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
-Bertrand Russell

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

June 27, 2016 - 9:39 a.m.

Lucia di Chelsea and More

Welcome to a pre-9 AM edition of Wise Madness. That's when I'm starting. It won't be finished that early by a long shot. Of course it can't be too late I have to leave by 10:28 and I have to make breakfast and shower before then. I have almost two hours. Can I do it? It might be close. I'll try and write fast.

Yesterday I went to see Jean Rohe and Lucia Pulido at The Parlor Series, a house concert in Chelsea. This is going to be one of those days where there's a lot about commuting getting there and back again rivaled the journey of Odysseus back to Ithaca. Funny thing I've been to Ithaca a number of times and found it a very pleasant ride. But I digress.

I know how to get to Chelsea, I lived there for a while. It's easy even if it sounds complicated. The bus to the to the then back to the to the and get off at 23rd street. I can do that in my sleep. So what happened? I get to 125th street and see there's a two-minute wait to the ; great it's definitely worth taking the express. I get on the and it runs local! Ugh. Still it put me only two minutes behind where I would have been if I stayed on the . I get to 51st street to catch the . After I am off the train and the doors have closed an MTA worker says, "There are no trains running at this station. They are running on the line. Ugh. OK now I wait for the next , a fairly long wait. I take it to 42nd street and switch to the
Shuttle. Great no problems on that. I take the . At 34th street there is an announcement made but everyone was shouting on the train and I had no idea what was said. I soon found out. The train was running express! So the train I needed to run express ran local and the train I needed to be local ran express. I had to take it down to 14th street. I know that it makes sense to do all the subway work on the weekends. It's not as if yesterday was a special event that draws a huge crowd. That was irony. It was Pride Day. They screwed around on the subway on a very busy day. I had planned on getting to the concert when the doors opened at 2:30. Now I had to race to get there at 3:00. I had to walk up from 14th street and reached the last obstacle. On Pride Day gays are classified along with tourists as hazards to navigation. There were groups of four people walking side by side, people standing in groups where the sidewalk is narrowest and people who just didn't know what to do when they encounter someone walking in the opposite direction. Funny thing, I had the same problem five years ago.

I got to the show right on time but as everyone was having travel issues the show was delayed. So here I am seeing Jean Rohe, on the very short list of artists I see the most often and I didn't know one person in the audience. How does that happen?

Part of the fun of house concerts is seeing the houses. This was a gorgeous historic town house. I was quite jealous. Jean was up first. Liam her partner in music and life is busy being the musical director of Hadestown so Jean is doing solo shows. Jean solo, as Robinson & Rohe, and with the band are like three separate acts. That's part of why I can see her so often. OK I'd see her that often even in only one of the configurations, I do it with others, but it makes it even better. I got rewarded for going yesterday by hearing new songs. One I had heard before as it is from the Odysseus project and I saw that. I bet she was inspired by reading my blogs about commuting.

Jean has one song, not on an album, whose title I don't have a clue about, that I call the Ani DiFranco song. It's not by Ani. It's a song that starts with here meeting "That singer we used to like." That's Ani. She usually focuses the intro on the meeting with Ani. As it was Pride Day she changed it to the person the song is sung too, her high school girlfriend. It wasn't like she was coming out, if you listen to the song you know it's about being reminded of her first love, a girl she knew in high school. Seeing Ani triggers he memories. I had somehow missed the line about people throwing rocks at her. Yes, Jean a young woman from nice suburban New Jersey had rocks thrown at her for dating another girl. Ugh. Jean being Jean focuses on how much better things are now and in the City while still feeling privileged that she's someone that looks white and straight. By the way I dislike that use of privilege. It's not that she and I are privileged; it's that gays and minorities are disadvantaged. Everyone should be treated the way whites and straights are treated. Privilege is when you don't have to wait on a long line like everyone else. It's being singled out for special treatment that most people don't get. When I go to a show and walk in before doors open, I'm privileged.

Lucia came on next. You probably know this but I thought it was pronounced Luchia as in Lucia di Lammermoor. But it's loo-see-uh; Spanish isn't Italian. She is a Columbian singer that sings traditional Spanish songs not from just Columbia but all of Latin America, Mexico in particular. She usually performs with accompaniment so this was a departure for her. On some songs she cuatro. I've written about them before. For a while I was running into musicians playing it. It looks like a big ukulele or a small tenor guitar. There are two types, South American and Caribbean. She plays the one from Columbia and Venezuela. On others she was either a Capella or played assorted Columbian percussion instruments. The first was a just a large staff that she held vertically and pounded the end on the floor. You've seen something like that in films about medieval and renaissance courts. The guy pounds it when he announced someone entering the court. There was also a bundle of sticks that she hit against her thighs and a mic stand and shakers and all sorts of fun things.

She had a beautiful voice, is she an alto? Maybe a mezzo. She would explain the background of the songs along with some technical details I loved. Things like changing the time signature of the songs.

Coming home there were adventures too. I had stopped at Trader Joe's on 21st and 6th Ave. From there I walked down to 14th street and figured I'd take the over to Union Square and see if the was running express uptown. It wasn't It was local. The 5 was running express but it only went north of 42nd street. I just missed a when I got there. I had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. The platform was jammed with people coming from the parade. The train was jammed too but fortunately I got a seat. So I take it local all the way to the last stop in the Bronx. As always I had to wait a long time for the bus. I got on it and said, "OK I'll be back in time for Game of Thrones." The bus was jammed too. When I got to the stop before mine I pulled the cord signaling I wanted to get off the next stop. The stop request light went on. The driver went right by my stop. I thought maybe somehow I was confused. I asked the driver, "Did we pass Fordham Street." He said, "I don't think so." But when I looked at the next stop I saw that we did. He didn't sound right when he answered. I suspect he was under the influence or perhaps sleep deprived. I have to contact the MTA and let them know.

OK I have to go. I did watch Game of Thrones on HBOgo. I won't spoil it for you other than to get you prepared for Dany becoming a white walker.

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Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile June 27, 2016
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