[Dixielandjazz] SacJazz Vignettes (Part One)

Dan Augustine ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu
Tue May 27 16:25:11 PDT 2003

Jubilee vignettes (Part One)

1) Sac Jubilee pre-festivities.
     Beneficently informed by Herr Professor Ringwald that he will be 
playing with Big Mama Sue (BMS) from noon till 2 on Thursday, i dip a 
trepidant toe into the downtown K-Street mall. I am delighted to find 
that BMS is also accompanied by Mr. Jim Maihack on (his new) tuba and 
Mr. Bob (Modesty) Williams on trombone, as the musicians start the 
     I park the organism in a convenient metal chair-like structure 
(perhaps designed by an inscrutable Martian architect with a fondness 
for leaving rows of parallel imprints on one's backside) in front of 
the stage, cannily selecting a shaded area.  The other seat next to 
me is vacant, but is quickly appropriated by a comely Asian lass, who 
leaves after about 15 minutes; i try to assign blame to myself, but i 
cannot tell if it was the lack of _demonstrated_ groveling lust on my 
part, or the gratuitous and excessive _implied_ groveling lust on my 
part, that drove her away.  The seat is soon claimed by another woman 
whom i purposely don't look at; her and my finest moments together 
obviously exist before i even glance at her.
     Certain appropriate reactions by both of us to the music being 
played, however, generate a prelimiary construct of a commonality of 
interests, and we speak.  Upon closer inspection, i happen to notice 
that she wears a DJML badge, and i identify myself.  She turns out to 
be Rebecca Thompson, a fellow Texan and OKOMer from Dallas.  Life, 
already enhanced by BMS, Ringwald, Williams, et al., suddenly becomes 
much finer.  Rebecca's husband joins us, and the music i hear and 
love is shared and understood and communicated with people just like 
me, and all is right with the world.
     We listen to the music, exchanging comments occasionally about it 
and related matters, and the afternoon progresses.  So does the 
shade, but in direct disproportion (i.e., i am now without the 
penumbra).  All at once, Rae Ann Berry appears, and we exchange 
greetings.  The ideal of a family is like that of friendly and 
nourishing soil, in which beings may grow and help each other and 
flourish.  So can be the interaction of fans of an art-form (like 
OKOM), where single silent knowledges find friendly echoes and 
unsuspected channels of reverberation.  Pretty fancy talk.  Hey, we 
just talked about jazz, and agreed to meet for dinner.

2) Eatin' and Jammin' with the DJML.
     Thursday afternoon about 5 pm some of us coagulate at the Fresh 
Choice restaurant in the Arden Fair mall, across from the fairgrounds 
of the Cal Expo Jubilee site.  Ms. Rebecca Thompson and her husband 
Jim accompany me in my rented Toyota to drive out there, but we stop 
first (with some minor annoying detours) at 'Beverages and More' to 
pick up some (well, OK, about 5) six-packs of beer, a styrofoam 
ice-chest, and some ice.  Then we find Dave Bilgray at the Fresh 
Choice (a kind of veggie cafeteria), and all of a sudden Meg Graf and 
Vickie Cox appear, already there.  We confer, eat, talk, and are then 
also joined by Mr. Will Connolly, and then Ms. Nancy Giffin.  We 
break bread (well, OK, sprouts, and it wasn't easy, 'cause they're 
real flexible) together, and agree to convene over at the Cal Expo 
parking lot to search for the wily jam-session.
     After meeting in the parking lot of Cal Expo about 7 pm, we 
determine that a) the beer is un-cold and must be colded (so we 
combine ice-chest, ice, and beer-bottles in an agreeable topology); 
and b) the putative site of the jam-session is at least half a mile 
from where we parked, so it is too far for Will to walk, so 
unfortunately he departs.  Rebecca, Jim, Dave, and i lie our way past 
the security checkpoint (well, hell, it was actually true at that 
point: we were not intending to bring the all-too-obvious beers into 
the Jubilee site, but over to the RV site, to meet with friends for a 
jam session).  But after at least half a mile (the "drunkard's walk" 
meandering, although we had not yet had any beer), we couldn't find 
Meg and Vickie or any jam session (except one to which we were quite 
specifically not invited, thank you so much).  We learn that Jan 
Nichols' RV has blown a head gasket in Fresno and won't be here to 
host the jam session (now there's a possible name for a tune: "The 
Fresno Gasket Blues").
     We finally meet about 8 pm with Meg (playing a wonderful bass 
sax) and Vickie (playing nice leads and solos on trumpet) on a grassy 
knoll next to the parking lot, and they played, latterly with help by 
Jim Thompson on his new ax, washboard. They were joined by other 
players on guitar and clarinet, and once again i cursed my decision 
not to try to bring a tuba with me (but i have no case for any of my 
seven tuba-like instruments, and i didn't feel like trusting them 
naked to the not-so-tender mercies of the airine industries).  There 
we did listen to many fine OKOM tunes, and we finally did consume 
some of the many beers we had purchased, and finally quit, tired but 
happy, around 10 pm.  Communications from other participants have not 
yet been received, but this correspondent (with the Thompsons) 
regrettably did get lost and did fulsomely thrash around the road to 
Reno for about half an hour before being able to correct our route 
and come back to downtown Sacramento.

     We crowd into the 4th-floor lounge of the Delta King Paddlewheel 
boat in Old Sacramento, at 10:00 am on Friday morning. 
Unfortunately, the elevator (as it did last year and undoubtedly in 
every previous year since it was installed) only goes to the 3rd 
floor, so we gladly help Meg up to the 4th floor.  Even before 10 it 
is populated with our brethren and sistern (uh, somehow that doesn't 
quite sound right), and the limits of imagined congruence between 
email-names and in-person faces (aided by name-tags) are severely 
tested.  We circulate, flitting from one 'delectable mountain' (in e 
e cummings' delectable phrase) of a person to another.
     Bloody (and Virgin) Marys are consumed, and after a while our 
crew is blessed by the arrival of Mr. Tito Martino from Brazil, and 
it is good to meet and talk with him.  He appears already to be 
having a good time, and it will get better.  Finally we disperse, to 
our own separate destinations (the parade, first set, etc.).

4) People.  The great mass (and i do mean 'mass', as experienced by 
Earthlings in 'weight') of the tides of people churning through the 
floodgates to Old Sacramento is impressive, and depressive, in its 
variety.  There are all kinds, shapes, colors, and speeds of walking, 
with those in no particular hurry inevitably in front of those who 
see no reason to dawdle (me).  We surge (but peristaltically slowly) 
through the entrance next to Freeway Gardens and debouch (always kind 
of wanted to use that word) into the froth of Old Sacramento's 
crowds, moving in classic (but definedly unpredictable) Brownian 
motion.  One sees kids, patient (incredibly so) parents, girls and 
boyfriends, ethnicities only marginally glimpsed in a geographic 
catechism, bodies too short for their weight (almost everyone), in a 
garish paroxysm of everyday folks i would never in my life suspect of 
harboring a fondness for music older than their grandparents.  This 
is wonderful, if true.  One hopes, for OKOM's sake and life, that it 

     Part Two, the bands, will follow later.

**  Dan Augustine     Austin, Texas     ds.augustine at mail.utexas.edu  **
**     "He has occasional flashes of silence that make his            **
**      conversation perfectly delightful." -- The Reverend Sydney    **
**      Smith, on statesman and historian Thomas Babington Macaulay,  **
**      about whom it was said that "He not only overflowed with      **
**      learning, but stood in the slop."                             **

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