Archive for December, 2011

Musical weekend

The first weekend of October was a terrific one for music. I intended to blog about it then, but here I am.

The weekend began, in a sense, Thursday night at the Wood. I hosted the jam session there. The favorite Folk School has started having a jam on every first Thursday. I filled in for usual host  blogged friend Ryan Spearman. The beginning was worrisome. I arrived right at 6 PM. Nobody joined me for over half an hour. We eventually got going and had a nice session. I would love to do it again. I got paid, too!

The next evening, H and I returned to the Folk School for Fiddle Fest, part of Maplewood’s Arts and Eats Walk. H, Kelly Wells and I set up in a small alcove off the sidewalk along Manchester Road the street from Shop and Save. We had enormous fun. I fiddled. Kelly played guitar, and H played mandolin. We put out an open case, and we got tips. Folks from toddlers to the elderly stopped to listen. Then we got free Jimmy John’s.

Sam Bush played the Sheldon that night. We had planned on skipping it, but we got free tickets. H had seen him earlier that day at the Old Post Office Plaza. She registered for a drawing. On our drive to the Folk School, she got a call that the original winner passed on the tickets. It was a high energy show. I particularly enjoyed his fiddling. He has a strong down bow style. The Cardinals were in the playoffs that night. The action stopped periodically to announce the scores. When they won, the sound man threw up his arms. Everyone cheered. The guitarist must have thought he played the best solo of his life.

The Folk School held a jam at the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market. Jams there have become semi-regular events. It was chilly for that time of year, but I had a good time.

At Off Broadway, H and I caught another show featuring the three times blogged Rum Drum RamblersMonads and the Wilders. I have enjoyed the Ramblers every time, going back to running into them at Meshuggah years back. All acts were high energy. The Wilders, unfortunately, are nearing the end as a band. I have been fortunate enough to see them another time recently. Their fiddler Betse Ellis needs to spend more time in Saint Louis.

The weekend was memorable. I made more money playing than I did watching. I think that is a first. Up to this point, it remains an only.

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Michael M. on December 29th 2011 in General, Live, Music

Jury nullification

The New York Times published the op-ed piece “Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No” by Paul Butler. It concerns jury nullification and the case of Julian Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor. Heicklen Freedom Page is amusing. Jury nullification has a bad history in acquitting civil rights defendants. It might have a role these days, though, in avoiding some of the too severe punishments resulting from mandatory sentencing laws.

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Michael M. on December 27th 2011 in General

Banjo in 2011

The KDHX blog has this post regarding 2011 banjo events. Several of the links are great. In particular, H and I watched Give Me the Banjo. The program is available streaming. Local PBS affiliate KETC paired it with this segment on blogged friend Ryan Spearman.

Along the same lines, Waxy Links pointed to You shall Hear things, Wonderful to tell on Metafilter. It provides background on the mentioned O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. The movie, mostly through its music, made a great difference to me. It got me playing more, and I added fiddle, mandolin and banjo in the years since. It got enough others playing that I found a community.

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Michael M. on December 27th 2011 in General, Music, Recorded

Voyager leaving us

Hacker News pointed to Voyager 1 Speeds Toward The Brink Of Interstellar Space that aired on NPR‘s Morning Edition. It reminded me of this old post about my investigation of the golden records aboard the Voyager crafts. It is wonderful that something we made has gone so far.

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Michael M. on December 27th 2011 in General

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