Hermosa means Beautiful.

28 March 2012

                      Pam Swarz, originally from Buffalo, but now a Phoenician.       


Elise and I went to Arizona last week at the behest of our friend Peggy Pettigrew Stewart a glass artist who practices in Scottsdale.


Peggy rang the gong and we came running. We were to do an event together at The Hermosa Inn, a very beautiful place. We are so happy to be there.


The idea was to have dinner at The Hermosa Inn and then talk about Peggy’s glass work and my shady past with Big Brother and the Holding Company.


I went out walking near the Hermosa Inn and came upon this nameless street, the first one I have ever seen. I mean, I have seen roads with no name but never a road that had a sign saying “road without name.”

Arizona is beautiful, of course, and there are interesting forms everywhere, but especially at the Hermosa Inn.


The day before our event, we went to the Musical Instrument Museum a little north of Phoenix.

              I used to go to the Metropolitan Museum in New York and I loved their musical instrument collection.

But the Musical Instrument Museum in Arizona might be the largest in the world. It is simply an amazing place to view wonderful musical instruments.

                                Kalimbas. Thumb pianos.

Ian Smith and his gang came out and did a beautiful job of explaining the museum to us.

     Erin Kozak, Pam Swarz, Sandra Keely, Ian, Sam, Elise, Karen Farugia, Peggy Pettigrew Stewart, Cullen Strawn.

With Karen and Erin. These folks were so kind and knowledgeable.

             Poor April Salomon caught the flu that I had earlier last week and couldn’t be with us.

Elise Piliwale is showing me how to ring the gong, a skill she learned from her noble ancestors on Hawaii.

Bill DeWalt, seen here with Sylvia, runs the whole show at the Museum. Great to be with such interesting people.


Now it’s Wednesday 21 March and Peggy, Pam and I start thinking about our event at the Hermosa Inn tonight.


First, Peggy talks about her glass process and shows some examples.



We talk to everyone about how we are going to do a project together.

    Pam Swarz and Tom Curzon.           Elisha Greenleaf.

      Stephanie Norton.         Elisha, Elise, Pam and Stephanie.

I was going to play, and Cindy even brought me a guitar, but we all just talked instead, which was better actually.


Elise and Lance were adoring us from afar.

And probably wishing that they were far away.

I told the long tale of Big Brother and the Holding Company, illustrated version:


There were a lot of questions. People seemed to enjoy the evening.

                                        Peggy is doing some really interesting things with glass.

The evening was magical, really, and very Arizonan in its way.


The next day Elise and I went to Sedona.


There must be a LOT of iron in Sedona. Everything is red.


Shadows are lengthening; it’s getting late.


Time to think about starting for home.

This was a fun trip to Arizona. We’ll see you soon.

Sam Andrew


Big Brother and the Holding Company



The Dog Blog.

25 March 2012

The word dog goes back so far in English that there is really no other word that it came from, and it is a peculiarly English word.

Other languages have borrowed the word “dog,” but English hasn’t borrowed the word from any other languages.

I love dogs and love to paint them. I know I’m not alone in this, and you should take a look at these ready made dog kennels if you’re looking to bring one of these furry companions into your home.

In Anglo Saxon the word was “dogca.” The last syllable was a diminutive, so the effect was something like “doggie.”

People on the continent used some version of “hound,” for dogs in general.

The earliest known mention in print of the animal is a Dutch/French sentence: “een dogghe, vn gros matin d’Engleterre, canis anglicus.”

Canis lupus familiarus is the formal designation for the domestic dog.

Janis and George.

All dogs came from the wolf, canis lupus, a member of the Canidae, Carnivora.

The dog I have my hand on here is Sancho. Many people thought of him as THE Family Dog. Sancho was preternaturally clever and stories of his exploits often strained credulity. Mouse and Kelly made this poster for the Avalon and they put Sancho’s footprint on it.

The dog might be the first domesticated animal. We love having them in our homes as our loyal friends. We even use a dog carrier so we can take them with us on our adventures. Protecting their health is something every owner is concerned with. Use petinsurance.review to find the best pet insurance provider for your dog.

