Portland

I am reporting on Portland after Astoria, even though we visted and played a day earlier. That’s just how things sometimes work.

We did have some time to spend in the Rose City before our show at Rotture:


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We experienced Portland’s famously variable weather. Fortunately, many of the city’s attractions are indoors. This includes Powell’s Books. I could have spent the whole day in the Pearl Room, which contained the art and architecture offerings, as well as their extensive rare book collection.

Portland also has abundant public art. Across from Powell’s is this “brush,” a noted landmark:

And this “recursive elephant” was quite intriguing:

This sculpture includes other animals besides the elephants. I think I see a cat on the trunk:

It always comes back to cats, doesn’t it.

The show that evening was at Rotture, a club on the waterfront, conveniently located next to a construction zone. Although our audience was small, the show went well; and I did like the space, a converted early-20th century industrial brick building.


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They also had an interesting mural in the main audience area, and a nice large stage. We shared the bill with Emily Hay, who also does improvisation with flute and voice (although with a very contrasting sound and style from Polly); as well as Tim DuRoche and Resolution 51 (free jazz improvisation). So it was definitely worth sticking around after our performance to hear everyone else – although the entire evening was probably branded as “experimental night” or “improvisation night”, there was a great variety among the three groups, and I think the ordering worked well with us first, both musically and energy-wise.

More on Portland, our show at Rotture, and the trip up from the Bay Area can be found here.

Astoria

Just a quick note this afternoon, from Astoria, Oregon. Our second show of the tour (third, if you count 1510 in Oakland) will be here in Astoria tonight, at the Astoria Visual Arts center. And I will also be performing a solo set to open, again with electronics and my folk and toy instruments.

We have posters all over town, and a great write-up in the Coast Weekend, a local paper.

Astoria itself is an interesting little town, at the mouth of Columbia River on the Oregon coast:

The coast highway runs through and north across the river into Washington state.

Here are a few photos from town:

And here is the band at the “Astoria Column”:


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More on the performance itself after it actually happens. Also, I might go backwards in time to our show and day yesterday in Portland…but in the meantime, Polly has already journaled the first two days of our tour

Tour Kick-off show in Oakland

The tour for Polly Moller and Company began last night with out kick-off show at 1510 8th Street in Oakland:

We were a trio last night, rather than a quartet. Guitarist Bill Wolter joins us tomorrow for the trip north.

I also performed a solo set to open the evening:


(Photo by Polly Moller)

Once again, I am playing the ektar (single-string instrument).

This is the first performance in which I used two laptops (both PC and Mac), mainly because not everything I wanted to use last night ran on a single system. I also took advantage of the excellent piano present at 1510. I improvised against the electronics, trying to match the timbre and “vague pitches” – the piano was also picked up by the mic for processing. And I opened the set with a brief rendition of “Alley Cat” (which has been stuck in my head after the bad kitty chaos festival from a couple of weekends back).

I will be doing another solo set for our show in Astoria, Oregon.

Bay Area travel madness

Living in Santa Cruz can be a challenge at times. One of the major challenges is getting to and from places in the Bay Area, where most of my musical, job-search, and social activities located.

For San Francisco trips, one takes Highways 17, 85 and 280 (or 101 as suggested below) into the city:

If I am not in a rush, highway 1 along the coast is always a rewarding experience.

For the east bay (Berkeley, Oakland, etc.), one instead follows highway 17, which becomes I-880, along the east side of the bay:

The trick is avoid the bridges. Sometimes this is unavoidable, and one ends up making a “grand circuit” to and from Santa Cruz around the bay.

The trip is about 70 miles each direction (slightly longer on the east bay side), and about 90 minutes unless one hits bad traffic. Really, it's not so bad, and I have been doing trips like this for years for music and art events, or to see friends, family, and such.

But when it becomes several times a week, and nearing every day, it starts to wear on you. Almost all of my job interviews are in the bay area. Then there is the upcoming performance schedule, back-to-back shows in SF and Oakland followed by the tour.

And this weekend will top them all:

Saturday. Rehearsal for Polly Moller and Company. Then br'er performs in San Francisco that night. It's quite a coincidence that br'er is touring the west coast right now, just as I am about to go on tour. Indeed we will also be crossing paths again in Seattle when we both play on October 20th.

Sunday. Rehearsal again. Then the :plug3: headphone festival in San Francisco. I have a solo set at 7:30PM.

Monday. The tour's kickoff show at 1510 8th Street in Oakland. I have a solo set in addition to our group show.

Tuesday. I need to stay overnight so that…

Wednesday. We leave on tour from SF and Oakland bright and early.

This is out of control. Not because of the activities themselves, which are manageable, but the fact that it is far from CatSynth HQ every day. I have options to stay overnight to make things easier (and will likely do so some of the nights), but that means being away from home, away from everything that needs to be done here, away from Luna (which also means setting up more cat sitting arrangements).

Living in Santa Cruz is becoming one huge liability. It was fine when I was working every day here and going up to the city once a week or so, but now my life and all the action in it seems to be back in the bay area. How long can I keep this up?

New Podcast: Suspension, Polly Moller and Company


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After a few weeks hiatus, the CatSynth Channel Podcast is back. This Sunday we are featuring a track from Not Made of Stone by Polly Moller and Company. Regular readers may recall this is the group I am going on tour with in a little over a week, and Suspension is one of several tracks from Not Made of Stone that we will be performing.

“A woman travels into space to forcibly remove the source of her anguish.”

We began are tour rehearsals this weekend, including some changes from our previous performances. A new guitarist, Bill Wolter; and new live electronics processing for flute and voice.

We began are tour rehearsals this weekend, including some changes from our previous performances. A new guitarist, Bill Wolter; and new live electronics processing for flute and voice.

More information on the album and tour can be found Polly Moller's official website.

To subscribe, click the “Subscribe” button, or visit the CatSynth Channel page. As always, enjoy.