Bird Calls, by Rudresh Mahanthappa

A Bird-inspired album that doesn’t actually have any Charlie Parker tunes. That’s weird, but it’s good so far, and anyway, 2015 is like that.

Bird with no bird. Comic book stores have survived, but the comic book companies, especially Marvel and DC, especially Marvel, seem like they start their titles over at #1 every year. Heroes, on Campbell just off Winchester, saves me a few things every month, and they generally know what i want when one of the titles dies and is reborn as something else, but Marvel is doing Secret Wars again this summer, and I have no idea how to buy it.

Almost none of the book stores have survived, but the ones that have sell record albums, new and reissues. Because everything is digital now, and vinyl records have gained back some ground anyway, and held it.

This album is really good. Really, really, good. The bird influence is there, but it is way over there, past a lot of modal bass peadals and intense drumming that reminds me of Tony Williams with Miles Davis.

At a certain point it’s ok to leave influence behind. It’s like the Century theaters on Winchester, the domes. They closed over a year ago. The last night was sold out. They played Raiders of the Lost Ark, one showing. Folks were sad to see them go. Some folks were really, really, sad, so they started a Save the Domes campaign, that resulted in some consideration of historical landmark status, to some degree, for the domes. I’m supportive, within limits.

The thing is, they’re not building the new thing yet, after a year. I read gossip that the re-zoning process didn’t start for nine months after the initial sale, for no apparent reason. Who knows. I also read when the theatre closed that that real estate was the hottest infill opportunity in San Jose though.

Would love the Domes to have been renovated, the lease renewed. Would love something evocative, something that nodded vigorously at the past, all the blockbuster movies, lines out the parking lot almost to Bob’s Big Boy fronting on Winchester.

Or just a whole new thing for the new kids to make new memories at. I remember when Vallco opened. I don’t remember what was there before. I don’t miss what was there before, I miss Vallco, even more since it’s still sort of “open” in the zombie apocalypse sense.

Bird Calls is good. And yeah, evocative. Don’t buy it for Bird though. Buy it for Mahanthappa. He’s good.

The Bank of Italy Building

Interesting short video about the history of the Bank of Italy/Bank of America building downtown. Harder to see it, and others, like the De Anza hotel, behind the glass condo towers that are rising to the north of them, but they’re still there.

Where the Name Comes From


Know, that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.

So Mr. Phelan named his Saratoga property, after the imaginer of such.

Age of Construction Fences

Would be cool to see the new Avengers movie at Century 21, not least because it’s been more than a year since the Centuries closed and they haven’t so much as started on whatever the new thing is.

Obstruction by preservationists? Maybe. I’m actually into that, inside of what’s reasonable. I also heard though that it took nine months to start the re-zoning process. (No footnotes here, I might have it wrong. Facebook. Caveat emptor.) Anyway, temporary fences get old. Save the old thing, or fire up the bulldozers and bring on the new thing. 13 months.

All of This Comes After


There were some really good records at Streetlight when I stopped there on the way home from Nike. J.J. Johnson, live somewhere somewhen, never been rereleased on CD. Nike was only a half this year, only saying only a half because it was also a full back in the day when I ran my slowest marathon ever, when Coach Tim thought I might be in an ambulance that got to him before I did, when it ended out on the edge of everything on the Great Highway at Ocean Beach.

Just a half. But a good half by some reports, and the Marina Green as finish area seems obvious, by comparison with the foggy sand north of the Zoo. Fun to watch friends do well.

Dropped a friend at Union Square, found the freeway, and got back to the places I know. Stopped in at Streetlight, built a big stack of stuff, then carefully put some of it back when I found the clean like new J.J. Been listening to more vinyl, partly because I’ve got a turntable now, partly because some jazz records I inherited from a long story, partly because a friend of mine’s husband is a friend of mine too and he plays guitar but not Jazz but man lets make it new anyway.

So records, but cf. Gary Snyder, “All of this comes after.” Nike again, but nothing like the years before. Some things change, some things don’t. A lot of the time you come out ahead, but it’s only ever on account of luck. You don’t get to pick. Somebody sold Streetlight some good jazz, but I really didn’t know, even when I bought it.