Monday, June 11, 2007

west coast tour, part 2 - LA continued

So after finishing updating my blog, Mavis, Will, Jordan and I rolled to a house being watched over by Faye's brother's girlfriend. Mavis carefully balanced a glass of cotch in his lap while we hit speeds upwards of double the speed limit, meaning, well, probably 80 or so on smaller residential streets. To his credit, he never spilled the drink and even took a few long slugs, draining the glass long before our arrival to our destination. And what a destination: huge metal gates led to immense green sculpted plants, paved courtyard guarded by naked faux-Greek statues, through large wooden doors into the house and the real prizes: piles of cheese, fresh mixed drinks, white and red wine, a whole huge spread laid out before us, spliff rolling, standing around a pool lined with spitting fountains. The places we find ourselves in... man... being plied with beer, liquor, homemade food and marijuana joints. We had truly arrived; tour showed yet again capable of complete surprise.

Will and I wandered about the house, looking at the ancient books on the shelves, probably unread. Who would want to read a book that was on the verge of falling apart? Perhaps such a physical challenge would actually contribute to the reading, perhaps providing a sense of danger. I guess I'd rather read a plain old paperback worth several dollars or less.

Will and I wandered past the library and into the front hallway, perusing rows upon rows of smiling family photos resting on tables, shelves, hanging on walls, and --whoa-- the showstopper----->>>>> what appeared to be a normal picture frame instead housed a video screen that scrolled through a whole pile of digital family photos. Beach photos fading into smiling little league shots. Felt like a scene from Bradbury's "Martian Chronicles." We drifted back to the main party, smoked more spliff, Will spilled a drink on the oh-so-nice piano bench and we played our newer tunes for each other. Will Patterson, that kid is a shaggy high school wizard who will change this world, you mark my words!

We cleaned our plates and hit the road again across the great wide expanse of L.A., flying past empty streets and parking lots, scuttled back up to Mavis' warehouse paradise and dreamt of art, creation, big city expanses, open horizons, reclamation of dead urban space for creative sun and fresh air from creative brains.

Next morning, Will, Jordan and I explored the neighborhood, lost ourselves in a sea of taquerias, downed some bean and cheese tacos and gulped down some coffee. Jared stopped by Mavis' pad to pick up his organ. Ah yes, we'd stopped in Vegas and picked up Jared's ebay purchase organ from inside an insane cookie cutter neighborhood. Drove through miles and miles of enclosed neighborhood, bright green lawns, mini-malls, some very suspect seafood restaurants with names like "Island Paradise." It's all part of that city-- so completely unnatural, a complete fabrication, a reproduction of other parts of the world. But really what would most people celebrate in Vegas? The brush, the cactus? These things excite me and stir thoughts of Jesus wandering the Israeli desert, or maybe the Pueblo Indians finding waters amidst cliffs and cracks of rock. But most people flock downtown to the casinos and we were heading through a mess of yawning suburban sprawl to pickup an organ.

So, back to L.A. -- Jared came by with Mitch and Stevie, picked up the organ, marveled at Mavis' art space, we hung for a few moments and they headed onwards. Jordan Will and I headed West on I-10 to the magic sands of Santa Monica, leaving the van parked high in a garage, jammed down the pier, laughing at the games and music and general obvious tourist-trap-ness of the place, so obvious that it almost seemed alright. Will and I hopped in the waves, Jordan dipped a toe, Will body surfed while I napped and dug all the California people, the skater folks, the East L.A. baggy pants crew, the tourists snapping photos of themselves in front of the lifeguard stand, locals all staying clear of this place, probably. Red flags rose and lifeguards urged caution. I guess he was urging this to Will only, cuz he was the only one still swimming. Will headed up, we fetche dthe car, headed back to Hollywood, double-parked in front of the El Rey Theatre, met tourmates Au Revoir Simone, 3 ultra-babes with cool hair and reckless keyboard pad action, stumbled inside in my bathing suit and slippers, received props from Ramesh on my beach suit, pulled all our gear from the van, parked along a side street and found a pile of "giveaway" materials -- a fax machine, mop, books and books galore. I grabbed "Chant and Be Happy," a Hare Krishna guide to happiness featuring extended interviews with George Harrison and John Lennon; also, "Fast Food Nation" and a spare fax machine I planned to smash onstage that evening. And, of course, Christmas lights! Those came in handy on this tour, the poor man's light show.

Then back to Mavis' for a quick can of chili, a few mellow moments, some Scotch whisky, then back to the club. I hauled a portable turntable up to our dressing room and we all danced and hollered to Fela Kuti's "Roforoto Fight." Au Revoir Simone played and slayed the crowd ultra-babe-ness.

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