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Flowers in the Attic

JOE and DEBBIE QUIGG and their daughters TINA SULLIVAN and DENISE SCHWAB celebrated the opening of The Attic last Friday night, proving from the get-go that they've got the wherewithal to throw an absolutely phenomenal party--and a classy one at that. They literally rolled out the red carpet for the community, strategically stationing Community TV producer and SoWat co-host JEFF DINELL out front to intercept arriving guests and give them a proper movie-star welcome, chatting with them as the camera rolled while THE GREAT MORGANI played in the background, adding that whimsical and very Santa Cruzy dimension to the reception.

Upstairs, we were invited to take in beverages, appetizers and a wealth of local talent, all in a space uniquely fit to feature it. What better way to preview a new art space than to offer examples of the different types of art the venue can support? Of course there's visual art on the gallery walls by REMARQUE, along with flowers throughout by ANTHONY WARD. MATTHEW EMBRY, THE DEAD REDWOODS, SAYAKA and SOLCIRCLE entertained early in the evening, demonstrating the various possibilities of various genres of music (madcap piano, twangy bluegrass, laptop wizardry and pancultural island vibes, respectively) in various locations around the venue. But the third dimension was put to greatest use during a five-part montage of performances, beginning with MOLLY HEARTWELL reciting Rumi poetry atop the appetizer table in the back of the room, followed by an aerial dance performance by MIR AND COMPANY in the front. As soon as they finished the music the spotlight shifted to one side of the room, where IMAN LIZARAZU performed her juggling act. After a few minutes, she tossed the balls of string she was juggling across the room, shifting everyone's attention to an abstract, string-based performance art piece accompanied by SONG NELSON on the cello and spoken word from GREG PAROFF. And then there was the big, drunken finish in the center of the room, where HILLARY and AMY performed a slapstick acrobatic piece on an unstable table.

The only obvious concern with the venue is the unusually bright acoustics, a problem easily dampened by a capacity crowd, which the GODDESS OF FUNK and DJS ALIA and ERIC rocked to the end of the evening. Expect great things from this venue.

Mike Connor

Born Free

Hey, isn't folk music supposed to be that "important" but fairly boring genre where everybody works extra hard to keep from smiling because THE MAN is keeping them down? And everybody's supposed to be happy, but, you know, not too happy, right? I just forgot for a moment because the benefit for FREE RADIO SANTA CRUZ on Friday at the Rio was so much goddamned fun.

KEITH GREENINGER, for one, was on fire. Seriously, that was the best performance I've ever seen from that man, and over the years I've probably seen him two dozen times. He seemed to tap into a BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN vein that I haven't noticed in his work before--every chord he touched turned epic, every conviction he put forward resonated with an incredible power.

Backing him up on a couple of songs was BOB BROZMAN, who also brought out the best in THE DEVIL MAKES THREE later in the night. My favorite Brozman mode is total caveman, and in his solo set he came across less like your typical idea of a musician and more like one of the apes using primitive tools to claw their way to the next level in 2001. I don't know if it was his political rage fueling what he unleashed Friday night, but the way he combined brute force and delicate artistry was like filigree on a cannonball.

The most adorable moment of the night came when the DM3 hit the stage and a large segment of the crowd suddenly bum-rushed it. Either that or 89-year-old FAITH PETRIC's set of protest songs. God, I hope I'm still that cranky when I'm her age.

I only found out afterward that UTAH PHILLIPS came down here to play the show despite being quite sick with bronchitis and despite having been released from his obligation to do so by the event's organizers. The man was supernaturally determined to support Free Radio Santa Cruz, and really, what better way to do that than his rendition of "Talkin' NPR Blues"?

One more round of kudos to all of the nonmusicians who contributed to this benefit, from those who worked the show to SNAZZY PRODUCTIONS to--especially--LAURENCE BEDFORD, who donated the use of the Rio for free.

Steve Palopoli

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From the December 15-22, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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