when it changes to july, we’re going to have to go to OCF and put on something resembling a show for the folks.
usually, by this time, we’ve got a finished script that the cast has been rehearsing for a few weeks, and most of the music, which the band has been rehearsing for a couple of weeks.
this year, they JUST got the script finished a few days ago, they just got their characters a few days ago, they still have to make all of their costumes and props, and the band has NO music — which has to be completely rewritten from scratch, even though we’re doing a panto that we have done in the past, Jack And The Beanstalk.
and, as far as the band goes, as far as i know, we don’t have enough people to make the band more than a rhythm section, and, MAYBE a saxophone, or a bassoon… or, possibly, both…
the only thing i know, for sure, that is already planned and in the works, is a memorial parade for simon… thrill… walking over uneven ground (not even going to try marching) with a tuba, slung from an over-the-shoulder strap while trying to manage music on a lyre… 😒 😟
in sanskrit (the ancient language of india), छेल (chela) means “a devotee”, and मेल (mela) means “a festival”, so छेल मेल (“chela mela”, TWO WORDS) is “a festival of devotees”.
the band of north american kalapuya “indians” (otherwise known as “native americans”) called chelamela is ONE WORD…
the following pictures illustrate the fact that, at the oregon country fair, “CHELA MELA MEADOW” is TWO words… well, three, if you count the word “MEADOW”… 😕
i wonder if anyone else knows this. according to their own definition, this is CULTURAL APPROPRIATION!!
oh no… 😕
sombunall of the not-“native-american” artwork at the ritz is back in place, but the totem pole is nowhere to be found, and nobody knows what’s going to happen to it. the “archaeology” group (which was behind the lady who raised all the fuss last year) is still there, and still thinks we shouldn’t even have an oregon country fair, because it’s on “indian ground” (seriously, they’ve excavated a 10,000 year old camas oven from the bank of the long tom river, so there have been humans around that area for a LONG time) but the lady behind all the fuss last year was nowhere to be seen, as far as i could tell, and nobody was talking about indians feeling put out by the fair.
we didn’t play at the ritz. they didn’t make new tokens this year, so i only got one — last year’s design — in lieu of hat money, on saturday.
the fair was fun, and i’m not giving up on it, but it’s definitely time to find another therapeutic gathering in which i can get involved.
this year i took four pictures to make up for the fact that i missed a few years previously:
these were taken in order, on thursday, friday, saturday, and sunday. i also wore a djellaba and a red kufi (to piss off the cultural appropriation crowd), but i didn’t take pictures of that
there is a new “pirate ship” next door to the morningwood odditorium, called “The Mac”, which produces macaroni and cheese in ENORMOUS bowls. i ate there four times. they also had smoked salmon mac&cheese, and bacon brocolli mac&cheese. yum.
sunday afternoon, i found a tiny frog trying to get into my tent.
on the way home, i drove up highway 101, and stopped in newport, where i got the business card for the company that made moe’s kite that broke. now all i have to do is find the stay that broke, measure it, and send them the measurements, and they’ll make a new one for it.
when i left the fair, i ran “off the map” with my GPS, almost immediately. i tried using waze, as well, but i didn’t have reception or connectivity until i got to lincoln city. then, when i got to astoria, i turned left, instead of following the default GPS and turning right, and i got the “return to the route” message no less than TEN TIMES, before it figured out where i was going… it’s a good thing one of us knew where they were going. 😉 on the other hand, waze looked at where i was going, and figured out a new route almost immediately.
it’s weird that this post is allegedly about OCF, and the parts that i get the most amusement out of are the parts where i have left the fair. oh well… 😕
i was forced into a fecesbook moratorium, because of the lack of connectivity. it was partially deliberate — i didn’t take my tablet, and couldn’t use my phone for anything except a camera, pretty much all week — and i’m thinking very strongly that this is a good excuse to abandon fecesbook all together. it’s awful, it doesn’t do anything to improve my mood, and the only reason i was there, to begin with, was because it’s the only way to get booked at the ritz… but now that job has been foisted off on someone else (or not, i don’t care), and there’s no obvious reason to continue wasting my time with it.
we’re probably not going to do a show at the ritz this year. it is primarily because we haven’t rehearsed any of the music that is not directly related to the show (Puss In Boots) with this iteration of the philharmonic, which includes two members that haven’t played with us for a couple of years (naoyuki on cavaquiño and flute, and brandi on vibraphone), and one completely new member (harlan on bandoneon, concertina and toy piano). once again, kiki has decided to be a cast member, which means that she’s not available to be the conductor, which falls to stuart, who has, in the past, said that he doesn’t want to be the band leader any longer. the result is that we have had NO rehearsals, which means that we’re basically going to be sight reading any preshow and intermission music, and, basically, we’ve decided that we would be, essentially, doing the same thing with a ritz show, and the ritz is definitely NOT a show that we want to do a halfway job of playing.
so, we’re not playing the ritz for the second time in three years…
i’ve become a lot more ambivalent about the oregon country fair the past few years. it seems as though there has been a lot of politics and negativity introduced in the past few years, that, with the already heavily persistent “hippie-mall” vibe, has turned the oregon country fair into a totally different beast than it was 10 years ago… of course, 10 years ago, i was still a relative “newbie” to OCF, and there were, no doubt, a lot of things happening that totally went over my head because i was still focusing on the hippy-love, twinkly lights, and the “hippy-potamus”…
i remember, distinctly, “cutting out” without checking with people, before everyone had finished breaking down the stage, last year, because i was so tired of the hippy-griping and general bad feelings that had been going on pretty much all weekend. not from my group, specifically, but from the fair, in general. a lot of it had to do with the ridiculous accusations of “cultural appropriation” that were flying around. if that happens again, this year, it may be my last year of going to the fair for a while.
