Now Playing: Piero Umiliani--Five Dolls For An August Moon (1970) soundtrack
"When I was at sleepaway camp, my favorite thing was always arts and crafts. Or as we liked to call them, arts and farts! I'm so old, that when I was at camp, it was the Stone Age! We didn't have Easter eggs, we had pterodactyl eggs!!"
--The godawful comic from the Catskills (Michael Showalter) during the climactic scene of Wet Hot American Summer (2001), a snatch of dialogue that's been coursing through my brain all through Art Fair and probably won't stop.
It threatened to rain Thursday night, so my shift at the Planned Parenthood booth was cancelled. I'll have to wait until next year for more Art Fair stories to tell my imaginary grandchildren (who'll probably have claws and fangs by that point, so I expect I'll be too busy fending them off).
I went to the Blind Pig to hear DylanFest, a celebration of the man, his spirit, and his music. I've always run a little hot and cold regarding Dylan, to be honest. I'll think on occasion, "oh, Bob Dylan--whatever," and then I'll hear "Positively Fourth Street," "Lay Lady Lay," "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," "Tangled Up In Blue," or anything from John Wesley Harding (1968) and I'll remember how awesome the guy was, despite his occasionally abusive off-stage behavior and his indirect responsibility for the Wallflowers. He did, however, manage to piss off Alan Lomax beyond human endurance at Newport '65, for which he'll remain eternally lovable.
DylanFest opened much earlier than other shows at the Pig, a whopping 8 pm, which probably threw me off a little. The signs were good and interesting. The crowd was substantially older than usual, a great many I suspected from out of town, and everyone seemed relieved to get away from Art Fair. I also noticed on the TV screen that (a) either Turner Classic Movies was running a noir night, or (b) someone had found a noir station on satellite TV, as both Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and Detour (1946) were playing throughout. "Never mind the evil--what's in it?"
Opening the show was none other than Sari Brown, excellent as always, who chatted with me a little before I left, and delivered a phenomenal cover of "Don't Think Twice (It's All Right)." I don't know where the hell she gets that voice, but I'm not complaining. Several acoustic artists followed, including Derek Daniel, Jen Sygit, and several members of Delta 88, a roots rock band I believe played later in the evening after I'd left. The time definitely played tricks on me, as I skedaddled around ten-thirty, which is often the time I get there at other shows. I went out on a high note, though, hearing the wonderful Paul's Big Radio play "Mountain Girl," a wonderful song I'd actually never heard before (but I don't pretend to be a Dylan aficionado).
I returned home and passed out only to wake at two to hear a party of the kind I thought the neighboring houses didn't have, fully-armed bass lines shaking the walls and vibrating into my bedroom. I accepted defeat and listened to Saturday Looks Good To Me and Roxy Music at pretty high volume until some mysterious tragedy--a fight, perhaps, as I heard shouting and crying--broke the whole thing up, sending scattered voices up one side of Geddes Ave. and down the other, knocking the ghosts in the graveyard out of their well-earned lethargy. I, on the other hand, woke up well-rested in a way I haven't been in a while. The weather was gorgeously cool outside as I went walking, although I'm sure that won't last long.
Today I take the train for Royal Oak to go to my grad school friend Karen's wedding reception. I confess to a degree of trepidation about this. Not the train, to which I'm looking forward like the Michigan's big-screen showing of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (1966) next weekend.* Karen'll be there (obviously), and possibly a couple of others who took the professional path I effectively declined. It's generally best not to think of the road not taken, but I just hope I don't have my face rubbed in it. They wouldn't even think of that, of course, but I've been known to make my own trouble. It'll be nice to see everyone, anyway.
*At the University of Akron around the turn of the milennium, it was common practice among certain doctoral students specializing in American transportation history, when asked why they decided to enter their chosen field, to adopt glazed eyes and say in a hypnotized moan, "choo-choo trains."