The sign on the elevator said ‘Out of Order’ and that was alright. I was in no hurry. “Whichever order is fine with me, elevator!” I said, as I stepped in. But instead of an adventure in randomity, I was taken immediately to the basement floor only, where I remained for two weeks.
Knock-Knock Pray, dear fans of horror & the unknown, have you heard tell the true story of the ghost of the Cecil Hotel? Would you like to? Wait! Before you answer, remember that I definitely cannot hear you, so if you’re still saying, Yes! Yes! You can stop, all ready. ii. Our story, friends, begins […]
when you win, you make a speech
thanking the ones who supported you
you’re supposed to be humble in your poise
you’re supposed to smile
there are some trophies you earn
that never have a ceremony
no round of applause
does success still count
if there is no fanfare?
at what point
does a table for one
fill a room?
some nights I dream up worlds
that are so close to the one I live
I’m not always sure which one
of us is awake
my life has encountered endless open doors
and ones I’ve closed by choice
if there is some almighty power
bigger than any of us
I hope each variation of myself
is living her variation of a dream
I wonder if she’s happy
I wonder if I am
• Pat Sullivan and Rachel Cox are part of the sextet who make up the Brooklyn indie hard-touring band Oakley Hall. Pat’s Irish grandfather loved music, and he listened to it 18 hours a day — from the time he woke up to the time he went to sleep. He even had speakers rigged up in the trees and all over his property so he could listen to Irish music all day long. Pat, of course, spent time with him, and today he says, “It’s weird — now when I hear the Clancy Brothers, I know every single word and I have not listened to them in 25 or 30 years.” The members of Oakley Hall are not wealthy in financial terms, and perhaps they never will be wealthy in financial terms; however, Mr. Sullivan recognizes that different kinds of currency exist. For example, he and Ms. Cox well remember playing in Ireland. Mr. Sullivan says, “We played at a small fishing community called Myrtleville in Cork, and it was just this bed-and-breakfast where we played to a packed house by a fireplace, and everyone had Guinness Stout, and we had all these old fishermen just enraptured.” (And Ms. Cox remembers the snooker tables.) Halfway through their set, Mr. Sullivan realized that “it is music that has brought me here to this spot, to this moment.”
• Raeburn Flerlage once took some photographs of white musician Mike Bloomfield playing guitar and harmonica (aka blues harp) while sitting on a sidewalk in Chicago with a tin cup in front of him. Mr. Bloomfield came from a very wealthy family, and he didn’t need to busk on the streets, but he was emulating his blues heroes and doing what they did to survive. These blues musicians were worthy of emulation — not just for their music, but also for their kindness. Blues photographer Raeburn Flerlage, a white man, once met Leadbelly and told him that he owned every record Leadbelly had ever recorded for RCA, with the exception of “TB Blues.” Leadbelly immediately played “TB Blues” on his 12-string guitar for Raeburn.
• When he was 18 years old, Italian baritone Giuseppe De Luca got a job recording arias onto cylinders used in a primitive kind of jukebox that played music whenever the customer inserted a small coin. This job was not quite ethical, but Mr. De Luca took it because his family needed the money. What was unethical about it? The arias he recorded were attributed not to him, but to the world’s greatest baritones. (As tenor and author Nigel Douglas points out, this may have been good training for Mr. De Luca’s later performances as Giacomo Puccini’s confidence man, Gianni Schicchi.)
• Pianist Richard Goode was careless about money. Students would pay him with a check, and Mr. Goode would tell them to put the check in a drawer that was filled with uncashed checks — some of them years old. Children believed that Mr. Goode was a very rich man because when they visited him they saw money lying on the floor. As you would expect, Mr. Goode was also careless in his housekeeping during his bachelor years. A student was present when a cabinet fell off a kitchen wall, resulting in broken crockery everywhere. When the student returned for a lesson two weeks later, the mess had not yet been cleaned up.
• Woody Guthrie taught fellow folksinger Pete Seeger the art of busking — getting money for playing music in a bar. Here is what you do: Go into a bar with your guitar strapped ostentatiously on your back. Buy a beer for a nickel and sip it slowly. Soon, someone will ask about the guitar, “Can you play that thing?” Say, not too eagerly, “Maybe, a little.” A little later, someone will say, “Kid, I’ve got a quarter for you if you pick us a tune.” “Then,” Mr. Guthrie would conclude, “you play your best song.” Mr. Seeger did a lot of busking during his traveling days.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved