Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Whitney Houston of trees

Have you ever tried to explain a dream to someone, only to realize part of the way through how incredibly ridiculous you sound and that it's completely in vain? Now imagine that tenfold and that was my night. It started innocently enough with brian and me going into new York city to a wine and cheese party at our friend anca's house. It was amazing to walk into an apartment filled with people I love and that love me, warm welcomes and claps on the back. Brian and I quickly found glasses and half empty bottles among the wreckage (we were rather late to arrive) cut ourselves some cheese (no pun intended) and settled in. Some of my closest friends were there as well as a variety of other fun people I always enjoy seeing. Brazil jon entertained us with tales of threesomes, Amelia cringed as Jacques the French bulldog was treated to a few sips of beer (for the record I abhor people trying get animals wasted. This was not one of those situations.), and James shoved his face in and bit the $200 chocolate cake. (unfortunately fancy chocolate places sometimes try to fancy up chocolate. The addition of peaches did not make this cake better.)

But as things started to wind down brian and I decided we wanted to find some trouble. So we headed over to angels and kings to see our buddy Jesse who always greets with a warm smile and a cold pabst. he's a good dude. We pushed ourselves further and spoke to a few random girls as well as some friends who happened to be there. Oddly there were also two girls who conferred and agreed that they had once given me a ride from a secret show to the bar one night in November. Weird. Anyway nothing exciting was happening so we decided to leave and head over to a pizza place down the street. The thing is, we were not interested in a slice. More so we were concerned with the door towards the back if you walk past the cooks and say the right name you are granted entrance into a secret underground bar. As far as I'm concerned, this is a speakeasy. And that rules. brian and i had been there two weeks previous, and quite enjoyed ourselves. But this night, we were denied. Supposedly it wasn't open and we decided we'd rather not sit around a greasy pizza joint waiting for this underground watering hole to decide whether or not it was interested in our business. so, we went to the bar next door, ordered some drinks and looked around. and you know what we realized? this is all total bullshit. brian is an awesome guy with great talents and interesting things to say. i'm a ridiculous guy with stories that will make most people cringe, but overall exist in a seemingly alternate reality rife with absurdity. but our tying bond? we're both romantics of some sort. and in our momentary wisdom we looked around and realized how much we hated going to bars. granted, most people have this epiphany from time to time, but it sat on us with such great weight that we barely wanted to stay around long enough to finish our drinks. the idea of attempting to strike up a meaningful conversation with someone, making the night worth while, wishing to meet someone of worth, these thoughts are greatly desired and rarely achieved. we did finish our drinks, by the way, but we left as soon as we did so. on the drive home we listened to Jimmy Eat World's "Clarity," one of my favorite records of all time. JEW recently performed this record in its entirety, though i was not terribly impressed. the overall consensus by most was that the show ruled. i've seen JEW five or six times now since the clarity era, and i think they sound better and stronger with their new stuff. this is not a popular opinion, but it's mine, none the less.

when we got back to brian's i realized that this was no way to attack the first days of my year. as far as i was concerned, i should have stayed in NYC, but it just made more sense to go back to brian's. anyway, i decided we should push the night. so we did. and i went further than i've ever been before. i explored spaces of my brain i'm not sure i ever had any clue existed. around 11 am i found a little spot of sleep, but it was tenuous at best, and barely restful. at 1 pm i got out of brian's bed (it was a strange upward progression of sleeping on the floor on my sleeping pad to taking to the couch to getting in brian's bed when he got up to take the dogs out.) and tried to face the day. i knew it was not going to be easy, and i attacked the sleep under my eyes with my standby ammo: egg and cheese (salt, pepper, ketchup), coffee (strange, i know, for those of you who actually know me. by the way, it was terrible.) and water (vitamin water or gaterade if they have the lo-cal versions. gotta watch that waist line). i pushed my way out of new jersey and across PA, knowing full well that the possibility of me playing well was quasi-existant at best.

the house i was scheduled to play turned out to be an interesting mix of thrift store, venue, house and collective. in reality it is just a house belonging to two open hearted, open minded people who want a place for music to exist and an area where people can meet comfortably and positively. this is something i can totally get behind. the show was light, not many people, but i felt that while the numbers were small, the willingness to listen was there, and that is incredibly important. i played few songs and felt like people were generally receptive, regardless of whether they actually cared at all about the music.

it seems the main event of the evening was a two piece from brooklyn, ny. drums and bass, but somehow way more synthy than you'd ever expect. man, i've seen bass playing before, but this was something else. and you know what? this band, show, house and town taught me a lot. here's what i learned about harrisburg, PA:

01. people here are nice, warm and open.
02. everyone is married.
03. sexual and gender orientation are non-issues, and that rules.
04. the average show-goer is in their 40s.

i'm not saying these are hard and fast rules, but if one were to look around the room, these are the conclusions one would come to. that being said, i think these were all great things. i was surrounded by nothing but great people who were kind, warm, open hearted and fun to be around. my company for the evening was totally enjoyable. and, on top of it all, i was given drinks, fed pizza and treated splendidly. so, while my day started off less than perfect, i am now sitting on the couch typing this with a smile on my face, happy to have been here and lived in this town for an evening. well done h-burg. thanks for a good time. hope you're all great.


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