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
September 15, 2017 - 11:30 a.m.
I'm not sick anymore but I was overly optimistic yesterday when I said the aftermath was over. Still, I went out last night, I'm going out tonight, and I can function and write.
Last night's adventure was heading out to the Christopher Street Coffee House to see Richard Shindell. It's not like when I was involved with the Coffee House. Now for the most part it's an open mic with a featured performer. I don't know how Bob does it but he gets big name performers like Shindell, to play for free. They do a half-hour-set midway through the open mic. Even though the shows are free they don't draw big crowds, mainly it's the open mic people. I made plans to meet Gene, Isabel, and Dan there. Everyone assumed I'd get there first but I knew I didn't need to get there early. The open mic started at 7:00 and I got there five minutes before. The thing is I had to rush to the bathroom and there was a line. By the time I emerged the others arrived but I didn't know it. I grabbed a seat in a row where would could all sit. Dan came over and said we went back to where he was sitting off the side. This is the second time I needed to know the name of the sections of a church off to the sides. I used to know all these things from studying art. I don't like those seats as neither the sound nor view is as good. I told him we should go over to the seat I was in. He came with me. Then I texted Gene to tell him where he was. He texted me back that he and Isabel were sitting in front of Dan when I pulled him out. There was a complete misunderstanding. It was still for the best as two of Dan's friends joined us and we could sit together. We would have been in three different rows if we stayed on the side.
Only after Dan joined me did the person on my left get my attention. It was Judy and she was sitting with Susan. I didn't sit with the friends I was planning on sitting with and by chance sat with friends I didn't know were going to be there. They were going to do the open mic but by the time they arrived they could only do the wait list. That was 6:15 so if you want to do that open mic get there early.
As I've said before I'm not a fan of open mics. There were some good people but on the whole, it's not my cup of tea. The highlight was when someone said he was going to do a song about anxiety and I applauded. Judy is a therapist and we bonded over DBT so she laughed at my applauding. I love bonding that requires no words.
Richard was in good spirits and good form. This was as relaxed as I have seen him and I loved that. His songs are dark but his mood was light. Earlier Dan and I had discussed if he was the greatest living folk songwriter. Richard, not Dan. Dan Is not the greatest living folk songwriter. He likes Dawes, that puts him out of the running. Richard is certainly in the running. He's a poet, he has something to say, he's a great guitarist, and he can sing. He covers all the bases. He can write a song that tells a story, and he can take a metaphoric journey; he can do them both in the same song. Off the top of my head Richard's competition for greatest includes Dar, John Prine, and Joe Crookston. Who else is in the running? I'm sure I'm missing obvious ones.
I generally stay after the featured artists for at least a few open micers. It's always an awkward situation. As I said to Dan it's like deciding how long after sleeping with a woman you can break up with her. I heard that, that was cruel. I'll make believe I didn't hear what you said. My plan was to stay till Judy and Susan played but that's when she told me that they only made the wait list. Gene and Isabel had to make a train so I ended up leaving immediately after Shindell.
I suggested my usual post-Christopher eatery, the pizza place across the street. They went out of business! Gene suggested Bleecker Street Pizza and we went there. It was great but the service and set up was terrible. You couldn't tell which way the line went. Once we got our pizza we sat outside and I had quality time with Isabel and Gene. That's was good; I have not been seeing them often enough. Then we all walked to the 1 train, they took it to Penn station. I had three more trains and a bus after that. I had terrible luck. I just missed the 4 train, the doors closed in front of me. Then the 6-train pulled into the station as the BX29 bus was leaving so I had a maximal wait for that, half an hour.
I used to be on the board of the Christopher Street Coffee House when it was run by my friends, Meg, Carolann, Mark, and Pat were all on it. I ended up running it myself but my anxiety stopped me from doing things and it failed. Bob picked it up. Going back there made me wistful. I loved being on the board and having input on booking people and running things. I loved being the artist liaison. I proudly told Gene and Isabel that when I was in charge I took care of the artists' parking meters, I didn't make them do it themselves. The way muni-meters work is you put money or pay with a credit card at the one machine on the block. It gives you a slip that you leave on the dashboard. Out of town musician friends of mine kept the slip and got a ticket. They actually got two tickets. That's what I was afraid was going on with Shindell.
I've been thinking more about the research project I'm working on. I have to do it. I'll tell you about it on Monday.
Tonight, I'm going to see an unusual show; an evening of Music, Humor, and Wisdom.
Joe Raiola, Senior Editor of MAD Magazine, hosts an engaging program of performance and conversation with singer-songwriters, Pete and Maura Kennedy, and Zen teacher Konrad Yushin Marchaj, former abbot of the Zen Mountain Monastery.I'm excited about the Kennedys and wary of Marchaj. Joe is my Facebook friend but I have no idea how I know him. I'm hoping that when I see him something will click. Hey, this is not close to being the weirdest Kennedys bill, I saw them with Combustible Kiva. You might know her from the David Letterman show. She often did stunts with fire but she couldn't in the venue the show was at so she wore metal armor that she applied a circular saw to in an erotic manner. Zen master? That's commonplace.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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