In 72 hours and for 21 full days, music as a concert promoter and the quotidian of freaky deaky that gets it done

Steve Poltz is playing Palo Alto in 72 hours, from about 5 to 6:30 down on Cali Ave, in front of the former Draper’s Music store, which is now Zombie Runner, known for coffee but the name references not Fela Kuti but long distance runners.

Steve likes baseball, but the schedule says early show then maybe soccer

I had said something to mayor Tom Dubois, not the worst of the kind, about music as stimulus spending. In this case, I am producing 13 concerts between Saturday, September 11 and Saturday, October 2, loosely part of something hot-messy called “Together Again Palo Alto” / TAPA / “Resilience…” / “Celebrate Community”. There’s a yardsign with human shapes in dull colors with masks masked in, sometimes on the back or side of their heads.

This is after 16 months of not-working, March 14, 2020 to July 31, 2021. The page yanked coldly from the Studs Terkel book. (Which is now a play, at Palo Alto Players; I bought tickets, though I will probably forget to go; I like PAP, I liked their “Bee Hive” and “Rock of Ages” productions).

My shows include about 30 musicians, though some play three times. Most are Bay Area based, some are coming from Nashville and Paterson. Some I’ve worked with 20 years, others I met a few weeks ago, and booked ’em like Dano and McGarrett, and some I have never met yet.

One of these shows is in honor of the recently deceased but generally we are celebrating being alive. To the devil with you, you new kid in town virus.

To wit:

1) Dayna called to “advance” plus he re-sent his list of personnel, which I will add to the official site, whihc is EventBrite. Dayna Stephens, mind the spelling. He will play, he confirms, tenor sax and EWI, which is great for Silicon Valley: its a machine or gadget that simulates a computer playing a flute, yet you have to fidget with some wheels or what.

2) Poltz and his manager

3) Tommy Jordan and Marc Geiger

4) Andy the sound guy

5) Megan Swezy and Karla Koga;

6) I’m at about 50 advance tickets for Steve Poltz and another 50 for the other 12. I’d like to get it to 200 registrants for SP on EventBrite and another 200 combined; although its a free show in a public plaza, maybe people will just show up: it would be great to think 2,000 people come to these shows. Which is still a pretty hefty subsidy, or stimulus spending. Loss leader, seize the day. Keep on rockin’ in the free world. 



“DOS vs DEL”

DEL is both the name of a rapper, the funky homo, the really uptight guy who ran The Cub and TLA for “dawns early light”. I am up early, thinking about “DOS”. My dose of work. Day of show.

Steve Poltz will be in the house as of about 4 p.m., Lord willing – -this is Jewish holy day, twice over — and on stage at 5, 11 hours from now. 

Stage is not quite the word: he is taking it to the streets. Or the avenues. Singular. A singular sensation (ASS) Steve Poltz will play Cali Ave, part of Mayor Tom’s “TogetherAgainPaloAlto” or what I FLA “TAPA”.

Apparently there is a big “lawn sign” near the art museum that says TOGETHER AGAIN PALO ALTO” but you can re-arrange the letters to say GATHER TOP *(*&& *)$%^&*.

To my eye it says PALO ALTO TOGETHER AGAIN which is PATA which may or may not be the hook of a famous Cape Verdan song. “Pata Pata”.

And I was fantasizing about Steve Poltz doing “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads. I was fantasizing — and don’t take me out of come text — Steve Poltz….doing….– so the first time I heard about Steve Poltz was becasue Jenna Adler of CAA sort of pitched him and said he was Jewel’s male partner and they called jim “Mule” or “Mewel” for “male Jewel” — a whole set of Talking Heads – and this came to me bc my smart phone kept cutting off the youtube of Steve Poltz “Quarantine Blues” to play my AppleTunes cue, which had Talking Heads because a friend send me and another guy — okay it was Brett Baird and Hans Delannoy — a clip from David Byrne’s True Stories and I sent back ‘Puzzling Evidence”. So you read it here first, if Steve Poltz plays “Psycho Killer” and another Talking Heads song, I will make a donation to the mental health non-profit agency that is on Cali Ave that was called Miramonte Health. There is or was something on nearby College Age or Ave for youth — I gave them a gift when I ran for office in 2014. 

