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First single ever purchased: Mississippi Queen, by Mountain
What I know: I was seven. Earlier, my parents had made the mis-timed choice of taking us on a family driving vacation through upstate New York; I remember looking out of the station wagon as we slogged through endless traffic jams of horrifyingly pitiful people heading into/out of Woodstock. 1970 Bloomington, on the other hand, was simmering rage and protests on Dunn Meadow and People's Park. My cousin, probably 12 years older, was in the SDS at IU. The world seemed out of kilter.
I probably first heard Mississippi Queen on WNAP, out of Indianapolis, while watching my brother the pyro igniting piles of homemade gunpowder on the model train tracks. Now I hear a cross between Cream and Hot Tuna. Then, I only heard heavy, sludgy guitar runs. I had to have it. Purchased at Wasson's department store.
It was not the first single that I ever owned. That would be a copy of The Royal Guardsmen's Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, given to me by my parents a year or two earlier. It planted the seeds of garage rock deep in my identity: Vox and Rickenbacker guitars, Farfisa organ. In the video, there's a guy who dances and shouts like he could be in Happy Mondays or the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Exactly 40 years later, I would learn that the Royal Guardsmen are the only band to break big out of Ocala, FL.
An autobiography in 41 songs. Talk around Volta often turns to music and theory. After trying my best to explain Walter Benjamin's Theses on the Philosophy of History to Aly, I set up an experiment in which I would try to assemble a constellation of music that would trace from 1970 to the present, one song from each year in order. Each song would have to be something that I first listened to in the year it was released. Not the best songs, or the most popular (obviously), but rather songs that had some sort of third meaning that fixed it, historically, in my own understanding of myself at the time. Not sure what this says, yet, but that's somewhat the point...
One big pile of debris.
This site has been quiet of late while we worked our way through Volta's opening. I'd never intended for the Dasein site to have so much focus on Volta-- the Voltacoffee domain has always been the site for the shop. I've finally had enough time around the edges to bash out a quick drupal site for Volta. It will have its own blog for me and my staff to write about our work there.
As for this site, I've had too much fun going back through my archives while working with Stephen Bender on developing an aesthetic for Volta. I'll continue to use dasein.com to post photos (both new and from the archives), comments, and critical observations-- although probably not at the same pace.
Volta's grand opening is tomorrow (Saturday, May 10) from 5-9.
Jon Lewis roasted up a batch of Microcosm espresso to help us celebrate. In a strange, round-about way, Jon's Peace, Love, and Coffee blog played a significant role in the development of Volta. I had posted a few off-the-cuff notes on BZ's chemically imbalanced blog about how I envisioned the role of the barista. Jon had commented about my postings on his blog-- and it was Jon's posting that became the thread bringing us together with M'lissa during a Sunday morning visit to Octane. A month later we brought M'lissa down to Gainesville to meet with Stephen Bender to brainstorm designs for Volta.
Fe doses up some Microcosm for our first taste...
I'm thrilled to post that Danielle Glasky, our first guest barista, just finished up her day competing in the semi-finals of the US Barista Championships. Making the cut from the first round to the semis was significant; finishing in the top ten is spectacular for a first-time entrant. Congratulations to Danielle from the entire staff at Volta. In addition to being a godsend in helping us out on our first week open, Danielle practiced her routine on us several times a day and let all the staff try her espresso blend and sig drink. We were all greatly impressed.
...even if she was spooked by the roaring gators out on Payne's Prairie...
A new trend has developed in the last two days. Our Macchiato and double ristretto espressos are outselling lattes by a wide margin.
Almost done with the space. Fredrik's crew came by today and installed the first bank of window bar seats. It really is quite amazing-- iron rails run from the ceiling and look like they disappear into the floor. The bar is the same blonde polystone as the cupping table and the Clover counter. It really looks like the bar surface is floating in space.
The Super Jolly turned up on the door step the other day. Since we have yet to have one person order a decaf espresso drink, it is looking more like the SJ is destined to be the guest espresso grinder.
Finally, we're hashing out our pastry order with the 2nd St. Bakery. Sue and Laura brought samples by for the staff to order; hopefully we'll have baked goods for sale by Monday... Looks good in the sushi case, if I don't say so.
We made it through our soft opening-- with no advertising, sign, or any fanfare whatsoever. Traffic through the store comes in small bursts, and we already have raving fans. The order for signs went out today, the replacement Super Jolly grinder turned up yesterday, we finally hammered out the necessary details to bring in our baked goods from our local provider, and a few last bits of construction should be tied up by the end of the week. In other words, we're just about ready for a "real" opening.
We're on target to have our opening party on May 10. You all are invited.
In the meanwhile, I might have the luxury of six hours of sleep tonight. It long ago felt like a marathon weekend at Turner Sink stretched over six days, but minus the mosquitos and ticks. Current photos are posted on the daseindesign flickr page, linked over to the right.
We open (for real!) in the morning.
Some last minute details...
Using the pegboard to post all of the info sheets about the coffees, teas, and chocolates
The cupping table, finally in place
Our first tip
Pouring hearts in Clovered El Diablo
Yeah, we nicked the "tea samples in test tubes" display idea from Tavalon NYC
After four months with the paper on the windows, it was rather disorienting to clear it all off and feel that we were finally part of the streetscape. As much as we've been enjoying Steven Bender's design for the space as a separate experience, discrete from the outside world, the way the design interacts with the floor-to-ceiling windows and the unfolding street scene outside is the real achievement.