Domesticated dog skeletons have been found in Siberia and Belgium from about 33,000 years before present.

These early skeletons show shortening of the snout, widening of the muzzle and crowding of the teeth, all of which differ them from the wolf.

DNA evidences a split between dogs and wolves about a hundred thousand years ago, but no examples from before 33,000 years ago have been found.

Canis lupus familiaris can refer to the dog we know, but also to the wolf, coyote and jackals.

It can refer to members of the tribe Canini, the African wild dog, foxes, bush dog, racoon dog.

The word “hound” was used for all domestic canines up to the 14th century.

But in the next two hundred years, “dog” became the usual word and “hound” referred to hunting canines.

“Hound” came from Indo-European “kwon,” dog, and this is the word that survived in Latin canis and, for example, Welsh ci (plural cwn).

If you go to the Westminster dog show, you will hear a male canine called a “dog,” and a female a “bitch.” Standard terminology.

This is a rhyton in the shape of a dog’s head made by Brygos in the early fifth century before the common era.

It is difficult sometimes to believe how much a dog or a cat can love us and put up with our silliness.

I am eternally and necessarily grateful for the nonjudgmental aspects of our cat and dog here at home. We owe them a comfy time in exchange, maybe by reading some reviews of dog beds to keep them soft and happy as they sleep.

This is a handsome dingo. Chet Helms’ brother John had a dingo once and we all lived together. Very educational.

Dingoes are the aboriginal dogs of Australia.

Dogs can see better at night than we can.

And they smell with more acuity than any other creature on the planet.

You probably have noticed things like this.

Egyptians loved dogs too.

Many are the saints who claim to be patrons of dogs.

Saint Roche, or San Rocco as he was called in Italy, is a dog patron saint candidate.

Saint Francis, or, more properly, San Francesco d’Asissi, was another.

Last Spring a couple of foxes tried to make a den under my painting studio. I store my work there, so it is a quiet place, but I must have spooked them when I finally emerged from winter hibernation, because they left and haven’t returned. The male was quite aggressive and he would run up the driveway and growl at me in a surprisingly loud, low voice for a creature of that size and delicacy.

Standard Poodles have a loyal devotee coterie, you see.

A dog from Gilgamesh.

Another Standard Poodle lover.

Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote beautiful music for the guitar and other instruments. His surname means “Wolfville.”

A wolf has recently made an appearance in California, the first one in a hundred years.

The Inu, which merely means “dog” in Japanese has a somewhat wolflike demeanor, but is very smooth and, oh, you know, Japanese.

“Inu” is written like this. You can see that the shell and bone form was a drawing of a dog. Later the character becomes more stylized on bronzeware. The seal inscription style has evolved to a more abstract form and the contemporary kanji is on the bottom left.

Inugami, the dog god. You can see the word “inu” there. The second character is “kami, gami,” god. Similar to “kamikaze” which meant “divine wind” or “god wind.”

Isabella Rossellini, fairly divine herself, looking quite a bit like her mother here.

Christopher Guest’s mother in law.

This was a fine dog. Smart and alert like most Border Collies.

I always like Jean Arthur’s voice. it had an interesting edge. Her dog has spots on his ears.

Two very likable creatures. Or should that be lickable ?

Joel Hoekstra’s puppy, probably huge by now. Joel and Antonia live on the upper West side, Manhattan, and they are beautiful people. So is their dog.

Josie is a pussycat and she loves her best friend.

Kathryn Adams and her, is it?, Boston Terrier.

Dog spelled backwards is God. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

What may make you think even more, is that “wolf” spelled backwards is “flow.”

Or that pup spelled backwards is pup.

Now the hungry lion roars, And the wolf behowls the moon. Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Sacco’s name will live in the hearts of the people and in their gratitude when Katzmann’s and your bones will be dispersed by time, when your name, your laws, institutions, and your false god are but a dim remembering of a cursed past in which man was wolf to man. Bartolomeo Vanzetti 1888-1927.

