Monday, July 12, 2010

Upalooza, Volume 6: Pushing Paint

We're coming to you live from Park Slope, Brooklyn, home of Huxtable brownstones, baby strollers, jort cutoffs a gogo, muzzled lapdogs, and enough snuggly vibes to make me wish it was December.

Alas, it's mid-July, and I'm finally planted for a few days back in New York.  And boy howdy, it feels great.  Maybe it's the awesome weather (what I call "awesome" most people call "sub-Saharan-hot").  Maybe it's the distinct, "football's not THAT far away" feeling I woke up with this morning.  Maybe it's just being back in a familiar place with ample time.  Maybe it's the insane amounts of caffeine sprinting through my veins.  Whatever--it's great to be back.

This morning I had the opportunity to go through my pictures from the road thus far, and thought I'd pass along some favorites.  If one is worth a thousand words, then this slideshow is worth at least a few hundred.  I'm not sure.  I've never been great at math.

Enjoy!  And if you have any from the road, send them my way:

The Gregory Uhlmann Trio!

These fellas played after me in Chicago, and easily made my day.  Imagine you're me: you're tired, you've driven all day, you're in one of your favorite cities, you just finished a set, and you can't tell if the night's winding down or starting up.  Now three teenage jazz stars play everything from Joni Mitchell to their own gorgeous compositions.  You hear that baleful sax, the rattling drums, that smooth Telecaster, all three listening to each other more than themselves, bouncing around and reacting, filling the room, putting the perfect cap on the day, putting my whole world to bed.  Lights out, Chicago. 

Tailor-made CM bandana, courtesy of Grand Rapids!

Supernice and creative folks in Michigan. 

I stopped off right after I crossed into Canada, because I wanted to look around, greet the locals, receive my complimentary polar bear and case of LaBatt, etc. 

Instead, I found a kids' golf camp at a sleepy public course.  I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no, they weren't putting with hockey sticks.

And back into America--specifically, New York.  For what it's worth, the Canadian border officials are way scarier than their American counterparts. 

In Canada, I answered 25 questions about who I am and what I'm doing here.  In America, the guy asked what Arkansas was like and inspected my trunk for illicit Fruit Roll-Ups. 

Both ordeals ran much faster/more smoothly than I anticipated.  I have a heightened appreciation for border officials now, which is to say, "I now realize border officials exist, and appreciate them." 

But seriously, hands off the Fruit Roll-Ups.

 Sunset in Buffalo. 

I kept taking pictures like this, because so many residential areas in the city look a lot like idyllic middle-class Americana, circa 1953.  Oak-lined streets, white two-story houses, window boxes and perfectly square front lawns, little old women watering flowers, dogs barking (always one street away), etc. 

I half-expected a visit from the milkman.

You read that right, folks: Roast Beef Sundae.

My friend took me to the Taste of Buffalo food festival on Saturday, where you could sample a lot of local restaurants, walk around, enjoy the weather, and watch America inch ever-closer to its impending national coronary. 

But I'll be honest: if I gotta go, I'd rather die of a Roast Beef Sundae heart-attack than, you know, old age. 

Weird statues by Lake Erie.

And that buffalo's strange, too.  Ba-dum-CHA!

I took the scenic route through Western New York, which is to say "Google Maps directed me on some highways rather than interstates."

Supposedly this shaved 17 minutes off my trip.  In reality, it was just an excuse to drive through some really pretty country in the early morning hours, listen to the Allman Brothers, and yell "howdy, neighbor!" at people who don't know me.

At one point I stopped for gas at an Exxon and asked where the "olde pie shoppe" was.

Home again, home again! 

The view from "kinda-Jersey," crossing into midtown from Weehawken.  I was one of three people on this particular ferry, which made me feel 1) slightly guilty and 2) really awesome. 

Also, I kept imagining Lost scenarios if this ferry somehow ended up in the South Pacific.  The other two passengers didn't speak English, so I kept thinking weirdness like, "I hope he's a doctor," and "they'd better know how to fish," and, "why are they on the lam?" etc.  Meanwhile, I'm traveling with a guitar and Chuck Taylors, so I'm obviously Charlie, the drug-addled, non-contributing Artiste of this ship.  Well no, NO I'M NOT.  And I'm not going out that way.

I was happy to get off that ferry. 

Even happier to be home...for a few days, anyway.

The colors blend,

P.S. SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT: I know, I know, but it's important to me.  Tomorrow's show in Brooklyn is a benefit for Nashville flood relief.  If you can make it, please do.  If you can't, tell a friend.  If you live elsewhere, consider making a donation.

Event info here.
Tickets/donations here.

Brooklyn Bowl
July 13, doors at 6PM, music soonafter
Chris Milam (I'm first), Dive Bar Dukes, and The Weight.
***ADMISSION IS FREE!  Donations are obviously encouraged and greatly appreciated.  Please come out for some music and a great cause.

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