Sunday, June 10, 2007

Jerome Fest 2007

I guess I live to experience things in life my way. Don't really care if it is conventional anymore. Un-conventional is where it's at. I don't want to be told what something is like, won't "get" things unless truly immersed into the spirit of what "it" is. There is no adequate lecture, no book, no movie or photo that can truly express a culture other than living and breathing for a short while within the culture itself. Last Saturday was a first, a learning experience in many ways, a venture into something different, simpler, liberal, green, bohemian, friendly. Jeromefest 2007 in Lupus MO.

I made it a point to take some pictures of those living and/or camping there. Interesting enough I only encountered one guy who didn't want his picture taken. Hey, I knew why, but I wasn't asking. The gentleman above sat and played Gin for 4 hours with his friend. Alan and Dennie were so inspired by their playing skills that they played Gin later, through dinner, at my favorite restaurant in Columbia MO, Trattoria Strada Nova.

Lupus MO! Can't say that I had ever heard of it up until Saturday when I accompanied my friend Alan Blau to celebrate some of Mid Mo's legendary musical talents. The late Jerome Wheeler, who inspired the Missouri River Cultural Conservancy, was a singer songwriter and member of the Celebrated Renaissance Band, popular in the late 60's and 70's. The remaining members get together each year in commemoration of Jerome's contributions to music and his inspiration.

Musicians included Jesse James and Patty Nash, John and Pam, Violet Vonderhaar, Patrick and Anion, Il-MO-CA All-Stars, Celebrated Renaissance Band Reunion, Lee Ruch and Batholomew Bean, Lizzie West and Baba Buffalo, Naked Dave and SRE.

Now, I have not attended this sort of the thing before; sat in at a music festival open stage type thing. I simply jumped in the car with Alan Blau, the epicurean. He'd invited me to go, to hang out with his old college buddies who had formed a band around the time that I was say, eight years old. They came in from all over the place, Redondo Beach CA, the East Coast. Since Alan and I occasionally indulge on a bit of the grape, a culinary experience here or there, and we both like music, I jumped at the chance to go and be a part of his day.

There was much to learn about playing and jamming with professional musicians. And why Alan thought it appropriate to convince (bearded) Jesse James, the guy who seemed to be running the show, that I should be included in the line up is beyond me. Regardless, I sat in on several songs, bluegrass mainly, some really awesome original work. I had no clue as to what I was doing. Then they asked me to go it alone, then I butchered my first official gig. Not exactly a tough house. But again, I enjoyed the experience, getting up there and sharing, no matter how crude or rough or nervous, and no matter the fact that I couldn't remember the words to each of the songs that I played. For a second, a small moment in time, I was one of them, a player, singer, expressive. Jerome had done his work, I am inspired to do more of this someday.

Lupus is quite the confine, situated at the end of a long winding road, south due west of Columbia MO, along the Missouri River Banks. Everyone was authentic, although it occurred to me that I likely wouldn't know the difference between the real thing or paid actors in this case. Maybe I was on a movie set of some kind and it was all choreographed for my experiential pleasure. There were lots characters surrounding me that way. It was surreal. Lupus is a town filled with non-conformists, hippie, laid back, call it what you want, but there was something quite peaceful about the way they live there lives there. The train came by so often you didn't even notice. I liked Lupus and plan to return there someday. For the rest, relaxation and music.


Craig said...

Dude, that's so ironic. I did the exact same thing this weekend, but in Illinois.

Your legs are looking a little flabby. Have you not been riding? I note a perceptible loss of tone.

Anonymous said...

Cool - small world too. Lee Ruth - the skinny old dude with the beard - was my banjo/guitar teacher for a few years. Check out the Lupus Chili Festival later in the year.
Jerome would play hooked up to a respirator during the last few years of his life.

Ethan Froese

Ralph Pfremmer said...

Hell, I thought that was Jesse. Again, I had no idea what I was doing. They thought the city boy was a bust.

Thrasher, upper body looks stiff, yes?


Anonymous said...

Hey Raloh: thanks for posting the Lupus story. We did have a great time and you were definitely a part of it.
I emailed the page to John Mathis out in California and to Richie Riback in Chicago. I know they will want to know what other photo's you have. And the photo of Byron (John's banjo playing son) with Lee Ruth (one of Byron's musical heroes) is terrific. Thanks again, hope we see you next year. All the best, Dan William Peek

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