Saturday, March 09, 2013

Vintage Kudzu: "The Sights and The Sounds"

here's a snapshot -- taken from my old kudzu entries -- of what my moment-to-moment harlem life was like 10 years ago. enjoy!


The Sights and The Sounds

Wake up to the sounds of Johnny Cash singing The Beast In Me on your Zumbidor.  Get up and drink a quart of water because you know you don’t drink enough of it.  Check The Weather Channel.  Jump into your gas station attendant clothing, grab your headphones and go to the gym.  You don’t want to go but you know that if you don’t do it now, you won’t do it at all.  As you leave your apartment, greet the children across the hall with their mother, the super who’s mopping the halls and stairwells and the grandma in the window of the ground floor apartment --- in Spanish, of course. Make a right and head for Riverside Drive.  Pass a crackhead or two and be sure to say “Buenas.” You know they will. They’re always so polite to you. 

It’s about a 10 minute walk to the gym inside Riverbank State Park.  It’s sunny and it feels like San Francisco outside.  You don’t like that chilly breeze.  Something has to get you going.  You crank The Circle Jerks, Fugazi, The Sex Pistols/God Save The Queen, The Buzzcocks/What Do I Get? And then you remember that Rancid is coming to CBGB’s soon, that Reverend Horton Heat is coming even sooner than that.  You love those bands.  You must get tickets. 

You get to the gym.  You’re listening to Manu Chao.  It’s relatively empty.  Lots of older Latino men, a few black girls here and there.  The Dominican guy at the front who monitors the room touches his heart and points at you and then he sticks out  his tongue at you and makes a face.  You do the exact same thing to him.  He loves it. You love it too and you don’t know why.

You make it through your weightlifting routine with Manu Negra and then you pull out Fatboy Slim to get you through an intense 30 minutes on that treadmill.  When you’re done, you’re dripping with sweat.  On your way out, shove your Dominican monitor buddy off of his chair as he’s talking to someone else.  He almost falls off and shakes his fist at you, pretending to be mad.

The Replacements/A Little Mascara gets you out the building and up the street because you like it so much, you play it three times.   Chris Whitley/Automatic Love is what gets you into your apartment. With any luck, it’s only around 9am.

You don’t eat anything until after 12 noon. You pop early Everything But The Girl into your jambox, and jump in the shower.  You exfoliate with your favorite scrub cream, that sudsy stuff from Aveda. Of course the phone rings several times while you’re in there.  Good thing you put the cordless on the toilet.

Once you’re out and smelling “fresher than thou”, you jump on the internet and do business---returning e-mails, synching your Palm, making phone calls, confirming audition appointments and “go-sees” and checking in with your manager.   You call your parents.  They’re not home.  Your manager has sides for you: two movies, a musical and an industrial.  All of that Everything But The Girl reminds you of when you scooped ice cream for a living in Austin back in the day, so you play XTC/Skylarking for old time’s sake.  You make yourself a protein shake to go and head up Riverside Drive by bus to your manager’s place.  You forgot to charge your cellphone.  You plug it in as you head out the door.  As you leave, you are listening to Derek and the Dominoes/Layla, the deluxe reissue.  You have three auditions this afternoon.  Mentally you are packing your rolling zipfront suitcase while you are on the bus.  While you’re out, you run errands.  You listen to the soundtrack of I am Sam and wonder why Paul Westerberg can’t get it together.  You’re genuinely surprised at how much you love Rufus Wainwright’s voice.  Enough Beatles.  You start start thinking about Rancid again, so you switch to The Cramps/You Got Good Taste.  Some hip-looking black guy stops you at the bank and asks you what you’re listening to, because “it looks like you’re really enjoying it.”  You think about making something up, but you don’t.  When you tell him, he makes a weird face.  You don’t give him a chance to ask why, so he leaves you alone.  A word floats above his head as he walks away: YUTZ. 

When you get back, you warm up your voice, sip green tea, run lines and make more phone calls, pack your bag, pack your purse, put on a slight amount of make-up, dress up and get out.  While you’re running around, you’re listening to Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine, AC/DC to keep yourself going.  You don’t get back until around 7pm.  When you do, you’re absolutely ravenous.  Your cool neighbors Paul & Chad made lasagna and bring some over for you.  You toss yourself a salad, throw the lasagna in the oven and listen to Charlie Christian’s box set while you read the paper and answer/make phone calls.  

 Here are your options:  Do you a. go to some open bar industry party, filled with bony models, chatty stylists/promoters and people who call themselves actors; b. go to see a cool band all the way in the lower east side, virtually a million miles from where you are now; c. eat dinner in your underwear and bunny slippers with your feet up and then take a nice long hot bath? 

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