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
February 26, 2017 - 11:51 a.m.
There was a time that I wanted to finish writing by 9. Then there was a time that I wanted to start writing before 9. Now I'm happy that I started writing before 10. This must be related to global warming.
Last night I went to a Nashtastic show at Common Ground Coffeehouse. Blame "Nashtastic" on Carter. Carter is the presenter whose taste is closest to my own. Last night's headliner was Cheryl Wheeler ; the opener was Honor Finnegan.
There's no easy way to get to the Common Ground, someone has to pick me up from the Hastings train station. I'm glad it was Sara. We know each other and she's always fun to talk to. Of course, I'm blind so I couldn't make out it was her and I was wearing a hoodie so it took her a while to realize it was me.
I arrived before either performer so I helped set up. Carter asked me to count the chairs I said, "I'm a math prof; I can handle that; I miscounted the by 20. How does that happen? I thought I might have counted two rows twice but I think it's more likely something distracted me and I did something akin going from 45 to 66. This is not my usual kind of idiot story. This one I feel bad about.
Honor and Cheryl arrived almost simultaneously. I held the door for Cheryl, she had a lot of stuff, and saw Honor by her car. She rented a Smart Car. They make a cute couple. She did write Tiny Life; the power of fate, La forza del destino. It's Tony Randall's birthday so I couldn't resist the Odd Couple reference.
I told Carter that I'd be at this show when I heard Cheryl Wheeler. I didn't know that Honor was opening until the last month. It was a great pairing. They are similar enough that fans of one would enjoy the other but different enough to give variety. They both mix serious and funny songs and have funny patter. Cheryl's is pretty much uproarious stand-up comedy while Honor's is subtler and gentle. They both work and they complement each other. They also compliment each other; I heard them.
I set up the merch table someplace new. I thought it wasn't as good a spot but Carter said it worked better last time. Carter was right.
Honor did what I was hoping she'd do and tell stories. She did two, the famous flood story and Roots day in her mainly black school where she faked Irish step dancing. I had read both but only heard the first. She did a rap song she learned in Ireland that she hadn't done in 20 years so I never heard it. This is what being a pro is about. Honor may some flubs and instead of ruining the show it was endearing. I was in the back and watched the audience and I could see them laugh at the right times and watch in rapt attention when she told about the flood. Honor sold out of everything but her first CD that she didn't sing anything from.
Nowadays Cheryl's shows are too expensive for me to afford. Believe it or not I don't know everyone and can't always get comped. I did the merch through Carter not Cheryl. That's too bad as Cheryl puts on as good a show as anyone. It's belly laughs till she sings a song that breaks your heart. She also sings about potatoes. If you don't know what I'm talking about search for Cheryl Wheeler potato on YouTube. Her stage persona is the same as her off stage persona, "At this point in my life I don't give a damn." She dresses in clothes more often worn when sitting at home watching TV. She doesn’t even look at her hair. She performs sitting down. She doesn't need performance convention, she's talented and that's what matters.
The show was a sellout. That wasn't surprising as Cheryl usually plays at larger venues. I think that led to me knowing fewer people in the audience than usual. There was Peter & Paula and Jane & Bernie. The latter was fortunate for me as I got a ride home with them. They are friends with Honor too. Was there anyone else there I knew? I don't think so. I finally learned the name of the official photographer that I always see there, Jim, and friended him on Facebook. I thought I had before but it wasn't him. I hope this is the right one this time. That reminds me; I was all excited that I have a real camera now and can take good photos. I left it at home. From my seat, I wouldn't have had good ones anyway. I'd have had to walk around and as Jim was already doing that I probably wouldn't have. The show was documented. It doesn't have to be by me.
I was lucky with the weather. So, you know how the temperature dropped fast? That was a prelude to a storm cell moving in. There was an intense thunderstorm shorting after the musicians arrived that lasted till the show started. Jane told me that driving was very difficult as there was no visibility. It ended during the show. I didn't have an umbrella but managed to not get one drop on me.
I just opened Excel so I'd remember to add the show to my spreadsheet. This year I'm trying to record every show I go to. I'd like to keep it up forever. Then I can track things down in years to come. "Oh, I saw you open for Richard Thompson in 2012." I was thinking of Sarah Jarosz there but I don't know the year. If I had it on a spreadsheet I could look it up.
I'm going out today to meet two friends and hear a band I don't know. Somewhere in there I should buy eggs too. That reminds me, I discovered there's an Aldi's in Spanish Harlem. I think I might go there tomorrow, they are cheap and I could use some things. Do svidaniya Moi Nezhnyye Chitateli.
The Play's The Thing - March 03, 2017
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