The Comfest that ate Columbus
By JOHN PETRIC
Rampant egos, power trips, overly sensitive local musicians stung by the rejection of an arrogant Entertainment Committee-would Woodstock's founding fathers have approved our local Community Festival's harvest of bad vibesand hurt feelings?
Feelings-whoa, whoa feelings, nothing more than…feelings.
Or bad karma, maybe? As one who has come to despise the '60s generation almost as much as I can't stand Katie Couric, I think it's time to look into the future and predict what our local socialist-hippie three-day gathering will resemble in the year 2058.
By then it'll have put the Ohio State Fair out of business, and the Bozo Stage will be where the scoreboard is in OSU's famed Horseshoe. The Buckeyes will have to have summer scrimmage in Newark.
Secondly, dreadlocks will be mandatory for any white person over the age of 2. There will dreadlock hair-care clinics preaching organic ways to learn how to live in harmony with the tics infesting the dreads, as well as tic-negotiation tips for when the little bastards finally invade the host head's gray skull matter.
There won't be an unpainted pair of women's breasts; men will have to register their painted you-know-what with Comfest Unicorn Police; English and jazz will be declared a dead language and music genre, respectively-rather than normal communication, everyone will just say "How's your Comfest?" and "Have a good Comfest"; and stinky indie rock, so ephemeral it won't be remembered 10 minutes after it's played, will dominate the entertainment schedule.
All bands will have to submit lyrics extolling the virtues of collectivism versus individualism (hey, I'm just quoting their current program manifesto) and be required to swear loyalty oaths to the Entertainment Committee-or to the statue of Janeane Garofalo permanently installed by the Solar Condom Stage.
Only fair-trade lettuce will be offered as festival food-from companies sworn never to turn a profit.
The weekend's biggest draw will be a hologram fantasy of Che Guevara, Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader and Sean Penn handing over Old Glory in a ceremony giving America back to the Cherokee and Mohawk Indians. Plus the unveiling of statues commemorating Gabor Klein and Mark Fisher (his party shorts enshrined in patchouli wax). It'll be beautiful.
Sound nuts? Perhaps, sure. But would the originators of Comfest all those decades ago have envisioned how big and obnoxious it'd be in 2008?
On the loss of a violinist
A terrible and sad thing to report here this week: the passing of Black Swans violinist Noel Sayre, who drowned in a public swimming pool in Portsmouth over the July 4th weekend.
Sayre gave the Swans' morbid folk a finely rustic texture with his playing, which also included viola. His laid-back, almost passive style of accompaniment complemented Jerry DiCicca's slow-motion vocals and deeply weird lyrics with a lovely sense of counterpoint. He will be missed.
Getting through the day,
one Tom album at a time
I'm still quite a bit high from the Tom Waits show at the Ohio Theatre June 28. To keep the buzz going I've been starting out every day playing his albums in chronological order, starting around 10 a.m. with 1973's Closing Time followed by '74's Heart of Saturday Night and '75's Nighthawks at the Diner. I eventually make it to 1980's Heart Attack and Vine before my Art Pepper jazz hour at dinnertime.
Those first seven years of his career saw Tom starting out almost as the proverbial West Coast singer/songwriter-but not quite, of course. He had a way of translating his experiences, real and imagined, with a skew that seemed quite radical at the time. But in light of his evolution, especially since '93's Bone Machine, it seems quite gentle and disarming.
Watching a few performance clips from the '70s recently, I've come to the conclusion he is one of the shyest geniuses to ever take the stage. And yet he has one of the biggest hearts in the business.
I'd love to hear opinions from others who went to the show. Please e-mail me here at the paper, and let's relive the most amazing two hours of our empty, sad and desperate lives.