Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jingling Bojangles; Hot Dam Band; Stolen images; Walking sticks; Handwriting, unpopular pencil sharpener

Attn:  Leland and Erin

Today, 7-12-12, I finally repaired your toy drum-tambourine.
I know it's taken me a while,
but here's how it happened, at last:

I have been thinking maybe the missing jinglers
would turn up, maybe down at church
in the lost and found.

that's the

The instrument, purchased years ago
at Plowshares, originally
 had only three sets of jinglers

from the get-go
and being down one pair
rendered the percussion-picce

33 percent muted
but kids in Sunday School
'enactments' over the years

in addition to your own
 heavy playing -
 everybody kept shaking it

in time to the music that
you kids heard
regardless of the partial mutering.

TODAY, years later,
the toy has been gathering dust
unused in a basket in the corner

I rinsed it off before
I did the dishes
and took two fifty cent pieces

from the wooden turtle
where they've been saved-up, and
saw that they fit the wooden opening,

drilled tiny holes
- one each -
and fastened the coins

by a piece of copper wire
material usually reserved for
my bookmark business and

glued each end of the wire
with Gorilla Glue (Reg.);
 now the next time

you come home
you can play it
                              again, full-force!

Something accomplished
like this might just
enhance our chances

of seeing you again,
but if not, the tambourine
has taken on added value.


On that musical note,

last Saturday we happened upon this new orchestral group
at the Waukesha Farmers Market.

It is called the

We tarried a long while to listen to their (free) lovely and hot renditions, and the number we loved the most of a long string of pleasing tunes was old favorite, Caravan, featuring Maddie Dietrich on Mandolin solos.  An open guitar case accepted free will offerings.

Look for the Hot Dam Band again at an undetermined date in their assigned slot adjacent to the Waukesha Civic Theatre, formerly the Pix.  Their presence at the farmers market was arranged by the Civic to increase the theatre's presence at the teeming market venue.

We were frankly deeply moved by this band.  We have told a number of friends about it and many are waiting to hear when it will be at the market next.

Notes on the band sent to the SRN by Fred Pike:

"Brief history of the band: I've known of Jay Kummer for years, as we are both active pit musicians, but had not met him until Spring of 2011 when we did a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" together.  Since then we've done about five or six other shows together.

Maddie moved to Milwaukee a couple of years ago for graduate studies at UW-M.  She got my name from a mutual acquaintance and sent me an e-mail introducing herself, saying she was looking for musical gigs and had also done a lot of pit work.  We e-mailed back and forth a few times, and I was impressed with her musical background and figured I'd be able to send  some gigs her way at some point.

I was briefly in a rock band last year with Brian Carter, who is our percussionist and who played drums for that band.

Last April I was asked to put the pit band together for AIDA at Shorewood HS.  Among the 14 people I hired were Jay, Maddie, and Brian.

Shortly after that, Katie Danner from Waukesha Civic Theater sent out an e-mail request to friends of WCT asking if anybody would be interested to help spread WCT's name at the Waukesha Farmer's Market.  I'd been thinking it would be fun to get together with Maddie, Jay, and Brian.  I realized that actually having a gig would be a way to force us to get together.  So I told Katie we'd be interested and we did our first gig on June 2, with about one hour of music (and one practice).

We had so much fun at that first gig that we decided to do it some more.  That first gig was just Maddie, Jay, and me, but Brian joined us at our second gig at WFF, on June 16.

As it turned out, we all share a lot of similar musical interests / background: jazz, western swing, gypsy jazz, dawg music, blues.  It's also a lot of fun that we're all multi-instrumentalists, so we have quite a range of timbres to play with on the different songs.

And there you have it!  My first love is playing in the pit, but this band is a hoot and I hope we keep it going for a long time.  Earlier this year I played guitar / banjolele for "To Kill a Mockingbird" at Milwaukee Rep, and that was a life-changing experience, but I think this band may be similar!

