I had a rare evening out last night. Whoohoo! My friend Pam invited me to Union Hall to see a musician I really wanted to see, Andrew Bird. Pam and her husband, Jim, own Union Hall in lovely Park Slope, Brooklyn, and it makes me feel sort of satellite cool that I know cool people who own a cool place where cool artists come to play intimate shows. Because I have very little cool factor of my own. More on that in a minute.
Anyway, I met Pam and her friend, the extremely funny Jonathan Valuckas, who, it turns out, works at Scholastic, proving that even though New York is a city of eight million people, you will run into a pool of about forty of them over and over. We went downstairs to the crowded, tiny space to see Mr. Bird play. Pam said his record company had bought out a ton of the tickets and made them available to their list. Apparently, only people who are 6’7” are on that list because I swear to you I was the shortest person in the joint. (For the record, 5’3″. If I wear a lot of mousse in my hair and strain.) I had to angle for a neck hole (a space between the necks of two tallish people in front of me) in order to see. Fortunately, I have sharp elbows and a nasty disposition, honed at many a rock show, and that helps.
So for about a nanosecond, I’m feeling sorta cool to be there. And then I looked down and realized my fly was open. I’m in a sea of hipsters trying to figure out how to surreptitiously zip up my fly without looking like I’m doing something illegal to myself. And in trying to be oh-so-clever about it all, all “look Ma, no hands” fly, I manage to zip my shirt into my pants and it gets…stuck. I have a half-open jeans zipper with my shirt caught in it, and it ain’t moving for love or money. Okay. I examined my options: Fake an epileptic seizure, and while on the ground, manage to dislodge my shirt? Turn to the person next to me and say, “Excuse me, I’m part of a performance art installation here called ‘Public Humiliation.’ Would you like to participate by shielding me with your hands while I rip my shirt free and pull up my zipper? I suppose I could have really cemented my budding friendship with Jonathan by asking him to cough and make lots of inappropriate noises while I, um, liberated myself.
Of course, in the end, nobody gave a crap. I ripped my shirt free, yanked up my zipper, and that was that. And Andrew Bird was amazing. Haunting and hypnotic. There is just something about standing in a dark, crowded club, listening to music with other people–the communal experience–that is so wonderful, so exalting. But I’m a big dork like that. There were a couple of tuning glitches but they only added to the cozy charm of it all. If you like, you can catch him tonight on the Letterman show (4/10).
In other news, Maureen Johnson, who is not only an amazing writer (13 Little Blue Envelopes, Devilish) but one of the world’s funniest women, has a humorous account of a lunch she and Justine Larbalestier (www.justinelarbalestier.com) and I had last week. If you’re so inclined, you can read it here:
For the record, I never would have knifed that waiter. At least not until after he’d brought me my pasta.