My favorite new artists to listen to, track and tell people about are Molly Tuttle, Remi Wolf and La Doña, also known as Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea.
Molly and Remi are from Palo Alto, though Molly lives in Nashville and Remi lives in LA. They were actually neighbors, or their parents are. Remi went to Paly and Molly Peninsula School.
I first met Remi about eight years ago, at an open mic at Philz coffee, the one on Alma. I was doing a comedic monologue about Jim Harbaugh and she and Chloe were about to sing “Somebody that I Used to Know”. Got it?
- I met Molly at the Gryphon Stringed 50th anniversary party, and then she played the next day at an Earthwise Productions concert at Mitchell Park Community Center El Palo Alto Room, fall, 2019. I am not sure I had heard of her until a friend reported that she was the star of Telluride Bluegrass Festival that year, and then I saw her picture on the wall at Gryphon — her father Jack Tuttle has taught at Gryphon for many years.
Terry and I took Beth Custer, her husband and five others to Stern Grove two weeks ago, their opening event. The headliner was Ledisi, the Oakland/NOLA/NYC soul diva, who I knew slightly from her Bay Area days (she too, like Molly, played my new band series, but in 1997). We were just getting settled and passing around various salads and snacks – and arepa from Coupa Cafe, remains from Terry’s retirement party during the previous week — when we noticed La Doña’s music, which was a mix of Latin styles. I noted later that eight of our party of nine spoke Spanish, three as their native language (Beth Custer apeared in my series once as Doña Luz 30 Besos – -which the spellcheck wants to change in reference not to Argentina the land of arepa but Amazonia the land of, as La Doña would say the land of “ratas que quieren comer nuestra pan)”. Since then I’ve been obsessed and enthused.
Terry, Steve and I went to the City yesterday to see the Naim Jun Paik show at SFMOMA and also the Diego Rivera mural that was moved from City College. There was a preparator touching it up as about 100 of us stared, sort of performance art. I also met a guard who gave me her email address; I’m going to suggest she do a Cindy Sherman impersonation and show us, readers of Plastic Alto, two different looks different than a young woman dressed in men’s clothes. Maybe she will dress at Frida, like Terry did a few Halloween’s back. I told Terry and Steve by text that I was leaving the museum to catch a bit of Belgium-Italy, but couldn’t resist a quick diversion into the main gallery in search of, thematically, since I was humming La Doña setas y ceros setas setas y ceros setas, something Spanish or Mexican and instead I was drawn to a Cy Twombly that I read as “Mas no menos” but is actually “mainomenos” the Greek word for rats eating your bread.
The Cy Twombly is actually titled “Bacchus Psillax Mainomenos” and showed at the Gagosian Gallery in New York in 2005, before coming to SFMOMA. There is a catalog you can find somewhere. In this usage, cutting it short a bit, “the crazed violent god of fury” – -which actually sounds more like La Doña than Molly or Remy. She has a song about a dream that included a earthquake and gentrification. Also, there is now a mural at 24th and Alabama I think that says “RESILIENT” and is an tribute from the Giants to their fans and features a depiction of La Doña — although when I saw her there she was wearing a 49ers jacket, but said it was more about being a San Franciscan than being a sports fan (whereas whilst I write, here at Coupa, sipping a mocha made with Mexican chocolate, I am wearing a black shirt with a depiction of Joe Montana at Super Bowl XIX — because I was there. I’ve never met Joe Montana but he and his family sat near us at Stanford Lively Arts and as he passed by us I resisted an urge to tackle him just for the thrill. Te lo juro, it was one of those things where you are seated and you have to stand for people to crab-wise scoot pass you and it did cross my mind that if i was Jim Burt of the Giants or Reggie White of the Eagles it would be curtains for Joe Cool.
and1 or andale: this is already all over the place or “acabando” as Meche used to say but as I am fact-checking – -yes, I fact-check — it is news to me that the 2011 pop hit is actually co-written or based on a song by Luis Floriano Bonfa, 1922-2001, a Brazilian composer and guitarist known for the music of “Black Orpheus” film. And I admit that Plastic Alto is the place where Spanish and Brazilian/Portuguese are sort of blended, in contrast to all the Germanic and eurocentric stuff; and yes I am mixed or mixted and conflicted.
NOTE: LA DONA APPEARS LIVE IN PALO ALTO SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 2021 AT MITCHELL PARK BOWL, 600 EAST MEADOW DRIVE, PRESENTED FREE BY EARTHWISE PRODUCTIONS — ADVANCE TICKETS AT EVENTBRITE