bobdoran

The Hum: Down in the Basement

 

The Basement is a relatively new nightclub in the “basement” of Jacoby’s Storehouse (below the Union office). While they started out with music only on Fridays, they’ve booked combos Thursday through Saturday, mostly on the jazzy side. 

I used to go there when it was called Brett Harte’s, then Bergie’s, I saw Robert Cray Band there more than once, and Taj Mahal, and many others. The low ceilings with acoustic tile facilitate conversation. It’s a nice place to have a drink and hear good music.

RLATrio On Valentine’s Day, (the 14th) the real ❤ holiday in The Basement, Tim Randles leads RLA Trio, with Mike LaBolle on drums and Ken Lawrence on electric bass. You might think, hmmm, that name doesn’t quite make sense, well, the trio (shown above) once included Bobby Amirkhanian on bass, but he’s since sailed away to work on cruise ships. Ken took over the bass chair. So far they’ve stuck with old initial name explaining LA is kind of short for Lawrence, but I think they should come up with a real name. In fact, one has occured to me The TiMiKen Trio. What do you think?

On Friday, Feb. 15, it’s the Julie Froblom Trio (Julie on sax, with Blake Brown on guitar and Danny Gaon on bass. On Saturday, Feb. 16, when I first wrote this item for the Union, they had a band listed, they’ve since changed their minds.

The Friday, Feb. 22, band was listed as the Tavola Quartet, who described themselves as “old souls.” They have since become “Front Ear (formally Tavola”). Saturday, Feb. 23, they shift gears a bit with multi-instrumentalist Seabury Gould and Mark Jenny, who plays, well I wasn’t sure what, since Seabury in a very eclectic guy bouncing from Indian kirtan to Celtic jigs and occasionally jazz tunes. That night he tells me he’ll be playing, “mostly blues and some jazz. Mark is an accomplished veteran guitarist. His slide guitar chops are mighty fine. And I’ll be playing guitar & piano (keyboard).”

Ending the month of February on Thursday, the 28th, Claire Bent shows off her jazzy side, leaving her Citizen Funk band at home, at least part of it anyway. As far as I can tell, Claire was listed as that band playing Saturday.

The Hum: Grivo @ the Miniplex (and/or The Goat) plus…

Tonight, Friday, Feb. 8 at the Miniplex (in the Goat) Austin-based alt. power trio Grivo mashes together doom metal and shoegaze (if that’s possible).

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“Call it rock, or call it shoegaze… whichever, this one kicks. Hard.” -TinyMixTapes

Austin-based power trio GRIVO unleashed their ominously trudging sound with the debut full length ‘Elude’ in November on the HOLODECK label (of  STRANGER THINGS soundtrack fame) . Combining slow, methodical hooks and warm tube amplifiers, Grivo’s massive tones artfully re-establish the link between heavy guitars and downtempo pop to yield a potently encompassing experience. Utilizing effects as an active compositional element, Elude’s infectious riffs are brilliantly crafted and paced to allow the saturated guitars and bruising low-end to fully bloom. Within the tidal sound waves and bleak timbre, Grivo forges a distinctive personal connection that challenges the modern definitions of doom metal and shoegaze.

“Leaning into the heavier end of the shoegaze spectrum, Austin’s Grivo take inspiration from the dark, drug-induced beauty that lies just beneath the brutality.” -REVOLVER

 

 

 

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Grivo on Bandcamp
Again that’s Friday, February 8 / 9 pm / $10 / $7 advance / with local openers,  Ensemble Economique (globe-trotting, cinematic avant-ambient aka Jacob Sweden) and CV, a local goth-rock supergroup feat. Robert Tripp, Tavan Anderson, Aimee Hennessy, etc. (members of White Manna, The Hard Ride, Nipplepotamus, & Blood Gnome) / 21 & up.

Humming along after Breakfast…

As you may or may not know, the Breakfast All Day Collective‘s “safer space,” Outer Space, is celebrating turning two years of operation on Friday, Feb. 1.

Sarah Torres

The 2nd birthday party features Arcata High hip hop collective 4 The Masses, local garage punks Wet Spot, indigenous activist/singer/songwriter Sarah Torres with cousin Adam, and the spoken word artists of Word Humboldt, who typically hold down the word fort Tuesdays at Northtown Coffee.

Interview by Bob Doran, podcast mix by John Hardin

If you’ve been reading the Hum for awhile, you know that the BAD Collective followed in the footsteps of something called The Placebo, a loosely knit group of kids that came together to create a space where they could hang out and have occasional shows with local and touring bands.

