Category Archives: Humboldt

Soul Night 14: Soulstice/last soul night on earth

December 21, 2012 Arcata CA.  A showdown where the story of the end-of-the-world met six DJs who used real records to ground a party to this earth.  A brief accounting of the participants from my simple perspective.



CAM00683The first DJ of the night was perhaps the most adventurous DJ in Humboldt county — Spaceman Spliff who not only killed his set, but dropped a Cure song to knock out small-minded fools.  Mantease played pretty hard and seems to be bringing more soul-inspired global stuff.  But it was his afrobeat shit that get’s me the most hype, and since I spent half the sent dancing on the side of the stage, that was pretty obvious. Matt “Skinny Santa” Jackson and Adam “ugly ass sweater” certainly brought the heaters.  “Back door Santa” got played and it took about half of the first verse before people clued in, then the dance floor got nasty.  And of course, the E.L. Michaels Wu-Tang song, another Soul Night first.  And I’m not talking about Skinny Santa smashing his giant candy cane across the chest of his DJ partner (saint Ad-rock), but a couple hundred people chanting “Wu-Tang!”.  I looked at Jay Morg’s set before he took the stage and I knew that he was coming with some great dancing records.  I wasn’t surprised that he gave one of the best sets of back-to-back dance floor jams that any of us have thrown and the people were feeeeeeling it. Not to mention the dude rocking a purple velour jump suit.  I had to slow it down to gospel speed just to give people a chance to catch their breath when I took over for the final shift.


I played the above set.  It was an incredible blessing to be able to look out as a simple music nerd and see hundreds of people dancing to the flute jazz jam by Sam Most. Not to mention the appreciation and respect for the good sounds.  Thanks to all the wonderful people who buy tickets and who support Soul Night.  Thanks to La Dolce Video who provide an astounding cinema backdrop for the party.  And much thanks to Humboldt Brews for the nice venue, respectful door staff, good sound guy, great bartenders, and generous dancing space.

Next soul night is January 18, expect the ridiculous.  If you are in Humboldt and want to join Matt, Adam & King Maxwell for a soulful New Years Eve at the Siren’s Song a few tickets are left at the Missing Link.

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Soul Night 6: Missing Link saved my soul

Matt, Adam and DJ Mantease cavorting, sporting and speaking at Soul Night 5.

Arcata California on April twenty, Humboldt Brews.   Sold out a few days before, the gig was ridiculous.  So many good dancers and hot tracks.  Despite being 420, I was pretty inspired to keep the party focused on the dancing.  I think the music and the people who come to party are the central part of this gig, and I worry about theme parties overshadowing or distracting from that core.  So I loaded my set with a few favorites and a few new acquisitions.

Mantease played global smashers with a few soul songs blended in.  I think I heard Sugarpie DeSanto blended with some afrobeat.  It was captivating and kept me on the dance floor.  Jaymorg was just foolish.  Sporting Run-DMC glasses and a bevy of killer 45s he just knocked ’em out.  The Syl Johnson track does it for me.  I’m going try to convince him to play that every soul night.

I dropped a little set of disco, go-go, and funky soul.  The highlight was pretty much the Trouble Funk tune – almost ten minutes long — it gave the dancers enough time to make it happen.  Congas and cowbell are non-negotiable ass-movers even in 2012.

1. Barry White – standing in the shadow of love

2. Lonnette McKee – Save it

3. B.W. Souls – Marvin’s Groove

4. J. R. Bailey – We need love

5. Gladys Knight & the Pips – Good man

6. Dyke and the Blazers – Runaway people

7. Stormy – devastator

8.  David Robinson – Carpenter

9. Eddie Bo – Can I be your main squeeze

10.  Dorothy, Oma & Zepha – Gonna put it on your mind

11. Ted Taylor – how do  you walk away from fear

12. Curtis Mayfield – beautiful brother of mine

13. Chuck Brown – game seven part 1

14. Trouble Funk – Get small (live)

15. Ron and Candy – Plastic situation

Then Matt and Adam supercharged the crowd with some jump blues, jam down soul and serious tracks.  Danced my butt off!

