Angela Bocage


Music crushes…one’s already fulfilled…

For sooo long I haz had a crush on my friend The Musical Instrument Cat Lady’s lovely warmly golden varnished wood lap steel guitar. Even unamplified, its sounds have entranced my ADD brain as I held it lovingly on lap and stroked its strings…and now that my friend has a really gorgeous new shiny black one with better features ‘n’ all, my just-the-perfect-lil-awesome-crush-object-instrument came home with me, late Monday night! I had never taken the Chinatown bus to NY, we were going to see music at Jalopy Sunday night, but by the time I got there we were pretty late. Thank goodness we decided to go anyhow! I wanted to live there. All the performances we saw were cool, first a dobro-harmonica duo whose name I am sorry I could not hear, then deadpan-atavistic vocalist Elizabeth Butters with sis Emily singing harmony and a kickass banjo player, and a group called George [couldn’t hear it] and the Phantoms that blew me away. The lead singer/hollow-body guitar player had contract-with-the-devil pipes that could do it all, the piano player was magic; Hank Williams would’ve smiled at the way his lovesick blues were accompanied and sung. I love love love the venue. Lots of old musical instruments on the wall, including examples of my current unattainable lust, the BANJO. The banjo player from the Butters’ band was even kind enough to start telling me some things I ought to consider once I am able to banjo-shop seriously, but my three comrades were leaving and the other two were kind enough to give TMICL and I a ride back to Manhattan, so I had to apologizerealfast and run…but the musicky goodness just never ended: later we listened to Sonatas for Viola da Gamba by J.S. Bach, an astringently pretty CD of mostly-solo oud, some cumbias, and the Ghanaian koura record Yasimika. When a cool new friend shared some gorgeous images of Palo Duro Canyon, juxtaposed with Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting of crows in the same landscape, the memory of  Yasimika’s ecstatic voices and Bach’s ethereal pipe organ accompanying the violas da gamba poured back into my mind. TMICL is going to burn those for me to share right back with her, which seems fitting.

My music-theory-for-bassists book quoted the saying “Music is humanity’s defense against the arbitrary…” It’s the first time in my experience an aphorism’s mutated into an earworm! My earworm panacaea’s Some Other Time, from X’s Wild Gift, better listen asap!  I’m so thankful to live in a world with music like this. And unlike it, too: Kirtani, klezmer and gamelan! But also a world in which “painting” could be substituted for music in that phrase, where there are Giorgio Morandi, Diebenkorn, O’Keeffe, deserts, rivers, skies that turn blue from grey, and the beautiful brains of my friends.

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Spring IS gonna come.

I’ll simply have to insist! A couple days in the last week when the snow had melted and I could walk along actual damp SIDEWALK…and then this last couple days’ vaunted blizzard being a “Feh, THAT you call a blizzard?!” sort of event for the now-ever-so-much-more hardy citizens who’ve been digging out from several feet, and I’m convinced. Yup. Spring! Maybe not THIS week, but…it’ll get here.

This spring at the Willliam Way center in Philadelphia my friend Pearlette Toussant is presenting a supremely cool event—which she’s already blackmailed me into attending because now that I’m dating again, girl has way too much inculpatory evidence which, while formally inadmissible as hearsay, could prejudice my case.*

On Tuesday, March 25 at 6:00, jumping off from the lobby of the center, to “Whet Your Appetite for Spring:” a walking tour of Philly’s Gayborhood to pick out all manner of places and things creatively includable in romantic spring date plans—but ahead of time so we’re not all frantic! Whee! This is also just a cool way for newcomers or visitors to Philadelphia to learn their way around and discover some amusing, healthy, fun and fascinating LGBTQ destinations, for Philadelphians of all tenures to meet nice people, and for everybody to enjoy.

*Anyone who knows me knows what a big lie that is; if I were a language I wouldn’t have a word for “overshare,” or “TMI”!** I love information! It’s all about the information…which reminds me to recommend, as well, Lisa Lutz’ shriekingly funny, like when you can’t help but yelp like a sea lion with laughter,  Curse of the Spellmans! A lot more than funny, too, in its unsparing but ultimately nonjudgmental portrayal of a most non-traditional family. (“Uh, I request Mal Blum’s ‘For Making Art’ song plizz, goin’ out to Lisa Lutz…”) I hope the first one, The Spellman Files, is as good, since I’ve accidentally ended up reading them out of order, but I’ll let you know when I read it, which WILL be as soon as possible!

(**In terms of MY life I’m like that proverbial open book, that is. Secrets told to me, I keep to the grave. Serious as an aneurysm about that.)



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