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 โ 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 โ except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
December 11, 2013 - 3:54 p.m.
Wow I was going to start this 20 minutes ago but spent all the time researching something. It was worth it but I thought it would take two minutes.
So now I have tons to write about. I am going to accept that I won't get this done before class which means I have to finish it after class. That means I won't finish writing my final today which means I have to come back tomorrow or the next day. It's worth it. As I told my therapist; blogging has priority over everything but commitments to others and talking to a very small number of special people and even for them if I'm in control of the time I wait till after I blogged. Blogging comes before bacon. Blogging even tops chocolate. Only love tops blogging.
As I mentioned yesterday I had an extra ticket to see Just One Angel: The Holiday on Thin Ice. That's the Christine Lavin/Uncle Bonsai holiday show. This year it was spread over two days at the Duplex with different guests for each show. I was disappointed that Honor Finnegan was on Monday. I had to miss that for John Platt's On Your Radar. Last night's guest was Ilene Weiss.
But that's getting ahead of myself. This is part one, the tale of the ticket. So I discovered on Sunday afternoon I had an extra ticket for the show. The friend I was planning on going with had to cancel. That's always a disappointment. Any situation where I have to find someone to use an extra ticket is always fraught with tension. Will I be able to find someone to go with or will I have to eat the ticket or give it to a stranger? Will I find someone I really want to go with? I have had a history of failure in this situation. I don't find someone more often than I do. I probably should not follow my usual strategy, I mean it usually fails, but I feel it's the fairest to other people. I ask one person. It's usually someone that I don't see regularly that I'd like to see more often and use this as an opportunity. I can overcome my usual shyness about asking to do something with someone by making it a spontaneous situation. So I emailed someone. And as often happens I didn't hear back to the next morning. So now it's Monday and I email someone that I used to see all the time and used to see Christine with regularly but haven't seen in ages. This was a perfect situation to renew old bonds. I didn't hear from her all day. Finally Monday evening I called her. I found out that she couldn't make it. So now I have 24 hours to find someone. I ask people I asked someone who was at On Your Radar. She couldn't make it. I emailed another friend that I hadn't seen in ages but I want to see. I of course didn't hear back till the morning. Now it's the day of the show and I still haven't found someone. I call another friend, one I haven't seen in a long time but the most comfortable one for me to talk to. We've at least been communicating online regularly. I get her voicemail. I then spend the day frantically emailing, facebook messaging, calling and texting people. Nobody can make it. I literally asked dozens of people. It's really not a big deal. I usually go to shows alone. But when I have that extra ticket I always feel bad when I can't find someone to go with me. Finally I gave up. I posted on Facebook that if you want to go call or text me but I have to leave for the show. Then the phone rings. It was Erika! She's the friend I called in the morning that I felt most comfortable talking to. She just got the message. Her phone's battery had been dead. She could go! Hallelujah! Like I said, the reality being good is a lot more effective than adjusting my attitude. I don't want to look on the bright side, I want to find something bright all over.
Back from class and I decided to drop an entire section. I liked what I was going to say but it was too far afield.
So I left the house, hopped on the subway and went to the Duplex, a pretty easy place to get to. When I got there at 6:10 for the 7:00 doors weren't open yet. I joined Bob who was there with his nephew and he told me they said doors were at 7:00. That was not the original plan. I texted Erika to let her know to go upstairs, the Duplex is not well marked off, but before I hit send she was saying "hi" to me. So she fought her way through a knot of people, gave me a hug, and I introduced her to Bob. A little while later they let us in and we sat right down front. I always like that but think I should be sitting further back like the cool people. I'm just not a cool person. I don't mind doing it at all if that's what the person I'm with wants. Unless I plan on taking pictures with a real camera I don't need to be right at the front.