I like the way their eyes tilt upward.

Louise Brooks was from the Midwest, but she had a career in European cinema, much like that Ohio woman Jean Seberg who starred in À Bout de Souffle with Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Mad-dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun; the Jappanese don’t care to, the Chinese wouldn’t dare to; Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one, But Englishmen detest a Siesta.

Noël Coward.

In 1987 a German Shepherd won Best in Show at the Westminster.

Dogs turn around before they lie down in order to flatten the grass and drive away any small vermin that are there.

Though, as we know, she was not fond of pets that must be held in the hands or trodden on, she was always attentive to the feelings of dogs, and very polite if she had to decline their advances. George Eliot.

A pug is more closely related to a wolf than a German Shepherd is.

When a dog chases a car, the car generally speeds away. The dog thinks he has been successful in chasing it off, so he will repeat that behavior over and over.

The Basenji is a unique dog that originates in Central Africa. They don’t bark, instead emitting a high-pitched “yodel.” Their behavior has been described as cat-like; they groom like cats and they are known to climb trees. My wife Elise is obsessed with rescuing basenjis. She looks at their animal care sites as avidly as some people look at e bay.

En quoi un homard est-il plus ridicule qu’un chien…ou toute autre bête dont on se fait suivre? J’ai le goût des homards, qui sont tranquilles, sérieux, savent les secrets de la mer, n’aboient pas et n’avalent pas la monade des gens comme les chiens, si antipathiques à Goethe, lequel pourtant n’était pas fou. Gérard de Nerval 1808-1855.

How is a lobster more ridiculous than a dog…or any other animal that one chooses to take for a walk? I like lobsters. They are peaceful, serious, they know the secrets of the sea, they don’t bark, and they don’t try to eat your balls the way dogs do. Goethe had an antipathy to dogs and he wasn’t crazy. Gérard de Nerval explaining why he walked a lobster on a leash in gardens of the Palais Royal.

The most intelligent dogs are said to be the Border Collie and the Poodle.

Re vera, cultor denuo renatus deorum Romanorum antiquorum sum. Actually, I’m a born again pagan.

Intense grief over the death of a dog is normal and natural.

The more I see of men, the better I like dogs. Madame Roland 1754-1793.

A dog we met on Okinawa.

Turbane magna vehiculorum obviam erat tibi venienti huc ? Run into much traffic on the way over ?

Thirty-three percent of dog owners admit they talk to their dogs on the phone or leave messages on the answering machine while they are away.

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Revelation.

All dogs can be traced back 40 million years ago to a weasel-like animal called the Miacis which dwelt in trees and dens. The Miacis later evolved into the Tomarctus, a direct forbear of the genus Canis, which includes the wolf and jackal as well as the dog.

Ad venatum vadamus. Let’s cut to the chase.

A bear grabbed her dog. She ran after the bear, punched it in the face and snatched her dog back. Don’t make a mother mad.

Aka inu. Red dog.

Small quantities of grapes and raisins can cause renal failure in dogs. Chocolate, macadamia nuts, cooked onions or anything with caffeine can also be harmful.

Avocado, mushrooms and seeds of any type aren’t good either.

Shi dog made by a commercial art studio on Okinawa. People put these dogs at corners of their house on the roof to keep away evil spirits, or maybe just because they like them.

Tuesday Weld was married to Rip Torn. I once sang country songs all night with Bobby Nieuwirth and Kris Kristofferson at Rip Torn’s house. Mr. Torn narrated our video 900 Nights.

Guarding a house across the street from our hotel on Okinawa.

Players, Sir ! I look upon them as no better than creatures set upon tables and joint stools to make faces and produce laughter, like dancing dogs. Samuel Johnson 1709-1784.

Shiba no inu. Is EVERYTHING the Japanese do cute, or does it just seem that way ?

Imagine if there were this much variation in humans. What if dogs bred US ?

Shiba inu.

And daun Russell the fox stirte up atones. Chaucer.

