Sunday, December 21, 2003

The "Two-Party System" is Part of What Makes America Great

No, I'm not doing politics on the blog again. The title comes from the joke I left on my AIM away message last night when I went to not one, but two Christmas parties...and my friends' gig....and an early breakfast.

It's been this way for the past couple of years: Everybody I know throws their Christmas bash on the same night. I'm certainly not going to choose between them; that's not my style. Instead, I'll be Super Kev and go to everything, and the trick is just in the pacing of it all.

Last year, I started north and moved south: My friend and colleague Kris and his wife had a party at their new home in Denton; Kirk from big band and his wife had their annual shindig in Richardson, and I met up with a few of the guys in 15th Street Jazz to go to Sambuca in Deep Ellum and see Shelley Carrol, my old college buddy who's one of the best tenor players in Dallas.

This year was the opposite, compass-wise: I started south and moved north. First up was Halfling's parents' (the Elderhalflings?) party in Rowlett, followed by Kirk's in the middle again and then up to Ke Davi for the 15th Street Jazz "reunion" (where all four of the members who made the CD were together for the first time since August). I had roughly from 7:00 to either 11 or 11:30 to accomplish this feat (15th Street would play longer if the place was full).

I stayed at Halfling's for quite a while; the food was great, it was cool just to hang with Halfling and Angie and Dingus, and it was probably my last chance to see Dingus before his family takes a weeklong trip to New Orleans (I recommended all my old haunts--well, ok, most of them, heh heh--for them to check out). Fizban's parents were there but not Fizban himself; I later learned that we missed each other by about five minutes (Fizban and Halfling live on the same street, so I wished his parents a "safe walk home" on my way out).

By the time I left there, it was 9:40 and time to at least make a cameo appearance at Kirk's. He and his wife throw a huge bash; the food and beverages are amazing, and even though I know almost nobody there, it's still a part of my annual tradition.

Except this year was different, because one thing had changed since last year's party: the rise of Combo PM. So I did know quite a few people there, as several of the "adult" students were in attendance. The 30-45 minutes I had planned to spend there quickly turned into an hour, and I could have stayed even longer. However, this social butterfly flapped his wings once again, said his quick goodbyes and headed up the road to Ke Davi.

I could tell when I pulled into the parking lot that they were still playing, so I ordered my coffee and got ready to chill, until Chris came up to me during the guitar solo and said "hey, The Chicken is next; grab your mouthpiece and get ready." Yes, for the third week in a row, the last tune of the night at Ke Davi was The Chicken. Sure, my college groups "borrowed" the idea from 15th Street, but it just seemed like the thing to do. So Chris and I did our friendly duel (more "Luke and Yoda joust with little plastic lightsabers," just like me and Fizban the other night) and the gig was done. A third Saturday night in a row ending at Ke Davi, except for two things: 1) I wasn't in charge of the gig (whew), and 2) the night wasn't over. We all went to Cafe Brazil near SMU (they serve food and are open 24 hours) until about 1:30 in the morning, and it was great to catch up.

So there you have it--my holiday party time squeezed into one night. I don't know that any one group of people got the attention out of me that they deserved, but at least it's great to have all those groups to hang with in the first place.

GIMME FIVE: The first new ramp of the High Five--eastbound LBJ to northbound Central--opened Friday morning (and within twenty minutes of it being open, there was a wreck on it, much to the delight of radio traffic reporters everywhere), and I got to drive on it this morning for the first time. It is indeed quite...high...but it's not tilted too steeply or anything, so you don't necessarily feel that high (except for looking down on all the tall buildings). The ramp is nearly two miles long, though I think it'll connect to Central sooner when they get all the other stuff done. At any rate, it's nice that they replaced the old left-hand-side exit; that was the finest 1967 had to offer, but it sure didn't work now.