Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sometimes It's Easy To Be Myself. Sometimes I Find It's Better To Be Somebody Else

Let me just say that I'm sorry for the recent dearth in posts. It has taken a solid week to get my other projects up and running, but at last, things are settled enough to create some new material. I want to make a conscious effort to keep the blogs and other stuff separate, like I don't want to advertise one blog on another, so this will be the only time I type this; bear with me.
If you're interested in NBA ball, make sure to look up my other blog you can find on my blogger profile. My creative writing blog is on wordpress called "Poli Poetica" if you dig. Check out my Facebook "fan-page" (Again, I hate that term. I would never call you my fans, just my friends.) and/or my twitter @Poliwastaken. Also, if anyone else with a wordpress knows how to make the thing list the posts by name rather than by month that would be helpful. Thanks.
Okay, let's get down to it.
This past week I had the pleasure of heading to the city to see Bon Iver with my sister. While I'll get to the show in a bit, I feel it's important to recap some moments of the city trip itself. We left for the city straight from camp where nothing but blue skies beckoned our arrival. As tempted as I was cue the Ella Fitzgerald rendition, it would seem that my celebration of good fortune was all too premature. Lo and behold, on the train the rain began to tumble, changing the soundtrack of my life from Ella's "Blue Skies" to Rhianna's "Umbrella". Being as fueled by testosterone as I am, I stubbornly refused to pay ten bucks for an umbrella I would likely never use again. I initially felt pretty good about my decision. We only had to walk about ten blocks from Penn to the restaurant we wanted hit up and it was only water, after all. However, about five blocks into the trek, it went from pouring to darn-I-can't-believe-I-forgot-my-boat-at-home. The walk was much less pleasant, but I kept a pretty positive attitude about the whole thing, I just felt a little like an ass walking into the restaurant looking like I just took a swim. It took a great many paper towels to make me look presentable, but overall, I wouldn't change much about it.
The place we ate was "Southern Hospitality", which, in part, I think we ate at because Noelle thought there was a one in a million chance we'd see Justin Timberlake feasting on his down-home cuisine. No such luck, but the food was very good, I must say.
After the meal, Noelle was willing to humor me as we went to "Birdland", the jazz club, for drinks until it was time to leave for the show. Unfortunately, the place was closed, but I did get a snapshot outside of the place, much to the pleasant chagrin of my friends in or around the great city of Baltimore. Don't worry, I already know: The real Birdland never closes. Rest assured, my friends, lesson learned.
Thankfully the rain had dissipated, so we were able to toil around the area for a spell. I went looking for an orange Knicks hat in Modell's. Apparently, they're harder to find than you might think, I'll get it next time. We stopped briefly at Ripley's Believe It Or Not, which, even in the lobby, has some freaky stuff in it that you might not believe... wait, I don't get the name. Anyway, it was all pretty cool, but outside they had this kind of mannequin with his face all folded up. It sounds gross in type, but it's more of a comical messed up face than a tragically scary one. Kind of like John C. Reilly as opposed to Mickey Rourke. (Not for nothing, but that's the second off-hand comment I've made about his appearance in the past week. That feels like at least one too many.) Anyway, I didn't see this mannequin on the street right away and when Noelle said, "Look at that!" I looked casually to my left and saw the dummy, said okay, Noelle, I will, and looked to my right and saw the mannequin that I mistook for a real person in the moment. I swore and jumped about five yards into the air in fright. I suppose it was I who was the dummy in that instance. Noelle got a good laugh, so I suppose all was not for naught.
