- November 2012 -

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Another Fein Mess
AF Stone’s Monthly
November 2012

The Storm

People think I dislike NY. Not true. Just feel it’s over-represented in LA.

The storm damage is a literal sea change, or close. Terrible, tragic, cataclysmic. No cross-country snottiness need apply, though I’m not so sure it wouldn’t if the coasts were reversed.

TV reporting was predictably lame. People standing in ankle-deep water in a gully. A crane bent over a skyscraper bannered “Ten-ton crane hovers over New York” like it’s a mile wide. The FAQ about the biggest storm since the 1800s was “Have you ever seen anything like this before?”

“The people of NY are strong and tenacious" was chanted like a mantra. So, the people of Cincinnati are ... weak, cowardly? When LA and SF were shaken by earthquakes and formed brigades to lift cement blocks off trapped people, bring buckets to fireman, there was no "The people of LA are strong-willed and will not let this faze them" or "The people of San Francisco cannot be beaten, they will prevail." Only this cliched NY vision's perpetuation annoyed me.

What a giant, heartwrenching mess. More struggling, more damage. It’s a catastrophe.

‘Round town

October 3 - Went to see a 40-minute edit of Jerold Kress’s fascinating documentary about Modern/Crown Records. Interviews with employees, artists, and the story behind its beginning as an R&B label and it end as a producer of 99 cent albums. Pictured: AF, Jerold Cross, Ray Campi, Jim Dawson. Seated Ian Whitcomb.

October 5-7 - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. SEE VERY END

October 8 Ronnie Mack’s antepenultimate Barn Dance at Joe’s American Bar & Grill was a sizzler with many cool acts including:

The Hot Rod Trio

As many Textones as I could fit in a frame.

October 13 - Went to garage sales with girlfriend Diane, including this one at the house of ex-Dils and Rank & File musician Chip Kinman and adorable Lisa Reed Kinman. (This is the second shot I took. The first one, close with a wide-angle had a weird perspective so I stepped back and used a telephoto. To see the original look at the very end of the column.) We bought a few CDs, DVDs and a dress (Diane).

October 13 - Took Diane to see poet morose John Tottenham read to a packed house on Beachwood Drive.

October 14 - Petunia & His Vipers serenade the packed house at Viva Cantina

October 20 - Author/agitator Domenic Priore, Austinian Kent Benjamin and music curator Andrew Sandoval (in the dark bec I put my finger over the flash, new camera) at the Denenberg Gallery on San Vicente Blvd in Beverly Hills, at a reception for Robert Landau’s book “Rock & Roll Billboards of The Sunset Strip.”

94-year-old Mario Rueda, who painted the billboard for “Abbey Road” from which the head of Paul McCartney was mysteriously stolen in 1969. At Denenberg reception.

Next, Kent Benjamin and I went to Farmers Market and caught an outdoor storm-stalling performance by LA’s best band, Big Sandy & The Flyrite Boys.

October 21 - Squired tourist Kent and his friend Dennis to Canter’s, Rockaway Records, Amoeba and lastly the Music Box Steps on Vendome Avenue, which you should know from the Laurel & Hardy film. I sit exhausted.

Diane and I saw Simon Stokes at Viva Cantina.


CBS/SONY issued an 8-album 4-CD box of Johnny Cash albums that ends in the early 70s. I love the later “Look At Them Beans” album and the overlooked narrative-connected album “The Rambler.” Are they so unworthy nobody wants them? 1 ... Phil Alvin told me T-Bone Walker would say “Why do they keep calling me a blues singer?” It’s easy for chroniclers who are non-musicians. T-Bone considered himself an entertainer. His electric guitar-playing was thrilling, and blues was in there. Someone recently said that Tampa Red was a blues singer. I objected: the guy wore a suit and a bow tie and played splendid guitar and sang many songs that were full of energy and joy. Also employed a kazoo. Blues guy? Lonnie Johnson sang like an angel, his biggest song “Tomorrow Night” was an old pop song, and he played guitar with Ellington, Armstrong, Eddie Lang. Blues guy? .. On the same blues, well, gospel note, doesn’t it sound like Sister Rosetta Tharpe is singing “This train don’t carry no wankers?” It may be winkers, that rhymes ...

