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Events: Gator By The Bay, Steampunks, Fleet Foxes


It's Thursday which means it's time to begin planning your weekend. We want to help. If you want to know more about Steampunks, there's a stylish convention in town. Or if you want to enjoy some Cajun music by the bay, we have a festival to recommend. Joining us with their suggestions are Nina Garin and Rosey Bystrak.

It's Thursday which means it's time to begin planning your weekend. We want to help. If you want to know more about Steampunks, there's a stylish convention in town. Or if you want to enjoy some Cajun music by the bay, we have a festival to recommend. Joining us with their suggestions are Nina Garin and Rosey Bystrak.


Nina Garin is a features and entertainment reporter for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Rosey Bystrak is the author of the music blog SD Dialed In.

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This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: On this Cinco de Mayo Thursday, it is a great time to begin planning your weekend. We want to help. If you want to know more about steam pings there's a stylish convention in town. Or if you want to enjoy some Cajun music by the bay, we have a festival to recommend. Joining us with their suggestions are my guests. Anita Garin, features and entertainment reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune. Nina, good morning.

GARIN: Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: And Rosey Bystrak is the author of the music blog SDdialed in. Rosey. Welcome to the show.

BYSTRAK: Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: Good morning. Let's start with you, Nina, and the steam punk and Victoriana convention. What is steam punk for those of us who either don't know or --

GARIN: If you've never been to Comicon. They're a big presence at Comicon. So I can tell you what it is, but they actually explained it very well. So if it's okay for me to read it, they say that steam punk is about Victorian super science, imagined technologies, historical what ifs, and the clothes that gentlemen inventors, adventurers, and scientists might wear in alternate realities. So they have fanciful machines and beautiful gadgets made of wood and brass, clock parts and gears. So basically, it's people dressed up in nineteenth century Victorian England clothing who only use kind of steam powered technologies. But then they imagine what tell be like in the future, and it becomes this whole world.

CAVANAUGH: To use steam powered lap tops and things of that nature.

GARIN: Yes, yes.

CAVANAUGH: What is there to do at a steam punk convention except just look at these marvelous creations?

GARIN: It's kind of like what you do at ComiCon you kind of meet with your own kind, talk about things you're interested in. A lot of the people, the literature that inspires steam punk is stuff like H. G. Wells, and mark Twain even. Soap there's a lot of literary conversations, there's fashion. They actually do have events. They have a time traveler's masked ball, a tea and fashion show that's already sold out, a dance where they do waltzes, polkas, and other period dances with a live steam punk orchestra. And there's even a mother's day ice cream social and Victorian fashion show.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. So it does sound like it's geared toward the general public then.

GARIN: So it is geared toward the general public. And obviously for enthusiasts. So steam punk has people who are interested in history, in fashion. So there is a broad appeal to people, even if you're not into the subgenre.


GARIN: Uh-huh.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you need tickets?

GARIN: You do. And they are $75 for a three-day pass or you can get single day passes for 15 to $25.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay. So around the universe in 80 hours, that's the same of this convention. And apparently Jules Vern is a big steam punk icon too. Around the universe in 80 hours, steam punk and Victoriana convention will take place at the town and country hotel Friday through Sunday. Rosey, the fleet foxes are playing Spreckles theatre Friday. Of tell us about that.

BYSTRAK: Fleet foxes is a band from Seattle. They first sort of came into prominence in 2007 just by sort of word of mouth, and then they got picked up by subpop in 2008, and also by belly union in Europe. So they experienced a lot of success here, but more so in Europe. And were sort of critical darlings in the indie scene, and this new album's -- we've been waiting for about three hours.

CAVANAUGH: This long awaited album released this week. How is it?

BYSTRAK: It's excellent. Pitch fork is notorious for their bad reviews for great records, but this one actually got an 8.8. It got 4 out of 5 stars on rollingstone, pace gave it a 9 out of 10. So it's making good marks all across the board.

CAVANAUGH: We have a track from the album. This is fleet fox's helplessness blues.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: Helplessness blues by fleet foxes. Is that the name of the album as well?


CAVANAUGH: Yeah. This band is so popular. Their tour is almost solid out. Why? Can you explain why they're so popular? I mean, it's a beautiful song. But what is their popularity?

BYSTRAK: You know, the tour did sell out rather fast. The presale sold out in about an hour in San Diego. And then when it actually went on sale, the rest of the tickets followed. And it sold out here. But I think that there's like sort of two factions in indie rock. There's kind of this lo fi fuzzed out a guy in his basement kind of doing music on his computer. So the opposite swing of that might be that people want these lush harmony, lots of string orchestration and going back to this authentic sort of noncomputer generated music. And not to say that that's not part of the studio process. But when you see them live, you know that they know their instruments and they're playing them live, and they're singing along, and it's great lyrics and song writing that goes along with it.

CAVANAUGH: Nina, any explanation in do you have any idea why fleet fox is --

GARIN: I don't know. I don't like them. They're a little too snoozy for me. But --

CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay. All right then. Everybody's entitled.


CAVANAUGH: Fleet foxes play Spreckles theatre Friday night. We move on to zydeco, gator by the bay, zydeco blues and crawfish festival. It starts tomorrow. Anyone ark tell us about it.

