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Jan 28, 06 02:47 PM

Fancy Utah Style.

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Sundance; break; then more Sundance.

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Dan Chen, Chuck Radue, and I flew out to Park City, Utah, to do some duo gigs at the Sundance; an ASCAP showcase, a thing where we opened for Rickie Lee Jones. Pimping our wares for film industry peeps; they're more attentive and fun than I expected. The town is mobbed; celebrities abound. The funnest encounter was when we saw John Malkovich walk into the restaurant taken over by Airborne cold medication to dispense promotional quantities of their product, and hot tea.

We had a few days without gigs, so Dan went back to NY, Chuck to LA, and I went to SF to see a friend. We flew back yesterday for another gig, a private show for some magazine editors.

For the first round stayed all the way out in Salt Lake City on our own dime, in a shabby Holiday Inn, commuting half an hour each way every night. The accomodations are considerably nicer this time. We've been put up in a ski lodge complex; each of us has two fireplaces, huge flatscreen TVs, multi-headed-showers, jacuzzis, huge kitchens with stainless steel counters and appliances, ultrabeautiful leather furniture, and--here's the big deal--outdoor hottubs on balconies with views of the mountains.

I stress that this is not the norm for us. We're all like--Girlfriends? Please?

We're all hanging out in my suite, watching Gia, and attending to our laptops. My joint also happens to have an upstairs TV lounge with yet another flatscreen TV, and an unused bedroom. It's nice that they gave each of us so much space, but to be honest, it's a little lonely. One of the unexpected discoveries of being in a band where everybody actually digs each other is that having your own room is kind of a drag.

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Posted by Mike at 2:47 PM

Jan 26, 06 06:59 PM

Delay.

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I've been at Sundance, and otherwise pretty occupied. I want to post some stories from Eritrea next week, after I get back from Utah, and before I split for the shows on the cruise ship. (I guess I also needed some time to digest the whole African experience)

Posted by Mike at 6:59 PM

Jan 13, 06 06:31 PM

Eritrea: Krars, Krars, Krars!

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I bought three krars in Africa; one for Scrap, one for Handsome Dan Chen, and one for myself.

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You play the krar--as demonstrated by my friend Samuel, above--by muting strings with your fingertips. The instrument's range is the number of combinations one can make from the five strings, tuned C, D, (lower) F, G, A. There's often either a hole for the addition of a tuning peg, so you can add an optional sixth string, or a stringless tuning peg. The fretboard-looking-thing with the clamp on it, on Samuel's krar, is a modification so he can "capo" the krar.

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kr5.jpg Posted by Mike at 6:31 PM

Asmara: More Dudes!

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More stylish fellows from the streets of the Eritrean capital.

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Posted by Mike at 6:17 PM

Asmara: More Atmosphere.

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A thoroughly African city designed by Italian colonialists.

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Posted by Mike at 4:17 PM

Asmara: By the Market.

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(They're not scared of the camera; you see people walking down the street doing this, everywhere, in lieu of sunscreen.)

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Posted by Mike at 4:16 PM

Asmara: Cars.

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The town is full of strange and gorgeous junkers.

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Posted by Mike at 4:15 PM

Jan 6, 06 11:21 AM

The Mountains Seen Through a Grimy Bus Window.

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Posted by Mike at 11:21 AM

The Northern Town of Keren.

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Posted by Mike at 11:08 AM

The Penthouse at the Keren Hotel.

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I stayed in this crumbling old hotel in the center of town--in what must have once been the penthouse suite--for 132 nakfa, which means $8.80. (You can see the door to the room in one of the photos below--the steel door beneath the staircase there) The shower dispensed frigid, rusty water, and the bed was a military cot with a mosquito net. But I'm sure it was extremely classy in 1962.

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Posted by Mike at 10:59 AM

Keren: Dudes.

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Posted by Mike at 10:43 AM

Eritrea: Kids

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Posted by Mike at 10:34 AM

Jan 4, 06 09:06 PM

Hi from the Sky.

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So Lufthansa has Wi-Fi. I'm 37,000 feet above Egypt right now, flying back from Eritrea. I'm trying to stay awake--to beat the jet lag--so I'm gonna throw some pix on the blog here. Forgive the lack of explanations/text, I'll get to that in the next few days.

Posted by Mike at 9:06 PM

Asmara.

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The capital.

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Posted by Mike at 8:19 PM

Asmara: Dudes!

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Posted by Mike at 8:18 PM

Asmara: Signs!

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Posted by Mike at 8:17 PM

Asmara: Medeber.

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Medeber is this immense compound filled with guys fashioning new stuff out of junk.

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Posted by Mike at 8:16 PM

Mr. Samuel's House.

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Samuel is a singer and krar player that I met; I went over to his house the other day, met his kids, and recorded him on my little Edirol mp3 thing. He played along with a drum machine pounding out guaila beats.

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Posted by Mike at 8:15 PM

Asmara: the Bowling Alley.

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Posted by Mike at 8:14 PM

Asmara by Night.

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Posted by Mike at 8:13 PM
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