On Saturday of the July 4th weekend, Pat and I went to the Folk Life Festival on the Mall, the grass courtyard in the center of the line of Smithsonian museums, for a brief moment. The festival happens every year featuring different countries and a region or state of the United States. This year, the festival was more limited, celebrating the culture of Asian Pacific Americans and Mexico. We went to the Asian Pacific tent and watched two people in a long, goldish, glittering lion costume perform a dance for good luck to the clatter of drums. I've never seen The Lion Dance outside of a scene in a movie with a Chinatown parade. The eyes of the lion could blink. The second person in the costume even made the lion's stubby tail wag as the lion curved around. The dance ended with some acrobatic stunts. The person in the back maneuvered and jumped onto the shoulders of his partner, creating the illusion of a standing lion.
We returned to Pat's house so that he'd be there for the 4:00 p.m. Deathrats practice. I headed out to run errands and agreed to meet with him at 6:00 p.m. for dinner. In the evening, Pat filled in for Brad, one of the guitarists, for Deathrats, who played at the Black Cat. When I arrived at Pat's house, everyone in Deathrats was waiting for me in Pat's van to go to Everlasting Life for dinner. I was surprised. The goal was to get to the Black Cat by 7:00 p.m. for a sound check. I went with them and hung out backstage. The Black Cat generously filled a little refrigerator with Diet Coke, upscale root beer, beer and water. Half of Deathrats is straight-edge, so not too many people drank the beer.
Deathrats went on stage a little after 10:10 p.m. They did well and got the crowd moving. Christine sprang off of the stage and sang as she blended into the mosh pit. Then, she returned on stage and Greg, the bassist, hopped off the stage for a few minutes.
Nobunny had a slide guitar on the stage, but never used it. They aim to play rockabilly punk with the added gimmick of performing in bunny ears. I didn't like them that much, but many people in the crowd were bouncing to their rhythms. The costumes didn't impress me the way the lion costume had earlier in the day.
I ran into my friend Sarah Klemm at the Black Cat. She's law clerking this summer for the Public Defender Service in DC. She's passionate about learning and, while I'm sure the PDS appreciates her, feels like she could handle more responsibility there. As a public defender, I like having summer law clerks, but it's difficult to figure out whether they'll do a good job until they're about to leave. We've had some weird law clerks in my office. One stands out who kept making ridiculous promises to our clients like "you'll get out at your next bail review." So, when the court refused to grant bail to the armed robber who skipped his first court date and got picked up on a warrant, this robber pushed aside his criminal conduct and failure to appear in court previously. He felt like his attorney was at fault, since someone from the office guaranteed him release.
I watched The Shirks when they did their sound check, which was kind of cool. I left, though, before they played their set.