Arcata Eye Scene

A-town art, music, theatre. Mostly music. Updated Wednesdays.

Terrence McNally: ‘Rural Rock’ has last hurrah. And duck tongue


San Francisco Bay Guardian writer Kimberly Chun used the term aural terroir in describing the Jensen Rufe’s 60-minute documentary Rural Rock and Roll. It’s the water, the land and the air that influence the sound of a given area’s musical output, be it Minneapolis or Athens, Ga.

That seemed apt.

Rufe’s documentary, filmed over a few days over the summer of 2005 in Arcata and Eureka, pulled together a group of otherwise discordant musicians – that actually represented a moment. Despite referring to the Hitch as the Lift and calling Jensen, “Rule,” Chun’s “grainy snapshot” description’s pretty good, too. That was something unique, to Arcata. Chun, working in the city, figures it smells like Sasquatch.

But we know what it smells like. It smells like the Alibi.

This was it, the last public showing of RR&R in San Francisco last weekend – and a perfectly reasonable excuse to load up in former Hitch drummer Steve Bohner’s truck and live the rocknroll lifestyle, if only for a weekend.

After plenty of social successes, if not major royalty checks, Rufe is bagging up the movie. It took him up and down the West Coast film festival circuit and getting to meet fellow small town music enthusiasts. Rufe, a former Arcata musician, now making it in the Los Angeles television industry is doing all right. RR&R is his passion.

This would be the point in most stories where I would present quotes from Rufe about his general feelings about the film, what he gained from the experience and plans for the future. This would be the natural spot for that.


Bohner and I and a Dynamite Sweater musician who participated on the condition anonymity had traipsed over to Chinatown earlier for some dim sum. It was a very traditional meal. The menu was legit. Duck tongue was on the menu. When you’re in the company of genuine rock stars, you’ve got to try to seem “cool” or “hip.” You order the duck tongue.

If you’re a vegetarian, move on to the next story in the Scene section. The duck tongue was not good. I’m culturally insensitive, or something. There was just no getting around the fact that the plate, surrounded by half peanuts and a brown sauce was, in the majority, tongues that came out of the bills of waterfowl. I think recycling and resource management is the right way to go. How it was decided within the otherwise amazing cuisine of China that duck tongues were something not just to try once, but to continue preparing and a dish that had to move with the mass Chinese emigration of the 19th and 20th centuries, it’s just something that I, as a small minded rural roller can’t get my brain around.

The food was great otherwise. When you bite into a inch-and-a-half long tongue, the texture taut and somewhat rough at the exterior and then becoming a little softer before your teeth hit the cartilage – you’re thinking about moving on to the next plate.

At this point the idea was raised that we would deploy the remaining duck tongues at Rufe, by now enjoying a final pre-screening party at the Phoenix Hotel for rock stars. Placing duck tongues in beer cup (he drank two without noticing, to our poolside chagrin) and his cigarette box took up the remainder of our time. Toward the end of the party, then the afterparty show with the Ian Fays, Dameon Lee and Dynamite Sweater at Hotel Utah, things got somewhat foggy. I’m not sure if we did get a duck tongue on Rufe’s motel pillow.

But this is why I have no quotes from Jensen Rufe.

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