Friday, November 16, 2007

Under The Bridge

I spent this past weekend in Seattle and Vancouver. Originally, I was going for no good reason, just because I wanted to go to a party at the Pacific Science Center on Saturday night and to visit a friend (TProphet) in Seattle. I know, that’s a unique name – but it's a long story.

A couple weeks ago, he emailed me and said that as long as I was coming out for Saturday night, I might as well DJ somewhere on Friday night. Since he is a Seattle promoter and has a full sound system of his own, he said he was going to set up an event for me. I said that I’d definitely be willing to play if he got anything together, and I asked where I might be playing. He said, “oh, maybe under an abandoned bridge.” Hm.

I got to Seattle on Thursday evening and we spent most of the night getting things organized, and doing a little bit of touristy stuff. Then, on Friday, we started getting ready for the bridge party. I won’t lie, I expected something pretty low key - maybe a pair of speakers, a dozen people, and the chance to annoy or entertain some homeless people, or to get into a fight with bikers. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The party that he and his friends pulled off was one of the most entertaining evenings I’ve ever had. After we convinced the K-9 unit at 10:30pm that the entire cube van full of sound gear we were loading up wasn’t stolen, and said that we were preparing for a nice responsible folk music concert, we hit the road. Upon arriving at the bridge, there was a flurry of action, and within about half an hour we had two full sound stages set up with power generators, propane heaters for the crowd, a small kitchen selling drinks and snacks, and an art display/sale. The equipment and sound system was better than what I’ve played on in a lot of clubs in Atlantic Canada (five bass bins for my stage alone). A couple hundred people showed up, even though it was a totally unadvertised renegade party. It was pouring all night, but we were completely dry under the bridge. With two stages, and a total of ten DJ’s playing throughout the evening, Friday night alone was worth the trip.

On Saturday, TProphet’s sound system was being used at the main stage of the party of the Pacific Science Center, so he went off to set that up while I went exploring the Seattle social scene for several hours with a couple of his friends. One of his friends in particular was quite entertaining. TProphet introduced him by saying, “this is possibly the sketchiest guy you’ll ever meet, but I mean that in a good way. Try not to end up in jail before the show.” This person, who I will leave unnamed, was quite entertaining. He was discussing his plan to take out a life insurance policy on himself, fly to Zambia to buy a death certificate in the black market, then buy a Zambian identity and passport in the black market, then come back to the States as a different person and cash in on his own life insurance policy, and then use the proceeds to tour the world as a Zambian. Or something like that. Anyway, it was an entertaining start to the evening.

When we got to the Pacific Science Center, I was extremely impressed, once again. They had a full blown party IN the Science Center. There were four stages with DJ’s from 10pm-4am, three or four full bars, and best of all, all of the exhibits were open. I had a few drinks and went straight to the planetarium, where I spent the next hour and a half looking at the stars. The butterfly exhibits were open, and there was a bar in the dinosaur room, and basically the whole place was interesting. The best thing was that the tickets were moderately expensive, which meant that there weren’t a lot of street kids, so it was a very clean and respectful crowd. This, of course, is good when you have several thousand people partying in a museum.

Seattle now ranks near the very top of my list of fun cities to visit. Click here to see more photos from the trip.

Friday, November 02, 2007

911 System in Action

We have a custodian at the MTA Pub named Joann. She's worked for us for about a decade, and does an amazing job of keeping the floors and washrooms clean.

This morning, she was hard at work, and was wiping down one of the phones in the building. Six minutes later, the RCMP stormed the University Centre, to make sure she was OK. Apparently, while wiping off the phone, she unknowingly dialed 911.

She was pretty embarrassed, but it's good to know that the system can function effectively for emergencies!