i just got home from “Dempster Diving”. it was stuart dempster’s 70th birthday and “they” (whoever that is) gave him a birthday party at town hall. in spite of the fact that i took lessons from dennis smith (who i had originally heard about when i was 10 years old), and not stuart, and only attended one of stuart’s master classes (i was somewhat of a trombone snob back then, and stuart’s style of teaching was too “bizarre” for me), he’s been a mentor of sorts for me for a long time. it was stuart who first got “legal” access to the fort worden cistern – i had been in there several times on a “less-than-legal” basis before then and i’ve played in all of the other underground bunkers at fort worden. i was part of a trombone choir that played happy birthday at the beginning, and four pieces in the middle. it was really interesting because there were a whole lot of people who knew me 25-30 years ago, and a few people i know from places like the moisture festival and drunk puppet night. greg powers was the motivating force behind the trombone choir, which turned out to be 25 trombones. he’s a friend of mine who played in the seattle youth symphony and the floating world circus band with me way back when, who got a fulbright fellowship to go to india and study hindustani music played on the trombone while i was pulling weeds at a community farm in bellingham, about the time ezra was born… which has always made me think that i could probably have gotten a fulbright fellowship as well, if i knew how to do it. also part of the degenerate art ensemble performed, as well as the didgeri-dudes, the seattle harmonic choir, pauline oliveros, and wiliam o. smith.