Angelica and I went out to The Mission last night for the Dia de los Muertos celebration. We didn’t make it last year, but compared to 2009 it seemed like the procession was smaller, even if there were still about a bajillion people out in various states of costume and makeup, some of it very impressive and well-done.
Day of the Dead isn’t just about goth kids having an excuse to wear makeup (like they need one) or the Burning Man crowd building stuff for the procession—although there’s usually plenty of both. It’s a very significant cultural/spiritual event with real meaning for the organizers and participants. (I know, way to go Captain Understatement!) The altars in the park were striking as always and aside from the Steve Jobs and Dio altars, they all appeared to be very personal and emotional affairs. One woman had built an altar for her husband (I think) and was there telling folks about how awesome he was in an almost joyful way. Very touching and cool.
I’m not very good at taking photos at night, but here are a few that turned out. Maybe my resolution for 2012 should be learn to take photos for realsies.
I decided to try taking videos with my point ‘n’ shoot camera*, and they actually turned out kinda cool so I posted them on the YouTubes. Here’s one of huge glowing jellyfish dancing down the street.
And one of some super cool dancing and drumming. The jellyfish show up in this one too – they’re hard to miss.
*In case you’re wondering, my camera is a Panasonic Lumix, the discontinued DMC-FS15. I’ve been super happy with it: it was cheap, takes good photos in my spite of my total lack of technique (almost all the photos here were taken with it) and the battery lasts forever.
One of my amazing colleagues at ROI DNA, Mark Chasse, recently introduced me to Red Fang by sending me a link to the video for “Wires.”
First, I really dig this band – I downloaded the album (yes, album) “Murder The Mountains” almost immediately and have been bobbing my head to it quite a bit during my walk to work. Red Fang sounds to me like (stealing a bit from Blaine Cartwright here) Fu Manchu making out with Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden while Black Sabbath watches. Maybe Helmet shows up later to get in on the fun.
OK, never mind the crazy-ridiculous attempts at describing Red Fang’s sound. I like it. A lot.
I gave up on music videos about the same time music videos started existing. It’s true that videos can occasionally add something that the song cant’ do on its own, but I think that videos are mostly just really bad marketing of really bad bands. I go out of my way to avoid them, as I do with most things that I find to be offensively stupid.
The gentlemen in Red Fang, however, make some awesome videos. Rockin’, fun, and hilarious – right up my alley. Check out “Wires” and “Prehistoric Dog” below.
Before I rock ‘n’ roll saved my soul – in the form of punk and metal – the only music I knew was old country. (Well, country and church hymns, but that’s another story for another time.) My parents listened to a lot of good old country music: Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, George Jones – lots of good stuff.
In my early teens, I rejected this music, but slowly returned to it as I overcame my knee-jerk, anti-“my parents’ music” mentality. It helped that some of my punk rock idols were clearly influenced by country music, from early honky tonk to later outlaw tunes. Later on, as my taste in music progressed beyond “louder, faster, more” I couldn’t get these old songs out of my head.
Anyway, I found this video on the YouTube tonight: Johnny Paycheck playing “The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised” at Chillicothe Prison in Ohio in 1993, post prison time and “Johnny Bankrupt.” He’s introduced by none other than Merle Haggard. Paycheck and the band are really cookin’ – it’s magical.