We got complacent on the drive to Brooklyn last night. We got out of the house fairly late. Elizabeth needed a shower and I surrendered to the force of a 14 year old girl's preparations in general, especially when I heard the sound of the blow drier. On all that hair. But the traffic was disturbingly light for a Saturday night heading into NY and I chalked that up to it being after 7 and everybody needing to be parked and ready for anything starting at 8 and that's what Connecticut people do; they drive in to see something that starts at 8.
It wasn't until the approach to the Whitestone that the shit hit the fan. The garmin wanted to reroute, REALLY wanted to reroute right before the approach which meant it wanted to turn around and head through Manhattan. No. Not gonna happen. We slogged over the bridge anyway. By the time we hit the Grand Central the garmin was throwing reroute fits and I surrendered and headed toward Astoria. The garmins maps need to be updated. No. That's not true. Nothing has changed in Astoria in a million years. Eventually having missed an entrance which was NEVER, EVER THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE we passed Elizabeth's dad's old apartment slowly enough I could point out the fourth floor fire escape where I spent two weeks reading a two semester accounting text so I could go back and retake a test I'd flat out failed because I wanted that job at The Castle so damn badly. I think she let me come back almost as a curiosity. She gave me the same damn twenty question test too. Did she think I wouldn't remember every single question? And have the answers? I was that traumatized. I had the answers the very next day. I could have skipped the two weeks but in the end it was helpful. OK, that was more information than you really needed but we had the time.
We were rerouted and rerouted until I lost my sense of direction and I'm still not sure how we got to Court Street or necessarily what part of Williamsburg we'd hit and if I had to get out without the garmin it was going to be difficult. I don't care for wandering through neighborhoods which go from good to bad to worse pretty damn quickly, especially with my daughter in the car.
Good things: We arrived by 8:30 (a bloody miracle I think); we parked only four blocks away in a fairly good neighborhood; my favorite new organizer was at the door, she was glad to see me, I was terribly happy to see her; no shortage of good dancers; all I had to do was hold my hand out and there it was; I waltzed with Elizabeth, she's still learning to give weight in a waltz, we switched back and forth between leading and following, I found it easier to push with my right hand which is a way I've only been led by one or two men. It's very effective and direct even if it does cut down on a certain type of connection. It didn't much matter. I have video. I'm not sure how clear it's going to be because for some reason they had the room fairly dark, but I'm happy to have it.
ContraForce. The energy level never let up. Not once. OK, it changed dramatically at the waltz. It wasn't even remotely contra related at the waltz. Elizabeth and I giggled and walked right into it. I loved them for it. I can see how some people will really dislike this. However, where they lack a certain grace expected of contra bands which have worked out a particular pattern to the music that starts slow, builds to a crescendo and then comes back down again, these guys hammer out something that really doesn't sound like anything else I've heard. My first partner laughed about halfway through and said, that's Hanukkah music, I swear it is. How the hell do they know how many Jews they have in the room? I said I didn't think that was what they meant, it sounded like Klezmer looped in with the mix. He smiled harder and the centrifugal force of his spin increased. He threw his head back and laughed up at the very high ceiling. We moved continuously FAST, sweat flinging everywhere right up to the break. If anyone here happened to be even remotely germaphobic they would have been out of there. I was thinking at one point, ONLY in Brooklyn would this be even remotely OK. I didn't notice anyone bothering to take the time to change shirts between dances because I didn't much notice anyone much willing to sit out other than to collapse onto the bleachers and watch. I suppose if they were asked to bring it down between dances they could and would but Brooklyn didn't seem to mind.
At some point during the evening I went from maybe painting and maybe going to Falcon Ridge to deciding I'd rather be outside dancing. The need to produce a viable painting NOW is just gone. The journey of getting there has settled. The lineup is good today. There are three bands and three callers I really don't want to miss. There's a built rest period with a caller I can just sit there and listen to without needing to move and the day will be beautiful. It reminds me of the day at Clearwater with Florkow. The music was different but there wasn't dancing except for that one Contra demo that hurtled me into a place I've lived in for four years. It reminds me of an afternoon in Saratoga Springs at a jazz festival where I wandered half the day in a long skirt with a big floppy white hat with long ribbons lost in the music. I wasn't topless. I think I was wearing the top to a white bikini. It was hot. I was probably barefoot.
You are never really alone in places like that.
On a brief note about the end of the evening; we left at 10 because I was afraid of what the garmin was going to see on the way out. Sure enough, we were immediately rerouted over the Brooklyn Bridge and onto the FDR. I suppose I could have cut across lower Manhattan to the West side where I'm far more comfortable but that could have been a bloody disaster too so I kept going. It was clear straight through. The only downside was the sheer number of compromised drivers all the way to my exit. They rode right up against each other on both lanes, but at least there weren't any aggressive drivers and they weren't moving fast; they just seemed to have trouble figuring out where their lanes stopped and started. Nifty.
Elizabeth: you're really going to Falcon Ridge tomorrow?
Me: yes, ma'am.
Elizabeth: you're going to dance two days in a row?
Me: you bet.
Elizabeth: well bless your heart, and goodnight.
Well where the hell did she learn that? (wretched child)
I heard Pete's Posse sometime earlier this year up at Greenfield and walked away with a CD. I listened to that CD on the way to work and back for a few weeks specifically to hear this I think more than anything else although the rest of the CD is pretty good. The guy with the beard and green pants has some serious foot percussion going on (not here). I remember lying on my back on the stage, not too far from his feet taking it in audibly, physically, and visually. I didn't hear Grateful Place until I got my hands on the CD. There is always a difference between the studio and the live cut, especially with vocals, so as smoothed over as that song is on the CD, somehow this hit me harder because I'd asked to hear it. The lyrics aren't out there; you'll just have to listen. He's not hard to understand. Kind of puts things into perspective.