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Catching Up | Seattle Boat Show, Snowpocalypse, and the Grammys

We’ve been busy! (New) Airship was out of the water for two months getting new floors, new upholstery, new electronics, and a handful of other fun upgrades (if you want to take a look at some before and after photos, click here). We finally got her back in the water just in time to cruise down to the Seattle Boat Show.

We got a nice view of the Super Blood Wolf Moon from Airship in Anacortes before we headed south

We took two days making our way down to Seattle, stopping in Oak Harbor for (cheap) fuel and staying overnight in Langley. It’s so nice to finally be on the water in our new boat!

Airship at Bell Harbor Marina
Kevin presenting “WiFi in the Wilderness” at the Seattle Boat Show

Our Slowboat seminars all went great and were well-attended–another successful boat show in the books!

A few weeks back, we learned that Kevin’s brother, Craig (a classical trumpet player) was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Instrumental Classical Solo Performance” category, for his solo trumpet recording “Glass: 3 Pieces in the Shape of a Square” of music by composer Philip Glass. We were super excited about his nomination for this album, and then just as we were heading to Seattle, he told us he’d been invited to perform at the Grammy Premiere show, and he was inviting us to come join him! We quickly scheduled ourselves a little shopping party in Seattle to find something to wear, and planned a trip to Los Angeles!

Leaving Seattle

We stopped in Langley again on our way back north. The weather was supposed to get nasty (35-45mph winds, more snow) so we stayed two nights and let the wind pass.

We woke the next morning to snow-covered docks, and spent most of the day cozy inside
It was windy enough to blow a bunch up snow up against the cockpit door, even!
Icicles on the scuppers!

When we got back to Portland, there was a bit of snow as well, and the forecast was for it to dump more starting the night before our flight to L.A., so we opted to stay in a hotel at the airport to ensure a higher likelihood of catching our flight. In the morning it had snowed a bit more, but there were probably only 3-4 inches. Our house is at about 1000 feet and we normally get a bit more snow than the lower elevations, making our steep driveway not so much fun, so we were glad for the easy commute!

View from our hotel

Flights were all on time with no issues.

Portland Airport

We arrived at LAX and grabbed a Lyft to our hotel. I found us a cool hotel online without knowing anything about it, and it was even better in person! We stayed at the Mayfair, not far from Staples Center. I chose the hotel because it was convenient, and because it looked like a boutique hotel with some fun L.A. style. We were pleasantly surprised and would definitely stay here again if, for instance, someone was nominated for another Grammy and invited us to come back. 🙂

View from our room

One interesting thing about this hotel that I learned after I’d booked our room was that they had a fantastic art and music program:

“Artist-in-Residence, internationally renowned artist Kelly “RISK” Graval has curated a multi-million-dollar collection that beautifully reflects L.A.’s vibrant and invigorating contemporary art scene. The extraordinary art collection on display at The Mayfair was curated by legendary artist and illustrator RISK, in collaboration with artists Shepard Fairey, Geoff Melville, Richard Mirando, and more. From his early days as a USC Fine Arts student and pioneering graffiti artist, to his celebrated gallery and museum showcases around the world, RISK has left an indelible mark on the contemporary art world and become a hometown hero of the Los Angeles art scene.” [from the Mayfair website]

The really cool thing about this is that I know RISK’s work from back when I lived in Long Beach and Los Angeles in my 20s, and in fact for a number of years there was a large 4×4 foot piece of RISK’s work hanging over my sofa in the house I shared with my then-boyfriend. Said then-boyfriend was a director and he’d done a short segment on RISK for a television show, and RISK had given him/us the colorful, spray-painted 4×4 ft piece of plexiglass he’d made during the filming of the show. I drilled holes in the corners, bolted it a few inches off a piece of painted black plywood, and hung it in our living room. Of course when we broke up, then-boyfriend kept the artwork (as he should have), but I was happy to learn RISK was still working and thriving in the Los Angeles art scene.

