Friday, September 28, 2007

Saturday Market #26: Into the Vortex

Aaahhh, the Holiday Market vortex. Here it is, in all it's swirly glory. Actually, this is the beginning of the working out the centerpiece of the Holiday Market poster, but looking down that neverending hole feels a lot like watching the next eight weeks run down the drain way too fast. Either that or it's swirling outward or exploding all over the place. Or both simultaneously! This week was the beginning of that feeling here in the office. The big YIKES! So much to do, so little time. But it all gets done in time, we've got years of institutional muscle memory on our side. And lists, lots of lists.

But meanwhile, back on the Park Blocks, Markets are still occurring every week, and last Saturday was very beautifully sunny and perfect. It was another first ever Market gig, this time for Apocalypso. It's been forever since we've had a steel drum band, and everybody enjoyed it a whole lot.

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Tomorrow, I'm looking forward to the Employees of the Month and Eleven Eyes, and maybe not a sunny day, but a least a nice dry one…

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Saturday Market #25: A Market Wedding, and Other Excitements

At last! The big day arrived! Our second ever Market wedding, which I'd been waiting for all summer. Partly because it was scheduled for the week AFTER Eugene Celebration, meaning the big long weekend was over. Mostly because, well, it was a wedding for heaven's sake, and Jenni and Steven's wedding after all.

The weather was absolutely perfect, after a chilly damp morning. When the time came, as many Marketeers as could bust out of their booths for a few minutes gathered around with family, friends and passersby. First, Steven told a sweet story about all the synchronicity that led him to live in Eugene and meet Jenni. Then his nephew sang a poem that Steven had written which he'd set to music. Then the ceremony, where their vow as to keep on doing what they'd been doing for the past seventeen years. Here they are, in the midst of it:

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It was totally sweet, and touching, and lovely. They kissed, the Klezmonauts played, folks danced, a delightful heartfelt time was had by all.

But that was not all the excitement of the day. Earlier, we had the The Side Project on the stage for their first Market gig. Always special, that first Market gig, and a rite of passage for many Eugene musicians. Most especially special for Market kids, and even moreso for their parents. Not that Willa and Nicki are kids any more, but once a "Market Kid" always a Market Kid. That's Willa Bauman there with the blonde braid, daughter of Dana and Colleen Bauman of Dana's Cheesecake, and Willa's good friend Nicki Perkins on the washboard. She's also worked at Dana's for a long time. They've been playing out and about for a while, and it was nice to finally get to host them on the Market Stage! I thought they played marvelously, and had to resist the urge to introduce them as the kids from Dana's…

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One more tale of excitement from the day, not the kind you really like to have, but it all worked out. Adam + Kris were scheduled to play at 2, and the phone rang at 1:25, with Adam saying they were just passing Enchanted Forest (50 miles up the road) and had forgotten about game day traffic (both Ducks and Beavers had afternoon games) and were crawling along I-5 at 35-40 mph at best. "Ask Brian to keep playing, we'll be there as soon as we can" sez Adam. So I popped on stage between songs and asked aforementioned and afterpictured Brian Cutean to keep playing.

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He most happily obliged, the assembled masses most happily listened on, and as you can see from the next photo, Adam + Kris did indeed show up, about 25 minutes late, and put in a short but killer set right before the wedding.

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And so there you have it, the story of my exciting Market day. And so far, we've all lived happily ever after!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Saturday Market #23 & 24: Celebrating our Eugeneness

Yes, this is what we do in September in Eugene, celebrate ourselves. Other cities celebrate their ethnic heritage, their favorite local product, their best known music or famous native. Eugene celebrates our Eugeneness, which is pretty groovy for a town that seems confused about its own identity a lot of the time. Or maybe we're just trying to figure it out harder than other places. Anyway, it's a big weekend party, and Market takes part of course! I generally start out the day in the Celebration Parade with the Unique Eugene gang. Here we are, a motley crew of Marketeers, flower bedecked bikes, giant tomatoes, fishmongers and tubes of paint to name a few, united under the giant green Unique Eugene balloons, led by the fabulous brass band Scrambled Ape. Somehow, we manage to win the second place Judges Know Best ribbon most years! I think it's the killer band myself…

The most fun of the whole weekend for me is waiting for the Parade with whatever groups are nearby. This year, we mingled with the local nudists (wearing cardboard boxes), Eugene Police Dept. volunteers, vampires from the Cottage Theater, Oregon Country Fair folks and Samba Ja drummers. Quite a scene to watch older women in police uniforms standing around with a bear in a tutu and a giant tomato while vampires looked on. The even more best part? This scene was not even unusual by Celebration Parade standards. Just one block away, I saw ballerinas, mice, belly dancers, folks beating on garbage cans, 150 smiley face balloons, a giant slug and roller derby girls...
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Back at the Market, a post parade mob scene dissolved into a beautiful sunny Market day. These are women from Tribalation, dancing to music provided by Americanistan. One of my favorite acts to watch and photograph, and a big crowd pleaser as well. On the Market stage, I always try to get the line-up as diverse as possible, so along with middle eastern dance, there was Hawaiian music, Latin jazz, accordions, African marimbas and good old rock and roll on Saturday.
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Sunday, we had a couple of folk groups, then Balkan music and wrapped up with reggae from I-chele and the Circle of Light. Here are happy market-goers dancing to I-chele on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.
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This Saturday, just to keep the variety going, a wedding! and Klezmer music! More on that in next week's report...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Saturday Market #22: Bright Spots

To be honest, last Saturday was a tough one for me. It started out with a migraine, and though it faded by late morning, my mood never quite bounced up into the cheerful zone, and interacting with folks was a little rough all day. But the point is not my bad day, it's how much there is at Market to rescue my bad day from oblivion.

Here's a shining example, definitely a bright spot in my day, Truckstop Honeymoon.

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Mike West and Katie Euliss are at the top of my list of most excellent live performers, as they completely captivate an audience. They can even get them to sing along, no mean feat even in Eugene. They are hilarious, and excellent players, singers and writers as well. That's all good, but then throw in their delightful kids, and my day is definitely brighter. That's Sadie and Vega sitting there in front of the stage, and we spent most of the set playing around. Sadie had adopted a black balloon poodle and instantly invested it with all kinds of personality. Vega was fascinated with the collection of bungee cords at the sound cart and spent a long time wrapping them around my ankles. Sounds odd, but I thought it was great fun!

Then there's the pleasure of finding a really nice new band that everybody enjoys. This is the Spruce Root Band. They emailed me a while back, sent me to their myspace page, and so from their song samples and profile, I booked them. I'm really glad I did.

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That's Mike there singing, well sitting in front of the mic anyway, and Ben on lead guitar. Mike has a mellow sweet voice and the whole band (including Peter on drums and Jack on bass) put out a very comfy acoustic rock groove that had many folks coming up and asking me "where are these guys from?" That's Market audience speak for "wow, I really like them."

There's also the pleasure of finding some really gorgeous work out there in the Market. I'd glimpsed this work before, but finally stopped to admire, and be really impressed at the quality of the work. This is metal work by Patrick Conlin. I put in my hours in the Jewelry and Metalsmithing Lab under Max Nixon at the U of O years back, and so I can really appreciate what it takes to produce work like this. Really, just breathtaking. And the cool thing about Market is, you get to pick stuff like this up and really have a good look, not like in a gallery. And if you've got the wherewithall, you can pull out your wallet and take it home with you. I'm not quite to that state, but it sure is fun to look.

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Thanks for the bright spots, everybody. See you Saturday (oh, and Sunday, it's Eugene Celebration this weekend!)