On the tv tribute to Stephen Sondheim, the conductor repeatedly starts the strains of “his favorite” Sondheim work, ‘Sweeney Todd.’ That standout overshadows every other musical Steve wrote. In its way it’s analogous to John Waters’ ‘Hairspray,’ the work that is remembered far above his others ... Do you think that famous guitar player got his first name because the french, hearing multi-tracked guitars, thought he was playing them all at once and named him “Les” Paul? ...

1 Since writing this, CBS/Sony has issued a 40-plus CD box of all his Columbia Records albums. But bring a magnifying glass: the writing on the 12-inch albums is often illegible on reduced-to-5-inch square covers.

Is it just me?

I’m positive I’m the only one who hears about SF Giants pitcher Sergio Romo and thinks of Geets Romo from the “How To Speak Hip” album. Several obscure songs stuck in my memory have appeared later when I’d thought I was the only person on earth who heard them in the first place.

The first was in 1978. I heard familiar music with a different voice and asked someone who it was. “George Harrison” they said.“WHAT? The song, “I’ve Got My Mind Set On You,” was a non-single from the 1963 James Ray album on Caprice. I bought it because of the wonderful tuba-led song “If You Gotta Make A Fool of Somebody” 2 and the second single “Itty Bitty Pieces.” The song Harrison did was a two-parter at the end of the album - how in the hell did he hear it? Then I recalled that he vacationed in America in 1963. Either he liked the cover or heard the single and took the plunge like I did 3 - and got a hell of an album.

The second was watching “Pecker,” the John Waters film, and hearing some familiar strains of string music. My god, it was Moon Dog! This guy was a NY street character in robe and horned hat who someone recorded in 1968 and got it issued on Columbia Records. I liked the music-with-Moon-Dog-utterances, but never knew anyone but me who’d heard it.

2 Ray’s producer, Bob ‘Hutch’ Davies, wrote “Green Door,” which J im Lowe did, and produced Santo & Johnny doing “Sleep Walk” in his NY apartment.

3 Actually, I bought it because a store was selling albums for $2 for a short while. Looking back, they were probably illegal “overruns” or simply stolen. I have been told there was Mafia presence in Chicago then.

Luck of the Blaster

There’s been a lot of misinformation about Phil Alvin’s brush - well, meeting with death last June. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve been to one, and will now try to relate what Phil told me Halloween night.

The Blasters performed in Valencia, Spain. Afterwards they returned to their hotel, where Phil felt ill. An ambulance was called and he was rushed to the hospital with strained breathing. It’s a fact or Phil’s theory that a dental infection caused tissues around his throat to swell. At the hospital he was breathing at a 17% rate and a tube was put down his throat. Before or just after this his heart stopped, and electric prods were applied to bring him back to life. Thus saved, he was sent to a room to recover. There his heart stopped again, and the legend or truth goes that a decision was made not to attempt resuscitation, but his doctor, a young woman, insisted on another electric shock, which once again renewed his heartbeat. At that time, or prior to it, a hole was cut in his neck to insert a device to enable breathing. (I’m not only not a doctor, but also not much of a reporter. Still this is pretty close to what he told me.)

When we spoke Halloween night he was thinner than he’s been since I’ve known him (33 years), and sings now with a voice that seems to be strengthened by the trauma. Maybe it was the rest. Unfortunately he’s resumed smoking.

But the Blasters tour was designed to make money. Venues were booked, lodging arranged, travel paid for -- all had to be canceled while he recovered. Now he has received a modest bill for $20,000 from the Spanish hospital, and the band is in the hole for all the canceled dates and arrangements.