Artwork in the lobby by RISK (Kelly Graval)

As we checked into our room and I posted the photo below on Instagram, up came a little pop-up notice on my phone that there was a “RISK Pop-Up Print Sale: Out of the Vault” going on downstairs. Craig had invited us to go to this Grammy rehearsal with him, and we only had about 10 minutes before we needed to be in the lobby, but we hustled down to the gallery and in less than 5 minutes I found find a print I liked, purchased said print, and took it back to our room. Total score!

Lobby of the Mayfair hotel

And off we went to Grammy rehearsal!

Craig and Federico going over their music

The piece from Craig’s album that the Grammy committee wanted him to play was the most complicated piece (of course), and is actually a duet where Craig recorded both parts. Easy to do on an album, but much more difficult to perform in person — so he sought accompaniment from his student and TA at University of Miami, a talented trumpet player named Federico Montes, originally from Columbia. Federico is a wonderful trumpet player and a super nice guy, and they made a great team.

Setting up the music stands, all twelve of them, in the shape of a square
Craig and Federico getting mic’d up
Empty stage with lighting

Rehearsal went great! Craig and Federico played through the piece three times, and they were both extremely pleased with how it sounded! You can hear Craig’s original recording here, if you’re interested. We think it’s pretty cool!

Teleprompter in mostly empty theatre

On Sunday morning we arrived early for the Premiere show and hung out in Craig’s dressing room (next door to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ dressing room) until it was time to be seated. The Premiere show was great, and Craig and Federico’s performance was fantastic. What a treat to be able to experience this with him!

Audience, with Craig and Federico on the big screen as they made their way around the square of music stands, playing as they went

Craig did not win the Grammy, but having the opportunity to perform was a pretty big deal, and I doubt this will be his only nomination.

As the Grammy Premiere show was wrapping up, we were driven (via black SUV) over to the red carpet for the telecast show at Staples Center.

Waiting in line with all the other black vehicles
Attendants with mirrors checked underneath the cars for bombs (really)…
…and police officers with canine help kept a nose out for drugs.
Red carpet chaos
Craig and Federico live-streaming the red carpet
Photographers work hard to get J-Lo’s attention
Don’t let Ashanti’s dress touch the ground!
Don’t let St. Vincent’s dress touch the ground either!

The red carpet was enormously fun to get to do. Somehow (probably because we had credentials that said “Talent” on them) we were able to walk through with Craig, and it was a blast. We saw a ton of musicians and actors we recognized (Fred Armisen and Natasha Lyonne, Cardi B., a Kardashian or two, St. Vincent, Ashanti, Jennifer Lopez, etc.), and I’m sure many others we should have recognized but didn’t.

Once inside, Craig and his wife Karen went to their seats on the floor (down there by the circular stage) and we went to ours (see view from our seats, below). When you aren’t nominated for a Grammy, your seats are not quite as good, but no matter…we had a blast.

One benefit of seats up high — we could see down into both performance areas as they were preparing/building the stages for each performance! That’s the stage for Janelle Monae being set up on the right.

After the show, we wandered next door to the official Grammy after party (our tickets got us into both shows and the after party).

“Transforming the LA Convention Center into “Grammy Land,” which emulated the spirit of the classic children’s game, “Candy Land,” oversized candy displays, enchanting water features, and grandiose design elements were brought to life by a troupe of live entertainers, dancers, acrobats, and aerialists to amplify the visual projections. Equating to over three football fields in size, the official Grammy After Party encompassed more than 600 catering and service staff, 400 production team members, 60 dancers and acrobats, and four live performances as it hosted over 5,000 attended guests.” [source]

We had some food, some drinks, and socialized a bit, taking it all in, and then headed back to our hotel to change (SHOES!!!!) and then wandered down to a local bar for a nightcap and some quieter conversation. What a fun night!!

We’re back at home now and after one more business trip we’ll head back up to Airship for some more projects. We need to get the dinghy off the top deck (and decide if we want to keep the Boston Whaler or sell it and get a RIB), finalize the stern davit installation, clean out and organize some lockers, and just generally start getting ready for the summer of cruising to SE Alaska. May isn’t that far away, and we still have a lot to do!

Here are a few photos of Airship in the snow that our friend Glen sent. Sounds like they eventually had about 8 inches up there, but here in Portland, we have zero.