It’s krazy time in Humboldt this weekend. You’re probably too young to remember, but Krazy Kat was a wild and krazy comic strip from long ago noted for a “mixture of offbeat surrealism, innocent playfulness and poetic, idiosyncratic language,” (as Wikipedia describes it).
Saturday at noon (Memorial Day weekend) things get really krazy on the Arcata Plaza as kostumed krazies mount a flotilla of surreal Kinetic Sculptures taking off on Sisyphean journeys cross-country in search of glorious fun (at least far as Ferndale) for the annual Kinetic Grand Championship. The whole enterprise results in tons of “innocent playfulness,” intentionally bad puns and a zillion photo-ops as they struggle down the road, through the dunes, across the bay, onto the top-secret Kannibal Island, over the river, through the woods to grandma’s house and so on, ending on Main Street USA (in Ferndale) sometime Monday. My approach is generally to watch the various entourages leave Arcata and turn my attention elsewhere since my capacity for pun-filled family fun is limited (although I have chased the K-Race on occasion).
I’ll be on the watch for large, friendly, costumed bear with a floppy hat on the Plaza before the first of the post-Kinetic events starts at 1 p.m. at Northtown Books, where they celebrate the 60th anniversary of “I Can Read” books with a “special storytime and a personal appearance from Paddington Bear, who will be there for photos, fun activities, snacks and special prizes.” The bookstore folks suggest this is the “perfect thing to do after watching the start of the Kinetic Sculpture Race.” Indeed, and “read a fucking book.”
Up on the hill
Friday, while the Kinetic krazies are getting ready for their wild morning on the Plaza, up the hill The Sanctuary welcomes you to come dancing. They’ll be “presenting three different acts all in the spirit of American roots music: Kenny Ray & the Mighty Rovers, Caitlin Jemma & the Goodness, and Bart Budwig's Amperband.” The plan is to start at 7:30 p.m. slightly earlier than normal, “opening up part of the Great Hall for dancing.”
Kenny is always playing for dancers. Caitlin is a former local who is out in the wide world climbing the ladder to folk success (such as it is) now with stringy players of some sort.
Bart Budwig is new to me, from somewhere out of town. As they explain on the Amperband SoundCloud page, “Bud doesn’t write the big songs. He writes the songs about the places between the hills, in the draws and hidden canyons where truth is a little more in focus, stories can take their time gettin’ told, heartbreak is a place of deep reflection, and melodies don’t have to wear rhinestone suits or drive new, shiny, cars to be beautiful.”
Not far away, at the Arcata Veteran’s Hall, the local swing dancers have a USO-themed version of their “Friday Is Jammin” (which, as I’ve explained before, is a different sort of “jammin” from what’s practiced by improv musicians). “Do you have vintage clothing? Vintage military uniforms?” They suggest, “This is the night to wear them,” as you swing and sway on “a big beautiful dancefloor.” They offer a quick East Coast Swing lesson at 8 p.m. “for the newbies,” then dancing and more dancing. Dr. Boogie provides digital versions of old lacquer records to keep you krazy kats swingin’.
Read another fucking book.
Friday, Northtown Books welcomes author Mat Callahan for a talk about his new book, The Explosion of Deferred Dreams: Musical Renaissance and Social Revolution in San Francisco, 1965–1975. Described as “a red diaper baby lucky to be attending a San Francisco high school during the ‘Summer of Love,’” Mr. Callahan examines “the interwoven political and musical happenings” as he “explores the dynamic links between the Black Panthers and Sly and the Family Stone, the United Farm Workers and Santana, the Indian Occupation of Alcatraz and the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and the New Left and the counterculture.” Sounds interesting. He’ll also sign your book if you buy one.
Another sort of “Hum”
I got an email the other day from Jonas from a touring band called Low Hums. “Thought I might reach out and say hi and send some music your way, especially since you have a column called 'The Hum,’” he began. That got my attention. The band is playing Friday night (May 26) at the Alibi and Ian, who books the shows, passed along my address. Jonas was looking for some press for their gig alongside The Sturgeons, a local band I have not yet heard.
Jonas explained, “Low Hums are a wild rock and roll band from Seattle, comprised of some very longtime close friends. Musically, there are a lot of influences… probably too many to tell. Here’s a swing at it: First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968, Acid Rock, ’70s Rock, ’80s Skate Rock, The Sonics, Dead Moon, Velvet Underground, Pink Floyd, early British Invasion like ‘Them’ or, you know, the Rolling Stones.. and perhaps a bit of Weird Spaghetti Western, Funkadelic, Howlin’ Wolf, Sun Ra… If you added up all the years each member has been playing in bands, buying records, listening to music, let’s just say it’s a long time. Since starting officially in 2009, there have been several versions of the band, early stuff was dark/folk, then experimental, and now in their best form yet, Low Hums have been focusing heavily on rocking out with whirlwinds of fuzz, lots of sonic energy and yes, even a few well-written slower songs and instrumentals.”
Jonas continued to grab my attention by listing influences such as the Stooges, Dick Dale, Blue Cheer, and the kicker, the late, great Captain Beefheart as he noted, “Low Hums have played sweaty packed college parties, high desert roadhouses, regional festivals, all ages bakeries turned venues, beaches, generator parties, dive bars and everything else in between.” Add to Arcata’s dive bar row to the list. Party on, low or high.
