Saturday, October 29, 2011

John Oates

You remember John Oates, don't you, half the duo of Hall and Oates, the most successful duo in rock history with 13 gold or platinum soul-infused albums and 26 Top 30 singles. Oates co-wrote three of their No. 1 hits -- "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)," "Maneater" and "Out of Touch" - as well as top singles "Sara Smile," "You Make My Dreams," "She's Gone" and "Adult Education."

John and his band played at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion Festival in September. My daughter and I caught John in performance at last event on the State Street stage, the last day of the festival - the All-Star Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers Revival. It was definitely a tribute to the origins of Bristol's musical heritage. The Black Lillies' Cruz Contreras led the assembled band. A band that included the likes of John Oates, Carrie Rodriguez on fiddle, Michelle Malone, Darrell Scott, Dale Ann Bradley, Robinella, Langhorn Slim and others. On time and in tune they loaded up and played the heck out of a batch of Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers songs.

Trying to give the 24 year old daughter some additional music history and background, I was explaining John Oates career trajectory, including Hall and Oates.

The daughter gave my a semi-incredulous look and explained that she had indeed heard of that band but had always thought that it was named

Holland Oats

Wonder if she ever saw this album cover?


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair

No, we did not attend the antique tractor show, that would have been down the street.

The daughter and I just happened to make a day trip over to Asheville, North Carolina the same weekend as the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, an event I had heard of but never managed to coordinate my travels to accommodate. This would be the 18th annual such event held at the Western Carolina Ag Center.

While there was every shade and variety of yarn, thread and fiber at the fair, I most wanted to see the animals. Take me to a state or county fair, that's where you'll will find me, at the animal barns. All those years in 4-H made an impact.

First and foremost on my list were the angora rabbits. Having raised rabbits in 4-H, both French and English angora rabbits were known varieties. This fair featured German angoras, a breed I had never heard tell of, perhaps because it is not an ARBA (American Rabbit Breeders Association) recognized variety. The German angoras have their own separate association, the IAGARB.

German angora rabbits are not only known for the quantity of wool they produce, but for quality as well. Through 8 decades of selective breeding, the quantity of wool produced by many German angoras has surpassed their ancestors by hundreds of grams per shearing. Shearings occur at approximately 90 day intervals Yearly totals have increased from mere ounces to over four pounds. The wool is silky, crimpy, yet strong and can be commercially processed without damage to the wool. The soft wool is pure luxury to wear next to the skin, yet will not mat or felt with wear.

On the other end of the spectrum, as far as human breeding intervention goes, are the unusual looking Jacob sheep.

Jacob sheep are a rare breed of small, spotted, multi-horned sheep. They may have from two to six horns, with four being the most common configuration. Most of the Jacob sheep are black and white. They are an heirloom or unimproved breed that harken back through history and have survived with little selective breeding input from us humans. Their bodies are much more goat-like than most breeds of sheep. They are a variety of sheep that harkens back to biblical times and lands.

Maybe this will become an annual event. With additional planning I could participate in the myriad workshops that were offered.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Lily & Charlie's Union of Hearts Ceremony

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And this concludes my coverage of Lily & Charlie's very fascinating wedding!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bicycle Parade

Friends on bicycles and bicycles, lots of bicycles, gathered at B.B.Clark beach on the shore of Madison's Lake Monona to await the arrival of the bridal couple. The word is their arrival will be slightly unusual.

They have been spotted. Arrival is by canoe with bicycles aboard.

As the sandy beach is roped off for swimmers, they must make land along a steeper portion of park shoreline.

Bikes are off loaded.

Standard wedding photography often features the bride carrying her bike ashore. (Trust me on this one.)

They look ready to lead the 5 mile bicycle trek to our campgrounds in Lake Farm Park on the shores of a different lake, Lake Waubesa.

All the folks that were local brought their own bikes. Several bikes made trips to the shop for a little refurbishing and upgrades.

For those of us coming from out of town, bicycles were obtained.

This green beauty was mine for the weekend.

It was nice having a girls bike complete with....

....a Tyrannosaurus shift knob.

After getting everyone organized....

....we're off.

Up (or is it down) Jenifer Street...

..onto a variety of streets, sidewalks and bike paths.

A rest and water break takes place in the shade of a few trees in a park off John Nolan Drive.

As inviting as the shade is, after a short interval, the group is off again toward the destination.

John Nolan Drive, generally a very busy divided highway is under construction. While this allows us to ride without traffic,it also presents a few obstacles.

