Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thursday Night Mega-Spectacular Post

I spoke to Will last night from a couch in the front bar of a small acoustic venue in the Lower East Side. Leonard Cohen was being played on the house system while we talked and when I left the show, "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" could be heard beneath the bar room chatter. He spent xmas and new years with his family and is now in Reno without a plane ticket home. Unlike me, Will is very good at relaxing and I envy how much he must be taking advantage of this time off for such. I assured him that we'd be back in the van together before we know it. Sort of saying it for my own ears as well. Gotta enjoy this time as much as possible. Its not so bad that the touring business shuts down in December and January.

So as I wait for our tour schedule for the year to get finalized, while everyone I know is at work, I have been taking the subway to its farthest reaches. I find that I cant go anywhere without stumbling past something iconic, something constantly depicted in movies and literature, in print or television. Its a strange feeling to know your way around a place you've never been before, to move about along the backdrop of popular culture, to try to derive meaning from the eerie open air above ground zero or the lit-up calamity of times square...

Yesterday, I took the train up to Harlem and wandered down Malcolm X Blvd, sticking out like more of an ethnic sore thumb than I may ever have experienced. More so than I've ever stuck out in Oakland. Harlem is beautiful: the huddled decaying buildings, the density of a seemingly genuine neighborhood culture, the relics of all these things I read about in history class. Whether you're very conscious of it or not, you get an image in your head of how something looks and feels all your life. Its an incredible feeling to obliterate that notion in one swift and vivid plunge into reality.

My main goal was to locate The Apollo Theater (of course I totally spaced on looking up the cross streets before I left). Finally, I passed by it on 125th street and caught the A express all the way up to 207th street, Inwood. I walked around the calm and empty Inwood Hill Park until the sun began to descend beyond the hillside of winter-trees and duck-filled lagoon. It was getting cold. Later in the evening when I returned to Brooklyn from the show I was at last night, puddles were frozen on the sidewalks.

Two days ago, I watched the sun set beyond the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park. I shivered insignificant beneath the gothic skyscrapers of the financial district, on the steps of the stock exchange.

Today I took the longest subway ride of my life to the southernmost part of Brooklyn, Coney Island. Everything was closed. I loved it AND I actually remembered my camera... So Instead of boring you with a description, I'll just show it to you: