Bill Murray, Jan Vogler & Friends

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Last night’s show was…??

I’m having trouble coming up with one word to sum it up.  I’m conflicted about it.  On one hand, the musicians were fabulous and delivered a performance worthy of their world renown.  On the other, some artistic choices were questionable, tone-deaf at the bare minimum.

Here’s the setup:

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The stage setup was minimal and the lighting was sparse.  The colors changed slowly between songs but not during the segments.

From left to right, Bill Murray, Mira Wang on violin, Vanessa Perez at the piano and Jan Vogler with the cello.

The show was about two hours, including the multiple encores.  In the beginning, the narration was quite separate from the music.  Bill did a reading, the musicians followed him with a selection.  The theme, in a broad sense, was American classics.

Bill’s first few readings were Ernest Hemingway, Walt Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper.  The music following was Bach, Schubert and Ravel.

As the evening progressed, the narration merged with the music and by the end, I’d say we even got a few ‘songs’.   The show ended with a West Side Story medley of Somewhere, I Feel Pretty and America.   The first encore was El Paso, a Marty Robbins song familiar to me through the Grateful Dead.  The second encore was Angel of Montgomery, unlike no version of the song I’ve ever heard.

Now for the complaints, one selection in particular, a reading from the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  The controversy over this one is a well known one, stemming from the prolific use of the n-word.  In today’s atmosphere, I have a problem with a room full of white people sitting, literally, at the top of the hill, listening to it.

With all of the conversations about race going on these days, I don’t think this selection added to it.  I’m sure the rationale for including it is a convenient soundbite about the importance of having such discussions and this is just another example being brought to the table.  Blah Blah Blah.  If that was the case, I missed the part where meaningful discussion was had.  To me, it was an old white guy using inappropriate language.   There wasn’t any context for including it.  It was just presented.  Given the plain presentation, it’s left to the listener to come to their own conclusion.  My conclusion:  meh.  If I was the producer, it would have been cut.

Of all the works selected, having one poor choice isn’t huge.  Still though, it seems like an obvious candidate for replacement.  Interestingly, the Huck Finn selection is one track not available to stream on Amazon.  All the other tracks are available but the Huck Finn track is listed as ‘album only’.  I’m curious about that.

The other ‘artistic’ choices fall under the umbrella of sexism.  I think the ladies, exceptionally talented and passionate artists, were relegated to the role of props.  Bill made his entrance at the top of the show flanked by them, holding hands.  It just felt off.  I doubt these women made entrances like this at other performances and I doubt it was their idea.   It colored the entire show.  These talented women were not treated as equals.  And we all know who got the biggest paycheck on that stage.  It was certainly not the women.

At another point in the show, during a cello-piano duet, Bill and Mira, the violinist, did a bit of tango.  They did a little toe-point step in hold and then opened into a little spin from Mira.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  It stuck out being the only choreography of the night.  Beyond that though, Mira was ‘summoned’ to dance and throughout most of it, her back was to the crowd.  Again, it just felt off.  It wasn’t natural and it was a bit out of place.

Given the time we live in, I think it’s appropriate to call out sexism and racism.  These are small things to be sure, coming from an old white guy though, it doesn’t sit right with me.  Was the show awful and terrible? no.  Was it tone deaf?  Yes.  That’s the most generous way to put it.  The intention was not to be offensive.  It just fell a bit short of amazing and genius and all the other praised heaped on.

It makes me think, Bill surrounds himself with Yes Men and people are so smitten just being around him, they don’t call him on it.   To read reviews, specifically of the Huck Finn track, calling it genius and a breath of fresh air seems like a cult of personality to me.   I don’t agree with those assessments.

Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  Most of it was good.  I just can’t give it rave reviews like everyone else but I’m not writing letters demanding my money back either.  It was a fun experience.  Frankly, the sweater is bigger than the show for me.  The show is just sort of an aside.  A cap to the whole experience that started when I read a ridiculous call for a Bill Murray art show.  Obviously there’s a cult of personality involved here.  Who am I kidding?  That was a given from day one.

