I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
September 22, 2017 - 11:29 a.m.
I went to hear music last night, I did merch; that means I won't be writing about politics. I knew I'd hear cheering. You could at least fake liking my political posts.
Emily Mure had the New York release show for her third album, Worth. The show was at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2, my second home. I got there early for the merch setup and briefing. When we discussed it on messenger I told her the t-shirt trick; t-shirts should be rolled, sorted by size, with the rubber band or cord holding them color coded. She wrote back that she was in the middle of doing just that. I knew she was smart. She did one better, they weren't color coded, they were labeled. If they hadn't been I'd have needed help with the merch, one person to just find t-shirts.
When I got to Rockwood the I chatted with the guy at the door, Not Mel. That's not his name. I never remember his name. The other guy that does it is Mel, so he is Not Mel. I should fess up and ask him again.
There was another act on stage when I went in, I walked through to the back and found Emily setting up the merch. She set me up and then she got down to getting ready for the show. Kate Copeland was there and I talked to her for a bit too. She was singing backup with Emily because everyone in the NERFAverse knows everyone else in the NERFAverse.
I had all the merch perfect and was just hanging out, checking something on my phone, when a young woman came up to me. She was doing merch for the act that was onstage before Emily and asked me very nicely and nervously if she could use the table. I of course said yes and cleared off Emily's things. She has a merch box so that was easy.
I thought I'd be the first one in the room for Emily's show but they had actually opened up the doors ten minutes earlier. I knew Fred was going to be there and I looked up in the Statler and Waldorf seats and found him. I shouted out a hi. If I didn't have to set the merch up again I would have joined him but I did so I wanted to stay on the floor level near the door so I could make an unobtrusive getaway before the last song.
Emily was backed by a large band, in addition to Kate on backing vocals there was a fiddler, upright bass player, two cellist and Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabeth & the Catapult on piano. All the musicians but the bass player were women. I should start my gender breakdown study by counting musicians that I see.
Emily did not just write the songs but the string parts too. There are advantages to studying at a music school. It always impresses me when people can write for an instrument other than their own. To do that means understanding music, not just what you play. I do have one criticism of Emily's music education and it's a big one. She said, "What is better than one cello? Two cellos!" My Gentle Readers all know that the plural of cello is celli. I was aghast when WQXR changed their practice from using the proper Italian plurals to bastardized English/Italian barbarisms. It marked the begging of the end of high culture and presaged the election of Trump. I have been looking forward to writing about that since Emily said, "cellos."
Emily's music is lyrical; despite the strings the sound is not lush and certainly not schmaltzy. The instruments are there in service to the songs, not to sound pretty. The feeling of the songs is often wistful, best exemplified by Welfare Island a song about leaving her lifelong home, now called Roosevelt Island. It's hard to pick a favorite but if you know somebody getting married they can do worse than someone singing Already Are; Emily wrote that for her own wedding and sang it directly to her husband. I stumbled on the best description of the music before, it's not pretty, it's beautiful.
She performed the entire album in order plus a bonus song, which I missed as I had to set up the merch. What was it? Did I miss the best part of the show? Don't lie to me. I can take it.
Fred was the first one out and the first to buy a CD. Sales were brisk. There were also download cards and t-shirts. The cards are postcards suitable for mailing with the download code affixed to them. They are pictures of Emily and Roosevelt Island. I took one with the tram and the 59th Street Bridge. I have not been on the Island since shortly after the tram opened. I should go again and check it out. There's a memorial to FDR on it and I know one of the architects. Don't worry, he doesn't usually design abattoirs.
As I was involved with something, someone grabbed me and said, "hi." It was Autumn, Dan and Noah's sister. She was there to see the next act on Stage 3. She said something I couldn't make out and ran off to meet the person she came with. I started to text Dan and as I was doing that he came over. He was the person Autumn came with. That's a fun thing about Rockwood, it's not an uncommon occurrence to run into friends there to see another show. I saw Cole Quest talking to Kate. That wasn't surprising as I met both of them through Doug Goldstein. When he came over to say hi to me I found out that he was there to see the act on Stage 3 too.
I got to meet Emily's sister and brother-in-law Her sister has a name, I'm sure she has a name, I'm sure I don't remember it; yet I remember her brother-in-law's, Ned. Later I met her mother. She also has a name that will remain nameless. People think it's easy not having a brain.
Half the room was filled with people from the Rock; I discovered that's what the locals call Roosevelt Island. I have never met so many Rockers before. Emily said it was the biggest gathering of Islanders, off the Island ever.
The timing with eating for Rockwood shows is always problematic. Yesterday I made myself a peanut butter sandwich before I left. It was a special treat as I had it on a bagel. It would be too late to make dinner after the show so I had my now traditional post-Rockwood dinner, 99¢ Pizza on 2nd Ave. It's perfect, right on the walk to the subway.
I have lots of music planned this weekend but first I have therapy. I'll have plenty to write about tomorrow.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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