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- [img] 2017.05.21, 13:25, 5th Av, BK carrot and stalk
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- [img] Saturday Night On The Outskirts Of Town
- [dream journal] 0517-0518: The Endless Sky Store
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- Solo Set: Saturday 20 May
- [img] #tbt Leningrad 1985, from the front seat of my spring break tour bus
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- [dispatch] 20170506.1359: wine worm
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Monthly Archives: May 2017
Photo: @catmthomas. Thx to everyone who deemed me, and then The Tell, worthy of Saturday night. Had a blast. Until the next time!
May 21, 2017 at 01:35AM
On a quest to find a guitar pedal I’d read about called the “Endless Sky.” It creates large ambient washes and textures from playing only one note on the guitar. Features a cowboy boot on the hand-painted graphic with lazy clouds around the six dials and three foot switches. One knob is labeled “reality fade,” the rest I don’t recall. Driving a desolate dusty oceanfront road, and come upon the pedal’s graphic on a supertall sign for a roadside-burger-shack-sized store on the ocean side of the road. Pull in.
Parking lot is dirt. Ocean breaks and foams over huge boulders behind the store (the vibe is El Rey de Pescado in Naiguata, Venezuela). Several sprays from crashing waves threaten to envelop the store, but the age of the small building conveys that it’s held the sea back for a long time, and a quiet serenity about the place gathers as I approach.
As I’m walking up to the store I feel like my thighs are really rubbing together. Looking down, I discover that my thighs have not ballooned, but rather, my pants have turned into Renaissance royalty red-velvet gold-seamed pantaloons.
Tattered screen door. Inside the store, there’s just a counter with four Endless Sky pedals sitting next to an analog cash register.
“One,” I say.
“You don’t want to try it first?” the proprietor asks me, without looking up from a yellowed newspaper.
“No need,” I say. “I know it’s perfect.” I look at the pedal and notice the brand.
“Thought this was a secret Strymon,” I say.
“Nope,” he says, still fixed on his paper, “it’s a Nemo. This is the only pedal they make.”
“Well well,” I say, “even better.”
Lacquer down and light it up! This Saturday (20 May) at Halyards in Gowanus, I’m flying solo and electric, opening for the debut of xclnt friends The Tell. On for ~half-hour starting 9:30…
The Tell is a trio formed of the core of After School Special: Josh Matthews, Ashley Semrick-DesRochers, and David Miller. I’ll be doing a 25-30 minute “Storytellers” set to ease the throttle into the big show, and let everyone float away into the evening. We’ll laugh a bit, maybe cry, maybe even daydream like landlocked surfers.
Stripped down songs, just me and Fabien (my Peekamoose custom M2), a few pedals and my Fender Super Champ X2 amp. Short set, so ambient flights to a minimum – more of an Americana-heavy romp through a few favs from across my catalog, with some superhero origin backstory between. For sure, Windfall and Love In This Land. The other three or four are up for grabs. It’s a Saturday night and I feel like leaving everyone with a smile or two, so nothing with too much gravity.
Since my last solo live performance, there’ve been nine records, a quarter million spins and 70K downloads(!!), a ton of collaboration, a bit of exposure, and a lot of inspiration. All this to say, this gig is overdue, and I hope it’s way less time until the next time.
#tbt Leningrad 1985, from the front seat of my spring break tour bus
May 11, 2017 at 07:05PM
For sure, my formal education let me down. Not until last night did I learn the screw part of a corkscrew is called a 'worm.'
— ../westy (@westyreflector) May 6, 2017
May 06, 2017 at 01:59PM
Walking underwater at a brisk clip at the bottom of a large body of water. Water is crystal clear blue like liquid sky, the sand is white and firm, and I glide forward with little effort. I breathe normal in the water – no oxygen tank, scuba gear or wetsuit necessary. There’s no doubt I’m in water, though, because exhaling or talking creates bubbles that float to the surface.
I am walking with a stocky and very tall partner, Gene, played by the late actor Ken Howard. We are underneath a superhighway. Huge light-gray concrete supports rise from the sand bed to the surface off into the distance of the body of water, which appears to be around 75 feet deep. The structure emits audible rumbles from the traffic moving on it and I feel the resultant sound waves shake the sand underfoot in regular, low-frequency sine-wave undulations.
The light refraction from the surface into the water is bending the light so much that we can see profiles of the cars and trucks driving on the highway. A large 16-wheel semi passes over. Gene leans down and taps me on the shoulder.
“That’s the one,” he says. “That’s him.”
I take a notebook out of a shoulder bag and write a couple notes. The book has a police shield on it. I realize I am a detective or some sort of undercover officer.
“How did undercover turn into underwater, Gene?” I ask.
“Stop asking stupid questions,” Gene gruffs. “Go see where we are.”
I float to the water’s surface and poke my head out. The superhighway rises another 75 feet over the water and ribbons off towards a city skyline about 10 miles away. I dive back under and head towards the bottom.
“We’re in Chicago, Gene!” I exclaim. “That is so strange. I thought we were in Pontchartrain.”
“Ah, Christ,” Gene says. “At least there’s Lenny’s bar.”
We arrive at a transportation depot, buzzing with people arriving underwater from all directions, and take an escalator up from the sand bed into a sprawling complex. At the top of the escalator, Gene motions to the right and we walk around a wall into a cavernous but skinny, empty, oak wood-paneled room reminiscent of The Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station. I unzip my trench-coat, which is dripping puddles and leaving a trail of water behind me. My clothes underneath, however, are warm and dry.
“Thank God you’re wearing a tie,” Gene says, breathing a sigh of relief. “It’s that skinny stupid black shit you insist on, but it’ll do.”
We sit down at a table by the bar and the bartender, impeccable in a crisp white shirt, bow tie and black vest, looks up at us from polishing a highball glass, and smiles.
On 03 May 2017, at around 17:45, on 6th Avenue and President Street, a man and a woman passed me by, empty-handed, as I walked home after shopping. I had been in the market for approximately 12 minutes, and was about 3 blocks (so 2 minutes) south of the market when these two walked by me the other way.
I was heading south on the west side of 6th Avenue. The man was going north on my side of the avenue. At the moment he passed by, behind him in my visual frame, the woman crossed the avenue, and then turned left on the east side of 6th, also to head north.
Thing is – they both were just in the market with me. And here they were, headed back, opposite me, with no groceries, towards the market.
I recognized the man, because after getting caught behind the market’s front door while grabbing a bouquet of flowers, I held the door open for him to enter the store. He was skyscraper tall, perhaps 6’5″, and rail thin, so we’ll call him “Stick.” Approximately 3 minutes later, I was leaving the produce area by the store’s entrance, and saw the woman enter the store. She was memorable as she was African-American with long beautiful platinum blonde braids. The braids flowed down below her waist. We’ll call her “Tress.” They were separate shoppers, for sure not together.
9 minutes later, I swear Tress and Stick were still in the store when I arrived at the check-out, and neither alit at any adjacent cashiers while my cashier (we’ll call her “Samantha”) scanned and weighed my stuff. Tress, last I saw, was reading milk labels in the dairy section in the very back corner of the store, at most 5 minutes before Samantha rung me up. I last recall Stick massaging a melon in Produce with an almost empty basket.
This means Stick and Tress, between my last spotting them and my arriving at check-out, would each have had to check-out, go home, put away their respective groceries, come back outside, and walk back towards the market at the same time.
A sense of cool unease washed over me on 6th Avenue as they passed by, a feeling reminiscent of the last clove cigarette I smoked in the early ’00s.