I spent two hours today showing and teaching vocal percussion to a stream of little kids and their parents at the Berkeley-Richmond Jewish Community Center. I had fun (and got paid well), but it was a lot of people exposure, and a lot of vocal percussing. I love the wonderment on parents' faces when I first do it, and watching as curiosity overwhelms shyness in the kids. It's sort of fun to explain how to do it, too, because people can really understand how I make the sounds, and hear it coming out of their own mouths. (For a while I was thinking, "Hey, what I do isn't that special after all," but then I remembered that there's a whole other dimension to doing it for minutes at a time while keeping a beat and not passing out.)
Everyone was very nice. The families seemed like most of the Jewish families I knew back in Massachusetts/Connecticut: smart, patient, curious, and seeming to really enjoy being a family. There were a ton of attractive youngish mothers. Some of that is the kind of people you find in Berkeley, some is surely an artifact of my getting older, and this being a normal age for people to be having kids; but motherhood also effects this really neat change in some women, some kind of shift on the inside that makes them really hot.
One of these attractive moms was asking me how I learned vocal percussion, and said, "Do you just, I don't know, is it just like masturbation, you go home and do this for fun?". I miss the East Bay sometimes: there's an unpretentious frankness that you don't find in the suburbia of the Peninsula, or in the prideful weirdness of San Francisco. (For all that San Francisco diverges from the mainstream, its subcultures are deeply self-conscious, and put a lot of pressure on their members to conform to the subcultural standards.) Outside of city politics, Berkeley and Oakland are probably the most laid-back places in the area.