Sunday I had an appointment with nine poets at Luna, a jazz club on San Pedro. It's that stretch of San Pedro a bit further north than I care to go — not too far inside the highway 410 loop.
The rains had been hammering down for some time. And even though the skies were clear and sunny, the roads around the iconic Rollercade (where the Alamo City Roller Girls call home) were impressive rivers. The obvious run-off from the Olmos Basin. Sometimes it's good to own a truck.
Luna is in a fairly new strip shopping mall. But inside it possess a definite charm. Low lights, muted reds, tables with comfy chairs, and, on the walls, huge reproductions of classic Blue Note albums from an era of timeless bebop. I got there about thirty minutes before the show began, but there was already a good amount of people milling about. I set my camera on a tripod near the stage. I used a wireless lavaliere microphone to pull audio off the soundboard. I left the microphone itself in my audio case, and placed the transmitter box on a shelf beside the soundboard. It uses a mini plug, but I added a 1/4 inch adapter and tied in to the main line out. I rigged the receiver box onto my camera and plugged it into my microphone input. Checked it all with my headphones. Not bad — for a pro bono gig.
Nora, the owners' mother, was buzzing about. She was our MC. Her sons were playing with the house band, Azul. They're a trio, sometimes a quartet. And tonight, a quintet. An accordion player from the band Bombasta, and an upright bass player displaced from New Orleans, were sitting in. But the center of attention is, of course, Azul. A beautiful young singer. She also plays guitar. The music is a deep, aching post-modern Cumbia. Somewhere between Calexico and Lila Downs. Every Wednesday Azul plays Luna. Check it out. Definitely the good stuff.
I think I'll post some of the poets' works a bit at a time. I want to get their permission first.
The first I'm sticking on the web is Eduardo Garza. He's something of a local legend. Actor, musician, poet, and etc. He did a piece titled, I believe, “Earthling.” He had the band come up and accompany him. It reminding me of some wonderful melange of Alice Coltrane, Gil Scott-Heron, and Los Lobos at their most sedate.
The whole show was a perfect balance of music and poetry.
After I packed up, I headed to San Pedro Park. Christy Walsh was holding her second monthly traveling Dada food-related event. A Dada Picnic … with bad badminton playing, selective readings from the San Antonio telephone book, and discordant sandwiches.
I knew I would be too late for most of the festivities, but I hoped to at least bat (badly) at a shuttlecock. No such luck. Adelle had already packed up her badminton set. And the handful of remaining folk were about to head out to get dinner (the sandwiches — no surprise there — failed to assuage any normal appetite). I helped load some items into Christy's car, but didn't feel like joining them at the Cove. I'd already spent enough time among people.