Port Townsend, Chautauqua and Skitnik

   This weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Port Townsend. The original reason for the trip was for my band Skitnik to perform at the New Old Time Chautauqua Vaudeville Circus on Sunday. I’ve been in dire need of an escape to look forward to. So when my band mates brought this up as a possible gig on a three day weekend, I decided to make a little vacation out of it. Well, played Carrie. I had a blast! My spirit, my body needs to roam, my eyes and brain need to take in new surroundings even if only for a couple days.

   One of the fun parts of visiting the Olympic Peninsula from where I live, is that you get to take a ferry. It’s not a huge deal for many folks but pretty much any chance I get to be on or near the water, I thoroughly enjoy. It was the first time my 15 year old son could remember being on a ferry that large so we did a little exploring during our 30 minute ride across the sound. On our way back, I got to listen to his imagination run wild with all the things he would use the ferry for if he owned and lived on it…he is his mother’s son for sure!

    Since my band was already going to be in Port Townsend for one show we decided to try to book another one. We landed at The Undertown Coffee and Wine bar with a last minute, afternoon set that ended up being more successful than any of us had anticipated. We played for tips until almost totally drenched in sweat and packed the back room!

   Here is where I talk about how much I love my band. Did I mention that I love Skitnik? Cos I do! I absolutely love the music that we play. Describe it? well…um…? One might say that it is eclectic Balkan inspired music from around the world and elsewhere (that’s what the website says anyway) however, it is really so much more than that and I don’t quite have an adequate description for it. I’m not sure that any of us does. What I can (attempt to) describe is the way I feel about these six other individuals and something about the magic that happens between us when all of our creative energies collide…and that description would be total love, admiration and absolute awesomeness! Each one of us has something special and amazing to offer the group and whenever one (or more) of us is missing from practice, we all agree that it feels like we’re missing a limb. These people are my musical family! I can honestly say that every time we are together practicing or performing, my heart is overflowing with joy…pure, absolute joy! In fact, I have this tendancy on stage to turn and face them instead of the audience. Sure I love playing for the crowd and talking with them afterwards, shaking hands and exchanging gratitude but it is the band, it is Skitnik and the beautiful web of amazing energy that we weave that gets me going. I could do it every day…seriously! There is no drama in Skitnik, we communicate, we collaborate, we bring our best to the table and we consider each other. Need I say more? Maybe to come watch us perform sometime soon cos we’re awesome!

   Now, this thing that is Chautauqua. A few of my band mates have participated in several of their events and got us hooked up with this event in Port Townsend. Their goal is to build community through laughter, education and entertainment. Apparently they’ve been at it for quite some time now and I’ve got to say I was pretty impressed. Backstage was friendly and chaotic. I don’t know much about these folks at all but I think its safe to say that that is generally how they operate…with friendly chaos. As a performer, I love to watch other performers do what they do, especially when they love it. It is an amazing and inspiring thing, no matter what they do…to watch someone come alive with their art, giving it to the crowd with every ounce of their spirit is love and magic! I feel fortunate to have been introduced to such a great group of people and to have had the opportunity to watch the show. That’s a whole other thing! I literally felt like a young child totally enveloped by the moment with my eyes wide open and giant grin, completely captivated with wonder and amazement at every single move made on stage. If you ever have a chance to see a New Old Time Chautauqua performance DO IT!

   Next, the gratitude I have for old friends and a warm, inviting place to visit and rest when I’m away from home. I think this picture of my son sleeping speaks for itself.

The home is spacious and open yet cozy, warm and bright. It is as lovely and inviting as the people that dwell within its walls and I enjoy every minute I get to be there. I only hope that when people visit me they get something remotely close to what I get when I’m there. Yes, I’m quite grateful for my old friend and the new ones I make whenever I visit.

   Signing off until my next adventure!

Adventure tip: 
I like to find places that serve my favorite coffee beverage just the way I like it, with their own spin of course. I discovered Better Living Thought Coffee this weekend and they are awesome! Everything I could ask for in a coffee shop and probably more!
Three main points:
1) They make their own Chai!
2) As much local, organic, pasture raised, etc, etc (in other words REAL FOOD) as possible! 
3) The view!! it’s right on the water! 
I am willing to bet that there are many other amazing things about this place that I am totally unaware of but you can rest assured that I will be investigating it more thoroughly every time I visit PT.


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