Monday, October 18, 2010

Pat Metheny is God. Recognize.

I see a lot of sadness in the world, but none in this lettuce.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from this show, but I heard about robots, a one man orchestra and Pat Metheny's hair-I'm in. I've secretly wanted to be a jazz guitarist for-like-ever, sneaking in 7b5 and 13th chords wherever possible in the little acoustic outfit by the name of The Alpine Black.

At any rate, I figured I go for a few tunes and sneak out the backdoor. So Pat comes out with a classical guitar and strums, or rather owns a few songs, some of which I recognized from my jazzhead days. Parts of Phase Dance and maybe As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls? I was tingling with nostalgia and ready to limp away to the nearest exit. I was looking for madness, not a nice classical guitar performance. But there were a few vibraphone looking monsters, ominous metal blades and a piano onstage, so I needed to see what the hell was going to go down. Okay, he goes to his electric and wails away. We are getting warmer. then this comes out:

The maker, Linda Manzer was in the audience as Pat gave a nod to her genius. A crazy little piece on this Picasso guitar and he moved to another priceless guitar. A high-hat began to accompany him that was one of the robot creatures on stage. Okay, cute, but it's basically a glorified metronome:

He was tearing away on the guitar though. I forgot how fucking brilliant this dude is so I wasn't so critical of the high-hat and vibraphone working at the command of his guitar. It was a cute gimmick. I'm thinking all the while about percussion and drums, how cool would that be? Bow down bitch; I was owned.

All of a sudden the curtain behind him raised and there, in a beautiful metal mess, an entire stage full of cages full of instruments. Most were percussive in nature set about to tapping, nailing, swinging, and teetering. Fucking accordions and bottles and more guitars. True story: Lady next to me gasped and put both her hands up to her mouth as if Pat had just proposed to her-thing is, I agreed with her, but I was playing it cool. What the fuck is going on? This is too much man, I needed a nip of something to take the edge off. Jesus, her husband 2 seats away couldn't sit still either. The crowd was shifting and ooing and ahhing. We were in. Fuck bands. Let Pat play everything, this is great.

So it began: one of the most amazing concerts I have ever seen. I can't say enough about his playing, I mean, his solos are just straight from heaven. Some of his compositions are boring, but fuck that: He is god. Not Clapton. Still, that does the orchestra thingy no justice, and that was what we were after.

It began in his grandfather's basement at 7 or 9 yrs old with a player piano. This is what the overall concept is: a 21st player piano all tethered to his guitar. Little robot sensors placed in custom made instruments for Pat that respond to his guitar. After he performed Orchestrion, his album dedicated to this concept, he played a few improvisational pieces to further explain to us the concept of this monster, building a tune piece by piece. Unreal. One Ornette Coleman tune in there as well.

Do yourself a favor and catch this show if it ever comes around again. For your eyes and a better explanation:
(Lettuce photo credit taken from here:


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Willow Tree + 7 Card Stud Hi lo = No reason to leave.

First full Saturday to myself at the new apartment proved to be interesting. I can basically play poker and take photos of birds at the same time, so I really have no reason to leave this room ever again. The old country house (located on the Niagara Escarpment) is completely swallowed by an archaic willow tree which is home to quite a few species. The office is on the 3rd floor and harbors a huge window nestled firmly in the canopy of the tree. (Brown Creeper and Red- Breasted Nuthatch)

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Boston Public Library

Lucky lucky day. Pulled over 2 houses down and caught him.

Warsaw Creek

Monday, August 23, 2010

Miss Tess and the Bon Ton Parade

Sportsmen's Tavern, Buffalo, NY

The sexy gypsy-jazz-retro look can easily pass for disingenuousness, but Miss Tess pulls it off with her style, songwriting, and melodies plucked from the early jazz era. Her band was young, super-tight/talented, and visibly enjoyed the music (Upright bass, reed player and drummer). I don’t remember the particular tune, but there was a defining point early in the show where her voice truly opened up and I was no longer listening to the heavy influences of this genre. I was also incredibly impressed by her guitar playing, much like Madeleine Peyroux (who is one of those heavy influences), but again, her voice on the guitar is taking shape as well. I of course left at half-time, but the crowd was swelling, swaying and spilling out into the street, so a return should be in order.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Shadow Conjures the Crow's Ghost


