Rainbows and Vienna in Mountain View

I found out that Vienna Teng was playing at an open mic at the Red Rock Coffee Company in Mountain View minutes after I stepped into the house. I wasn’t aware that she was playing at an open mic at the cafe, but Eric informed me that she was. Not wanting to miss another opportunity to hear Vienna play live, I inhaled my dinner, changed, and got back into the car to drive down to Castro Street.

When I stepped out of the house, I saw a most wondrous site: a rainbow stretching across the Southern sky in a perfect 180 degree arc. I stopped my car, got out and began shooting the scene with my D30 and the 17-35mm f/2.8 lens. Because of the 1.6x focal length multiplier on my D30, I wasn’t able to get the entire arc of the rainbow without using special Photostiching software. At the ultra-wide angles like 17mm, the image get distorted enough that stitching is difficult; still, I was able to get a decent panorama of the scene, showing the grandeur and beauty of this rainbow.

Vienna started playing a few minutes after I arrived. She played three songs from her new Album, Waking Hour. She started out with drought, followed by enough to go by, and unwritten letter #1. I didn’t hear many of the artists play, but I just felt like her music was received more warmly by the crowd than the others. Maybe it’s a bias on my end, I don’t know.

At Randy’s birthday party on Sunday, Bill made a comment about Vienna’s music being great, but that it was a bit hampered by the use of a digital drum machine. Now, I’m no musician, so I can’t tell whether the drums in her songs were synthesized or not. I guess I’ll have to ask her the next time that I see her. She seems to be booked at the Red Rock for the next several weeks before heading up to play at Eric’s in the City. I can tell now that there’s going to be a lot of people at that event.

I hope that Vienna doesn’t mind me popping up at her gigs all the time; I’m genuinely excited to see someone like her pursuing her dreams and goals. She’s starting from ground zero, building momentum with each gig. Attending and documenting them makes me feel like I’m tracking her progress in print. I doubt that I’ll be able to attend all of her upcoming shows, but I am going to try to make enough of them to be able compile a set of photographs that could be entitled, The Early Years of Vienna Teng.

I’ve converted the photos above into a duotone/film-like format. While the originals are in vibrant color (my low-light skills were a bit off this evening, creating less than tack sharp photos), there’s something about seeing them with grain and in black and white (or duotone) that screams, “Photograph!” I like the look of color, but black and white, it feels more photographer for some reason. One of those other things that I’ll keep pondering over and over!

After Vienna finished her playing, I left the Red Rock to go over to the Printer’s Inc. Cafe to work on the web page for the past weekend. After a couple of hours, I finished much of the commentary and photos for the web page. By that time, it was closing time at Printer’s Inc. I left to go back to my car, passing by an already closed and cleaned up Red Rock Coffee Company. As I was turning the corner to get to my car, I noticed this building with the sign, “Chinese Dance Club and Studio.” I heard Chinese music blaring through the door and up the stairs. After pacing around for a minute or two, I walked up there. I had to see what the heck was happening in this place.

I thought that I had left America and walked into a club in Hong Kong! There was a singer (karaoke or professional) who was singing these Chinese songs. There weren’t that many people in the club, and I wasn’t going to pay $23 to sit around and listen. Still, the place was very intriguing. If I ever get the urge to go to a Hong Kong club, I’ll be coming back to this Chinese Dance Club and Studio one night.

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