I think he's from Venezuela, but to me he will always be Sergio from Paris.
My husband was back and forth to Paris quite a bit this last year or so. It's a long story, but one that included shepherding a dear friend through some life and business changes. "Sergio" lived in the office near the Arc de Triomphe, and kept Pat company on long days navigating the very scenic route of the way the French DO things. When I visited, I would always say "Bonjour Sergio," and curtsy. He is a large and serious presence.
On Friday, unexpectedly, Sergio arrived in a massive, and deadly-heavy plywood crate.
It looked like the cute beagle at Immigration had done his job sniffing for illicit cargo...
I unwrapped him slowly, he looked so angry. I'm sure it was a long and lonely journey. His shadow self looked even more pissed.
Sculpture Savasana pose.
We put him in the front hall at first. But we worried people might freak out when we closed the door and they were face to face with... him. It is still New York City after all.
So, this morning, we gave him his own corner. You don't see him until you round the nook outside the kitchen. And he's got company in "sad clown." I think they balance each other out.
It is a lovely and very generous gift. Sergio now presides over the dining room table. We will never be lonely, and will always raise a toast to our beautiful French friends.
Maybe there is hope for the music business.Maybe i'd had too much of the Super-Tuscan.
Believe me, I can get as gloomy and doomy about what's happened to the "value" of music as the next singer-songwriter.
But last night, after sitting in on Rich Bengloff's music business class at Fordham U., explaining my rocky but honorable path of major label artist to independent artist, I went to my favorite neighborhood hang. I was hungry. And there is something a little overwhelming about scouring the past, and presenting it, all your choices flitting by in clever sound bites.
I ordered wine and some beautiful fettucine.
Benny and Alex, two NYC general contractors were sitting next to me at the bar. They, well, Alex in particular (Benny claimed he was just Alex's tag-along) restored my heart. They are so addicted to music it was contagious.
Benny and Alex
Alex even had a bid in on ebayfor the Ryan Adam's, Oslo concert, vinyl-only, covered in some kind of silk, signed in sweat and blood (you get the idea)....whoa, this guy was SERIOUS!
It was inspiring. He waxed on about how many places they'd traveled to see Bobby Zimmerman from Minnesota, I mean Bob Dylan (new record called "tempest"- all the soothsayers are wondering if it's a clue, will it be his last? it was shakespeare's....)
I was enchancted, enthralled, invigorated by their passion.
I asked how they listened to their music. If they paid for all their music. They were offended that I even asked. Benny joked that Alex brings a huge boom box to all their work sites. Then Alex started in on his home speakers. He buys the gear from audio philes that are a little down and out. Crazy amounts per speaker. He'll go pick them up from the poor dude who's got them in his trunk; teary-eyed. almost unable to part with his babies. Something about a five ribbon pattern, dual something or other.
I asked him if he liked any chicks and he said. yeah, "I love Gillian Welch. And there was that Lucinda Williams concert that time..." How 'bout that?
Real deal. That's all I'm saying.
It wasn't just the wine. Music RULES.
His name is Anton Dudley, and he wrote one of the plays that had a reading in Pittsburgh as part of the "Momentum Festival" when I was there. It is called "The Shadow Sparrow" and I loved it fiercely.
He had another idea that we were working on today. In his apartment he's got beautiful marionettes he's collected from all over the world... So when I got home, I looked for "chou chou" my French Poodle marionette. I had forgotten her until now. My mother saved her and had sent her on to me many years ago. There she was, In perfect shape, her little legs move perfectly back and forth. When you make her sit, she can wag her perfect tail.
When i was six, my family moved to London. My father was a journalist for the Christian Science Monitor and so we were to be there for a couple years, as he ran the Amercian News desk. "Chou Chou" was a reward, an enticement, an exotic gift to make the transition a little smoother.
