Friday, August 04, 2006

Turn, turn, turn

Things are happening very fast.

I went to hear Kris Tiner's Raphe Malik "tribute band" (that's sort of an inelegant way of describing it, alas) a few hours ago, and was suddenly overwhelmed. Both by the beautiful music, expertly played, and by the way it made me think, in a sort of macrocosmic way, about the task of leaving Los Angeles (which is becoming more of a "done deal" with each passing moment) -- not to mention the as-of-yet-unknown ramifications of said move.

Update: after much frustration trying to buy a home in the Bay area (how can anybody afford to live there?), we went back to plan A: Portland. Daphne secured "official permission" from Leila (her boss / friend) to the effect that since she (Daphne) is working from home anyway, it doesn't really matter where home is. Portland immediately beckoned, with its clean air, cheap housing, good food / coffee / friends, and small-scale funkiness. I have commemorated our intentions to make it our home with a tune entitled "PDX LIX LAX" (get it?).

Don't know about the Portland music scene, though. I mean, I'm sure there is something to it, but I wonder if LA has spoiled me. I also wonder how complicated it will be to keep the group alive from so many miles away -- cuz that's my plan at the moment, assuming we actually move. (With the money we'll be saving on cost-of-living expenses, I'm guessing that I'll be able to afford to fly down to LA for rehearsals / gigs / recordings once a month or so. Hey, I've been known to do crazier things.)

Daphne and I have been looking at homes a bit online, and the first day of that was a little trying: our realtor sent us a mess of stuff that seemed plucked straight from the moldy heart of suburban hell. Our memories of Portland were much more fun than that. Ms. Realtor got it right the second time, but the stink of the first batch really made me realize how much of a risk we're taking.

Then, tonight at the show, the positive residue of my time in LA manifested itself in the very rarest of ways -- a physical expression of respect and community. The show turned out to be a reunion of sorts: in Kris's group was Cory Wright, one of the almost-original members of the IJG, who had himself recently relocated to Berkeley. Aaron Kohen, one of the actual original members of the group, was there too -- not performing, but listening. As were other people I hadn't seen in a while, and still others I had seen just yesterday, at rehearsal.

I usually avoid socialization like the plague (hey, it's a quirk), but here I felt totally comfortable. I was conscious of the fact that I was among peers, friends, people I can actually relate to. I was also conscious (though not in a depressing way) that these relationships won't last forever, if for no other reason than that we all kick it someday (RIP, Raphe Malik). I wanted to savor the moment.

I have no intention of getting weepy about the last ten years. I have always felt at home amongst the musicians of this city, but most of the time that feeling is abstracted, or else hidden under the many layers of stress and work that attend every IJG event. This, on the other hand, was -- to paraphrase Milton -- "community made visible." It's a phenomenon that happens infrequently in my life, but when it does, it leaves a lasting impression.

Sometimes I can't believe how fucking lucky I am.


Kris Tiner said...

hmmm... so it was our gig that finally convinced you to leave LA...

I don't think I could ever live there myself. Peace and solitude are too important. But then again, like you I'd have a hard time leaving the friends and associates I've had in LA for years. It's a tough one.

Nice to hang with you the other night, if only for a minute.

Andrew said...

Yeah. For us the key problem is money: we're finding that LA is just too expensive for a family (I imagine probably even for a couple) of our paltry means. I've had to forego certain things that I think are important, like having an acoustic piano in the house. (Can't have a piano in the house if you can't afford a house, now can you?)

I'm not thinking of this as closing the book on LA, though... I've no intention of leaving this community behind. Rather, I'm just trying to, uh, renegotiate my contract with the city. So to speak.

Tim said...

You should contact Doug Theriault, a very fine Bailey-esque improvising guitarist in Portland, who is also a real estate agent with scruples.
(503) 317-0018

Looking forward to meeting you.
Tim DuRoche
(503) 720-6171