Monday, July 31, 2006

If Its Chow Time, Where's All the Food?

If you're going to have a huge event called the "Brady Street Artisan Food Festival" I should think there would be a ton of "artisan food" to actually EAT, no? There was a vendor or two who had some cheese, Yuppie Hill Poultry was there with their delicious free-range, organic offerings (including bratwurst, which they had cooked up for immediate consumption), and Eat Cake! with delicious lavender silk cake and a display of owner Debbie Pagel's amazing creations, but as far as food goes, that was it. There was a fashion show sponsored by Miss Groove, artisan food producers that they are (html help needed here, what are the tags for sarcasm?), and an antique ferris wheel that wasn't really running until well into the evening. But for something that had the phrase "food festival" in its title, the amount and variety of food offerings was disappointing to say the least. I'd have to say of all the booths there, only about 20% of them were food-related, and of those, only three had stuff ready to consume as you walked the festival. The Urban Ecology Center was there, well and good, and there was a SOAP vendor. You can hear Homer Simpson now: Mmmmmm, soap. The regular Brady Street restaurants had a few things going for festival walkers: Mimma's had some lovely rotisserie chickens roasting all day, and $6 for a quarter of one accompanied by some pasta salad and a hunk of corn was worth it. Peter Scortino and a few others had pizza by the slice, and there was nothing like a single crab rangoon for a buck from the chinese joint that hit the spot later in the evening. But still, this was the most dismal selection of food offerings I'd seen at any street festival this year, emphasized by the title of this particular theme.

Well, they could have had McDonalds' there with a booth and we would have gone anyway: the musical lineup was pretty darn good. We missed Kill Courtney, (no way were we taking kids on this stinking hot and humid day and expecting them to last into the evening) as well as the terrific rockabilly of the Uptown Savages. Got there just in time to see Dr Chow's Love Medicine, who played two sets in the sweltering heat, and lead singer Frank Chandik was bleeding for his art: he'd jumped off stage and hit his shin on the way back up. You could tell they were a little burnt out from the partying two nights before for the release of their CD, "Chow Time." We skipped the Etiquette -- I'm told they're good, straight up power pop punk, but we took the kids to the recently renovated Pulaski Park to get their ya-ya's out so we could settle back in around 9ish to see a Plasticland reunion show. Plasticland delivered: no "Go A Go-Go Time" but everything else, including "Sipping the Bitterness" and "Gloria Knight" and a particularly smokin' rendition of "Don't Antagonize Me." Glenn Rehse was in wonderful form -- he doesn't seem as bitter as in past reunion performances, and the only thing that suggests that John Frankovic might actually be aging is the color of his hair. He still jumps around the stage and plays the bass like a 20 something with nothing to do the next morning. Victor Demeichi still amazes me with his ability to get that big, huge precision sound of his drums while looking like he's just tapping something out with a pencil. And someday they'll all forgive Dan Mullen for his youthful guitar showboating and let him turn his amp back up so we can hear him be the wizard he always was. He just doesn't get that opportunity playing with Mark Shurilla all that much. Overall, they were only given an hour to play, and they made the absolute most of it.

Stella made a breakthrough. She usually gets bent out of shape when going to see live bands at festivals because "its too loud", but this year, I was looking for her, worried she was lost in the crowd since daddy was up near the stage, but there she was, right next to daddy, right next to the PA! I saw him move her over so she didn't get totally blasted, but she was right in the front, checking out her friend Miles and Chloe's Dad's band, and liking them. That's my girl!

No comments: