Friday, June 24, 2011
A Tuesday Night In June
Roll the days up into an endless montage of coded words and coffee cups. This is the summer that happened when I was twenty-three.
Sitting under a tree as the sun set on Tuesday night, illuminated by an array of Christmas lights and sparkly fabric, I played music for my friends and neighbors in honor of Solstice. Encouraged by the drunken cheers, I belted out song after song until somebody from upstairs filed a noise complaint. It was the most fun I've had in awhile.
There had been a rumor that I was going to open for a friend of The Chef's who was visiting from out of town and was previously in a well-known alternative band. Just when I was starting to get excited about that possibility, I was informed that the guy wasn't answering his phone and would not be gracing us with his presence. So I became the headliner and the opening act became The Chef's infamous sound sculpture (an air mattress with train whistles and pan flute parts shoved into it so that it makes a shrill and obnoxious wheezing sound when turned on).
I've had some strange opening acts in my short time as a performing musician, but it doesn't get much weirder than the singing mattress. I feel as though I have finally arrived in The Land Of Rock And Roll.
There was also a nice moment before the show when The Chef was attempting to cook a chicken on a beer can under the grill and completely forgot about it. The result? A large cloud of smoke and one very black chicken.
Fortunately, it was set up as a potluck and other people brought food. Mysterious, vegan-friendly food, as one might expect from a Solstice celebration in an artist's community. But at least this time, we didn't have to go around and announce the ingredients used in each dish just in case somebody had a food allergy (yes, I have been to a potluck like that...it felt like a "Portlandia" episode...).
It was a pretty good crowd of people. Naturally, the usual crew was there - The Fonz, The Poet, Purple Hair, The Fallen Nun, The Chef, Jack, The Dancer, The Jewish Guy From New Jersey. The old guy that makes weird photoshop art involving floating baby heads. The Feng Shui lady with hair that belongs on The Trinity Broadcasting Network. The silent Canadian guy who generally only comes out long enough to bake special brownies. The woman with a dog that looks like Wishbone. The grumpy old lady who makes tassels for a living. The man who has been known to wear a dress on occasion. The Cute Poet Boy and his strangely butch girlfriend. The resident lesbian folk singer. The hipster who has dedicated his life to painting well-known cartoon characters holding cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon. The guy who aspires to go to butler school. The duo of sexually ambiguous hipster boys we lovingly refer to as "The Gnomes."
And me, in my summer dress, playing songs about love and giardia under a light-up tree.
All the rocks that society hands to us in boxes and backpacks become irrelevant in that moment. The elephants that have crept into our rooms over the past eight months go into the corner and drink too many tall boys. In the morning, we will once again face the reality of being starving artists in the twenty-first century. But in the garden, breathing in the music and laughter with the warm June air, that reality is unimportant. And life suddenly seems so very simple.
One day I will look back on all of this - this moment in time, this summer that happened when I was twenty-three - and I will laugh at the absurdity of it all. I'm laughing now and I'm still in the midst of it. But I wouldn't have any of it any other way.
Happy Summer, boys and girls. <3