Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Last Town Chorus, FULL BAND Live in NYC 'Painless'

A clip from the show I saw last weekend.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Last Town Chorus

The Last Town Chorus

Wired Waltz

I was happy to run across a band playing a few blocks away at a great little place called The Zipper Factory. Hailing from Brooklyn since apparently 2001 or more.

It seemed fitting to go today according to the reviews:

"She sings like an Angel and plays lap steel guitar like the Devil."- Village Voice

"The Last Town Chorus’ aching lap-steel sound moves men to tears"- Chicago Tribune

Indeed stellar performance of banter and covers including but not limited to Dyan, Bowie and wrapping things up with 'Love Bites' by you know who.

I am happy to stumble upon great gems again. It has been to long. After conversation of yesteryear with Mario of Kulture Shock at the Jim 'The Soundguys' unofficial closing party at Solo about how it's time to move on, The Last Town Chorus could have not come sooner.

'I am Alive!'

After a morning of getting the lay of the land including but not limited to finding the cleaners, the butcher, the fresh produce from the farmers market, the fish market, the laundry mat, and the closest best pull of espresso I can find, I go watch my first musical. I admit, it’s the blockbuster hit of a barber on the big screen but it must do for now, I find myself a copy of Time Out New York and have a cup of coffee at the closest cafĂ©/bar on 42nd and 8th. As I flip through the pages discovering all that is available in a short week I come across a listing at the New York Public Library of a free exhibit called ‘Beatific Soul: Jack Kerouac' stating it holds ‘Kerouac’s harmonicas, crutches, Buddhist bells and other personal effects joined with unpublished manuscripts..’ I am amazed to realize it is on 42nd and 5th, just a push and a shove through Times Square and an hour and a half from closing.


I pay for my coffee and think about the possibility of the manuscripts, several of which I have order after devouring all published works of Jack and think to myself ‘ At least I can see come personal effects, I mean, it s a library, of course it has manuscripts’.

I make my way up the stairs from the side steps and follow the maze to lead me to the front entrance to ask someone where the exhibit is located. The person doesn’t understand as I point to the leaflet I have picked up along the way and turn around to ask someone else and out of the corner of my eyes, a sign blinking ‘Kerouac’.

As I walk in I am herded to the left not sure if I am at the start or the end and begin to see all the familiar pictures I have framed with hand notes of the ‘when and where’ of New York they were taken and a feeling of comfort comes over me. There are notepads and manuscripts as promised as I make my way through the exhibit to come across the framed crutches. It dawns on me these may have been the ones used after getting hurt at Columbia finishing his dreams of being a football player which lead to his finding of nightclubs in Harlem. I read the tag and sure enough, the exact same. Another wave comes over me, this time of excitement. I make my way glancing around for the next thing to hit me and come across a manuscript of a piece with the first writings of ‘Go, Go, Go’ and I think of my previous discover of Birdland I had just walked by unexpectedly and think to myself ‘this is it’. This is when he first wrote those words. This is his writings that moved me into music and into prose’. I think,’ if only the original writings of ‘On the Road’ on a single roll where I have often imagined /seen plays/documentaries of Jack sitting and writing furiously at a typewriter that has changed my life in so many ways’. I turn around and see a glass case. The case extends the long length of the library. The first 60 feet of the original 120. I slowly make my way to the first words written ‘The first time I met Neil…”


I am stunned. I look around to see no one looking at me. Tears begin to well. I think to myself ‘I feel alive…I haven’t felt alive in so long…’ . The words he wrote by his hands so long ago that touch me in my readings of it what seemed to be just as long….

I continue to try and read the words in front of me for what felt like miles. I began to wonder when the last time I felt alive or anything of this magnitude. I think of the birth of my niece/godchild. I think of my friends and family I have just left in full support of my decision to move here, and then I think of Bella.

