It sure was. Got there just in time to miss the photo, but catch the parade and the concert in the park. Ellen Asher (lately of SFBC) was there, enjoying the hell out of herself. I was amazed & delighted at how many of the musicians I knew - I've been in the radio biz longer than I realize! - including drummer Eve Sicular of Metropolitan Klezmer & Isle of Klezbos, violinist Alicia Svigals, clarinetist Ilene Stahl, tismbl revivalist Pete Rushefsky, singer Michael Alper, journalist George Robinson. . . .Ended up dragging a bunch of folks off to lunch at Super Taste Restaurant, a scuzzy little hole-in-the-wall down the street we just stumbled into that happens to serve Lanzhou hand-pulled beef noodles, with Elaine Hoffman Watts, a 75-year-old spitfire from Philadelphia who learned old-style drumming from her father (and was recently awarded an NEA National Heritage Fellowship), and her daughter Susan, the "fearsomely wonderful trumpet player" - Hankus Netsky, founder of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, was witty and wonderful company as always, and explained to me why my grandfather from the Ukraine hated their first album (it wasn't Old Country-style; that came later in the Klezmer Revival), and how Elaine Watts managed to be so Old Country: it was because, as a woman of her generation, she couldn't play regular party gigs, and so remained uncorrupted by mid-20c drumming styles! There's a cool interview with her here, and I'm listening to her album right now.
After lunch I started walking with Brian Bender, whose new album, Little Shop of Horas (don't you love it?!) "blends original and traditional Jewish Melodies with Latin Jazz, Samba, Reggae, Calypso, Celtic, Arabic, Turkish and African styles of music. " Brian has a MySpace page with music. I think he's going to play for my Amherst gig on Nov. 18th - I'll keep you posted. So Brian & Susan & Elaine & I ended up at a place with bubble tea & pastry, and after that we stood on the sidewalk talking some more and then some folks from Brian's band shows up and we talked some more and then this weird young guy in a hat showed up and started speaking Yiddish to the guy from the band - I think they went to Yiddish Camp together - and just as suddenly he walked away. And then it was late and cold and I came home and put on the albums people had given me.