It was rocky at first. The girls made fun of my accent, but I had "chou chou," and as soon as I had perfected my "british" I was in. London was where I began my love affair with ballet; that led to full-fledged dancing until I was 29 when got a record deal and had to quit all my companies and get on the bus.
"Chou Chou" and a "book" i wrote called "motor mouse" and my ability to pull off a british accent are the only things that survived from the London years.
But that's enough.
I've just finished Sheila Heti's new book "How Should a Person Be?"
Of course her book is personal, and existential and wild and messy funny. But nonetheless, the question is terribly a propos. As I read the paper each morning and one more person has cheated, lied, stolen, raped and gotten away with it for as long as possible - aided and abetted by colleagues, "friends" and family who are either in it to gain something themselves, or worried about making waves... I just don't get it.
Remember when you were a kid and you got in trouble for, oh, I don't know, throwing your gum out the window of the car...and you'd say, "But everyone else does it" and your dad might say "But that doesn't make it ok, and you're not everybody else."
I am going to sound like an old fart here, but have humans lost the moral compass that used to kick in from time to time? How is it that so many people seem to have no clue when it comes to that pesky question of right from wrong. We pass the buck, turn the other way. The whole Paterno/Sandusky thing is unfathomable. Of course the the Catholic Church wrote the playbook on hypocrisy, but did we really think that something that pathological couldn't keep happening in some other hallowed institution?
Then there's Peregrine, Barclay, HSBC, the NYC policeman and his wife who hired a hit man to take out a witness in their corruption trial. Even more murky failtures like followup, accountability, especially where lives are at stake. The kid who died needlessly at NYU when no one noticed sepsis setting in (fever of 104 and they sent him home with tylenol?). The big drug companies settle for 3 billion dollars, - "cost of doing business," but no one gets fired or goes to jail for the deaths that follow from their powerful manipulations. The slap on the wrist?
No Christmas bonus for the muckety mucks.
I need to stop reading the paper for a few days. It's just too much. So I am learning to french braid my hair like the ball girls at Wimbledon. Thankfully, there WAS Wimbledon, - at least the appearance of sportsmanship, decorum, respect, hard work rewarded.
How should a person be?
Honest, loving, generous, kind. Period.
It's been a very busy, and very hot week at Bad Dog, Butler and Wittman. I've been recording some ditties for my play, and creating a crafty little song for my friend Kayte Terry's new BOOK: "PAPER MADE."
I did some recording right here at Bad Dog Enterprises with my trusty and brilliant pal Ben Butler. Very productive. The biggest problem is that whenever you are actually recording, all AC must cease. So the atmosphere is wildly fluctuating from bearable to suffocating between takes on these 94-degree-and-humid days.
But we are pros, and nothing will keep us from making MUSIC. So, onward to Brooklyn and Wittman enterprises! Ben B. and I had done most of the theatre songs....so Ben W. and I got to work on the crafty song. Kayte's new book is full of gorgeous and fun projects to make out of paper. You will never believe what you could do with your recycle bin!!
We had a BLAST! Kalimba, mandolin, guiro, clave, cuckoo background vocals. I can almost see the wacky video that will follow. You might remember Ben W. from those "Story" Records. Yup, co-producer, drummer, percussionist....
Pro-tools always looks like little fish trapped in a flat computer fish bowl world to me....thank goodness it always sounds way better than it looks, and no one gets hurt....
We kept it fun with a little retro "GO GO CRANKIN'"
Billy the Squam Owl came along for inspiration.
Embarrassing but true: headphones are always too big for my tiny head, so usually I have to use a slipper or a mitten to adjust where the headphones sit on my ears. Well, slippers-no-more. Billy was the perfect solution for these headphones. We even recorded a couple of brand new songs for the hell of it. And when we were getting faint from lack of AIR, we re-grouped by playing in Ben's son's world.
Brightly colored getaway vehicles, bouncy balls, books, toys, - everything you need for fresh inspiration.
Happy Fourth of July. Stay cool if you can. Or find someone with a POOL!!