Monday, October 13, 2008

Richmond's Got a Big Ol' Butt!

Karen was determined to make sure Jasper got to see the guys swinging by their feet from a pole up in the sky. So, we headed over the Folk Festival. The little guy hadn't been able to nap all day, which worried us a bit. Fortunately for us, Jasper tends to rise to the occasion and soak up whatever the adventure might be (except for dinner out, which he ruins like clock work).

Sitting in the grass in one of the only shady spots near the pole, we waited for these colorfully adorned folks at the top of the to start dangling and spinning. And we waited... and Jasper couldn't seem to tell that there was anything to see up in the sky. We passed the restless bundle back and forth. One guy up there started playing a flute and a tiny drum. This got Jasper's legs going and he jumped in place along to the beat (held upright by his parents, of course). Eventually, after a couple more flute songs, they started their twirling decent.

I waved my arms and baby toys in the direction of the spectacle and Jasper's eyes followed. Taking the toys away, he was still gazing up at the performers. Then away, then back, then away. And it was over. The spinning decent took under five minutes. And there was nothing left to see.

Call and Response Time

Next up, E.U. I could hardly believe that I would have a chance to hear "Da butt" live. Karen couldn't see why a DC go-go band would be included in the Folk Festival. But it was clear enough to me. Go-go music is a regional thing. Despite brief bouts with mainstream success like Lean On Me and Da Butt, (both 80's fluff by most go-go fans' standards) the bouncy percussion-heavy party music is barely heard outside of DC and the surrounding states of Maryland and Virginia. The shit is folksier than Sarah Palin, but just as raunchy as her teenage baby-mamas, and it's no flash in the pan. Check out that Wiki link for a great history lesson on go-go (Rare Essense has always been a favorite group of mine).

After surveying the food vendors, we splurged on some hush puppies, ice cream, and beer. But not until we both recoiled at the ridiculous prices placed on most of the festival food. Yeah, I know. The event was free, so what do you expect? Um, I expect to pay $3 or two samosas, not one tiny one (India K'Raja) or $5-6 for red curry over rice instead of $10 (Ginger Thai Taste). I also expect to see the price for that advertised falafel on at least one of the vendor's signs. Whatever. We came for the upsidedown spinning guys and we stayed for "Da Butt."

You could hear the funky beat from across the transformed James River Parks. E.U. was tearing into the crowd with propulsive thumping and provocations to party. By the time we made our way over there, a woman was singing a slow jam and the drums had been been turned down from eleven to negative two. Nonetheless, I tried to make Karen and Jasper get their groove on to what was left of the music.

Just then, one of the male singers started yelling into the mic and the guy behind the tom toms had returned to his station. The entire crowd nodded along to the syncopated beat, slowly getting back into it. I couldn't stop smiling. Who cares about their big hit? Any go-go is better than no go-go. Soon, I was getting social - chatting up an old acquaintance, Trey, a super nice guy who arm-barred and triangle choked me regularly but mercifully during my brief stint training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He still trains, and even coaches, but mostly redoes people's kitchens and bathrooms (hit me up if you want his number).

Just before we decided to leave on this high-note. The band started up their anthem.

When you get that notion,
put your backfield in motion, hey
Doin' the butt. Hey sexy, sexy
Ain't nothing wrong,
if you wanna do the butt
all night long!*

Later that night, Jasper decided to make us pay for his delayed nap. The racket drove me outta the house and into the arms of my Obama door-knocking neighbors. I joined their effort for an hour or so, talking to several fence-sitting voters. One swore she'd never vote for "that muslim." Others had already voted absentee. In every case, even with the misinformed lady, we were warmly received. A good way to cap off the day. Well, actually, the sleeping baby, a cold Yeungling, and an episode of Dexter were the real rewards. Time to start another week.

*If you don't understand the title to this post, then you've never enjoyed Da Butt straight thru to the end. Fix that.


  1. Anonymous3:59 PM

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  3. I've just deleted two of Jocelyn's racist/sexist caricature comments. If you're reading this, fella, don't post your garbage on my blog. You can spout ignorance on RVABlogs and manipulate your "popularity" there all you want, but not here. Get lost and get help.

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  6. I actually heard that while I was watching the Totonac spinners. You amaze me...

    I was not being racist.. I was merely reporting what was said...

  7. tbs: are you wrapped up in this? I've got a zero tolerance policy for Jocelyn's brand of humor. Not trying to promote it here. But, yes. I hear the go-go infringed on other people's parties. Personally, I think there ain't nothin' wrong, if you wanna do the butt all night long.

  8. JG:
    Contact me off-blog, eh?

  9. 3 in the morning pancake truer words!


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