After hanging with the Schizcago crew in the Mission, we played another impromptu show at the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market in San Francisco. While we were there hunting for a good location to set up, we met Revolva, an Oakland hoop performer with a heart as big as a quadruple-sized, expanding hula, which we saw her dancing with. We were lucky to be accompanied at the Ferry Building by Sir Ritwik Banerji, accomplished astromusicologist at UC Berkeley along with Maxine, his interactive music system that is based in Max/MSP.
FLUX Tour 2011 was happy to be in San Francisco for the September Midnight Mystery Ride with the new chapter that formed there. We rode to Baker Beach (birthplace of Burning Man) for a surreal view of the Golden Gate Bridge, but were forced out of there by police shortly after arrival. Instead, a hardy crew pedaled on to Ocean Beach for a late-nite doughnut and whiskey séance.
After bidding farewell to San Francisco, we crossed the Bay and the next day gained entry to the Center for Now Music and Technologies, where we were able to record with Ritwik. These and other live recordings are now being compiled along with some tour footage for a video.
Before leaving the Bay area for Tahoe, we made sure to check out Rock the Bike's workshop in Berkeley, where we were graciously showed some of the awesome bike accessories being fabricated and told about other ongoing projects. RTB has a refreshing perspective on promoting bicycles as vehicles for social change. Be sure to check out their website, especially The Pleasant Revolution and Bicycle Music Festival! Below is a picture of their Down Low Glow ground effects lights for bikes.
Not far from Santa Cruz, we had to stop at Swanton Berry Farm for strawberry shortcake and coffee. Their farmstand is run on the honor system and there's a discount for cyclists! We signed their bike tour logbook and skimmed books that are scattered throughout the tables and couches inside. It was dangerously pleasant there. But, we eventually saddled up and rode north through more beautiful stretches of coastal farmland until...
San Francisco! We decided to set up in Union Square and play for the crowds downtown. It served as a rehearsal as well; Adam and Shawn brought more instruments to add to the Flux arsenal - a set of bike chimes, a hub and spoke kalimba, and the portable electric mini-tub bass which uses a derailieur cable, coffee can, and piece of a fork.
Later, we wandered around the Mission before our show at Sub/Mission Art. Our friend from Chicago Ben Kolak was also on tour in San Francisco screening his film Schizcago during the same time as our Flux Bikes tour. We'd been invited to play some music before the film, which also has the concept of "flux," bicycles, experimental music and an awesome glitchy score by Alex Inglizian. The Schiz-crew had some unique items for sale inclulding their DVD/Instrument, which has a circuit-bent sampler built into the case, and t-shirts made from recycled X-rays.
MAXINE devours FLUX BIKES wheels sound via SCHIZCAGO
We took the Harris grade out of Lompoc for a nice break from the highway and a ride through wine country. That night, we camped near Avila Beach and hit up the Avila Valley Barn for coffee the next morning. From there, we pushed north to Los Osos Valley Road and Moro Bay. Then it was rolling hills, Pacific coast ranches, the Hearst Castle, etc. A short night was spent near Ragged Point and we rode like demons through Big Sur, stopping to rest and soak up our surroundings.
And then Santa Cruz! We rolled in on Saturday September 10th and performed at the Bike Church during wrenching hours. They are a non-profit tool cooperative run by some of the nicest people on the planet, and their doors are open to all who need access to tools and bike assistance for a low fee of $5. It's location really is a sanctuary; it's a few blocks from downtown and shares a building/courtyard with The Fabrica, PedX, Computer Kitchen, and Sub Rosa.
Santa Cruz represented a milestone of the FLUX BIKES tour. We'd covered over 400 miles of California coast in 5 days, and it was amazing to welcomed by a warm meal and people who felt like friends upon our meeting. Naturally, we decided to stay a little longer! Also, our crew doubled when bandmates Adam and Shawn Wille met us on the evening of Sunday the 11th.
