Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Catching up in the lull of the afternoon


john sings
Originally uploaded by V'ron
Right now, as you can tell from the timestamp, its that part of Christmas day when the presents have been opened, we're all coming down from the initial high of the day, and it's not quite time to set out to our friend's house for her annual evening Christmas party. So here I am, remembering that amidst all the hubbub, I have a blog to maintain!

Saturday night we hit that Bucks game, and it was a good game to hit. Maybe the "60's Night" love an peace aura wa about, because it was good vibes all around. T-Shirt Guy had his order in to Santa, and enough of the Bucks, including Yi and Redd had the good humor to pose as they would have looked in the late 60s for their introductory shots.

We got there early enough to catch the Small Fries Game, from Riverdale School, and these kids could play. Not the greatest shooters, but there was one kid on defense that made up for it -- lots of hustle. The game almost ended in a tie, but a buzzer beating basket (well, if this was the NBA it wouldnt have counted) broke the tie, to cheers from the crowd. Then the anthem -- given to us by the Park Hills High School Choir. It was OK. Thing is, this is a high school. You'd think by high school some of the kids would have developed bass and soprano pipes, but either there are only altos and tenors in the PHHS Choir, or their music teacher didn't score their soprano or bass parts, because I only heard a mid-range, two-part harmony there. If you're only going to do that, you're a chorUS, not a choIR. I know, I'm getting nit-picky here, but when somebody says "choir" I expect 4 part classically trained harmonies.

Anyway, the game! Good Christmas gift to the fans -- and Yi is on fire, hitting almost all his shots and just being there where he needed to be. Michael Redd seemed a bit tired tonight, and Bogut is out there, because he has things to prove. Yi is definitely stealing his thunder and he's got to get it back. This is good to see.

The "60s'" entertainment at halftime was Chubby Checker. OK, Checker is actually early 60s, but technically he's still 60s. Thing is, everything else about tonight was themed mid to late 60s-- very flower power, all the way down to Bango trouncing about with a 'fro and Hendrix-style headband. So Checker comes out with one of his "new" songs, and followed by the twist, of course. He's not so chubby anymore. In fact, he looks more like a guy
who used to be slim, but as he aged, put on a few pounds 'round the waist but still looks darn good.
Still, couldn't be happier with the Bucks. They need to keep this up.
Headed to the Highbury pub afterwards for the perfect pre-christmas band, John Kruth and the Eva Destruction band. Lots of duality in that place. Let's start with the Highbury itself. It's clearly a european soccer fans' joint, with club flags all about. There's a gorgeous old world chandelier next to some track lighting not too far away from a disco ball by some exposed ductwork. Onstage, there's all this soccer paraphrenalia surrounding John Kruth himself, who's playing a mandolin like he'd been kicked out of a Jewish wedding and stumbled into CBGBs. He and his Greenwich Village vibe is surrounded by the Milwaukeeness of Paul Kneevers and Jeff Hamilton, and that one guy from IROCKZ and other musicians he got to blow through the midwest these past couple of weeks with him. So I'm feeling like I'm partly in some football supporter's pub outside of Manchester, partly like I'm at Folk City in the Village, but constantly reminded that I'm really in Milwaukee, listening to musicians who have that wonderful eclectic of down-home Milwaukee wonder and love of music. There's friends and acquaintances packed into this pub from all genres of art and music, and the music itself is a wonderful cross of folk and gypsy and psychedelia, and prog and poetry. It was the perfect sendoff to the holiday weekend.

Stella and I braved the snow sunday for the Nutcracker, and it was lovely as usual. I like that Michael Pink is giving a lot of the new dancers major parts (but did save the fabulous Luz San Miguel to dance Marie.) A bit of a change near the end -- they didn't bring us back to the Tannenbaum's living room, just left Marie and Clara in the land of sweets, and maybe that's where I wanted to stay, too.

So yesterday I ran last minute errands, listening to Paul Host's Christmas show in the car, and then we drove out to Madison for family Christmas. We're coming home and there's this awful Christmas parody on the Madison 91.7 that just didn't sit right with me. It's not that I don't appreciate parody and satire (and nothing is sacred with me, you should know that), but it wasn't even funny. It was more there to try to shock, as opposed to Jimmy Von Milwaukee's craft show -- which was shocking AND funny. (Ornaments made of crack pipes, cookies in the shape of internal organs, and wonderful photography with "Santa" stood out.). The radio program was just there to be angry with Christmas, and there was no warmth to it. This is different from Paul Host's show -- which includes parody, satire, warmth, and musical takes on Christmas from just about every genre you could hope for.

That's what I really hope for from Christmastime, absent of any arguments about what the real meaning of the season is, whose birthday it is/was, what day it all really went down on, what the pagans were doing at the solstice before the Christians came along, etc etc etc. I'm all about inclusion, and seeing what everybody has to offer the world during an otherwise cold, dreary, hopeless, dead time of year. There was nothing any cynic could do to dull the thrill of Sammy opening his gifts this morning, amazed that both us and Santa knew his wants and needs as well as he did, and Stella, looking up from a gift she knew was expensive and saying, "I didn't deserve this," and my answering her, more than you know, you deserved this only if it makes you happy. Because kids deserve a irony-free day, a day to just be happy about giving and celebrating and hanging out with family. Yesterday we hung out with the family we were born into, tonight we hang with the family we chose -- and both are worth putting up with stupid retail shoppers in the weeks preceding.

Happy Christmas, my friends.

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