Last week, I attended a job-related workshop in San Diego. As many
of you know, the Mechanical Music Digest also originates from the San
Diego area. Since I was in town, I eagerly seized the opportunity to
meet with Jody Kravitz and Robbie Rhodes, and to view Mike Ames' fine
collection of mechanical music machines.
The first time I met Jody was when he and colleague brought me to Mike
Ames' museum and workshop. We were met there by Dave Wasson (Hi Dave!)
who introduced us to Trudy, his hand-built band organ with its many
ranks of pipes. Trudy entertained us with several tunes, including a
Beatles song. (I was glad to meet another Beatles fan!)
Mike then appeared and guided us through his splendid collection.
There was a variety of machines in a pleasant (acoustically and
aesthetically) setting. What impressed me most about his collection
was their exceptional condition. I came away with the feeling that
this is what the machines must have looked and sounded like when they
were new; this is how they were meant to be. A big thank you to Mike
for allowing me the opportunity to view his collection.
A few days later on Saturday, I visited Jody Kravitz at his home in
Julian where we were joined by Robbie Rhodes. This marked the first
time that the three of us have ever been together. :-) What was it
like being at the hallowed ground of MMD Central Command? First, a
visitor must go through several security checks and then decontamin-
ation in order to enter the compound. The visitor is then given a
protective suit and an ID badge to wear before entering the computer
OK, OK, I'm kidding!!
MMD Central actually has three computers that are linked by a mysteri-
ous black box. However, they all share the same monitor. Adjacent to
Jody's high tech setup is an antique Apple computer, the sight of which
gave me a chuckle. I didn't think there were any of those still
around, least of all at Jody's place. The entire area is overseen by a
couple of large orange paperweights which certainly must play a role in
ensuring the MMD is published regularly.
We talked and listened to some MIDI files, CD's and Real Audio, plus
I got a sneak preview of the new web page. We later shared a wonderful
dinner before it was time to go. Our time together was too short and
it ended all too soon. I did get to meet Jody's lovely wife Ev and
their children. (Thank you Ev, for "sharing" Jody with us so that we
can receive the MMD). And, I did get to hear Robbie and his magical
fingers play the piano once more. Robbie also got to hear me "play"
the piano. (Are your ears still ringing, Robbie?)
The MMD is fortunate to have two wonderful guys such as Jody and Robbie
administering the digest. I hope to visit with both of them again
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