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August 6, 2001
The word for the day

The word for the day is: humid.
It's sort of like trying to sleep in a sauna. I got up at about 3 and emptied all the ice cube trays into a towel, wrapped it up into a little package, and went back to bed with it on my face. Much better for a few hours, but then I was too wet, and had to get rid of it. Hot.

I don't know how people read with headphones on. Maybe if the music doesn't have any words...

Fill-in: Friday night went to Jones Beach to see third and final Trey show. It was a good show, with the surprise Mike encore, but despite that my least favorite of the three. The sound wasn't that great from where we were sitting, and there wasn't enough room to dance. It's far nicer to be sitting on a blanket on the lawn at Merriweather. With Dave and Cass and Denyse. Our crew was bigger this time too, and it's always a challenge to bring the uninitiated. My passion for Phish and Trey, etc, is probably unreasonable, and certainly unfathomable to most people. "You had to be there". I can't expect it to move people the way it moves me, and there's no real reason why it should. For me, it's a history. Memories. It's very personal and very important to me. It's where I feel really good. Other places too, but that ritual aspect of it lends it a certain... ritual. Hard to explain. Dave? Little help? Dave knows what I'm talking about.

Saturday spent hooking up audio equipment. Fun! It was, actually, sort of fun, got everything working and watched a couple of movies. The Virgin Suicides was fair, The Abyss was good, the special edition is damn long though. Either way, they both sounded terrific. As well they better.

Sunday we had skimpy yet overpriced and cramp-inducing breakfast, then went to the Guggenheim to see the Frank Gehry exhibit. Very cool stuff, and as I'd never been to, or even seen, the Guggenheim, that was good too. It's interesting to be in one of these museums where the building itself is a work of art, and then to be seeing an exhibit on architecture, including models of the new Guggenheim that Gehry is building on the East River, it all became very self-referential. Twisted in on itself like a snail shell, and I reached my museum tolerance fairly quickly, but we saw some nice Picassos. Bought funky Polaroid portraits from a Dane in front, then headed for lunch at Comfort Diner. Fattened up (banana split and egg creams), we headed down to the east village to see Memento.

Good movie, uniquely structured and an original story. Rare, those, and that made it enjoyable. I sometimes feel in films like that that it's a bit gimmicky, and that there's no substance, just unique structure and editing, but this one was better because the story and the character were what drove the structure, rather than the other way 'round.

Got a message to join Laurel to see her friends play at the Rodeo Bar, so we trotted on up there. I like that bar, and the music was good, if a tad loud down front. Also could be that my ears are a bit blasted from 3 rock concerts in the past week. Laurel was concerned that we weren't enjoying ourselves, and I think maybe Denyse wasn't. I was impressed with the band, and mostly with the community they have. Iowa City-ans gathering at the Rodeo Bar in NYC, dancing the honky tonk to a band full of friends and ex-roommates. Laurel has a home, and that's the most wonderful thing there is. I need one. Badly, I think.

The article isn't online yet, so I'll have to paraphrase, but Christopher Walken said in ShoutNY, "There's something about it. We know what we're doing when we go to the theater, or the movies. We know that we're basically watching people have fun, and that fun is contagious." It goes for music too, more so for me, since I see more music than theater. No matter what they're playing, especially in a small bar or club, my favorite part is that it looks like so much fun. These people are living the dream, hard as it can be. They create, spontaneously, in front of an audience, and it's fun. I think what kept Phish so vibrant and alive was that they held onto that feeling and worked very hard to convey it to the audience, even as the venues grew larger and less intimate. I don't think you get that at a Dave Matthews concert at Giants Stadium.

As much fun as it is to watch, it also makes me sad. I would add to Walken's idea that for people who aspire to such things, or feel a nagging hunger for it, but haven't followed that path, it can be uniquely difficult to watch. But, in the end, I think this is motivation. Maybe inspiration. I hope that eventually, I'll have had enough and I'll need to do it myself.


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