Monthly Archives: June 2009

Leaving the Vineyard

There’s a lot of travel ahead but by this time tomorrow we’ll be in Paris.


The wedding was beautiful and we’re glad we made the long journey to be there.

The upside of MV is the obvious; beautiful Cape Cod landscape, fresh fish, and relative seclusion. What doesn’t soothe is all the driving around if you’re trying to meet up with friends in other towns–they aren’t close together by any means. The mosquitos are also totally out of control. But like I said before, great clam chowder.

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Someone Brought Me Some Flowers


Berry blossoms and white yarrow

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Martha’s Vineyard, Day Two

Sun came out today.  It was nice.  Went for a walk on the beach.


The fog was still so thick you couldn’t see 100 yards down the beach, even with the sun out at 4pm.  The tiny dot in the distance is the Gay Head lighthouse.


There were lots of starfish on the beach.  I threw a bunch back in the water.


We collected wampum.


It got overcast on the way back.  The cliffs above the beach are streaked with deep red clay.  Access is restricted to tribal members by federal law.

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Martha’s Vineyard, Day One

69˚ and cloudy, but great clam chowder


the house

Since I’m a bit flu-ish and the weather is bad I didn’t make it more than about thirty yards from the house, but I discovered some interesting things nonetheless.

viney trunk

The visual effect of the vine along this trunk is beautiful, but the vine itself looks to be parasitic–I can’t imagine an oak tree being very happy to have vines wrapped around it, but maybe I’m wrong.

viney trunk2

more vines

wild ferns

wild ferns


water lily on the pond


the view


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Summer Vacation 2009 Itinerary

  • Martha’s Vineyard
  • Paris
  • Marseille
  • Provence (the Luberon; Lourmarin, Apt, Gordes, Les Baux, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Roussillon etc.)
  • Biarritz (Guéthary and Saint-Jean-de-Luz)
  • Spanish Basque country (Hondarribia, San Sebastian, Plentzia, Bilbao etc.)
  • Paris
  • home

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U.S. Passport: Fait Accomplis

I arrived in Boston yesterday at the Omni Parker House (the longest continually operating hotel in the U.S. and reportedly where JFK proposed to Jackie) to a FedEx package containing my U.S. Passport–finally.  I can now start being excited about a long-awaited journey without fear of not being allowed in or out of any given country.  !!!

I’m trying to decide whether or not to spend any of my vacation time filing a complaint against with the Better Business Bureau and disputing the charges for a service they didn’t deliver.  I usually err on the side of “it takes too much effort to complain/get back at them,” but I’m feeling kind of like “that’s $300 I could spend on a great afternoon in Provence/Biarritz/San Sebastian.”  I haven’t published all the details here, but in addition to my passport taking twice the time they advertised, I received no communication from the company (I have records of at least 6 unreturned emails and 8 unreturned phonecalls, and caught them in a lie…but anyway).


That little red sign in the distance is Boston Chinatown

Right now I’m leaving Boston on a Peter Pan bus to Woods Hole.  Pretty motley crew on board–babies, preppy blondes in polos, moms loudly explaining to young children that they can’t sit in the front row because of people with special needs, a middle-aged woman in front of me singly softly to herself.  I keep on clearing my throat thinking it might make her realized how close we actually are and how “softly” sounds like “in my ear,” but I’m not sure she’s getting the message.  Just looked through the crack between the two seats and realized she and her male companian are sharing a pair of earbuds.

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My Bags Are Packed

But I still don’t have a passport.  PRAY


I’ll be updating sporadically, but check back for updates from the road.

Image from

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The Bad News, The Good News

I’ll be running around all day today since I leave for a long trip tomorrow.

The bad news is I may or may not get to go on that trip as planned because (recommended by Forbes and CNN) has taken my money and not returned my passport in the time they advertise (I initiated my order on 6/16 making this the 6th business day of processing time for a service called “Priority” that the company’s website states takes 3-4 business days).

The good news is that my tomatoes have already started to bear fruit.  I couldn’t believe it.  I’ve barely been checking since I didn’t expect them till August.  Here’s one of my first (of my six plants I have three or so immature green little tomatoes):


The good and the bad news is that I just might get to sit at home for all of July and watch them grow to maturity.

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Grizzly Bear, Fillmore 6.22.09

Pictures first, words later.


Grizzly Bear’s “Swarovskis.”  The band personally hand strung each crystal (certified Swarovski) with fishing line.  Soothe.