Ozzy Osborne saved his wife Sharon’s Pomeranian from a coyote by tackling and wrestling the coyote until it released the dog. Talk about a hero.

Any man who hates dogs and babies can’t be all bad. W.C. Fields.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Matthew, probably talking about TV evangelists.

Nunc, vero inter saxum et locum durum sum. Now I am really between a rock and a hard place.

The little dogs and all, Tray, Blanch, and Sweet-heart, see, they bark at me. King Lear.

A dog’s life. He lives in Athens, visits the Acropolis daily and is constantly photographed. Well, okay, the being photographed may be a little disturbing, but…

Yvonne de Carlo.

Sometimes, most of the time?, the worst thing about parting from someone is that you have to leave her dog too.

Woof. Arf. Wag.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company



18 March 2012

Did you know that cats, the ones who aren’t agnostics anyway, have a patron saint?

She is Gertrude de Nivelles and she is also the patron of gardeners.

Yesterday 17 March was her Feastday. You have to wonder if Santa Gertrudis cattle are named for her and, you know, they probably are.

Gertrude who was born in 626 of our era is often invoked against rats and mice, particularly field mice, so she is the protector of cats.

In my halcyon days, I often liked to take LSD and study the world around me, particularly cats who were near to hand and always fascinating.

They seem to study me too.

Cats are so well engineered and seem to fit in their life niche better than many, many other creatures. Although they sometimes do suffer from anxiety issues and other health problems (like any other animal) and might need CBD products for cats to help them cope. But overall, cats are good at what they do – being cats.

This cat is Jazzy. He lives in San Anselmo.

We brought Lizzy home when she was a baby and in two days she knew how to go the bathroom, clean herself, climb, no, run, up and down the spiral staircase, things that our eight year old dog still has not learned. She seemed that advanced that we thought she would be able sort her own cat insurance out!

I love dogs and indeed plan to write about them soon, but a cat will run circles around a dog when she isn’t actually jumping circles around him.

Notice that I have unconsciously ascribed a gender to each of these animals.

Women are cats.

Men are dogs. Take that any way you want to.

No stereotyping here.

Big Brother and the Holding Company played in Central Park in the summer of 2003. One of our singers was Chan Marshall.

Chan sometimes calls herself Cat Power.

When she was onstage with us, when we were actually playing Down On Me, Chan held a tape recorder to her ear, listening to Janis Joplin sing Down On Me. This was such a post Modern approach to learning a tune that I have never forgot Chan.

Ernest Hemingway was one of the more famous lovers of polydactyl cats.

He was first given a six-toed cat by a ship’s captain.

As provided in his will, his former home in Key West, Florida currently houses some fifty descendants of his cats. About half of them are polydactyl.

I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course. Mark Twain.

Mark Twain was asked: “What is better than a cat?” To which Twain replied: “Two cats!”

Fitting thing for a man named Twain to say.

Motto: Momma loves morals and Papa loves cats. Susy Clemens.

Sir Isaac Newton loved cats. He invented the cat door.

Edgar Allan Poe used cats as symbols of the sinister in several of his stories, although he himself owned and loved cats. He used his tortoiseshell cat “Catarina” as the inspiration for his story ‘The Black Cat’.

T.S. Eliot was a cat lover and he wrote an entire book of poems about cats, that ultimately became a rather well known musical.

Nostradamus (1503 – 1566), the prognosticator of prognosticators, had a cat named Grimalkin, which, with a capital letter or no, is a name used generically for a cat, especially an old one.

Monet loved cats and depicted them in several paintings.

Florence Nightingale owned a large Persian cat named “Bismarck”. She owned more than 60 cats in her lifetime.

Then there’s Kat Patterson who has many feline characteristics.

So does Peggy Pettigrew Stewart, gifted glass artist, here in her natural habitat. Elise and I are going to Arizona to see Peggy this week.

Catalina and Albert.

One of our very early songs in Big Brother and the Holding Company was Faster, Faster, Pussycat, Kill, Kill. I never saw the film, but the tune was fun to play faster and faster.

