The musings, politics, frustrations and triumphs of an extrovertedly introverted musician from Philadelphia, PA.
Next shows: Blue Scheme: Wed., November 12 (blue scheme on last), Grape Street Pub [Manayunk], w/Lazlo and Secret Society, 105 Grape St., Philadelphia, $5, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Wed., November 19 (blue scheme on first) Malokai's/Club 218 South [Center City], w/TBA 218 South St., Philadelphia $6, 21+, Doors at 9:00 pm
Fri., November 21 (blue scheme on second) Tokio Ballroom [Center City], w/Wellstar and Heather G 122 Lombard St., Philadelphia $5, 21+. Doors at 8:00 pm Yellow Brain: Saturday, December 27, Fergie's Pub, 1214 Sansom, Philadelphia, 9:30pm
Oh, those Rittenhouse Squares; Your toupee isn't on fire, it's flaming; Wow, you look just like your picture...I'm so sorry.
You know, the tony Rittenhouse Square area in Philly doesn't particularly scream money as much as the people who hang out and live there do. Well, honestly, (most of) the people don't flaunt their wealth, but you definitely see the remnants and traces of it. I don't mean cars, clothes, jewelry, or things like that, although you see plenty of that. You can find that in Chestnut Hill, Old City, Manayunk, the Art Museum area, hell, it goes on and on. There's no specific place for those things because they're everywhere. But it's not every day you go into a Wawa (a 7-11-type convenience store for all you out-of-towners), use the MAC Machine (all right, all right, the ATM, even I'm getting around to calling it that—Money Access Center does have something of that clunky 1980s-era optimism in the future—but where else in the country can a person say that they're going to tap MAC and people not think that you're about to engage in a fantasy involving Mick Fleetwood?), and find a receipt that shows that someone has a balance of $27,640!
Sheesh. Forget 10%. Sometimes I'm longing to have just 1% of that in my account.
I know people leave their slips on top of the machine all the time (there were tons of them overflowing out of a little box that was set aside for them), but this one was placed there so perfectly that you had to suspect that the person just left it there to make someone's eyes bug out. And it wasn't one of those generic prank slips that you can buy at gift shops. This was real.
Well, I'll smile on. Someone is rolling in it, so bully for them. I can only do what I can do, and I'm thankful for being where I am and who I am. It could certainly be worse.
So I left Wawa and eventually made it over to 19th Street. For the first time, I noticed this building that I suppose sold wigs and toupees or some such, as lettering on the side of the building read, "Gayer Hairpieces."
Instantly, my mind filled with dreams of being a writer for "Will and Grace." I mean, talk about throwing up a lob. Gayer Hairpieces?!
Customer [wearing a toupee]: Pardon me, but would you happen to sell Gayer Hairpieces here?
[The Clerk smirks, and the audience laughs, in expectation of any number of obvious punchlines]
Clerk (winks and smiles): Well, sweetie, I think you're doing fine with the one you're wearing now!
I could have come up with a better one than that, but after all, I'm not a comedy writer. I just play one on TV—the TV in my head, of course.
So a few minutes' walk past the home of the flaming toupees, I walk past a woman walking with another woman, chatting. I feel as though I know her, yet I'm trying to figure out how. It occurs to me as I'm about a foot from her that I've seen her picture on a personals site that I look at occasionally. I would have said that I frequent it, except that I don't bother frequenting it anymore. Everyone I sent a message to didn't reply; everyone that sent me a "collect call," a stock message that a person can send without spending money, I didn't bother to reply to, not because I was cheap, but just because I wasn't interested.
[Yes, I have a personal ad up. No, I'm not going to tell you what my pseudonym is. Well, I could always be convinced, I suppose...]
I don't consider myself to be a superficial person, but at the same time it's important to be physically attracted to a person to their lover/partner/significant other/spouse.
It's just that I don't go for women with copious amounts of facial hair. Call me biased.
:: Anam 8:38 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, June 04, 2003 ::
The time machine
I don't know if it's the weather, but I'm feeling pensive and contemplative, yet anxious and restless. I imagine a few cups of coffee would do that to a person, but I've felt this way all morning. Being alive is a frighteningly amazing thing, and I think living provides three of the best things in life: an opportunity for growth by reflecting on our experiences through memory (the past); an opportunity for change by experiencing every moment (the present); and the opportunity for more positive opportunities (the future).
It's probably the closest I'll come to ever being in a time machine in my life.
It almost seems redundant to say these things, as people have undoubtedly said them or similar things before throughout history, but bear with me as I say them. Even though they're things I've always known and occasionally articulated, I think it's important to remind ourselves of those essential truths. Not that these truths necessarily be universal truths (that's quite a bit of pressure to place on a purpose writing from the heart, isn't it?), but that they're relevant and truthful to me, and that's what counts for me.
The past allows us to understand, the present allows us to express our passion, and the future allows a reason to hope.
I feel as though I'm growing through music, and what a sublimely wonderful feeling it is. I may never be the best at what I do, but that's never been a supreme goal. The goal is to do. And through doing, I can better myself and hopefully touch others. I have to accept the fact that in the process, I may turn others away, but the hope is that at the very least, my sincerity will shine through. The day that I'm no longer sincere will be the day that I've abandoned the most personal reason to do music. What is that reason? I can't say, at least without rambling ad nauseam. It's very hard to describe as it encapsulates feelings of sharing sides of myself that understand all of this with sides that don't really understand, sharing with others, to do this because I can do it, and to do it because I need to do it.
There are and probably always be ideologically lesser things that influence how I may act or react at any given point. Do I hope to gain some level of admiration? Sure. Would I like to make some money through my efforts? Sure. It would be disingenuous to dispute or ignore those facts.
There's also a part of me that wishes to honor the memory of my grandmother, a woman who was instrumental (pun not intended, but fitting nonetheless) in holding the door open for me and encouraging me to step through, a door first opened by my mother. And then there's the hope that it can fulfill the musical promise of my family—my mother's pristine voice and my uncle's soulful guitar and rich voice are, sadly, confined to the walls of their West Philadelphia homes. Forgive my pride or presumptuousness, but I believe the world is certainly poorer for it.
My uncle had (and probably still has) the amazing ability to remove the seeds of mischief and malice from the most difficult and ornery child through music. A modern day Pied Piper (sans the ulterior motive, of course), the children of the block (myself included), whether they were bullies or troublemakers, shy kids or crybabies, boys or girls, all stopped whatever they were doing and sat quietly before him as he played and sang on the porch steps. He provided a sanctuary where time stopped, silly arguments and kid-issues were forgotten, and you knew that every child hoped that it would never end, that every moment in their young lives could contain the peace that they felt here.
We all grew up in a house on Brinton Street in Germantown (not at the same time, of course—my mother and my uncle first, and then later on my grandmother raised me there), about a block out of East Mount Airy. I still believe that there's something magical, mystical, blessed or charmed about that street. The street was barely a block and a half long—capped by a T-intersection at one end and an area of thin woods that bordered a vast lot at the other—but the street was full of musicians and music teachers, and two respected jazz musicians, Stanley Clarke and Byard Lancaster, spent much of their time residing there. I'd certainly like to be another Brinton Street claim-to-fame, so to speak, but even so, that's a very small part of it all.
I just want to do it. The most exciting part is knowing deep inside that it's transcended the point of wanting. Now it is truth.
I'm going to do it.
There is and will always be much work to be done, but I'm grateful for it. It reminds me that I'm alive, constantly aware of time, even as I travel determinedly through it.