Last week started with Super Bowl Monday... yes, I said Super Bowl Monday. Remember, this blog is called "Live From Tomorrow." I had a few hours to kill during the day while my friend was recording the game for later viewing, so I strolled down to Courtney Place in downtown Wellington to do a little book shopping. I had spent the previous two weeks laboring through Don Quixote, which I had been meaning to read for a long time. The first 50 pages were hilarious; unfortunately, the book is just over a thousand pages. Let's just say if someone tells you to read it, don't. I guess some books are just a lot more important than they are good. Needless to say, I was looking forward to redeeming myself with a better choice, so I took my sweet time in the aisles of Arty Bee's Books. You know it's a good bookstore when they have three copies of Cane River and two copies of Red River.
After a couple of hours of shopping, I headed over to the folks' spot for the big game. The weekend before I was watching the Rugby 7's final, so it was nice to be the one answering all the questions about the rules of the game for a change. I will admit, I had to ask a kiwi friend which teams were actually playing in the Super Bowl, since I hadn't actually watched a football game since last November. We made it a point to keep it real... so we found a store that sold Miller, chips and dip, and some franks for the grill. It's amazing how short the Super Bowl is when you take out all the commercials.
After the game I headed back downtown to catch my friend, James Nokise, hosting a stand up comedy night. Then, just for old times sake, I joined in on a midnight guerrilla marketing run. Sometimes I miss the smell of wheat paste and glue, but truth be told, I'll be alright if I never pass out another event flyer for the rest of my life. There were two other highlights of the rest of the week in Wellington. One was watching a completely off-the-hook Korean movie called "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance." The second was catching a play called "Vernon God Little," directed by Willem Wassenaar and Sophie Roberts (one of my lovely hosts!).
Later that week, I hopped on a train to head back north to Auckland for my last weekend in the land of the Kiwis. The plan was to go out in style. Friday night was Summer Jam, so I headed to Rakino's to check it out. A few weeks back I had connected with local MC, Bella Shanti, when her group, Shine Forum, was opening up for dead prez. This time they invited me to join them on the mic for a freestyle session while DJ Manuel Bundy handled the turntables with true class and finesse. After the cypher, I stuck around for a while to catch The Brofessionals, a quality live soul band. The skills were tight and the energy was right, so stay tuned for a Sok and Shine Forum collaboration, in the works as we speak.
The next night was the true coup d'grace of my trip to New Zealand... Palais Du Chat. Technically, it was a house party, but to call it that would just be misleading. Just ask yourself, when is the last time you saw a live trapeze act at a "house party?" I didn't think so.
This function was complete... full service bar... poker table... cabaret... siamese twin dancers... walking on the ceiling! Tom Rodwell invited me again to join him on piano during his blues & calypso set. I love my keyboard, but there is nothing like playing a real upright. I also love Yoshi's and the like, but there's is nothing like live blues in a true party setting where people are dancing... almost on top of the piano. Honestly, it felt like a scene from Idlewild... a true Prohibition-era gitdown! After Tom's set, I joined DJ Barney on the turntables, and we kept the dance floor on meltdown until well after 3am. After a little slow-dancing, and a lot of trying to get people to leave, the night wound down to just four of us.
It was a beautiful night... I woke up the next morning, literally humming Jamiroquai's "Do You Know Where You're Coming From?" So that's where I'll leave you until next week... (click below)
Bibliography of My Trip (updated on 2/16/10)
> Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human - by Richard Wrangham (2009)
> Angels & Demons - by Dan Brown (2000)
> Last Words: A Memoir - by George Carlin (2009)
> Say You're One of Them - by Uwem Akpan (2008)
> Long Walk to Freedom - by Nelson Mandela (1994)
> The Da Vinci Code - by Dan Brown (2003)
> Guns, Germs & Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - by Jared Diamond (1997)
> Foundation & Earth - by Isaac Asimov (1986)
> Living Poor: A Peace Corps Chronicle - by Moritz Thomsen (1969)
> The Alchemist - by Paulo Coelho (1988)
> Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America - by Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
> Don Quixóte - by Miguel de Cervantes (1605/1615)
> Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy - by Carlos Eire (2003)