Robert Crumb said he felt terrible about creating three things because he was ripped off on each of them: 1. the Keep On Truckin’ logo. 2. Fritz the Kat, and 3. the Cheap Thrills album cover because Columbia paid him a small fee and then years later his original drawing was sold at Sotheby’s for some ungodly sum.

I have said so often that Crumb is the greatest artist of our time that I am beginning to believe it.

Why no one in the art world will even try to pronounce “Brueghel” correctly is a bit of a puzzle. Everyone says it as if it were German and written Breugel, but it’s not. It’s Dutch and it is the very devil to pronounce. In Haarlem, I once asked a docent how to pronounce it. I had to ask him three times and I still didn’t get it. It is SOMETHING like Brew hull where the r is said with a flap as in Spanish or Italian and where the h is pronounced as “ch” in German or Scottish. It is definitely not “Broigull,” as Robert Hughes and even Robert Crumb pronounce it.

“Gattare” are Roman women who feed and care for the feral cats of that city.

Edward Gorey and his grimalkin.

Yoko, John and Pepper.

George definitely seems like a cat person.

As does Stan Laurel.

Gato Barbieri was the happening Latin musician when I played with Cubans in New York in the 1970s. Gato is Spanish for “cat,” from Latin “cattus.”

The Classical Latin for “cat” was “felis,” but people in the street said “cattus.” Think of when we say “feline” in English and when we say “cat.”

I once had a cat named Felix, not for “felis,” but for “felix,” happy. Compare Spanish “feliz” and Italian “felice.”

In Greek there was also a learned word for cat (aílouros) and a street word (káttos).

From the word “aílouros,” we get ailurophilia and ailurophbia and you can probably guess what those are. I have a cat who sticks her tongue out just a little bit as this one does. She will leave it there until you call her attention to it.

Ailurophobes are immediately detected by cats who then shower their attention on them… sometimes quite literally.

The poet Martial used the word “catta,” and modern Greeks say “gáta” from Italian “gatta.”

In Catalan, they say “gat.” I think Pablo Picasso may have frequented a café called Quatre Gats (Four Cats) when he was a young man in Barcelona at the turn of the last century.

The English seem to love cats a bit more than the rest of us.

Bowie and Purrie.

Writers like cats, maybe because they are sedentary and soft, or maybe because cats just seem to be wise and comfortable.

I have spent a lifetime drawing and painting cats. I put Mr. O’Reilly in here. He is nothing like that bully on Faux News.

Interspecies love affair, courtesy of my friend Filia Franco.

If you want to draw a kitten, you have to move quickly.

An ailurophile’s bass guitar.

Notice that cats walk on their “fingertips” and that their thumb has migrated up into their inside “forearm” area. You only see four digits in the footprint. Shakespeare called the feline/canine thumb a “dewclaw.”

These thumbs have not migrated yet.

But, hey, they may.

This man loved cats.

Socks also knew his way around the White House.

“I have seven lives. Help me to live at least one of them well.” (I thought they had nine lives.)

Zappa means “hoe” in Italian. No, not that kind of hoe. The other kind of hoe.

I knew this cat well.

Two rather handsome cats.

He assumed the name “Capote” from where I don’t know. It means a big cape or a cloak.

It may even be a top for a convertible.

They visited Minden, Nevada, together.

Drew is a true blue ailurophile.

I love it when cats stick out their arms like this.

Thereby hangs a… oh, you know, a big sweeper.

Cats are as varied in their character and personalities as humans are. Maybe more so.

Some decisive, chiseled.

Others a little softer around the edges.

Ready to go with whatever.

Orange tabbys are always fun.

Love and happiness. (Hey, good idea for a song title.)


Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Starfinder and Larry the Hat at The Sweetwater.

Monday 12 March 2012

Monday night in Mill Valley, California.

Tony Saunders and  Starfinder Stanley in the green room at the new Sweetwater.

Everything felt right. The vibes (and vibes are very important in California), the vibes were right. Pete Sears, Inez Garcia and Kurt Huget.

