Books I’ve read, week seventeen

26. Shade the Changing Man: The American Scream
Writer: Peter Milligan Artists: Chris Bachalo and Mark Pennington
I read a number of other Shade comics as well (the book reprints the first six issues). I like Chris Bachalo’s art, but Peter Milligan’s script ultimately just feels weird for weirdness’ sake, unlike the Doom Patrol series about the same time. C

27. Lucifer Vol. 1: Devil in the Gateway
Writer: Mike Carey Artists: Scott Hampton, Chris Weston, James Hodgkins, Dean Ormston and Warren Pleece
A Sandman spinoff, and pretty decent (the only other ones I’ve kept are some of Bill Willingham‘s ones). The adventures of Lucifer on Earth, feels almost like Gaiman was writing. B

Two out weekend

We went out twice this weekend. Saturday we went to see Robbie Schaefer and Ellis Paul at the Barns of Wolf Trap. Since we went out to eat before a show there last week, we didn’t feel the urge as much and I grilled fajitas at home. Ellis Paul opened and was very good. We’d seen him several times before and liked him, but last night I’d picked up his last CD and had spun it a couple times over the past week, and he played every song I liked.

At intermission we caught up with the Jewells, then came back to see Robbie take over. He was great as well, but the best part was the encore when both of them came out. Another couple getting engaged was sweet, but the best part was when Robbie continued on a theme from his set about Ellis being so great he’d marry him, then they tried to sing the first verse from Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”. It didn’t quite work, they broke off laughing (and we were too): Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together.

Today I was busy working on auctions, but my friend Chris was in town, and we went over to Don Pablo’s in Potomac Yards to meet him and his mum for lunch. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Pablo’s, and I’ve missed it – especially the queso. In addition to that, Jill had chicken tacos and I had a combo platter with a taco, enchilada and a chile relleno. Very tasty, and we were barely hungry enough for a couple of leftover slices of pizza for dinner.

Movies I’ve watched, week sixteen

26. Songcatcher
Set a hundred years ago, it follows a lady hunting down songs in rural North Carolina. I was curious to hear some of the songs, as folk and bluegrass musicians today still sing some. I enjoyed Iris DeMent’s appearance in the movie, she’s got a great voice. B-

Books I’ve read, week sixteen

I got 50 pages into The Caterpillar’s Question, by Piers Anthony and Philip José Farmer. I only got as far as I did because I was on the subway and it was the only thing I had to read. I’m blaming Piers Anthony for wanting to stop, as the attraction of the protragonist to an teenager was just icky (and reminiscent of a worse one in Firefly). The only series I still have by him is Incarnations of Immortality, but those characters are all adults.

25. Fathom
Writer: Michael Turner and Artists: Michael Turner and
The origin story of a girl with water powers, understandably optioned by James Cameron. Reminded me of the early Image comics: dynamic art mixed with a so-so story. C-

Small, medium and large concerts

Small first. Friday night I made a quick salad and heated some chicken tenders to go on top, then Jill went out to a meeting, and I went out soon after. My grandiose plan was to see the opening band at Iota, then head over to Jammin’ Java to see the headliner. They were supposed to go on at the same time, but I figured I’d see a bit of both. Nope – I knew Iota didn’t always start on time, but I certainly didn’t expect them to go on at midnight. It wasn’t really their fault, the middle band canceled, the bassist for Pharmacy Prophets (the headliner) opened, then Pharmacy Prophets wanted to play next. They weren’t bad, but I wasn’t prepared for a full on rock show, and it took me a while to get in the mood for it.

So The Hypersonic Secret took the stage at midnight instead of 9:30 in their flight suits. This was their first performance, but they weren’t new to me. Local group Quitter UK was a mix of emmet swimming and Smartbomb. If you take away Todd and David from that band and add T. Wesley from Honeychuck, you’ll have The Hypersonic Secret (and you can check out their family tree). The songwriters were the songwriters in Smartbomb, and unsurprisingly the songs sound much like them, but that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned (that Fairfax pop thing).

The Hypersonic Secret at Iota

Medium was next on Saturday. It was a partly lazy day, started some more auctions, then read the paper and enjoyed some reading on the deck. We went to dinner at Bazin’s on Church in Vienna and although it was somewhat quiet when we came in, it was packed to the gills when we left. And with good reason – I wanted to go because Tom Sietsema from the Post has liked it, and we were going to a show nearby. I started with the crabmeat spring rolls – accompanied by an Asian cole slaw and a ginger-mustard vinaigrette, it was the best part of my meal, perfect contrasts. Jill had a tasty green salad, then a pasta dish, while I had seared scallops for my main course, all very good, especially with their nice crusty bread.

Afterwards Jill had seen people walking around with cones and suggested that for dessert. I readily agreed, and we walked around until we found Nielsen’s Frozen Custard, I got cake batter and she got creamsicle, both great on a warm evening. I’d listened to the opening act and wasn’t in love, so we decided to kill some time until the show. I turned into the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (where we got married) and parked and we… read for a while (get your minds out of the gutter, people).

We got to the The Barns at Wolf Trap with plenty of time and decided to get a drink in the bar. Nice not to do it without a line (like most intermissions there), and since this was the first time we’d skipped the opener, it was interesting to learn they piped the music of the performers into the bar (still didn’t convince me I was missing something special, but I’ve been wrong before). Lucy Kaplansky was her usual charming self, but we left at the encore, Jill was tuckered out (this month is a rough one on her).

Large was today. I knew the rain was coming, but wishing didn’t stop it. I’ve seen a couple Earth Day shows on the National Mall (Natalie Merchant in ’95, Carole King with David Crosby and James Taylor in ’00), and this promised to be the best lineup so far, with O.A.R., Umphrey’s McGee, Warren Haynes (solo and with Gov’t Mule), Toots and the Maytals and The Roots. But I couldn’t find a schedule, so spent the morning reading the paper, and just headed over after 1.

As soon as I exited the Smithsonian Metro stop, the rain hit. I had my yellow rain jacket on, but my shorts were quickly getting soaked, but I’d brought an umbrella for additional protection. I got there in time to catch Umphrey’s McGee, but it was raining harder and they paused the show for a half hour. I headed over to the National Gallery for some protection and read feeds on my phone until they resumed. Warren Haynes came out and was amazing, great covers of “Wasted Time” and “One” that fit the day. The Roots were up next, and I was prepared to wait for them and catch some of their set then leave. Ed Norton came out and had a very passionate speech, then a New York Times reporter (who was doing a terrible job) was interrupted by more electrical storms. I decided to bag it then – wise decision as the festival was terminated minutes later.

Warren Haynes at Earth Day

I headed home, got into dry clothes, and got ready for last week’s auctions to end. I made shrimp and pasta and artichokes for dinner, then went online to finish off the night. A busy weekend, but it was fun, and a good kickoff to another summer full of concerts.