good morning ~
(click the link / fogged out foundry to listen)
next weekend July 21 - 23 the piece Ged and I made together will be playing in the beautiful, echoey stairwell at Foreland in Catskill - a bunch of other friends will be showing art, selling stuff, playing music, etc, too - should be a very nice time
and this Sunday is my birthday :o)
It was around midnight that the childish behavior began, seemed like every ten minutes or so I'd catch someone blatantly enjoying a controlled substance or very unsneakily trying to squeeze their body through the venue's metal barricades. I have no problem with people choosing to do drugs - there was narcan and EMS-trained folks on site, whatever - and I don't think I really even mind the sneaking in on, like, a moral level. Tickets were expensive! But if I'm standing right there, what am I supposed to do? I was imagining terrible situations all night long, kind of my role as the guy with the keys and the walkie talkie, so it was easy to foresee a noise complaint resulting in a visit from the local PD and if folks were doing key bumps directly under a string of bistro lights well, what then? What are you even trying to do? I asked one of the partiers, actually baffled, as he was preparing to hike his leg over a propane tank behind the cook tent. Uhhhhh, he said, and his friends quickly came up with something about a shortcut to his car. Hang dog, he climbed back my way as I explained he was probably just going to get stuck, there were like five other pieces of machinery he'd have to climb over back there. What did he think he'd find?
Most people when caught doing something naughty get a little sheepish and proceed to do what you ask, at least when I'm doing the asking (male-presenting privilege enjoyer). There was a time once last year when I pretty brutally threw out this really creepy guy who'd always sexually harass me during my afternoon bartending shifts and, to my surprise, he took it like a champ, said he understood and left me a tip. He had to know it was coming, he said some horrible things to me, but I was almost disappointed I didn't get a chance to lash out - I was ready to let him have it. Had to swallow my bile, one last indignity visited upon me by the guy with the rotting teeth. On Saturday, though, I caught a whole group of people sneaking in, and I had to repeatedly and loudly insist that they go buy a ticket. We're just waiting for our friend, they said, a justification that made no sense and was not convincing in any way. Drunk, probably, whatever, normal stuff, didn't bother me at all despite having to raise my voice publicly a handful of times. A number of friends witnessed this interaction, though, and to my surprise they all wanted to comfort me, told me I did a good job dealing with those assholes, sorry you had to do that, that sort of thing. But I wasn't at all upset, so what did they see happening during that exchange? I wondered if any of them had ever seen me even a little big angry, maybe they didn't like hearing me bark. The dust settled, I seemed to convince my folks that I was okay, and then my friend said I can't wait to read about this in your newsletter.
Now this was very interesting to me. It's true that I have used this space for the processing and airing of personal grievances. It's also true that I've used this space to try and sort out the various machinations of class and music that I've been subject to in the last few years - sometimes I'm on stage, sometimes I'm an invisible force behind the board, sometimes I'm a salaried employee, sometimes I'm the guy hosing off puke from the sidewalk. It is very useful for me and - I hope - for you to mull these things over. Writing to you, I realize things I would never otherwise put together. But was it so obviously a situation that had to be unfolded? A paper crane of human confusion, let's see where it was folded, see if we can't get it back into shape. Am I so predictable in what I cover? Could be - as I sat down to write this, still exhausted days later from, among other things, the 19-hour workday I clocked at the rave, having to yell at these strangers was the first thing that came to mind.
I have not yet figured out what it means to now be the person on the other side of the party. I have pierced through some kind of lasers-and-fog veil. Though I had a good time endlessly circling the rave as it unfolded, climbing up on ladders at the request of the guy operating the lasers to block out a window with a duct-taped tablecloth, relieving bartenders and safer spaces volunteers here and there, watching from just beyond, I can't say that I had fun exactly. Fun is a casting-off, a freeness, as I write this I imagine twirling - hard to accomplish when you are the one locking up the cash boxes at the end of the night. I wonder if I'll feel differently the next time I'm a dancer.
At the very end of the night, while I waited for the bespoke speaker system to be delicately wrapped in moving blankets and loaded into the back of a trailer, I found a group of four partied-out people sitting around the splintering piano we keep outside - the one with a tiny dog was plunking out what sounded like the world's saddest music. Before I could even get a word out they defensively blurted out "we're just waiting for a car to come!" That's fine, I said, you can stay here as long as you need - can I help you figure this out? I knew with complete confidence that the Uber from Albany would never arrive, rave comedown Godot. I gave them the names of some local cabs but then took a look at the time, the first train north would be arriving shortly, ya'll should head to the Amtrak station. The sun rose, a fog came up, and as I finally pulled away from the party I saw them silhouetted on the road, something like ghosts.
But what about you? When are you able to have fun? Are you lost in the sauce? Have you ever had to be professionally mad? Will you wait for the Uber to appear in the mist or will you simply haul yourself back to Albany?