I got some shit to say. And I'm lazy.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Devastation At Last

The Knitting Factory, August 10th. One of the most overlooked singer/songwriters ever. This is one of the most beautiful songs of the last fifteen years.
This should just be a music blog.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Hiatus Is Back Off, Again

I have lost the thread of my story. Somewhere along the way, in the last six weeks or so, a whole lot of life happened, and updating this seemed like something akin to dousing the toilet with Comet. But alas! I have returned and hope to fill in the gaps, both narratively and metaphysically. There have been many wonderful adventures, a massive letdown, some heart warming words from a few dead white guys, and a rock show to boot.

When last we saw each other, the show that I had been waiting months for was nigh. Senor Greg Dulli, he of soul crush grooves and black lunged love, was on his way to visit the Big Apple and lay down his particular brand of pathos and booze. The winner of my first(and probably only) contest, Miss Jessica Sonders, met me early in the evening on June 1st, which would prove to be a date to remember, for a myriad of reasons, not all good. We adjourned with haste to a watering hole to line our stomachs with grease and talk over the gossipy parts that are always so much more succulent in person. After concluding our first course of the evening, we were off to meet Mark the Cool and company for a quick nip of the sauce at another watering hole. We weren't expecting the torrential downpour that awaited us as we left the Old Time Tavern. Clinging to each other like the sissies we are, Miss Sonders and I were drenched by the time we arrived at the Kings Head Tavern. I took it as a sign that things were afoot out there in the universe, that this downpour was like some kind of Lloyd Dobler like baptism, that tonight Greg and Co. were going to rock me like I needed to be rocked and that something big was about to happen. I also needed a belt of the good stuff.
Mark The Cool sat regally at the bar having the first bourbon and beer back of the night. In his company was a woman of mystery, even to herself. We adjourned to the couch and discussed my newest project, the mustache photos. There was an NBA playoff game on, so conversation was somewhat stilted as Dirk the Turk went off on the Phoenix Suns, gangsta style. I was trying to get everyone pumped about Dulli and the boys, but the rain was dampening our spirits. There was only one thing to do. Take more mustache photos.

The genesis of this little la de da, like so many of my pet projects, was boredom. One evening in rehearsals, the lovely Ms. O'Connor and I happened upon a treasure chest of wild outfits. Hats, dolls, fake foods, you name it. One such item was a short order cook's hat. I told Ms. O'Connor I needed my picture taken wearing said hat, tut suite. She suggested we take this pose one step further, by adding a mustache. The rest, as they say, is history. With little or no thought behind it, we have created a international man of mystery, one J.P. Levensworth, Esq., man about town. The rules are simple. His photo is taken in various locales , wearing different outfits, with three things constant: a bad black gaffe tape mustache, a pair of sunglasses, and an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. It is safe to say at this point that Mr. Levensworth has become much bigger than the initial inspiration ever meant him to be. There are plans in the works for a calendar, a t-shirt line, and several short films. Whether or not any of this actually happens is moot, but I would hope that his advice column, 'Dispatches From The Way-Out' can still find the readers it rightly deserves. I digress.
Finally mustering the courage we knew we had deep within us, Mark The Cool led a charge to find black gaffe tape so that mustache photos could be taken amidst the chaos of the pagan like bachnalia abou to unfold. Alas, there was no sticky stuff to be had. On we went, wetter and drunker for our efforts, to bow before the idol of my youth.

To say that I was charged with lust and longing, filled with something I first felt at 16, to say that I wanted to 'sound my barbaric yalp' over the rooftops and mix tapes of the world, would be selling the whole thing short. I'm a dork, I'm the first to admit it. I'm deeply touched when someone touches me, which has led to many myriad complications throughout my life; I am forever indebted to those that taught me how or have given me love. I do not recover from paradigm shifts easily; Greg Dulli understands. Walking, ney, strutting into Irving Plaza on 6/1/06, mutherfuckers had best be ready, cuz' T-Dawg was here to represent.

