Wednesday, September 2, 2009

zappanale = utopia

a painful 10AM wake-up.

much like the "red alert" signal on a punctured submarine, my iPhone alarm is loud enough to wake up the entire crew of the U-96 (even after its demise). i wipe the crust from my unabrow and head to the lobby. grab a cup of strong coffee from my cafe dance partner. she seems wistful, but i'm sure doing the robot will get her out of it.

10 of us scurry into an 8 passenger van. one of us has not showered for days, which makes the drive comparable to being put into a 4 hour headlock by a homeless prizefighter. no worries though, we're on the way to one of my favorite places in the whole world. a quaint village called bad doberan. it's 15 kilometers west of rostock, and it's the home of zappanale, a week long festival dedicated to the genius of frank zappa: composer, filmmaker, guitarist, politician, iconoclast.

i wish i could describe the festival in full detail, but it's difficult for me. it's as close as i've come to some form of heaven. an endless supply of vegan food, a bizarre collection of avant-garde LP's. loud dissonance and difficult rhythms. art. weird girls. hangmatten. clean air. a lifetime of memories.

this year marked my 5th visit to the mecca of zappa. it gets better every year. there were two stages this time around! i still say it's the most organized festival in the world. you can quote me on that. i rubbed elbows with some of the all time greats, such as david aellen (of gong fame) and kawabata makoto (of the mind-melting acid mothers temple). eating a continental breakfast with roy estrada was hilarious. i will never forget it!

i also became best friends with the fine people of discorporate records. discorporate is one of the leading avant-garde labels in europe. coincidentally, they signed my close friends capillary action, a group led by oberlin grad jon pfeffer. jon and i played in a band together when we were 10 years old. it was called...well, the name was crude, perhaps even downright offensive. nevermind.

zappanale ended with a smashing late night performance on the second stage. johannes (drummer of schnaak and co-founder of discorporate) led the most inspired zappa/doors tribute group i've ever seen. their regular set closed with a rowdy cover of "L.A. Woman". for the encore, they played "girls just wanna have fun" - in the nude.

and that concludes my recap of the project/object european tour.


janine said...

dear eric,
i don't know whether you still remember me. we met at the zapanale. i'm the trumpet-playing-women from rostock.
i wanted to write you, because i regret that i didn't say good bye to you. but after the performace on the truckstage i had to drive right away to rostock for a rehearsal with my brassquintet at that night. so i had no time to look for you. i'm terrible sorry about that.
hopefully we will see us next year. then i would have the chance to do it better!

but by the way what do you mean with 'weird girl'?!

i wish you all the best

Eric Slick said...

hey janine!
of course i remember you. it's okay, i'll be there next year. if i come to europe before then, i'll let you know.

and about the "weird girls"....the girls at zappanale are definitely weird - and that's a great thing! they like weird music, art, books. things that are unconventional. you have to understand, it's so different than the united states. it's refreshing. trust me!

anyway, have fun with the brass quintet! see you soon!


Pat said...

Dear Eric,

Thanks for the interesting post, which linking to made our piece more valuable to our readers. These comment boxes don't seem to like web addresses, but check out The Blog of Kevin Dolgin for Sept. 8 "Frank Zappa Conquers Europe."
Best of all possible regards,
Pat Hartman
News Editor, The Blog of Kevin Dolgin

Keith Birthday said...

hi friend. I miss your pretty face I hope it's in Russia soon cause I'll try to come see it.