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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Toys in the Attic

When my grandmother died, we had a yard sale, but I don’t think it went very well considering how much stuff landed up in my parents’ attic. We kept things like blue mason jars, numerous pronged frogs for flower arranging days and an ancient cracked wash basin.  My mother was always after me and my sister to help get rid of things, but we never made much progress. The space did look tidier after an afternoon’s work, but within six months or so my mother would start to fret again. Finally it dawned on me. How many times had I tried to get rid of the not one, but three very lumpy “spare” electric blankets? And what about that old wash basin? Mom would look at it, sigh, and put it back in the keep section. Many years went by before I pried it out of her that this gigantic bowl wasn’t even my Grandmother’s- not exactly anyway. Grandmother had rescued it from someone else's trash heap in 1962. 

That’s when I realized my mother was not the poster child for organization that she appeared to be. She was actually a minor hoarder. Dad might have been even worse. Having grown up during the Depression, he never threw away a broken lamp cord or a leaky garden hose. Or a piece of string. Or a thumb tack. Although their ranch house was spotless and clutter free, George had a major junk problem in the basement. The lumber pile down there was at least four feet tall and had moved with him more than once.  I used to climb it as a kid long before the words helicopter and parent were put together. 

Now I look at my basement. Here are the things my kids will have to deal with which include camping stuff, rock posters and bar gear from the old 9:30 Club.  Blue mason jars and that cracked wash basin.  Yep. One and the same. 

If you are like me, then you will be happy to know that this long weekend is overstuffed with opportunities to escape from those endless decluttering projects.
Let's start with Friday when The Rock-A-Sonics and The Judy Chops take over Pearl Street Warehouse downtown or head uptown where Little Red and the Renegades remind us that it is indeed Mardi Gras season up at Haydees

If you miss Little Red on Friday- they reappear Saturday night at JVs after Jumpin' Jupiter starts the evening off with a free show at 4 p.m. For those of you who love the slipstream of the psychedelic sixties, The Vi-Kings will do their groovy thing at Bethesda Blues. Also on Saturday.

And even if you don't have Monday off, everyone will be acting like you did, so why not go out Sunday night and cut the rug with Chopteeth at Gypsy Sally's?  

All that stuff will still be there when you get home. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Wind Chill Factor

Move over Mister Groundhog. With polar "bomb cyclones" dropping in on D.C., we ought to be smart like you and burrow underground. But I'll bet it's dark and lonely down there-doing the hibernating thing. Overeating. Not getting out of bed for three months or so. Up here we call that "depression." Do you have candles and an X-box? Bourbon? Maybe it's worth staying above ground just in case the sun comes out.

Plus it's not too long until Sunday when the big warm up happens with a projected high of 26 degrees on your mercury dial. Time to eat your young or get them out for a show. "Music for 100 Guitars," hosted by Boat Burning, promises to be an unusual musical event as well as a benefit for Bread For The City

Here is the skinny from my trusty music man Bill Hanke:

"The "Music for 100 Guitars" at 9:30 Club is an organized musical tsunami! The guitarists will be loosely divided into four groups- playing on the FLOOR! Each group will have a conductor, who follows a main conductor.  The audience walks around amongst the musicians as the music seeps and swirls around them, encouraging the listeners to open up their minds and let everything come through like LSD, without the drug! A transcendent experience. You REALLY should make it to this one."

Anyone who has lived here longer than the present administration is bound to know someone playing or going. Click on the poster to get a better look.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year Lunacy

Happy New Year Dear Readers.

Things are looking brighter this year- literally- starting with this month's magical light show. January will be featuring two super moons, one tonight and a "blue"moon at the other end of the month. There'll be a behind the scenes lunar eclipse, too which we may not be able to see, but it's kind of cool knowing it's happening all the same.

Meanwhile - plenty of live music to light up the calendar. Please hit me up with more suggestions.

Full Moon #1


Thrillbillys @ JV

Herschel Hoover and more @ Velvet Lounge

Cinema Hearts/ Coy Pond and more @ Comet Ping Pong

Daryl Davis @ Spanish Ballroom Glen Echo


Boat Burning/ Music for 100 Guitars w/ Trinary System @ 9:30 Club

Junk Yard Band @ U Street Music Hall


Rock-A-Sonics @ Pearl Street

Little Red and The Renegades @ Haydees


Jumpin Jupiter 4 pm @ JV

Little Red & Renegades @ JV

Books to Prison Project Benefit @ The Pinch


Thrillbillys @ JVs


Rhodes Tavern Troubadours @ Villain n Saint


Dan Hovey and the Tall Boys @ JVs


Dave Chappell @ JVs


Ruthie and the Wranglers @ Pearl Street

Jimmy Smooth And the Hit Time @ JVs

Rock-A-Sonics @ Hank Dietle’s


Conrads @ Jus


Full Moon #2

Sunday, December 31, 2017

What Are You Doing New Year's New Year's Eve?

