Last weekend¬† I¬† performed at the DUMBO Arts¬† Festival in Dumbo Brooklyn. I invited¬† Luss, the rapper who had randomly jumped¬† off the train a few weeks back & jammed w/ me, to join me and rap on a tune in my set.¬† The Festival rocked & the set was¬† superb. I met new friends & fabulous artists & musicians. All in all the day¬† was a hit.
And here’s is the link to my specific show/blog post:
Tonight – a week¬† later I headed under late – around 9 – turns out 9PM is a rockin’ time to gig on the “A” in Manhattan, cause Manhattan is pretty much on it’s way to being completely wasted.¬† Drunk¬† Manhattan = happy Manhattan & yes it was a fun night on the Uptown 59th St platform, not to mention the obsessed Asian tourist who videotaped me¬† for hours, dropping dollars in my¬† case and perusing my merchandise with an oddly ACD air to him. Ah the colour on the platforms.
As I wrapped (damn having to pee!) I heard a sound, music…”Danny!” I thought – “yay Danny’s here!” I moved from a¬† walk to a run, my¬† gear trailing behind me on my dolly. Not sure what it is about the thought of seeing Danny that makes me run¬† to¬† see him & smile¬† ear to ear¬† – but it always does. I don’t care what’s¬† gone on in my day – seeing & hearing Danny, sitting next to him on the subway bench changes everything. Maybe it’s because, you know how it feels like¬† the world is getting faster and faster and it’s sometimes hard to keep up? Well, when you meet Danny it’s as if nothing has changed.¬† Life is still smooth and simple and nothing feels crazy fast or outta control. Or maybe it’s because of his spirit – he’s unflappable, like a farmer. No matter what storms come his way; cops, bad days, good days, tickets arrests, court appearances…just like a farmer Danny, without question gets up and does what he does – tends to his music. Or perhaps it’s because he is from a different time in history and it’s a time and place I feel oddly connected to at my soul. He grew up in the fifties and sixties in the South when Southern¬† blues and Soul were just beginning to be recognized in popular culture. What shaped him musically then is what moves me musically now. Maybe it’s just some past life thing for me – who knows. But whatever the reason, I love seeing Danny!
I ran up to him, gave him a big hug & sat down to¬† chat & sing. A train pulled up and people put money in his duffle¬† bag,¬† most of the girls giving him a kiss on the cheek. Ah, Danny, Danny – you are the showman…
“Hey, Danny, this rapper and I’ve¬† been collaborating on some¬† Bill Withers stuff. You¬† should hear.”
“That¬† sounds good”
“It¬† is. It’s crazy how it all fits. We’re trying to¬† get it recorded”
“You should come on up on day and see¬† the¬† set up¬† I have uptown,¬† meet my guy who is an engineer.¬† Maybe you can record it there.”
“Really? Wow that’d be awesome¬† Danny. Yes, I’ll come up this week. Cool.”
“So,¬† where’d you find this rapper boy?” Danny asked¬† with that thick South Carolinian drawl
“Oh, he found me here on the “A”
“Yeah – that stuff happens¬† on the trains.” Danny responded matter of factly as he turned back to look¬† at¬† his CD player siting in his lap.
Just then a guy wandered up. He was black, about Danny’s age and height, just less of a tummy on him. He and Danny began to chat¬† so I guessed they knew each other. The guy sat down and started to¬† chit chat w/¬† me¬† while Danny turned on his CD player again, gettin’ back to¬† his show.
“Do you play the numbers?”¬† the new¬† visitor¬† asked me?
“No, I never have”
At which point the guy, whose name turned¬† out to be Buddy, proceeded to¬† tell me that he just won $500 today by playing the numbers.
“Yeah, I win all the time”
“How do¬† you do that?”
“I’ll tell you what sweetheart, I”ll give you some¬† numbers, you go and play them and you tell me what happens.”¬† At which point Buddy rattled off a list of numbers in groups of¬† threes and fours, explaining how to buy the tickets etc etc all in great detail, since I have zero experience in playing the Lotto. I scribbled down the numbers with the notes he gave me on how to make it all work. As I did, I¬† noticed Buddy’s hands. They were rough and swollen as if from¬† years of hard use. “What do¬† you do Buddy?”
“I’m a blacksmith”
“Really? Like shoeing horses and all?”
“Yup, shoeing horses, fixing Buses and bridges. It covers a lot these days.” Buddy continued chatting¬† as I¬† scribbled. He told me¬† he’d just gotten back from repairing some fire engines. Buddy continued chatting about fire engines,¬† shoeing horses, fixing buses. Amazing what the job of a modern day blacksmith entails.
“Hey, Danny, I gotta run. See you tomorrow ok?”
“Ok sweetheart. It always makes my day to see you, you know that”
“Back at ya Danny. Back at ya'”
Buddy and I wanted for the the train. We got off at 42nd. “Hey, do you think I¬† can do those numbers tonight Buddy?”
“Naw most¬† machines shut down at¬† eight. But we can see” I followed Buddy as he led me to the first tiny convenience¬† store we passed. “Your machine still on?” Buddy asked the guy behind the counter.
“Oh my Gosh! Yay! It’s open. Yay we can do this Buddy!”¬† I was giddy not only cause I wanted to try out these numbers asap but also because really I¬† had no clue what I¬† was doing and far preferred Buddy being by my side when I plopped down his numbers each with a dollar attached. Buddy¬† cashed in his $500 ticket (yes, my eyes were huge¬† at¬† all¬† this) and we walked out.
As I walked home Buddy told me all¬† about his childhood exploits as a kid in North Carolina and his schooling at the National School in Maryland, one of the first integrated (non segregated)¬† schools in the US. He told me antic after antic about the years there and the trouble he got into as a kid. It was like¬† watching a movie for me to hear the stories. Much like listening to Danny talk about his life as a musician. I wanted to hear stories forever/continue¬† watching the ‘movie’ but was fading so we parted ways and I walked home feeling like the luckiest girl on earth.¬† Not only did I get to sing, make a¬† bunch of¬† straphangers happy, and see¬† Danny, but I also got to, for the first time play the Lottery w/ an ‘expert’ (if there is an expert at¬† such an activity)
Anyway – I’m fading now & have rehearsal¬† tomorrow so I’ll say ‘Ciao’ for now, but stay tuned. We all wanna know how those¬† numbers turn out, right? : )