Aug 25, 2005

That's just the way it is

Our 4th Bruce Hornsby concert in 5 years. I think we can be called groupies 8-)

To me, music is always best experienced in cozy intimate settings - the audience is at one with the performer, dancing like dervishes to intricate beats and extended jams, swaying gently with eyes closed to the ballads. It's what I estimate the Dead always tried to do, before fame and the mob juggernaut overcame the happiness. Hornsby manages to achieve that at Cohasset inside the tent. The show, which we have always seen on a middle-of-the-week night, is barely half sold. The empty seats fade into the background once the diehards are immersed in the music. Hornsby does transitions so well - seguing in and out of Dark Star, and the final ballad medley where he inter-twined "Comfortably Numb" with "Fortunate Son" again. Magic was in the air.

If only the acoustics were a little better. The concerts are so enjoyable that I did not even realize what was missing till last year -- we missed Hornsby at the tent but caught him at the Orpheum instead. It's a real venue with real sound, but still cozy. It was the best Hornsby show we ever saw. The bad part about that is some unfair standards have now been set.

Aug 18, 2005

Beautiful People

They say everybody has a story.

The second meeting of the "writer's hang-out" took place at Panera Bread. It seems that Lisa has dropped out, but we have picked up a new member who has a lot to offer. The sustenance of the group is no longer in question, the members scheduled a third meeting before we adjourned.

The shy girl who barely speaks was frantically writing down snippets of information. Suddenly, completely out of character, she broke in during a conversation between Chandreyee and the new member and said "I've been to Varanasi, India". I sat up. "It was during the time I was spending an year in Japan teaching English" she added. My jaw dropped, ever so slightly. "I used to go for Yoga classes in the morning by the river, and I saw a Bollywood movie in a theater". Game, set and match.

As a young boy/man, I remember distinguished movie theaters such as Alea, Menoka, and New Empire. It was the early eighties, when legend has it that the rowdier elements once even threw a cat down from the upper balcony to liven up a boring movie. The women of the family would go to such theaters only in groups, at a distinguished hour and preferably with some male "support". The scene was worse in Kharagpur, I don't recall female students attending shows at the town theater. The creme de la creme was an Amitabh Bachchan movie that a group of preppy Bosco Boys saw in Puri. We had a good time, but definitely stood out in that environment- molestation was not entirely improbable. In this context, a blond woman in the late 1990's at a Sunny Deol/Amrita Singh blockbuster in the Holy City is a story. More to follow....

Aug 16, 2005

New York is real - the rest are just mirrors !

I got to check off an item from my wishlist this past weekend, an item I had developed during our stay in New Jersey. It was to visit the Mecca of jazz clubs, the Blue Note. (I wanted to see Medina as well, Birdland, but that's for another day). My real wish was to catch the late late night sets that they have, usually 1 to 4, but let's get real. I usually collapse by 1:30, even in a loud bar. So the 10:30 set it was - Cachao, a Latin Jazz sensation.

There is a feeling of youth that accompanies a day at the Met, dinner at a Sushi restaurant in the Village and a visit to a Jazz Club. We were discussing how residents of Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston prefer their hometown to NYC on a comfort level basis (I am one of those people). However, New York still stuns oneself. There are more people on the subway and at Times Square at 1 AM than most places have at mid-day. As far as the entire package goes, New York is the REAL DEAL !