The most unexpected part of the evening:  the number of hecklers.  Fools in the very back row (naturally) shouting things like ‘THIS SUCKS’ at the quiet moments.  They were shut down quickly and loudly by people around them.  I think it was two gentlemen in particular, maybe it was actually 3 though.  They reminded me of the people who yell ‘FREEBIRD’ at concerts.  LOL.  Poor guys, apparently they thought they were coming to see a comedian do stand up?  The first 20-30 minutes were rough for them.  Bach and Schubert are certainly not Freebird.

The best part of the evening:  Talking to people about my sweater :)  People were interested and amazed, so that was fun.  After all the work that went into it, two sentences doesn’t do it justice but you’ve heard about it all already, so I’ll spare you the repetition.

It’s on to new knitting now.  I’ve got a little bit of time for Christmas knitting and I’ve been jonesing for hat binge.  I haven’t knit a hat since August and that was only my second of the year.  I’m ready!  Bring on the hat binge! It’s gonna be good!!


 

Random Goings On

Bill Murray has a ‘band’.

The tour is coming to San Francisco.  I bought tickets.  The Bill Murray Sweater officially has a deadline.  December 8th.  Time to get on it.

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I think it’s really going to be more of a vest?!?


That said, instead of working on that particular project, I’m cast on with this:

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I attempted to trade my Fade to Yellow skein for a Concrete & Tulips skein — aka the rainbow and grey colorway.  It didn’t quite go down that way though.  One enterprising Raveler talked me into trading her a skein of Miss Babs’ Yowza.  It was a color I really wanted but…I wanted this more!

It’s can’t wait!  It’s a self striping yarn but instead of consistent lengths of each color, the colors get progressively longer.  Instead of a big fat stripe of red at the top and little tiny stripe of blue at the bottom, the stripes will all be the same height.  It’s definitely a minor detail to the untrained eye but knitters have been geeking out over it for a while.  This yarn was quite hard to get for a minute there.

I’m sure stripe magic will take over and it’ll be done in a jiffy!


Of course, the only reason I’m allowed to cast on anything at all, Marled Magic is almost completely finished.  Just a bit of end weaving left.  The braid & the tassel turned out just right.  A bit fiddly at first but third time was the charm!

Stay tuned for full photos…they’ll be along soon.

In the meantime, it’s the weekend!  Wooooooooo!


 

The Recrafting Company

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We’ve lost quite a few yarn shops in the bay area over the past couple years.  We have been fortunate enough to get a whole bunch of new shops in that time though!  I’m slowly getting around to visiting them all!

This weekend I visited The ReCrafting Company in Alameda.

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It’s a crafting consignment store!  What a brilliant idea!  The shop has ALLLLLLL the crafts.  Yarn, beads, fabric, books, rubber stamps and notions of all kinds…you name it, they had it!  All your crafting obsessions in one place!!

and the best part:  Amazing prices on all of it!

Socks that Rock — $12.  Sanguine Gryphon — $14.  Koigu KPPPM — $7.50.  I’m not sure how I managed it but somehow I did not buy yarn.  I bought a couple embroidery hoops for my cross stitches instead.

And, I wanted to try out the consignment process so I took some of my yarn to be sold.  So far, the process has been easy.  I just filled out a sheet with contact information.   Now we just wait for my yarn to be sold.  I’ve got 90 days.   After that, if it hasn’t sold I need to go collect it, or it will be donated.  Fair enough.

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I actually don’t think I’ll consign much yarn but I wanted to give it a try just to say I’d given it a try.  Once a yarn has sold, the shop and the consigner split the money 50-50.  With items being priced to sell, it’s not unreasonable to expect only 25% of retail value of items to be recouped.

I think I like my yarn more than 25% of retail value.  It’s gonna take a while, but I will get to it all!  I’m happy other people want to part with their yarn though!

I figure when I go back to pick up the proceeds of my consignment, I can spend that money on new yarn!  I think I’ll probably get enough for 2-3 balls of new yarn, or at least new to me.

