All We Have Is Each Other

Very little about yesterday was good. If you haven’t heard, then it falls to me to let you know that Joe “Vito” Albanese, 52, and Drew “Schmootzi The Clod” Keriakedes, 45, were killed yesterday by an angry and ill man with a gun.

Both played with the band God’s Favorite Beefcake. Both were well loved by my friends and my community. I can’t make any claims to knowing them, and it wrecks me that I won’t have the chance. So many of my friends have shared a pint, a pitcher, a keg, and an evening with one or the other that it almost seemed an inevitability that at some point I would too. Now all I’ll ever be able to say is that whenever I saw them perform, I was among friends and happy.

Yesterday was full of death. In addition to Drew and Joe, we lost two unnamed patrons at Cafe Racer and Gloria Koch Leonidas, a married mother of two. Five. Five folks by one gun. And it’s so easy to withdraw, to hide, when confronted by such bad, irrational, math. That was my response last night. I holed up, played music from HONKers and the circus, kept my own counsel. It was celebratory and sad and right for me. What gave me some peace–the one good thing about yesterday–was that for those who wanted to gather in the company of others, who wanted the comfort of their community, our great family was still there.

From SLOG:

The mourning was mostly happening in the front yard, within sight of Cafe Racer, and it was intense. Many of the people there were show people—musicians, actors, acrobats, vaudevillians. […]

People brought instruments and started playing in the middle of the street between Cafe Racer and D’s house. Orkestar Zirkonium played Balkan-style brass songs that oscillated between gleeful and doleful and sounded something like this. It was the closest thing to a New Orleans jazz funeral I’ve ever seen in Seattle—a pack of musicians showing up spontaneously, blowing their horns and banging their drums with tears streaming down their faces.

Some folks played violin dirges. One man did a handstand, circus-acrobat style, in the middle of the band, doing midair splits and slowly gyrating his legs. Two women sat on the shoulders of others and harmonized an Appalachian song that made pretty much everyone cry. An accordion trio played some of one of the slain’s songs and the crowd sang along.

People also brought large paper lanterns, the kind with a little rectangle of fuel you can ignite and then wait until the paper fills up, let it go, and watch it sail. People cheered as each balloon went up.

Today, I’m a little better. Today I want company. I want to revel in my community, find some small solace with my friends. I think I am ready, today, for HONK! Fest West to begin.

In honor of Drew and Joe, we are planning two memorial events during HONK! Fest West. The first will take place at the start of the procession from Oxbow Park to Georgetown at 5:45 on Friday night. There will be 60 seconds of silence at 5:44pm, followed by the joyous noise of HONK! marching down the street. The second will be on Sunday at Seattle Center, a proper second line sendoff. We will exit EMP at 4pm as a mass band playing this piece.

We invite you join us in honoring their memories though silence and the most raucous noise we can create. Come HONK with us.

Let me leave you with some music. Thank you Drew and Joe, and may you both find peace. Hello G’Bye.

Band of the Day: VamoLá

Through lively processions, parades, and stage performances, VamoLá brings to life the celebratory spirit of Brazilian carnival! While the emphasis is on samba—“the essence of the Brazilian musical soul”—VamoLá offers a rich array of other Brazilian music and dance styles as well, from the radical, hip-hop rhythms of samba-reggae to the elegant, powerful rhythms of maracatu. This exuberant drum and dance ensemble envelops the audience in driving rhythms, inviting the audience to join in and delighting viewers of all ages.

We’re counting on your support: help us hit the new goal in 24 hours!!

Yes, we know our goal of $10,000 was rather ambitious, but it’s because we are so filled with the community spirit that HONK! festivals inspire, we had to go over the top and ask from our hearts to yours to help this event shatter old boundaries and lay great foundation for the future.

That can still happen – IF we hit our revised goal of $2,000 in the next 24 hours: by midnight tomorrow, we need to raise a mere $385. That means 30 people chipping in $13!

And if you make it $25, the rewards get real good…

Of course, the true reward is the festival. One that inspires magic and joy in people from 3 to 103 – one that brings musicians from around the country to play together, even though they haven’t seen each other for most of the year – one that welcomes all people, regardless of artificial social barriers.

This is HONK! Fest West – a chaotic, noisy, musical circus! A fanfare festival! A feast for the senses!

And it’s all volunteer, FREE, and relies on LOCAL support. That is a rare but important combination – we believe in the power of music, community, and public space that strongly.

The Hubbub Club delights West Seattle families (2010)
The Hubbub Club delights West Seattle families (2010)

There are many costs, of course – and many fees; our all-volunteer musicians travel from far and wide to play music for you at many performances over just a few days. This is why your contribution helps so much.

Please, give what you can today; earn some sweet schwag, then grab your friends and come HONK! with us ~ we HONK! in 90 hours!

Band of the Day: Tubaluba

In a little more than a year, Tubaluba has made quite a name for itself while bringing the New Orleans Brass Band tradition to the streets and clubs of Seattle. Whether its leading second line parades at the Fremont Solstice Parade, U District Street Fair, Ballard SeaFoodfest, the West Seattle Street Fair, Fremont Lovefest, and Fremont’s Oktoberfest or tearing the roof off of local clubs like the Tractor Tavern, the Nectar Lounge, and the Croc, Tubaluba is just the grease you need to keep it movin’ all night long. Tubaluba brings vocals, piano, drums, and a mess of horns to the party, serving up New Orleans classics with second line-ified R&B tunes and booty shakin’ originals. Funk yeah!

Band of the Day: Titanium Sporkestra

Titanium Sporkestra has been lurking on the outskirts of Seattle’s music and performance art scene for 5 years. In that time we have won the 2010 Marching Band Battle of the Bands at Burning Man. Won the Seattle Tomato Battle of the Bands. Toured to San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Providence, New York and more. In 2012, Titanium Sporkestra is ratcheting up their game with a return to Texas next month, New York in our sights, and Europe waiting in the wings…the years of lurking in the shadows are over. Give it up, for Titanium Sporkestra!

Band of the Day: The Carnival Band

he Carnival Band is a thirty piece, full tilt boogie, brass band explosion from East Vancouver that plays funk, calypso, samba, and world-beat for you to cut a rug to! We bring pure love and a lively atmosphere whether we’re playing Vancouver’s Folk Festival or a small political rally in support of indigenous rights, peace or the Poverty Olympics. The best part is that we encourage anyone at any level of musical experience to participate. Under the musical direction and “spiritual leadership” of Ross Raymond Barrett and Tim Sars, we maintain that community music is grounded in love and collaboration, with the aim of empowering the individuals involved. Songs and performances are a means to creative expression and community cohesiveness, rather than an end in themselves.