Best of the Beast

Now that 2010 is winding down, it’s not so scary. We can handle this new decade thing, sure, but this time last year we took a collective gulp and didn’t really know what to expect. So, let us raise our proverbial glasses. Here’s to the best of the beast, 2010!

10. Meeting Kate Nash

Its no secret I’m a big, huge, ginormous Kate Nash fan. I paid for my copy of  Made of Bricks in Euros and had it shipped here before it was even available stateside because the likelihood of seeing her live in Orlando was slim to none. Living in Seattle, though, the music scene is a fair bit different. So many amazing musicians play here, local and touring. So many that it can be depressing because there just isn’t enough time to see them all. My jaw dropped when I saw the ad in the Stranger and I got tickets as soon as they were available.

A few weeks later, there we were, Butterfly and I, at Neumos squeezed between a pack of some of the most annoying bitches I’ve ever seen but I was happy. Then, some drunk guy decided it would be wise to throw a beer bottle from the balcony toward the opening act, a trio of teenaged girls called Super Cute. Kate appeared at my right, in a cast looking thoroughly upset. Great, we finally get someone I want to see in town and we piss her off. But Kate Nash still rocked it because that’s what she does. There was not a single stray note and she certainly didn’t fall into that sophomore album slump that some fall prey to. You could say it took me to a higher plane.

May 2010, Neumos

"It's so nice to put the name with the face."

I couldn’t afford the new album that night, but I stayed after and waited in line to meet her anyway. Months before Kate called out for submissions for her mini mag, My Ignorant Youth, and accepted a poem that I’d written. When I finally made my way to the front of the line and told her that I’d written My Favorite Color, she knew my name immediately. That feeling will never go away from me, just knowing someone who’s work I so respect respects mine, too. Then, as Butterfly and I were leaving we noticed that one of the bitches had dropped her copy of My Best Friend Is You. Yay!

9. Wenatchee River

To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember how I got invited on this excursion, but a merry band of enthusiastic people, known to common folk as the Autumn Electric, picked Butterfly and me up and drove us to Yakima and then to Leavenworth. It must’ve been roll call in the cosmos that first night, every star was out and shining.

The Autumn Electric’s lead cooer, Michael Trew, loaded up Vandalf the Grey with some guitars, Naomi (number one group smile inducer), her melodica, her keyboard, and Kevin and his bass.

We lodged in a place so cute it could’ve been called Ho Humm Ranch. Our suite featured the mother of all sewing tables and trundle beds. I wanted to trade all my clothes for flannel and buy a shovel and just dig a three bedroom trench there.

April 2010

babble, babble

We skipped stones, ate sweets and giggled enormously. We saw great performances by Ricky Berger, Adrian Bourgeois and the Autumn Electric themselves. We all slept very well. We  had a balanced breakfast.


8. Snow at the Burrow

The Burrow, November 2010


It was cute until I waited two hours for a bus in it. But when it first started, when everything was still except the flurry of these mini ice sculptures, snow melted my heart. In the morning I scooped it up in my hand and nommed it, a snow cone so fresh it didn’t need artificial flavoring.

7. Thanksgiving at Mack Mansion

Mack Mansion, November 2010

Photo by Jeri Mack, Queen of Feasts

There’s never a bad time when the Macks are around. Jesse and Jeri Mack are a good time, all the time, rain or shine. Even if they’re tired from working all day. Even if they’ve got work early in the morning the next day. Minor trivialities are of little consequence. All you ever know is you’re with these guys and you’re having a ball.

Then something aligns in the universe and I, somehow, was warm and smiling and encompassed by the feeling of true belonging. Who is there at a time like this? Who, in fact, made the whole thing not only possible but picture perfect? Why, the Macks, of course.


6. Fond Farewells

Nothing beats a good friend. There’s no replacement for a late night love song binge copilot. Not just anyone can preach the gospel and take it all the way up the Space Needle. There’s simply no one better to share a meal with.

