Sunday, October 09, 2005

Charles de Lint & MaryAnn Harris

Last night I was delighted to have another opportunity to see these two perform. Unfortunately, it was at the conference-who-shall-no-longer-be-named, so that meant it was held in the gym at the Salem Boys & Girls Club (according to the grafitti in the girls' locker room, "the YMCA is much better") which was a nice echoey cinderblock-walled cavern. There was sound equipment but no sound technician, so none of it was working. They finally gave up and just pushed the equipment aside, asked everybody to pull up close and performed an intimate acoustic set. Meanwhile conference staff chatted amongst themselves, laughed and talked loudly, people came in and out shouting, leaving the door open so that the noisy hallway ruckus competed with the singing. They actually had to stop singing at one point to ask someone to close the door. It was disrespectful and unprofessional of the conference staff.

Those problems aside, it was a delightful show nonetheless. And no, not just because they played my request "Crow Girls" right away, or what would have been my second request (the song about the dog that Karen Shaffer [who is not coincidentally Charles Vess' wife, and who co-curated the Mythic Journeys art show last year]) without my requesting it. Everybody sang along with the chorus of "Cherokee Girl," the song Charles wrote for Terri Windling, which he hoped would help send healing thoughts her way as she was suffering from a cold. The two of them told stories, finished -- or corrected -- one another's sentences. "We're married," MaryAnn added superfluously with a smile. The stories were always fun and gave little snapshots of their lives and adventures. As usual, they performed some Fred Eaglesmith songs, including one called "Good Dog" which brought tears to a few eyes. There was a tribute to author and conservationist Edward Abbey, and a Dave Alvin song about a painter who worked long enough to get money, went out into the desert to paint, returned only to sell paintings and get supplies. One time he just never came back. The chorus was something like "they never found your body, never understood your mind." Very moving, but they also had plenty of upbeat songs, like their paen to Highway 105, the route they take to their school-bus cottage on the lake.

It was a bit dark and the PDA takes only so-so pictures, but here's a blurry one (that too speedy shutter):

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