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
June 13, 2017 - 3:22 p.m.
It's late; why do I have trouble getting started on a day where I have a lot to write about? Wrong! It's not because I'm an idiot. It's just chance. I slept late and got involved in conversations. I just got back from the usual morning reading I didn't have time for, so now it's even later. Can I even remember yesterday? I can! I know what I did yesterday! Why do you keep calling me an idiot? My memory lasts almost 24 hours.
I had plans for last night for months; it was the CD release show for Dougmore's Outerboros. I am not sure if I've been looking forward to this for two or three years. I heard some songs from it at NERFA and knew that Doug, wrote this just for me and the rest of you are just lucky that it's not cost effective to make an album for just one person. It's Cosmic American/Psychedelic Folk/Bluegrass Dream-Pop based on Ovid's Metamorphosis and set in New York City.
I made a plan to go with Dan, I'd meet him a half hour before the 8:00 show at Rockwood Music Hall. That was convenient I wouldn't have to leave until 6:00. I had just settled down to watch Netflix when my phone rang. I looked at it and saw Allison's face on it and answered. I should have waited. Allison has her own ringtone of her singing but I answered before it got a chance to start. There's a preliminary buzz and I was too fast. I have to learn to be patient, I've done the same thing with calls by Katherine and Dan in the last week. I went to the trouble of creating ringtones from their songs, I should let them play. I should also make ringtones for more of my musician friends. I can never figure out what to do for my non-musician friends.
Where was I? Oh right, I got a call from Allison. I had been thinking about her and the day before told myself I should make plans with her to do something or at least talk and see what's going on in her life. She asked me if I wanted to see Janie Barnett who I just now realized is not the person I was thinking of, Courtney Barnett. At least I didn't think it was New York Knicks legend Dick Barnett. I had never seen Janie or Courtney and wasn't familiar with their work so it's not as bad as it might seem. Dick Barnett, I knew well, fall-back-baby jumper! Everyone but Knick fans around my age have any idea what I'm talking about but those that do smiled with pleasant memories.
Janie was playing from 7 to 8 at Rockwood 3, Dougmore was in Rockwood 2. The timing was tight but perfect. I had to call Dan and make sure if it was cool with him that I'd arrive just as the show started. He was. I checked the bus schedule, I saw I had to leave in 10 minutes to make it in time to meet Allison for dinner first. I called back Allison and raced out of the house. It took me 535 words to get to leaving the house.
I made the bus, I made the train, I made the second train, I made the third train. I had to take it just two stops. They couldn't get the door closed after the first stop. We had to clear the train and wait for the next that was announced as being right behind. I checked on my subway app and saw that was true. The problem was it took a long time for the train to pull out. I was considering walking to the next stop which would make me late but not by that much. As I was walking to the exit, a long way off, the train pulled out. I race back to the front of the train and got on the next one. One more train after that. I ended up being all of 3 minutes late. As soon as I walked in I got a text from Allison that she was parking the car. We were on the same page.
We went down to our favorite pizza place in the neighborhood. I should know its name; Rosario's! Let me check. I'm write! I told you I'm not an idiot. I love it for the pizza. Allison loves that the owner is Sicilian and she can talk to him in Sicilian. They have thick crust Sicilian pizza that is round not square. I don't know anyone else that does that. I know objectively it doesn't make the pizza taste better but it creates the illusion that it tastes better. The subjective experience is what matters.
I had a great conversation with Allison and discovered that she didn't know things about me that I assumed she did. I never told her because I had assumed I had. She got to hear all my brains wiring problems. We had so much fun talking that we started late for Rockwood. We came in the middle of the first song. Rockwood is very dark. As I went to take my seat I stumbled over the chair that was right in front of me that I didn't see. If you were at the show and heard the klutz, I'm the klutz.
I'm blind, I can't see the people on stage clearly. I recognized the violinist's hair. That's what I can usually make out. I thought it was Lisa Gutkin. When she changed positions, I alternated from being sure it was Lisa, to being sure it wasn't. Lisa had a big night, on Sunday, she's co-wrote the music, and plays fiddle and appears and co-created, the Emmy nominated play, Indecent. The play won two Tonys! Or is it one Tony and Come from Away with two?. I went from not knowing anyone nominated for a Tony to knowing people in two shows the same year. Life is not linear. Eventually Janie introduced the band and found that I was right, it was her. If it wasn't I'd have been right too as I kept changing my mind.
