quick review: gilles peterson @ five

Groovin'Last night, BBC Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson spun at a free gig at Five here in DC. He was supported by some local DJs, including Sam “The Man” Burns, one of the elder statesmen of DC’s house scene and part of the DJ Hut crew.

I showed up early in Burns’ set, which was a never-ending run of tribal and deep house beats that had a lot of twists but an ever-driving beat. It was fun, and Sam “The Man” was really into it. As the crowd became thicker, the dancing on the main floor became more animated and fun to watch.

But the main event was Gilles Peterson. Anybody who has heard his show on the Beeb knows how creative DJ Gilles is with his mixes. Rather than concentrate solely on beat and bass, he’ll choose lineups on tonal qualities, moods, instruments or simple whimsy. As such, his sets are eclectic and always fresh – markedly different than the typical “bass-rules-the-day” motif you get as most house music events.

Upper level at FiveFurthermore, DJ Gilles broke landmark artists (such as Jamiroquai) and sounds (such as acid jazz) into the mainstream, well before most other DJs – let alone listeners – knew of their existence. Most house DJs owe a lot of Gilles Peterson and his taste in music.

DJ Gilles lived up to his reputation. Despite some early bugaboos with his microphone and one of the CD decks, he kept the ball rolling with fresh twists on dance favorites, opening with some James Brown that melded into MJ Cole and many other divergent artists – he even threw in some Coltrane, just to be different. While I didn’t stay for his entire set (I have to work, after all, and sleep is an important setup for a good work day), what I heard was excellent, all around.

Bottom line: if you like creative spinning from an influential DJ, do what you can to experience some of DJ Gilles’ work if he stops in your town. Even though last night’s show was free, I would’ve gladly paid money to hear his work.

(And if you can’t see him live, his podcasts provide a good idea of his style. You can also hear his show on BBC Radio 1, which has an archive of recent broadcasts.)

trip report: part 7

One last report posting….

Day Seven: February 21

Neues RathausThe day dawned early, and I tried to intercept Dominik before he left for work in the morning. I failed miserably, but that’s OK.

Later in the morning, Pia (who was on her spring school holiday) took me CD shopping at the site of the former München-Riem airport. The area that was Munich’s main airport until 1991 is now a multi-use development, anchored by a large shopping mall. We went to Saturn, which is a bit like Best Buy, and I bought a lot of CDs that were tough to find in the States. I also bought a mix CD of hits that had some of the songs I’d heard at the Nachtgalerie – a good find.

We also stopped by a Hugendubel bookseller, where I ran into a bit of a pickle: they only take EuroCard cards. And even though the EuroCard consortium is a subset of MasterCard, they wouldn’t take my orange-and-yellow charge plate. It was most frustrating.

In fact, I noticed that a good many retailers in Germany were EuroCard only. No matter – I’d use the ATM, right?
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trip report: part 6

I’ll try and wrap this up….

Day Six: February 20

Fat Tuesday in New Orleans is Fasching in Germany. And how did I start the morning? A little tired from the previous night’s outing, but not bad. I woke up relatively early, had breakfast, and went out with Doris and Bernd to see two sights: Allianz Arena, the football (soccer) stadium built for the 2006 FIFA World Cup; and Schloß Nymphenburg, one of King Ludwig II’s epic castles. After that: a night on the town to celebrate Fasching!
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workout log: 27 march 2007

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Potomac/Avenel, MD > Dupont Circle
Distance: 31.6 miles (mildly hilly)
Duration: 1:46
Weather: sunny, 80 degrees
Avg HR: 157 (max 175)
Type: aerobic

Another impromptu ride with a PTTC buddy, Wolfgang. He’s a talented racer and former German national triathlon champion, so he’s got a lot of speed and power. He probably cut me a little slack today, but he pushed the pace and lifted me to a good AA ride level for most of the ride. And I “won” the town-line sprint back into DC (though I think he let me have it). And what a day to be outside: 80-degree weather, the trees coming into full bloom (especially the magnolias), and lots of fellow cyclists out enjoying the same fun.

thumbs up to the dcpd

Given the generally unfriendly reception most DC residents give to their local constabulary, I figure it’s time to reflect on a positive aspect of their law enforcement duties.

