As last Sunday’s sun kissed the backs of fisherfolk outside my apartment window and even the wind chill showed a bit more restraint, the reality really set in. We’d truly skipped the snow which thumped down on much of the Northeast over this winter wolf-moon weekend. It’s a time for waking up and letting go. Getting on with it. For myself, a year since my father passed and a time to be mindful, do meditation work and reflect and spread loving energy amongst family and friends. To see our victories and failures as one bigger tapestry, and again aim towards our best intentions, freeing ourselves of the notion that such intentions pave the way to hell. (Whoever made that popular saying is a Grade A cynic, even worse than myself.) (Editor’s note: While in the print edition I was sure this was one of William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell,” it turns out that this is an old proverb variously attributed to Samuel Johnson and Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Joanna Newsom expanded on the theme more recently in her song “Good Intentions Paving Company.”)
We did get thwapped with some cold but our city can handle that. We buckle up, buckle down or just ride it out bundled up or getting loaded at our favorite watering holes. We keep conversations going and work on our art. We go to work late, but eventually, braving the chill while we sip from Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups held with two hands for the warmth. It could be worse. It’s good to remember that. And to listen to Sade, The Legends’ “Keep Him”, Daft Punk and Mercury Rev for some good, warm vibes.
I’m lamenting that there’ll be no Clearwater Festival this year and reflecting how my parents helped do promotion for the organization during some of their more successful years. Amazing to think back and have actual memories of Pete Seeger once handing me a decades-old magazine about efforts to purify the river again. Just thinking of how lucky we are to all share this region, once Native American land and before that wilderness as naked and full of potential as could be imagined outside of a fairy tale.
We rush through life and forget to count trees, stiffen ourselves to avoid eye contact or, most foolishly, pretend we don’t like to dance or that it is somehow embarrassing to love Traci Lords’ work on the Mortal Kombat motion picture soundtrack. Why set yourself up for a miserable life? Embrace your inner reptile.
Unless that reptile is a nasty snake. It was great over the weekend — and in conjunction with so much universal movement toward the light — to learn that the “Bill Cosby of Indie Music” (who shall go unnamed here) has been brought to account by brave women including Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, Sky Ferreira (who has graced our own BSP stage) and my friend Yasmine Kittles, whom I value very much. It was a weekend for burning sage and palo santo, for “holy wood” over Hollywood vibes. The real, emerging in front of the façade for its rebirth.
We define our world. It is Sharon Tate’s birthday as I write this. She was in my opinion the cosmic babe-liest of all amazing screen-glam witch queens, and one who’s promising life ended with such tragedy. I think until Yasmine came along I never saw another entertainer with such a strong, feminine stare easy to get lost in. Charles Manson left a horrible psychic wound on the country, taking acid into Paranoia-land and undoing the safer feelings people were embracing. Mistrust and violence always signal an unraveling of the social contract.
It was also a weekend for saying goodbye to Jimmy Bain, one of the all-time great heavy metal bassists for Rainbow, Dio and more. He was a chief force behind the Hear N Aid “Stars” phenomenon in the ’80’s, metal’s answer to “We Are The World,” which raised a lot of charity money. And we are all made of stars, as Carl Sagan used to say and Moby still sings. Our concentric circles, soul longitudes and family trees all bind us to one another.
Kingston is a great community. We have friends and families and enough shared life experience to pick one another up. The local music scene is a prime example of this. Snapper Magee’s in Torrington, Conn. has sadly closed, but the Kingston old school original bar proudly chugs into its 14th year. The Hudson Falcons, Kyle Trocolla and New Red Scare hit town Jan. 30.
“Really excited to be playing such a great show at one of my favorite venues in the Northeast, with two bands who I’ve seen put on some of my favorite live shows ever,” said acoustic punker Trocolla. “Snapper Magee’s is a diamond in the rough for those of us roaming around this scene. Real music fans come out to enjoy real independent punk rock. I’ve toured with both of these bands in the past and loved them more every night I got to watch them.”
When asked to elaborate about his love for the other acts (and how he defines his own music for the uninitiated), Kyle responded: “New Red Scare puts on one of the most energetic live shows happening in the Northeast right now. The Hudson Falcons have been touring non-stop since the late ’90s and have stayed true to their working-class roots and are also one of my favorite bands to watch live. For those who have not heard my acoustic stuff, I often refer to it as ‘story-yelling.’ It runs the spectrum from punk rock to Americana and has drawn comparisons to the acoustic projects of Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry.”
Handshakes, horseshoes and hugs, everybody. Until next time.