Thursday, August 25, 2011

Opening night

Our new guest, the balding man is named Paul. Marty is sitting on the steps, his hand extended, collecting, as he puts it, tips. I say Good morning Marty, he looks up in that anxious way and scurries off, relocating in front of Barney Greengrass.
Danielle has returned. Time to catch up, plan out the next month, decide priorities. Plumber first on the list, grate second. Money  issues to figure out. Master schedule. Where to begin?
Sustainability consultants from Solar 1 and EME come for a walk through and exploration of how we can do an urban green restoration project, beginning with the  boiler. 
Marc has come to do a pr training session. We have a social action campaign brewing that could be controversial. Wants me to be prepared. I’ve been doing this for thirty years, but it doesn’t hurt. Knowing my message, staying on it. Doing ok, just a little long.
Head down Amsterdam to talk with RL about bathrooms and a P&G memorial concert with all the old performers. Run into John H who’s wondering what we can retain after Woodshed leaves, lights, etc. He's got someone to help us think about that.  And he’s got another Shakespeare idea.
Back to the church to see if New York 1 TV is there. Stephen has just arrived. Seems like they’ve taken their footage, spoken with Teddy and left.
There’s Bon Iver coming on again. I need to go home and change before opening night. Edward is on the steps with his lady. A cast on his hand. I asked him what happened. Hit the wrong thing, he says, don’t worry, not a human being. Behind the alcohol, messin with me, I lost it. I ask how he’s doing with Reachout. Spent a week in detox. I look at the 40 in the paper bag his lady is holding. I tell him he still looks good, he’s got a chance. Not a touch of gray in that Afro, like a young Michael Jackson, I say.
Nah, old, he says.
No, young, it’s that Afro..
You still good honey, you still good, his lady says, patting his leg gently. 
My moms has 73 years and barely 2-3 gray hairs if that, he says.  I wonder about his mom, where she is. 
He figures he ‘s got two shots, starting with uncollected VA benefits. Didn’t serve long, honorable though...
He gives her a kiss. 
I got mail for you honey, she says.
Proabably a bill.
Nah, a ticket, and she laughs. 
I ask her name. Charlotte, she says. I look at her. She’s got a good ten years or more on Edward. Beyond the cackle, there's a gentleness. Lives at Capital Hall, our SRO neighbor. Along with Marty. And Deacon James. All part of our extended community.
Edward, Charlotte, take care. See you later.
Those sweet ethereal sounds of Bon Iver. And homeless on the steps.
                                                        * * * * * 
The crowd is lining up 86th Street, waiting for the doors to open. There’s Marsha with two young men from South Africa, one a concert pianist. It will be tight, but I will try to get them in. She’s got three other friends coming too. I go down to the bar with the South Africans. Soon Marsha  is there, too. Got them all in.
I point to the full rooms, the buzz, the people. How alive this formerly dead or at least dormant space is. This makes me happy, Marsha. I say. She smiles, I know. I love seeing my space, my church, this way.
This night I decide to follow Trekovski. I watched the movie last weekend. This time I see the funeral, the scene in the cinema. And much of the movie’s best dialogue. But all the up and down is still tough on me. And the finale, close....but still not quite...But the audience cheers and applauds loudly when the word FIN appears on the screen. 
The two South Africans are amazed. Awesome, they say. Exactly the kind of New York experience they were looking for. Marsha and her friends also impressed. They decide to head of for dessert. I stay for the party. 
Up in Mc Alpin, the courtyard and cafe, people are buzzing. Many of the Woodshed women have worn black dresses. Jillian is sparkling. Stephen,Teddy, Gabe exhausted but good to have the opening successfully done. Now to wait for the reviews...
I look around. Remember our parties after the Bridge concert series. Life. Here.

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