Phil has been very active playing at clubs around L.A. this fall, and a benefit concert to raise money for his and the band’s losses is being organized for December.

Phil at Viva Cantina w/Petunia & The Vipers.


We absorb malaprops. “Normalcy,” a mistake by Warren G. Harding, is accepted now. Hopefully, misused approximately 100% of the time, is now allowed. Someone has to take a stand

“Preaching to the choir” makes no sense.
“Preaching to the converted” is the cliche we know.
Now let me reenact a conversation.

Ha! That’s preaching to the choir.

“What do you mean?”

It means convincing someone who’s already convinced.

“Preaching to the converted, you mean.”

No, the choir.

“The phrase has always been Preaching to the converted. I heard it all my life. Only in the past 20 years did I start hearing this other version, and it’s a mistake.”

Mistake? The preacher is preaching to the choir. They are already converted.

“They are? They need no further conversion? Just the people in the pews are sinners? If the preacher has converted the choir so permanently, why doesn’t he give that same sermon to his parishioners? To keep them donating?”

It’s Preaching to the choir.

“Preaching to the converted is clear. It’s always been clear. I’ve heard other explanations for your way. He turns his back to the audience to preach to the choir, therefore he’s wasting his sermon. That sound sensible to you?”

It’s preaching to the choir. Live with it.

“OK. I have new one -- bringing coal to White Castle.”


“It was Newcastle, a British town, they mine coal there. Nobody here knows that. Let’s change it to White Castle. That’s American.”

Why bring coal to White Castles?

“Precisely! It’s a waste of time, just like preaching to the choir. Let’s slip it into the conversation stream, fan that you are of altering evergreens.”

You’re an idiot.

I looked up “Preaching to the choir.” Here ‘tis.


And don't get me started on "No rest for the weary."


9-16 Jessica Garrison, Ken Bensinger, Harriet Ryan, Robert Faturechi, Sam Quinones, Abby Sewell and Phil Willon all agree that “a man” called news organizations saying he was an Israeli-American who financed the anti-Muslim film which provoked riots “but that story proved false.” What about the collective shame of the news media for printing this unfounded tripe? Where is the hand-wringing? ... “This is the case that refuses to die” is a trivializing and lighthearted 9-17 lead by David Zucchino about the Jeffrey McDonald murder case. His tale that ‘hippies’ muttering “Acid is groovy” killed his family in a military housing unit in 1970 is so over the top it barely rates a laugh. That the chant “invited comparison” to Manson murders is preposterous, and given credence by Zucchino ...

Meredith Blake reports 9-30 on a display of Warhol stuff in NY (who cares?) that is not comprehensive but “an attempt to determine the precise range of his influence.” Can’t they do that looking at photos in a book? And doesn’t anyone, just anyone, consider his work a big joke? Oh, there’s a law against that ... Chuck McNulty, LAT Theater crit’s 9-21 LAT lead “Connoisseurs of really bad television - you know you’re out there” made me want to throw a brick at his head. Leave me out of your thoughts, McNutly ...“Although it may seem like heresy, given my profession” writes Mary McNamara, LAT 9-11, “I have never had strong feelings about Katie Couric.” Well thanks for sharing that bit of nothing, Merrimac ...

Missing the point

Maria L. LaGanga, LATimes Oct. 29, wrote a cheery and unnecessary piece telling us that fans in SF were happy that the Giants won the World Series.

No kidding. We need someone from here to tell us that? But the real crime is that like most ‘reporters,’ Maria tells us her experience alone. She went to some nice bars and people were happy - but missed the fact that crosstown a city bus was burned by pennant-crazed rioters. Leave local stories from other cities to other cities.

A more common omission is Patrick Kevin Day’s 10/31 piece about Jeopardy/Wheel’s terrific tv ratings, no doubt gathered from a press release. What is buried, for decades now, is that those shows, along with the others on the 7-8 pm non-prime-time, are what we in LA and elsewhere get in a slot PROVIDED BY THE FCC FOR LOCAL PROGRAMMING.

