I like it when people get together to share a table, I really do. For years, though, I struggled with Thanksgiving and not just because of the whitewashed history of the holiday. In 1999, when I was 17, my mother died on Thanksgiving night, having succumbed to the cancer that had been eating her away for a year and a half. We were very close, sometimes I think we still are, in those cold and lonely moments late at night when I stare at the ceiling and consider the movements of my own life. Sometimes I'll see a lovely flower and think of putting it in her hair. I was her firstborn, and there was a secret language between us, and us only. I still feel the pain of its extinction. So, yeah. I don't like Thanksgiving too much. But I am still thankful for a great many things, for my beloved friends and family, some of whom I have the priceless good fortune to share a table with this Thursday. I have learned to be thankful for grief and heartbreak, because in their pain I am reminded I have a great capacity for love, which is a blessing. I am thankful for the vast majority of humanity, who wake up every day and do what they think is best, from the few who sacrifice everything in the hopes of building a better and more just world, to the many who just keep on keeping on, day to day. I am rereading Moby Dick and so I am daily thankful for the vast world of brilliant literature living in the eternal liturgy of our collective human experience. I am thankful for music and for the way it moves me unlike anything else in the world. My happiest experiences have always happened on one side of the stage or the other. I am happy for the edges of the day, lit up with a fiery glory beyond my vocabulary to sufficiently praise. I revel in the night and for the opportunity to walk through it and feel its subtle wonders. I am so thankful for this chaotic and messy life, in which I am constantly amazed by the beauty of its creatures. And finally, I am so very thankful for you, dear reader. It has been a rare joy to talk to you weekly and I thank you for sitting through my bouts of feisty and obnoxious banter, and still coming back for more. From the bottom of my heart, take care of each other.
It's a Black Friday tradition among certain lefties to sit out this monstrous bacchanal of capital by not spending any money. And while I understand that urge, I also have a belief that where you spend your cash is what matters. I would have been dropping mine ($5), at the door of Synapsis at 7 p.m., for the all-ages Goth Night curated by DJs DastBunny, Zero One and Vulvadon. Unfortunately, the event has been cancelled. Thankfully, I have another option, and will consider checking out the Logger Bar tonight at 9 p.m. where folky pop and rock act Wild Abandon are putting on a free one.
Jamaica's legendary albino emcee and toaster King Yellowman will be posting up at the Arcata Theatre Lounge tonight at 7 p.m. His appearance altered by jaw cancer surgery, Yellowman still cuts a truly unique figure among the few living veterans of the island's OG dancehall scene. Expect catchy hooks and ribald lyrics about everyone's favorite bedroom activity second to sleep ($20).
It's your last chance to head off to see the Wizard. Which wizard? Why the wonderful Wizard of Oz. I once read that L. Frank Baum's masterpiece is unique among fantasy works because while there are plenty of women in positions of power, (including some rather famous witches named for the cardinal directions), there is no patriarchal figure, the titular wizard himself being a conman. This is likely due to the influence of his mother-in-law, the feminist author and activist Matilda Joslyn Gage. Anyway, food for thought if you choose to attend either the matinee (2 p.m.) or evening showing (7 p.m.) of the musical at the Arkley Theatre for the Performing Arts. ($19-$42, $17 for children 12 and under).
Tucson, Arizona's Lenguas Largas is an experimental, art-rock garage band with a custom sound that mixes electronic flourishes with DIY, lo-fi production, jangly guitars and sing-song vocal harmonies. Kind of a cool trick, actually. You can catch these desert creatures over at the Siren's Song Tavern tonight at 8 p.m. As I have no idea what the cover charge is, bring some cash.
Indie rock star Doug Martsch is bringing his influential band Built to Spill to Arcata tonight, for an 8 p.m. gig at the Arcata Theatre Lounge ($34). Having remained consistently popular both live and in the studio for the better part of three decades, there's a better-than-decent chance the band's gig tonight will sell out, so snag those tickets soon. I believe this is Spill's first tour since the pandemic, so demand will likely be high.
Multi-instrumentalist Grahame Lesh, son of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, has become a dependable figure in the Dead-adjacent jam scene. Tonight at Humbrews, you can catch Midnight North, the band he fronts, as the group supports its newest release, There's Always a Story to Tell. Along for the ride is RIVVRS, whose sound falls squarely into the indie folk genre. 8 p.m. ($20, $18).
Collin Yeo (he/him) wishes that all of you hurting out there find the right conduit to shift the pain. He lives in Arcata.