The complete display


For the last three or so songs of the night I went up in the backstage balcony.  I love the way the crystals are growing out of Bear’s head.  It’s like a mash-up of Encyclopedia Pictura’s and Patrick Daughters‘ videos for Grizzly Bear–crystals and wild things coming out of the band’s heads!  Here’s more:


I love it when Taylor plays the clarinet:

taylor clar

They did a really special acoustic encore:



San Francisco audiences are really soothed by Grizzly Bear.


Above are some of the wild spirits in the front row.  It’s great to check out the audience.  The previous night, I spotted one of the guys who works at the bookstore around the corner from my house (Diesel) about three bodies from the front of the stage.  Last night my favorite fan was this guy in the headband.  I think the band should put him in the artwork for their next album.  Once, a picture of my friend Emily of Wild Life in the audience of a Sonic Youth show ended up on the inside of their next album.  That was pretty cool.

drum circle

drum circle2

After the show, the wild spirits from Here We Go Magic hosted a drum circle.  Everyone was dancing like Kokopelli.  It was super San Francisco.  Raymond, one of the kind gentlemen on staff at the Fillmore said that he felt that we were bringing back the true spirit of the Fillmore from the glory days.


We ended up in the lobby of the Hotel Nikko with these really wild light fixtures and a grand piano.  Dan jammed out on some Doobie Brothers and we all sang along until we were kindly asked to retire.

Find Patrick Daughters online here.

Find Encyclopedia Pictura online here.

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Grizzly Bear, Fillmore 6.21.09

I’ve started writing something about Grizzly Bear in this window six or so times now.  I’m vacillating.  “Grizzly Bear played at truly great show last night.”  “I’ve seen Grizzly Bear play many, many times.”  “I couldn’t count how many times I’ve seen Grizzly Bear if I were asked.”  I’m wondering what the value is of lauding these people publicly.  Music writing.  Such a load.  This isn’t a story about Grizzly Bear.  It’s a story about me.


Pre-show at Absinthe.  Above, the “21 Hayes.”

Nouveau Carrè

the “Nouveau Carré”

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Bear gets ready to take flight in response to something Simon said


Taylor watches


Dan in the mist

grizzly bear

At this point I left to eat some Vietnamese food in the Mission with some very nice, very well-educated people.  In spite of my desire to honor Edward Droste’s love of Pho, I at the clay pot fish.  I can’t help it.  I just love it.

the show

I’m pretty sure this picture was taken during Lullaby, one of my all-time favorite Grizzly Bear songs.  When I watched the show (from the middle-middle where the sound is the best), and actually when I watch almost any Grizzly Bear show, I can’t help but get emotional.  While I’d love to be able to avoid sarcasm, I can’t help but add that this sentiment of mine surely isn’t unique judging by the crowd last night.  But I (again, like many others) feel like that emotion is mine only, and completely unique.  What is it about pop music that does this to us?  I’m sure if Timothy White (one of the greatest music writers of my time, I must say, since it doesn’t seem to say it anywhere else) were here, he could write much more eloquently on the subject.

But, in full disclosure (finally, though it must be somewhat obvious), I know these guys.  I “grew up” with them.  I watched them play Zebulon (seated, all jazz-like) in what? ’03? ’04?  Over the years, Grizzly Bear has become less a band and more a soundtrack for me (and us all?  and all music pop music is soundtrack?).  Each song denotes a different age, separation, or season.  The identification is intense, as are the memories.  Walking through Greenpoint in the snow, pining for lost carefree days in New York City, and finally realizing it’s not mine anymore.  I’m all grown up, for now.  But in a good way.

And so is Grizzly Bear.  These four, once a loose collection of three master instrumentalists and one vocal boss aren’t playing around any more, but they aren’t taking themselves too seriously either.  They are all constantly moving and stretching different ways; more rock, more psych, less self-obsessed, more self-disciplined, less noise, more sound, less harmony, more vocals.  And, slightly more rarely than when I was a New Yorker, I get to ride alongside of it all.  Being there; remembering when I was in Argentina, that I met someone who fixed it, that it’s my existential crisis–imagining myself on a ranch in the Rockies asking myself what now?  And that it’s my folk revival, that I see the unexpectedly lonely image of two dories.

Maybe that’s it.  That’s the beauty.  And if Grizzly Bear does all that, for me, and apparently so many others, who can find fault?


all grown up now


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