So now for the amazing show; seeing Christine is always a home game. I know I'm going to get a shout-out. Erika got one first and Chris doesn't know her. Julie Gold and Suzzy Roche were in the audience and they were both Bitchin' babes. She asked if anyone could name two other Bitchin' Babes. I figured I was not eligible for this as I'm an official Manbabe. Erika answered. She didn't win the prize because somebody beat her two it but she could gave her answer. Chris and I did our usual me winning on Jeopardy thing so when Ilene Weiss came on she walked right past me and said she had to give me a good look so she'd know who to suck up to. It turns out she's a Password Plus champ. We represent! I said it shows we are better than everyone else. Why do I have friends?
Honor told me that Ilene was great. I knew that from the Roches Christmas shows 20 years ago when Ilene and I were both 12. That's our story Ilene, right? So she came out, did three songs, and was great! OK I was going to write all about her songs. That was the plan. But I have no brain. Oh wait, I remember one of them! It was so me how could I forget. It's the Jew doing research version of the Christmas story. Or was that Andrew's song? This was a Christmas show with lots of Jews. Julie came up for a song and was Jewish too. There was also a fiddler that sat at our table when she wasn't onstage and I'm pretty sure she is Jewish too. Anyway I just sent Ilene a friend request and I'll make sure to see her again. How can I not love someone whose sections of her webpage are "SeriousSongwriter MusicalGoofball WeirdThing?"
Chris's set had several songs by people who are on Just One Angel 2.0 that were not at the show in addition to her own songs. Tom Paxton's was particularly memorable. I don't think Chris could put on a bad show if she tried. Iaughed, I cried, I hardly heckled at all.
I have loved Uncle Bonsai since the first time I saw them back in 2000 when Carey told me I had to see them. I have not missed a New York show since them but unfortunately there have not been too many shows. I think they went six years between visits at one point. But thanks to Christine they've been here two years in a row and I hope this becomes a holiday tradition. The four dimensions of a musical act that I'm not making believe sums everything up are performance, songwriting, musicianship, and genius. Uncle Bonsai has them all in abundance. The only thing that holds them back from being megastars is that there is too much genius for most people. They aren't like anybody. There are complex harmonies which are sometimes beautiful, sometimes funny, and often both. Like most of the harmony groups I love they go all over the place and play with every aspect. Andrew writes the songs and Andew is, OK I've been working on this all day and never finished what I was going to say. Let's see if I can do it under the pressure of needing it now. Imagine a songwriter who lived on Discworld, a perfectly sensible world that's flat and sits on the backs four elephants that stand on the shell of a the Giant Star Turtle (Chelys galactica) A 'Tuin, being magical transported to earth and writing songs that try to make sense of this strange spherical planet and the people on it. That's Andrew on a slow day. He has more original ideas in one song that many songwriters have in a lifetime. I can be entertained just watching Arni and Patrice singing. And they can sing. This is not Tom Lehrer and his so-called voice. Uncle Bosai hits the dead center of one of my sweet spots.
The last act was a bonus, he was supposed to od the late show, Tom Wopat. Yes that Tom Wopat from The Dukes of Hazzard. Add him to the list of unlikely performers I've seen right up there with Randy Jones the cowboy from the Village People.
After the show I went over and said hi to Julie and introduced her to Erika. Julie joined Chris on one song and played a little toy tambourine. She gave it to me! I now have a new toy instrument. I'll have to take it Falcon Ridge. Then we talked to Chris and I bought the CD. Oh I finally asked Ilene the question I've been wanting to ask her for 20 years, "Are you my first crush from college?" She wasn't. My Ilene Weiss went to SUNY "Buffalo. It would have been embarrassing if she were but I had to ask it that way.
When we were getting ready I told Erika that she'd be jealous of my gloves. I have those knit mittens with the removable top so you can use your fingers that I got at Nirvana imports from Nepal. And she showed me hers. They are the same mittens! Only the color is different. Great minds think alike.
I walked Erika to the train, right across the street, then walked over to West 4th Street to take the home. I read Terry Pratchett on the way there and back. So I spent my time with people that make sense, Terry, Erika, Bob, Chris, Ilene, Andrew, Arni, and Patrice. That's a good evening.
OK. I have a final to write and I want to make a phone call. Tonight Im going to Miss Tess's CD release, Kristin Andreassen and Michaela Anne are opening. It will be another good night.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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