Michigan and Illinois have the softest, greenest grass for summertime bare feet
Lance and the girls came with me on this Midwest run of shows, and I am so excited they did!
We flew into Detroit on Monday, picked out our rental gar (a sparkly maroon van) and drove over to Ann Arbor for my
show at the Ark. The girls enjoyed swimming (two shakes of a noodle down from our hotel room) while I went over to
perform…Terry ran sound, and he was so accomodating as my ears were still clogged from the airplane, and I couldn’t seem
to hear ANYTHING, but he patiently helped me get levels in the monitors until I was satisfied I would be able to hear myself.
Which, of course, midway through the show, my ears, finally!, popped open and I was like, “Oh, man, that’s loud and it ROCKS!” and
I broke out in a huge smile in the middle of the song I was singing (which was a wierd moment to smile, but I was so happy I couldn’t
have cared less at the moment! I COULD HEAR AGAIN! HOOOOORAY!)
The audience was super. Thanks to Lisa for bringing me the lovely drawing of hands and sharing tears with me. She asked me to call
and sing for her kids, so I gladly obliged and then hugged her and everyone around me. Maybe I should just go on a hugging tour, as
that inevitably is always my favorite part of any show—talking with folks and hanging out and smiling, sharing, laughing, hugging…
I found where I had signed my name in 1998 and 2001 on the wall in the back green room, which I thought would be incredibly hard as
the walls are completely covered in markers EVERYWHERE. But, fortunately, I was clever and had signed, both times, by the light switch.
I took pics and will post them when I get back in Austin. The best part of signing walls is seeing your friends sign all around you…Adrian Belew and
Tish Hinojosa and Dan Navarro and..um….ok, can’t remember any more at the moment….because I am 45 and starting to forget! RATS!
Next day, we got up and went to the Fleetwood Diner (quadruple stars of goodness! Try the hippie hash! INCREDIBLE!) and then we walked around downtown Ann Arbor and went into the community art center (Ann Arbor Arts Center) which has been in existence since 1907 and while in there oohing and aahing over the amazing handmade arts and crafts, a photographer for the paper came in and took pictures of me and iolana for their paper! Magic, I tell you.
There was a really groovy place (The Velvet Dark? The Soft Basement? The Midnight Something? I have no idea!), a comic book store (that also had STUFF!) and the girls, Lance and I walked around in AWE…it was incredible! If you like comic books, you HAVE to go this shoppe. And I bought iolana a Gumby comic book, lamenting the demise of The Flaming Carrot, and as I read the back of her comic, I realized it had been created by the same
creator of THE FLAMING CARROT! ISN’T THAT AMAZING??????? Ah, life is good, I tell you, because the back also announced the RETURN of The Flaming Carrot and A WEBSITE and so I will be checking in on that at some point. Like 2011. Time! I have so much I want to enjoy and where does the time go? I know what I’m going to be doing when I’m an old woman…reading Flaming Carrot and surfing that site! Whoo-hoo!
Then on to Indianapolis where I played at the Boulevard Cafe, and even though turnout was small, I gave my all. So, thank you to Robin for hosting me, for the delish salad, for the girls selling my cds (Lily sells, iolana brings them over to me to sign….and when she says it is time to sign, she is NOT FOOLING AROUND…she means SIGN NOW, MOM! My little drill sergeant!) Indianapolis had a great Chinese restaurant that we walked to from our hotel…and we had fun at the Indiana Museum of Art….we spent the entire day there on Wednesday….contemporary, Asian, and fashion arts….
walked over and used the digital headsets as we meandered through the Lilly house…walked through the gardens…oh, man, so much fun! I love sharing art and culture with the kids. I love the questions that they ask. I love how they think of things I would never think to ask. And then it leads into these brilliant discussions for the entire family. We took a ton of photos in the gardens…Lance took some black and whites. It has inspired me to want to paint new portraits of the girls.
Lance has finished reading the “Grapes of Wrath”…now I’m digging into it. Man. Whoo. Nothing like driving through lush, flowerfilled landscapes full of
abundance while reading about dust and death and despair. The funny thing is Lance has taken to calling us his “fambly”….Now we are all saying it.
Last night, we arrived in Michigan. Along the way, we have been stopping in the tiniest of towns, enjoying finding the smallest parks with ancient swings and metal slides, running barefoot in the soft, green grass….eating at Mom and Pop diners…exploring and laughing…iolana has a journal she has been keeping since she was four, so it is stocked with drawings and memories and she writes down all these sweet funny things….She let me read the entire thing the other day, and gosh, journals are just amazing. The things that fascinate her held me fascinated, and I was only sorry there wasn’t more to read!
Lily draws manga all the time. There are loose pages around the van, and we had to buy another sketchbook at the museum as she became enamoured with a drypoint of a woman’s hands and wanted to sketch it.
We arrived last night at the Garfield House, nestled in a beautiful neighborhood of Blue Douglas Firs and thick purple trees, elegant sweeping lawns with lillies and flowers I do not know, but colorful and bending gently in the summer breeze (makes me feel fine…!) The Garfields are really wonderful folks, generous hearts and big smiles. Their son, Roger, came up from Tennessee, and we all sat on the patio to a wonderful meal of shishkabobs and
fresh fruit. The weather here is so relaxing compared to the abuse of the hot Texas sun. It’s like being a new born babe, the way the air melts around your skin in gentle caresses. I love having the windows down in the van, the immense blue sky and fluffy white clouds dancing still in the blue.
The show last night was a lot of fun….packed house and so many interesting people! I just fell in love with everybody! I sang two full sets, with a generous break in between, and lots of wine and smiles flowing. The show will be podcast (I’ll submit the link here when I get it), and I just ripped out the jams. At one point I said I was going to “kick ass” and then looked at our host, Stan, who was directly in front of me in the first chair (he plays oboe? Ha ha) and asked if it was okay that I had said “kick ass” in his home and he looked me directly in the eye and said, “No, it’s not,” very deadpan so of course I was horrified with myself. I looked back at Lance and he was grimacing, but, then, of course, Stan was pulling the wool over my eyes, which I knew, at some level, he had to have been because he’d had Cliff Eberhardt play here, and SOMETHING had to have slipped outta his mouth, right? (Hi Cliff! I know you’ll never read my blog, so I’ll just write a little note to you here to say those were great days when we were out on the road together and I still love your voice and I hope you are doing well these days! Now stay out of trouble, you here?
I just love house concerts! I got all weepy last night at the end of this one…I think because I went on a bit of a journey, talking about my early beginnings in high school with music therapy, which I’ve never talked about on stage, and it led me into talking about love and music and how important house concerts are and before I knew it: tears in my eyes, tears in Nicole and Suzanne’s eyes, and just that flow, that feeling, of connectedness that rises, and it is as if God’s fingers are softly playing with your heartstrings and then you just know….you know everything is going to be ok in the big picture. That love is deep and fast and when it is upon us, we must smile and embrace it and let the tears of wonder flow….