Dearest mother,

The nights on the Moriah farmstead have been long, hot and unbearable. Mr. Moriah pitches cards into his dusty old cowboy hat all night long. The cards click against the wall and fall silently into his worn hat, but when missed, the slightest scrape of the floor echoes throughout the rickety house and sends the night spiraling into a manic sleepless journey. The oil lamp sends the fox's shadow waltzing across the ceiling; the crow's ghost paces back and forth beneath the window, and I fear the spider has followed us. The Black Hills are deep and treacherous mother; we will be leaving for the desert in the morning.

With a nervous pen,


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tournament poker=American Dream=Non existent.

It has become clear that a major leak in my game is tournament poker. I see all these young boys and girls making huge scores and admittedly become seduced by the idea that I might sneak one past the young rounders. I have cashed in a bunch, final tabled a handful, and taken down 1 tournament this year. Still, not enough. My cash game winnings are just being donated to the tournament scene. I also had a great look at a 5k nl tournament score at Seneca Niagara, but spewed my stack all over the place showing the gentlemen to the left of me just how little I cared about those shitty little chips, and made sure that he will never "ride my coattails to the final table".

At any rate I have been watching the young people play nl tournaments online, trying to get ideas from them, incorporate some of their moves, and am realizing I cannot put in the volume to get the results I expect from tournament play. I don't want to sit in front of the computer for 12 hrs straight. I have a career that I enjoy and don't need to grind it out. However, I'm still hungry and do want to go to the WSOP again next year, so the roll will be built, it's just time to plug the leaks.

As ever,


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Champagne Tuesdays and the $1.6 million dollar man

I knew Scott Fishman hosted a mixed game at the Hard Rock Casino so I made my way there. If the game wasn't running I would play NL holdem like the rest of Vegas. No Fishman game, but there was game starting that was a mix of NL hold em and Pot Limit Omaha. I'm in. Give me any mix at this point, and I actually wanted to play some live Pot Limit Omaha.

It was immediately clear to me that these people knew each other. My 'senses' were heightened and I tried to get a read as quickly as possible. I didn't enjoy the fact that most of the table were 'younger folks', but I was ready play my best.

Champagne and Strawberries? 4 people at the table were drinking this. I decided I didn't care who knew who, I had to see what unfolded amongst a table of champagne and strawberries drinkers. Dan introduced himself to me and it turns out that he was the host of the game and has a real poker blog Pokerati. This was usually a media game, but his fellow media members failed to show, or grew tired of waiting to get a seat.

Champagne and Strawberries? Normally at such a sloppy and slow game as what was transpiring, I would be incredibly tilted and angry. On the contrary though. It was the funnest game I played in Vegas. The other 2 locals were drinking and carrying on but never faltered. They talked and talked but never belittled anyone and the drunk one was pretty funny. They started playing a prop game 'name the band' which added to the chaos. What with Rex running as fast as he could in and out to the lobby to confirm questionable bands/answers. Every douche bag band that came on during my turn that I didn't know, I just said Switchfoot. Lots of fun. Still, these guys never faltered. This is what they do. They live here and are young and drunk and living the Vegas life. I was somewhat jealous, but not enough to drink Champagne and Strawberries.

So a guy in these clown pants shows up to the game. The locals new him, and I thought I recognized him. After a while I hear his name was Tom, so I finally asked Dan what his last name was. Yep, that's what I thought. The 2007 WSOP player of the year is playing in my $1/$2 no limit hold em-pot limit omaha game. Mr. $1.6 million dollar man. I immediately thought about getting up, but, the competitor in me wanted to stay put. Measure up, learn a few tricks, etc. What's one more pro at the table anyhow?

I didn't tangle with him in one pot. Not out of fear, it just never happened. I wasn't really looking to get into a post flop pissing contest with him, mind you, but still, I never battled him. As the night wore on I slipped out with a winning session as they argued about the myriad of prop bets being thrown around...



Mount Charleston