Friday, January 04, 2008

One Love

All I ever had. Redemption songs.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trocadero Fusion

Where could I be going? Why was I there? How could I be doing this to myself?

Sure, logical questions all. Fed from despair and angst, Leo gazed into the smoky crowd. In a few years no one will smoke indoors any more. But tonight the Djarum  and Gitane haze is thicker than lentil stew.  The counterpoint of the wailing jazz was overwhelming. It was no longer a dance crowd. The band had changed at midnight and Eckstein's mellow baritone was replaced with the squeal of Miles' horn. The world was changing. The Dead had opened for Davis at the Fillmore the week prior and no fan of Davis bop knew what to expect next. The quintet tonight was Miles, Jack De Johnette on drums, Chick Corea on keys, Dave Holland on bass, and a very young Wayne Shorter on Soprano Sax.

"My brother would love this," thought Leo. He hadn't seen Steve in almost thirty years. At one time they were closer than brothers, almost of one mind. But time and marriage and 13 states puts a lot of distance between people.
While Miles was running the Voodoo down inside, Pondering Pig was out in the parking lot, looking for fresh air in the smoggy Los Angeles night. The plan was that he and Patrushka were going to head out to a longshoreman bar out in San Pedro called "Tillie's" to score a lid of sinsemilla from a merchant marine named "Tanker" Calhoun before the morning's long road back to Stinson Beach.  

Patrushka was still in the powder room with Claudette, but everyone knew her as Lily Carcajou. 

"Blast it all," Pig mumbled to himself, "Damn Lily always stalls when she's in the head."

Patrushka was in the lounge area, waiting for Lily who was laughing and lecturing the towel girl. She was impatient to get out to the Pig. Not because they had a 40 minute drive to San Pedro, but because she missed him. On top of that, being in the women's room with Lily always seemed to turn into some kind of weird adventure.

"No, Kiddo. I'm from Saint Mande. It's Paris but it's not. get what I mean? It's like this is Hollywood but it's not L.A. France, baby. France." Lily was always itching to explain France to what she called "Boojwah Yankees".  She was born there, left at two weeks old and had never been back. Yet she was the expert.

"Hey, Lily. Pig's waiting We have to go". Patrushka'd had enough and started out the door.

"I'm right behind you, " Lily hollered back. 

Lily dashed for the exit and almost trampled the young and sinewy kid outside the door.  He was dazed by Miles' horn and the acid-drenched wail of the band.

"Watch where you're going, you big palooka," she hollered as he fell to meet the wood of the floor. They would meet again, though this would be their only pleasant circumstance.

Patrushka stood at the Sunset exit, impatiently holding the door for Lily, soon to be Claudette, soon to be left on the side of the road if she didn't hurry up. Pig had started his Studebaker and revved the 8-cylinder Power Hawk impatiently. It was going on 1 and "Tanker" would not be happy.

The gals fairly leaped into the car and they were off like a bullet into the warm L.A. night.

Leo was still on the floor, bruised and dazed by his encounter with the wild woman who he'd never even seen face to face.

Not yet, anyways. 

"Let's play it first and talk about it later." -Saint Miles

Friday, November 23, 2007

Femme Fatale at the Trocadero

This beautiful woman with a German accent walks in throught the Strip entrance. She was no stranger to the weird and elegant. The Trocadero was just the place for her to hang out. She'd met Bob, Mick and Keith both had a thing for her, as did Lou Reed and John Cale.

No wonder. She was a doll.
Anyways, the house lights had dimmed, as Billy Eckstein takes the room. Accompanied by Earl Hines' "Grand Terrace Orchestra" all Pig could think was "Man, can they wail and baby do they bop." The Pig was taken back from his daydreamer's nirvana. Billy was big stuff, the real deal.

"Gosh," thought Pig. "Hearing Billy sing "Stormy Monday" really gets me, strikes me to the heart. Where does that beautiful Baritone crooner sound come from?"

Where indeed...
But the beautiful German gal was where everyone else's attention was. Even Peter and Allen were roused by her presence. She cut the perfect figure in this club of glamour, this Nico woman. Funny, sounds like Nitsa. But, none the less, she was a star in the night's crown.

Disco was still a few years away, though some could hear the soul and funk starting to slip in under the door. Tonight Eckstein still held court.

Nico sat at the side bar, escorted by Andy. He was the king of Pop, an artist and a music producer. Many laughed at his personna, but he died and Southeby's took 9 days to auction all he left behind. Sorry. That jumps ahead too far.

Anyways, Andy had a Gin Fizz and Nico had Stoly with a Red Bull chase. Lou Reed was still somewhere in Manhattan, probably lost on the subway. John Cale had gone home to Whales.

