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

February 16, 2014 - 10:50 a.m.

Rhap Music

I ran out of procrastination I better start writing. That is actually a pretty good summary of my morning. My procrastination is about anxiety and I've been having a lot of anxiety. If that was my entire entry it wouldn't be so bad. I was honest about what's bothering me and made a joke about it. That's pretty much my objectives here. Don't worry I'll write about fun things too. There's even an idiot story.

A few weeks ago when I went to the Amigos Band I sat with Justin's fianc Sasha Papernik. I discovered that not only is she a fun person to talk to but that she's also a musician. My rule of thumb is that musicians that are interesting personally are more likely to be interesting musically so when I found out she had a gig at the Cornelia Street Caf I decided to check it out. The centerpiece of the show was an original arrangement of Rhapsody of Blue for quintet; you can't really expect me to resist that.

I got to Cornelia Street at 5:45 just as doors were theoretically opening but I knew better. I don't think I was ever there when doors opened on time. There was already a line of people waiting to get in, the show was at 6:00. I joined the one person I knew I'd know there, Tara. Justin plays in Tara's band and sometimes Sasha backs Tara on piano. Tara was with her friend Sarah. When we were let in I sat with them and when the guy in front of Tara took his hat off I saw it was Sam, Justin's bandmate from the Amigos. As long as he had the ski cap on I thought it was Mike Nesmith.

There's a minimum there so that's where I ate dinner. I don't think they used to have food downstairs at Cornelia Street. I have been there enough and can't remember ever eating.

What kind of music does Sasha play? Easy one, good music. She started with a song by Irving Berlin, did some originals, two classical pieces, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies" by Tchaikovsky and a selection from Prokofiev's "Love for Three Oranges." She finished with "Rhapsody in Blue." Do you see the common link? All the music has Russian roots. As you might have guessed from her name Sasha's parents are Russian. I think she was born here. She certainly has no accent. I love that she didn't feel the need to stay in a genre. It was just music that she loves and that I love.

I have always felt that "Rhapsody in Blue" is the ultimate New York opus. It just feels like the City. Woody Allen says he hears "Rhapsody in Blue" when he pictures the City in the opening of Manhattan. But why does it evoke the city. I listened last night with that question in mind and Sasha's arrangement made it clear. "Rhapsody" continually interrupts itself. No theme continues for long without giving way to another totally different one. New York is made of millions of different moving parts each independent and that is what the music evokes. Most of the themes are staccato like so much in the City but the opening is lyrical because the City has that too. Each part moves at breakneck speed but as a whole the City flows majestically. The arrangement as you can see was for piano, violin, guitar, bass clarinet, and drums, not a standard ensemble but it works because they are all top notch musicians.

I also had a lot of fun talking to Tara and Sarah. Sarah is Canadian and Irish and despite the fact that I'm neither Canadian or Irish I can pretty much always talk about Canada and Ireland. I am NOT the one that brought up Great Big Sea. It did take me to talk about Moxy Frvous .

After the show I went to the second leg of my musical doubleheader at the WhyNot Jazz. Tara played there last week and I planned on going but realized that I couldn't go to a nine o'clock show when I had to get up at 4 AM the next day.

I knew that the Why Not was on Christopher Street but not sure where. I couldn't resist going to St. John's Church where the Christopher Street Coffeehouse was. I miss that so much. I stopped in to see if Tim was around but he wasn't. The Caf is over by 6th Avenue so I walked back there. I was early so I walked down sixth to CVS to buy hair elastics. I lost mine. When I went to check out I saw I didn't have my debit card! I paid at Cornelia Street with it and figured and hoped that I left it there. So I walked back. It's only a few blocks away. I was relieved to find that they had it. When I got home I saw an email from Justin telling me that I left my card behind. That was nice of him. That is my idiot story.

When I went back to hear the music I found that the show was canceled. They didn't know why. I just remembered to write the performer and find out what happened. I also remembered to start my list of musical discoveries of 2014. I was worried that I hadn't discovered anyone but I found two this week, Darlingside and Sasha. We'll see how many I come up with over the course of the year. My "fiscal year" begins and ends with NERFA.

I don't have anything on my schedule today so tomorrow I probably won't write about my day. Maybe I'll do a delayed Valentine's Day entry and write about love. It's certainly been on my mind.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

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 February 16, 2014
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