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Sunday, March 03, 2002

Tragically Unhip

For all of you who have been living under a rock, today was The Day of the Accordion at the Seattle center. I bought a cup of coffee and noticed that the action was going to go off in a couple of minutes. You could have cut the tension in the air with a knife except most of the people in attendance are pretty heavily medicated so all sharp objects must be put out of sight.

The MC of today’s festivities, Ollie Olondorf, took the stage and immediately went for the comedic jugular. “I see a lot of accordion lovers out there today. There must be at least a half dozen of you.” I would have shit myself laughing but I think I have a pretty good handle on my little problem. The meetings have helped and, praise the Lord, I've been 'clean' for going on 19 days. The Tacoma Trio took the stage first and effortlessly weaved their way through an odyssey of Finnish waltzes and Czech polkas. Not bad as far as warm-up acts go.

You could tell just by the way the next group, Cooksie Krammer’s Accordion Band, strutted onstage that they are the bad boys of the accordion world, its seamy underbelly. All I have to say is take everything you thought you knew about accordion bands and throw it out the window like last week’s sauerkraut. These guys put the F U in funk. No less than 12 accordion players and a drummer. Pinch me somebody, I think I'm in kitsch heaven.

The Northwsest Accordion Society information booth was directly left of the stage. A John Goodman look-a-like in traffic cop reflector shades sat behind it, manning the high-tech control center (I'm not joking about the high-tech part, this is Seattle, after all, where little kids at a lemonade stand have at least a palm pilot and a cell phone). This guy was probably pulling double-duty as their head of internal security. He seemed vaguely threatening, like a hit man if Dave Thomas, from Wendy's, were to employ one. In the wake of recent terrorist incidents, you can't be too careful at a major accordion function like this one. The very demeanor of this guy seemd to shout, "Terrorists of the world, go peddle your filth elsewhere." For the first time in months I felt safe.

I hope that no one gets the impression that I don't like accordion music; I do. I even passed by the merchandise table and picked up a "You Can Take My Accordion When You Pry It From My Cold Dead Fingers" bumper sticker. I have been toying with the idea of buying an accordion. The down-side of playing piano is that your instrument is the least mobile of them all so an accordion could remedy that problem.

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