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
August 26, 2012 - 10:32 a.m.
I can't believe it, It's only 8:36 and I'm writing. That's because I'm going to the Met game today and I have to be out of here by 11:40 or so, so I can't start writing then.
I got out of the house yesterday too and had a remarkable afternoon. I went to see Mela and Laura Dunn at the Waterfront Museum. Getting there was a bit of an adventure. The museum is in Red Hook or as I like to put it, the place where the dead bodies are dumped. There's an H.P. Lovecraft Story called The Horror of Red Hook.. Red Hook is on New York Harbor within spitting distance of downtown Manhattan but the subways dare not tread there so I had to take the subway to the bus. I had the trip all planned but then couldn't find the bus stop. The reason is that it was on the wrong side of the street. The bus is actually traveling the opposite direction when you get on it but then turns around. I had to ask a dozen people till I found someone who knew what was going on. Two of the people that didn't worked for the Transit Authority as did the one person that did. The upshot of it was that I was about ten minutes late. The show started later than that so it wasn't a problem.
Of course if I were in Manhattan I could have taken the Ikea Ferry. Yeah there's an Ikea there, and a Fairway, and a miniature golf course, and a beautiful waterfront park, and the neighborhood isn't quite as scary as I might have led you to believe. It is out of the way though.
Laura has been away all summer and this was her first show since she got back. I've been singing her praises since I first saw her back in December and she became an instant favorite performer of mine. What hit me yesterday is that not only do I love her but I metalove her. Part of the reason I love her is that it's easy to write about why I love her. There are performers that I adore that I have to sweat bullets to come up with something insightful to say about them. I love them but the blogger in me pays a price for it. Then there are the ones like Laura where I can just do stream of consciousness and get the job done.
Laura talks just like Georgia Engel, Georgette on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. She looks a bit like Georgia, and adorable petite blonde with a big smile and dimples large enough to swallow a small elephant, well maybe a big hippo. You look and hear her and think, sweet, innocent, and maybe a bit ditzy. Then she picks up her banjo or ukulele and starts singing and her facial expression changes. She takes on the malevolent look of a person with a 250 IQ. She asked the audience; "What do you want to hear next, a creepy song or " that's all she got out before the audience said in unison, "Creepy!"
"Murder Creepy or other worldly creepy?"
Yes she has to subcategorize her creepy songs. She describes her genre as creepy folk.
"Other worldy!" The audience was once again it total agreement. She channels the Old Ones, the Lovecraft pantheon. Yes Lovecraft has twice found his way into today's edition. I decided that she needs to collaborate with violinist Eric Lee, he too channels the Old Ones. You hear that Eric? Get to it.
Laura did a number of songs from the folk musical she wrote based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen. That's a creepy fairy tale. I told her she has to see Striking 12 the musical by GrooveLily based on Anderson's The Little Match Girl.
I wrote in my last entry about being part of a music community. I only knew one person in the audience, Laura's friend Craig, but that didn't stop the communal feelings. I was quickly talking to other people in the audience who were clearly kindred spirits. In a few minutes a discussion of getting lost on the bus led to Darrell, yes I even know his name, recommending a book, Sex on the Moon.. These were my kind of people.
During the break, Laura, Craig, a friend of Laura's whose name I forgot, and me, went to the aforementioned Fairway. I was looking for Taylor ham but they didn't have it. What they did have was cashew butter and brownie brittle! The store extended into higher dimensions and I lost Laura and the rest of them. It was like looking for someone in the TARDIS. I gave up and met them back at the museum.
I had never seen Mela before but she's a friend of Laura's so I had high expectations. She plays Uke, the guitar, and this 16 string Peruvian instrument that is tuned like a uke and she named Matilda. Her songs were hard to categorize but many struck me as sounding like 19th century parlor songs. Before there was radio or phonographs when people wanted to hear music they had to make it themselves, often in the parlor. While I was thinking about this I of course couldn't think of any examples. It's the kind of things I know period piece films and plays. The closest I could think of was one of the songs from Sweeney Todd. I forgot the title. I just looked it up. It's called Parlor Songs. I wonder if that's where I learned the term. I always think of it from the refrain, "If one bell rings in the tower of Bray." The song has ding dongs in it. So as I was thinking about this Mela did a song with ding dongs in it.
When the hat was passed it wasn't a hat but a Tibetan singing bowl. It belongs to Mela who played it one of her songs. She's my people.
So is Dave, the guy that runs and owns the waterfront museum. The museum is actually a barge. He bought it years ago for one dollar. It was filled with mud at the time. The mud was free. It took him years to clear the mud out and restore it. Before then he was a clown and juggler. Did I tell you he was my people? He had no skills but he learned carpentry and the rest so he could get the barge in shape. He lives on it with his family. It's filled with things he loves. There are elements from other ships and ferries and barges. There is a temporary exhibit of painting by a man with the odd name of Odd Andersen. There is a audio kinetic sculpture by the guy whose name escapes me now but build "Ball Room" the audio kinetic sculpture in the Port Authority that's been broken for years. You don't know what an audio kinetic sculpture is? You can see it behind Laura in this picture that Darrell sent me.
Pool balls travel down the tracks and ring bells and gongs and bounce around and live it up.
The museum is clearly a labor of love. It's the kind of thing that I love. You need to go there. In addition to concerts there are plays. I talked to him about my hosting house concerts there. If I did would you go? You'd get to see the museum too. It will be fun.
After the show I stopped at Trader Joe's. The bus goes right by it. The same bus goes to Jalopy, so now I know an easy way to get there. I'm getting to know Brooklyn.
I have to make breakfast and shower in the next hour so I better get moving. I'm going to make matzoh brie for the first time in ages. They had matzoh at Fairway. They don't at my local supermarket. This is the least Jewish place that I've lived. Of course I'm going to have bacon with it. I'm not a very Jewish Jew.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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