2005 Lexington Mardi Gras Parade

Well, we had this great parade again, for Mardi Gras. Mecca Dance Studio, the Action Arts Collective, and WRFL-FM all pitched in, with help from scads of cool peeps and food from Gumbo Ya Ya.

But the real wonder was having The Sun Ra Arkestra come here to be the parade marshals. Or deputies. Or troopers. I don’t know, but they had horns and they used them. Even though Sun Ra is no longer here on Planet Earth, his band plays on under the direction of Marcus Allen *right), sax-man from another planet.
Click here to see some fabulous PICTURES from the parade in my patented Smeary-Vision®.

Mosquitos at the Dame

Originally uploaded by mrtoastey.

last night, a wonderfully welcome visit by NY’s Mosquitos, and their delightful little bossa-indie songs. A couple of weeks ago, I chatted with singer and dancer Juju to promote the show. When I got to the Dame I looked for her to say hi, during another fabulous performance by Rakadu Gypsy Dance. I said “Hi Juju!” and she smiled and immediately leaned close and gave me the kind of kiss on the cheek that can only be called a buss. It doesn’t really exist so much in America I fear. A south american thing, perhaps. Because she wasn’t immediately recognizing me. Her eyes lit up when I told her that we had spoken on the phone. I thought it was neat because she maybe kisses everybody on the cheek. Which is much better than a handshake, I’m convinced.

The Crown Mystery

My friend Laura reminded me of a story from years ago. I had been driving around Lexington and had started noticing these miniature crowns primly displayed in people’s cars, on the dashboard, or in the back window– plastic, shiny, ornate crowns. I noticed that the driver or occupants were frequently black, and I just intuitively decided that this was some expression of black solidarity, but nothing overly militant, like the myths I found at snopes as I thought back on this story, years later. I just thought: Hmm. Black pride. African Kings. A reminder of heritage. Something. Finally, I got my chance to ask. I was at a stop light and a lady pulled up next to me with a glittering crown on her dashboard. I rolled down my window and motioned for her to roll down hers. She looked a bit skeptical, but rolled down her window, and I smiled and said: “I’m curious about the crown on your dashboard! Can I ask what it is?” And with a no emotion whatsoever, she said these two words to me: “Air freshener.” The period was palpable. There was nothing more to say, we rolled up our windows and that was the end of the Crown Mystery for me.

Low, Pedro the Lion and Warmer Milks

LOW from Deluth, Minnesota, is not nearly as serious as they look in the picture. Except during their songs. tonight they played what everyone agreed was an odd show at university of kentucky’s swanky singletary center, a classical joint, by most reckonings. not tonight. this night, the hipster kidz poured in for a triple treat of locals Warmer Milks, Pedro the Lion and headliners Low. All acts seemed mildly uncomfortable with the chamber setting, but there was no doubt that the room was going to play in Low’s favor. Pedro’s frontman, at one point said: “Excuse us, we’re dyin’ up here. but we hope you’re enjoying the music.” Huh? anyway it was funny, but not as funny as his Q&A, in which audience members were encouraged to ask questions. Pedro and WM were fine, even better than fine, but it was Low that was the majestic. I don’t know how to describe it. As a matter of fact, I kept thinking, “this is the least photogenic bill I’ve ever seen.” Not that the musicians were ugly, just that pictures would offer no real insight into the sound of any of the bands. There was a lot of bringin’ the rock sitting down.

Let’s see– Low. three people spinning gold out of the bare minimum: electric guitar, bass, and one tom, a snare and –what– two cymbals?. I can’t confirm that. Maybe only one. Kate went too, and we continuously cackled at the seeming non-plussed nature of Mimi, whose voice was like the fucking rapture, and her drumming was simultaniously so simple (we’re talkin’ quarter notes on the cymbal and snare for 10 minutes at a time) and yet so perfect. As a contrast, she had this look of “who? me? give a shit about these drums? i don’t think so.” but then there she was with absolutely flawless rhythm.

I was fidgety during the first two sets, but during Low, languour set in. All the while, people were leaving in columns. Too bad, but fuck em! Low was incredible. I just don’t know any other bands except Lambchop that show their shit by playing perfectly quietly. From Low, you could hear every note, every word. And the way it fit together just made me close my eyes and breathe deeply.

Something almost supernatural about these cats. I told Kate: “They don’t appear to be playing the music that we’re hearing.” Which is a compliment. Listening to Low in concert was like watching a person levitate right before your eyes.