We were all there to celebrate the release of Owsley Stanley’s Carousel CD. Robert Altman always in good spirits.

This man is a star, so Starfinder should find him. I don’t know who he is, but he’s a star.

Joli Valenti turned in a great set, and then Lynn Asher, Peter Albin, Terry Haggerty, Kurt Huget, Paul Revelli and I did Down On Me, Bobby McGee, Call On Me and Piece of My Heart.

The beautiful Elise and the not so bad looking either Jesse.

Alzara Getz and Lynn Asher. Lynn did such a good job of singing.

Elise Piliwale and Peter Albin.     You have to walk across the stage in front of the band to get to the dressing room. Good planning.

This was such a great night. Thank you to everyone, but especially to Larry Lautzker (Larry the Hat) and Starfinder Stanley for making it happen.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


Saint Patrick

11 March 2012


Patrick was born sometime in the fifth century of our era at Kilpatrick, Dumbartonshire, Scotland.

The Antonine Wall had its western terminus near Kilpatrick in West Dumbartonshire, so this was Roman territory. It would be like a military post or base today.

The Antonine Wall was farther north than Hadrian’s

Patrick’s name was most likely Patricius since his father Calpurnius was from a patrician family and served as a deacon (decio) in the church.

In Irish Patrick is Pádraig.

Patrick’s grandfather was a priest. (This is long before the Church, in her wisdom, decided that priests should be celibate.)

Two authentic letters from Patrick survive and we know most of his life from these.

His mother Conchessa was from the same family as Martin de Tours, the patron saint of France.

Martin is so often depicted with a sword seemingly aimed at a near naked man on foot, that one could not be faulted for thinking that he was about to impale the poor beggar.  Martin was, however, using his sword to cut his cloak in two to share it with the man..


Irish adventurers abducted Patrick when he was sixteen and he was sold into slavery.

His new owner Milchu of Dairiada in Antrim, Ireland, made him a shepherd and Patrick led a lonely meditative life of prayer for six years.

Milchu was a Druid and thus Patrick came to have a thorough knowledge of the native Irish religion and the Celtic Irish speech.

The study of druidism was his apprenticeship into Irish ways.

At the end of his six year slavery, Patrick escaped traveling west 200 miles to Westport where he sailed for Britain and was soon with family and friends.

He then went to his mother’s family in Gaul, to the monastery at Tours and he also studied at the island sanctuary of Lérins.

Patrick felt insecure about his education and his rustic Latin.

Hearing that Saint Germain (Sanctus Germanus) was preaching at Auxerre, Patrick went to him and after much study became a priest.

Germain was called to Britain to combat the Pelagian heresy there, and Patrick went with him.

Then he began thinking seriously of returning to Ireland.

He began to hear voices calling him back.

Saint Germain, Bishop of Auxerre, commended Patrick to Pope St. Celestine I who gave him the mission of bringing Ireland into the Church.

The Pope now named him Patercius or Patritius to indicate that Patrick would become the pater civium, the father of his people.

Thus, in 433 Patrick landed at the Vantry River close by Wicklow Head.

He made his way to Dairiada and payed the price of ransom to his former master.

Before contending with the Druids, he rested for a while off the Skerrie Coast.

A chieftain named Dichu at first tried to stop Patrick, but Dichu gradually became a friend and gave Patrick a sabhail (barn) which became the first patrician sanctuary in Ireland.

“Sabhail” is an Irish word meaning “save, preserve,” in one sense for the saving of crops. Over time the word became “saul.”

A monastery and church were built there and the place is still known as Sabhail (Saul). This is where Patrick died many years later.

Patrick’s former master Milchu, rather than be converted by his former slave, burned all of his (Milchu’s) possessions and threw himself into the fire.

Fire was sacred to the Irish.

Patrick used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish honored their gods with fire.

Patrick understood the power of symbolism.

He made the Irish cross by superimposing a sun, which the Irish worshipped, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross.

