Bob wanted to see Jonathan Ames at Powell’s tonight. Initially, I waffled. But Bob said there was going to be a band (One Ring Zero which at one point I heard as Wandering Zero) and that Ames was hilarious so I decided to go. I think Bob compared Ames to David Sedaris only naughtier, and I admit here, I don’t understand the hysteria over Sedaris but I saw someone with his latest book tonight, something about Denim and, you have to admit, that cover is creepy.
But back to Ames and Wandering Zero.
I can’t remember but I recently expressed a problem with bands and accordions. Sort of like my fear of Reba McIntire (she’s scary!) I don’t like accordions or bands associated with them. So Bob started making jokes about how this band with Ames would probably have accordions and then when I met Bob in Powell’s he said he came in with the band and they looked like they were carrying a case with an accordion so you can imagine the yucks/dread when the band actually appeared with not one but TWO accordions. Okay, one was technically a claviola which is like a clarinet crossed with an accordion — can’t believe anyone woke up one morning and thought that was a good idea. When they came out Bob leaned over and said, “Maybe they’ll have a puppet show.” Part of their schtick is that well known authors write lyrics for their songs and at first I wasn’t clear if they actually did this on purpose or if the band just scanned through the books until a good passage turned up. Turns out it is the former and some of the featured authors included Rick Moody, Daniel Something, the lemony snicket guy and, of course, Ames.
When One Ring Zero first started playing, I could only think cruel, sarcastic things — come on, accordion, “claviola,” rhythm guy? Lyrics from literary writers — must be tough to stay cool and hip in New York. But when they brought out the theremin – they had me. And the claviola guy had a kind of Harry Potter thing going that was … pretty good in my book. And one of them was named Josh. There’s always one named Josh. They were so cute and fun.
And Jonathan Ames was great too. He read from his book, Wake Up, Sir (the Oregonian makes you give your zip and birthday and gender — be sure to lie!) (excerpt here (for grown ups).
All in all an excellent evening.