See a lot of chat shows about local issues in those hours? On-the-street interviews? Deep discussion about local politics? Local theater and music news? Investigations! ?

Hell no. All U.S. stations obtained that period for local programming to offset national network news and entertainment. And the crumbs at the local stations said “It’s ours! Let’s get network-level advertising money from syndicated shows! You want local information? Buy a newspaper.”

And that’s what you get. National programming in the time slot that was set aside, by law, for local shows. But who’s complaining?


* The president of the United States is one of the most important persons in the world. Why does a person from one other political party get to hurl accusations at him and try and bring him down?

The pretenders are nobodies; aspirants. Who says one and only one political party can force candidates in the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES’ face? It demeans the presidency and reinforces the dire idea that you can vote only two ways.

* Carla Brunei bio “like when she decided to become a fashion model, it was a very courageous decision” ... Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s lighthearted admission that he pees in the pool gives kids a green light. What a flagrant asshole.

Critical mess

I cringed 9-14 when I saw that there was a Dave Matthews band review in the LAT. The band is disliked by critics, and none dare step out of formation. Mikael Wood quickly quipped “what a long strange trip it’s been” that inferred, with a cliche, the band’s rise to popularity was remarkable and unlikely. When I saw that he actually met with Matthews I was puzzled - if it was a non-confrontational tête-à-tête, how would he face his peers? The superficially neutral tone was normalized by explanatory - exculpatory - winks such as “Dorm-room reggae,” that the band emerged from clubs and “fraternity houses,” and the word “workmanlike,” a sop to his peers. He ended the piece snorting that this band that could fill the Hollywood Bowl twice’s energy “seemed willfully diffuse” (???) and “free of a center that might be mistaken for drive.” What a wilful puddle of piss, this sneer and the frightened writer who emitted it .

More Rotten Review Reviews

It’s open season on Madonna, now that she’s past 50. Randall Roberts (give us your age, plz) 10-12 LAT writes that “competing with pop artists half her age” (where? in your head?) felt “a tad desperate.” Thanks Randy ... Randy again, LAT 10-5, muses that Procol Harum’s big single hit (while prominently featured in “The Big Chill,” its zenith he avers) “doesn’t make it worthy” to be in the R/R Hall Of Fame. This snide twerp knows nothing about PH’s brilliant albums. I wonder what songs the wind plays as it whistles through his head .... The big resurgence, or surgence, of Rodriguez after 30 years of obscurity inspires Reed Johnson, 7-23 LAT, to note, in loyalty to his kind, that Rod’s albums were hailed by “some prescient critics” and that he was rediscovered with the aid of “some intrepid journalists.” Well it’s OK to trumpet the rare positive contribution of rock writers ...

It’s a tough time for old gals I guess, as Stevie Holden’s Oct 13 NYT appraisal of Barbra Streisand’s Oct 11 “Return to Brooklyn” show includes such valentines as that her voice was “not in prime condition,” having acquired a “husky edge” that grated young Steve, while a week later Anthony Thommasini, -- he, too, not Mike Myers’ mother-in-law -- reprised the accepted sentiment that she “has had to adjust her vocal artistry as her voice has weathered.” He mentions that he is one of her countless admirers. I’d hate to meet her haters ... Maria La Ganga, LAT 7-1, in discussing the fate of the estate of painter Thomas Kinkade, throws her dirt on his grave with the snide “master of the prayer garden and the glowing cottage,” then reveals she was taking no chances doing so because he’s “critically panned.” Just the facts, ma’m.


A funny thing that never stops giving is any mention of Channel 7’s “Megadopolis HD 4000” weather machine ... There’s no need to study film history to join major old-film screener Turner Classic Movies - just be born to a famous family. Both the Manciewicz boy, scion of the storied (...) screenwriter, who has been groomed to grow into the role and the empty-headed wide-eyed Barrymore kid - “I LOVE movies” - did it the hard way. It’s not easy being born!

