Monday, February 14, 2011

Dispatches from DC #08

14 February 2011

Hello there... Rodger French here.

In case you are curious as to why you haven't received a posting recently, there is a trés simple explanation: I've had nothing - bupkis, zilch, nada, - of any real interest to report. I have, however, just returned from two weeks on the road on a package tour, of sorts; that is, a confluence of three major events, each of which provided reasonable justification for braving America's decaying Interstate system and the rapacious VA State Police. In aggregate, these affairs occasioned a perfect storm for even the most experienced road warrior.

Event #1 - The Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival

The 33rd Annual, to be specific; and since I can legitimately take credit for founding the Atlanta Jugglers Association and initiating this festival (with many collaborators, of course), I like to attend whenever I'm in country. This year, 168 registered jugglers and hundreds more onlookers gathered in the auditorium of the Yaarab Shrine Temple in the ATL for a weekend of big fun. It's a wonderful event that really hasn't changed much over the years, and that includes my role as MC for the competition.

I also served as bandleader for the Late Night Cabaret, which meant, glamour aside, being called upon to do some massive schlepping of the sound system and other musical paraphernalia/accoutrement. Which was OK; that's just part of the deal. All in all, it was great to play around, reconnect with olde chums, and meet some of the (as Ed Sullivan would say) "youngsters" who already have mad skillz. (

Event #2 - One Night Only: Lenny & LaBanana & Friends

The two rehearsals we managed to shoehorn into a busy week were not in vain: It was a classic concert. Everyone sounded great, and, as musical director, I'm please to report that The DeLuxe Vaudeville Orchestra unequivocally brought its "A" game. The folks at the Lawrenceville Road United Methodist Church ( were most hospitable and the crowd was large and enthusiastic. To those of you who attended this memorable event, my sincerest thanks.

The ostensible reason for all this show bidness brouhaha/bonhomie was, as you may have heard, the departure of LaBanana, my dear friend and long-time Vaudeville partner, for sunnier climes. Segue to...

Event #3 - LaBanana Moves to Florida

A.J. and I have moved four times in the last five years, but that only partially prepared me for a relocation that may immodestly be described as "the end of an era." LaBanana has been a fixture in Atlanta for decades and has accumulated innumerable friends, associates, and colleagues. She has also managed to obtain and hold onto an extraordinary amount of "stuff." Staying at her house during the pack-out was like living inside an exploding clown closet. Amazing.

But with the able assistance of many friends, especially Captain Black (from Cat Island in the Bahamas; home, incidentally, of the "Rake & Scrape Festival"), and four very nice Mexican movers, she managed to fill up two (2) large trucks and send them on their way. I am pleased to report that LaBanana made it safely to Orlando and is reunited with her parents and all her things. Happy landings, indeed.

I, on the other hand, headed north to check in on my place near Hot Springs, NC (which reminds me a bit of Cicely, AK in "Northern Exposure") and work out some home improvement details with my local contractor friends. Then, back to Arlington, to contemplate life, music, and etc. until our next move in 2012.

(Sigh.) And I've got way too much stuff.