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Sculpterra Winery, Paso Robles

Driving south into a wall of heat headed towards San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. We check into the Motel 6 on the edge of town for one night. Next to the motel is a casino and a gas station mini mart I stop into for postcards and stand in line behind a weathered cowboy, dusty boots and big hat.  It’s too hot to be inside and being labor day weekend the motel folks are tailgating in lawn chairs playing cards and drinking.

Sculpterra Winery is down a desolate hot road east of the freeway. It is known for it’s metal work and sculpture gardens. It is above 95 degrees and there is no place to escape the heat except inside with the wine tasters. Steve Key who produces the showcase plays some songs as well as a handful of other singer-songwriters. Rob Kimmel plays a mean 12 string and DJ’s a folk show in the area and we excitedly talk about tenor guitars and alternative tunings like two music nerds. The stage thank god is in the shade. Playing outside among the trees and the grape vines makes me feel like a wood nymph serenading the town folk. People have picnics and bottles of wine and I am thankful for the slightest wind now and then.

 

 

 

 

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What’s Up Santa Cruz

My older sister Jocelyn has decided to hitch a ride to San Diego with me as I tour my way down the coast. Labor Day traffic is bad and we barely make it out of the city and over 17 into Santa Cruz by the 6pm show. I magically do sound even though the soundboard is about 15 feet away from me. (I am musician and magician) An old housemate Danielle (from when I lived with my sister when we both went to UCSC) shows up with a gaggle of girls and kids, who all chat, heckle, and drink tea while I play, and graciously buy some cds. My friend Julie surprises me from Marin with her family in tow. The whole place is filled with friendly faces that night and I let their energy remind me of my excitement  about the tour (and the musical mission!)

My time at UC Santa Cruz in the 90’s was spent shooting 16mm film, immersed in the world of experimental film, Maya Deren, Tarkovskiy, the poetry of images. Back then my music was a sacred secret; hours in the practice rooms hidden away in the redwoods between Kresege College and Porter College on campus.  Mostly piano music with some vocals, few lyrics — ethereal explorations, channeled siren songs from the deepest ocean. I felt no need to market, analyze, or explain it. Few people heard that music besides my mom (she still has boxes of these tapes) and some of the music became film soundtracks. I felt fractionated with the intellectual pursuits and confined by the limitations of working towards a degree that wasn’t music. And even though I worked in film production for a while, I always knew my heart was in music.  Film felt like the affair while music was the great love.

We spend the night at Danielle’s house with her German Shepard Kima and her sassy four year old daughter Isabella who loves everything pink and sparkly and girlie. She owns hundreds of my little ponies (While I am sleeping on the couch I wake up during the night with pink plastic ponies poking into me between the seat cushions.) In the morning we drive around to old apartments and houses we used to live in. I get a text from a friend back home asking if the tour is heroic and magical. And the answer is yes.

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