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
April 08, 2016 - 12:45 p.m.
So know that entry I wrote the other day that I lost. Yesterday it reappeared. I can't imagine what limbo the file was kept in. It was not in the folder where the automatic backups are supposed to be. I think it was abducted by space aliens. Everything they know of earth culture they learned from reading Wise Madness. When they come bearing gifts they will be chocolate and bacon. You can thank me then.
Sorry I didn't update yesterday. I was feeling down. I had not left the house since Sunday. There's only so much I can pull out of my own head. That's not quite true. If I were sick again and couldn't leave the house for that reason but were emotionally in good shape, I could surf the internet and write plenty. Of course it's a vicious cycle, not leaving the house makes me feel worse.
So why am I feeling better now? What got me out of the house? Richard Barone Presents "Sorrows & Promises: Greenwich Village in the 1960s" at Jefferson Market Library. It was a panel discussion illustrated with live performance. It's me so I knew all the performers, Richard of course, and left to right on the stage, The Kennedys, David Amram, and Steve Addabbo. I always have to check which of the letters are doubled in this name. Tis time I left off the second b. I shouldn't the double letters make the vowels short. OK I'll remember next time. Yeah right. The non-performing guests were writer and A&R executive Mitchell Cohen; author Stephen Petrus ('Folk City').
I have passed the Jefferson Market Library countless times in my life. I always love the building. I never knew what it was before. Yes, I'm an idiot. Well we all knew that already. This is what it looks like, photo by Richard Barone.
It started at 6:30 with doors opening at 6:00. I tried to do my perfect timing thing and get there exactly at 6:00. I used Google Maps to get the timing right. I caught the right on time but it stopped for several minutes in a tunnel. The upshot was that I got to the as it was pulling out of the station. That made me ten minutes late. Me being me I worried about not getting a good seat and maybe even not getting in. It was a free event with great talent in the neighborhood the panel was about so I texted Maura when I was on the Manhattan bridge and had a signal to save me a seat. The problem was it was almost time for doors and I guessed that she wouldn't see it before the show. I was right. I was wrong about how hard it would be to get in. I got there at 6:10 and doors hadn't opened yet, the usual problems with sound check. The line was short, I knew a few people on it including Glenn. When we got in I got a seat front row center, I can't complaint. I'd have liked to have been a bit left of center but those were taken. I had to find a seat I could see between the mic stands and one music stand.
As the place filled in more people I knew showed up, Shelley was right behind me, Jeremy was near the back, I didn't see him till after the show. I didn't see her at all but Heather Eatman posted on Facebook that she was there. Who else? I think more but I wasn't sitting with them and couldn't see them from my seat so it makes it tough to remember.
What should I call it? A show? Discussion? Event? It's certainly an event so I'll stick with that. The event was fantastic. The discussion was enlightening, I learned so much. There was even something from Pete about Dylan that I didn't know. David was there, in the Village, back in 1963 and 64 which was the time under discussion. I've seen him many times but this was the best. This was just the first show in a series, come back on the first Thursday in May and June for the next installments of the series as the finish discussing the decade.
The performances were wonderful, there were songs by Dylan, Phil Ochs, Eric Anderson, Paul Simon, and Buddy Holly. Buddy Holly? What's he doing there? That's where he was living at the end of his life. He was part of the scene. He'd got Washington Square Park with all the folkies. Musicians don't follow the hard genre lines of music marketers. I wish I had edited my pictures. I got some good ones. I'll put them up on Facebook later. And maybe post there here tomorrow.
The series is an adjunct to an album of the same name that Richard is putting together. Steve is the producer. I think Mitchell Cohen is involved too. It's going to have a lot of great guest artists on it. I got a sampler from it but have not had a chance to listen yet.
After the show I made a quick getaway. April Fool. I hope nobody fell for that. I stopped and had substantial talks with Pete, Maura, Jeremy, and David. There were just too many fun people there. We all felt that way. They turned the lights off and on as a hint for us to leave. We were still there half an hour later. It was a lot like NERFA.
After the show I headed up to Trader Joe's 10 blocks north. Hey now I have food to eat. I can't believe how cheap eggs are now; a dozen large eggs for $1.19. I usually buy jumbo but they didn't have a price up, I thought they were still $1.79. If they were cheaper than that I'd have bought them. They are 25% larger. Eggs are one of the things that I'll only get at Trader Joe's, they are so much cheaper there.
Tonight I'm seeing Ruth Gerson at the Sidewalk Café at 7 PM. She's being joined by her daughters Emma and Hazel. Last time I saw them they were little kids. They moved to San Francisco. Except for the kids this would be a typical Friday night for me from 22 years ago, same performer, same venue.
Let me get introspective again. Nothing is materially better for me today than yesterday but I feel better. I got to learn, hear great music, and hang out with friends. I'm not the kind of person that thinks about "being mindful." I'm not even sure what it means. I'm not even sure that it means anything. But I am good at being in the moment. No matter what else is going on in my life before or coming up I can appreciate what's going on around me in the now. I don't know how I'd keep my sanity without that. Last night was something to be appreciated.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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