San Diego literary and arts website The Latent Print said goodbye to Publisher/Managing-Editor/Swing-Dancer-Extraordinaire Charlie Yi at a farewell party at the Whistle Stop on Wednesday night. A mixed lineup of music, poetry, and fiction readings entertained the full house that showed up in Yi’s honor, and the night was capped off with a show by Greg Gibson, former guitar player in local favorites Waterline Drift.
The event also doubled as a call for submissions to all those budding writers who, as Charlie put it, spend countless hours holed away in their bedrooms, pouring their souls into their work with little appreciation. The folks at The Latent Print would like any wan, bespectacled mole creatures to know that they’re there to help the fruits of your labor see the light of day. In his farewell address, Charlie also offered up a well-received “fuck L.A.” to anyone who might overlook San Diego’s literary scene in favor of our smog-choked neighbors to the north.
A few of the site’s contributing poets and writers gave readings of their work, wrestling with the din of the back bar to drop juicy word bombs on those who cared to listen. The readings included a dry, whimsical dialogue about love and kitty cats, a moving ode to the couple that jumped hand in hand from the World Trade Center, and a surprisingly sexy love poem to the Jolly Green Giant. Rodney Hubbard played a couple of buttery smooth joints, singing breathy tenor over liquid guitar, and then Charlie premiered a video he directed for Tape Deck Mountain’s track 80/20. Between the great mix of local entertainment and the stiff mixed drinks, we were pretty warmed up for Greg Gibson’s set.
Full disclosure: I am good friends with Greg, and he is as solid a guy as he is a musician. That said, I can say with complete objectivity that his voice will knock your socks off. The guy has pipes. I once saw him belt out an impromptu a cappella gospel that caught the entire audience off guard, stopping the heart of every girl in the room (and maybe a few boys) for 30 seconds. Wednesday night, we weren’t that lucky, but we did get to hear a great sampling of gems from his new album Black Glass, bookended by some new songs and covers. He started off with his own howling electric blues rendition of “Summertime,” from Porgy and Bess.
Lately, Greg has been playing with a great band drawn from members of the formerly awesome but now defunct Gray Ghosts. On “Stand Still,” Brian Dall’s syncopated drum fills, Kevin Gossett’s falling bassline, and the twang of Frank Green’s guitar answered Greg’s ad-libbed vocals in boiling repetition. Though the rest of this set was heavy on the folk rock and pop side of Black Glass, past shows have ranged from the retro swing of “Swing Me Around” to rocking roots jams like “As I Look Into The Sun.”
If you missed Wednesday’s party, the good news is that Greg and his band open the free local 94/9 lineup at The Casbah this Sunday at 7pm. This showcase promises to ease your mind of the hectic week ahead while also shoving free Luche Libre tacos down your gullet. I’ve tried, but I still cannot think of a reason why anybody would miss this. As Frank Green yelled out while switching from axe to keys, “Let’s play some sweet shit.”