Cause for crossing the causeway

Once I knew two brothers who, stumbling home from a party, happened upon a 1964 Chevy with the keys still in the ignition. Figuring Christmas had come early, they hopped in and headed south, with Las Vegas on their mind. As the dimmer of the two told me later, they “got the map sideways” and thus ended up in Southern California—specifically, in Anaheim, and more specifically, Disneyland. Since it was before daybreak, and they had an appointment with Mickey, they broke in. Then they got popped.

Davis often does that to me. Once I pass that Y at the light after the underpass just off the Richards Boulevard exit from Interstate 80, it’s like falling into an M.C. Escher drawing; things get all turned around. The only place I could ever find consistently was my acupuncturist. So I tend to blanch at the prospect of crossing that causeway.

This is my excuse for why I never visited the Delta of Venus, a collegiate-funky little club that has inhabited a 1920s bungalow on B Street, just off First Street—the left arm of that Richards Boulevard Y—since around 1993.

Thursday night was fairly busy. The front patio was packed; most of the people were apparently in their early 20s. A band had just finished.

Inside the front door was a counter where you could order food and drink, with the menu written in chalk on several blackboards along the walls, and behind the counter was a well-appointed kitchen. To the left was what would have been the living room, and behind it was the old dining room. The large opening between them functioned as a proscenium, and drums and equipment were set up in the dining room. There were a few stragglers in the living room, and there was a bench along that room’s outer perimeter. I sat in the corner.

Onstage, a dark-haired man cradling a Martin dreadnought in his lap was messing with the pickup, while a blond guy fiddled with a tiny mixing board to the right of the stage. Then the guy onstage, Payam Bavafa, began playing, and the room filled up with about 25 people. Bavafa, who performs in a band called Sholi, sang in a fashion that recalled Buckley père et fils, hanging notes in the air like a vintage saxophonist. Some of his songs sounded like partial Beatles tunes over finger-picked guitar, while others floated on melancholic, pretty chord changes. The crowd in the room, mostly female, liked him immensely.

What followed was a loud instrumental trio, the Elders, which swerved between a driving post-Morricone style, à la Scenic or Pell Mell, and the sonic junkyard inhabited by Captain Beefheart. That music tends to be a guy thing, and most of the women disappeared.

They returned for 60-Watt Kid, an apparent trio whose channeling of an Astral Weeks-inspired epiphany swirled around the room, enthralling everyone it touched. Unfortunately, it being a work night, I had to go. But I’ll return, and soon. What a sweet venue for music. Find it at