I think of our last time on this earth together. I think of her slipping away from me from the cancer that had taken her at such a young age. And then it hits me like a movie filmstrip in elementary school rewinding……and I have to step aside. Flashes of Kerouac’s grief of his brother taken at a young age. I think of the collar I still have of Bella’s as I seek refuge in a corner. I look up and in the case in front of me is a pair of shoes. It the most joyous tears of emotions come over me. I look around again to see no one looking at a grown man showing emotion. I do not feel shame. I feel alive for the first time in years. The moments of joy, sorrow, pain, anguish and I whisper hallelujah.

I whirl through the rest of the exhibit. I see hand written journals from Mexico City and think of Rob (Neil). I think how the words ‘The only ones for me are the mad ones’ once struck me so hard I surround myself with only the ones to strike passion in my life. I think of driving from cross country trips from Seattle to New York and back. I think of crossing the border of Lardo into Mexico with ‘The Boys’(Allen/Josh, Gregory/Paul, William/Loren) . I think of the most glorious, wonderful people I have found in my life because of the pen of this man. I see handwritten first page of ‘The Town and the City’ and see the dark red almost black words of ‘Blood’ written in the blood of Jack. In the same spiritual drive that drove Jack I think of Communion.

I think I’ll take Communion at St. Thomas tomorrow morning. It is on 53rd and 5th. I may stop by 42nd and 5th on the way home.

When you ask me how I am, I will say ‘I am alive’. This does not mean what it has once meant to mean of ‘I am not dead’.

(Apologies for no edits…..this was written in one single sitting with no revisions)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Update: Of Course!

I stand corrected.......I walked by a tall, thin, man smoking with grey hair that looked like Mr Bourdain...... (see comment). I will make sure to fact check before posting...id verifcation, etc.


Of course I saw Anthony Bourdain on the corner of 43 and 8th this morning on the way to work. I was hoping I would run into him and offer to buy him a drink but come on....not at 9am on a Tuesday. He might have been up for a hair of the dog but way to early for me.

.....pretty sure I will run into him again.

Monday, January 21, 2008

New York!


DSC05276
Originally uploaded by -_-

Spring cleaning is over and I am back. Checked in last night and settled myself in to my home for now. It will be tough to leave. High-rise overlooking Times Square a safe several blocks away. It’s far enough to see the lights on the corner but not keep me awake. Hit the least crowded pub to grab a bite and watch NY beat Green Bay. I had left Seattle a Packer fan and quickly got swept in and by the 2nd quarter became a Giant supporter.

Woke up with an excitement I have not felt in a while. Up 2 hours early to make coffee and watch the morning new. Saw the sun rising above the Empire State Building out my window with a fresh cup of coffee in hand. Up and out the door dressed for the cold and began walking the north and east zigzag across city streets in the flow of the crosswalk signs guiding me in rhythm to the city. The city walks me past Birdland, an inspiration of my fascination of New York since my first read and desire to be Kerouac watching Charlie Parker ‘Blow man, blow!’. With the music player set to random shuffle the city turns me around the corner and provides the quintessential shot of Times Square. Jeff Buckley’s ‘Dream Brother’ builds to a crescendo. This is that picture in my mind, the one from the movie Vanilla Skies. The one that antagonist is running down an empty New York. The explanation of the collective conscious we are all tied to.

The city moves me to 5th as the song changes to a melodic xylophone chiming of The Shin’s ‘Red Rabbit’, an animal that has been inspirational as of late. I am surprise to note it’s the year of the Rat, not Rabbit. Another crescendo hits as I see my new office building and that overwhelming feeling of excitement and amazement that has driven my life thus far hits me…. It’s my new life in which my old life had been driving me to and I feel a sense of peace.
Good on you, New York, you wicked wonderful temptress. Keep your stories rolling as you show me those moments only a mind’s eye can capture as the shutter of a camera would only blink the tail end a that fleeting inspiration. Keep me inspired. Keep me guessing. Keep me here until you want me to leave. Just make it a good one.