Happy Fourth of July! That’s American Independence Day, for you Netherlandians*

What did you do today? That’s great. I spent the day with Miss Silver Squid and Miss DeLoop. Miss DeLoop is the one who used to model with cars (she stood next to Lincoln cars at car shows and waved) and then ran away with the circus. Now she does aerial acrobatics. She’s always done Balinese dance. Always, I tell you, always!

The gamelan (that’s a Balinese orchestra) she’s a member of, Sekar Jaya, was performing in the suburban town I grew up in today, El Cerrito, so Miss Silver Squid and I picked up and went. I didn’t get any pictures of Miss DeLoop in costume, because sometimes I’m not the brightest bulb in the box, but I did get one poor picture of her from far away whilst she was performing.

balinese dancer

Here's Miss DeLoop performing.

There’s someone else’s fat head in the way. There was always someone in the way where we were sitting. People had no damn concert manners. Get a seat and sit the fuck down, with your fat heads. You make better doors than windows, peeps.

The thing about Balinese dance is the eye movements and the finger movements matter. The gestures are important–everything counts. It’s a very different sort of dance from traditional Western mores. There’s a lot of pausing and stamping. The stories are old and the dances are passed on from generation to generation.

She did really well. I think she’s one of the better dancers in the company. And her mother played in the orchestra today as well. I don’t know the names of the instruments, but it’s mostly percussion gongs and bells. There are some flutes and bamboo percussion pipes, too. It’s awesome, but not on the same harmonic scale that Western music is played on, so it sounds very different. It’s like eating astringent food with your ears: not bad, but very unexpected. Very fresh and somewhat bracing. The rhythms also speed up and slow down according to the story, so if you’re just listening to the music, you can’t just nod along to the beat.

Me and my friends

That's me and my friends.

Her pop was there, too. I had him snap a picture of us. That’s Miss Silver Squid, and Miss DeLoop, and Ol’ Seer there. I’m not sure which picture makes Miss DeLoop, in her words, look “less like a dork,” so I’m putting them both in. I don’t think she looks bad at all, but one caught Miss Silver Squid without a real smile on.

me and my friends 2

That's still me and my friends.

Yes, those are Trina shorts and a Trina hat, thanks for noticing! I just bought another pair of Trina shorts today. They’re having an enormous sale on the spring collection. I couldn’t resist. I got a pair of Madras print shorts (yes, I pay that much for clothes. Step off). I’m like a magpie when it comes to patterns. Or a deranged clown. Something in me always wants to grab a striped shirt whenever I have on plaid pants, internally saying, “Yes, that will look nice.”

Okay, so after Sekar Jaya? There was a jazz group supposed to play.

Now, here’s something to know.

There are some people in the Bay Area that are “leftovers.” They are left behind from acid trips–maybe really good ones, maybe really bad ones, who knows, but they’re kind of permafried. They don’t really exist too many other places: Portland, Eugene, and Santa Cruz (help me out if you’ve got them where you are), but I haven’t seen them in Los Angeles, Sacramento, Chicago, Brooklyn, Washington DC, Maryland, New York City, Montana, Idaho, New Orleans, Santa Fé, Salt Lake City, or many of the places along the I-80 corridor when I drove across the country.

On the whole, these psychotic beings are gentle creatures, easily spooked, soft-spoken, and thoroughly out of touch with reality (I know, I already said they were psychotic, and I meant it). They could often give a fuck what society says–they don’t rally against The Man, they really live against the man. They wear what they want, eat what they want, live how they want. They’re usually super paranoid and have conspiracy theories (in Santa Cruz, these were the people who kept the water from being fluoridated–precious bodily fluids, y’all), but are very generous and kind. However, don’t push them because they may snap in an instant. This is their theme song.

Okay. So we saw a couple of these lefties today. From the back, we thought they were both women, and that one wasn’t wearing pants, just a long, off-white, linen tunic with high slits up the sides, a fanny pack, worn Tevas, a painter’s cap and a bandana under it. Her knees were the widest part of her legs, and she had to be in her late sixties. Then she turned around and was sporting a large, Santa-like grayish beard–ho, ho, ho, indeed, sir! You are a man! Nubile legs and all! A breeze lifted up his tunic, and at first we were horrified, but then were slightly relieved to see he was wearing off-white Daisy Dukes (these are shorts) with a two-inch inseam. I insist this man must have had a crop top that would have been more fitting for the occasion. At least we would have known that his bits were covered. Miss Silver Squid thinks that his aqua crop top with the lizard on it was dirty and it made him sad. But real men don’t cry, so he wiped his one tear away and put on his tunic and went to the festival as is, imperfect outfit and all.

He was there to dance. He was going to shake a tail feather, man. And he did. He never moved his arms, just waved his body around. But yes, he used it to its full advantage. He shook aggressively like an electric eel giving off a charge to kill an angelfish. He wriggled passively like a tapeworm in a belly full of chyme. He slithered gracefully like a sidewinder over hot sand.

And what was he dancing to?

Well. Um. The music. Er. It wasn’t bad. But the singer.

When the singer appears to be having a medical issue while performing, it’s a little distracting. He appeared to be having a stroke, or to be really, really angry at us. He wasn’t on the same side as the audience. It was really uncomfortable for the two of us (Miss DeLoop was changing). This went on for only a couple of minutes. I couldn’t even look at him. It was that embarrassing for me. Now, I grew up with jazz, so I know how a lot of jazz artists sing along while they play guitar or piano (you can always hear Monk on his records grunting), and are really expressive with the music, but I was not prepared for a singer to wave his arms about so. It was on the same level as Michael Stipe arm movements, but really aggressive and sporadic. His voice, however was quite good. His phrasing was decent, when I could pay attention to it. He wasn’t a bad singer at all. And the back up band was pretty good, too.

Then his mic took one for the team and went out. It, too, was embarrassed.

The sound guy at least pretended to try to figure out what was going on. He walked around a lot and picked up some cords. The rest of the band played softer so that the singer could be heard somewhat. That went on for a few minutes.

Then the singer up and left. He just walked off the stage. I didn’t see where he went. Someone yelled out, “Fix the mics!” So somebody out there was feeling it. Just not me.

That was about the time that we left to go and get some food and decompress. It was all too hip a scene for us.


*”Dutch” is such a boring word. So I made up a new one. Whee!>



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