Ian’s Technical interview: Monica Nolan about Gogol Bordello and Wakarusa 2013


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gogol-bordello5I decided to interview my mom about Gogol Bordello, her favorite band that played at Waka. This is how it went:

Me: So, just for the sake of our readers,what does Gogol Bordello sound like?

Her: That’s a good question, because I’m sure sound  is subjective to each persons experience, even though science can prove otherwise, but Gogol Bordello’s combination of noises sounds to me like hundreds of years of Eastern European Rom (Gypsy) Cabaret with a modern American Punk aesthetic. Its a lot of beautiful noise with some screaming and banging thrown in. It makes you want to dance and cry and throw your fist in the air. Serge Ryabtsev’s violin is guaranteed to break your heart wide open. And Eugene Hutz’s guitar and vocals will remind you where you came from… that is, if you are me, for I can only speak for myself. I guess you could say I’m a fan of their music, but I’m also a fan of their message.

Me: Who is your favorite member of the band?

Her: I have a huge crush on Eugen 260px-Gogol_Bordello_-_Rock_in_Rio_Madrid_2012_-_55e Hutz, as I’m sure millions of other women (and probably men) do too. He’s the real deal as a modern wakangelscomposer of ideas and music. He’s influenced by the Hungarian composer Bella Bartok as well as modern gypsy and punk bands. I’ve even developed an herbal product inspired by him called Slippery Gypsy Aphrodisiac Mustache Wax. Its an all natural grooming product with real aphrodisiac essential oils and tinctures that promotes love. In fairness I’ve never met Eugene, but I have met Thomas Gobina and Elizabeth Chi-Wei Sun and they are very nice people indeed. Also, Sergey Ryabtsev talent stirs something deep within my gypsy soul. All of the members of Gogol Bordello make it the phenomena that it is.

Me: Did you go to Wakarusa because of Gogol Bordello?gogol8

Her: Partly. I also came because of the Puja Eyes Medicine Show and because of you. I saw Eugene Hutz at Bonaroo in 2010. He hosted a day of world music at the Other tent. It was amazing. I’ve seen him in smaller venues too. I wanted to see what Wakarusa was like and to check out the Ozark mountains. I also wanted to revive the Puja Eyes Medicine Show and we got the idea that you could music blog about the healing power of music.

Me: How was the performance at Wakarusa in comparison with other performances by Eugene you have seen?

Her: He was dynamic and as charismatic as ever. He is an inspiration to me as an artist. each time I see him I am reminded that we all must keep our inner creative forces alive. That’s what’s reviving the Puja Eyes Medicine Show for me. I’ve finally created a website with your help that sells Slippery Gypsy Aphrodisiac Mustache Wax and we met some great people at Wakarusa that are very supportive of your music blogging, like Ryan Connely of Grassroots California, and the guys at Relix magazine.wchair2waka

Me: Hey, wasn’t Grassroots sponsoring the Satellite stage? What do you think about that?

Her: Yeah, and Technaflora was sponsoring the Outpost tent. As an herbalist and lover of plants, I was very exited to learn about these 2 organizations and their missions regarding the cultivation of our birthright to use plants as medicine. They are both pioneer organizations in the exploration of true freedom from the politics of power in healing and folk medicine. I will be looking for ways that the Puja Eyes Medicine Show can support these organizations as well as smaller representatives of this cause, such as Legalize potbelly pigs, from Weaverville NC, our own backyard.

Me: So, what do you think that Technaflora and Grassroots are about?

Her: I don’t know for sure that their missions are the same as mine, but I do know that outlawing any plant and the cultivation of it for ones personal use is wrong. This kind of thinking is fueling the support of legislation sponsored by companies such as Monsanto in which the family vegetable garden is becoming illegal, and the use of heirloom seeds and seed saving unlawful. Plants are food and medicine. To control them is the highest abuse of power I can think of, with the possible exception of air and clean water. When I tell people I’m an herbalist, those who don’t understand plant medicine will sometimes raise an eyebrow or chuckle and insinuate that I’m either growing Ganga in the basement or knocking back the 100 proof vodka tinctures. That’s why I decided to create a lovingly irreverent look at alternative healing through the Puja Eyes Medicine Show. It addresses these misconceptions about herbalism, yoga, and alternative healing practices with humor and compassion. I want to thank you for supporting me on the blog and in this interview, and for being a great kid. maybe we can go back to Wakarusa next year, or have more adventures as the Puja Eyes Medicine Show. Does that sound like fun?

Me: Yes. Yes it does. Meanwhile , y’all will have to entertain yourselves until we find a new Festival to annoy! See ya!

Oh, P.S., Photos at pujaeyes.com in guestbook

Afrolicious neighbors at the Ozark inn


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So we were just hanging out at our room in the Ozark inn, when mom sees these guys in this van. So she starts talking to these guys about our blog and stuff when she finds out that they are in a Wakarusa band called Afrolicious. Unfortunately, their show has already passed, but it was cool to meet them! Here’s a pic, see y’all later!


