Awe-stin

 initial, if slightly optimistic list of the shows I’d like to see over the next 5 days. Bring it SxSW!

  • Adam Arcuragi
  • Buxton
  • Nathaniel Rateliffe
  • Typhoon
  • Seryn

Meet Seryn from Matthew Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • The Wedding Present (playing the entirety of Seamonsters! What an effing album)
  • Dry the River
  • Fanfarlo
  • Pomegranates
  • Patrick Watson
  • Cold Specks
  • Of Monsters & Men
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A Slow-Moving Orgy

Choriqueso at Polvo’s. Green Chili Pork taco and the Democrat at Torchy’s Tacos. Micheladas (made w/Negra Modelo, of course) at multiple locations. Uchi sushi. Nepali noodle salad at Farm to Market. Sweet potato fries at Freddie’s. A BBQ pork sandwich with jalapenos.  Home Slice pizza. Those lovely rosemary and salt bagels w/cream cheese in the mornings at Once Over. A slow-moving orgy.

Thanks Austin.

Letter from Asturias

I am in Asturias, in Spain. Up in the hills above a town called Santa Marina on a little peak called Pico Los Rozos.  We are staying in a small farmhouse here, composed of three or four buildings of which we occupy a room.  From here the views are extremely pleasant, full of contours and angles and on top of some hills are wind power generators. I notice most of all the silence, so profound that each noise, when it does reach me, is magnified and travels long distances.  The sound of bees and flies and insects of all types, which I think I recall now only from childhood (so much urban living), almost numbs my ears if there are more than just a few buzzing past.  I hear the clanking bells around cows’ necks, but it is difficult to pinpoint the source of the noise, as the wind — a noise in itself — spreads the sonic waves, so that you feel at times surrounded. Continue reading →

A Last Walk in Firenze

Quiero hacer contigo lo que la primavera hace a loz cerezos.

This is what is written slightly above eye-level in a narrow street in Firenze.  Pablo Neruda.  All quiet and cobblestone in the dark winter months here, a city of trapezoids and rectangles and of course, Brunelleschi.  Warmth and spring seem distant.  I wish to do with you what Spring does to the cherry trees.

Behind the desk at the hotel, as I gather myself for the walk, is Gurpreet.  From the country.  Hair well-oiled and pulled back, but no turban.  Maybe they are not ready for that here, yet.   I look at him and want to ask, are you that guy from — ?  He looks at me the same way.  Neither of us is that guy.

In the Piazza della Signoria Cellini’s Perseus raises Medusa’s head.  In the darkness the bronze contrasts sharply with the larger, reflective, marble statues, most of large men, uncircumcised, with power contained elsewhere in their thighs, fingers, and torsos.

Near the Uffizi, a young American with a guitar, a voice like Jackson Browne, and a girlfriend.  A folk song.  Had he chosen a better location, he would not need the amplifier.  Back to a night over a decade gone, at a corner of an empty piazza in Venezia, listening to two young students of jazz, one holding an upright bass and the other a saxophone.  Such music under the same blue-black sky!

Portraits of the baby Jesus always with an aged face, often a likeness of a patron or person of prestige.  Not symbolism nor enlightenment, but man’s narcissism, characterizes the Italian Renaissance.

In a modern lounge bar called Oibo, the realization it is time to put the modern lounge bar to death.  With a flourish, the bartender (“save water, drink champagne” says his t-shirt) shows off a long, triangular bottle.  A boutique vodka.  He says it is called Pinky and that it is very strong.

It is the freshness of the pasta and the mannered, acceptable portions.  All pasta should be eaten in a room with dark wooden beams that complement the color of wine barrels.

Modernity is seeing the portals high up on the Duomo and thinking instantly of the Death Star.

This will be the last visit.  A 2009 dirge.  Listen here.