GARIN: So gator by the bay, it's a three-day festival, it celebrates Louisiana style music and food, only without the humidity of course. It's just filled with music, people break out into dance of there's lots of food. And the great thing about this festival is that on Saturday is Sunday, kids 17 and under get in for free. So there's like a family element to it too.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So what kind of music will people hear? Is it only zydeco?

GARIN: It's zydeco and Cajun, and of course those genres are influence by R7B and jazz and gospel, and so it's a whole mix of things.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And zydeco music, people either love it or hate it. What do you think?

GARIN: I enjoy it for like an afternoon.

CAVANAUGH: I like it too. Tell us about the food. I mean really crawfish?

GARIN: Yeah. And lots of it. George barker wrote in one of our articles the crawfish corner is a restaurant in Louisiana, and the owner is bringing 10000 pounds of it to sell at the event. And he's also going to give samples and demonstrations to Southern California natives like me that have no idea how to eat it. So there'll be crawfish eating lessons.

CAVANAUGH: Is that the crawfish, is that the one where you suck the head of it?

GARIN: And there'll also be gumbo, catfish, sandwiches and bane yeas.

CAVANAUGH: Now, this is the tenth year of the festival. And it's very well attended. Should people worry about parking or when to arrive or anything like that?

GARIN: Well, it brings about 10000 people over the weekend. So it's big but not really overwhelming. There are eight designated parking areas. And three of them are free. So if you go on-line, gator by the, it kind of illustrates where you can park, and I think that won't really be an issue.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. Gator by the gay, zydeco blues and crawfish festival begins tomorrow at Spanish landing of rosy back to you for my Jerusalem, playing at the tin can ale house on Sunday. Who is my Jerusalem?

BYSTRAK: My Jerusalem is a band from, I want to say New Orleans. And they're kind of a bit of an indie super group. They've got singer song writer Jeff Klein, and then Dave Rosser, both are from Twilight Singers, who are also coming in the next month of so. Michael saint Claire, he rotates on violin, viola, cello, trombone, keyboards. He was a member of polyphonic spree. Matt Brecker was also a member of polyphonic spree and plays with the lo-los, and then Evan Jacobs was a founding member of Midlake, and then Ashley Virgin is from Great Norther, and their drummer Coley is from cursip and bishop Allen of so it's just a sort of swath of indie bands backing the singer.

CAVANAUGH: It is a super group. Let's hear a little bit from is Bury it Low from their latest Ep of the same name. This is My Jerusalem.

(Audio Recording Played).

CAVANAUGH: That vocal woke me up.

GARIN: Whoa!

CAVANAUGH: That's better. That was from bury it low, that is bury it low from the latest EP from my Jerusalem. What are they like live?

BYSTRAK: You know, I believe this is their 50 tour, but by all accounts at south by Southwest, they were picked by several bloggers and journalists that it was one of at least the top five shows that people saw there just because it's really frenetic, and even though there was that kind of quiet opening it goes into that kind of screamy maybe modest mousey vocal.

CAVANAUGH: Yeah. Kind of in your face, and at tin can, they whole floor is just gonna rattle.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: All right. My Jerusalem plays the tin can ale house in Banker's Hill on Sunday night. I want to wrap this up with asking you both to weigh in on where to go to brunch on mother's day. Nina? And.

GARIN: So I am a mother, and I have two preschoolers and to me, the idea of, like, a fancy brunch is not appeals at all.


GARIN: I have to worry about my kids behaving --

CAVANAUGH: You're very opinionated.

GARIN: I'm sorry! But I -- what actually would be ideal would be for my family to take me some place like the bland lady ale house in normal heights, a place that's casual, it has stuff for kids to do. You can have the kids color, they have my favorite beer on tap, which is Frambois, raspberry beer. So for me, that's ideal. They're open early on Sundays, and I think if I have my way, I will be going there.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I have a feeling Nina's gonna have her way! What about you, rosy?

BYSTRAK: Well, traditionally for mother's day we also go to Gator by the bay. So we'll be going there. But we'll bring swing by west coast tavern first. They're having mother's day brunch. So they're offering four bottles of champagne for the first bottle for parties of four or more. And Then when I talked to them, I do booking there on Thursday nights. So when I asked them if they were doing anything special, they're like, well, we can do a ten percent discount if you mention KPBS on Sunday on your server. So we worked that in. So that's probably where I'll be. They have this lemon cream cheese stuffed French toast that is absolutely amazing.

CAVANAUGH: So do you need to make reservations at either one of the places that you mentioned?

GARIN: Not at blind lady.

BYSTRAK: Blind lady doesn't take any, but west coast tavern, it's recommended. You can just do it on line, and punch in your time, and it'll tell you if it's available. And you put in your contact information and you're good to go. And there's patio seating if you want to ask for it.

CAVANAUGH: This is fabulous. Well, thank you, Nina. Rosie, welcome. You did a great job. Thanks for all the suggestions. I appreciate it. Now, we're gonna take you out with some more Cajun music. This is a classic of the genre. It's called bayou waltz, it's performed by Cajun Frenchy Burke and his band.

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