Friday night I went to the Looping Festival in Santa Cruz, CA. My friend Gaetano Fontanazza, who has released two albums on Negative Sound Institute as Pseudoambient, was playing in tandem with Jeff Duke. Looping involves using technology to create repeated phrases in music
and is fascinating to watch live. I saw not only Gaetano and Jeff Duke on the guitar, as well as a theremin player, a soul singer who used her fx pedals to make wonderful cascades of r & b inflected loops, a guitar player with a electronic drum accompaniment, among other folks. The format was great--each artist got half an hour, so that one could see lots of acts; one act played on one side of the stage while the other act set up its equipment. It was great to meet Gaetano in person, as well as his band-mate Jeff. Gaetano is from Italy, and Jeff is from Florida. They had been collaborators on-line for a couple of years, but had never met in person until the week they first took the stage together.
My hotel was in Salinas, thirty miles away, on the easy-to-use 101 freeway. I did not follow my google directions, though, and I ended up wandering on a winding highway called 152 up a mountain and winding through canyons. Finally, I found my hotel, and an International House of Pancakes.
Saturday morning I drove to San Luis Obispo. I stopped on the way at a mission still being used as a church. It was lovely, but I did not go in because a service was in progress. I also stopped at an old adobe house, where the volunteers discussed the ghosts present. I boarded an Amtrak train, and rode for 2 1/2 hours to Santa Barbara on one of the most lovely trips I've taken in a while. I saw dunes, dolphins, lots of red-tailed hawks, pelicans, collard greens ready for harvest, sea gulls, surfers, and rolling hills full of dark greens and shades of brown. The sky was overcast, and my droid phone let me play netlabel songs from last.fm.
I got off at Santa Barbara, and walked 34 blocks to a motel near UCSB. For the first 10 blocks, I passed through crowds of shoppers and tourists. The motel was modest but comfortable. I googled up info about a fantastic pizza place, but decided to have a Subway sandwich instead. The next morning I took a cab to the train station, after eating a cinnamon roll at the place next door to the motel. I accidentally left my camera in the cab, but the taxi fellow got it to me prior to my train.
The train to LA was not as scenic, but it was very pleasant to read a sci-fi novel, listen to last.fm's netlabel radio station, and relax. I took the metro train to my hotel, and then checked in. I was amused that my wonderful downtown LA hotel cost less on priceline than the very basic Santa Barbara motel had cost. I watched a football game on television, and then did some work. I dined on sushi at a nice restaurant on 7th Street,
after eschewing the hotel restaurant as too expensive. It is LA Fashion Week, so everyone in my hotel looks like a photogenic fashionista, while I look like someone who hiked 34 blocks in Santa Barbara dressed in a tropical shirt.
I will be glad to get home tomorrow.