It’s Raining Giant Elephants at Wakarusa, and We Just Stepped in a Turd-le!


Monica: Image

Yes, I know festivals, camping, the weekend, get-away-from-civilization-thing … Mud and rain (and hail and high winds and girls on acid screaming bloody murder late at night). It’s all to be expected….. But when it actually prevents you from hearing the music you came here for because you are huddled in your car for 24 hours living on protein bars and coconut water it can Imagebecome a bummer.

So far, the two times we have ventured out, like Bambi, from the Westwoods camping area to see if we could get some hot food and some hot licks, we have run the risk of becoming human lighting rods with our umbrella and unicycle in tow. We did make it down (a 3 mile hike on rocks) to the venue yesterday though , just in time to be told that it was closed for the third time because another storm (this one with hail) was headed our way.

That did not stop this dynamic duo from interviewing folks and taking pictures with our ziplock-baggied iPhones, meeting a lot of nice folks and having a day of adventure and fun. Perhaps today we will actually get to see a music show!

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Well. That night sucked. It wasn’t the 3-mile walk to the festival grounds (they do call it walk-arusa for a reason, am I right?), or the things that keep you awake at night (anyone in the mood for some acid induced screaming? wish I was.) but it is the constant, unrelenting, WETNESS! NOTHING is sacred, EVERYTHING is wet. One good thing about rain and wetness though is that it brings people together under umbrellas and tents and that leads to conversation. We met lots of really cool people, even though we didn’t get to see any bands, and it was nice.ianprettygirlwaka Finally, we decided to give up on camping (or should I say muding) and we are in a Indian-run hillbilly motel.

Anyway g2g bye y’all!

Graceland and The Heartbreak Hotel in Memphis, TN


This is a technical-inter-post and a Puja post at the same time! That’s right. Both of us are posting about Elvis’ Mansion and the Hotel at the end of Lonely Street….

Monica First :

From a cultural perspective Graceland Mansion and the people who come there for pilgrimage and an Elvis experience are fascinating indeed. I heard languages from all over the planet on the bus and as we walked through the house coming from guests. The King of Rock and Roll’s home was, of course, over the top as far as mod 70’s decor goes.Image I’ve never seen so much green shag carpeting and so many television sets in one home. And viewing the clothing, awards, burial sites of his family, and the smoke-house-turned-shooting-range, not feet from Liza-Marie’s swing set, gave a lasting and jumbled impression of this man’s life. One can only imagine what it must be like to be a sex and rock-and-roll icon at age 19, to have come from the backwoods of America, and to have lived a life of stardom, as he attempted to keep family (his grandma, dad, mom, Priscilla and Liza-Marie all lived at Graceland), friends (the house was always full of “the boys”) and career rolling.ImageThe house tells some of the story, in the silent way that houses can tell the secrets of those who lived there. I highly recommend taking the tour.

The Pilgrims tell America’s story. I met this young man as we were getting back on the tour bus, and I was so tired from the drive and the Memphis heat, that I have forgotten his name now. He proudly wore these replica pieces that he has collected, and he told me that it was his first time visiting Graceland, with a fire in his eyes that can be described as meaningful.Image He Tribute 2told me he was a “Tribute Artist” to Elvis and that he was 19 years old too.

2013-05-23 20.20.37  Ian’s turn:

Hi y’all! What is better than chicken fish? Nothing, but Elvis is a close second. One of the best  (and the most successful) musicians of all time has to have a big house right? Wrong! He has to have a gigantic house, with mirrors on the walls, carpets on the ceiling, TVs everywhere, a shooting range, a stable, and pretty much everything else you could possibly think of for an extremely rich person to have. This guy was like the model for rich people (stables, indoor handball court, 3 TVs in one room, shooting range… I think you get the picture). Anyway, seeing Elvis’s mansion was a real treat (as was seeing some of his movies at the Heartbreak Hotel). Excellent artist, renowned for a reason, Elvis, the true King of american Rock and Roll.

elvis n us

Ian’s Technical inter-post the third


bottle man

nash band

2013-05-23 20.20.37Hey! Last night in Nasheville was awesome! I had creme brûlée gelato (which you should totally try if given a chance), but the music was even tastier. Walking thru “The District” (Nasheville’s downtown music scene) looking for a honkey-tonk bar that would accept 12 year olds, I heard enough different types of music outside supposed “honkey-tonk” bars and on the street that I decided to look up honkey-tonk to see who’s a composer and who’s just a poser. Turns out honkey-tonk is a steel guitar or fiddle playing a full two beat rhythm with a crisp backbeat. Apparently it was named originally because  the pianos in the dives it was played were often poorly cared for, tending to be out of tune and having some broken keys. Anyway, I didn’t hear any honkey-tonk, but I heard plenty of other joyful noise issuing from every crevice, crack, busker, bar, lamppost, bike… It is truly music city U.S.A.