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
-Bertrand Russell

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

April 07, 2015 - 1:25 p.m.

You Too Can Be a Good Audience Member

What's my excuse for today's blog sucking? I know, the old reliable, I'm an idiot. OK enough preliminaries and one with the show.

Yesterday was Monday so as usual I'll start with making sure everybody knows what I do on Mondays. Yes I go to therapy. You in the back. How did you not know that? Please do all the required reading or you will not pass the course. Therapy has been action packed recently. Not to surprising as I've been in a lot of turmoil. You know all the stuff I can't talk about here? That's what I talk about in therapy. There is a middle ground that I can't talk about here because it's about other people but I don't want to talk about in therapy as it's not central to my issues. Sometimes it comes up, just to make sure she agrees it isn't central, but I'm usually right. The thing is I'd enjoy being able to talk about it so sometimes I do.

After therapy I went to get bagels. I was shocked the bagel place was open on Pesach. Not shocked enough that I didn't go and check. Then I went up to my PO Box in Columbus Circle. Then I had a dilemma. I think I discussed it yesterday. I left my PO box around 5:05. I had to be at Rockwood Music Hall by 7:00, preferably 6:30. What was I going to do for all that time in between? Then it hit me. This was not a dilemma it was an opportunity. I decided to walk the 3.6 miles. It was a beautiful day.

I love walks and that' not at all far for me but this is a difficult walk because of all the pedestrian traffic. The direct route is down Broadway but that means hitting tourists! Literally hitting tourists. Not with my fist but enough of them bumped into me. I tried to count how many people I had to adjust my walking to over the walk. I got to 240 before I hit Times Square and they became too numerous to count. I set up "Map My Walk" so I could get the exact distance and time it took me. Google maps says the distance is 3.6 miles but I never walked straight. I had to zigzag constantly. I wasn't sure if Map My Walk would account for that and was curious. At around 47th street I hit a rid light and decided to walk over to 7th Avenue thinking there would be less traffic. They are so close there that I made it before the light changed. That proved a bad choice when I hit construction on the sidewalk and came to a complete standstill a few times.

After Times Square it was clear sailing. The highlight was when I got back to Union Square, where therapy is. I knew that's where Tina Trachtenberg sets up shop. What's are her wares?

The pigeons. Those are not real. I have somehow never seen her even though I am in that neighborhood all the time. Yesterday as I approached the square I saw all the pigeons and a crowd around them. I knew that Tina would be in the center of the crowd. I was right. I would not stop at any point of my walk to take pictures. I was timing myself. But stopping to talk to a friend was worth the stop. I realized I should have paused the walk on Map My Walk. Oh well. But I wouldn't stop for a picture. That's Tina's. pic taken by someone else.

Then I continued on my journey. I arrived at just about 6:30 and walked in. A few friends were there, Marty and and and, OK there was somebody else that I'm blanking on. But not the two people I was meeting, Fred and Kevin. I took my usual place in the Statler and Waldorf seats. Fred had asked me to save a seat. So he got the other comfy chair. Kevin often likes to stand but there was an open seat next to me.

Oh I should say who it was we were there to see, It was Antje Duvekot and Amy Speace. Yes the same people I saw the night before. They are worth seeing two nights in a row. I went down to go to the bathroom and Fred came in then and we went upstairs. He took Waldorf's seat and I took Statler's. Damn! Carey. didn't know that but when I asked her which one of us was with said I was Statler. I always preferred Waldorf. I actually didn't know which was which till I asked Carey. She is my Muppet Maven. Which is funny as I'm other people's Muppet Maven. Then during the show when Fred and I said something Amy pointed at us and said, "It's like the Muppet Show!"

I'm not going to write too much about the music. I just wrote about them in my last entry and I don’t think it's insulting to say that they have not musically evolved over the course of the last 21 hours.

Fred had not seen Antje before and when she was done he said, "You don't like confessional singer/songwriters … except for Antje. I pointed out that's not true, I like Dar and Joni Mitchell and plenty of others. It's just that it's very easy to be a confessional singer/songwriter but it's very hard to be a good one. So most are crap. Amy can also be confessional.

It's hard to be a good confessional singer/songwriter but it isn't hard to be a good member of the audience. Yet people there couldn't do it. So I'm going to discuss some things you should never do at shows. Or at least very rarely do at shows. Some are common. Some are understandable. One is so ridiculous you'll laugh when I tell you.

The place was pretty crowded. Early in Amy set, she was on second, a flash went off. I understand that some people don't realize that's a no-no but it is. Hey it took me a long time to realize it. When I got my first camera it wasn't that light sensitive and I needed it to take pictures. I should have just not taken pics. But nowadays there's no excuse. My phone's camera with a tiny lens can take pictures in every venue I go to. You might have to learn how to use your camera. You might have to shoot in black & white. So do those things. Don't blind the other people in the audience and the performer. My eyes stung after the flashes went off.

A little while later something worse happened. Somebody's cell phone went off. Now that' not work and most of the time it's an oversight. I've heard the performer's cell ring. No what was wrong was the guy answered while Amy was singing. He then proceeded to talk very loudly to be heard over Amy. He was at the other end of the room from us and we were in the mezzanine and we heard him clearly.

What? What did you say? You'll have to talk louder! … … ,,, I'm at a concert, I'll call you back.
Amy did not miss a beat. I'd have stopped the show, humiliated him, then ask the crowed to tear him to pieces. Amy is clearly a better person than I am.

A little while later I saw this.

No I didn't accidentally catch a flash going off. That guy was taking video and that blinding light stayed on the duration of the song. It was shining right in my eyes. I actually took another picture with the light off so you can see his face but I decided that posting it was not the best course of action. This is about changing people's behavior. I'm sure he didn't realize how incredibly annoying that light was. I'm hoping that he'll read this and learn. And remember you can learn from other people's mistakes, not just your own.

It's not a good idea to kick the chair in front of you to the beat of the music. The person sitting in that chair will not appreciate it. I can attest to that.

The one thing the crowd was good about was not talking among themselves. It usually works that way at a paid show at Rockwood. People talking is the number one complaint people have at shows.

What are some other sins, common and otherwise, that people commit at shows. Don’t shove people. The worst offenders I've come across with that were Canadians at a Great Big Sea Show.

At a standing show if someone gets there early to get a good spot and leaves to go to the bathroom or buy merch or talk to somebody, let them back to their spot. Especially if they can show it's their spot because they left their stuff their or they are rejoining friends. I've seen that happen many times. I had to argue with someone to let my friend who waited out in the cold for hours to get that spot get back to it. Then the same person during the opening act, who was right near the front. Sat down during the opening act, turned her back to the performer, took out a book, attached a book light, and started reading. And people get upset if others just take out a cell phone.

OK enough of that venting. After the show I hung out a bit with Fred, Kevin, Marc, and Eliot, who had arrived after I went upstairs, and then headed home. I rushed to Trader Joe's before it closed to get milk and a few other things. Now I'm going to use that milk to make matzoh brei. See I'm a good Jew. Don’t tell god I'm putting park sausage in it.

Oh wait. I have pretty pictures to show you


Antje

view from the Statler and Waldorf Seats


Amy and Megan Palmer


Kenny White


Amy

Now I'm really going.





Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile April 07, 2015
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