The old, old church is a hearty eighty-six steps up a steep hill from the village. Even with our daily five miles, I started to feel winded. This is no gentle slope. Did there used to be more dwellings that high up in Bonnieux or was that all part of it? In the 12th century was this just what you did every Sunday? Or several times a week for that matter? And just as Gothic cathedrals’ heights help bring their congregations closer to heaven with their arches and steeples, are these steps supposed to signify a journey towards communion with God?
Of course in my state of rapture, in reaching the top, in Provençal July heat, and in Christian ruins, I didn’t bother to take any pictures of the church itself. There’s hardly enough room at the top of the hill to get far enough away from the wall of the church to capture it all in one shot anyway, and the church itself was locked (though it isn’t used as a church, classical music performances are held there occasionally).
There’s a little bench up there at the top under that big cypress tree that’s obscured by the tree’s shadows. It’s so quiet up there, and windy too. In a way it’s soothing to sit on that bench, and in a way it’s very eerie, being so high up, and so dwarfed by everything around you–the church, the trees, the vista, and time itself.
Sitting in the shade and peering through the big dark cypress branches makes you understand Cezanne and the awe he obviously felt a bit better (think Forest 1894 and Landscape Near Aix, the Plain of the Arc River). I have such a different perspective on Cezanne than I used to. In college I fought one of my art history professors constantly about him–I just never felt the still lives and thought he was over-credited for his perspective. Now looking at his landscapes that once seemed so benign to me, I see much more of the turbulence that I feel is the essence of Provence–it isn’t that calm lavender scented-rosé filled country the Brits, or whoever else might think it is–it’s thick and heavy. Life is really felt here. As the French say, it’s sauvage–wild.
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:
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.
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.
I love oak leaf hydrangea. There is just something wild about it to me–the mix of frou frou hydrangea blossoms and something as strong and iconic as an oak leaf. I spotted this one on a rare jaunt on “the other side” of College (i.e. the northeast side) and found it striking due to the mix of white and pink blossoms. While hydrangea bushes are known to grow different colored blooms, and even grow blooms of different colors depending on the stage of the growth season, I’ve never seen anything other than a pure white oak leaf hydrangea.
The pink blossoms near the base of the dominently white bloom
Au Revoir Simone at Bimbo’s, San Francisco
(from left) Under the red curtain the tiny head of Erika Forster behind the grand piano, Heather D’Angelo center stage, and Annie Hart waving her wild arm! (I may have mixed up Erika and Annie–in that case it would be Annie at the piano and Erika waving the arm–not sure–eek!)
Au Revoir Simone is the all-female all-keyboard band. I saw them play for the first time last night and was totally charmed. They play pop songs to catchy beats and sing their hearts out. They have fun up there, and it’s totally contagious. The crowd was loving them last night, matching the band by clapping and dancing without pretension or inhibition.
One night at Bimbo’s and I’m a convert–an ARS fan for life.
I also had the absolute pleasure of getting to know one of the members, Heather D’Angelo, a little better over a few glasses of Pinot Noir in North Beach (turns out we both have a big thing for Jim O’Rourke–but who in their right mind doesn’t?). In addition to holding up 1/3 of a great musical project, D’Angelo is pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree (her first is in Fine Arts from Parsons) in astrophysics at Columbia, draws, makes small leather purses, and writes competently about the intersection of science and art on a blog she calls Hello Poindexter. A woman unabashed and unafraid of pursuing all her diverse interests all the while dismissing the idea that she should do anything less? Brilliant!
Shooting pool (&drinking brews with bros)at “The Hut” on a school night makes for a wildly slow motion-style afternoon.
Mimi always soothed me in strange ways (Shake it Off anyone?).
Amber of the Dirty Projectors is really wildly channelling MC in “Stillness is the Move.” Especially at the end. Wild.
Listen here via Stereogum.
It’s been a hard week; lots of work and little rest. I wasn’t sure I would make it to Friday afternoon. On a just-before-closing-run to Rockridge Market Hall browsing for beer, I spotted my new FAVORITE thing sitting in the refriegerator: Organic Apple Juice with Elderflower from Luscombe. I’m not a huge juice person–unless there’s some beet and spinach in there I figure it’s not really that good for me. But when it comes to Luscombe I know the ingredients are top notch, and frankly with that flavor, I could care less.
Thanks to Luscombe I know today will be a good day! Soothe!
PS: additional soothing element: check out the top left corner of their website, which reads, “wine of wild orchards, juice of these valleys.” Wildness soothes.