Monday, June 22, 2009


Summer has started off with not so much a bang, but more of a bong. Not in the smokin' sense either. Those days are behind me. I mean in the sense of some recent events which have been memorable, but in an odd sort of way. Not bad, but just a bit odd.

However, I did take a major memory trip back to my bong/hot knives/bt days when attending a Steely Dan concert just a week or so ago. My dear friend Deb scored some awesome (4th row, center people; read it and weep!) tickets to hear/see/embrace Donald, Walter and their amazing ensemble at the McGloghan (sp?) Center here in Charlotte. I told Deb of course I would love to go, but that she might never invite to another show after that. I promised her it was going to be a full-on, sing-along for me. And, a total trip down a foggy memory lane. Steely Dan completely represents my entire college experience. I spent years in a circle on the floor with my opinionated (journalism majors), brilliant, hilarious, groovy-ass friends talking politics and shit with "Babylon Sisters" playing in the background. I smile at the memory and my heart aches just a little to go back in time, if only for just a visit.

I digress. Anyhow, the odd part was not the concert itself, but the company I kept. It seems this concert was part of a "Music With Friends" series, in which those upper echelon Charlotteans with cash pay a flat rate to attend some of the best shows in town. Problem is, they aren't necessarily going to hear the music. Many are going just to go. I guess that's what rich people do. Otherwise I just don't know why women in St. John knit sets and lots of bling wanted to hear a sometimes disdainful, wry, often smart-alecish old rock/jazz band from the 70s. I was totally expected a bunch of disgruntled but cool former beatniks and instead rubbed shoulders with the Who's Who of the Queen City. Totally odd. Many of them left mid show. They came, ate lobster, made their appearances and split. That left just the real fans to enjoy the rest of the brilliant show, which was fine by me. I tried hard not to be annoying but just could not refrain from singing every word I knew. Deb swears it was fine and promises to invite me again.

Within a two week time period I ventured out again on my own (which means sans children) for another adult night on the town and experienced odd again, but at the complete opposite end of the spectrum. A friend of a friend invited me to a 40th birthday party, in honor of one of the moms of my kid's classmates. I went with another mom and decided that despite the free alcohol, I must be on my best behavior. After all, we were all moms of children which is how we bonded, and besides which, I work for a parenting magazine, which means I have a certain obligation or expectation to meet.

Let me tell you, this crowd couldn't give a rat's ass what I do or who I work for. They were just happy to be out and participating in the birthday. And this was no ordinary house party. The festivities were held at a local bar/pool house/restaurant/karaoke haunt and there was some hootin goin on! The pressure to perform was on and I decided that I probably would never see these people again, and they couldn't care who I am, so what the hell? Flo's book (yes, her real name is Flo) was full of country songs, ballads and hits of the 70s, with a mix of current pop tunes. I was stymied.

Normally when forced to sing karaoke, I go for jazz standards. Sadly, Flo only had one Ella Fitzgerald tune. Fortunately, it's the one song I have actually performed or karaoked before, and I managed to get it out. "A Tisket A Tasket" wasn't totally embarrassing. Deb, the other mom, is also a Canuck and we decided to honor our brethren with a number by a Canadian artist. After concluding that A) I don't know any Celin Dion B) They didn't have any Barenaked Ladies C) I hated all the Bryan Adams choices, we agreed on a Neil Young tune. This one wasn't so much a salute as it was a slaughtering. My most sincere apologies, Neil.

Things were going to go from odd to bizarre the moment the honoree announced jello shooters were in order and Flo qued a tune that had something to do with "get me the ammo", to which most of the bar knew and sang along. It was at that precise moment I knew I was no longer in Kansas with my little dog and a drag-queenish Lion. It was time to go.

As odd as these events were, the frivolity of last night balanced everything out. The Burtonwood neighborhood Summer Solstice/Father's Day/Block Party was a smashing success. Kevin and Ethan played beautiful, sweet music, neighbors shook hands and shared food, kids splashed in the pool, painted their arms and legs and had a wondrous, wonderful time. Even Alfie enjoyed himself, sniffing everything in sight and being named "dog of the night". It was the perfect anecdote to a strange beginning to summer. I am looking forward to more interesting events.

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