Monday, March 11, 2013

Update; Searching for Sugarman

(Hank and Me)
It was a good weekend.  On Friday afternoon at my office one of my coworker brought her dog by.  Dog office visits on rainy Friday afternoons after a long week are a welcome diversion.

(Adam and Joe sort out one of life's important
questions- does Chicago or New York have
better pizza?)
Amy's office had a legislative filing deadline on Friday (all the initial drafting was completed for their bills), so we went out to a happy hour at the Dog and Duck with her coworkers on Friday.  It was good to see them and have a chance to relax.  They're a nice group of folks.  They've been working pretty hard to get bills written.  They seemed a little tired, but happy.  It's kind of fun to see another group of people who work together (as opposed to my own bunch of coworkers) and get a sense for their group dynamic. 

On Saturday we got up and took Cassidy to the dog park.  It was overcast, but it was still nice to get her out.  She seemed to enjoy running around Red Bud with the other dogs.  After the park we went shopping and ran errands.  In the afternoon while Amy was at the gym I tried to go for a bike ride, but the light mist outside turned into actual rain, and I ultimately turned around and went back.  I don't mind a little bit of water, but when the rain is light the streets get pretty slick, and I get sort of paranoid about falling (especially on wet hills).  So I worked out on the elliptical at the house. 
Saturday night Amy made some tasty tortilla soup.  Saturday night we watched Searching for Sugarman.  It's a really great documentary, and I would recommend it.  It's the crazy, real life story of a guy named Sixto who was basically a failed musician in Detroit.  Rodriguez recorded several albums with some well known producers, all of whom thought he might be the next big thing, but his records never sold any copies.  He was ultimately dropped by his recording label.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, his records really caught on.  They were passed around as bootlegs and reissued, and ultimately became sort of theme songs for the South African youth counterculture and protest movement during the latter apartheid years.
Anyway, Rodriguez got really big (selling millions of copies) in South Africa while pretty much dropping off the cultural map in the U.S..  The documentary is about what happens when some South African music writers try to figure out whatever happened to him.
It's a great story.  Got me thinking about how music and songs can become something so much larger than itself.  Here's a guy from Detroit, writing about his life experiences, and his messages about oppression, hope, and the difficulties of life somehow end up strongly resonating with people he's never met in a part of the world that he's never even really even given much thought.
It's a great story, demonstrating that we can be validated in doing things without ever being aware of the results.  Our actions can have an impact even if we don't feel or see that impact directly.
And, of course, it's one of those stories that helps you understand the strange, connecting nature of music.
I liked the movie.  See it if you haven't yet.  Amy and I can't stop talking about it.

On Sunday we got up and went to a volunteer meeting at our church.  Amy and I are going to work as volunteers at CPC this week as they host some SXSW events.  Should be fun.
After church we ran an errand or two and then we came home.  I went for a bike ride.
The bike ride was good.  The weather was sunny and nice, and there was the first hint of a buzz for SXSW as bands and artists played in front of restaurants and bars for early, unofficial SXSW stuff.  South Congress was hopping with people who were probably in town for the interactive and/or film portion of the SXSW festival.  Of course, the locals were down there just enjoying the weather and trying to entertain their kids as well.

I've heard that they're going to force the relocation of the food trailers that are gathered by the church on South Congress in order to put in a hotel.  I can't help but think that's a shame.  I know that the area by the food trailers gets a little bit chaotic, but it's a happy, fun chaos, and I think it's part of what draws people to the the area and keeps it so lively.  (people have complained that the area doesn't get cleaned up enough, but the obvious answer to that is better enforcement of clean up rules for the trailer owners- not the relocation of the entire site).  The small trailers have a "mom and pop", grassroots, local appeal that I'm afraid will be lost when they pull them out to just put in another big ol' motel.
I'm afraid that South Congress will just lose some it's sense of community when the street vendors and performers are replaced by more glass windows or fenced in seating areas that are meant to cater to an upscale, affluent crowd.

I like South Congress the way it is- even if ti does get a little bustling and kooky from time to time.

Sunday afternoon Amy and I did a few things in the yard and enjoyed the sunshine.
In the early evening we had a Mono Ensemble practice.  We're gonna play another gig at the Carousel on Friday, May 10th, so we have something to work toward.  I thought practice sounded pretty good, and Amy said she agreed.
Sunday night Amy made some pasta with really good sauce. 
We watched Homeland in the evening.

And that was the weekend.  It was really nice, and it went by really fast.
Hope you guys have a nice week!  Even if you're busy, take a walk.  The spring weather here is awesome.  :-) 

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