2005-03-21 - 3:14 p.m.
“They’re like Rage Against the Machine without the Rage…”
Or the guitars, or the political manifestoes, and with an entire horn section. Despite the fact that the group onstage sounded like Herb Albert if he hung out with Metallica for a weekend, the simple addition of a gangly armed lead singer busting beat poetry into the microphone while rifling through an interpretive dance of body mugging unseen since Ed Kowalczyk of Live left the TRL studios, somehow that tweek linked the Young Bloods to the Bulls on Parade.
I said this to no one. I was standing by myself sandwiched between small lined groups of friends, waggling in time to the beats onstage. Still, in a room full of the tragically hip and well adorned, managing to plaster together a retort that appeared evenly mildly informed gave me hope that I might not be ousted as an interloper.
Five seats in the entire house, all of them taken hours back by the industrious few determined to enjoy the show with their butts warm on terra firma, instead of on Terry Firma, a man of deplorable hygene. There does seem to be a challenge in marking out territory enough to dance with any elaboration above a head nod. From where I stood, under the eye of a well armed man – toned biceps, rather than thrown copper – who made sure my hands wandered no where near his girl’s spheres of influence, and blocked by a crew of drunken stoicists, I was somewhat trapped in position. This made things somewhat difficult when the girl in front of me started to put a little juice in her groove thang. I did not get myself in the way of the ass; the ass got in the way of me. Between her glances over her shoulder and the well-armed man, I kept one hand on beer, and one hand in pocket the entire show.
Ten-dollars on the Dark Day was a lot to pay, but I had a friend to meet, and a world to avoid, and paying cover to see a bunch of bands I’d never heard seemed, at the time, like an act of gleeful nostalgia. Having the bouncer eye and flip my state issued ID fifteen times reinforced the idea in every degree.
“This does look fake as hell.”
“I need to get myself a NY license.”
“Yeah, one way or the other. Why you look like an albino in this picture?”
“Never dye your hair for a 80’s party.”
In the photo I’m four months bleached blond, and eight months legal to drink. The ID got flashed about when I first got it, replacing the International Student ID card that really shouldn’t have worked on the previous jaunts.
Even with the straw on my head, and a horrific ID in my pocket, those Fridays, flicking the card at bouncers, cozying up to an actual chair at the bar, inventing new ways to embarrass ourselves on the dance floor, sharing a shot of Wild Turkey with the band, and watching the nightly fisticuffs on a bench while inhaling slices of cardboard consistency pizza, were never to be missed. The active and near competitive social engagements that were required on Friday nights almost seemed to demand, “Have more fucking fun, ya pussy!”
I wasn’t sure after I saw the sign reading “No re-entry” but apparently, if you’re just smoking they’ll let you take a sabbatical from the dark din and clogged byways. The side of the building was already dripping with nit-fits, so I took a seat on the piping along side a water hydrant, shaking my tail feather the first and only time of the evening, trying to warm the metal underneath. In these situations, I do my best to keep my line of sight out over some expansive landscape, considering the unfortunate circumstance that my eyes seem to be at other people’s eye level, and a casual sweep over the bar, the dance floor, the line of urinals, usually leads to accidental contact. Two women loitered close enough for me to overhear conversation, though, and they pulled on my pupils with each squeal, and when I turn, they notice. When I’d made my way to mahogany for a Stella, we ended up playing eye hockey before, while I tried to squeeze my bills up to bartender. They were a cute pair, the long blond and the cropped brunette, each of them wearing one of the few articles of clothing doomed to draw my attention: choker on the bond, long flowing skirt on the brunette, but, while I took in their conversation – who was there, who wasn’t, and who was coming – I found much greater solace watching the taxis pass.
The eyes seem to be a dangerous weapon in this bar. Shuffling in behind a man with a hair-do half mullet, half Mohawk, and all mussed, I nearly fell as collateral damage when he was hello-jumped by a lady in earrings chiseled off a crystal centerpiece and bangs by Rodan. He stammered back into me with her still girlishly chubby chin bobbing over his shoulder. The suit-jacket only added to the scowl she gave me as I dared to look at her as she nearly came over the top of this man. Presumably a better course of action would have been to fold myself into rolls of fat on Albert behind me, a man capable of blocking an entire Avenue, or else looked away. It made me giggle.
I caught her dancing later by the stage with her punk-hick man; jacket now off, revealing a tattoo in Hebrew and a low cut tube top that neither she nor he minded her bopping in. To my left an Asian man in ball cap made beer runs to the two ladies that had taken him in. On my right, two women who sucked the casual out of business casual held their jackets folded in their arms, not a lick of movement, or grin, or any expression whatsoever marking any part of their being. Behind me…
“They’re like Rage…”
After a while, I pulled my cell out of my pocket and checked the time.
I smiled. Twenty-five going on thirty.
Whatever the bouncer thought, I still felt like the oldest man in the room.
I bobbed my head with the music, smiling, waiting for the song to end, so I could eject myself.
So, I know I haven't been here in a while. I will take my lashing. Bring forth the wet noodles...Wow, that sounded so much more innocent when I was ten. Anyway, there is a reason, even if it is piddling. My creative energies have been thrown into well...this....
John Hague's Rockabye StationA One-Man show featuring Sketch Comedy and Music...somehow April 2nd, 8:00 p.m. Producers Club Theater on 44th and 9th New York, New York Featuring "The Best Looking Men at 2 A.M." and the music of "Brother Keith" "If you think they're going to stop with banning cigarettes, and smut in Times Square, you may as well just take the A train to Rockabye station."
I'm doing some stand-up and probably reading a few things off of here. If you're in the area and want to see me make a fool of myself, come on by. I'll even provide the tomatoes. In either case, I will never neglect ya'll for so long again, or else I shall suffer once more the...shudder...wet noodles...
10 Letters to the Editor