which, of course, means that, along with everything else, i have to find something new to replace the medicinal high that i used to get from going to the fair. 😕
story pole update –according to what george braddock says, they didn’t have any native assistance during the design part. i think that’s horse-shit, but george is one of the people who would know, so i’m torn… although i’m leaning heavily in the direction of horse-shit. also, david lewis, the cultural anthropoligist from the confederated tribes of the grande ronde, obviously doesn’t know that there actually were haida people involved, and that they’ve got the blessing of both haida and kalapuya elders. not only that, but the kalapuya, who are native to the area, didn’t have permanent art, because they were nomads, so it’s not really any kind of cultural appropriation. it sounds very much like this guy is in the camp of the lady who is behind this whole thing. 😐
i got back from OCF, which, apart from the fact that my email was screwed up when i left, and nothing had been done about it by the time i came back, was excellent. i left on tuesday the 4th, and returned on monday the 10th, got bit by at least 50 different mosquitoes. they were huge and ravenous this year, pretty much the same as always, but they definitely dissappeared by thursday. i don’t know whether or not it had to do with the incoming throngs of people, but there was a definite difference between the clouds of mosquitoes surrounding me on wednesday, and their dissappearance on thursday.
the big conversation this year was around “cultural appropriation”, specifically the “cultural appropriation” perceived by a few, very vocal, “native american” (or not) people who aren’t even associated with the fair, when The Ritz (one of my favourite places about the fair) after 5 years of carving this EXQUISITE “story pole” outside the ritz, in a very public way, decided to raise the pole.
the “native americans” (or not) decided, after 5 years of public carving, without saying a SINGLE WORD, that the ritz raising their “story pole” is “cultural appropriation”.
first of all, i don’t actually know anything (which is the way 90% of the fair is run, from the beginning). all i pretend to know is what other, very passionate, people, some of whom actually do “know”, have told me. but what they say is:
the lady that’s behind the cry of “cultural appropriation” is a “troublemaker” and has been for many years. she may or may not be native herself and she has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the fair, but she has made an “anti-story-pole” web site and invited other “native american” groups to rally behind her standard. a small number have actually done so.
the ritz, in response to this lady’s blandishments, have COMPLETELY REMOVEDALL of the “native american” art from the premises, taken down the boiler that had native american artwork on it, that was prominently placed at the entrance, flipped over a fence that had native american style carvings, and replaced it with “vanilla” art, taken away 90% of the T-shirts, tote bags, bandanas and other merchandise that had “inappropriate” artwork, and minted new tokens this year, as well as taking the story pole off site for the fair.
at the same time, elders from a variety of northwest tribes, including the native kalapuya tribe, and elders from standing rock, have blessed the ritz, said that the artwork, and the ritz itself, HONOURS native traditions, and that this whole “cultural appropriation” fiasco is totally unimportant, considering how many actual issues of grave importance there are facing native americans, and society at large, these days.
finally, my own opinion is that ART IS CULTURAL APPROPRIATION. people like picasso (or was it banksy?) have said “IMMATURE ARTISTS IMMITATE. MATURE ARTISTS STEAL.” ever listen to “jazz”?
not only that, but having studied, and tried to imitate, northwest native artwork, i can tell you, from personal experience, that it’s not easy at all. the guy who carved the story pole wasn’t native, himself, but he obviously had experienced and expert native assistance, as well as YEARS of personal experience, to make a story pole that looked as authentic as it did, despite having elements that would NEVER HAVE APPEARED on an authentic native pole…
which it was never presented as being in the first place! 😕
so i was intrigued when i read a blurb that was posted in “Xavanadu” (what used to be called “The Craft Lot”, outside Morningwood Odditorium), concerning why the fair decided not to raise the story pole this year. it said, among other things, that there were a band of the kalapuya tribe called “chelamela”.
i haven’t yet met anyone who knows for sure, but it was always my impression (and the sign above supports the idea) that “chelamela” was a sanskrit compound word: छेल (chela) means “a devotee”, and मेल (mela) means “a festival”, so छेलमेल (chelamela) is “a festival of devotees”.
the idea that there may have been a band of kalapuya indians called “chelamela” is intriguing to me — suspicious, but intriguing — especially considering all of this “cultural appropriation” furor that is currently going on.
apparently, it’s true… who knew? 😉 so, the next question is, who “culturally appropriated” who, here?
there wasn’t a single day in the week that i was there, when i wasn’t involved in a PASSIONATE discussion about this issue, with MANY people. it made for a REALLY INTERESTING fair…
above, is “north trotter’s” on wednesday. it’s about a mile from Morningwood Odditorium: to get there, i had to walk through fields called “Xavanadu”, “Miss Piggy”, “North Piggy” and “Kermit” to get to the “Cabal Crossing”, which is where i signed in. by friday, this ENTIRE FIELD was filled with cars. near the center of the photo, in the background, you can see a structure that marks the beginning of the exit road. on the other side of that structure is another, similar sized field, “The Dead Lot” (named for a Grateful Dead performance that happened in 1989(?) in the lot), and beyond that is another similar sized field called “Outta Site”… which is where i parked my car this year. there is a shuttle, called “F.A.R.T.S.” (Fair Area Rapid Transit System) which i had to ride if i didn’t want to walk.
this was the bird that was over the dead lot, one of the times i decided to walk.
on wednesday, someone delivered a huge load of “hippie crap” to “xavanadu”. they eventually assembled it all into this. at night, the “roots” lit up with rainbow crawling LEDs.
he was my next door neighbour. 😎
more huge loads of hippie crap. at night it lit up with rainbow colour-changing LEDs.