first stop: New Haven, CT

New Haven show last night was a sweet sweet start to our tour.  Never Ending Books’ back room is a teeny theatre, the place is a donations-only book & music store…so impressive !  support, support !

Isabel with mallets. Diane Cluck

Isabel amongst the bookstacks. photo by Diane.

i picked up a booklet of  Amish dessert recipes reminding me of childhood favorites (apple dumplings) and avoidances (shoo-fly pie).  also, an unopened tape-head cleaner cassette.  ‘score’.

Amish goods. Diane Cluck.

Wilkommen to Dutchy pastries. photo by Diane.

we played with local musician, Adam Matlock, aka An Historic, who elegantly rounded out his solo set with swooping accordion and a powerful voice.

Never Ending Books

teeny theater at Never Ending Books. photo by Diane.

New England bound…

picking up rental car today.  returning library book.  bringing along three pairs of shoes…that’s six shoes to keep track of.  enough bedding to sleep like a modest queen even on someone’s floor.  friend helping me navigate from VA to NYC.  meeting up with Isabel for rehearsal there; i’m happy to be heading her way.

excited for this ship-shape tour route, which takes us through every state in New England and some cities i’ve never been to.  keeping the drives simple and short, no backtracking.  more time for steeping in surroundings, people, greenery.  watch for them ticks.  i’ve pulled one off my toe and knee already this Spring.

i’m becoming more organized yet still end up at the sewing machine 2am the night before a trip.  that dress that’s needed taking in for months…must be done now…

we’re excited to meet you.  hint: we love picnics.  please come out for the shows !  see you soon.
tour pack

Tour Journal: Paris

6th floor walk-up apartment. my 75 pounds of luggage. Is’ cello. once we’re upstairs, however, it’s a cozy Parisian crow’s nest. old-fashioned. lived-in. many ashtrays.

Diane at La Loge. photo by Oliver Peel

we play in a black-box theater called La Loge as part of Ladyfest Paris. lots of hardworking ladies handling everything from organization to administration, lights and soundtech. sound is great that night–thank you, Taisa? Theresa? pardon… anyhow, it makes for a wonderful space to splash around in, connecting with each other and sharing the music. a real pleasure.

friends Jean-Marc & Bino lugged our heavystuff back to the apartment after the show. though i’d previously been inwardly complaining about the stairs, i felt somewhat guilty about someone else carrying my suitcase. i’m still learning to enjoy receiving help.

while in Paris we recorded a three-song session for Le Cargo!. Renaud met us at the apartment, having carried the video & lighting equipment there by bike. recording was simple and fun–thanks, Renaud !

Tour Journal: Amsterdam

my friend, D, picks us up from the airport. she’s the scarlet starlet of the Monte Carlo song…’bought me my first guitar which i duly smashed, riding with it slung over one shoulder on a bicycle. i’ve known her for years & years; she’s an everchanging flower that inspires from afar. we agree that seeing each other in person feels a bit holographic–of less form and substance than our spirit-communication over distance.

photo courtesy of Kasper Vogelzang (

Isabel and i toddle instruments and luggage up three flights of ancient, pie-wedge stairs to check out the situation in D’s apartment. too much construction. dust. noise. after a restorative nap we make a precarious trip back down and head over to Pest House.

Pesthuis (literally translated ‘pest house’) used to be a hospital for infectious diseases…though maybe not only that…a man at the show told us he’d been born there years earlier. Pest House is now a residential building where many artists and others live communally.

Mark dj’ed an interesting set of music from around the world. my ears perked up when i heard a french girl singing; a moment later i realized it was Clemence (with whom i’d dined the previous night). i mentioned this to Mark, who told me he’d released her record (“click click”, by Freschard), and handed me his dj copy as a gift.

it was a good salon-style night at Pesthuis / Seamus Cater’s apartment. the show was organized in part by my friend Kristy, whom i knew from a show she organized years back at the Denver ‘zine library. Kristy made a wonderful dinner for all of us involved in show prep which we ate together. later that night we stayed up talking and drinking tea. i wonder if Kristy is aware of how beautifully she speaks with her hands ?

Isabel and i walked around the streets of Amsterdam yesterday. Is is quite sparky and ventures out wherever we land; i am more of a sun-seeking hen, preferring to roost and be still. i kept up with Is for awhile, especially as i was fascinated by the condition of boats in the particular canal we walked along. most of the boats had taken on water, were in a rather dilapidated state, some half-sinking. i’ve had a lifelong fascination with sinking things; many of my dreams have been about ships going down (while i’m in them). i want to know more about the city of Amsterdam and its relationship to this.

Amsterdam–i apologize if this isn’t yr most flattering aspect.  it’s one that fascinates me.