As Placebo founder Abe Ray explained, “We decided that Arcata needed a more permanent music venue, one that catered to all ages and brought bands into the area.” This was way back in 1999, when Ray and a bandmate took out a loan from their parents to pay rent for a warehouse space on South G Street in Arcata (somewhere near what is now Redwood Curtain). The name Placebo was chosen to indicate the drug-free environment they insisted on at the venue.

“We didn’t really know what we were doing; we just did it,” said Ray. “Up ’til then, I was basically just a kid who went to shows. We hooked up with some people who knew how to put on shows…” The rest is history, at this point ancient history.

The Placebo crew poses in front of their space in Manila – photo by Bob Doran

The Placebo put on a bunch of shows until the City got wind of their unpermitted venue. The kids were for the most part teenagers, and they didn’t know what hoops they were supposed to go through to go legit. Their venue was shut down. They tried again a couple of times, first in Manila, in an old classroom in the community center, where neighbors complained about the noisy shows, then later on in Eureka, where they shared a building on West Third Street with a couple of artist collectives: Empire Squared, and Synapsis, the baby of trapeze artist Leslie Castellano. Again, there were permit troubles and neighbors who complained about noise.

While Leslie, persevered and eventually moved Synapsis to another space in Old Town (and was elected to the Eureka City Council), the members Empire Squared mostly graduated and moved on. The Placebo’s founders did the same, leaving behind a ghost that still exists, but only as a dysfunctional Facebook page.

The founders of the Breakfast All Day Collective and its safer space Outer Space did not have to suffer the same “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that took down Placebo, but they still need our support. (For more history, read Lauraine’s piece for the Union.) Outer Space’s space on 11th St. was once home to Copeland Lumber, which was replaced by Nilsen Feed’s short-lived store hiding ‘round the corner. Now that Nilsen has thrown in the towel (for whatever reason), the BAD folks are not totally sure what will happen next, but they’re been good tenants, so they hope they’ll get to stay. We’ll see. If it looks like they need more help, say yes. And go check out a show.

Wednesday, Feb. 6. look for folky fare with Buck Meek from Austin, Texas (getting for a tour in support for Jeff Tweedy)…

Buck is currently on tour with his Keeled Scales label-mate Twain from Virginia

and local support from Hollan and Emelia Grace

The shows just keep coming. Friday, Feb. 15, 7-10 p.m. It’s two new young groups from Arcata, Petty Education (also playing at Redwood Yogurt Friday, Feb. 8) and mash yellow bird

As February stumbles to a close Wednesday, Feb. 27, Outer Space hosts the appropriately named, awakebutstillinbed (San Jose screamo)

plus Sundressed (AZ folk punk), Sunsleeper (SLC sad rock) and Alien Boy, who is a punker from PDX, not from outer space.

Remember, all Outer Space shows start and end early (7-ish-10 p.m.) so the kids (and seniors like me) can get to bed early. Also, remember when you were younger and needed a safe place to play. That’s all they ask…

The Hum is back (in print)

Yes, it’s true. The Hum is back. Back in print in the Mad River Union anyway. It never totally disappeared online (here at thehum.online), but I needed a break. I had more pressing things to do — like lay my friend to rest, then, my mom. The print Hum will be different. Watch for it semimonthly.

I explained all this when I ran into a couple of friends other day on Bar Row. One of them was in the Raging Grannies with my dear old mother. After sincere condolences and some talk about what a fine lady she was, I mentioned that I was bringing the Hum back. 

Her friend is a local musician, so of course he was glad to hear about the return. ‘What should I mention?’ I wondered. “Well, definitely the Nels Cline show,” said the local musician, Gary Davidson, who has been playing bass in various local combos for decades. 

Gary Davidson at the Folklife Festival – photo by Bob Doran

Needless to say, that show Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Arcata Playhouse is hopelessly sold out. (Miracle tickets required. Ask around.) Nels Cline 4 is led by Mr. Cline, the awesome Wilco guitarist…

It also features the 20-something Julian Lage, who played here with his band recently, and, memorably, with David Grisman a few years ago. In a JazzTimes interview, Lage says he’d “found his people” playing with Cline. “At last I found a scenario where you could be free and adventurous, you could utilize sound and be extremely melodic and evocative.” I’m ready for an adventure.

Gary also figured he had to mention a benefit at the Bayside Community Hall (formerly known as the Grange) since he plays in both bands on the two-fer bill: Home Cookin’ and The Handshakers.

Cover from Freddy and the Starliner album by Martin Wong

It gives away my age, but I can’t help but think of Home Cookin’ as the latest incarnation of Freddy and the Starliners, a band with Jambalaya founders Fred Neighbor and Joyce Hough from before Gary moved here. 

