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 09, 2015 - 12:23 p.m.
I took hundreds of pictures last night but got very little sleep. Here's the compromise I made with myself. I'm not going to post any of the real pictures, just some graphics; I have a lot to write about.
I did something exciting last night and I hope that some people who are not My Usual Gentle Readers want to read about that. Be patient, I'll get around to it but I have my ways. Funny I was recently complaining to someone that someone buried the lead of a story. Now here I am telling you that I’m burying the lead. OK I'm not burying it far. It's coming in the next paragraph.
I had plans for last night, seeing the captivating Kat Quinn at Rockwood Music Hall. I was going to make a paper airplane and meet Fred there. That is not a plan I'd give up lightly. Not only do I love the music but it's totally anxiety free, I'd get hugs and talk to friends. But then Linda texted me and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. All the text said was, "Hey ticket opened up for tonight, want to go?" Linda is the Admin at WFUV. I figured this had to be for the "Fare Thee Well, Vin Scelsa." Vin Scelsa, world's greatest DJ, retired after 48 years on New York radio. I asked and found out that's what it was for. The show was not open to the public. They were offered as a premium during Vin's show during the last pledge drive. I could not afford one. I asked if I could have a ticket for being cute but was told there weren't any extras. But I guess I'm cute enough to get one after someone had to cancel. Huzzah! I love you Kat but could not miss this. I didn't even remember who was going to playing as I knew I wasn't going and tried to not think about it. Vin shaped my taste so much that I knew I'd love most of them. I sort of remembered Dar and Marshall Crenshaw but that's it. I didn't care. I was going.
Wow I just shocked myself. I am not going to say much about therapy or my mental state even though it was Monday and I had therapy. I also had almost four hours to kill between therapy and the show. No I can't do it. It isn't Wise Madness if I don't treat my life as being as important as an epic show. I'll just keep it shorter than usual. If you want to skip this part go down to he horizontal line.
Last week my therapist was out of town and by coincidence I was miserable. I really needed to talk to her. This week I was feeling much better I had spent the week being protective of my mental health. Then I saw great concerts. But I made sure to talk about the things that had bothered me the week before. I knew that would bring me down but I also knew I needed to discuss it.
Then I decided to have a nice dinner out and do some walking. Therapy is by Union Square and first I went down further to 9th street for bagels. I stock up each Monday as they are half-priced then. For dinner I walked up to 26th street. I won't say which restaurant as I had a bad experience and I'm feeling guilty about how I responded. I'm also afraid of legal action. The food was good, it's always good there. What was odd was the service. Usually when I get there the host or hostess takes me to a seat. This time he just stood there talking to someone else and ignored me. So I took a seat myself. I ordered my usual and it came in a reasonable time. Then I finished. And waited for the check. Anyone looking over would see that I was done. I did things on my phone. I waited some more. I got impatient. I put my hand up in the universal sign for "Check Please" I looked straight at the waiter. He never glanced over. I waved both arms, nothing. I stood up. Still nothing. This went on for 15 minutes. So I said to myself, "If they don't want my money I won't give it to them and walked out. Nobody stopped me. I walked down the block, Then I heard someone calling. It was the waiter. He said, "You didn't pay." I said, "I tried to for 15 minutes and you ignored me." He didn't apologize. And that was it. I told him. "You made me wait 15 minutes so now I’m not paying." He didn't make a scene. I was relieved. Should I feel guilty? I do of course. I'm a nice Jewish boy.
I then walked down to City Winery for the show, with one stop along the way as it was less than block off my path, Cones Ice Cream on Bleecker Street. I'm still taking care of my mental health and few things make me happier. I went through the motions of looking at the flavors then ordered what I knew I'd get, the dark chocolate. Then I continued on my way. I arrived at City Winery at 6:20, the show wasn't till 8:00. Who did I see standing in front of the door? Vin! I did not say hello. I am friendly with every other DJ at the station but he doesn't know me though we have met and are Facebook friends. I don't volunteer Saturday nights when is show is on any more. That's why he doesn't know me. Otherwise I'm sort of a fixture at the station.
I didn't want to go in till 7:00 so I took a walk to the Hudson River and back. That brought my total walk to over three miles, the minimum to feel I had taken a walk.
So for those of you that don't usually read this, it is now slower than usual getting started. I'll put in a horizontal line so people can jump down to it. Yes over 1000 words and I haven't entered the venue yet.
I went in and was shown to my seat by the bar. It's off to the side but I had a clear view and even better a seat with a back to it. My back does not like sitting on stools. I didn't walk around much looking for friends. I played on my phone more. Just sitting there lots of WFUV staff came to me. I was sitting in a strategic location. Then I saw there was a program. I opened it and saw who was playing.
