Saturday, June 04, 2011

6.2.2011, Denton/6.3.2011, FTW

I've been extremely unmotivated to write anything lately, so Hickey beat me to the punch with his synopsis of Friday's HIO activity. T. Horn and I were about an hour late for our planned Friday night meetup with Sarah Gamblin to discuss our impending collaboration at the Houston Fringe Festival, but the upshot was that we think we can do it logistically (Terry found an affordable rental vehicle and his muso pal Ryan Supak is letting us crash on his floor for two nights) and we think we have a conceptual framework for the piece that'll serve; we'll find out when we rehearse with Sarah in August. It'll be in a theater, so the performance dynamic will probably be not dissimilar to the show we did at the FW Community Arts Center last summer.

Hickey's GPS guided us to the dance building at Texas Women's University, and after timely pause, we found the rehearsal room where the dance jam was taking place. The dancers included a couple of the Big Rig mainstays we've played with before (Sarah, Lily Sloan who was apparently getting married the following day, Ty Patterson), and there were a handful of musos -- a bunch of percussionists, an electric guitarist, a pianist, and later, a reed player -- already in place. We weren't sure whether to start playing or not, but after setting up my shit, I did. At first it was kind of an "us against them" kind of thing, bringing back unwanted memories of the Yanari/PFF(F)T "debacle of debacles" at the Firehouse Gallery back in '09, but eventually things began to cohere as we started responding to each other, ebbing and flowing to reflect the dancers' movements.

Afterward, we sat in a circle (as is the dancers' custom) and discussed the experience. We agreed that it was a more successful performance than most of the large ensemble things we've done. As we were loading out, we yakked with a couple of the players. Turns out that John Osburn, the head muso who goes to school in Ireland, had witnessed an HIO performance at 1919 Hemphill (which he called "3418 Mayhill" at first, leading me to suspect he might have seen another band there). Uncle Walt was right. Then we retired, as is our wont, to Hooligans to drink, make dick jokes, and listen to people making noises like animals in response to the basketball game. A very different kind of soundtrack.

Following night my sweetie 'n' I had plans to take in Il Trovatore with my middle daughter and her Army nurse husband (who's currently doing recruiting at TCU, awaiting school and then a permanent change of station to Washington State), then perhaps a bit of Pablo & the Hemphill 7 at the Flying Saucer. Lt James wound up begging off, since he was stuck in traffic on I-35 coming back from TWU (!), where he'd been doing some recruiting, and he opted to spend the evening with his buddy Michael, who just got back from Afghanistan, with Michael's wife Lindsey joining us for the opera.

Il Trovatore was kind of a letdown after last week's Mikado. While it was well-sung, including a Korean tenor in one of the roles, the production was kind of ponderous, with long delays for set changes (the production wound up lasting about three hours and 40 minutes), which caused my daughter to have to unass early to go retrieve her baby from her mom's. The plot is kind of implausible, anyway, but I have to remember that I'm not a 19th century Italian. The performance was better attended than last week's and it seemed like more of a "see and be seen" kind of thing for lots of the patrons. I would have been wiser to have gotten tickets for the Philip Glass/Allen Ginsberg collaboration Hydrogen Jukebox instead, but then I would have missed the guy who looked like the wrestler Ox Baker, who yelled "Brava!" after every big aria, proving that he was as well-schooled in convention as the folks who applaud after every solo at jazz jams.

I was especially bummed to miss Pablo in light of the fact that Joe Vano, whom I've been trying to armtwist into performing their song "The Great Bash" again for about five years now, said he was gonna last night. Now we need to go see 'em again, since we haven't in ages, and maybe he'll do it then.


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