Thanks to all the supporters, participants, Humbrews, Brad the bartender (CHEERS!), and all the dancing people.  We’ll see you next month.

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Soul Night Arcata April 20

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Missing Link Soul Night playlist 6

It got a little intense at Humbrews on March 22.

The venue was intense.  The walls were sweating, the sound was loud, the floor was slick and unforgiving.  It didn’t feel packed, but it was solid — like water just before it boils.

The audience was intense.  Sold out almost immediately.  People who wanted to be there to party and dance. Some serious first-timers and a load of soul night veterans.  The combination was electric — the floor was undulating from the get-go.

Even the DJs are getting more intense.  Every party seems to be an improvement in planning, sound, sonic combinations, mixing and theatrics.

T-Rex had some great records — a great compliment to the party.  Jay Morg celebrated his birthday with some of his favorite tracks.  Some soul night classics he loves to play and a couple of new killer tracks. I played an all-woman set that was so much fun and really well received.  Matt and Adam brought exactly nine 45s each and then destroyed the club. These guys have some good records!

DJ Mantease.  Ah Mantease.  The secret weapon.  The electricity and courage to just take the party to the next level.  He told me that he practiced this set once or twice. I’m totally convinced.  It was an awesome collection of Cumbia and eclectic bangers.

I usually keep my playlists, but this time I gave it to Adam to protect his 45s.  Here is what I think I played (not in order):

Ann Peebles – I can’t stand the rain

Sugar Pie DeSanto Soulful Dress

Naomi Shelton Promised land

Marva Whitney I’m tired, I’m tired, I’m tired

Betty Wright – let me be your lovemaker

Gladys Knight – got myself a good man

Gladys Knight – You need love like I do (don’t you)

Gladys Knight – nitty gritty

Sugarpie DeSanto – Git back

Aretha Franklin – the house that jack built

Aretha Franklin – since you’ve been gone

Phoebe Snow – shine, shine shine

Tina Turner – As long as I can get you

The Coup – laugh, love, fuck

Three-song Gladys Knight and the Pips set is a conclusive answer to the question does Gladys Knight slay in 2012?

I love this party and I feel great about the growing popularity.  We throw a peaceful, woman-friendly, musically diverse, cheap, all-vinyl, multifaceted shindig.  It is very exciting that people want to join.  Lets keep the love flowing.  Join us on April 20th for a sixth and special incarnation of the party at Humbrews.

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Soul Night March 22 at Humboldt Brews

I’m pretty excited.  Please join us for soul music, a disco ball, at least two birthday parties, Matt Jackson’s slinky fashion, Adam’s gyrations, DJ Mantease’s enlightening jams,  Jaymorg’s favorite 45s, Tanasa AKA T-Rex, and all at an affordable entry price.

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Full moon party Thursday March 8 Trinidad CA

Thanks to yogateacher for the image of the moon.

Thursday March 8.  Full moon party at the fantastic Ocean Grove in Trinidad CA.  DJ Knuts, King Maxwell, DJ Mantease, Matt & Adam, and Jaymorg bring the funk and soul vinyl party.  Stiff drinks, giant redwoods, wild locals, phenomenal tunes, and a full moon.  It should be a nice evening.

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Saturday night: A Soul Adventure

Poster made by Jaymorg.

Join myself, DJ Anya, DJ Mantease and of course Matt n’ Adam for a Saturday soul adventure.  My set will be inspired by spring, Don Cornelius, Barry White, subtle sleaze and the Sounds of Philadelphia!

