Deep Ellum Arts Festival 2001

Last week was another busy week. Lots of Perl and a smaller amount of C programming. More progress on The robomenu is now working. The robomenu is a database of robots with photos and descriptions. I’ve only managed to get about half the records into the database (they were originally static pages) but it is online and seems to be holding up okay so far. I’m using PostgreSQL as the database and a Perl DBI program to generate a set of static pages every night. I’m still working on the interface that will allow users to submit new robots but that should online within a week or so.

On Saturday Susan and I got to see Dmitry Sitkovetsky as guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony. He conducted the DSO in four pieces of Chamber music by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Shostakovich. The Shostakovich piece was a transcription for Chamber Orchestra of the String Quartet No. 8, Op. 110 and was particularly good. We tried unsuccessfully to find a CD of the piece Sunday. We’ll probably have to order it on Amazon or catch a used one on eBay sometime.

We spent a while at the Deep Ellum Arts Festival on Sunday. Lots of live music including a group from Central America playing some sort of traditional folk music with lots of curious instruments. There were some Celtic bands, some Jazz groups, and quite a selection of local rock groups – like Baby Jane Hudson and Eden Automatic. The weather was great for a day outside and most of the people had brought their dogs. I think we saw at least one of every possible kind of dog while we were there. It was an Art festival so there was quite a bit to see in the Arts and Crafts department as well, though the weirdest aspect of the whole thing was a collection of Art Cars from all over. There was a Van covered in bright orange stucko, a car decked out to look like the yellow submarine, and several cars that I guess you’d call debris cars. One was covered with plastic toys like Godzillas, Boba Fetts, and Mr T dolls. Another was completely covered by sea shells with a variety of rubber octopi and other sea creatures attached. One had a back seat uplostered in one and five dollar bills and an outside covered with quarters, nickels, dimes, and an assortment of jewlery. Weird stuff.

Frognot is out. Baby Jane Hudson is in.

Thursday and Friday of last week were spent moving a client’s data center from a make-shift first floor location to a newly-built second floor server room. As might be expected, we ran into lots of last minute headaches and had to make at least three or four trips to Altex to buy cables, screws, or other odds and ends. There’s still a lot more work to do but things are online and working.

We finished up Friday night just in time to head down to Deep Ellum and check out a new band called Baby Jane Hudson. The drummer, April Samuels, was a member of the recently demised band, Frognot. Based on seeing only one performance of each band, I’d have to give my vote to Baby Jane Hudson. Maybe it’s the girl-band thing, or maybe it’s more my kind of music but I thought they were much better than Frognot. And, if you don’t like the music, you can have a blast just watching the bass player – she makes the most bizarre expressions while she plays, several of which look like she’s attempting to do an impression of Popeye the Sailor Man. She’s definitely the sort of bass player you’d want for live performances or music videos. They played a 45 minute set of original material – not bad considering they haven’t been around that long. I tried to convince April to play a cover of a Devo tune but no luck – I’ll keep trying though. Maybe a cover of Devo’s Space Girls, that would be ideal for an all-girl band I would think.

Like all performances in small clubs, the vocals were completely drowned out by the amplified instruments, so I can’t comment on the singing or lyrics. I’d much rather have the music turned down a few db and hear the singer but every live band I’ve heared play in small clubs seems to have this problem. I’m told it’s because the bands have to rely on a cheap, house PA system for the vocals whereas the other performers have their own amplification. (hmmm… I’d think the solution there would be to buy a mike and an amp for the singer? It’s probably not that easy or someone would have done it by now.) Anyway, definitely check out Baby Jane Hudson if you get a chance. See their web site for future shows.