The Handshakers were once known as Rogues’ Gallery. A pair of Georgia-born guitarist/songwriters, Mike Bynum and luthier Michael Walker, are out front, with Aleister Paige on pedal steel.

The Delta Nationals in front of the B.C. Hall – photo by Bob Doran

They changed names when Gary joined with rhythm partner Paul DeMark on drums. BTW, Paul officially announced the end of the venerable Delta Nationals after 18 years. Just to keep busy, Paul started another band, a jazz trio PD 3, with Fred on guitar and Bruce “Junior” Johnson on standup bass. (Fred and Junior also play as a duo known as Fred & Junior.) 

This “Double the Money Hallabaloo” promises an “evening of dinner and music” with an early start, beginning with a home-cooked meal at 5:30 p.m. Handshakers at 7, with Home Cookin’ closing. All money raised for the B.C. Hall renovation will be matched by an anonymous donor. “This will be a fun evening for a good cause,” says Joyce. “I have many, many fond memories of playing in this building!! You probably do too.” Indeed I do. 

Illustration from The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Before we parted on Bar Row, Gary had another gig to mention. Yet another outfit he plays with, Rosewater: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead, is at the Clam Beach Tavern (in McKinleyville) on Friday, Feb. 15.

Along the same lines, The Miracle Show offers “top shelf Grateful Dead,” at the Jam on the same night (2/15) declaring, “The music plays the band.”

There’s also a “Grateful Dead Dance Party” at Humbrews this Saturday (2/2) with Dead vids augmented by a light show by Marmalade Sky. Also, you just missed Dead On, a local trio “exploring the acoustic side of The Grateful Dead.”

Gary had a simple explanation about the plethora of Dead cover bands locally. “There’s all these great songs and we love playing them, and the people keep coming out to hear them.”

Speaking of tribute bands, Piet Dalmolen and the Pink Floyd cover band Money play that song and others from that catalog at Humbrews Friday, Feb. 1. They promise “lights and projections by Shawn Lei and a few new tricks up our sleeve.” (Remember the old days when light shows were listed along with the bands?)

More covers etc. coming up at The Jam, with a month of Sunday kid-friendly afternoon shows labeled “Fam Jam,” all from 1-4 p.m. Youngins get in free (with adults). First up, Feb. 10, Silver Hammer: A Beatles Tribute, then the following Sunday, Feb. 17, reggae tunes by Irie Rockers, and, rounding things out Feb. 24, All Things Must Pass—a Birthday Tribute to George Harrison. (His b-day is actually the next day, but it’s close enough.  

There’s more of this column in the paper and you can pick it up at your neighborhood news stand (Northtown Books for example) or you can wait until later, when I get around to posting some more, including some stuff that’s not in the paper.

The magazine rack at Northtown Books, curated by Jay Aubrey-Herzog – photo by Bob Doran shot for the NC Journal when we declared it “Best Magazine Rack” around in 2010.

The Inner Eye

Got an email the other day from Dell’Artisan Joan Schirle titled “Bird of the Inner Eye.”

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It began simply, “Here’s a press release about the Morris Graves reading coming up… the what and the why… Please share! Thanks, Joan”

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I thought I’d do my part and “share,” but realized this morning I was already late in doing so. Last night (Thursday) they had the first of three readings of the work-in-progress, but you have a couple more chances to catch the pre-show show: at the Black Faun Gallery in Eureka Saturday, Nov. 17, and next weekend on Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Arcata Playhouse, with both shows starting at 7 p.m. Call Dell’Arte at (707) 668-5663 or email info@dellarte.com for details.

Before I get around to “the what and the why,” a little about why I have more than a passing interest in Joan’s reading. 

It was a long, long time ago when I actually spoke with Morris Graves on the phone. (To be more precise, it was late in the year 2000.) The museum that bears his name was about to have a retrospective of his work and as the arts and culture writer for the North Coast Journal, I wanted to write something about the show, and about Morris. Someone gave me his phone number and boldly, I called it. To my surprise, the man who everyone told me was a hermit and would not speak with anyone, answered his phone.

We didn’t talk long, he said his health was not good and he just wasn’t feeling up to it, and asked if I could talk to his assistant, Robert, instead. He assured me that Robert knew him well and would be able to answer all my questions about the show.

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Perhaps I should have been more persistent, but I let him go, and missed my chance to talk more with him about art and get to know him better. Robert Yarber was a good guide to Graves’ work and the piece that came out of our talk, “The Nature of Beauty,” essentially a guided tour of the show, was satisfactory. But I never got to talk with Morris again — he died in May 2001, not long after the retrospective.

