On Friday before happy hour, some of us congregated on the corner, poured Irish creme liqueur into our Peet's coffee beverage, and watched the ceremonial lighting of the Lenin statue. In typical Fremont fashion, there was a quirky presentation followed by minor technical difficulties. Only half of the lights came on, the star illuminated late, and the whole affair was behind schedule. I haven't been back to see if the rest of them started to work.
With the festivities complete, we relocated, beverages in hand, to Norm's and took up residence on the red couches in the back of the bar. The smell of frying green peppers was so severe when we walked in that I thought that I'd have to make a hasty evacuation, but we ended up staying for a strangely long amount of time, with a seemingly obscene girl scout song making an appearance before the night ended.
Other things from the past week: a Zune sponsored event at Neumo's where no one showed up. A trio of young marketers sat in a booth with a few of the mp3 players. Occasionally people would approach them, sometimes stopping for a photo, probably to prove to their bosses as evidence of their semi-viral marketing. The real point of going there was to see Small Sins, who were remarkably good (particularly for a band that's recorded as a solo project). I loved them, but I had been drinking heavily.
Ratatat + the Faint at the Showbox on Saturday, which was saturated with amazing array of Camel cigarette advertisements. Aside from a little agoraphobia when my friend didn't show up; the foray into the lair of hipster dance fiends was entertaining.
Prefuse 73 played at Chop Suey on Sunday. The music was good, but incredibly dull to watch. I guess that "intelligent dancing" is kind of just semi-enthusiastic head nodding. Despite the impeccable production, it was much more sedate than I expected and I disengaged at the halfway point.
BUT Joanna Newsom on Monday was super fantastic and the crowd was hardly the RenFaire that I might have expected. Ys seems likely to top my 2006 favorites list (and without the iPod, no graphs this year).
On Tuesday, Elizabeth Kolbert explained how we're destroying the planet and threatening civilization as we know it. There's basically no optimisitic interpretation except that if we do something, things might just get bad and not worse. Despite the gloominess of the topic, it was a really good talk followed by a less good panel discussion.