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Missing link’s got soul night playlist III

Whoo hooo!  What a spicy night.  DJ Mantease, JAYMORG, Adam & Matt & King Maxwell (myself) shared some nice vinyls with the people.  26o people came out.  We raise a couple of hundred bucks for Jonathan Toubin, and had a soulful good time.  Here is what I brought to play:

Pingpong contributions (mixed in with the other DJs):

Bobby McNutt – Country living/Country Style

Bobby Rush – Mary Jane

TSU Tornadoes – The Goose

Woody Carr – Peace Dance

Soul set:

1. Rhythm Masters- I can do anything you can do

2. Bill Withers – kissing my love

3.  Betty Wright – let me be your lovemaker

4. Willie Mitchell – 20-75

5. Bobby Byrd – I know you got soul

6. The Isley Brothers – Testify I

7. King Curtis – Popcorn Willie

8. Buddy Ace – My Baby

9. The Vibrations – pick me

10. Syl Johnson – Wiggle in your hips

11. Harvey and  the Phenomenals – Soul and sunshine

12. Stormy – Devistator

13. Lynn Collins – Think

14. Alvin Cash – keep dancing

15. Naomi Shelton – Promised land

16. Aretha Franklin – House that jack built

17. Charles Bradley – this love ain’t big enough

18. All the people – cramp your style

19. Sugar Pie DeSanto – Git Back

20. Marva Whitney – Tired, tired tired

21. Amy Winehouse – Rehab

22. Bill Withers – Who is he

Next soul night is January 26 at Humbrews in Arcata.  In partial celebration of King Maxwell & Adam’s birthdays.  Be there or be square!


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Ecotopia, automobiles and justice

Premise number one: automobile culture as we know it in North America is unsustainable.

Ken Bensinger’s three-part series in the L.A. Times about exploitative auto dealers and the poor underscores just how much automobile-centered living has cost America.  The series is pretty clear: working poor are screwed without cars and the industries which prey on those needs are evil.  Not to mention the ecological damage, strip mall culture, distance between humans, high-speed culture, and consumer identity that are entwined with the lifestyle of the car.

Premise number two: the transition away from automobiles is going to be very hard for people, particularly in the U.S..

We set up this nation to be focused on individual-based car transit.  We can’t be too surprised that people hold onto their perceived right to drive a car with surprising firmness.  I was teaching a social movements class and showed a short video of activists in the United Kingdom protesting a church celebration of the automobile.  One woman on the film seemed particularly eloquent to me.  She spoke of losing her child to a speeding car.  When the class started discussing the video, I was surprised to find that most of the students wanted to blame this woman for “letting” her child go near a road.

Suddenly I realized that they were feeling judged and they wanted to undercut this tragic voice because they didn’t want to think about their participation in automobile culture.

The need to change car culture in the United States will be met with shallow innovation rather than actual change.  I suspect that we’ll  just tweak things in the era of declining oil returns.  We’ll have more electric cars reliant on natural gas and nuclear power plants to make energy.  We’ll have many more bio-diesel vehicles and probably new farm subsidies for vegetable oil producers.

Even though the gas-guzzler is fundamentally offensive, we won’t challenge the right to guzzle gas, we’ll just provide new “clean” justifications.  People who drive electric cars drive more.  That’s right!  When people buy a new energy-efficient vehicle they tend to use it more.  When we have the moral problems cleaned up (in our minds) we revert to unbridled consumer desire.  “Oh, lets take the Prius on the road trip — it’s so efficient.”

Alternative: thinking about the closed loop, Ecotopia and transportation

Ernst Callenbach’s Ecotopia books are interesting day-dreams on what a future might look like.  One reason the book is useful is the visioning component involved in future-fiction thinking — every reader is invited to disagree or re-envision.

In my Humboldt bioregion we have the Kinetic Sculpture Race where dozens of bicyle-driven human powered sculptures must prove themselves capable of traveling over sand, water and many miles of roads.  It isn’t hard to imagine this fleet of bike vehicles shared, rehabilitated and helping to move goods and people around the North Coast.

Catch a ride to the market on the giant hippo.

This suggests to me that the collapse of oil-based transportation might not be all that terrible in this place.  My daydream is that the transition  isn’t just about keeping gas pump-dependent, individuality-centered, automobile culture alive, but about being open to something else growing in it’s place.

Remember when you were a kid and you just rode your bike?  Meandered?  Wandered?  Crossed a parking lot and then rode in circles?  Have you actually done that lately?