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Fast forward to 2013. A package came to the Journal offices containing a new book, Morris Graves: Selected Letters, and it gave me another opportunity to discuss Humboldt’s most famous artist. The letters cover much of his life, and the piece, “On the Lake,” is a biography with a focus on how he ended up living in seclusion outside of Loleta, and his life here. 

The masterful theatre artiste Joan Schirle is drawing on the Selected Letters to tell a different story, from a different part of Morris’ life, when he was a conscientious objector, and a painter of birds and much more. I’ll let the folks at Dell’Arte explain… 

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DELL’ARTE INTERNATIONAL PRESENTS Bird of the Inner Eye 

Dell’Arte International (DAI) presents Bird of the Inner Eye, a series of readings from the letters of painter Morris Graves (1910 – 2001). The three readings are at Dell’Arte’s Carlo Theatre (Nov. 15), Eureka’s Black Faun Gallery (Nov. 17), and the Arcata Playhouse (Nov. 25). All performances are at 7 PM, with admission by donation.

Dell’Arte’s Joan Schirle conducts the readings, sourced from Graves’ letters and archives, with a cast of Dell’Arte Company members and local actors.  This “theatre of place” event includes dance improvisations by choreographer and DAI faculty member Laura Muñoz.

 “I became fascinated by Graves as a resistor,” said Schirle. “During WWII he spent 11 months in the stockade at Camp Roberts, California, for refusing to join the Army. He resisted not only war, he resisted the degradation of our planet and the deadening of our senses to beauty. Through painting he communicated his anguish over the loss of our humanity as we plunder the earth.  He inspires me to ask myself as an artist, how I can best take part in resistance using the gifts I have?”

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Some of Graves’ most powerful paintings came out of his experience as a conscientious objector. Many works of that early 40’s period use birds as symbols, including Bird of the Inner Eye, Falcon of the Inner Eye, and Little-Known Bird of the Inner Eye (1941) in NY’s Museum of Modern Art. Though symbolic, his paintings were nonetheless based on intensive observation and love of the natural world.

I want to say with paint that the creation is infinitely, infinitely more than meets the eye, that a bird is vastly more than a miracle of life and form—that an eagle is not an eagle but a God-gesture and a power, and that he is not detached and in the sky but in our souls. And I want to say with paint that my tranquil night-lake here is not a lake but a reflection of a great tranquil backpool within the human soul—and that we see the outer reflection, and by it can bring the inner eye into focus within our soul…”– Morris Graves, writing in 1943, three months after the army discharged him as ‘unfit.’

Graves spent the last 36 years of his life in Humboldt County, at the home he designed and had built near Loleta, known as “The Lake.” Earlier this year the Morris Graves Foundation awarded Schirle a 3-week residency at The Lake,  where she had access to his studio, his gardens, his papers, books, and many of the objects he had collected over a lifetime.  During the coming year she will be developing a chamber opera on Graves with composer Gina Leishman.  “He was a such a dramatic character… His writings reveal ongoing struggles balancing fame with his need for privacy, between his desire to live simply and a love of creating gorgeous, luxurious surroundings,” said Schirle. “His writings are passionate, as well as full of humor– he was something of a trickster. There is lively correspondence not just with his male lovers but with some amazing women who supported his work and his vision.  His writing cries out to be set to music.”

Though Graves’ paintings– mostly of birds, animals, and nature– are famous throughout the world, his writing is lesser known. The letters in Bird of the Inner Eye are taken from “Selected Letters of Morris Graves,” edited by Vicki Halper and Lawrence Fong (2013). Schirle has also taken material from interviews with Graves’ contemporaries.

“. . . these letters are gems – conveying verve and passion and trains of thought possibly more complex than we tweeting twits of the 21st century can ever hope to express or even comprehend.” — Bellingham Herald

A page-turner, capturing the rich and raw inner life of a sensitive, deeply serious artist who lacked a layer of skin and yet had a toughness to forge a life in art.” –City Living

To learn about Graves’ challenges in building his Humboldt home, see writer Bob Doran’s 2013 article in the Northcoast Journal, “On The Lake.”

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Bird of the Inner Eye runs Thursday Nov. 15 at Dell’Arte’s Carlo Theatre, Saturday Nov. 17 at Eureka’s Black Faun Gallery and Sunday Nov. 25 at the Arcata Playhouse. All performances are at 7 PM.
Admission is pay what you can: $5 – $10

Tickets for Carlo Theatre at www.dellarte.com or (707) 668-5663

For further information on tickets for Black Faun Gallery and The Playhouse, email info@dellarte.com