The book selection was great too!  Lots of great books for $7.50.  At that price, I don’t mind buying a book for just one pattern!  You could even take it back for re-consignment when you’re done with it!  Yay for crafty recycling!

My only complaint about the place…Alameda is too far away for me to stop in regularly.  Weekend traffic meant it took an hour to drive 15 miles.  Booo traffic.   The way stock rotates means you never know what gems are in stock.  If the ReCrafting Co was just down the street, I’d stop in all the time!


 

The Swap

It’s been a while, life happens.  Last weekend in particular.  After doing nothing but crafting in August.  September has roared to life!  There were many parties, all with libations but only one with YARN!

My knitting group had a big yarn swap!  We’ve done small white elephant style yarn swaps in the past but frankly, I’ve got enough of my own white elephant yarn.  I don’t need anyone else’s.  And, I knit with a group that is very experienced.  More importantly, they have VERY NICE STASHES!  I wanted a piece of that action.  On the day of our last white elephant swap, I casually suggested we do a bigger, more open swap.

Apparently, they wanted a piece of MY STASH too!  In no time, we had organized ourselves a party.

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Mostly MadTosh Pashmina

This is just a sampling of what I took for swapping.   There comes a time, if it’s been in the stash untouched for years, let someone else have a crack at it!  And, if I’m being honest, I still kept the best stuff for myself.  This was only the stuff I could bare to part with.

I’m pleased to say, I came home with a lot of great stuff!  I’m impressed with what I managed to pry away from them.  I can’t wait to use it all.  So far though, I’m stuck in the chaos of it.

the desk is a mess

There’s a desk under there somewhere, I swear!  So what’s in this pile?  I have spent a fair amount of time putting in piles and then rearranging the piles.  And, taking pictures of piles, of course.

I have put two of the new yarns into my Marled Magic shawl so far.  I started with that skinny purple mohair.  It was hard to ignore that ball in the swap pile, when I had crazy purple brioche on my needles, at that exact moment.

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It was meant to be.

The second yarn is a skein of MadTosh Twist Light, which I’ve never actually used before.  It’s grey and pastel variegated, so it’s perfect to tone down some of the neons I’ve got.  Right now, a highlighter yellow color, up next will be some neon peach!

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Plus, the purple brioche doesn’t seem so blinding anymore! 

I walked away from the swap with not one but TWO skeins of Caterpillar Green striping shawl skeins.  Not my favorite colors but this yarn is fun!  I think the Fade to Black color is going to become a Dotted Rays.  Not sure about the Fade to Yellow, suggestions anyone?

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This beauty…a Koigu dye job on Buffalo Wool Co.’s bison and silk laceweight.  It’s 400 yards, that is something amazing and lightweight.  I almost think I should do lace?!?

And then, there’s this…

The Bill Murray Sweater really needs to happen.  I’ll never match his original dye lot, so rather than try, I’m collecting a mish-mash of white and off white yarns.  It’s going to be a simple vest I think.  It’s very much a work in progress.  Calling it a work is even a stretch.  It’s still mostly an idea but now I’ve got 7 balls of Jojoland Baritone to add to the pile.  It should be the perfect base.  I’ll fill in with my other oddments as it progresses and it’s going to be charming and perfect…eventually. (which just got a little sooner!)

And now, let the weekend begin.  First Stop:  The Knitterly in Petaluma.  It’s Friday, I’m driving by.  I should probably just buy yarn!


 

 

Down the Rabbit Hole

First, it’s been a while since I’ve posted and a lot has happened in the world.  It used to go without saying that nazis are bad.  Not anymore, so I’ll say it, just to be clear.  Whatever the label, nazi, white nationalist, alt-right, kkk…I strongly disagree with it all.   Killing people is bad.  Violence is bad.  Hate is bad.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let me share some fun!  I’ve been busy making things!

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It started innocently enough with one funny cross stitch piece.

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But it’s developed into a major bathroom redecoration scheme.