When he returned to Saul (Sabhail), Patrick heard that there was to be a special gathering of all the chieftains at Tara on 26 March Easter Sunday 433.

All the chiefs and Druids came.

Patrick performed many great works at this festival and the people of Ireland understood that he was a messenger to them.

All the chieftains, all the bards and all the people understood Patrick’s special clarity and holiness.

It was here that he showed them the shamrock and explained the triune godhead.

On that Easter Day at Tara, the triumph of Patrick was complete.

The sacred fire now kindled by the saint would never be extinguished.

Patrick died on 17 March 493.

He is said to be buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down.

By the way, there have been no snakes in Ireland for ten thousand years.

No snakes either on New Zealand, iceland, Greenland, Antarctica or Hawaii and probably many other island places.

The shamrock was sacred in pre-Christian Ireland. It represented rebirth and eternal life.

Religious life in Ireland is very old… at least six thousand years old, but probably even more venerable.

Be sure to wear green this Saturday.

See you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company


In the land of the Maidu: 3-4 March 2012

4 March 2012

Feather Falls Casino                 Oroville               California

Check the calendar, change strings and listen to the tunes.

These are Elise’s handwritten directions.  She writes down the route and says, “Hey, it’s near Chico,” and I reply, “Yes. Paradise.”

Our room in the Feather Falls Casino hotel.

The hallway, such a familiar scene for someone who travels a lot.

The minute we get in the room, Elise starts making the magic happen.

I turn on the television. Have you googled “santorum” lately ?

I’ve played this guitar for a long time now. Paul Reed Smith gave her to me. She’s been a good one.

Donna Patterson and Tom Finch in the green room.

Donna always knows how to answer my questions about Twitter, Facebook, Google. You Tube, My Space. The woman is a cyberencyclopedia.

Peter making the sets. There is a certain sense of déjà vu here.

Peter, Sam, Stefanie, Tom.

This is who made the escalator in the casino. They’ve been around for a while.

Srefanie and her husband David.

Peter, Donna, Mike, Tom, Elise.

Donna. Hey, I could paint this and make it the Donna Lisa.

Peter playing It’s Cool…Baby.

We did two one hour sets.

Stefanie, Tom and Peter working on their dance steps.

Tom Finch. He’s getting a little frisky.

It can be so surreal backstage.

Thinking about Ishi.

This is a real Native American.

So we wake up the next morning and I pack the car, all the while thinking about Ralph, an unreasonable man. This sticker is on the back of Elise’s car.  She’s voted for him in every presidential election since 1996.

Elise leaves our room neat and clean for the next guests.

Says a prayer of thanksgiving and farewell.

And drives us down highway 70 south to Sacramento.

We decide to stop in Davis, California, near Sacramento. I have played in this town, but it seems to me that I have never really been here before.

We have a little vacation, very interesting, visiting bookstores and other interesting places. Beautiful day.

I bought this book and Elise read it to me.

We thought about going to this China restaurant, but it felt so good just being outside.

I am doing a painting of Lady Marchmain and the border will be very elaborate, but I am doing it in subtle colors so I don’t overpower her face.

Elise delighted in the metal sculpture on this Davis dumpster.

Art and ice cream… what’s not to love ?

I went into another bookstore and saw this image.

Is nothing sacred ? I mean, legendary pizza. Well, I hope it is.

What would she think of that ? She’d probably be amazed that anyone would care enough to name a shop Woodstock.

Things weren’t weird enough. We had to walk by this building, and Elise said, “Hey, it’s Barry. What’s he doing here ?”

What indeed ?

My main memory of Barry Melton is from when he looked a little more like Harpo Marx.

Such a great guy. We played together in Scotland a few years ago when Carla Piliwale and Edd Hart came over to be with us.

So, Elise and I said goodbye to Davis,  a charming little town.

We drove west on Highway 80 and took the 37 highway across the top of the bay. There was Mount Tamalpais at last, welcoming us to Marin.

Home to San Geronimo.

Thank you always for being here, and I’ll see you next week.

Sam Andrew

Big Brother and the Holding Company