Something to eat?
Saturday afternoon after the Kinetic Sculptures wheel down the road, the Vets at the Arcata Veterans Hall are hoping to lure you back up the hill for their first “Great Chili Cookoff.” Interested in cooking some chili and making America great again? Contact the Auxiliary at [email protected] and sign up. It all starts after the noon whistle, ending at 4:30 p.m.
Then it’s time to think about fish. Specifically, in Eureka at The Inn at 2nd & C (6 p.m.), it’s time for the Save Our Salmon Seafood Dinner hosted by True North Organizing Network and Save the Klamath-Trinity Salmon. As you may have heard, “this year there will be no commercial salmon season in far North California and Southern Oregon,” with the Yurok Tribe's fishery “plummeting to a historical low. Come find out why, and learn what local fishermen, nonprofits, and tribal organizations are doing to Save Our Salmon.”
There’s music involved: funky soul reggae by Diggin Dirt and straight-ahead reggae by Irie Rockers, as well as a fish dinner and another opportunity to see the new-improved Eagle House. All proceeds go directly to Salmon Action, split between the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Save the Klamath-Trinity Salmon and Klamath WaterProtectors. Good cause. Good times. What else can you ask?
Meanwhile over at Sequoia Park, the popcorn is poppin’ as Movies in the Park open the flicks-outdoors-season with E.T.: The Extraterrestrial hosted by Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commission. It starts at 7 p.m. with music by Michael Dayvid, continues with Loony Tunes cartoons, with the feature starting at dusk (around 8:45 p.m.) Dress for the occasion. BYO blankets and lawn chairs. Popcorn, candy and other refreshments available. Coming up in the series: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story June 24, Disney's Moana July 22, concluding with The Neverending Story August 18.
In the clubs
At the Arcata Theatre Lounge Friday night, Humboldt CBD presents what they’re calling a “Summer Kickoff!!!” (despite the fact that summer doesn’t start until June 21) featuring Desert Dwellers, a “multi-genre psy dub electronic world” duo from Santa Fe with Amani Friend and Treavor Moontribe. Incidentally, according to Facebook, Desert Dwellers make their Summer Camp Music Festival debut in Illinois and play the Wind Rider Mountain Festival in New Mexico, all the same weekend, which must involve some complicated jet setting or maybe the duo splits with Mr. Friend and Mr. Moontribe both playing under the DD name. Local support comes from Stonechild and a band booked as The Dubbadubs. I actually chatted with a couple Dubbadubs at a party last night and learned they’ve had some major shifts in their lineup due to members leaving the area, paternity leave, etc. so that they’re looking for new players and a new name. Any ideas? Wanna join a “dub” band?
Also Friday, at Humboldt Brews Claire Bent & Citizen Funk makes their Arcata debut (they’ve only played Eureka ’til now). If you looking for funk/rock band fronted by an ex-ukulele player, this is the show for you. Incidentally, earlier at HumBrews (5-ish) Sierra Nevada Brewing Company presents Beer Camp Across the World, with 12 breweries from around the planet collaborating with the Sierra Nevada folks for some sort of tasting party. (I don’t think this “camp” involves camping.)
Keeping the music flowing at Humbrews, Saturday starting at 11 a.m. while Kinetic things happen in town, they have their semi-annual Musical Yard Sale with “instruments, amplifiers, records, CDs, posters, memorabilia, and much more” spread around the room for sale or trade. Then that night it goes electro with “Brews n’ Bass” featuring former homeboy OnHell plus “special guests” McG and Cassidy Blaze pumping the bass with visuals by VJ Johnny Dumps.
Tuesday evening 8-ish, the Sanctuary presents “an evening of songs, stories and sights, featuring the New York-based artist and musician Ali Dineen, along with local legends The Comix Trip. Both utilize unique visual elements in their performances, Ali with ‘crankies,’ hand-cranked picture scrolls, while The Comix Trip uses of an overhead projector to magnify Violet Crabtree's whimsical illustrations.” This will not be like watching TV or sitting in front of your computer screen — all strictly analog.
7th annual take on Bob Dylan's Birthday Bash is this Wednesday, May 24, once again at Mad River Brewing in sunny Blue Lake. The party's never had the same sort of headliner, this time The Detours are closing the show, performing the entire album Nashville Skyline, which, as one of the Detours noted, includes a harmonica solo so BDBB organizer Chris Parreira will be part of the set.
Here’s the full schedule with approximate times:
The Detours (7:50-8:30)
The Yokels (7:20-7:40)
Chris Parreira (7:00-7:10)
Rosalind Parducci (6:50-7:00)
Morgan Corviday & Jan Bramlett (6:30-6:45)
Les Glen (6:15-6:25)
Jeff Kelley (5:55-6:10)
Leslie Quinn (5:40-5:55)
Matt Brody (5:20-5:35)
It all starts at 5 p.m. with Megan Hensley & Nate Zwerdling.
Incidentally, the little flash from the past vid collection above is the first Bob D B-Day Bash, documented with my Flip Video in 2011. Things change, but they stay the same too.
Okay, time and space have caught up with me once again. See you next time things hum…