07 March 2007

New Music

On our way from the subway, we talked about Ragtime, about being fifteen and driving around after summer theatre singing along with the CD with new theatre friends, or bringing in the sheet music to voice lessons, and having Marin Mazzie kick your ass. We said it was a good thing we were headed to hear music, because even years after my CDs got lost or broken, we were both reciting from memory - My father's at the North Pole with Admiral Peary and Eskimos. Where is your mother? Dead. Edgar... The kind of memory that's going to keep playing the CD in your head whether you like it or not, because the memory's a whole CD, a whole show, not moments or songs, and - God, almost ten years? - every word is still there.

The other night Allison and I went with my mother and stepfather to see Spring Awakening, and after the show we walked past a respectable crowd waiting at the stage door. My mom asked us if we ever do that, wait at stage doors. I thought of:

Seeing Kiss Me Kate with Mike (one of my two Ragtime co-singers - he sang Father and Liisa sang Mother and I sang Tateh because Liisa's just gonna win that one) and waiting at the door and having everyone who came out sign our playbills. I must have met Brian Stokes Mitchell and Marin Mazie, which even today would be pretty cool, but all I remember is Michael Berresse, who signed with a sharpie.

Going backstage after Drowsy Chaperone, having just seen a person I love kick incredible amounts of ass.

Waiting at the stage door after seeing Jed in the tour of Rent, the first of our friends to "make it." And also at that stage door, the fifteen-year-olds and fans, especially the boy in the stripey Mark Cohen scarf.

And then last night, we get to the Knitting Factory, and I'm introduced around to people I don't know, people in the band and their friends, because I'm there with a Friend of the Band. And everyone - Friends of the Band - is chattering about the teenybopper fangirls with Spring Awakening tees under their hoodies, just the ing Awa peeking out. Because, brace yourself, John Gallagher Jr. is in this band, and this first gig they've played since Broadway and the raves and a sexy photo shoot in New York Magazine (which isn't something I expect these little girls to read - maybe the chaperoning parents - but I just think it was awesome). "If only we'd known," the Friends of the Band joke, the Girlfriend of a Bandmember I'm there with, "how easy it was to get an audience." The place is packed. "Just star in a Broadway show! Why didn't we figure that out sooner!"

The band plays, and they're raucous and fantastic, and someone's singing behind me, along with every word, and it's either a devoted Friend of the Band or a devoted fangirl, but there's no way to know. The Friends of the Band are unabashed shriekers, refreshing from my too-cool musician friends and how I compose myself at their shows, so there's no room for the fangirls to embarrass themselves. After the show, as instruments are loaded on and off stage for the next band, I notice a girl taking a picture with John. Rather, I notice a dad taking a picture of John and a girl. She takes the camera from her dad, and talks to John for a couple of seconds, and I track the LCD screen as she gestures. Sure enough, after she gets a hug and leaves with her dad, another girl and mom and camera approach. He isn't swamped, but one by one, maybe three or four, that I see.

The Girlfriend of a Bandmember comes back to me at the bar, and I point out what's happening. "Imagine how cool that must feel. To come to a club like this," she gestures at the hip/dingy basement. "You'd be, like, the coolest kid at school." And it's true. Parents in tow or not. (All I did was bring my dad to Metallica, go with Jessica and her mom to Rammstein.) And that picture with his arm around you, the hug and few sentences of conversation, that's fucking awesome. There's something brave about not being embarrassed about it. Like when my mom asked if Allison and I ever wait at stage doors, though I said, "Not since high school," Allison said, "No," pretty flatly. And I miss when that was okay. When I didn't have to play it cool. I still geek out, but I have to preface it - "I just need to geek out for a second." - and find the right moment, and test the waters, and half the time don't say anything at all, because "You were really great in that show" is never as insightful as I'm supposed to be. Or as cool. Like deciding at the concert not to say anything to the Spring Awakening ensemble girl who went on as Martha when we saw it on Saturday. She has a beautiful voice, and was really wonderful, but it just felt... uncool. And too complicated to get into, with the crowd and the very loud music. Which is probably a shame.

But anyway. Old Springs Pike was really great.


heidi said...

Okay, so I am jealous. I love Old Springs Pike. And also glad you got to see Spring Awakening. It is sad to me that I know the swing you saw at the concert and as Martha is Krysta Rodriguez. At 31 I am a bit too old to respectably become a "Fangirl," but I do love that show. I live far away, but saw it in January. I am coming up in a couple weeks and squeezing in more than one viewing. Crazy, I know. Anyway, glad you enjoyed the performances. And though I didn't preface this . . . maybe I should apologize-- I just "needed to geek out for a second." lol :)

Jeremy said...

From the New York article: "Correction: The name of John Gallagher Jr.'s band Old Springs Pike was originally listed as Old Spring Pike; Jonathan B. Wright's hometown Livonia was originally listed as Lavonia. New York regrets the error."

Anonymous said...

I went to the knitting factory many times in high school.

-your sister