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After the first two hoops were completed, I had to go back for more.

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These aren’t complicated designs.  Naturally, that lead me to the craft store saying I can do that…if I just had a few more supplies!

Soon enough, I was designing things that aren’t for the bathroom.

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Indeed, it seems I am going way down the rabbit hole with this one.  Never fear, there is also knitting progress!  The Dotted Rays, WestKnits Fade is off the needles and it’s an amazing color explosion!  It’s blocking, but you’ll get to see it soon!

There’s still plenty of knitting love.  It will return shortly.  But for now, I think my next cross stitch will be the immortal words of Rodney King…

“Can we all just get along?”


 

Welcome to Fogust!

 

Fogust is here!  It goes without saying, here at FogKnits headquarters, we love fog season!  A lot!  I love nights quieted by wind and fog.  Everything calms down and the city becomes very still.  It’s an amazing change from the hustle & bustle of daily life.  aaaaaahhhhh!  I love it!  It’s good knitting weather!

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I’m at the point with everything where despite making good progress, the photos continue to look the same.  L to R, That’s the Faded Dotted Rays,  the Shawl in a Ball and the Cat Sweater.

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The Dotted Rays rows have grown to 450 stitches, slowing progress way down.  Especially when this is so light and easy to pick up…

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I finished the stitching!!

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I’m going to attempt finishing the fabric edges and the hoops this week.  I can’t wait to hang them in my bathroom!  I’m tempted to go back and get a few more.  First though, there’s knitting to do.   I want to make sweaters and hats!  I definitely feel a hat binge coming on!


 

The Royal Bee – A New LYS

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I saw a thread on Ravlery ‘new yarn shop in pacifica’.  Yes Please!  Knowing nothing more than yesterday was the soft opening, I set out!  I haven’t had a spontaneous stash enhancement in a couple months!

It’s funny to read the old post and see that my decision was guided by parking.  I pulled up to Royal Bee yesterday completely in love with the PARKING LOT.  I couldn’t wait to take a picture of it!  ha ha.

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Rows of FREE PARKING!  Can you tell I live in the city?  Free parking is all it takes!  LOL!   So Royal Bee gets two thumbs up already!

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Once inside, the delights continued!  The beehive themed yarn wall is so pretty!  If I lived in a house with lots of wall space, I’d love to display my yarn like this!  Lots of interesting yarns here…some Rowan, a bunch of Skacel like Kenzie and Simplicity and HiKoo.  Yarns I know of but haven’t used.  A variety of fibers, colors, weights.  There was a bunch of sock yarn too.

I chatted with Kelley, the owner, a bit.  She’s super and definitely interested in recommendations.  My first suggestion was local yarns so I can’t wait to go back after the grand opening and see how the shop evolves.  (August 16th, details are here, if anyone wants them!)

It’s a poly-stitchual kinda place, with a really cute selection of fabrics and notions and whatnots.

And Rainbow Elastic!!  I love that stuff!  I use it in hats all the time!  It takes the worry out of stretch & fit.  Look at all those colors!  There were even more too.  I can’t wait for my next hat binge, which is due at any moment.  I know where to find the perfect Rainbow Elastic now!

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I picked up a couple balls of Llamor, 100% baby llama.  It’s so soft…perfect for cozy winter hats or August in Pacifica.

The best part of my purchase though, hands down, is the snarky cross stitch kits!  I couldn’t resist.  I finished the first one already.

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Not only have I finally figured out French Knots but this new fangled cross stitch kit innovation blew my mind:

 

 

The strands are held secure on the back so you just snip off a strand as you need it!  I love it!  I’ve started my second design already.  No sorting colors and wondering if I’ve labeled them right.  This little tag makes it so easy!

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I may have to redecorate my bathroom with snarky cross stitch now.  Assuming I can make the finishing work.  As much as I’ve cross stitched, I’ve never finished anything in the hoop.  The instructions involve cutting the excess aida away and installing a running thread.

I know what all those words mean.  How hard can it be?  Wish me luck!