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River Man



Aldous Huxley had a regular column in Esquire Magazine in the mid-1950s where he once observed, "The most distressing thing that can happen to a prophet is to be proved wrong; the next most distressing thing is to be proved right." He was revisiting the legacy of his novel A Brave New World during the oozing aftermath of the McCarthy era and the emerging age of the Beats. A pivotal influence on our most secular century, the 20th, Huxley wasn't a prophet in the biblical sense but he was tuned-in, and it's worth noting that he succumbed to his cancer — fortified with injections of LSD — on the same day that John F. Kennedy and C.S. Lewis also died. I don't know what any of that means cosmically, but I'm using it as a tool to say my own thinking has changed. I now accept a confluence between the spiritual and the material that exists like a river that disappears underground. I don't need to figure out its unknown destination, hearing the flow is good enough for now.

Float on.


The Basement is once again the place to be when it comes to pre-gaming for the coming end of the work week. Tonight, the doors open at 7 p.m., and sometime after that you will find a performance by one of our county's more unique and industrious gigging acts, the Blueberry Hill Boogie Band. If you know, you know, and if you don't, this one's free to get in.


The Outer Space is throwing a show tonight at 8 p.m., headlined by a new favorite band of mine, the funk and dance, honkin' squawkers Hermit Crab. Also on the bill are spoken word artist Dylan Collins, dark folk act Tsunga and a performance art/electro drone group called KMRO, which stands for "Karma Means Revolutionary Overthrow." And while that declaration seems to me to be wallowing in the contradictions of spiritual materialism more than moving in action based on dialectical historical measures, I'm willing to keep an open mind if you are. Entrance to this all-ages, sober space show is $5-$20 but nobody will be told to scatter because of a lack of cash-ola.


Every so often I get to hop up on the table and cause a little ruckus by kicking off the cutlery and breaking some dinnerware in the service of crowing about a can't-miss, great show put on by artists from the misty lost days in my old home of New Orleans. Tonight is just such a hoedown, because one of the most strange and fantastic duos from the 504 are playing in the 707. I am, of course, talking about the Quintron and Miss Pussycat show at the Miniplex at 9 p.m. ($20, $15). Come hear Q's homemade drum machines and bespoke electronic Wurlitzer warlock whirlpools of glorious sound spun around the supernatural puppetry theatrics of Miss P. Delightful nighttime antics spin and crackle in my cherished memories from the Spellcaster Lodge, pre-Katrina times of my wild youth. These two are living treasures of the world, and their place in the epicenter home of the greats of my favorite city in the universe is as certain as the restless weight of the Mississippi River. Stop reading this babble and go see them!


The Shanty knows about putting on great shows largely because the good people there don't have to, it is secondary to the function of the place as one of the best bars in California (I'm dead serious). So when there is a show happening, it's done for all the right reasons, without the desperation of a venue undercutting the fun. Bartender Nick Nava is celebrating his 55th with a barbecue and metal show, and he wants me to tell you all about it, which I am thrilled to do. San Francisco thrashers Molten, featuring long time bay-bay scene regular, guitarist Chris Corona, will be shredding the stage with local pit warriors Death Doula. It's a bar-time matinee with a 4 p.m. start and no cover needed to get in on the fun. Just do me a favor: Make the birthday boy feel like a king for the day and give the musicians as good as they give back. Fun, fun, fun.


With so much else going on this week, I think I'll pause the show to celebrate the music of another star who departed last year. Jean Knight was a soul and R&B singer whose big voice and bold phrasing belied her humble Catholic upbringing in New Orleans. If you have heard her sing — and you have very probably heard her sing — it was on the 1971 Stax Records smash hit "Mr. Big Stuff," sourced from the album of the same name. That record is a great starting point for the uninitiated, and its strutting declaration of empowered lady funk is a fine place to pull up a quick sidebar about the keys-player and producer. Wardell Quezergue was one of the great geniuses of the Crescent City, a fellow whose ability to translate the vastness of NOLA's musical forms into his own effortless language is comparable to what Shakespeare did with Elizabethan English. Known by many as "the Creole Beethoven," Quezergue produced and played funk, jazz, R&B with the casual ease of a master. He wrote orchestral music, too, true to his own birthright. If you can find a copy of his A Creole Mass, you will hear localized religious devotion in the same vibe as Athena was revered in ancient Athens.


At 8 p.m. this evening at the Miniplex, a very interesting and talented experimental instrumental trio will be playing on the screen-backed stage. Guitarist Bill Orcutt, saxophonist and composer Zoh Amba and drummer Chris Corsano are the members. They each contain enough brilliance to be memorialized forever on one of those music recordings we throw into the goodie bag on a deep space probe destined for a Hail Mary trajectory into the eternal vacuum in search of intelligent life beyond the beyond. Together, they made an album from a session last summer called The Flower School that is quite a thing. The $25 at the door ($20 in advance) is really nothing to pay to be put in a place between madness, trance and ecstasy.

Wednesday, Juneteenth

RampArt Skatepark is holding a hip hop show tonight at 8 p.m. hosted by local artist Attribute and the lineup looks like it's well worth a midweek getdown. Top of the roster is Krayzie Bone, a key player and founding member of seminal '90s hip hop mavericks Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, as well as affiliated rapper "Big" Sloan Bone and Bone Thugs official DJ Pozition. Also on the bill is special guest Emcee Radio Active, as well as Kemistree, DJ L Boogie, All'Love Aundrea and Mona Loki. Door tickets are $25, and for $10 more you can get a VIP upgrade that includes drink tickets and choice seating. Food will be sold — I have heard barbecue — and there will also be a full bar. If you have it in you for a Juneteenth hip hop celebration of Hump Day, this is the spot.

Collin Yeo (he/him) is basically saying he'll be more annoying about topics other than politics. He lives in Arcata.

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