Saturday, March 25, 2017

Alabama Shakes brings down Carnegie Hall

March 25, 2017
I apologize for the delay since I should have wrote this last weekend.  I’m trying to write a blog entry once a week.  Once a week.  That is all.  Yet, even the single entry can get tangled in other demands.  Writing is a discipline.  Either I have it or I get distracted or lost in other habits.  Anyway, here is my review of the Tibet House concert on March 16th…as always thank you for reading it.
I was in Pennsylvania on business and yet I had tickets to see the show at Carnegie Hall.  When I bought the single seat – a few weeks back – I bought the most expensive - in the orchestra. I knew I had to write down the event my book since I would forget.  I had made plans with a client to visit the company and yet, even with the date marked down, I still forgot.  But, I was not going to miss this event.  The lineup was incredible, Iggy Pop, New Order, Alabama Shakes, Patty Smith, Laurie Anderson, and others and of course the esteemed composer Philip Glass.  It was a benefit concert for the Tibet House and yet it was also a celebration of Philip Glass.
After driving a few hours up the NJ Turnpike, I drove up to the George Washington and drove down the West side of Manhattan.  It was dusk.  The lights on the bridge were faint as well as the dim lights from the multitudes of apartments and offices rectangled in the steep skyscrapers.  I made it to the parking garage and walked three blocks to Carnegie Hall.  I ate dinner at a rest stop in New Jersey. I was not sure, how much time I would have before the show started.  I had time.  Bought a t-shirt, found my seat and was impressed with the expansive white room, the gold and the high ceiling as well as the sparse stage.  I was there with enough time.  I could have sat down and ate. 
The seats in the hall were cramped.  They were built for another epoch.  I was pulled into the conversation from a couple who sat in front of me.  Eventually, it was time for a bathroom break.  It was already ten minutes after the show was scheduled to begin.  Maybe it begins at 8?  Go ahead and take a piss. I decided to get up and make my way out from the middle of the aisle where I sat.  I made my way to the bathroom.  I heard applause as I stood there.  I was late.  I couldn’t go anywhere.  I stood there. Quick rinse in the sink and a swift jog back to my door where I was…stopped.  You can’t go in.  The monks are chanting.  The doors were closed.  The usher walked away and I tried to sneak in.  Nope.  There was another usher on the other side keeping people like me out and away from receiving a blessing.  Eventually, the doors were opened and I was back in my cramped seat.
Most of the night had shouts to resist Trump and the shared dismay that we have Donald J as our president.  Laurie Anderson was the first act and performed a beautiful piece on her late husband, Lou Reed who I saw perform at another Tibet House benefit concert.  Alabama Shakes could have performed the whole show since they brought the house down.  I was there to see them and Iggy Pop who performed with New Order and heard a rendition of Joy Division’s She’s Lost Control.  Ben Harper performed and introduced his daughter who sang with him.  The theme of family was evident.  Philip Glass’ son played, Patty Smith’ daughter and son played as well.  Patty Smith closed the night with a Bob Dylan song and final was, People have the power!

 I was not sure what to expect driving back.  The city streets were narrow since there was a snow storm just a couple of days before.  It took me two hours or so to get back.  I climbed into the bed leaving the fabled city so many miles away. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Vulnerable Men?

3/11/17 15:53

Earlier, I had a coffee with Jeff, a friend from church.  It has been a couple of years since we hung out.  But I wanted to reconnect.  I wanted to have a man to man conversation.  As men, we tend to keep our guard up.  Why do you want to meet?  What’s in it for me?  What do you need?  It’s understandable.  We tend to be on guard, defending our lives and fiercely defending our privacy.  As an example, a few years ago when I met with PJ, an old friend, which is another example of me trying to reconnect and check in; he needed assurances before we met; he texted back, “Tell me two things, you’re not coming out and you’re not dying.”  I assured him I wasn’t dying, but I was always fond of his muscles.  We met a few weeks later - with his wife.  Ali could not make it. I’ve seen him once before by chance while I was on a business trip in Malvern, PA.
I’d like to find out what does it take to maintain a friendship with a guy.  Guys don’t call their friends.  No one calls anyone - it's all through a text.  How do guys get together, it just happens or they make plans for some event.  Most of us are too busy and we use the weekends for down time, relaxation and spending valuable time with our families, but we need more.  We need to let down the guards and just be.  Be vulnerable?  Dare to be?  This is where I was coming from.  I want something more authentic than getting a few beers or seeing a concert and I wanted a one to one.
When I reached out to Jeff, he said – sure let’s get together.  I thought we’d sit down and get carried off in some small talk, but we delved down on politics, our families and our church.  We both came out after two hours knowing this is the start of something.  We had some ideas for the church.  I recommended we go out to dinner with our wives.  I hope this happens soon, since life lulls us back to our comfort zones, nudges us back into repetitive routines and soon enough another month passes.  Soon a year passes.  And the idea is put on the shelf for another time when say the weather changes or whenever “the time is right.”  Try something new.  Make that call and reach out to that person you want to speak to.  This is the time.

Thank you for reading this.

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