I’m not trying to be a smart-ass.  I think this is part of the loss of car-dependent culture.  Most of us are so stressed out paying for cars, or paying for gas, or dealing with the extra hidden charges in our automobile insurance this month that we don’t get around to fun bike rides. Or to imagine that the problems of transportation aren’t unique.

I bet you can think of a time in the last few weeks where you were stymied by a lack of transportation.  I think this is what most of us have in common.  We want mobility, freedom to move.  The chance to just go and get where we need.

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) has tried for years to get the government to help the poor buy cars. In 2005 and again in 2007, she sponsored legislation to provide $50 million a year for low-income car ownership programs. Both bills died in committee.

She said she has faced resistance from, among others, environmental organizations that insist mass transit is a better solution.

“Public transit is not practical in Milwaukee where the wind chill can be 45 below and you have to drop three kids off at day care,” Moore said. “We really have a crisis with respect to getting people to their jobs.”

via The poor have few options for seeking help in buying a car – Page 2 –

This is probably what underlies the vicious defensiveness about personal car ownership — this desire for freedom and escape.  Solidarity in modern capitalism can be seen in the unfulfilled invitation to freedom.  And the daily needs of living in the world that in fact seem to necessitate a car of one’s own.

So how do you challenge the cultural norm while still supporting the need of the poor to have safe and reliable transportation?  I guess the daydream is that we could actually start talking not only about the costs of automobile culture, but also the threads of other ways of living that are visible slightly below the surface.   Mix a little utopianism with newspaper reports.  Encourage people to talk about the impossible and pretty soon it isn’t impossible.

Cuba has endured a U.S. embargo for a couple of decades.  The mutual antagonism between the governments of Cuba and the United States has created a fascinating window into an alternative way of being.  I’m not oblivious to Cuba’s poverty and problems.  In terms of organic agriculture and in this case, automobiles, the resilient Cuban people (different than the government) have shown what is possible.

But since Cubans couldn’t legally sell their vehicles, they learned to do everything possible to keep them on the road.

Nelson Ramos, a car enthusiast and former economist in Havana, says cars in Cuba are “like members of the family.”

“Cars stay in the family forever. And you take care of the car, you fix the engine, and we probably have the best mechanics in the world,” Ramos says. “This is probably the only country in the world where you don’t have a junkyard for cars. We simply get the wreckage and put it on wheels and drive it again.”

via In Cuba, A Used Car Is No Bargain : NPR.

I try not to be a purist.  In my ideal world all transportation would be bicycles, but I know that isn’t realistic for most people.  So instead, I would put forward a dream of a transition inspired by justice.  The needs of a community being organized around those who needed help first.  I envision a few electric cars, or biodiesel vehicles that might operate as ambulances or as transit for those who have need.  We don’t need any new cars if what Cuba shows us is possible. People will be hand-carving door handles out of wood for the bicycle-powered buggies of the future.


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Kingmaxwell on 2011 Reggae Festival and Potluck album

Two new articles by Maxwell for the North Coast Journal.

1.  Review of Potluck’s new album: Rhymes and Resin.

With Rhymes and Resin Potluck manages to take risks and still affirm their position at the top of Humboldt’s rhyming hierarchy. Confidence in their own capabilities and a willingness to share the stage with other local artists make them the grandparents of Humboldt hip hop.

via Rhymes and Resin | North Coast Journal | Humboldt County.

2. Review of the 2011 Reggae festival.

Seun Kuti grew up in the liberated zone of Kalakuta in Nigeria. His father Fela Anikulapo Kuti had declared a small section of the city of Lagos to be an area where good music could be heard, cannabis could be smoked, dissident politics were welcome (so long as you didn’t criticize Fela), and sexuality wasn’t so controlled. Some obvious similarities exist between Kalakuta and the 27-year Reggae on the River concert tradition. At Benbow State Park July 17, headliner Seun Kuti brought this year’s temporary autonomous zone celebrations to a head with his powerful Afrobeat orchestra: Egypt 80.

via Reggae on the River Goes International | North Coast Journal | Humboldt County.

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