Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Let's Make Like Tomatoes and Catch Up (Ow!)

Once again, I was planning to write this a while ago. That's me and Gary and Jimmy October 14 outside the ScotiaBank Place in Kanata, Ottawa,about two hours west-ish of Montreal. We met when I was still in LA, and I answered an ad for people to travel together to see Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band at one of his only two Canada appearances. (I know, sounds dorky, but it wasn't really.)

Though I'm sure Gary did sort of expect more than two people to respond to the ad. But there we were: a writer from Los Angeles, a Quebecois Chrysler auto parts guy (Bruce would be proud), and an Asian-Canadian computer guy dude, sitting in a Dunkin' Donuts at the Berri-UQAM Station, strategizing about how best to nab seats in "the pit." Like teenagers.

All over Ottawa, other grown-ups were having the same strategy sessions, self-imagined swashbucklers with enough money for tickets and t-shirts. And a serious mortage. And more than one car. Rock and roll grown-ups.

This was gonna be a column about the show, about how in a world where actual product barely exists, where walls and walls and walls full of albums have been replaced by less than a microchip, and where there are no record stores anymore, a middle-aged guy swinging a Fender Esquire guitar can rejuvenate and reinvigorate and reinvent. I've written about Springsteen so many times in so many places that there isn't much I can add to the ouevre. It was a night of rock and roll redemption, and all those kinds of adjectives that he generates. (See inspirational, joyful, jubilant, cathartic, all of those...)

We waited outside all day, we bonded, we stood for five and a half hours straight, and on the way home we left the radio off and we talked about music, about religion, about journalism, sports, about politics American and Canadian, and we talked about home. And we could have talked until the sun came up over Newfoundland.

Somewhere on the Trans-Canada Highway near East Hawkesbury, Gary looked up and out the window and said, "You guys have gotta see this sky. So many stars....."

It was that kind of a night.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Santa Ana Days

Governor Schwarzenegger Proclaims State of Emergency in Southern California Counties Due to Wildfires

"Governor Schwarzenegger tonight proclaimed a State of Emergency in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura due to more than eleven major wildfires. Throughout the region, more than 30,000 acres have already burned, and more areas are threatened. The wildfires have caused the loss of human life and serious injuries. They have burned a number of homes, businesses and other structures. Residents have been evacuated in dangerous areas...."

I know that as I am writing this from so far away, the fires burn out of control ("zero percent contained...") in my home town as the Santa Anas roar down mountain passes like dragon's breath. I read the local news there everyday, and I recognize the familiar shots of stunned homeowners and stoic firefighters. I remember how my heart hurt as I watched the Griffith Park Fire torch a lot of my personal memories last May.

Okay, no one needs my impressions from 3600 miles away. Only that my heart goes out to the families of those lost, and to those who have lost, and to the firefighters and their families.

Photo by LA Times