On the Friday before Shipwreck Days, local artists and musicians were out and about.
Ah, summer in Skagit County. Days are warm and sunny, tourists are flocking to our region, kids and teachers are out of school. In mid-July, the city of Anacortes puts on Shipwreck Days, a big one day only yard sale that shuts down the main drag of Commercial Avenue. For years, the event was also synonymous with the What the Heck fest. What started out as a backyard concert for alt-rock and folk musicians grew into a multi-day music, art, and culinary experience before its organizers decided to end the tradition several years ago. The unofficial performances at Causeland Park continued even after the event itself was no longer held. This year, several notable artistic happenings took place on Shipwreck Eve, as well as music at the park on Saturday. Skagit Art Music took in the Friday night festivities.
On the ferry ride over to Guemes Island, I had the opportunity to talk with Karl Blau ahead of his performance at the Guemes General Store. Karl and his family have relocated to Philadelphia, but has been performing all around the Pacific Northwest recently. Locations he played at included a week long stint in Portland where he shared the stage with another performer at the Mcmenamins Al’s Den venue. Other stops on his tour that he graced with his charactertistic quirky, alt-country, poetic music were Vancouver, Orcas Island, Bellingham, and Lopez Island. I asked him how he was adjusting to life in Philadelphia.
Getting to know our neighbors took some doing. In a building like ours, people go about their lives, and slowly, we are connecting with them.
With the supremely pictureseque Guemes Channel running behind him, Karl ran through his set of unique original songs including my favorites, Seaweed Tea and Slow Children intermingled with great classic country and local Anacortes music covers. Its nice to hear locally written songs like Slightly Salted by Pounding Serfs and Mega Dose by Bret Lundsford sung in Karl’s smooth, mellow deep voice. Sitting in the grass with a breeze blowing and the summer sun beating down made for a perfect evening. Local harp man, John Seibold came on stage right at the end of set to accompany Karl.
I hustled down to catch the 8:15 ferry back to A-town and ducked into the Croatian Club to view several of the high school student films being presented. Among the fine short films shown were:
Shoes directed by Lilly Rose-Day
I had seen this film before at the Anacortes Museum, and was able to focus on the dialogue the second time. Its a really unique take on how we form impressions of people by their appearance.
Memories on Tape directed by Jacob Hoxie
This film was a nicely done wistful, sort of romantic work about how memories can play into our lives and relationships.
Creative Process directed by Will McCracken and crew
Loosely based on a visit to a Whidbey Island historical museum, this film went off in some really interesting directions; French cinema romance scenes on the beach and Clint Eastwood atmospheric westerns among other things.
A special thanks to Jim Thompson, media teacher at Anacortes High School, for all his work over the years mentoring and instructing young people in the art of film production.
I finished off the evening at the Brown Lantern taking in the performance by local folk rockers, The Enthusiasts. The band started out as a duo between siblings Andrew Velin and Sommer Carter. It has evolved into a powerhouse six piece while still managing to maintain its distinctly original sound. Band members include Rob Sharpanus on drums, Rob Carter on mandolin, Doug Cassidy bass player, and Mariah Erken on keyboards and accordian. The band came out charging during their first set with some great energetic songs. After a short break, they slowed it down a bit which allowed them to show off the vocal expertise of its members. The Brown is a perfect venue for their roots rockin , upbeat kind of music. Looking forward to them appearing again soon.
Entertainment Writer Mark Perschbacher…A man who will cross great barriers to find exceptional music, art, food, and beer. Mark is a long time Skagit County resident, contributor to, and supporter of local arts.