Friday, June 26, 2015

This Saturday! The Surf Spot & The Monkey House

More opportunities to celebrate life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness for all: This Saturday we're playing both sides of the SF Bay: 1pm The Surf Spot in Pacifica & 7:30pm at The Monkey House 3rd Anniversary Party.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Read.Eat.Listen: Pools

My sister was pushing me faster and faster around the pool, as I lay on one of those inflatable floating mats. This was thrilling. There was much shrieking and splashing. And then the mat flipped. All was quiet as I swam underwater for what was likely no longer than 15 seconds, but felt like a vast sea of calm.
My family was up at the river, visiting my aunt and uncle who had the place in Guerneville with the pool. On a hill full of redwood trees, the cabin's northern California landscape setting wasn't so different than the one that surrounded our house, a few hours south. But "The River" was a different place. People came here to get away from the city, to retreat and frolic and vacation, not raise kids (though of course, there are plenty of families here, too).  Along the clean air and views of the country, the little unincorporated town had a bakery and  restaurants within walking distance of my aunt and uncle's place.
The fact that they had a swimming pool, a round fiberglass number,  was a big deal at the time.  I must have had a swimming lesson or two by the time I visited, but as a rule, we didn't swim much.  When it was hot in the summers, we ran through the sprinklers to cool off if we didn't head to the beach. Our favored, and closest, beach, 10 miles west of where we lived, had huge signs in the sand warning of rip currents. We didn't dare go in past our knees. So the sudden immersion into the round, not-too-deep-but-deeper-than-a-seven-year-old pool waters turned into my first 'swim.' I was pleased with myself when I surfaced, but my mom was as angry, and scared, as if I'd been swept away by one of those Pacific riptides. It was a confusing re-entry, kind of like taking a nap and then walking outside onto a construction site. Perhaps its why swimming pools never really became my place of solace. Still, in lieu of a beach....
Read: I'm already annoyed* with Michelle Goldberg's book "The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West," or rather with Goldberg, but I'm eating up this book all the same. Indra Devi, one of the more famous and few women students of  Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, had a long and colorful life so she makes for a great subject. 
*Goldberg breezily (which is damningly and inaccurate) describes traditional Ashtanga yoga as being originally intended for young boys.
Eat: Chances are, we were eating Popsicles while poolside. Those multi-color rocket ones or maybe a fudgesicile. Circa 2015, I'd make it more like this vegan Fresh Summer Apricot Pop.
Listen:  More recently, we've found ourselves driving on a lot of dirt roads, in the desert a couple weeks ago and this past weekend in Marin. Some of the best listening while driving those dirt roads, we found, was the wonderful and wise Greg Brown. I love his daughter Pieta Brown's music, too, so I started digging up more of her tunes. Goodness.
Then I found this video of Pieta Brown playing a Lucinda Williams song with Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey. So here you go:

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

This Friday! Songs From The Fog Parlor Show at The Lost Church

Friday, June 19th, 2015 at The Lost Church 
65 Capp St San Francisco, CA 
Price: $10 in adv/$15 door

Artists included on the recently released Songs from the Fog CD Compilation continue the party at this private parlor show at The Lost Church. Featuring Jim Bruno, KC Turner, Maurice Tani, Mick Schaffer, Paul Griffiths, Deborah Crooks & Carol Denny.
Most of this talented crew of SF area songwriters, aka the Songs from the Fog CD artists, 
are reconvening this Friday 6/19 @theLostChurch for another fab show. Be there!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

India Street now available at the CD Baby Music Store

Deborah Crooks | India Street | CD Baby Music Store

Finally got around to recording "India Street" recently, which we've
been playing live for some time now. A song inspired by once getting
lost near India Street in San Diego (rather than getting lost in India
though that's happened a lot, too), it's now available via the
interwebs! Hope you enjoy it!
Deborah Crooks: India Street

Saturday, June 13, 2015

One day, one bloom

I've been contemplating this cactus flower for more than a week now. I'm not 100% what kind of cactus it belongs to, though I saw it up close, a large, narrow, spiny variety, sitting on the porch of our Joshua Tree vacation rental last week. The flower was a bud when we arrived, and over three days we saw it ripen, and by the morning of the New Moon, it had burst into flower (I found out that moths and bats pollinate night blooming cactus as insects and birds take care of the day bloomers). I took a picture of course — it was too beautiful — and I would quickly learn, acutely impermanent: Cactus flowers only last one day.
Be evening it had closed up onto itself, spent. 
 All that focus and energy for one glorious performance. HmmmMmmm.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Read.Eat.Listen: Shed

I'm thinking of the word 'shed' as in shedding skins. Like a snake, or a cat or dog in summer. We drove down to Joshua Tree again, to spend a week in a homesteader cabin seeing what arose. Or at least that's my main goal, to get quiet, shed my usual business of late, as much chatter as possible, and see what remains, or comes up. Two nights in, I'm feeling a bit lighter, aided and abetted by the impossibility of sleeping in around here. The sun rises at 5:33 and comes streaming through all parts of this updated cabin surrounded by BLM land and other historic homesteader tracts. Somewhere, beyond that flue sky, there's a full moon, June's Strawberry moon (in Saggitarious I'm told), but for the moment it's all about desert birdsong: a symphony of doves, quail, finches and the occasional whir of a passing hummingbird and 'churr' of a cactus wren. 
READ: A fun little book to read here, regarding local history, is "Jackrabbit Homestead: Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Landscape, 1938-2008" by Kim Stringfellow. The Small Tract Act was designed to "dispose of 'useless' federal lands from the public lands," allowing citizens "to lease up to 5 acres of desert for recreational purposes or for home or business." Fast-forward to now and you have a variety of interests - from artists to climbers, military families to outlaws, year-round residents to tourists - utilizing these tracts.
EAT: The UN recommends a vegan diet to combat climate change. Can you do it? I have at times, been vegan, but have wavered in the past few years. A turn toward a deeper shade of green maybe in order.
LISTEN: We loaded up the CD player with the work of several fine Bay Area musicians we know and appreciate, and whiled away the hours listening. None of these Cds are brand new, but all stand to give for some years. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Alameda Songwriters Roundup: May 29 at High Street Station

A special evening featuring six dynamic songwriters from the Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay areas presenting their songs in-the-round. Call (510) 995-8049to reserve a seat! We've been having a great time at these events and this month features a great group of artists representing all corners of California

Alameda Songwriter's Roundup at High Street Station Cafe, featuring:

Deborah Crooks

Josephine Johnson

Lisa Graciano

Michele Kappel-Stone

Mindy Dillard

Pi Jacobs