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 23, 2018 - 5:17 p.m.
I had a great time last night and it was the kind of fun I can fill an entry with. That means that today I'm a happy, if sleepy, camper. I travailed to furthest reaches of Red Hook, to the legendary Sunny's Bar, to see a concert of all the songs on Lucinda Williams's Car Wheels on a Gravel Road for it's 20th anniversary. The performers were:
Rachael Price - VocalsThe performers I know are Rachael, of Lake Street Dive, and Courtney of Della Mae. I know I've seen Joanna, but I don't know when or where. I bet I've seen Taylor and Charlotte too. They are all part of the Brooklyn music scene. They were joined a few songs on accordion by Sam Reider. Brooklyn has an amazing music scene. I could fill my entire music calendar with artists living in Kings County and not get bored. As far as I can tell the only places like it are Boston, Nashville, and Austin. To give a sense of scale, I've seen Rachael's band LSD sell out Radio City and the Prospect Park Bandshell but in the last week I've seen her a house concert in Red Hook and at Sunny's, which is smaller than The House of Love. On top of that, the show was free, they just passed the tip bucket. When there's a community these things happen.
To make it even better I went with another Brooklyn musician, Katherine. For the second time in less than a week I got to listen to a concert in the best possible way, with a great singer, singing harmony sitting next to me. Katherine always does that and Car Wheels is one of her seminal albums, so she knows every word. Good choice, there is not a clunker on it. I know that I got it right after I heard it played on WFUV. I told Katherine that I went out and bought it, but I might have picked it up at the station at a pledge drive. It knew it was an album I had to have. It's so good that the band performed it twice in a row last night. We only stayed for the first. That started at ten, it was a late night. This morning I listened to the deluxe edition of the album which has a bonus disc, all the songs performed live. I listened to the same album three times in less than 24 hours. I could gladly listen to it again. Lucinda can not only perform she can write.
Rachael is one of the few singers that can hold her own with Lucinda. She did not reinterpret the songs; that's what I usually look for but it's not necessary in a tribute like this. When I wrote about I'm With Her I went into that being a great singer is a lot more than having a great voice. The voice is just the instrument, a great vocalist plays it well; she must make it work musically and lyrically. Rachael can do that. When she sings about a tree, you can really feel the tree. I wouldn't pay to hear Rachael sing the phonebook because the phonebook has no emotional content. It's like a pianist playing scales.
I'm always surprised at how few friends I see at shows of people in the Aoifeverse. That's the musicians that know through Aoife O'Donovan projects, even if there are multiple intermediary steps. It's separate but not disjoint from the Plattiverse, the community of musicians that John Platt plays frequently and have played John Platt's On Your Radar, most of my friends are in the latter. I expected to see Amy, her house is easy walking distance he Rachael just player at her house. But she wasn't there. The other person that I thought might be there is Kevin, but he was MIA too. The only ones I knew other than Katherine and performers were Dylan, no not that Dylan, I had only met him once. He shared a house concert bill with Robinson and Rohe and was great. There was one gentleman that's a regular at the House of Love, aka Amy's house, but I never remember his name.
I got not only a great night of music but also quality time with Katherine which was extended as we both took the B 61 bus to the end. Then we went our separate ways.
Now for food and commuting. Sunny's is a block away from Hometown BBQ. Maria told me that was the best barbecue in Brooklyn. That was a great plan except that I'm an idiot with anxiety which sometimes manifests itself as a lack of self-control. In the afternoon I decided to have some ice cream that I bought. I put some scoops in a bowl and topped it with the last of my hot fudge. When I was done I wanted a little more, so I took the carton out of the fridge and figured I'd have a few spoonfuls right out of the carton. Who sees where this is going. I finished the carton. You're imagining it was a pint. It wasn't. It was 1.5 quarts. That's six pints. I can resist anything but temptation, I hate when I do things like that. I knew it was a danger and did it anyway. I'm lucky that weight is not an issue for me. After that I had no room for dinner.
I trip down there was a breeze, I made it in an hour and 49 minutes. That sounds like a lot to you, but for me to get to the far end of Red Hook in that time is flying. I had almost no wait for any of the two buses or two subways. That was lucky as I arrived early enough to get us seats. When I arrived all the tables had people on them. There were chairs folded by the piano, but I didn't know what the rules were there. I figured I'd ask Katherine when she arrived as she had been there. She had the exact opposite luck as me, waited forever for a bus so arrived quite a bit after I did. Somebody came after me and grabbed four seats and set them up. I asked if that were allowed. She told me that it's anything goes. So, I grabbed two. Sunny's is tiny and crowded, we were fortunate.
The ride home did not go as well. The bus let us off by Jay Street - Metrotech. I walked the few blocks to Borough Hall to catch the 4. I got there and only after I was on the platform did I see that the 4 was not running. I could have taken the R to 14th street but that's a circuitous route. Instead I walked back to Jay Street where I caught the far more direct F. I took this all remarkably well. We got off the bus at midnight and the last bus to City Island leaves at 12:50. I knew there was no way to make that so there was no pressure. I don't like taking a cab back, but I was resigned to doing so from the moment we left Sunny's. I'm good at accepting the things I cannot change when I know there's absolutely no way I can change them.
When I got home I was finally hungry again, and I had peanut butter on a bagel. That was my dinner. Hey, it is high in protein, I don't do it every night, and I don't have a weight problem. As long as nobody find out what I ate last night, and I don't have to face a public shaming I'm fine. Don't tell anyone!
Something very nice happened to me this morning. Deni Bonet called me. She is playing at Carnegie Hall tomorrow, part of a Chinese New Year's show. She got a comp and asked me if I wanted it. I'm free tomorrow so I said yes. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? be friends with some that practiced, practiced, practiced. Now I'm a fancy person on the guest list at Carnegie Hall. Don't worry, I'll still be friends with you in the great unwashed. What was extra good was that I had a quality phone time with Deni. That was two conversations with extra bright friends in half a day. I would have had my second happy therapy session in a row, but she called in sick. Today's therapy was drifting in and out of sleep and watching curling. Writing this, counts too.
I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.
Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
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