Paris good times

Author David McCullough was interviewed about his new book about Americans in Paris. Though I subsequently learned that it’s a history book about Americans who have lived in Paris, he seemed to be stressing his vacation there. “Here’s a photo of the Tuilleries, right by the Louvre.” It sounded, to me, for a moment, like something I could write.

I was uncomfortable living in Paris four months in 1997 when my wife had a job there. People were nice, I got around easily, but I wasn’t grounded; it was foreign. I found French impossible to grasp, though most people (in Paris, not beyond) spoke English. But here’s a bit of nice Parisiana.

On the roof of the great grand Printemps (or was it Lafayette) store you get a nice view of the city. I was up there with 6-year-old Jessie and wanted a water bottle from the augmented Coke machine. I put in a 10-franc coin ($1.60) but it didn’t register. I didn’t hear the coin fall, so I did what I would do to a Coke machine here, pounded it with the heel of my hand. However, my penchant for wearing my watch on my right hand bit me when the watch flew forward and I smashed it into the coin receptacle. A shattered crystal.

I went to the customer service center and explained what had happened. “Please, let us fix it for you” they said. I said I was returning to California within a week. “Give us your address, we will send it to you.” And they did.

This wasn’t the first bit of merchant oblige I found there. Earlier that summer I’d done something else to the watch, and took it to the jeweler at Lafayette/Printemps. The lady looked at it with a loupe and did some adjustment: maybe a new winder. She handed it back to me.

“No payment” she said, of my dad’s 1963 sorta space-age vertical-faced Longines whose dark blue motif was peppered with dots like planets. “This is a beautiful watch. Please enjoy it.” Wow.

Wait, there’s more. I went to the city’s only Sears type department store (so’s I know), the Hotel De Ville, to get a lampshade. Returning to the subway I passed through the center-snap-shut entry doors with the shade slung over my shoulder and bam!, it was crushed behind me. (There’s no ‘tolerance’ once your second foot clears the doors.) I wrote a note to the subway system, in English, saying that their “guillotine doors” crushed my lampshade and I was out 150 francs. To my delight, I got a return note in broken English apologizing for the “guillotine doors” and a check for 150 francs. I mentioned this to a french friend and he said “WHAT? You got a check from Paris Metro? That is impossible! “

I think they thought “guillotine doors” was funny.


Twenty years ago someone warned me to beware of reaching my vidpoint.

That’s the point where the number of hours of video you own surpass the number of hours remaining in your life.

