Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Freshly back in CA, I spent the weekend soaking up some culture.

Saturday night was Steve's art opening. Just his stuff at this quintessentially tiny gallery in the mission, so very nice and low key, got to catch up with my mom, recently arrived in town, and Natalia, recently moved to a new apartment. And, of course, see the artist's work in all its glory. See for yourself at the gallery site! Since it's not posted there, I'll take the liberty of reprinting the philosophy behind the show here.
Intrigued by the omnipresence of carbon monoxide in the post-industrial world, and the human hunger for energy, speed, and physical pleasure, Baudonnet places smoking mechanical engines in domestic environments and documents the viscid foliage of tobacco plants in order to examine our love affair with and dependency upon smoke and exhaust. Flirting with these everyday, but nonetheless dangerous delights, Baudonnet visually explores our mixed feelings towards the air we breathe and the machines we rely on.

The whole thing was extra fascinating and surreal to me because Steve shot all the photos in the house. So I've been literally living in said "domestic environments," smelling the exhaust from the engine and watching the tobacco grow from infancy. (Here Inder and I thought we were just putting up with more clutter, but actually we were having a heightened artistic experience! Who knew.) Steve's favorite is the photo you see on the website, but personally mine is a shot of the engine placed on our dining table. And not just because I accidentally captured my own version! The essential difference in our vision? I went veggie while Steve had the chicken.

Then Sunday we caught the last show on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's tour. The album's been growing on me, but I was still hoping they'd be more impressive live. And whoa. They have this whole intensely restrained thing going on, it's really mesmerizing. And crazy good touring band including Buddy Miller and T Bone Burnett. Ah RP and his "relaxed leather pants" and hilarious rock star posing. And AK and her random power suit. And both their giant manes of hair. It wasn't much of a farewell show, RP called this album just "the book of genesis" and plans to continue recording and touring together. (But no Led Zeppelin reunion, as previously reported.) The intro to Black Dog? On banjo? Worth the price of admission. (Which was not cheap. Though we could have gone for free at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Why didn't we do that again? Oh yeah, because we've been wanting to see a show at the amazing Mountain Winery. I even got to visit with Master Chef Guru Kathy, who's an usher there!)