embraces four seasons, but sometimes two can coincide in one day- especially around the equinoxes. A warm morning suddenly collapses under the weight of an angry eyebrow of dark clouds. In comes a cold front leaving us scurrying to bring the house plants back in doors, but then, a few days later, the temperature can be back up in the sixties.

The forecasters love the cold. They get right on the bandwagon of doom with cheery broadcasts of gloomy warnings: Bundle up, it's going to be cold out there! First frost in the region! Chance of snow flurries ! This week even though the sun seemed sweet and warm in the afternoon, by evening the chill was on; the dark definite. The day ends at 5.

So last night while scrounging around the kitchen for dinner makings, I was happy to find neighbor Murphy's home grown tomato sauce still lingering in the Grey Poupon jar he had used as a bottle. Bedraggled but serviceable basil sprigs were harvested from the windowsill, and kale from the back yard combined into an Italian sort of pizza. The other crust featured roasted peppers from someone's garden in Delaware and leaned Southwest in flavor. Both were wonderful and savory, reminiscent of warm days and nights, but slightly melancholy. Ciao, Bella Basil. Hasta la vista, mis amigos Poblanos. So long, Old Sol. Thanks for bringing my garden to life.
See you next June.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Feeling Groovy

Dear DC Rocks Contestants for the Flamin Groovies drawing:

        This was not a writing contest; our lucky winner, Gary, was picked at random. Still I want to share the grooviest entry which came from the irrepressible Vi-Kings and Beatnik Flies' ringleader, Mister Joe Dolan with his own custom ordered punctuation:

Why am I groovy ? Let me count the ways ...

1. My name is joe dolan.

2. I always spell my name in lower case letters rather than upper case.

3. I bought a Flamin Groovies record in the latter part of the 1960s at Empire Records in Bethesda, Maryland. (I had never heard of them, but I liked the cover.) I still have the record which I'd bring with me to have them sign.

4. Everyone tells me I look like John Lennon :(
but  all I ever wanted was to look like was Ringo:)

So there you go. I could go on and on,  but I get tired of blowing my own horn. 
But ask anyone who knows me :( 
but not too well :) 
and they will tell you I am groovy !!!

Wish we had more tickets to give away, but hope to see you all at the show. It'll be a blast.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wanna Get Groovie?

Last chance to throw your hat in the ring to win two tickets for the Flamin Groovies show at U Hall next Tuesday night. Opening will be The Young Sinclairs, also part of this "garage rock festacular." (Looks like a perfect fit considering they have Flammin Groovies down as an influence.)

Really early set times with the house clearing out for a late show with Alex Young at 10. Here's the details in case you were out playing guitar in the garage the first time I posted. Contest ends at midnight tonight.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rolling with the Red

I like autumn. I might like spring better because it has a happier tone to it, but fall days like the ones we've been having here in DC have really got me jazzed. I love the fluctuating temperatures and the mix of clouds and sun. The craziness of Halloween- not to mention the trees which shifted gears seemingly overnight this year. Maybe it was the golden tint of my sunglasses, but while driving to Annapolis last weekend, I couldn't help but enthusiastically point out the fantastic hues round every bend to my companion. What a variety of oranges, reds and yellows. Look at that, I yelled. And that!

He, however, likens turning leaves to harbingers of death....

while I prefer blazing little miracle.

Whatever your view on Nature's crimson show, you can cheer up or get down with Little Red and The Renegades. Little Red brings a Cajun kind of dance party with them wherever they go, and this Friday, you'll find them at  Haydees in beautiful tree lined Mount Pleasant. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shake Some DC Action

In 1965 The Flamin Groovies were born in a far away town called San Francisco. (Sound familiar, but can't quite remember them? You might best recall the song "Shake Some Action. ")  Since hitting the scene with their "protopunk power pop" sound, they've had their share of fame, and travelled all over the world. They've played Japan. They've played Australia. They've played Cleveland.  But where haven't they played?

Washington D.C.

Yes, somehow the Flamin Groovies never made it here, but that's about to change on November 12 when the band finally lands at U Street Music Hall.  DC ROCKS has a pair of tickets to give away. Just send an email to dcrocksblog@gmail.com. Please put GROOVY in the subject box, and why you are in the message. A winner will be picked at random. Contest ends this Thursday at midnight.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rock the Pumpkin

A lot of spooky things are going on this Thursday, but if you are in the mood for a treat rather than a trick, two shows are popping up on DC Rocks' paranormal radar.  David Kitchen will be celebrating his birthday at JVs with a concert deviously disguised as a Halloween party. (And David always has more than a skeleton crew of kicking musicians along for the night.)

Here in the always frightening home of democracy, the frenzy also known as Jumpin Jupiter  and Kiti Gartner and the Deceits will be holding forth at Gypsy Sally's - the new rock haunt in Georgetown. Both of these shows have a ridiculously low cover of only $5. And you might want to follow Jay Jenc's advice: "Wear a damn costume for cryin' out loud."

Get into the spirit before the spirits get into you! Boo haha.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bring Out Your Crazies

This will be the perfectly insane Halloween gig brought to you by the crazy fun guys in Ubangis. AND the chameleon musician also known as  Marshall Keith, too?  Yes. 

photo by Kacey Keith

Zero admission for creepy transitions at The Quarry House this Saturday.

Sorry, Diana!

We have a winner for the Zombie/Southern Culture show.  Congratulations Michael Bennet! It was a random drawing, but many of you had winning answers which showcased your highly evolved senses of humor- perhaps the only thing that can truly save you from a Zombie Apocalypse.

Here's one from Tru Fax's irrepressible Diane Quinn:

I don't like entering contests because I never win them.  I should
have won that red bike with the essay I wrote on the history of
bicycle clothes when i was 10 which included the perfect outfit for a
Victorian girl. I still carry the bitterness of losing that contest. And, when i was five, my mom sewed the best witch dress, cloak and pointed hat ever, but I lost to Mark Scheibly, whose father owned the little town store. He wore a manufactured Caspar the
Friendly Ghost costume. How could a store-bought costume have won? I
was outraged.

Hope to see you all there - win lose of draw. (blood)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wait For It

Last Friday I asked why some of you don't enter contests, and it turns out that a select number of DC ROCKS readers are a procrastinating, pessimistic posse of music loving, brainless zombies. (My kind of people.) Some said they were compelled by the  killer line up at U Hall  next Tuesday (pun intended) which includes  Southern Culture on the Skids, the Fleshtones AND Los Straightjackets.

Whatever the reason, there's still time for the hard core, procrastinating non contestant types amongst you to enter, and here's the posting, in case you never got around to reading it. Contest ends at midnight tonight; winner brainlessly picked by a random zombie.