And I met Ms Blackburn who has been advisor to The Oracle for 18 years and will buy a full page ad for $500 for my Mary Gauthier show, October 17 at Mitchell Park Bowl – but I digress.

This is about Steve, alll about Steve. His show. Today, in 11 hours, or 10 hours 40 minutes. 

I will put out the EARTHWISE sandwich board I only use Day of Show – -that was made by a guy who lives across the street from Beth Custer who appears as a duo with Will Bernard next week, at Lytton Plaza — the Lyt. I have 14 active shows on EventBrite, and I guess 12 shows at Lytton Plaza, plus Marco who is married to Meklit and his tupan — a drum that you carry and bang on and has both a tom and a snare — speaking of Tom, I am working on a show with Tommy Jordan, of Geggy Tah fame although hereabouts people almost remember his high school band Sandcastle or something, Soundcastle and especially his song “Jim Newton Says’ — which is all flute — in the way across town at Gunn we all don’t remember Steve Berndt’s song, with his band Johnny Deathwagon about Cissie Bonini whose brother Muff Bonini is a judge. There’s a party at the Bonini house/Everyone’ invited/Colin and Griffin and Cissie too. 

I will also put out a stool. Not to sit on but for Steve Poltz to place his set list or his wrist watch or his magic ornament or fetish – -I once gave Dr. John — we call him “Mac” — a Zuni fetish of a snake or bear or something — when I was Henry Butler — and he offered to push my stool in or something — he said to be kind rewind apropos of our mutual friend. He also said that one night Henry was jamming with Jimmie Smith and it was memorable and magical. He didn’t say which Jimmie Smith or Jimmy Smith– there are more than one. Organ player or vocalist. I think the guy who sings backwards in David Lynch “Twin Peaks” is a Jimmy Smith. Or looks a little like him.

Some people call him “Poltzie”. Like Potsie on happy  or happier days.

Around this time of day 20 years ago the planes hit that building in NYC, but I didn’t hear about it until hours later. I was sleeping in, plus I am out here on Steve Poltz’ west coast, 3,000 miles away. My dad called and said “turn on the tv’ and when I did I saw the plane hit the tower and thought it was real time. But it was hours later. Then I called my friend Brian Moore and used the word “manufacture” and he repeated “Manufacture?” Not sure what the fuck I was thinking. 

Regarding Cali Ave– onto which I shall place Steve Poltz, a stool, and a sandwich board that says EARTHWISE — and maybe some camping chairs for Terry and I — there was once a club called Keystone Palo Alto. Now, Bruce Springsteen never played there in the sense of being on the marquee but he did sit in with Clarence Clemens there. The lobby of 260 Cali, which is next to a pretty good restaurant – -so good it has knots by Windy — Windy Chien who owned Aquarius Records that worked for Apple on their music doo-hickey (or doos-hickey) does fabric art. She also has some at Verve Coffee, at High and Uni. The building next to her knots, or its a building above her knots has a lobby with photos of Jerry Garcia, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and one or two others, a tip of the hat to the former club. Thanks, Mark Conroe, real estate guy. 

Also, in recent years they cut all the trees down which got people out in the streets of Cali Ave. And the sidewalks now have fancy glass.

Maybe rather than playing in front of Zombie Runner facing Joanies to the west Steve Poltz will play on the cement pedestal where “Go Mama” the sculpture once was. There are about five works of art on Cali Ave, by Slim Soumah, a Korean guy, Michael Szabo, another Mural by Slim — there’s also a new temporary mural that says A BEAUTIFUL DAY.  When I heard about the temporary mural, the one near Bell’s Books I called the artist and asked to send me 100 stickers of the same mural. 

Another thing I remember about meeting Steve Poltz when he played an art gallery show downtown about 16 years ago and 4 years after “Nine Eleven” is that it was October and he said he likes to watch baseball especially the playoffs especially day games, for the lighting. 

Dawns early light. 

Day of show. Stool, sandwich board, some chairs, his check.

I am hoping Steve Poltz goes with me to watch Stanford soccer. Maybe we will walk there. About a mile, not much more.

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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