Leo sat in the cold mountain gloom, energized by the day's chill. Snow sat on the nearby peaks as the sound turned to spirit. What happens when the rattlesnakes lose their skin? The rocks tumble down and groove, riling the already hibernating bears.

Swoop, swoop. Rock, rock.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I digress from the Trocadero tale for a moment. XM is playing an updated "Alice's Restaurant", a mere 38 Thanksgivings later. Arlo sounds mature, more like his dad than ever before, yet young as the all-american kid that tilted with Whitehall Street back in the day.

Anyways, It's a time to be thankful, to reflect on how little grace is earned and how much given.

Life and family and friends... all that cliche stuff is forever real and. Add to those salvation, redemption, the ability to walk into tomorrow with some sort of confidence that all is right with this twisted and crazy world in spite of our human failings and foolishnesses. Throw in joy and happiness and the ability to make new relationships and, well, there's a lot to be grateful for.

Last week my family and I trekked to Gilbert, AZ, current home to Kirstie and Marc and young prophet Elijah. We've wanted to meet them since their recent relocation from the Republic of Texas. Add to the mix the fact that the Pondering Pig and the lovely Patrushka would be there and we had no choice but to make the journey.

It's funny how many years of age, thousands of miles of distance, and millions of seconds of experience can separate people and yet...

...and yet it's somehow like meeting yourself. I don't mean literally, maybe more like a reflection. It's meeting someone you can comfortably refer to as brother or sister. You know the same history and it affected you in the same sort of ways. When you can share recollections of good, bad, heartbreaking times and know them as similar experiences is a wonderful thing and that's what happened to us all the other day.

I've given up long ago the belief in fate or chance. It's more like a God ordained moment. Sometimes we just fail to recognize where those moments come from because we become so self absorbed we miss what is going on around and in spite of us. Me and the Pig and our families were destined to someday meet. Not just because of those ways we are the same but because of the ways we are different as well. We had fun and laughed a lot, those belly laughs that are for real and not just polite twitter between people thrown together for a few moments of uncomfortable relating. Nope, we sat in the kitchen for hours of story telling, swam in the pool, the kids played "Wii".

We stamped on the terra for the day and it was good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Trocadero pt.II Salvation at the End of the Line

I am not given to subtle action or subtle re-action. Basically, I just jump in. I throw all the cards up, if you will, and watch to see how they land. Here's what happens next...

Peter, well known to the crowd, haunts the club tonight too. He cuts quite the figure in this place used to glitz. He is a straight shooter. At least he appears that way. He wears the years like the 3-piece Armani and the tri-tone shoes he normally sports. He dresses the part. He never looks out of place. His style is impeccable. He doesn't seek attention. Rather, attention seeks him. Tonight, though, is different. He sits near the kitchen with Ginsburg, reading and comfortably spooning Borscht. Tonight the huddled masses seem to not notice him

"Hey, Allen" he whispers. "Have you ever heard of this Bukowski guy? He sounds kinda seedy."

"No future," says Allen, "Just drunken dejection and rejection. A hollow canoli with no cheese"

"But what about McClure?"

"If you know Gaelic, you're fine. Me? I still struggle with Yiddish. Go figure."
"I know I've seen that face somewhere," The Pig ponders to himself. "Maybe down in Mexico or, perhaps, a picture up on somebody's shelf." Patrushka had left to powder her nose with Claudette, who had snuck in during Calloway's last number. "Why does he look familiar?" he ponders.

But then the crowd began to stamp their feet and the house lights dimmed. In the darkness of the room, the weird and glorious future began to settle into the Pig's mind.

"Maybe I'm a story teller," he ruminates. "Maybe I'm not just another parking bumper," he laughs surreptituously. "I see the northwest passage, mountains and snow. I see Sacajewea. I see a beat cowboy named Tutman struggling to be heard."

"Hey! What did you put in my tea?"

Is there more? There oughta be.

The phone rings at 828 Milwaukee Street. It's a friendly call, but the Devil none the less.

"Wassup?" asks Leo, predating the phrase by a good generation at least.

"Have you considered the deal yet?" Scratch asks with a chuckle.

"Um, yeah. Can't do it."

"I figgered. You don't seem the type anyways. Get a better offer?"

"Nope. Just thought my eternal soul might come in handy one day. Besides, I'm like my dad. I never get rid of nuttin'.

"Ok, kid. Gotcha. Just don't forget that you know where I am when you need me."

'Need him?' Leo thinks to himself. 'Last thing I need is him'

Is there more? Of course... just not yet!