Janie was great. How do I not know her? I have totally forgotten the songs I wanted to write about. That doesn't make me an idiot. Nope, not an idiot. It's a charming lapse in memory. She did one song that she introduced as saying that everyone thinks it's about them. One lyric is "you're the smart one." Everyone is wrong. The song is about me. One of the other musicians is in the orchestra for Hamilton; that's why the show was on a Monday night when the Broadway people were off. The style of Janie's songs is theatrical so it makes sense. I am now going to officially give up what I planned on writing about her music.
She finished right before 8 so I had to race out of there. I got to say goodbye to Allison but I didn't get to say hello to Lisa. Hi, Lisa. You are not supposed to be able to walk from Rockwood 3 to Rockwood 2 but sometimes you can finagle it. I would need to, to get there on time. I didn't even have to finagle. I just did it. I'm not sure if it was because everyone knows me or no one watching. When Dan bought my ticket the woman at the door from the street knew who I was.
When I walked in I had to find Dan. It's dark in there and I'm blind. Not surprisingly he found me. He just followed the gaze of all the women that couldn't take their eyes off me. He didn't say that but that's because he's jealous; but that's what happened, believe you me.
I saw Kate and she me. Did I mention that Kate Copeland is in Dougmore and that she produced the album? I just did. She is doing a tour with Dan and his brother Noah, in a few months. That small world thing again. OK that's not coincidence as I introduced them. Standing right by us I saw Hans. Remember Hans from Wednesday when I saw Lake Street Dive? I saw him then for the first time in about three years. He was the original bass player for Cricket Tells the Weather, Doug Goldstein's other band. Now here he was again. He wasn't just in the audience, he was performing in the band. I sometimes talk about the Aoifeverse, the people I met through Aoife O'Donovan, directly or indirectly. It's a large crowd now. A Dougiverse is in its incipient stages. There's everyone from Cricket Tell the Weather, Kate, and Cole Quest. Cole was at the show too. And it grows as through Cole I know Christian. He arrived later, after the show.
Doug's ambitions are on the same scale as Jean Rohe's. Outerboros is lyrically and musically complex. It creates its own genre. There are many moving parts and the songs within it vary greatly. You probably know Doug as a banjo player, here he played an electric banjo. He's the only one I've ever seen with one. It has quite a different sound. There was one piece, primarily a solo for the banjo with a little keyboard from Kate that was positively Baroque. This is not your usual pop music.
An electric banjo is still a banjo and thus difficult to tune so Doug needed electric banjo jokes as tuning patter. There aren't any so he just told banjo jokes. "How do you make a banjo player's car more aerodynamic? Remove the Domino's Pizza sign from the top." That's not good enough for me. This is a virgin field for me to pioneer, electric banjo jokes. I own this.
What's the easiest way to make an electric banjo sound better?Could an idiot come up with those? Don't answer. I'm not an idiot and I know what you'll say.
After the show Dan had to scadattle. I stayed as I wanted to get a copy of the album and schmooze. When I went into the back room I looked for the merch table figuring that's where Doug would go. I was wrong, it's where his mother went. She didn't quite know what to do with the merch so I took over merching duties and schmoozed with her. Now I know a lot more about Doug. She was kvelling. I also ended up talking to Jason, and Andrea from Cricket. I stayed till it was time to leave so I could make the last bus back. I said goodbye to Doug and Kate and as I headed out ran into Christian who was coming in. Much of the Dougiverse was there.
Not many things beat a musical doubleheader and dinner with a friend. I heard two band and had two dates. Yeah, one was a married woman and the other a man, but that's my life. I have another musical doubleheader tonight, John Platt's On Your Radar, and then Rachel Trachtenburg's band Wooing. Good thing it's at Berlin NYC, only four minutes from Rockwood
Für Elisa - June 21, 2017
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