Part of the railroad bed has been pulled up, necessitating walking your bike.

The pedicab (where the bride's father got a ride from one of his other daughters) needed an extra boost.

Bikes safely over this obstacle we ride on.

When we reach Lake Farm Park everyone hydrates a little.

And hangs out in the shade watching others pull in.

H2O tastes pretty good after a long ride.

Of course some of us were fortunate enough to have someone else do the pedaling for our ride to the park.

But Heidi says she still wants a drink of water!

Hope you enjoyed this very pictorial installment of the Lily and Charlie wedding saga.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lily, Lily give me your answer

It was the hippiest of weddings, the union of a nephew and his Aussie ladylove. A wedding so unconventional and noncookie-cutter that the invitation came with a multipage manual, an invitation that arrived in a homemade envelope, folded from a magazine page.

Lily & Charlie writ in bicycle chain

And a manual was a handy item to have. Otherwise, how would you know to gather the requisite vial of water and fire token for the last of three planned ceremonies, the Union of Hearts? How could you select appropriate clothing for a 3-Day wedding event, an event that included a 5 mile bicycle ride, overnight camping and a formal evening soiree?

Taking place Friday, Saturday and Sunday August 19, 20 & 21st, I took so many pictures and have so many little tidbits to relate, that I have decided to split the tale into several shorter blog posts.

So come on back and visit my blog if....

you're interested in the sweet story of Lily and Charlie's wedding.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fishy Pedicure

Being ever the paper magpie, I collect images as I travel. Of course the airport glossy promoting Lyon got snapped up and put in my bag. Reading it later on the train, one article in particular intrigued me.

Written in French and English, it proclaimed Rufa and Smoother. The article went on to explain that the small fish garra rufa, a Turkish native had found work in Asian markets, not as a menu item. but rather as an adjunct to footcare.The little beasties suck dead skin off your heels and tootsies, a concept that seems to engender strong responses. People I've told about this concept are either intrigued like me or entirely grossed out.

Never having heard of fish pedicures previously, I assumed there would be few other chances to encounter le petite poisson (the little fishies). So the daughter and I took the train to Lyon for a day trip. We seached out the spa Villeurbanne on avenue des Freres-Lumiere.

Not being much of a spa-goer myself, I found the disposable slippers fairly novel.

After a disinfecting wash, we lowered our feet into a square plexiglass aquarium that housed the enthusiastic little workers. It was incredibly ticklish at first, but then you got used to the sensation.

Note the complimentary coffee! Oh France, you get me.

Emerging with much smoother feet, we hopped the subway (metro?) and ran some errands on the Presqu'île and in old Lyon.

Would I do it again?
You Bet!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bele Chere

Annually held the last weekend in July since the 1970's, Bele Chere ranks as the largest free music and arts in the southeastern United States. The festival attracts something like 350,000 people to Asheville, North Carolina. This summer my daughter and I once again joined those masses.

Our primary draw is the 6 stages of diverse musical offerings, but we also peruse the arts and crafts vendors, often making a few purchases and play some games. Here the daughter tries her skills at the Wells Fargo Stage Coach adventure.

Before taking on the crowds, we fortified ourselves with brunch at a favorite eatery, Sunny Point Cafe in West Asheville on Haywood. Sunny Point serves consistently good food at reasonable prices and their wait staff is alt eye candy. They sport detailed and colorful tattoos, interesting hairstyles and hair colors and the dress code is decidedly not uniform.

Fresh flowers grace the tables.

The klezmer sound reeled me in and we soon decided our favorite band that Saturday was Sirius B. Billing themselves as absurdist gypsy folk funk punk. It’s the band’s gypsy-infused violins (they have two), European street sensibilities, world-traveled tunes and multiethnic lineup that warrant comparisons to New York City gypsy-punk icons Gogol Bordello.

Sirius B, however, isn’t planning to follow in Gogol Bordello’s footsteps. Instead, the group considers its sound a happy accident. “Fusion would imply intention, that’s my impression,”says the guitar player Xavier Ferdón. “Absurdist” is one description they’re comfortable with—which is fitting with lyrics like, “Your aunt was a microbe who lived in a bathrobe. She’d wear it night and day.”“This is more our own thing,” the guitarist states, “flavored with various elements.”

Since winning a third-place mention as one of a local paper's readers’ favorite as-yet unknown bands, it’s obvious people want to listen to them and so did we.