All I could say was wow. Nobody really surprised me, it was all people I had heard on Vin's show, some I totally expected, like Larry Kerwin from Black 47. Vin was practically a member of the band. They were regulars. I had forgotten that Stephen Trask was going to be there! He was the one I was most excited about. He wrote the music and lyrics for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Vin saw that countless times. He had the entire cast come to the station after a performance and they did all the music right there in the studio. Trask said that was the most comfortable performance he ever gave. I know about Hedwig because of Vin.
Vin had a huge influence on my musical taste. Here's a list of the performers that I had seen on my own over the years. Though I'm not sure if she ever listened to Vin with me, I think she must have, I saw many of them with Carey. I told her it was pretty much the Gordon and Carey tribute concert. If I saw them with Carey I'll bold them.
Yes that's most of the performers.
I spent most of my time before the show with Ginger from WFUV. When I went back to my seat from talking to her I found somebody sitting in it. My bag was not on it but right next to it. He must have had of the standing room seats. He didn't believe me that the bar seats were assigned but he didn't make trouble either.
Then before the show started who sat at the table right next to me? John Platt. We ended up talking to much that the guy I between us asked us if we wanted to switch seats. I thanked him and moved to the table. Of course that meant I was sitting on stool. Oh well I'd rather have good company than comfort.
The show was not good, it was amazing. It started with David Fricke coming out and reading the three essential commandments.
There are three essential commandments:Vin started each show reading these and David Fricke is the one that wrote them. The rest of the evening was performances and people talking about Vin. Here's an actual program. We weren't given this but Deni posted a picture of it. The performers had to know when they are on.
A few quick thoughts on some of the acts. The Bongos broke up years ago. That's shame as they still rock my world. I am more than folkie.
Among the speakers Marty Martinez and Meg Griffin stood out. I only knew Marty as a voice on the radio and not one of the people I heard often. He's funny. Meg I know form her WFUV days.
Why does Mary Lee Cortese disappear from my world? I don't know why but she does and I love her. Something embarrassing happened late in the show. The house was dark and I'm blind. I saw what I thought was Deni standing not that far from me. I went over to say hi. I said hi. It wasn't Deni, it was Marylee. Now I knew perfectly well who she was but I didn't want to have to explain who I was during the show so I just made a fool of myself. OK I was already a fool. I just let her know it.
I never saw Southside Johnny before. He was great. I didn't remember Yo La Tengo rocking that hard. Ira was a whirlwind. Why haven’t I seen Willie Nile in ten years? He was one of the performers I saw the most often for a while. He's also one of the two performers in the show to assault me, not last night, in the past. Willie is a bit energetic, I think of him as a leprechaun on speed. At the Bottom Line He stepped off the stage and on to my table and knocked over my drink. At the old Cutting Room Richard Barone knocked his mic stand off the stage and it crashed right onto me. I picked it up and handed it back to him.
I've seen Dar more often than anyone else on the bill other than maybe Deni. My Gentle Readers know how much I love her. As always she was wonderful. Knew she'd do Are You Out There it's about public radio, WBAI not WFUV but the spirit is there. Her second song was a new one, a cowrite with Jill Sobule. Is it called FM Radio? I love the idea of them collaborating and the song's as great as it should be. How can Kate Scelsa and Lucy Wainwright Roche be adults? They were just 10 years old. The scary thought him me that they are about the same age as Pat Klink who I have only known as an adult. He's either younger than I think of him or they are older. Add Suzzy to the list of people I've seen the most often. The Roches were the second band I stalked. Her familial harmonies are now with Lucy. Larry Kerwin can still electrify solo and on an acoustic guitar. You never know which David Johansen will come out. I have seen him in four guises, as himself, with the New York Dolls, With the Harry Smiths, and as Buster Poindexter. He can do everything from glam rock, to mountain ballads, to night club pop. He led the ensemble in singing "We'll Meet Again" ala Buster. Why can't I remember his first song? Oh right, I'm an idiot. It was a rocker.
The show ran late and I had to get back to Brooklyn so I made a hasty retreat. You don't actually believe that do you? With that crowd I had to stay and schmooze. I had tried to text Deni to let her know that I was there but hers was one of the phone numbers I lost when I changed phones. So I wanted to tell her I was there. I haven't seen her for a while and we needed some catching up. I talked to Southside Johnny. Interesting guy. I talked to performers, WFUV staff, and other volunteers. I talked to Meg Griffin for the first time in years. Then after midnight I headed home.
The trip home was not easy. Some of the trains weren't running. I did something stupid. I think I did two stupid things. I ended up walking up to W 4th Street and it took me three trains from there. I didn't get home till 1:35 AM. My usual readers are now in shock as I didn't give every detail of the trip home. But I've written 2364 words as it is.
Not that I’m done. This was such a special show, one I'll remember forever. Vin means a lot to me. Those musicians mean a lot to me. The people in the audience mean a lot to me. It was a great night. Put a circle around it.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Follow on Feedly