In the meantime, Jay and I are playing for DSHA's summer community musical, "High School Musical - the spoof" this coming weekend.  And then Jay, Maddie, and I are in Greendale's AIDA, which I know will be a superior show.  They always do a great job., July 19,20,21, 26, 27, 28; all shows at 7:30pm


Obviously, these are experienced musicians with established musical track records.  As a newly-formed group, they have a nymph-stage website started:

 (No CDs cut by Hot Dam yet....)

Mandolinist Maddie was under some duress in the first set which we stood by and watched..  We were there as they tuned up and then began to play.

Maddie was swabbing her face and nose with a towel.  It was hot, and we thought heat reaction might be part of the act.  Fred Pike, soul man and guitarist, checked on her frequently via concerned glances but she kept nodding that she was OK. The show went on.

Then we noticed the band was set up right next to a flower bed of tiger lilies.  Maddie's nose was practically amidst all that pollen.  Was she bothered by that, we wondered?

In later Email correspondence with Fred - their E address was posted on an overhead awning post -  we learned that Maddie was just plain over-heated with the weather. It did not deter her or the band one bit, though!  They played hot.  The drummer plays fast brushes on a wooden box.

We will get advance notice of their next appearance at the farmers market and post the date in the Raccoon.

(Note:  Unfortunately the only camera we had with us at the farmers market that day was our inexpensive Lower Crustacean cell phone camera.  Hence the quality of these two Hot Dam Band photos is therfore less than we'd wish.  Next time they appear we will have our LVD II Memorial P-6000 Nikon along.  Better pictures are ahead!)

Our old 1920s Roy Smeck Vita Uke,
and our new Fathers Day Steaming Cup
mug hang side-by-side.

"The Cup" has gotten to be a regular place for us.
And now owner Kerry McKay has stolen our likeness for his denizenry wall.
It is fair play, for we have had him in this organ a couple of times
without any particular permission.

Presumed friendliness prevails in well-policed downtown Waukesha.

This picture was taken as Kerry snuck up on us outside the Cup, shot and ran during a Friday Night Live fandango.  The hat is courtesy of our dad, once a trombonist and high school band teacher in Sun Prairie, WI.

See Raccoon for other history of Les Dix, search 'Leslie Dix' in the SRN search window and see what you get.
Among many things, you will get this: ALL THINGS ARE CONNECTED......


Walking stick collection

Sticks stand at the ready against a wall at the Odd Fellows hall.

This one was a small tree that was growing at 90 degrees out of the eroding surf-line north of MIlwaukee.  We rescued it before it was dislodged and floated out into the sea of Lake Michigan.  It was about to go down and out.

Imperfectly eschewing 'down and out', we dislodged it with our folding boy scout saw and brought it home to Waukesha.  After it dried out, we removed the dirt and roots from the ball - now the head of the walking stick -  and with a small belt-sander partially smoothed off, evened-out, the rough jaggedness.

A small compass was set in the top which can be seen in the photo.

The paint job took some time.

This stick could be a formidable club when carried like a shillelagh.  Most suitable for late nigh strolls within our circumscribed commercial radius.
From the Writers almanac

Handwriting Analysis

On the first day of fourth grade, Mrs. Hunter
collected our penmanship samples to save

until June; by then, she said, we'd write
in the handwriting we would have all our lives.

Though she probably read that in a book
on child development, I was so excited

I could hardly stand it. In nine months
my adult self would be born, she would

send me a letter; in the ways she swooped,
careened, and crossed her t's, I could

read everything I would need to know.
We were writing ourselves into the future.

We came closer each time we turned
the silver gears in the sharpener near the door,

the wood shavings tumbling inside,
smelling as if a house were being built.


"Handwriting Analysis" by Katrina Vandenberg,
from The Alphabet Not Unlike the World. © Milkweed Editions, 2012

A patent-pending Oct. 15, 1907 
U.S. Automatic Pencil Sharpener
never popular, never captured consumers
now housed at the Odd Fellows hall
 works fine