The beauty of being a sloppy drunk sweetheart is that you often pay for people's drinks when they're not looking; damn the APR's and debt to hell, because in the end, people wind up coming through for you in the most perfect of ways. All three of my cohorts in tow that night had felt the grace of my USAA Master Card at one time or another; tonight was my night, and they knew it, so no way was I paying for shit. Armed with my soul correcting Maker's, and my utilitarian Budweiser, I strode to the front of the pack of wolves to catch the opening act, my brother from Austin, one Jeff Klein. I am here to tell you brothers and sisters, he is the poet laureate of black white boy soul, Version 2.0. The boy flat out rocks. Catching his set, and his closer, "Stripped", took me back to Mark and I's ramble through the windy streets of SF, through driving around Silverlake, trying not to puke thinking of her, to catching a red eye back to NYC, crying in my peanuts and whiskey. If the rain was my baptism, then Mr. Klein was the opening prayer. The stage was set. It was gonna be epic.

Excitement is contagious, and when I feel it, you best know you are too. The second act, the Italian rock band Afterhours, was lame, but rest assured, I promised my amigos, nothing compares to a well oiled Dulli. After Afterhours finished there thing, I hastily made my compadres move down front for what was to be a Catholic ceremony unlike any other. As the clock struck 11, I was not to let my lovelies down. Taking the stage amidst a drown of feedback and reverb, Dulli sauntered front and center with a sad dirge being played on the keyboards. Mike stand decked out with two cup holders, one for his drink and one for his ashtray, my mutherfucka picked up his Strat and began to wail. 'I'm Ready', the lead off track off of "Powder Burns" let us know this was a new Dulli, a man who has been through the shit and seen the other side. Word on the street is that my man is clean, two years off the Class A's and kicking music like he's watching the clock, which, truth be told, he might be. The concert, in short, was a revelation, taking me back and forth between joy and pain, righteousness and scourge, making me remember how hard it is to feel anything worth a damn and being proud to have that affliction. In my weakest moment, I dialed a number I knew better than to. As the opening strands of 'Teenage Wristband' kicked in, I speed dialed the one who I always dedicate that song to. It would be a revelation of the heartbreaking kind. More on that shit later.

Needless to say, the concert was everything I desperately needed it to be. Dulli didn't talk much, which is a first, but hey, if my brother's clean, then who I am to complain. Just keep the music coming, you know what I'm saying? A brilliant time was had by all, and heading into tech for NERVE, it was exactly what I needed. You wish you had entered that contest now, don't you?

After the concert, our ears ringing with the sounds of sweet soul salvation, the four of us headed to an Irish pub to recount the night. It was then that my phone rang, showing a number I had come to both dread and long for. I didn't want to kill my high. I let it go to voice mail. There was drinking to be done.

In the cab back home that night, as Mark The Cool and I replayed the night, I couldn't help but push the button to hear her voice. She told me everything I never wanted to hear. And everything I probably should. I have too much respect, because of my aforementioned gratitude and deep seated love to go into it, but I know somewhere deep down, it's not as easy as it all seems, for both sides. I won't elaborate because I have too much, much too much respect, but I will say this: we may be done with the past, but the past isn't done with us. I hope she realizes that someday too.

Onwards and upwards, bloggers.

Nerve was everything I needed it to be and more. I don't care what some of you high falutin' theatre types thought of the show, but as an actor, anybody would be lucky to get the chance to do a play like this. Talk about a workout. Adam wrote a play that I NEEDED to do, and getting to work with Susan and Adam and Scott really saved me, in a very serious way. I won't spoil it by going in depth, but I think I did the right thing by turning down some other stuff to do this show. ADAM is the MAN,and I salute him.

While doing the show, I discovered a book that had somehow been out there, waiting for the exact right moment for me to find it. A FAN'S NOTES, by Frederick Exley, was the life story of a degenerate loafer who decided to tell it like it was. By saying that I'm selling it way short, but nonetheless, reading this in the last month has really changed my life. I mean that, whole heartedly. That all encompassing sadness, realizing that you are just a face in the crowd, and not the guy on the field, like Exley writes so poignantly about, is absolutely heartbreaking and completely demystifing. Drinking is sadness, just like he says. God may I overcome it.

Finally two nods: One to The 'Lebs, my brother in arms, my bum on the couch, the man who taught me to drink bourbon and chase the great tomorrow with equal aplomb. May your roadtrip back west give you everything you need and may you find what it is you're looking for. And to you, James 'Roday', star of "Psych." We had the pleasure briefly back in SA back in the day. You know what you did to you know who. So do I. Sucks that you're on a billboard and I'm pushing art at fatties from Kansas. You'll get yours. Judging by the reviews, maybe you already have.

More later.
How's that, Dup?