Tour Journal: Berlin

Villa Neukoelln in Berlin is an old cinema that recently became a cafe / music venue. Nico, the owner, did the place up nice; the effect is of an old ballroom / library with chandeliers, books, cobwebs, junked / antique furniture and lamps, spaces to dance or wallow in, all in one big room. since our experience on Saturday night it’s become one of my very favorite venues.

the club was missing some key sound gear that night, and soundman Pedron (?) managed to splice together disparate bits of cable to create a sound situation that was not only functional but very good !  acoustics were organically tasty; we needed no monitors.  their stage is wide and not too high, so that audience and performers can feel really open to each other.

a be-turbaned Toby Goodshank opened the evening with a solo set on guitar. if you happen to be in NYC, you might want to check out Toby’s visual art collaboration with Adam Green and MacCaulay Culkin…i like their work a lot !

photo by Deenah Vollmer

i suggested to Isabel, Toby and Deenah that we explore the lush-looking cemetery along Hermannstrasse. inside the gates we gathered plant matter to make a fall bouquet for Ellison Glenn (aka Black Cracker–poet & musician extraordinaire), who’d given us the use of his apartment while away.

i spent some time with Andre & Clemence (two of my favorite music-makers), visiting them at their favorite ‘pizza espresso’ haunt outside a U1 station.  a warm fall evening, it was a family-style event with multiple courses and chairs added to tables as friends & neighbors happened by.

Tour Journal: Cologne

lovely experience in Cologne tonight. synth pop-garage-rock ‘n’ roll-party punk-wave-dark wave-new wave-post punk-minimal-indie & electro pop-gothic club gave no descriptors next to my name, but everyone seemed to accept us just fine.

Torben helped us with bike rental and led us on a ride to the dark, homely Hotel Rossner. massive sea scenes & landscapes groaned forward, wires suspending their carved wooden frames. cuckoo clock nestled into jungle-leaf wall papering. comfy beds.

small show…perhaps seven people.  touring’s like that sometimes.  everyone was gracious and appreciative.

all day and evening, the air was sumptuously warm and fresh.

cab driver this morning says “solution is everywhere”.

Tour Journal: Bruxelles

we landed in Brussels and into the care of my friend, Pierre. wobbly from sleepless overnight flight, fun to be a zombie continuing on into the day, we walked through an open air market where Moroccan folks sell items cleared from the houses of the dead. many objects are old and grounded in history in a way i’m enjoying after flying my body all around.

show at Beauhaus was sweet, familiar faces.  Nous opened the evening with feral, militaristic sounds made between two women. kindly venue folks cooked us an amazing dinner. musicians are giving me records on this trip–five vinyls so far, no cds. this is something different.

multiple tea parties at Pierre’s house, passing the guitar and listening to Afro-spiritual music. a brief visit, but everything was there.

September fruits

on the bank of the Rivanna River

tour arrangements have taken over this past month; an entire day can go by in which i’m never more than a kitchen or bathroom away from the computer.  talking with other independent musician friends, i discover that this is not at all unusual !

yesterday i decided to take a break and rode over to the Rivanna River by Woolen Mills.  it took awhile for my body to let go of that wired-in feeling — find my breathing and experience myself as something other than a brain with eyes and typing hands.  i draped myself on the trunk of a maple tree growing over the river and dozed for awhile.

cascade of autumn olives

who’s this ? scent of vanilla & caramel

with harvesty feelings, yet not knowing who i’d meet, i’d folded a brown paper bag into my jacket pocket.  i first noticed deeply ripened poke berries all along the trails.  i’ve made jelly from them a few times; i love to eat their color.  i carefully laid some berry-heavy stems at the bottom of my sack.  (several parts of the poke plant are considered toxic, including its seeds–which can be strained out, using only the juice for jelly-making.  as with any new-to-you or wild food, proceed with knowledge and caution.)

i encountered yarrow in a meadow space and picked a feathery bunch for tea & tincturing…some goldenrod to bring sun to the table…an amazingly fecund autumn olive tree–i picked several cups of berries and am excited to try making them into jam.

clockwise from left: trifoliate oranges, poke berries, yarrow, osage orange, autumn olives, goldenrod

i picked up a coupla osage oranges from a parking lot on my way home…’can’t resist their shape.  remembering when i was a kid, my friend Amy’s birthday was near Hallowe’en.  she lived beside a graveyard, and at her slumber parties her dad would tell us stories of an encounter he’d had with a yeti-type monster who lived in the mountains.  eventually he’d invite us to touch the monster’s brain, which he’d brought home in a box.  it was an osage orange.

by the roadside i spied a trifoliate orange tree, superladen with fruits.  i pocketed a few…not sure what to make of these yet.  juice, marmelade,  preserved rinds ?

( the witch is excited by her finds…