"You Up for a Road Trip?" Now What Do You Think?

Mid-morning yesterday, my friend Pat called and said, “Did you check Facebook?”  I hadn’t, since I had just gotten out of bed.  His phone (and Facebook) message were quite welcome: He was going to see Adrian Belew at the Fairfield Community Arts Center, on the outskirts of Cincinnati.  Did I want to come?

Naturally, the answer was yes.  I am always up for a road trip, and I had never seen Belew in concert before.  (I had many chances when I lived in Cincinnati.  I lived less than three blocks from a bar/jazz club named Cory’s (now the Mad Frog), and Belew’s name was frequently on the marquee, along with local jazz and blues legends H-Bomb Ferguson, Pigmeat Jarrett, and the Warsaw Falcons.  I never made it to a performance there, except one Christmas Eve I went to see Pigmeat Jarrett (a pianist who had performed with Duke Ellington) in concert, and enjoyed it quite a bit.

The setting for last night’s performance was much more genteel and sleek than Cory’s (George Thorogood filmed the “I Drink Alone” video at Cory’s in the 1980s).  The event was a fundraiser for Sojourner Recovery Services, an agency that helps individuals and families with substance abuse issues (which made me wonder why they had a cash bar at intermission), and there was a long table with Belew-autographed items (guitars, record albums, etc.).  The Fairfield Community Arts Center is a new building, and the interior is almost immaculate.

Fairfield Community Center
There were two events last night, and it was easy to tell who was there for which.  Besides Belew, there was a Mother-Son Dance.  (The whole idea just made me shudder, the same way listening to Donny and Marie Osmond sing love duets used to.)  The information on the City of Fairfield’s Website said it was for “moms, aunts, grandmothers, and caregivers” to “enjoy a special evening with their little boy (ages 3-15).”  There was a ’50s sock hop theme.  (I wondered if there would be a showing of Douglas Campbell in Oedipus Rex at midnight.)

It would be a little misleading to say that Adrian Belew performed solo last night.  He’s fully at home in the 21st century, running his guitar through an iBook and his main backup was a Tenori-on, an electronic musical and composing instrument from Yamaha.  He encouraged give-and-take with the audience.  Many people asked him about his work with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and King Crimson.

Adrian Belew and me, Fairfield, Ohio

I spoke with him briefly after the concert, and told him that I will always regret never seeing him during my Cincinnati years (although I was guilty with an excuse: I worked third shift much of the time).  During the show, he wore a high school band leader’s cap to hide his balding pate.  Belew laughed heartedly when and I suggested afterwards that H-Bomb Ferguson should have bequeathed his wig collection to him when he died.

This is a picture of H-Bomb Ferguson
in one of his more conservative wigs.

I was glad that Pat invited me.  He was the person who introduced me to the music of Allan Holdsworth (whom we’ve now seen twice, in Columbus and Cleveland).
I nodded off a few times on the trip down I-71.  My sleep cycle has been seriously disrupted because of a faux pas I made the other day.  I am almost always in a hurry to get out the front door in the morning to catch my bus to work.  I grabbed the morning medications and put them in the breast pocket of my shirt as I was running out the door, intending to take them once I got to work.  I forgot them.
Come evening, I felt the meds in my pocket and decided I’d better take them.  The problem is, one of them was Nuvigil, which I take to enhance alertness.  (It is not a stimulant, the way caffeine is.  Steph and I were both worried that it would trigger mania in me, but that hasn’t happened.)
So, I took Nuvigil in the evening, and my sleep was very minimal.  I meant to go to church this morning, but I didn’t even get out of bed until 2 in the afternoon.
Driving down I-71, once we went past Wilmington, both of us were glancing to our left, to the northbound part of the interstate.  We wanted to see if a certain property (which we call Triple-K Ranch), was still there.  In the many trips back and forth between Columbus and Cincinnati I’ve made in the last 25 years, my stomach turned whenever I drove past a property in Warren County.  Its most prominent feature was a Confederate flag painted on its roof, along with a big wooden cross in the yard facing the highway.
We went by, and saw that the cross was still there, as was a flagpole with a flag so shabby we couldn’t tell what it had been–American, Confederate, or some neo-Nazi banner.  What we did notice was that the barn was gone.  We don’t know what happened to it, but it was gone.  And good riddance to it.  [CORRECTION, 5/9/10: The barn is still there.  Several outbuildings hid it from Pat’s and my sights when we were en route south on I-71.]
This guy is too left-wing for the Tea Party crowd,
so Glenn Beck hasn’t been spotted here.

I am logging off and headed to bed.  I took medication before I sat down to finish this entry (I typed some of it before Susie and I went to see Death at a Funeral, and I resumed later on).  I definitely did not take Nuvigil just now–quite the opposite.
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