I love the West Side of Manhattan, pretty much all the way down the island. I love the Upper West Side, starting at Fort Tyron Park and the Cloisters, the George Washington Bridge, the view of the Hudson River, the Natural History Museum and the romance of Columbia University, the Public Library, the Dakota, Chelsea, Washington Square, the West Village. Especially at this time of the year, I feel some heartbreak missing the lost future that I expected for myself. I really thought I would end up a little old lady living on the Upper West Side.
I got to see Fred at the Zepparella show in Brooklyn last weekend. Fred Klatz, drum teacher extraordinaire. We had a bite to eat, talked for a few hours. It’s been 16 years since I lived in New York and took lessons and there is still that old connection. I love having friends whom I can go for months without speaking with and then we just pick up right where we left off when we reconnect.
The next day, Zep had a show in Woodstock, at the Bearsville Theater on Albert Grossman’s old property. Lots of mojo there. I guess Janis’s old tour equipment is locked up in some secret place on the property. There is beautiful land and a radio station and gorgeous converted buildings that are now restaurants. I think I can attribute the free feel in my playing that night to that magic energy. Those tall wood-beamed ceilings are the best for drum sounds, and with the history and the good monitor engineer and the fantastic dinner and wonderful people, it all worked up to be one of those nice shows where I am able to open up, let the music play me. Try some new stuff on stage and have it work out.
Sunlight dims and the blue glow from the Lawrence Welk Show is a dull disco ball flickering a rhythm into the room. I know it is past my bedtime and the realization that it doesn’t make any difference to anyone but me lights me up. I am a party to the evening, not the center, and I revel in the shadowy watching, a thrilled observer. My grandparents are lit up too. High-balls all day, starting at noon. They play cards, watch soap operas, hold court as my eight aunts and uncles pass through the day with their various dramas and concerns.
I enter a space on the second floor of an office building. The room is carpeted and bare, with just some folding chairs in rows and nothing else. About 20 people have shown up for the past-life regression. We go around the room and people ask questions and say what they expect. One young woman says she wants to know in which life she belongs; she doesn’t think she is in the right place in time. She’s ready for this life to be over and get on to the next. I’m a little surprised that the moderator doesn’t seem startled by this blatantly suicidal statement, but maybe she recognizes it as bluster.