Monday, September 8, 2008


One more "Family" vacation awaited us in August, but first here's a look at some interim adventures . . .
In May Marti & I went to see Shotgun Willie at the Grand Rex. The old boy was in great form. Afterward I got to speak briefly with Willie's harmonica player Mickey Raphael. He noted that I was wearing my cool SXSW teeshirt (sent by our Austin TX pals Trish & Ben). "I have that same shirt!" Mickey exclaimed. Yeah, that makes two of us who are stylin'.

After the concert we went to the opening of Le Signal, our friend Philippe's (of l'Angle) new place. Looks good.

Marti continued giving sewing lessons to Sandra. She was an excellent student, chose a difficult first project (a pleated skirt) & succeeded admirably.

A sad farewell in the rain to our buds Des & Mike. They are, however, now in Los Angeles. Yet another reason for Marti & me to hit the Left Coast again.

In early June my friend John Sinclair gave a performance of poetry & blues at Point Ephémère. It was a super opportunity for Marti to meet him & check out his trip.

Along with our friend Rick, we enjoyed a world class hang with John at a nearby bar after his gig. John & I dig swapping rock 'n roll war stories. I'm working on a project for his Radio Free Amsterdam web station.

The next afternoon Rick & I went to see a screening of the bootleg film MC 5 A True Testimonial, which featured the young John Sinclair & his radical rock charges. A nostalgic bit of time travel for me. "Kick out the jams, motherfuckers!"

Rick & I jumped in a cab & went to join Marti at the Grand Palais, where Philip Glass gave a free concert of solo piano in conjuction with his longtime friend Richard Serra's massive sculpture installation Monumenta. Breathtaking.

A few days later Marti & I went to Bercy to see Manu Chao. I love his multilingual political world rock & reggae.

The next weekend we hooked up with our friends Sarah & Paul for dinner at La Boissonerie (Fish). It's always fun to go out with these two. Last year we helped Paul engineer a surprise birthday party for Sarah at l'Angle.

Me & Paul.

Afterward we strolled over to the Café Laurent, where vocalist-sax man Larry Browne was sitting in with Christian Brenner's trio. Nice.

The following weekend we rendezvoused with our friend Marco, a Florida-based university professor, for an evening of Cuban food & live music at Habana Jazz.

Habana Jazz is fast becoming our favorite club in Paris. Our friend Jorge turned us on to it a few years ago; now Marti & I are treated like VIPs whenever we visit.

Back to La Boissonerie (Fish) the next weekend, this time with (l to r) Anne, Sandra, our Scottish pal Sarah, Caroline, Nada & Mike. A good group.

Back as well to our go-to live music option on the Left Bank, Christian Brenner's residency at the Café Laurent. This time our friend Kirk Yano, tour director for jazz guitarist Pat Martino, turned up. He had Scott Robinson, Pat's drummer, in tow.

To the delight of our krew, Scott sat in with Christian's quartet that evening.

Then Kirk, an accomplished guitarist in his own right, contributed a few blues licks. A groovy night on the town.

Next day, at the band's invitation, I rode out in the van with Kirk & the Pat Martino Quartet to the Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois-sur-Seine.

They sounded great; the crowd loved them. Pianist Rick Germanson gave me his digicam to take a few pics while they were playing. Before & after Pat's set I hung around backstage.

Pat gives a backstage interview.

Pat Martino. I love his tone & taste. When we got back to town, Marti joined me, Kirk, Pat & the group for dinner at Montparnasse 1900. Capped off a memorable weekend.

On July 4 Marti & I flew to Madrid to catch the Goya In Times Of War exhibition at the Prado.

My bride was thrilled to find the original sketch for her Contra El Bien General print.

Contra El Bien General.

The focal point of the show was the side-by-side presentation of the restored 2nd Of May & 3rd Of May canvases. Amazing.

Once we left the museum, Marti & I grabbed a table in the shade nearby in the garden of the Ritz. We ordered cavas & chilled like rock stars.

That evening we went to dinner at La Bola, a restaurant recommended by our pal Rachel, who performs her Anti-Karaoke show regularly in Madrid.

The attraction here was Cocido Madrileño, a personal favorite of mine. It's a traditional stew chock full of meats & chickpeas. Yum.

The next morning we cabbed to the Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida, the church where Goya is entombed.

In 1798 Goya painted the frescoes which decorate the ceilings of the chapel; they are outstanding masterpieces.

We had lunch across the street at Casa Mingo.

Colonel Sanders, move over. The Mingo is known internationally for its superb rotisserie chicken.

Marti & I did some shopping in the late afternoon. Madrid was gearing up for its Gay Pride Parade, one of the largest in Europe. But we were headed for the airport & our flight back to the City of Light.

A few days later, Marti had a business dinner, so I texted my gal pal Myra to see if she'd come along with me to My Morning Jacket's gig at Trabendo. We rendezvoused at our usual spot, the Rival Deluxe in the Avenue Matignon, then cabbed across town to the club. We ran into my pal Rick at the show. Happily, the venue wasn't packed, so we got up near the stage to check out Jim James & his terrific band. Myra & I had dinner afterward at Le Boeuf Couronné, one of this town's wonderful old brasseries. Always a fun goofy night with Myra.

The next weekend Marti & I trained up to Amsterdam to attend the Leonard Cohen concert with our longtime buds Caroline & JimmyMack.

The show was killer. Leonard always has topnotch musicians & backing singers. He sang a number of more recent compositions, many written & performed on this evening with his talented collaborator Sharon Robinson. Early in the set Leonard kicked down Marti's favorite: "Ain't No Cure For Love."

I've got you like a habit
And I'll never get enough
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure,
There ain't no cure for love

True dat.


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