- 57 -

Mark On The Move

“It’s great to be back in Sacramento” said Nick Lowe during his early October gig at the 24th Street Theatre.  “I think the last time I was in town was with Rockpile about 35 years ago. . .I don’t know what I did, but I haven’t been invited back until now.” I realized my first Nick Lowe show was in the autumn of 1972, when I saw his band Brinsley Schwarz in London.  Forty years of high-quality entertainment!  He began with one of his finest recent songs “Stoplight Roses,” and continued to hit many highlights of his work as a bandleader and soloist – “Heart,” “When I Write the Book,” “Lately I’ve Let Things Slide,” “House for Sale,” “I Knew the Bride” and his lone U.S. chart hit “Cruel to Be Kind” among them.  He has an amazing knack for writing concise, poignant laments about the vicissitudes of love, and often takes an oddball angle, as during “I Trained Her to Love Me” in which a guy cultivates relationships purely for revenge (“If you think that it’s depraved/And I should be ashamed, so what?/I’m only paying back womankind/For all the grief I got”).  His easygoing manner on stage and his humorous asides provided a soft cushion for some acerbic lyrics, although it must be said his straightforwardly idealistic “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding” continues to be his biggest crowd-pleaser.  (After the show while searching for reviews of the show, I discovered there’s a personal injury attorney in Sacramento named Nick Lowe.  Weird.)
The Hemlock Tavern in downtown San Francisco hosted Amy Rigby and husband Wreckless Eric, two performers I’ve admired for years without managing to see either of them.  They got married about 5 years ago and the oddness of their coupledom matches their individual and collective songwriting.  Wielding a small arsenal of guitars, bass and keyboard on a tiny stage in the back room of the bar, they shambolically bounced through recent and decades-old songs, culminating in Amy’s joyous “Dancing with Joey Ramone” and Eric’s punk-era anthem “Whole Wide World” (its opening lines are still among the best ever: “When I was a young boy/My mama said to me/There’s only one girl in the world for you/And she probably lives in Tahiti”).  They played tunes from their new album “A Working Museum”  and a bunch of my favorite Amy songs, including “Are We Ever Gonna Have Sex Again” and “The Summer of My Wasted Youth.”  Unfortunately at times the sound was so loud and/or shrill that their clever lyrics were lost in the muddy mix, but it was still fun to see the cute-as-a-button Amy and the awkwardly-cursing-curmudgeon Eric Goulden share a stage at last.
When I first heard Philip Glass’ 4-hour opera “Einstein On the Beach” in the mid-seventies, I was mesmerized by the creative use of repetition, choruses chanting “1-2-3-4-5-6” and “So Re Fa Ti” while electronic keyboard rippled alongside them, the abstract way elements of Einstein’s life were used as jumping-off points for strange parodies of modern life, and the often impenetrable text by Christopher Knowles, Samuel M. Johnson and Lucinda Childs.  I was already a fan of electronic music pioneers Terry Riley and Steve Reich, and Glass seemed to be pushing their ideas even further into unknown territory.  Over the past decades, the few “Einstein On the Beach” performances given (in 1984 and 1992) were in Europe, where the co-creator/director Robert Wilson was better known, and developing a reputation for upsetting theatrical expectations with sensationally visual productions.
I never had a chance to see how the piece felt with the audacious lighting, stage design, costumes and dances portrayed in the booklet of the original LP boxed set, until this year’s revival of the opera, which had only a few 2012 American performances in Ann Arbor, Brooklyn and Berkeley (where I caught the last of 3 shows at Zellerbach Hall).  I’m not going to attempt describing in any detail the experience of finally getting to see this now-famous, still- puzzling opera, except to say that Lucinda Child’s choreography was co-equal to the music and design, and I was riveted throughout the intermissionless four-and-a-half hour spectacle.  The power and complexity of the opera comes from the way it affects the viewer beneath the level of normal rationality, speaking in a primarily visual language that deeply stirred my emotions even when I couldn’t say why.  As it unfolded, “Einstein” made me often uncomfortable and anxious (especially watching the extremely difficult physical challenges made upon some of the dancers), had me literally gasping with pleasure at certain musical and visual crescendos, and gave me a rush of awe at its sheer, ineffable beauty more than once.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.

-- Mark Leviton
(Mark’s sixties-themed radio show Pet Sounds can be heard alternate Wednesdays 10pm-Midnight PST on KVMR-FM 89.5 in the Sacramento area and streaming at www.kvmr.org )


Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
San Francisco, October 6-7

Art On The move

October 5 - Split driving chores with John R. Johnson en route to San Francisco, where we would bunk at the home of Joel Selvin, Johnson’s co-author on the new book “The Peppermint Lounge: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the 60’s.” This trip, certainly my 100th on this route, I ate for the first time at Harris Ranch, the midway point. The sandwich was magnificent. At Selvin’s we met with John Wilcox, the singer/songwriter, Marley’s Ghost Member and fellow Selvin lodger, and went to Viva Jalisco for dinner.

