27 March 2006

how to get kicked out of carnegie hall

what a weekend. don't worry folks, i didn't get 86ed from carnegie. but what a crazy time it was.

after the discount ticket debacle (see last week's "i am an idiot"), we ended up having great seats in an intimate performance space. we walked in and sat down to see the kronos quartet perform songs about war. when we opened our programs, we discovered that we'd get much more than that. the host of an alternative radio program based out of colorado was going to be chatting with none other than howard zinn between kronos' performances. howard and the host would chat a bit about the nature of art and its relationship with politics and then kronos would play incredible music from all over the world and then they'd talk some more. there was a bit of an intellectual disconnect -- kronos would play a stunning piece and then the host would ask, so tell me about langston hughes? what? the conversation itself was interesting, there were just some gaps. kronos brought along with them some excellent special guests -- a tanzanian musician who has created a combination turntable and kora that he calls a phonoharp. check out his instruments at http://www.cpcarts.org/kitundu/. incredible sounds, and add to that a totally bizarre inuit throat singer. what a show.

the best slash worst slash best again part of the show started when the radio host introduced howard zinn. someone in the back of the hall shouted HOWARD! HE SHOULD BE READ! we should have known at this point this might be a problem. after every single one of howard's statements, this man in the dark would scream AMEN! the real issue came as kronos finished their first piece and from the back came a thunderous KRONOS! people in the audience started shifting, getting uncomfortable, saying shut up! and shushing him. to no avail. as the stringed vibrations of kronos would fade, the crowd would take the collective sigh that ends all powerful music and right at the apex of the sigh would come KRONOS! YES! ameet later described it as something akin to water torture, holding our breath as the piece wound down, waiting for the inevitable barbaric yawp.

when the lights came up at intermission, the audience demanded that this man leave, and he fought hard, saying he was interacting in a positive way. the alcohol on his breath revealed why he might believe he was working in some sort of creative engagement. the house manager approached him and asked him to leave. he refused. the house manager became more forceful. he got up out of his chair but continued to argue with the frustrated audience. eventually, the house manager wrapped his arms around the drunk man's shoulders and began to carry him out. we could still hear him shouting as he headed towards the exit. I BOUGHT A TICKET! I HAVE A RIGHT TO EXPRESS MYSELF! WEREN'T YOU LISTENING TO HOWARD? WE HAVE FREE SPEECH IN THIS COUNTRY!

in other news, it's been a hell of a first week. i'm continuing to work on job and housing leads, with an interview this afternoon for barbacking in union square and a housing interview on wednesday. we'll see where they go. there's always more leads.

i just took my first yoga class at the studio where i volunteer. it rocked me. i've been practicing for a few years now, but jesus, crow into headstand and back again? no f'ing way that's happening. i was just happy to get into crow. a good workout, no doubt.

other weekend events: walking through the village at 2 in the morning, watching drunk high schoolers from jersey lean on friends, avoiding the vomit on the sidewalk as a pair of mustached medics shake their heads sadly, slowly. free afrobeat in williamsburg, at a bar midnight on a sunday appreciating the fact that there's no monday job on the other side of night. an attempted crossing of the brooklyn bridge thwarted by a not-yet-springtime chill.

the week ahead? highs in the 60s. let it come!

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