Monday, August 4, 2008

Stick With Jesus

Premium T. and I went to Portland this weekend and caught New Orleans' own Big Sam's Funky Nation at the Roseland Grill. Big Sam travels light, so we got a stripped-down version of the Nation, featuring drums, bass, guitar, organ, and Big Sam on trombone, vocals, moves, and exhortations. If the video below is any indicator, Louisianans get all this plus sax, trumpet, and a couple of percussionists, but no matter: Big Sam had everyone in Roseland on their feet boogie-ing for his hour-long set. 

This included the seventy-something couple next to us. She must have dropped a hit of Ecstasy, as she was not only one of the more uninhibited dancers, she plopped herself down on his lap for a make-out session. At that point, he got up and began to dance himself. See Big Sam by all means, but be prepared for anything!..

T-shirt slogan of the day: The King And I/Stick With Jesus...

No trip to Portland is complete without a pilgrimage to Powell's, but it was on the four-block walk there that we stumbled across a bibliophile's dream: Reading Frenzy, which describes itself as "an independent press emporium." Reading Frenzy is the polar opposite of Powell's acres o' books. It's a small storefront with inventory in the low three figures, all from independent presses or self-published. While Reading Frenzy's strong suit is graphic novels, it offered a nice selection of local poetry, fiction and nonfiction, and some interesting art books. 


It was the latter that led me to the rediscovery of Jim Flora. Chances are that if are of a certain age -- such as mine -- you know Flora's work without knowing his name. You've seen it on record albums that belonged to your parents or the parents of your friends. You saw it on book covers or in magazines like Parade and Fortune. Flora's whimsical adaptation of Picasso took on a life of its own and today is the very image of the retro aesthetic. Fantagraphics Books of Seattle has now published two excellent retrospectives of Flora's work, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora and The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora. Together, they comprise a fascinating and fun look at Flora's commercial and fine art...

Elizabeth Colbert explores the crooked paths now taken by John McCain's so-called "Straight Talk Express." She also points out a couple of unpleasant truths: That offshore drilling won't do much to alleviate gas prices and that for the purposes of both energy independence and an appropriate American response to global warming, gas prices aren't high enough. Her basis is a simple mathematical reality that Americans have a great deal of trouble accepting, much less confronting and acting upon it: That 5% of the world's population (us) accounts for 25% of the world's oil consumption. In this light, drilling offshore in the interests of energy independence makes about as much sense as building roads to reduce traffic. The plain fact is that we have to use less oil, not more...

Even oilman T. Boone Pickens has gotten on the alternative energy bandwagon (wind farming, in this case). I'm naturally skeptical of T. Boone Pickens evangelizing anything that isn't good for T. Boone Pickens, but on the other hand we're kidding ourselves if we think these things can come to market in a meaningful way without someone making a bundle on them. Premium T. and I saw wind farms at work last month while driving across Donegal. They're not the best thing that's ever happened to the beauty of Donegal's landscape, but on the other hand, we couldn't help but think of the potential economic benefits to one of Ireland's less well-off counties. And if there's one thing Donegal has aplenty, it's wind...

Yesterday, we had breakfast at the condo of some Portland friends. They live in a development that gets much of its energy from other buildings in the area. For example, the air conditioning is powered by the excess cooling generated by the refrigeration units at the nearby Whole Foods...

Big Sam's Funky Nation Voodoo Festival:


5 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

I was commenting on another blog, at the same time as I'm commenting now. I would have come off not on topic, to say the least.

At our public library, they have a bookstore, with sales as all the books you can fit in a bag for $2.00. I just bought "100 Years of Solitude" for $0.75 there.

When analyzing this election, day to day things don't matter. The big picture is the country realizes Reaganism is a disaster.

Nita Lou Bryant said...

Your blog is ever comprehensive, insightful, funny--and more!--so this is merely wishful thinking: I would love to see a video of the seventy-something gal dancing to Big Sam's Funky Nation!

K. said...

Thanks!

We can only hope to be so lithe when we're her age. In about hm-mm years.

Kathy said...

Reading about the dancing seventy-something woman is sufficient. Some things are better left to the imagination!

Premium T. said...

Amen!