Monday, May 22, 2017

Asian Improv Nation Trip_Day 4

Even though it was very late by the time I got back to the motel after the concert and a happy dinner celebration with the ensemble and crew, I got up early this morning to do the walk I have been looking forward to along the path of the Bair Island Wildlife Refuge. I suspected it would be my opportunity. Conceivably I could do it Monday morning, but I was coming to the conclusion that I was going to shoot for an early return drive. So, up I got at 5:00 AM. The park opens at 6:00 AM.  I like to do these walks early. The light is better for photos, there is a better chance of seeing some wildlife and generally there are fewer people. Also, it is cooler. It has been hot up here. I am told that it is unseasonably warm. It was getting up early. I did not see tons of wildlife. Hardly any really. The ubiquitous pigeon, some geese with goslings, and a jackrabbit. A jackrabbit is not a rabbit, but a hare. Who knew? Who cares? Accuracy is important.

I have an imperative on whatever little trip I make, to try my best to eat something good. Preferably to try a new establishment. There was not much time on this trip. Most of my meals were with the group. Those meals fit the criteria: tasty and places I hadn't been, but they weren't my own discoveries. For lunch this day I had scoped out some joints on Google Maps. I decided on the Taqueria at the Chavez Supermarket in Redwood City. They are close to the motel and more importantly they serve Birria de Chivo. It hit the spot. Right at the top of the Tasty Meter. 

Then it was off to pick up Francis and Tatsu's bass and head across the Bay to the recording session in Berkeley. The session was at Fantasy Studio, which meant nothing to me until Francis educated me on the drive. It is one of those studios that is deep with history. The shots of a couple of their gold records will give you an idea. The session went very well. Of course, we did material from the concert. Recording is difficult. Michael Vlatkovich says you only have to get it right once. This is true, but everyone has to get it right at the same time. Otherwise you have to do it again. And again. After all, you are in the studio, why not take the time to do it right?

Birria de Chivo at Chavez Supermarket in Redwood City, CA.

Coins on the walls in the control room of Studio A, Fantasy Studios.

Studio A, Fantasy Studios.

Kioto prepping for session.

Tatsu and Chizuru.

Edward being happy. 

Francis and Edward misbehaving.

Looking down the hall to Studios B and D.

Francis giving asked for advice to Melody and Lenora. Kioto is peeling a tangerine. 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Asian Improv Nation Trip_Day 3

I am back at the motel after the concert. It went very well. It went exceptionally well. Everyone did very fine. There was a good turnout. The hall was almost full. It is a square, high-walled, stone room. Somewhat boomy, as you'd imagine. All the folks in the ensemble are very good soloists. They also play well together. The two don't always go together. Since I was performing, I wasn't taking any photos. I did take some before and after. I've posted those and some I downloaded from Facebook. 

I have to get to bed. I want to get up early tomorrow and check out the wetlands park.

Asian Improv Nation Trip_Day 2

Today brought all of the actors together except the drummer. The list of performers include bassist Tatsu Aoki, taiko performer Kioto Aoki and woodwind specialists Mwata Bowden and Edward Wilkerson, Jr. from Chicago; shamisen grandmaster Chizuru Kineya from Tokyo; from San Francisco saxophonist Francis Wong, hammered dulcimer plyer Yangqin Zhao,Melody Takata on taiko and trapset drummer Deszon X. Lenora Lee and Hien Huynh will present a dance. The rehearsals went well and there a couple of very good meals.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Asian Improv Nation Trip_Day 1

Right now I am in Redwood City, CA. On Sunday I will perform with an ensemble put together by Francis Wong for a program in the continuing celebration of Asian Improv's 30th anniversary. I drove up. I like the drive. Actually, it doesn't cost that much more to rent a car, plus gas than it does to fly. Especially when you count in that I'd have to rent a car once I got here anyway. Also, if I flew the tuba that I put in the trunk, the flight would actually be much more. 

These days, when I drive to the Bay Area, I take a scenic route up. It takes forever. Seven to eight hours. But it is beautiful. Much more hip than Highway 101 and in a totally different universe than Interstate 5. However, on the way back, I usually take the 5. For some reason, when it is time to come home, I really want to get home. Interstate 5 is the unbeatable expressway to SoCal from the north. This trip though, I'm taking the 101 back. I don't like driving the 101. Generally I find the drivers of that highway extremely reckless. I also have a problem with the physical aspects of the road. The lanes seem narrower? The asphalt not as rich and black? Something. It is hard to put my finger on. But I am on the 101 side of the bay. I don't feel like crossing over to get to the I-5.  If I take the 101, it means I can stop at Taco Temple in Morro Bay for lunch and revisit their sweet potato enchiladas. Or maybe I'll wait until I get to San Luis Obispo to stop at G. Brothers Smokehouse. I remember that they can serve up a tasty repast. A good variety of sauces. I could have the meal at the Temple and get the Que to go. So much food, so little space. 

Anyway, I want to give you my route heading north. You should give it a try sometime. I warn you though, don't do it unless your car is absolutely reliable. For half of this route, if you have trouble, there is no help. You might as well give up the ghost, because it is going to be you, the coyotes, bears and mountain lions. 

From Altadena: I-210 N > I-5 N > SR-166 W > SR-33 N > SR-25 (Airline Hwy) > Shore Rd E (in Hollister) > Frazier Lake Rd N > SR-152 W (Haunted Hwy) > US-101. From here it is B flat highway travel. 

I will add images from the route when I get back to Los Angeles. For now just a shot of lunch. Beef hot links that they make themselves at Carmen & Family BBQ in Hayward.