October 6 - A hearty breakfast at Selvin’s and tally-ho to Golden Gate Park, site of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Here I was told I had a medium pass, not a backstage one, and considered going instead to a movie: I enjoy music, but in my dotage require the backstage’s comfy appurtenances. Watched the World Famous Headliners, who rocked in a hardly-bluegrass way. Big Al Anderson, Pat McLaughlin, Shawn Camp, Michael Rhodes and Greg Morrow were to Hardly Strictly what Blind Faith was to 1969. Also there that day saw Alison Brown, who is always fine, Buddy Miller with Patti Griffin (but missed the guest appearances of Emmylou and Robert Plant), and, later, the Chieftans, whose act is something like a circus. I hopped over to the Star stage with a borrowed “full pass” and saw the finish of the Dirty Three, a band I found incomprehensible as a longhaired bearded Gypsy Bootslike guy sawed his fiddle for many long minutes with his back to the audience, finishing with a leaping demand for applause, which he got. There I barged into the Dave Alvin tent and found him with brother Phil discussing Phil’’s imminent guest-shot on Dave’s set. Though Dave was playing the next day in the Knitters, I correctly suspected that Phil would be leaving later this day and got him to slip me his full-access pass. Also met Garberville music queenpin Gayle Espinoza and was greeted and hugged by headlockin’ John Doe. Next I hopped over to the Arrow stage to meet and greet Bill Kirchen, whose always wonderful set wowed the crowd, and caught a big chunk of the greatly funful Reckless Kelly band from Austin. Also midday in the Artists Tent I found a minute to speak to Guy Clark, who seemed to remember me vaguely but luckily didn’t remember that I had forgotten to come to his hotel and interview him in 1974, ruining his day. He sounded good, and he knew I was someone he had once known slightly. (EGADS. Not expecting to speak to him, I didn’t bone up on his news and did not know that his wife Susana had died in June. I am such a fool.) In the evening we watched the Giants lose their first playoff game. I overheard great cries of disappointment as I pored over Selvin’s expansive CD collection for fresh soul-food.

Next day, losing the companionship of the Selvin bunker John Wilcox, we roared to Golden Gate Park. Hied over to the Mark and Debbie (friends) blanket at the Star Stage and stared without comprehension at Giant Giant Sand, the somnolent and supernumerated crowd-pleaser. Ran off to other stuff and trudged exhaustedly through the sardine-packed horde, losing my ‘army’ coat along the way (funny if you think about it, fatigue resulting in mufti).

The rest of the itinerary is pictured below, excepting a nice talk with Jake Riviera, and another with Nick Lowe, before his show. When I learned that Nick had a 7-year-old son I extolled the joy of parenthood with such rapture that he said “Now, Art, it isn’t THAT great.” It’s different for different old pops.

Bill Kirchen Band rocks the rafters.

Bill and Chris O’Connell, talking with fans.

Reckless Kelly, warming up for Kirchen.

The locals really dig that Frisco area code.

Phil Alvin on the Dave Alvin show duetting on
“What’s Up With Your Brother?”

Les Claypool’s Duo De Twang, with partner Mirv.

Nick Lowe

Buddy Miller sits in on his buddy Jim Lauderdale’s set. The two have recorded an album together.

Teeny dancers await their call for the Chieftans show.

Giant Giant Sand play play at the Star Star Stage Stage.

The Knitters look a lot like X.

Fest regular Emmylou Harris pauses.

The Dirty Three, one of them.

Boz Scaggs and Delbert McClinton at the Doug Sahm Tribute show.

Dry Branch Fire Squad Band. The faces on the mural are a tribute to the late fest founder Warren Hellman, the central figure who is courteously blocked by the clumsy photographer. Emmylou and Earl Scruggs and even Steve Wozniak I’d expect to see, but I was thrilled to find Dave Alvin in such august company.

Glenn Hansard, who is quite popular.

Dwight Yoakam, a real crowd-pleaser.

Luther Dickinson & The Wandering


Lisa & Chip - She isn’t really that tiny. Wide angle lenses do strange things.

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