At long last, it's time to discuss the show. I hate to be a downer, but I fear there is less to say than you would imagine. Justin Vernon is a monster and the show was transcendental on all counts. It was absolutely brilliant. The difference in sound between the first two albums is quite noticeable with "For Emma" being subdued, stripped, and beautiful in simplicity. The new album has a few more musical layers to it, as he now rolls about nine deep in his band. It was cool to hear a full band's take on some of the older songs and the difference in sound was quite noticeable and lovely. Highlights were Wolves, Blood Bank, and Perth, but honestly the whole show was overwhelmingly tremendous and I was moved to a mist during Wash. Just beautiful music all around. Even a Bjork cover, just when you thought you knew everything. It was especially cool to hear the songs transition into one another, by no means did the concert sound like a continuous track, but there were a lot of interludes and postludes that worked beautifully together to really set up the mood for those transitions well. It also gave the band a chance to showcase themselves as individual musicians. Not too much more I can say about the music quality. The venue was small and beautiful as well. The United Palace Theatre doubles as a church pretty unsecularly and the architecture and intimacy fit the music well. What a scene. What an experience.
On a rather short digression (Holden Caulfield would be pleased) camp ended last week. Good to have another year in the books. I spent the last week of camp showing them Frisbee games like Kan Jam and Ultimate. I don't know why, but I was surprised none of the kids had heard of these games yet. My ten-year-old partner, Brandon and I only lost once in the five days we played, and ultimate lagged sometimes, but overall it was a positive experience. At one point I freaked out a kid because I shouted, "I got, I got, I got! You stick your man!" The kid just froze and I dove over him to try and make the play. I honestly don't remember if I was successful or not, but I do know we took a thirty second time out for me to collect my bearings. What a game.
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of going to the Collins house for a quick visit to see Amber and Kaitlin. The Collins family was quite generous and kind in opening their home and arms. It seems all they wanted in return was a little vocalization. A debt, regrettably, that was never quite paid. It was unfortunate to be involved in a scene where music was kept under a bushel, and I secretly wished the Hebros were in tow to rectify the situation, but the time was tremendous. It was great to vibe with Amber and Kaitlin again and we spent some time in the pool. The time started out care-free enough, until I lost my blue glasses in the blue water of the blue lined pool. Mr. Collins, I imagine in an attempt at comedy, shut off the pool light mid-search. When he went to turn on the light again, it wouldn't work. Not only were we searching for the metaphorical needle in the hay stack, but now the lights weren't even on. After a good 20 minutes, after the bulk of those in attendance gathered around the pool's edge to aid the search, after the light situation had been mended, the glasses were found. I could not be more grateful to those who helped. I felt a bit like a horse's rear for derailing the good time in such a way and Amber kicked me in the head, which, knowing her, was intentional.
We went to the the Brewery for a bit that night and took in an impromptu Afrodjmac show. Enough said, I think. A good time with good people. Much to our disappointment (and Wong's), Gallo was closed.
I've been poking around with the bass recently during my jam sessions with Jay, Matty, and Adam. Jay and Matty have been really great about teaching me, and I dare say I've been a pretty quick study. It's been a real growing experience to add this facet to my musical education and repertoire, for lack of a better term coming to me at the moment. I'm surrounded by a lot of talented friends.
A final story involving a very special phone conversation I had with Jay this past Saturday. I had called Jay casually enough, seeing what we were up to that evening. The following is a chronicling of his response.
Jay: It sucks man, I'm out here working a sweet sixteen, but I might be home around midni- Oh, it's a deer. Hey there, little deer. Woah! Two deers, wow.... three deers, holy shit. Four deers! Are you guys seeing this right now?! FIVE DEERS! Poli, I gotta call you back..."
Now, I can only assume that this was quite a serene experience, or the does were fixing to surround and attack him ala Genghis Kahn (not pronounced like you think). I was a little rattled when he never called back and feared the worst, but he later informed me he was fine. I bring this up because, while Jay was nowhere near the verge of tears, it was the closest thing I've ever witnessed to a true life reenactment of the "Double Rainbow" experience. The way his excitement built, combined with the entropy of the event made it one of the funnier phone conversations I've ever shared.
Busy times, my friends. Thanks for sharing them with me.
Song of the Day: Gloria-Van Morrison
Jazz Song of the Day: You're Blase-Louie Armstrong

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