Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 11

Hardly Strictly Breakfast?[1]

What can you say about a 3-Day, 6-Stage, free music festival, but "Thank you, Rhinestone Jew-boy!"[2] Hardly Strictly Bluegrass[3] 11 took place again this weekend in Golden Gate Park. This is the 10th year in a row that I have attended this "only in San Francisco" freebie (Thanks, Warren! Thanks, Skip!). I know what a lot of you are thinking, "Ewww, Bluegrass music?! Were there a buncha toothless hillbillies on stage?"; well, unless some old Rock-and/or-Roller named Robert Plant (he used to play in some 70’s British pop group called the Graphite Dirigibles, which you may have heard about) is wearing dentures, you would be wrong. Hence the "Hardly Strictly" part of the festival name.

There were just me and about 99,999 other free-loading free music lovers. So what are the odds of running into someone that you know there, probably 100,000-to-one? (Hi, Tink!) Then what are the odds of running into the same person again, 200,000-to-one? (Hi again, Tink!!)

Last year I "wasted" eight hours on both Saturday and Sunday at the festival, so this year I limited myself to just four hours on Saturday (the laundry won't do itself on Sunday… will it?), but I still did get to see some classic music crammed into that time:

  • the Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore (I really liked the stuff he did with Pink Floyd). Jimmie Dale was once described as "a Texas whippoorwill tenor"; I think that about sums it up best. The Wronglers did a very nice version of the old Bluegrass/Blues/Rock-and/or-Roll classic "Frankie and Johnny".

  • Robyn Hitchcock: late of "… and the Egyptians". The way Robyn was babbling on and on on-stage I had to wonder if he is Russell Brand's dad.

  • Hugh Laurie: of "Black Adder" fame and some other TeeVee show currently playing on FOX (which is almost a real network). Hugh is actually a very talented musician (piano and guitar) and sounds a bit like a British Tom Waits when he sings; he plays/sings N'Orleans Jazz/Blues.

(I figured a two-fer was in order as the music videos are actually longer.)

  • The legen(wait for it…)dary Earl Scruggs; truly a legend in Bluegrass if there ever was one.
(You were expecting "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", perhaps?)

  • I also caught a little bit of Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard on my way out. There was just too much good music from which to chose and I tried to take in as much as I could in the little time I was there.

(Normally I would cringe whenever someone calls San Francisco "Frisco", but seeing as Merle is just about legend status himself ~ and he is of Okie descent, after all ~ I will let him slide this one time… but next time he will be on the "Fightin' Side of Me" for sure.)


So as to make this 'blog-entry somewhat food oriented here is some of the junk I had to eat and drink while I was there:

  • Crispy Mac & Cheese with a spicy dipping sauce from Andalu. Unlike most concession stands at these festivals, Andalu is an actual restaurant in San Francisco. I may have to check out their "Brunch", as the Crispy Mac & Cheese was one of the better festival foods I have had in a long time.
  • Roasted corn[4] on the cob, buttered, then sprinkled with some lemon-pepper and Cajun spices.
  • Athenian Pita ~ pita with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, Feta, garbanzo beans, and kidney beans, with Tzatziki[5] sauce (think a vegetarian Souvlaki Pita).
  • Samuel Adams® Octoberfest. I had brought this with me from home, I am not sure they actually sell Beer at the concession stands, but, even if they did, it probably would be overpriced and crap. In my opinion (and in my opinion, my opinion is all that really matters to me), this might be one of the best 'merican Beers available (even if it is only for a very short time each year).
  • ZICO® Coconut Water ~ Pineapple. Another drink I brought with me from home, it was just way cheaper than what they charge for bottled water.

One question that I have never had answered at live music events is just who is this guy "Chet" that the roadies are always asking about during sound checks?!

Free music is always good music and worth every penny!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass ~ 8.11; Crispy Mac & Cheese ~ 7.11; Roasted corn on the cob ~ 6.0; Athenian Pita ~ 6.8; Samuel Adams® Octoberfest ~ 7.8; ZICO® Coconut Water ~ 6.5

[1] As I stated in my very first 'blog-entry, anything goes: my 'blog, my 'rules.

[2] If you have a problem with that terrible anti-Semitic joke, take it up with Warren Hellman as it was his line about himself. 

[3] Bluegrass "the other white music". 

[4] That would be "maize" to you Britishlander types. Which brings us to the stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day :

The English word "maize" comes from the Spanish word "maís", which in turn comes from the Taino word "mahiz"; in German, it is "mais" ~ pronounced "mize", Johnny.

I told you that cunning linguist pointer in order to tell this cunning linguist anecdote (as related to me many years ago by my russkaya uchitel'nitza, Gospozha Valentina Drage):

When Mrs. Drage first came to 'merica (living in New York City) back in the 40's as a child (escaping from Communist Russia via a short stay in Germany), she knew very little English and only some basic German. Her mother sent her to the corner store to get some "Indian corn" as they had tried it once before in 'merica (it really wasn't available in Russia back then) and really liked it.
Not knowing the 'merican word for it, she asked the grocer for some "mais" (the German word she knew).

The grocer told her, "Sorry, little girl, but we don't sell any 'mice' here. This is a grocery store not a pet shop." But she was adamant and said that they had bought some before there. The befuddled grocer asked her, "What exactly do you do with the 'mice'?". She told him that they "boiled it, and buttered it, and ate it, and it was delicious". 

By now the grocer is thinking that these damn immigrants are crazy and will eat just about anything. Little Valentina then blurted out in Russian that she wanted some "
кукуруза" (pronounced "kukuruza"). The grocer happened to have been of Russian descent himself and said, "Oh, you want some 'corn'!"

[5] This is the real "food of the Gods", forget that
ἀμβροσία stuff.

1 comment:

  1. golly gee, I'm becoming quite a fixture in the blogosphere of breakfast goodness.