Saturday, September 27, 2008

KaiBorg says, "Hej!"

I've just returned from gigs with KaiBorg, (David Borgo and myself) in Sweden and The Netherlands. David put together a fantastic tour, and with the help of the UCSD music department, I was able to go. We had a great time, met some wonderful people and played some real enjoyable concerts, our first public appearances with our horns and Max/MSP rigs featuring the KaiBorg Module, a shared datastream that synchronizes control of our rigs.

I showed up a few days early to visit the town and get in a little vacation time. Here is my first picture after landing in Göteborg, Sweden:

My friend Phil Skaller gave me some grief about it, he said, "It could be anywhere! Madison, Wisconsin, or anywhere!" Kind of true...BUT its Sweden! And I must tell you, I love it there! Would it be better if I started with a pic of my vegan meal on KLM...? Probably not....vegetables, couscous and a very delicious vegan cookie. (Just a reminder, always order the vegetarian plate when's unnatural to eat fish at 30,000 feet in the air.)

First day there, found this lovely cafe on Vasagatan, drinking espresso (they laughed at me when I ordered decaf, it is almost impossible to find decaf in Göteborg...I never did) reading Lakoff and listening to The Monkees, The Turtles and The Zombies. Don't ask why I was listening to them, for some odd reason they really helped my jet-lag. BTW, I did see mention of a study that said Viagra will help jet-lag (look under "Remedies"), but I'll stick with espresso and The Zombies.

Here is the hotel the University of Göteborg put us up at:
Hotel Lorensberg. It was quite lovely, I'd stay there again.

My first night there, I met up with Jonny Wartel, our host for the BrötzNow gig. What a great guy! We had a blast, many meals/beer together, he is not only a very powerful/creative player, but a real nice guy. We met that night for dinner at Göteborg's legendary veggie haven, Solrosen, a place that I was to visit regularly. Then we went on to Nefertiti, which was to also be a regular hang for me. That night, saxophonist Thomas Jäderlund was playing with a guitar trio called "I am the arm." Thomas was SMOKING, really on fire, a dynamic and energetic player with boundless creative ideas. After I met him, it turned out Thomas (along with Per Anders Nilsson) was one of our hosts at the University, for David's lecture and the workshop! Anyway, a beautiful three day vacation before David showed up and we had to get to work.

Borgo's energy was amazing: He showed up, after 12 plus hours of travel time one hour before his lecture, and then delivered a lecture that was totally engaging for three hours. And THEN still had the energy to go out, get dinner at Solrosen and hit Nefertiti with me. That night, there was a band called "Cortex" from Norway that opened, playing nice tunes that were reminiscent of Ayler at times and Ornette at other times. After they left the stage, it went into what was looking like it was going to be a mediocre open jam session. Then, when the band was treading water with "Autumn Leaves," Jonny got up with his tenor and things really blew wide open, "Autumn Leaves" never sounded so good. Then Jonny brought up his friends (David on piano, can't remember his last name, and then somebody else on bass) and things went uphill from there. Wonderful night.

The next day, Wednesday, we hit it running, we co-taught a workshop at the University with around 35 undergrad improvisors. They were dynamite! First, we performed a short concert of our KaiBorg stuff, and then David used improvising "strategies" with them for the first half, and then the second half we used my graphic score, 13 Themes for A Triskaidekaphobic. They dove in and sounded wonderful. How great is that? A big university that undergrads can major in improvised music. Wonderful. That night, after a great dinner at Andrum with Per Anders (who, by the way, will be touring soon here in SoCal), we went off to our gig at BrötzNow.

BrötzNow was AWESOME! A collectively run space in an old hospital (school?) there was between 80-100 people crammed into the club. What a wonderful reception, one of the first times I remember getting called for an encore with electro-acoustic improv! After us was a piano trio, but then the fireworks began with Jonny's group of musicians and actors. They kept everyone mesmerized for their set with the combination of subtle to wild improvisation and actors/movement people, with video projection. Jonny and his wife Michelle (sp?) are two of my favorite performers now, really wonderful stuff.

After saying goodnight to our hosts, we went across the street to an excellent local pub, The Stage Door. Great selection of whisky, and, in spite of the fact that they sell by the centiliter (!) fairly reasonably priced. After getting to know the bartender and some of the regulars, it became a nice hang for a nightcap throughout my week there. Our last night in Göteborg, I ordered the infamous akvavit (aquavit), a Scandinavian distilled beverage that supposedly is imbibed rarely, usually special occasions. Our last night in Sweden seemed like a good reason. David wouldn't have first. I had a shot of Saint Something-or-other. While the locals were shouting, "Don't do it!" But really, it wasn't bad. So David had a shot of the higher quality, but he did it traditional style. They bring out a bit of raw herring covered with sour cream (I'm not kidding) and he slurped it down and followed it with a shot of akvavit. A truly brave man. I would've done it, but as a vegan, I requested a faux version (preferably soy) of raw herring, which doesn't seem to have made it there yet.