Going to a party? Laying low listening to Ella? If you want to do something out of the ordinary consider the Irish tradition of banging bread against the wall or eating grapes for every chime of midnight like they do in Spain. In Denmark,  people break plates for fun, and in South Africa they throw old furniture out the window. ( I've got some candidates for that one.)
The Swiss like to drop ice-cream on the floor which must make the dogs and cats very happy, but my favorite might be the Romanian tradition of dressing up like bears and dancing around. (Anyone going out on this extra cold night might want to consider this one.)

For last minute frivolity- Hank Dietle's will be warm and cozy with music from The Conrads and a trio of Rock-a Sonics tonight, and, if you really want to whoop it up, tickets are still available for Thievery CorporationGogol Bardello and Troublefunk down yonder at The Anthem on the wharf.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Exit Strategy

I'm not complaining, but does this holiday week seem extra long to you? Need to vacate the house, despite the big chill? If so, get on your long john groove and head down to the new Wharf. You'll find burning towers and bonfires creating warmth for those who need to get out, no matter what the weather, and a waterfront neighborhood deliberately curated to rock with restaurants, bars and three live music venues.

Everybody seems to have heard of The Anthem which is big enough to relieve the 9:30 Club of mega crowded rock shows, but intimate it's not. Pearl Street Warehouse, which is just a block or so over from Anthem, feels more down home with working garage doors and a diner hooked onto one end.

Lisa White, former long time music wrangler for the 9:30 Club empire, will be booking, so be on the look out for an eclectic mix of good music, including DC's own wild n crazy in a good way King Soul tomorrow night.

And the newest kid in town - just across the way from Pearl Street- is Union Stage, brought to you by the Brindley Brothers of Jammin' Java. The venue is about the same size as Pearl Street and will hold roughly 400 people- which is double the size of their Vienna location. This Friday's show includes three bands from Virginia: Kid Brother, MILO in the Doldrums and Dusk Whale. Both venues will feature affordable shows.

And for those of you who want to hunker down on the progressive side don't miss The Messthetics and Dan Joesph at Rhizome in Takoma Park. (What's with all the Friday night happenings?)

Of course what I write about here is only the tip of the iceberg of what's going on in this town. Check the DC ROCKS calendar for more options this weekend.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Out of It

I have been  feeling a bit isolated and out of it this week which doesn't help with the upcoming holiday prep.  First off my cell phone somehow landed in the cat's water bowl and remained there unnoticed for quite some time. (I wonder if there's a Guiness Book of Records for a phone dying in the smallest possible body of water?)

Second  the news was so bad,  I wasn't able to listen to the radio like I usually do without catapulting into depression, and I couldn't call anyone to commiserate because my cell phone was languishing in a bag of rice.

As I reported a couple of weeks ago I perennially struggle with the mail in December.  I have a Jewish friend who religiously sends me a Christmas card EVERY year and, of course, Hanukkah is usually over and the candles are out by the time I dig up a card to send back.

And so,  as per my usual advice, I would like to take this moment to quote the great King Arthur via Monty Python.
"Run away!!" ( find a local watering hole)
"Bring up the holy hand grenade!"  (also known as booze)

Musical distractions this weekend include H.R. and the Captivators at Songbyrd and Revelator Hill with Ron Holloway at Pearl Street Warehouse. Both on Friday. Jimmy and the Blue Dogs invade Hank Dietle's on Saturday. Good ole JVs will be rocking both Christmas eve and Christmas night. Last but certainly not least, the Alice Despard Group, Marshall Keith and Mary Battiata are banding together (ha) for a Sparklehorse tribute at Galaxy Hut after the dust settles on Boxing Day.  Definitely a highlight of the month.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

We Go On and On

Dear Readers,
As of today you have officially survived almost 348 days of 2017-a remarkably dark and weird year. On the musical side of things, we lost IOTA and Tommy Keene- one of our dearest rock stars. (Ironically IOTA is the last place I saw him.) Tommy came to light here in Washington in the 1980s playing in a kick ass band called The Razz, but he soon rocketed beyond our universe on a solo career.  We will miss him deeply.

In Tommy's honor, I would like to give a shout out to a few places that have not gone, but have managed to endure the vagaries of time and circumstance. These are all venues which give local musicians a place to get their foot in the door.

First congratulations to Comet Ping Pong for braving a year of batcrap crazy attacks on the internet and in all too real life. Their consistently good food and dedication to live shows makes it easy to support this place -even if it doesn't haven't a child prostitution ring or a basement. FuzzQueen is having a CD release party here tomorrow night.

And hats off to Vietnam veteran Commander Mike Casey who saved his VFW post by having an open mind, a good heart, and the boundless energy to host live music events. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 350 (aka "Hells Bottom") welcomes The Conrads' brand of old school rock n roll- also on Friday.

And finally kudos to Dante Ferrando, the upstart punk, who dared to challenge the old 9:30 Club's obstructed views in 1993 with another venue for independent and underground type music. The Black Cat puts on multiple live shows every week, but this Sunday check out their 20th annual "garage sale" for all your not so conventional gift needs.