Three of my buddies set sail away from the Emerald City this year. Each one left a particular staleness in his absence, but these guys’ dreams shiver in their boots because they know how to play chase.

Dain Michael Down, Poet

See Also, Gospel Of

Justin Blackwell, Man

See Also, Writer

Erik Forrest, Rider

This year, too, saw the end of the old Buckaroo, the best place to drink in my neighborhood. It was so cool even bus drivers on Metro announced its presence. The Buck had been fighting the evil forces of thirst and sobriety for years and then someone dropped the ball. There were petitions, I hear, and there’s a rumor that it’ll be reincarnated with all the bells and whistles. I don’t know about that, though, even the best bar (ahem), Will’s Pub’s, newest location just makes me miss the Old Will’s. Maybe its one of those unchallengeable golden memories that will always linger in the backs of our minds. That’s okay. The Buck is worth it.

Buckaroo Tavern, Fremont, Seattle

RIP Buckaroo Tavern

5. ROCKiT Space

I’ve already mentioned how much I love ROCKiT Space here, but it bears repeating not only for the space itself, but for the company it keeps. I’ve met so many wonderfully inspiring artists there that I would dare say its a friggin’ gold mine. A gold mine, I tell you!


4. Visiting Orlando

Sometimes I wonder if it reads as pretentious when I say I have all the best friends in the world. I wonder, but I don’t change the phrasing because it’s absolutely true. These people let me into their hearts and minds and then, when we were as close as a group of outlandish creative types could be, I up and moved to Seattle in hopes of becoming my own main character. They supported me all the way, well, most of the way. They sent letters, non perishables, and lots of love without which I would not have made such a smooth transition.

Then, we they’d decided it had been too long since they got legitimate Sunshine hugs, they pooled together and purchased a plane ticket and brought me home again. It was five days of nonstop action beginning with getting picked up at the airport and whisked to a Dirty McCoy & the Trailer Park Refugees show featuring Tam Tam the Sandwich Man & the Magical Sugar Cookies! We meditated on the beaches, which is probably the last time I’ll get to do that without slipping on a patch of oil. They took me dancing, drinking, walking. They told me stories with wild gesticulations and Spanish food. I even got to surprise Mama Sunshine for her birthday. I felt like a rockstar from the moment I landed at Orlando International until we broke through the clouds surrounding Sea-Tac.

Thank you to everyone involved. I had a fantastic time.

The City Beautiful

Sunny Florida

3. 4 Loko

Necessito hablar mas?

Four Loko Giants

We were giants.

2. 4th of July

Gas Works Park alone is majestic. It’s a park now, but was once an oil refinery and sports a rustic, industrial feel. There’s a picturesque hill that you could run up and roll down. It overlooks Lake Union and beyond to downtown and on over to the Space Needle. I’d have to say its my absolute favorite view of Seattle, especially if you’re lucky enough to catch Mount Rainier in there, too. For the festivities this year there was a giant, inflated Statue of Liberty head on top of hill and campers all around her. The Macks stayed there all day through the soggy rain to get the best view of the fireworks and it was the best display of benign explosives I’ve ever seen.

4th of July - Seattle

Image by Ryan

1. Super Plaid

And finally for 2010, the thing I’m most excited about, proud of and humbled by is Super Plaid. I have the pleasure of being surrounded by genuine people who are truly talented; to play, sing and dance with this bunch. To be honest, I don’t even know how I got so lucky. The way we glided into each other’s lives makes me quite positive that we’re meant to do great things musically and environmentally. We’ve faced a few challenges, which is to be expected, I suppose, but a start this steady will surely keep us grounded and strong and careful and, hopefully, wise. I so look forward to shows, tours and unrelenting fame and fortune. Don’t worry, we will build a secret compound where the cameras can’t follow us and we will get down.

Not Stripes, Not Solids. Super Plaid.


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