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.