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Positive Feedback ISSUE 13
may/june 2004


In Which PFO Has a Powwow… and Good Times… on a Hot Spring Day in Long Beach, CA
by David W. Robinson


All photographs and image processing by Robinson.

Community. Positive Feedback has always been about creativity and community in fine audio. Ditto for Positive Feedback Online, a gaggle of folks even more passionate about audio than the PF gang was in days of yore. Good music goes together with good people and good times, and since that’s true, every now and again the PFO crew gets together for a powwow, just for the heck of it. No business; just fun. 

George Cardas once told me, long ago, a wise thing: "David, don’t ever hang out with audio people that you wouldn’t party with." 

Amen, bro’ George! 

Remember: I missed CES 2004 and a chance to see an awful lot of the PFO’ers this year, due to the massive snow storm that hit Portland in January. (See the opening pix in my deHavilland review at for some shots of Father Winter.) I was therefore way down on my audio party-hearty index, and was looking for an excuse to finally fulfill my promise to Dave and Carol Clark and drop in on them down in Long Beach. I also wanted to match up some faces to the names, and renew friendships with so many of the fine members of the editorial group in the LA area.  

Which is what Lila and I were finally able to do at the beginning of May. What follows is a photo album for our readers. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy seeing and talking with the people in fine audio even more than the gear or recordings. Don’t get me wrong: the equipment and the recordings are an important part of what audio is about—but the people who share our love are the heart and soul of the joy of fine audio. 

So here’s your chance to see some of the folks who work hard to bring you PFO, just hanging out and having an excellent time.

La Casa Clark in Long Beach… a cool place on a hot day!

A view of Dave and Carol Clark’s audio system. The gray panels are acoustical treatments; the red bars hanging on the wall are one of many sculptures produced by Dave, who is quite a talented artist in both metal and wood.

The PFO Gang, LA Branch, began to gather just after 1:00 p.m. of a hot Sunday afternoon. Since it was going to hit the mid-90’s, a number of people sat inside early on, sipping brewskis and talking about—what else?!—music, recordings, equipment, LPs, SACDs, etc., etc., etc. In the photo above, Dan Meinwald (red chair, also designed by the Davemeister) holds forth, while George Valley and his wife quaff cold ones.

On the left is Bob Levi, a senior member of the PFO editorial team and Prez of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society (see their site at Bob is hob-knobbing with PFO reviewer Danny Kaey, which is one heckuva wild and crazy pair!

Jeff Parks and his wife Denise taking it easy during conversation in the dining room. As always in audio social gatherings, there was a lot more talk than music!

Meanwhile, the rest of PFO LA was out coolin’ its tooties and knockin’ down the brew on the back 40 of Casa Clark. L to R, Martha Duran looking cool as she keeps an eye on Francisco, the ever-dynamic Dave Glackin, the aforementioned Francisco Duran, and Jim Grudzien. Groovin’ in the shade was the rule on such a warm day.

Next to Dave and Francisco were more PFO’ers. That’s Danny hamming for the camera; Roger Gordon looks relaxed in his blue shirt… pretty amazing, considering it’s audit season! That’s our Roger: Mr. Mellow (Which is what I’d guess you’d want in an accountant during an audit, eh?) talking John and Stephanie Brazier.

Meanwhile, on the kitchen front Carol Clark was whipping up some pretty incredible pasta salad, fried peppers, and other treatniks. Carol does a great job on the food front… but is NOT available for weddings, funerals, and bar mitzvahs! I really wanted to add to my small but growing portrait series of "Carol with drink in hand" (signed copies for sale by the arteest), but forgot to choose my moment this time ‘round.

It’ll have to wait until October’s Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I guess.

Be ready, Carol!

Here we have the estimable Editor Clark, in the middle of a dog, friends ‘n brew session with the Parks and Spyder the Nipper Substitute.

Dave and Spyder didn’t just stand about, though… nay, not they! Here we have Spyder licking the sausages clean, just before Dave puts them on the barbecue.

See? See how clean they look?! Good dog! Good dog, Spyder!

I should also note that the BBQ above nearly claimed the life of Editor Clark, when the 140 octane jet fuel that he was using to soak the charcoal mysteriously blew up when he innocently brought a match within five feet of the soggy Kingsfords. Yon editor was picked up out of the nearby tub of beers, where he leaped to avoid the apocalyptic fireball that scorched him. Talk about commitment to the good of the order!

Hmmm. Come to think of it, I count ten brown sausages above. Now I know what the EMTs did with the fingers….

The shenanigans of self-immolating mortals cut little ice inside, where a vigorous love fest with LPs was going on. Here we have a beaming Bob Levi, digging some Schubert done by Walter on licorice pizza. Six-eye pressing, no less!

During the LP discussion, I saw an opportunity to do a portrait of good friend Dan Meinwald, executed in fresco.

Here we have the folks outside studiously ignoring the highly singed Maestro Clark, standing discreetly to the side, stage left. No, you just can’t keep a good audiophile down…

…particularly our fearless Associate Editor At-Large, Dave Glackin. Give this man a Negra Modelo, a GPS, and a comfortable chair, and he’s ready for the food to arrive!

Meanwhile, inside the LP debates wax (bad pun) ever more passionate. Here we have Senator Georgus Maximus Valleyus invoking the vinyl gods with rhetorical flourish in his jousting with Tribune Rogerus Gordonus Primus (he of the blue shirt), while Danus Vinylus Meinwaldus looks on raptly, and Bobus Levius swipes another LP….

Zounds! What action! Rogerus stands amazed!

But all is well afterwards, as Rogerus and Danus reaffirm their friendship.

Suzanne Gordon and Lila Ritsema (PFO’s Business Manager) never bother with ‘phile phoolishness, stick to the drinks, and avoid all talk of SACDs and vinyl.

Dave does survive his blast, grows back his fingers, gets back to work on the barbecued sausages, and life is good in Long Beach. I couldn’t resist a neo-post-modern interpretation of the scene… and actually, it’s a helluva good photograph.

Meanwhile, stomachs growl.

Dave and Francisco wait patiently…

…George checks out some more LPs…

…the kitchen is ready to go (love that fresco motif!)…

…the crowd is getting anxious… Lila, Suzanne, Victor Chavira, and the Braziers.

…and ever more anxious.

Help was on the way, though. Dave and Carol delivered the chow, helped by good folks like Durans (terrific enchiladas!) and the beer brought by just about everybody. This is what audiophile communities ought to be about… not the sorts of wrangling and bad times that happen far too often. I haven’t had this much fun with audio friends in a long time.

Lila and I had to leave too early, but this is our record of a nearly perfect afternoon with some very special friends. These are some of the people who bring Positive Feedback Online to you, and who work hard to make it a superior read for you all.

We thought you should know them.

Missing locals are Art Shaprio, Larry and Simone Cox, Steve Lefkowicz, Ed Morawski, Fown-Ming Tien, Greg Ewing, Jim Merod, Carlo Flores, and Mark Katz who all for one reason or another were unable to attend.