Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The pinnacle of civilization

This past weekend my band played Homeskillet Fest, which is a four day music event put on by a local record label. We were an odd fit for the festival, which features mostly independent singer-songwriter-y types with lots of blues and folk overtones. Most of the types who attend wouldn't know a hot rod from a hole in the ground and don't even own lipgloss, much less dedicate half a drawer to organizing just various shades of red lipstick. We got a good reception anyhow, and my new favorite quirky band complimented our harmonies. I went to buy their CD and found myself with their LP in hand instead because 1) I am cool enough to own a working turntable, kind of 2) vinyl seems more authentic and DIY and 3) for the same amount of cash as the CD, I got great big HUGE album art and a poster and all the lyrics to all the songs. I am a fan of big.
this does not show the baby blue marbled vinyl, which is the best part.

Upon investigating the fine print of the liner notes (I am also a fan of liner notes), I came upon a name that was vaguely familiar, though I couldn't quite place a finger on it. It wasn't someone I knew personally, it wasn't the friend of a friend or an acquaintance or someone I met sometime... I turned to Z. and asked, "That cat who you gave a ride to New Orleans to... the Craiglist guy? Who was he again?" "A film guy," Z. said. "Yoni Goldstein."

And there it was. Sitka is magical for a lot of reasons, but its most notable trait is that it is a nexus. Sitka is the one degree of separation for so many people; it goes beyond mere coincidence. You hear stories of Sitkans who meet each other on the opposite side of the planet after not having seen each other in two and a half decades; you hear stories of folks who are recognized in the middle of the night in a grocery store in Connecticut by their t-shirts; everyone has a cousin or an aunt or a best friend who lives here, or lived here during the war, or volunteered at Sheldon Jackson when it was still a high school. And here is another such Sitka near-coincidence: my man, on his way to see me in my favorite city, picks up a rideshare in the middle of nowhere to save on gas, who turns out to be friends with this band (from Ann Arbor Michigan, thanks, La Fab) that I become a little enchanted with when I see them live while holding hands with Z. here in our sleepy village. We are never farther than a step away from anyone here. That is just the way I like it best.

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