Secret Bowl, Saturday, April 15, 2017

Skyline

Secret Bowl Skyline

On Saturday, April 15, I journeyed to the hills of Hollywood to attend yet another event at one of my favorite venues, the Secret Bowl. Nestled high in the hills near the Hollywood sign, and up a road posted as “Locals Only”, the Secret Bowl provides a beautiful venue in a natural settings. Sight lines are great and the acoustics are wonderful, making this an ideal venue for House Concerts.

I was there to see an event curated by my friend James Combs. James, who has been performing lately with his own project “Great Willow”, is about the nicest person in the music business. He is always looking for ways to advance the careers of other artists, and the Secret Bowl is a perfect arena to showcase those artists. For this Tax Day event James had assembled a lineup of Jesse Macht, Abby and the Myth, and Simon Petty.

IMG_5832

Jesse Macht

The standard format of the Secret Bowl has the gates open at 4 pm and music starting at 5. There are three featured acts each doing 30-40 minute sets, and then an open mic until 8. The show opened with Jesse Macht, a solo troubadour who also has his own gig doing “Sunsets at…” house concerts at locations of your choice.

Jesse, whose favorite artist is Jeff Buckley and who has a vocal range worthy of that comparison, did a very enjoyable set of mostly original music. For his last number he paid homage to his own heritage and the time of year by performing a rendition of a Passover classic, “Dayenu”, first enlisting audience participation with a bit of pranayama.

abby_02.jpg

Abby and the Myth

Then it was time for the highlight of the afternoon, the performance by Abby and the Myth, a collaboration between Abby Posner and Donny Bullen. One of the advantages of hanging out with James Combs is that one gets to meet some really fine up-and-coming artists. I was able to cash in on that advantage once again in the form of Abby Posner.

Abby, accompanied by band mate Donny on stand up acoustic bass, put on a captivating performance that left me wanting to hear them again, soon! Abby has a beautiful voice that is at times evocative of some of my favorite vocalists from bands like “Of Monsters and Men” or “First Aid Kit”, but she can also blues it up with the best of them. Her guitar skills are something that separates her from the standard singer/songwriter mold, and I haven’t heard a woman who made better use of her guitar since I was following Janet Robin. I get the sense of a creative enthusiasm that is ready to explode!

Next up on the program was a British import, Simon Petty, who was accompanied on the fiddle by Emily Moore. I confess that I was kind of blown away by the performance of Abby and the Myth, got carried away in conversations, and didn’t pay adequate attention to Simon and Emily. He is a troubadour in a Richard Thompson vein, an accomplished songwriter, and a seasoned performer; together with Emily he provided a rousing end to a delightful evening of music.

Status Update, Good Friday, April 14, 2017

Gosh darn, it has been over a month since my last blog post! I do have a couple of excuses. First, my domestic situation has been occupying way too much of my attention and energy, and not in a good way. I am happy to report that things have improved greatly on that front this week, and I look forward to soon putting that source of distraction behind me as we head into summer.

A 4-barre day!!

It was a four-barre day in Ballet class last Saturday.

I have also been doing some consulting work. I am a pensioner, and my pension will pay for the basics, but things like restaurant sampling, gyrotonics sessions, 3-4 dance classes a week at Elevation Studios, … add up to some significant added overhead, so I have taken on a statistical consulting gig to generate the income to support my habit. Unfortunately, that requires that I also invest some of that most precious of commodities, my time.

IMG_5711

I have also been in a rebuilding mode. When I had my triceps reattached back in September I was put on limited duty for an extended period by my surgeon. In the interest of healing properly I kept myself off the bicycle for 6 months, and also no down dogs in that time frame which restricted my ability to do flow yoga.

Staying off the bike was a big problem. I have found from bitter experience that in order to maintain my weight I need to expend 1000 active calories daily. By my accounting, that translates into a 25 mile bike ride or a 10 mile walk; or any combination of the two with 100 calories allotted per mile of walking and 40 calories/mile on the bike. For me, bicycle riding is a lot more efficient and reliable than walking, and I was gaining at least a half-pound per week.

IMG_5488

Cast of the 100th Boobie Trap!

Since I have been back on the bike I have managed to at least stop that trend, and I am now working on reversing it. The downside is that once again, massive expenditures of time are required!

IMG_5772

Now for the update! The feet are working better than they have in years, and this past Wednesday I crossed the 15 miles/30,000 steps threshold for the first time in a long time, and I have been averaging about 11 miles/day of walking. That, plus the bike riding, yoga (courtesy of Silver Sneakers), dance, mat Pilates, Gyrotonics, and just plain keeping active, has me feeling pretty good.

I had pulled one of my very deep hamstring/glute muscles back in January, and that hampered me a lot for a long time. Last night, however, when I was at the Fox Coffee House open mic I kept on folding into uttanasana just because it felt so good to be able to fold again. It’s been a while, and it felt real good!

IMG_5728

The triceps are coming along, but I have been having a lot of trouble with my left shoulder. When I saw my surgeon a couple of weeks ago I asked him to prescribe physical therapy for the shoulder, so I am now back at Memorial Orthopedic Surgical Group for PT with Jason Smith. Jason successfully herded me through a rotator cuff problem with my right shoulder a year and a half ago, and after just a couple of sessions I am already seeing some improvement. Once again, however, more time is required!