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In Lieu Of Wi-Fi, Ping Lays Down Rhythm At Fortress Fest

April 29th, 2017 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Music · Satire · Wi-Fi



On the eve of Fort Worth’s inaugural Fortress Festival, the Triumph Thunderbird cruiser was parked in front of a large, redbricked-warehouse-of-a-structure, next to a food trailer. Inside and in the garden behind there was one old, long-haired blogger and a bunch of Fort Worth hipster elite for a invitation-only gettogether with one of the deejays from Run The Jewels spinning the table.


Pretty cool … but the highlight of the evening was the structure itself.  What a cool art gallery crafted from some old warehouse or ice house or something. Have you been to Artspace III in Fort Worth?




The interior is chic and modern and white to make the artwork pop (or the special event click). The current exhibit features vibrant, oversized creations made by co-mingling the jagged pieces of a multitude of jigsaw puzzles. I was torn between two works, one with multiple Coca-Cola logos and scenes vs. another with cameos by the faces of the Three Stooges.  Outside there was a concerted effort to maintain some of the old building’s character … it’s architectural integrity … most noticeably the old rolling, rusted metal “barn door” style doors.  See the sculpture garden as well.


But what’s this … no Wi-Fi!?! At least there was no public access hotspot.  Disappointed, especially considering the lightning pace at which Instagram imbibes my iPhone battery juices and data.

As the party mingled outside around the sound system on the understated patio, indoors the space hosted a threesome of modern interpretive dance.  The dance consisted of three characters drawing cards and then representing the word on the card with their movement.  Ha!  As the cards were drawn and they started prancing around … I was pretty sure all three had drawn the word “CAT.” But, who am I to say? I know nothing.  Then they jogged in place, did jumping jacks and batted balls of string around … getting all tangled, to my joy. I was thinking that if we all had a ball of yarn, we could join in.  I digress …

But my favorite part of the presentation was the rhythm section … two percussionists and a guy dividing his time to play one of those plastic music class flutes … We called them Flutaphones, back in the day.  The guys were fun. One guy was slapping an African drum — a bougarabou perhaps — and making some pretty interesting rhythms and pitch changes by hitting different portions of the skin.  Flute guy switched over to playing a fun little thumb piano … an African instrument that is basically a gourd with some metal keys that can be plucked to make rhythm and a bit of harmony … a kalimba, I think …


Gonna hafta git me one of those:)


Well … like the dance, the percussion was infectious and this time I had to join in.  As the guys pounded out some catchy stuff, I spied a nearby fly swatter on top of a stack of magazine.  Gotta love an art gallery that keeps a killing device on hand.  Well I snatched up the fly swatter and smacked it down on the magazines just as the main drummer laid down a strong bass beat.  I must say my timing was impeccable and I did it several times, accompanying the bougarabou with my bug-a-remover.  SMACK … chika chika … SMACK … chicka chicka … SMACK!


I, for one, found it quite entertaining. But you should have seen the look on the face of the real musician.  His body language said, “What the hell?”

Then he saw that the loud crack was coming from me and my swatter sitting nearby in an easy chair.


Ha … I couldn’t tell if he was annoyed or not, so I stopped, although I thought I was deserving of a curtain call to take a bow.


We talked afterward.  Nice guy … runs the audio visual at a local church for his daytime job.  Ha … and he does children’s music workshops in which he invites the kids to join in with spoons and sticks and rattles and stuff.  I wonder if he will add a fly swatter to his rhythm arsenal???

Fortress Fest


As for the festival, despite last night’s muggy but acceptable weather, this day, Saturday will bring rain to Fort Worth.  Therefore, a few early performances had to be cancelled, with Saturday’s schedule kicking off at 5 p.m. rather than 2 p.m. Bummer.


Know what I sayin?