The Bonfires / Vagrant Wind, Leg 4
The calm waters of Fells Point, diverse colors at a Soweboarts booth, Sarah Blackman and Ophir Drive on 1st Avenue New York, and a beautiful spirit--Good Golly Miss Lacy…
Late May to June 2005.
THIS IS CERTAINLY a belated Vagrant Wind Road Journey, Leg 4 “journal/report.” It has been a full two weeks, 14 days, since I got back here in Asheville. Today’s June 27th, Monday, 5am—just a few days to my next trip to Richmond VA. I have just finished watching a longer version of “Woodstock,” following dinner/DVD-watching in Dale Hoffman’s family’s new house up in Candler last night. Truth is, I am about to freak your inboxes out again with my usual, elongated, ramble-on Updates, as me and Marta The Nicer Osbourne busy our ever-crazy systems with pre-prod concerns leading to the next “Bonfires for Peace at Pritchard Park” (set on July 16 and Aug 6), and a dinner evening/intimate show 3rd year of The Indie benefit at Rosetta’s Kitchen on July 17. (There might be a “weekend” Bonfires engagement in Chapel Hill NC on July 8 and 9.)
Aside from a self-imposed 3 or 4-day “wavelength-realignment” jaunt somewhere in the woods near Fairfax, Virginia – from June 30 to July 3 or 4 – I haven’t drawn up the supposed fifth leg of Vagrant Wind yet. Although there is a looming “Bonfires for Peace in Manila” and a “Loud & Peaceful” rock extravaganza in Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem this August or late July, nothing is really concrete yet. (I will be discussing this in my Update, so wait up.) (I realize that there’s a more significant need to stay more days in Asheville this summer, than the road—but let’s see…)
The last road trip (May 24 to June 14?) was my longest, more than three full weeks or almost a month – away from my home-turf—but it was, nonetheless, the most intimate yet the most wearisome (albeit no Bonfires gig to supervise). I decided to cancel at least three previously booked Bonfires shows to focus and concentrate on rekindling old friendships, build new friendships, acquaintances, and networks, and hopefully, fortify previous connections and hook-ups.
MY FIRST STOP was Alexandria VA—I just basically rested in Lacy’s house for couple of days/nights, sort of “refuel, pump up” energies and motivations before attending the Soweboarts Festival in B’more (May 29). Karla Mancero and Brian Langston picked me up almost noontime of that same day at the Greyhound terminal, downtown Baltimore. The Traveling Bonfires secured a space/stall at Soweboarts. I invited new buddy, Iris, to join me in handling/supervising The Bonfires spot—she, in turn, invited Andrew Byrne of/and Red Emma’s Bookstore to join us, with books, brochures, t-shirts etc. About 5 or 6 other Red Emma’s staffers were also there, but it was Iris and myself, with intermittent help and fiery, inspirational words from Matt aka Counterfeitmatt and Andrew, who took charge at The Bonfires space. Iris supplied me with steady stream of beers and Food Not Bombs food… and warm and playful chit-chats (“I’ll be staying in a forest in upstate New York this summer... let’s get in touch,” “I just graduated and my parents threw me a party last night!” “How long you been traveling?”)
In between, I read three poems at the Poetry Stage that’s got drowned by a Rock Stage just a few yards away. Hmm, quite an experience… but, at least, a Maryland suburban couple and a young girl from Philly (“I can play the ukulele with violin, I call it ukulin!”) took serious notice of my poetry (and “strange cheekbones, are you Thai or Cherokee?”) and went on to buy my chapbook and CD. Very cool.
Familiar friends, cafes, vibes, and Bonfires performers: Estella Ramirez and Audrey didn’t-ask-her-last-name, Julie Fisher, Steve (the Aaron Neville-baritoned dude who openly sang love songs “for her, but she’s married” during Bonfires nights at Wydeye in Fells Point), Sarah Pinsker and Stalking Horses, Ocean May, Chris forgot-the-last-name-again, Peggy and Minas Konsolas of Minas Gallery, Matt’s homeys, Ryan Coffman, Melanie Bazensky etc etc. There was an after-event party at a nearby art gallery, me and Karla/Brian hanged out for an hour or so. I came across more familiar faces and Baltimore friends: Kelly Richmond, Justin, the-girl-with-colorful-beads, nameless souls that I saw in past Bonfires events, Jim Hickey, Steve of The Whole Gallery, etc etc… I realize I have already made many friends and acquaintances in Baltimore. I had a few minutes chat with Justin (“My band, Locust Grove, will be visiting Asheville again this summer…”) I met new people, new network. (I spent the night in Karla/Brian’s apartment near Hampden. Thanks for the homecooked late dinner and breakfasts…)
SECOND STOP. Back to Alexandria VA—May 30, 31. Stayed/rested/planned things up in Lacy’s apartment. While here, I replanned and regrouped…
Third stop. New York City, Jersey City. June 1 to June 11. I decided to cancel/move a couple of shows and instead decided to cool things off and spend more time with longtime friends—Renrick Pascual in Jersey City, Kate O’Haley in Brooklyn, and my Pinoy rocker homeys. I wanted to dig in deeper about producing options, business perspectives. I have waited for a prospective (Charlotte NC-based) investor/business hook-up(?) to communicate but no words came. So I decided to chill, re-strategize, relax. Besides, during these days, my Mother was again rushed to ICU in Manila—I simply stayed more to myself and walked, hanged out, pondered, ruminated all over East Village and midtown Manhattan. (My Mom, once again, survived the ordeal, thank God!) In between, I went and saw one of Sarah Blackman aka Ophir Drive’s gigs—the one at Paddy Reilley’s on First Avenue, was it? (I hanged out a bit, with her, at Grand Central Station…) Had a very serious conversation with Jason B, (his wife) Mitos, and Renrick—all about the, as ever, fragmented Pinoy community, oh well… Then, that weekend, I tagged along with Renrick to Westchester for that “wedding gig”—that time, I was a journalist cum roadie.
Nothing really physically draining, that time. I already reported, rambled about Gino Inocentes’ successful 10-band gig at Tribeca Rock Club in downtown Manhattan, I think, few days ago… well, that was a cool experience—to see and chill with my longtime friends again, Hmmm, all those bloated beerbellies, and stuff. Seems like everybody’s domesticated, all of a sudden. But, hey, the real story here—was Marta The Nicer Osbourne’s awesome, productive stewardship/handling of The Indie Crib and Indie/Bonfires affairs while I was away… Of course, again, I’ve already reported that last week.
JUNE 12, Philippine Festival in Towson, MD (or Baltimore), with Lacy. I just basically spent the day drinking San Miguel beer (Pinoy beer), chatted with Filipino pals (Jimmy, Eric, Marco, Jun, Anthony etc etc) about concerts and all that stuff—while Lacy attended to her $1-a-minute massage therapy service/job. The event ended relatively early, at 6pm. Lacy treated me to a beside-the-waters dinner at Fells Point…
And so that’s the fourth leg. Do I sound like I am still tired? I don’t know. I really need a break this week—so I’ll be somewhere in the woods of West Virginia starting Thursday night. But I won’t be reporting details of that rendezvous when I head back here on July 4th and 5th.
5:34am. June 27 05.