Posts Tagged ‘Mardi Gras’

Fish Circus

February 26, 2009

So last night was Mardi Gras. I planned on celebrating.

But where to go, what to do? I was not in New Orleans, nor in Buenos Aires or Venezia to properly celebrate Carnivale and all. I am firmly in Los Angeles at the present.

Thank god for myspace. I have linked myself to various local bars and bands that I like, and sure enough, one of my local bars invited me to come out for Mardi Gras to hear Fish Circus. Fish Circus? Never heard of them. But the R Bar, over in Koreatown, is definitely within walking distance, even with heels, for me. I previewed a few songs of Fish Circus, and decided they sounded fun and appropriate for Mardi Gras. Drum, bass, trombone, accordian, violin, vocalist and ocassional keyboard. Violin, accordian and trombone? Let us all eat King Cake!

As usual, I was far too early. But they still made me say the secret password to get in. The bartender and doorman were both outside for a smoke. The band was barely inside, just starting to get set up. It would be a while before they started playing, here it was nearly 9 pm and it looked like just me, the staff and the band were there. Maybe I would have a drink when the bartender returned.

The R Bar is a classic LA dive bar, the kind that is unmarked, anonymous and you have to be in the know about it to even know it is there. The doorkeep frequently stands inside, and looks through the peephole, but he does at least open and close the door for you, everytime. There is no velvet rope, there is no sign. You just gotta know. Probably the smokers clustered outside and the din of music from inside would be give aways, but I was inside, happily listening to the music, and so wouldn’t know.

I like the R Bar. It is dark and has private corners and various different areas. There are dim chandeliers everywhere, a CD jukebox, glassy surfaces that separate areas, but some are mirrors and some are glass to confuse, and there are drapes of fabric and wide planked wood floors, a granite countertop bar, and an old fashioned cash register. It strives to straddle a different time, a different era, perhaps a speakeasy. It is not as much of a dive bar as I had hoped, I realized when I got my bill. My amaretto sours were $8 each, I found. True dive bar would be cheaper than that, but considering every time I attend, I am listening to music I enjoy, I think they know their own value. In the dreamworld I spend time in, I can imagine the decor and arrangement of the R Bar lending itself just as easily to my nighttime hours only cafe, where bands and audiences come AFTER the bars have closed.

But anyway, the band. As they were setting up, I heard the drummer was recuperating from having had all four wisdom teeth removed, and was concerned about his swollen face. The vocalist was trying to deal with a stuffed up nose.  But one would never guess that either musician was under the weather. They played two sets, and once they added their vocalist, they really shined.

She is a true performer. Batting her super fake eyelashes, she squeaked and squealed, shook and shimmied, and straddled audience members at times. She could be a punk rocker, a hip hop artist, a belly dancer, a 1920s vixen or simply a singer in a band. Betty Boop came to mind, with her saucy minx ways. She had the moves and attitude of whomever she decided to channel for the moment. All my pictures with her in them were a blur. Then again, the violinist refused to hold still either. He performed the role of lead guitarist, complete with effects pedals. And we all know what a sucker I am for pedals, especially delay. Even the trombonist doubled doing scat lines and shouting angry lyrics at the growing crowd. At the end, the singer reminded the audience to buy their merchandise or else the trombonist would kill us. A plausible threat, I thought, as he was a sizeable man, not to be trifled with. And that trombone. Who knows what he would be willing to do with that!

I left before angry trombone attacks could happen, and happily walked home again, a little tipsy for my efforts of supporting the venue. All in all, an appropriate celebration to the spirit of Mardi Gras.

Fish Circus at R Bar

Fish Circus at R Bar


February 24, 2009

Tonight I go to see the Fish Circus. More on that next post, I suspect. boxViolet, whom I had been looking forward to seeing at their final February Tuesday night of residency at Mr. T’s Bowl, has apparently been pre-empted by a special Mardi Gras lineup. Oh well.

Happy Mardi Gras, one and all!

I have been celebrating Fat Tuesday in my own unique way by embracing my inner rebellious eight year old. Seeing as I was not a rebellious eight year old, that means I am really stretching my limits by eating only homemade brownies all day long. Take that! Oh, well, since I no longer live with my folks, and no roommates either, no one really notices or cares. Except me.

Perhaps it is the influence of the writing of Roald Dahl. You know, writer of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches, The BFG and many more, not all of which have been turned into films. I just finished reading Matilda. Perhaps that was where the thought of rebellion came from.

Reading children’s books at night is great fun. I can easily get through 3 or 4 complete children’s novels a night, and take the stack back to the library and get through another stack in a few days’ time. Feeling of accomplishment, “I read four books today,” etc., etc., in my dull, boring, trying not to spend any money on anything, sort of way. I wondered why I hadn’t read most of Mr. Dahl’s books, having been an avid reader as a child, and noticed that they had copyrights of the 1980s or so, when I had stopped reading the children’s books and had moved on to required readings, things like mouldering Herodotus and Thucydides, both of whom I remember placing under my pillow at college in the hopes I would absorb their writings through osmosis.

Note to self: really need to stop drinking coffee after 2 in the afternoon. The strong coffee I enjoy really does keep me up, heart racing and brain spinning even after lying down on the bed with the lights turned off. Oh well, turn the light back on, read another children’s book and look at that, it’s nearly 3 in the morning! Really no incentive to get up if still feeling tired, what’s another snooze…. Day’s half gone by the time I actually get out of bed. Then breakfast, shower, prepping for tutoring, and the day is definitely done by the end of the tutoring session. The setting sun agrees.