From Santa Cruz, the four of us continued north and were fortunate to camp at Freewheelin Farm. This awesome organic farm delivers their produce to the Santa Cruz farmer's market by bike, and their fruits and veggies grow in a field overlooking the Pacific Ocean (the photo below hardly does it justice). The next morning, we were thrilled to jump in on their operations, helping out Amy and Darryl with the leek harvest. It was fun and inspiring, as was our whole stay in Santa Cruz. We can't wait to visit again!
The Bike Oven in Highland Park, Los Angeles hosted FLUX BIKE'S first show of tour. Rob played some solo bicycle and flute music, using some wheels from the Bike Oven's collection. Chicken Leather played some home-bike movies and selections from the Bicycle Film Festival, and Veronica made potato tacos for everyone. Besides being a great bike shop where all are welcome to come work on bikes and eat some food, this organization hosts monthly music and art events - check 'em out!
On Labor Day (Sept. 5th), Marty and I started the journey, riding up Highway 1 through Malibu. Lots of surfers and other folks were out enjoying the sunshine on the long weekend. We stopped in Ventura night to stay with our friend Scott. Then, after healing our bikes at the Ventura Bike Depot, we hustled up to State St. in Santa Barbara to play at the bustling Farmer's Market.
After meeting many friendly folks and getting some veggies from some nice farmers, we left town and took refuge near Refugio State Beach upon a recommendation by new homie Chi Pagaling. We got some rest and got going early; some serious riding lies ahead! After Gaviota State Park, the road takes a turn inland, going around Hollister Ranch and Vandenberg Air Force Base at Conception Point. Stay tuned for more news from the road!
We played at Gethsemane Garden Center Art Fair on August 13th, 2011. The set was interrupted by a rather boomy thunder storm. Being outside we were forced to tear down our gear and PA in a hurry! After it passed, we were able to resume unscathed but electrified nonetheless.
Using our bicycles for transportation as well as instrumentation, Flux Bikes will tour part of the Pacific coast, performing at scheduled shows and also playing informally in public. We'll have a mobile music setup and recharchable batteries which will enable us to throw down whenever appropriate.
Rob (Chicago, IL) and Marty (Lake Tahoe, CA) will meet in Los Angeles, CA and ride to Santa Cruz where we'll be joined by Adam and Shawn Wille (Lake Tahoe). From there, we'll all continue to the San Francisco, engaging with bicycle and music communities along the way, and finally wind our way up to Lake Tahoe. Check back for more details!
Sketches from Chicago '68 Written and Directed by Stephen Ptacek* Conceived by Devon DeMayo* Wednesday, May 18th at 8:00PM A Reading Featuring Marta Juaniza* Kristopher Hyland Dan Edelstein Jordi Mumma Blayne Greiner With a musical performance by FLUXBIKES *Denotes Dog & Pony Company Member "An honest exploration of the Politics, Demonstrations, Brutality and Meaning of the 1968 Democratic National Convention." Less a play than a Collage/Dialogue. Expect strong language, non-linear storytelling and apolitical political discussion. Part 2 of Dog and Pony's 3 Part May Ruff Play Reading series
"Hosted by the Reno Bike Project, the annual "We HeArt Bikes Fundraising Art Show" is a one-night show celebrating the bicycle as not only an amazing form of transportation, recreation, and exercise, but also a platform for artistic expression. The show has been held at local venues such as GraySpace Gallery, Never Ender Gallery, and Studio on 4th, [the Hobson Gallery], is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, and includes live music. Every year we enjoy the artistic stylings of 30 – 50 participating local and national artists and roughly 300 attendees. It is one heck of a party."
Flux Bikes decided not to miss this party. We're fans of hands-on noise making, so we brought an instrument for everyone to play. We even sold some CD's and the proceeds went to RBP, as did all sales from the evening!
After the show we were most grateful to the Bindlestiffs for letting us camp in their backyard. The next morning we helped cook a huge brunch as the results of the ScalleyCat race were decided. Then, we saddled up and started pedaling back up the Sierras to Lake Tahoe.