But then the bartender brought us a bottle of something that we turned down. From WAY up north they have a distilled beverage called "Bvr Hjt." (Prounounced "BAYver hoit.") Strong distilled beverage in which, according to our bartender, they soak dried beaver testicles. We had to draw the line somewhere, beaver testicles seemed like a good place. It also produced one of my favorite quotes from David, "I refuse to drink any alcohol that does not have a vowel in its name." On further research, as opposed to our informed bartender, Bvr Hjt does not contain dried testicles, but Beaver Castoreum, castor sacs (scent sacs) located next to the anal glands. Who thinks of this stuff??? It sounds like a frat boy dare. Turns out, not only do people drink them, they use them in perfume as well. In spite of this, and their being used medicinally since 500 BC, now I'm *really* glad I didn't drink any.

Anyway, here are some pics:

Mandatory tourist shot with Poseidon and his fish.

I think John Travolta learned his dancing moves from the founder of Göteborg...

Nice public art on non-violence.

A protest! Many, many, people protesting the Swedish version of the Patriot Act, where the government invades private communication.

Cortex at Nefertiti

Jonny Wartel bringing down the house...

David at the piano...

Borgo, not even lagged!

Plenty of energy to lecture for three hours...

Right before the workshop

Borgo, Per Anders Nilsson and myself at Andrum

At the waterfront


on the Avenue

Packed house at BrötzNow

The KaiBorg setup at BrötzNow

Thanks, Per Anders, for the pics!

The Debate Last Night...

I read this on Merrill Markoe's Blog:

"Call me crazy but I am still deeply thrilled by the way Barack Obama constructs arguments full of sentences that contain logic and deductive reasoning. In my opinion, he is so easy to follow because he is deep inside of his own content when he speaks. He believes in and understands what he is saying. What a relief.

Not so, John McCain. who sputters and circles and loses track of a lot of his points in a way that kind of reminds me of that poor Miss Teen South Carolina from last year who hoped that if she just kept talking about 'U.S Americans' and throwing in the phrase 'and such as' she would finally wind up near a group of words that contained a real thought."

So I had to find video footage on YouTube of Miss Teen South Carolina, here it is. (And I do wish somebody would sync the audio with video of McCain.) Maybe she would be available as a running mate, if Palin drops...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Count the lies....

A nice follow-up to my last post:

Count The Lies, in the McCainpedia. This link will take you to a list of lies by McCain, many of which have been repeated by him even after having been proven to be just that, lies.

And also, here is Obama's new ad:

Politics at home...

Life is good here, I'm having a lovely time in Göteborg, Sweden. I'll post about that sometime soon.

My big concern right now involves the politics at home, and censorship in the media. I'll just post this link and let you all make up your own minds about it. But the truth about McCain's VP choice needs to get out, people need to know, at least somewhat authentically, who they are voting for. If Charles Gibson's interview wasn't enough to absolutely terrify you about her representing America to the world (come on, "The Bush Doctrine" should be known by her!) then this should make you somewhat concerned.

YouTube Censors Documentary About Palin

On a bright note, Palin is providing interesting fodder for comedians:

"I can see Russia from my house!"

Sunday, September 07, 2008

On peace...

I just saw this, I'm sure many of you have seen it...if not, you are in for a treat:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bohea Rhapsody...

Yesterday I threw away a pile of tea from one of my now former-favorite tea companies. After informing them of the problem tea with several emails and calls, and being ignored, I realized the company no longer focused on the quality of tea that I am interested in. The last batch of two different white teas that I tossed looked like old lawn trimmings, and tasted like steeped stale nothingness. Very odd, an overpowering taste of "staleness" without any white tea subtle flavor.

That said and done, one tea company has yet to disappoint me. After innumerable visits and online ordering, The Tao of Tea reigns supreme in my pantheon of tea providers. Several of my favorite teas have been "unavailable" from them over the last tea season, and at first I was bummed, until a conversation with them informed me that the reason for the lack of availability was that the tea itself was not up to quality. They could've provided the tea, but it would've been crap like the other company. I respect such integrity, especially when it comes to tea.

What inspired me to pen this ode to Tao? A lovely pot of Bohea Black.

More focused on whites and pu-ers, I purchased this tea after a tasting at Tao. It is an amazing tasting beverage, so complex, not something I would want every day, but this morning it is the perfect cup. From the literature:


Origin: Wuyishan, China

Plucking Season: Harvested from young leaves, in mid summer.

Introduction: Bohea is from a 400 year old tea garden in Tong Mu Guan of Xing Village, located in the heart of a pristine Wuyi mountains nature reserve, in Fujian, China.

Flavor Profile: Complex, sweet, citrus, and cocoa aromas are complemented by a subtle smoky character.

Ingredients: Ingredients: 100% Organic pure leaf black tea leaves.


If you are unfamiliar with Wuyi, click here. What a stunning place.

This tea hints at the smokiness of a Lapsang, but the smoke is part of the complexity, rather than at the forefront. Delicious, and highly recommended.