In particular, a DCPD officer enforced the double-yellow line on R Street NW last night as I was riding home, groceries in tow. I had taken up the middle of the eastbound lane, as I was aware of people getting into and out of cars parked along the curb. As it is my legal right to take the lane if it would be a risk to ride close to the parked cars (and it certainly was), I rode in the center of the lane, going the speed limit for the road (25 mph).

Meanwhile, a person driving a pearl-white Lexus SUV decided that he just had to pass me, to race to the next stop sign. He started his non-signaled pass…

… when a DCPD officer emerged from a driveway and flagged the guy down with a stern point and a toot of a whistle. The guy in the Lexus emitted some kind of profanity and reluctantly pulled over into another driveway. I slowed down to witness the interaction between the officer and the driver, and the driver was presented with a ticket for illegal overtaking on a two-lane road.

How do I know it was a ticket? Because I spoke briefly with the officer’s partner, who was stationed down the road to enforce the jaywalking rules. He commended me for signaling my turns and braking, and for riding assertively.

So a word of warning to any drivers who think it’s fine to barge by cyclists who have legally taken a lane to ensure safe travel: you can be caught.

a bit of monday nostalgia

I’m normally not a big fan of Disney cartoons – I’m more of a Warner Brothers type, really – but there are some shorts that remind me of my childhood and my favorite Disney animated shorts and books.

I’d been thinking about this cartoon, “Susie – The Little Blue Coupe,” since we helped clean out sprite’s gramma’s house. Her grampa was an auto mechanic, and often spoke fondly of the days before cars were all computerized, plasticized and complicated. He could always take somebody’s old, cast aside car, gadget or furniture and make something new from it.

So when I found the short in question today, I was so delighted. Enjoy!

workout log: 25 march 2007

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Travilah/Shady Grove, MD > Dupont Circle
Distance: 53.1 miles (moderately hilly)
Duration: 3:04
Weather: sunny, 62 degrees
Avg HR: 152 (max 171)
Type: aerobic

An afternoon ride, as I decided that sleep was good after a late night on Saturday. I got “lost” at one point during the ride – not really clueless as to my location, but definitely not where I thought I was. But the ride was good: good pacing, easy recovery. And the weather couldn’t be beat (though I’m glad I wore arm warmers, all the same)!

trip report: part 5

More trip recap….

Day Five: February 19

I spent the morning skiing at Alpendorf and Wagrain. Hannes Schaller gave me a lift to the pistes, as he was teaching the Welsh teens yet again. I made a quick rush up to the Sonnenkogel so that I could enjoy my favorite piste a few more times. The day was overcast in the beginning, which meant that the snow held up well for my limited skiing time.

Leder SchallerAfter about 12 runs, I headed back down to Alpendorf, where I returned my skis to Intersport, then walked down to the shuttle bus stop at the gondola base. I perused the various ski shops, where all were trying to clear out their 2006-07 ski inventory. Because the winter, to that point, had been a bust, the prices were really affordable – I almost bought a pair of Atomic GS:11 racing skis, but held off. In hindsight, this was a good thing – they’d have been a pain when navigating the London Underground on the return trip!

(Speaking of snow at Alpendorf: they’ve received almost a meter of new snow in the past few days – great for the Easter skiing crowds! And if I had the money and the time, I’d be there in a heartbeat!)
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workout log: 20 march 2007

Activity: road cycling
Location: Dupont Circle > Potomac/Avenel, MD > Dupont Circle
Distance: 21.6 miles (mildly hilly)
Duration: 1:16
Weather: sunny, 62 degrees
Avg HR: 155 (max 179)
Type: aerobic

An impromptu ride with a couple of PTTC buddies. This was a good scouting ride for the PPTC “Downtown Breakaway” rides, which start up in April. The route has seen its share of frost heaves and construction, so there are many more potholes than in previous years. My fellow riders were training for a race, so the pace was fast – but not too fast. A fun time.