Days 129 & 130: Reed’s Kombucha & Dara Ackerman’s Skyland Release Party

Another couple of days with lots of New Things! Day 129 was quick and easy; I tried a new Kombucha, Reed’s Lemon Ginger Raspberry. Pretty good, actually, and has the advantage of being caffeine free (unusual for kombucha, since it’s made with tea). While I was in the kitchen I was messing around with my amazing phone/camera and wondered if I could take two pictures of myself by using the selfie camera and the little stamp thingy at the same time (clear as muck, right?). 
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Apparently not. But I did discover that I can put the other person in the little stamp while taking a normal sized selfie. The picture quality isn’t as great, but it’s still fun to play with. How is this One New Thing? In the past, I wouldn’t have been willing to even play around with this fantastic technology. I would have been too intimidated. Now play and curiosity and experimentation happen much more frequently and naturally. Yay!
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Day 130 was a blast! One of the people taking the online course with me is Dara Ackerman, a singer-songwriter. Yesterday was the CD release party for her brand new CD, Skyland, and it was happening in Berkeley, just a half-hour away. Was I going? Need you even ask? But I wasn’t just going to show up at show time. Heck, I’m going to Berkeley! First stop: pick up my friend Sue. She knows all the best places in Oakland and Berkeley. She took me to Comal. Just look at this place: if you didn’t know it was there, you’d never even suspect it was there (except, perhaps, for the people lining up outside). Look at the name of the place, little and tiny and low on the window. It was almost invisible amidst the other businesses on the street. Good thing Sue knew what she was looking for.
We didn’t have as much time as we’d hoped (I once again got lost in Oakland – happens all the time! I wasn’t worried because now my aforementioned phone has GPS and I know how to use it… but last night, it decided not to work), so we went through to the outdoor bar area in the back and just had margaritas and chips and flautas: not a terrible fate! One server served everyone back there off her cool little push cart of goodies. 
The chips and guacamole and flautas were great. Comal has a great menu, too, and I am definitely looking forward to going back and checking out the real food. They also have a quite unusual tequila there that I’ve been wanting to try ever since I first read about it… but that’s for another day!
Our next stop wasn’t much more clearly identified. In fact, The Monkey House, where Dara’s CD release party was held, is so exclusive that you can’t even get the address until you’ve made reservations. My first time in an “underground” establishment! The venue is tiny – seating for 40 – and they don’t serve food or drinks, though you’re welcome to bring your own beverage, which we did.
This place was totally funky and cool. The owner, Ira, was the first act. I loved his music! He is dry and witty and very talented. Dara was next, with a cellist and another guitarist who later became a percussionist when they added in someone else…. A lot of movement! Dara is a great performer, and her voice is beautiful. I’m guessing she is classically trained, and on the higher notes she soars before dropping back down into a powerful lower range with a grittier feel. I’d never heard quite that juxtaposition of tonal quality before, and it was both intriguing and, I’ll admit, a little unsettling. I liked it, though. She’s got her some pipes!
After the break, Dara came back with her erstwhile guitarist as “two-fifth’s” of a rock and roll band called Felson. Also a lot of fun. And since this is an underground venue and there are certain city ordinances to consider, at ten o’clock the electronics were turned off, and the act became off stage and acoustic for a few more songs. So much fun! It was also great for me to meet another new friend from my online course. That is really the best part of the course for me so far.
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Have you done something new today?

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