Roots Report: Feeding You Cat Food, Strawberries and Music

Okee dokee folks … I know that I go off topic a lot in my writings, but that is just the way I am — scattered! But sometimes I do try to make a point. I am a huge animal person, and if it wasn’t for music I would probably run an animal shelter. The other night I rescued a baby bird that was just days old. It wound up on my girlfriend’s deck and there was no nest to be found. I called the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of RI (RIWildlifeRehab.org) but it was after hours, and the outgoing message gave phone numbers for volunteers. After calling a few numbers I connected with someone who gave me some advice, but because of the late hour could not take the little refugee until the morning. Somehow I had to keep this creature alive through the night. This nestling needed to maintain a body temp above 100 degrees and it needed to eat so we cradled it in a towel in a shoebox and put it on a heating pad. I fed it bits of cat food and strawberries from the end of a toothpick. This tiny being was barely the size of a golf ball; life was in my hands. This was stressful. I didn’t want it to die on my watch! I was paranoid that the heating pad was going to be too hot and cook the fuzzy chick; I was afraid of it not being warm enough. Every time I opened the box lid to check I was greeted by a wide open mouth on a bobbing neck that meant- “FEED ME!” When I closed the lid I could hear the peeping of a lonely baby. This went on all night, and I didn’t sleep at all. Luckily I am an insomniac and am used to it. Finally 6am came and I met one of the rehabbers to transfer this fragile life into more capable hands. Fortunately the bird made its connection and continued its trip to Saunderstown. I was glad to help this featherless friend survive, but this time of year the sides of the road are littered with the carcasses of critters that didn’t. Please be careful and aware of them and read on…

This is probably the worst transition in history, but why stop disappointing now? “Crossing the highway late last night, he should’ve looked left and he should’ve looked right. He didn’t see the station wagon car, the skunk got squashed and there you are. You got your dead skunk in the middle of the road … stinkin’ to high heaven …” I remember this 1972 song very well. In fact the twisted and clever tune rolls through my head EVERY TIME I see or smell a dead skunk. This song introduced me to the music of Loudon Wainwright III, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, folk singer, humorist and actor. He played Captain Calvin Spalding (the “singing surgeon”) on M*A*S*H and also had small parts in films such as The Aviator, Big Fish, Elizabethtown, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Knocked Up. He is also father of musicians Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche, brother of Sloan Wainwright, and the former husband of the late folk singer Kate McGarrigle. He has released over 25 albums and had his songs covered by Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Earl Scruggs, Mose Allison, Big Star, Freakwater, Norma Waterson, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and Rufus Wainwright. His work is witty, intelligent, poignant and entertaining. You can experience Loudon live when he performs at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingstown on Saturday, July 18. For enhanced information, “olfactor” your way to courthousearts.org

Spanning the time between the Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals is the aptly named BridgeFest. Entering its seventh year, Newport BridgeFest is a live music and music education festival that provides continuous music in the Newport area during the week between the Fort Adams festivals. This year’s dates are Monday, July 27 through Thursday, July 30. BridgeFest has daily events from 8am to 1am, with about 14 consecutive hours of music and arts per day. Stop by the BridgeFest Info Tent at Queen Anne Square located in the heart of downtown Newport. It all kicks off with the annual Sunset Soiree at Sanford-Covell Villa Marina on Monday, July 27 at 6pm. Enjoy live music, food, drinks and a chance to win prizes. Watch a special presentation by Rhode Island’s Ballet Theatre as the sun sets over the twinkling lights of the Newport Bridge. The BridgeFest Arts and Crafts Fair at Trinity Church hosts daily musical entertainment, shopping and food from 11am – 7pm. Performers include Mark Quinn, Rory and Ric, Thatcher Harrison, Julio Amaro, Graham Gibbs and John Hillman, Lee Phillips, Timmy May & Friends, Amanda Cote, My Mother’s Moustache, and Randy Robbins. Celebrate Jazz at Queen Anne Square with nightly shows that embrace the influence of jazz on both time and culture — from traditional swing to modern jazz, funk, R&B and even Caribbean jazz. Catch sets by The Four Agreements, Prism, Unusual Business and Panoramic View. A brand new classical music stage at St Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown (it’s only a bridge away from Newport) will showcase artists and composers with an educational component. The highlight is a concert celebrating the 330th Anniversary of J. S. Bach’s birth. Busking at Bowen’s brings back BridgeFest’s popular series on beautiful Bowen’s Wharf (say that three times fast!), an intimate setting in which musicians can bare their souls and showcase their art from 6 – 10pm.  The buskers be John McDaid, The Troubles, Keeping Company, Mike Baez, Ilana Katz Katz, Ramblin’ Rhode, Monika Ambroziak and Steve Rivard, and Holland Road.  The Motif Magazine Rock Stage at Jimmy’s Saloon features Motif Music Award winners and nominees every night of BridgeFest from 8pm – 1am. The shining stars are Cannibal Ramblers, Malyssa BellaRosa, Eastern Medicine Singers, Cardboard Ox, SexCoffee, Nymphidels, The Dust Ruffles, Gavage, DJ Nook, Meta P, DirtyDurdie, Kee-Words, DJ Dox Ellis, The Viennagram, Viking Jesus, and Ocean Mic Allstars. For the full schedule, trestle to NewportBridgeFest.com

Now here are more must-see events for the next couple of weeks! From the “Read It and Run” department, Smash Mouth and Tonic will be at New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre on Thursday, July 16. Hear the hits “If You Could Only See,” “Walkin’ on the Sun” and “All Star.” For further illumination, Lemon Parade to Zeiterion.org. Want some jazz for breakfast? Then hit the Jazz Breakfast at Characters’ Cafe every Sunday, between 10am and 1pm, to hear the Trio Forte as they explore the sonic possibilities of jazz past, present and future. The Cafe is located at 82 Rolfe Sq in Cranston. To augment your knowledge, scramble over to artists-exchange.org. If you are still hungry then head to Chan’s in Wooooooooooonsocket. A REAL RIer would NEVER say it that way! On Friday, July 24, join Diane Blue and Boston’s Queen of the Blues, Toni Lynn Washington, for a double CD release celebration. On Saturday, July 25 it’s Mississippi Heat with some Chicago blues. Grace Kelly jazzes it up at Chan’s on Thursday, July 30. You don’t want to miss this show. Finally, the legendary Coco Montoya brings the blues on Sunday, August 2. For expanded info, nibble over to chanseggrollsandjazz.com. You may prefer to be at the beach on a summer Sunday night, but you can kill two birds with one stone by heading over to AS220 for Empire Revue. Sunday, August 2 brings the beach to you for the Ocean Show. You never know what the Sparkling Beatniks will be up to. Every performance is unique, but there is one commonality: HUMOR. If you have never seen an Empire Revue, what are you waiting for? It is like RI’s own “Saturday Night Live,” only Empire Revue is funny! Get a dose of stand-up comedy, farcical skits, music and more. Chortle your way to AS220.org for supplemental snickering enlightenment. 

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading. www.JohnFuzek.

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