Weddings And Stuff And Junk

There are many things floating around in my head that I want to write something about.  Most of them will be gone before I get around to it.  I'm just glad I found a little time for this post before it's forgotten.  Weddings.  The topic is still semi-fresh in my head, so hopefully I can get something down here that makes some sort of sense.

Let's be honest.  First and foremost, no one really likes a wedding.  It's true.  Sure, people love a party, but with a wedding, there's a lot you have to get through before you get to the party part.  I've been to all sorts of weddings, as anyone who might be reading this has.  And I've gotten to the age where all my single friends are either now married (and have been for a long ass time) or are never getting married.  I figured I was now off the hook for the rest of my days.  But then a funny thing happened.  Marriage equality.  Slowly but surely, spreading across the country, homos are being allowed to legally marry.  And it really makes me happy.  I've actually never been happier to go to weddings in my life.  Going to a gay wedding fills me with way more emotion than any straight wedding ever has.  Probably because I know the two people exchanging vows never thought that this would be a reality.  I know I knew it would never be possible for me (and I was wrong).

It seems to me that there are three types of weddings people have, no matter if they're gay or straight.  There's (a) not quite the wedding you want because of obligation (b) not quite the wedding you want because of circumstance and (c) exactly what you want.  I was lucky enough to have exactly the wedding of my dreams.  A simple affair with only my very closest friends present.  Family wasn't invited for a variety of reasons and I have no regrets about it whatsoever.  Family was, for the most part, the reason family wasn't invited, if you know what I mean.  Afterwards, we had a party at my house and invited over even more friends.  I think it was the best of both worlds.

A little over a week ago, I got to attend the wedding of one of my best friends in the entire universe.  I'm not claiming to speak for him, but if I had to classify his wedding, I'd call it (b) not quite the wedding he wanted due to circumstance.  He and his husband are from Texas, a non-marriage equality state.  On their recent trip to New York they decided to elope.  New York has no residency restriction so they were free to get hitched provided they got a license and waited out the 24 hour waiting period.  Because it was an elopement, they weren't able to have everyone they wanted present.  They've got one of the greatest stable of friends and family I've ever come across. They did, however, find some of these people drop everything and fly to New York to crash the event.  And I bet if they were able, even more would have done the same.  There will be a proper celebration in December for everyone, but I know that if they could, they would have much preferred to do this at home.

The other type of wedding I mentioned is the type that pisses me off.  The obligation wedding.  I hate them.  The people getting married seem to have little say in what's going on.  The entire extended family HAS to be invited, even if the couple hasn't seen any of them in 38 years.  The bride's mother HAS to have her entire office come.  I've been invited to the wedding of the children of Ken's co-workers before.  It's just awkward and there's no reason for it.  In my mind, the wedding is supposed to be about the people getting married, not their parents, not their relatives, not their best friends, not their plumber.  Just because the bride's mother couldn't have the wedding she wanted is no reason for her to finally have it, at her child's expense.  

As more and more states sign on for marriage equality, I find that I'm getting more and more excited for my friends all over the country and look forward to comparing their crap-ass weddings to my ultimate celebration! 


Syd Straw

As I posted a few days ago, Syd Straw was making a rare Capital Region appearance and I was going.  She's someone I've admired and have been a fan of for a lot of years.  Admittedly, I didn't know who she was until she came out for her first solo album SURPRISE, but I've been a fan ever since.  I hate that she goes years in between albums.  She's only put out three solo albums in her career so far, one in 1989, one in 1996 and one in 2008.  That third one I only just found out about recently.  Looks like she put it out herself without a label behind her and that's why I missed it.

I talked about how she randomly liked a comment on my Facebook page already.  That led to another comment posted shortly before the show.  I really have to tell you what a freaking boost seeing something like that is.  It's wild.  But what's wilder is the show she put on Saturday night.

She came out and played two songs before really having much interaction with the audience.  After the second song she mentioned that they told her to not talk very much between songs because it was being recorded for Northeast Public Radio, which of course lead to her talking a lot.  More than I think I've ever experienced at any show I've ever been to.  She also mentioned that she had to sign a form saying she wouldn't swear (again, taped for Public Radio), so all she wanted to do was cuss.  And during this chat section of the show, she said something the blew my mind.  Just randomly, she said the to crowd "Walt Curley is here tonight.  At least, I think he is.  Is he?"  I responded and she gave me a wave and complimented me on my second row seat.  LOL.  But that was only the first of three times she name checked me during the show.  The second time was when she said I'd made a request for a song before playing it.  I wish I knew when the request was going to be played so I would be ready to tape it.  I started recording right after that, but at least I knew to hit the record button on my phone.  

She gave a truly magical, yet surreal show.  She talked about a lot of stuff, whether it was song inspirations, stories from the road, stories from home, just all sorts of stuff.  And I love that the show really had no structure to it.  She had a set list written down in her notebook, but as the show went on, it became more of a list of suggestions rather than an actual set list.  She talked directly to people in the audience, told stories about some of the people there that she's known forever.  It was amazing.

After the show I stuck around and got to talk to her for a little bit.  She's so warm and open and just about the friendliest person you could ever meet.  I've seen a few great shows this year, but this show tops the list.  And in the last twelve months, this is the third show I've been to of an artist I never thought I'd ever get the chance to see, at least locally.  The other two were Morrissey and Midge Ure.  Now I'm stoked to see who else is going to swing through these parts that I would never suspect. 

 Syd's dog, Carol Burnett, wandered through the audience after the opening act was done and eventually joined Syd on stage for the rest of the show

Me, looking like I'm on To Catch A Predator, and Syd, looking AMAZING!

Back when her second album came out, we used to play it all the time at the store I worked at.  My friend Sharon and I grew to LOVE the song "Black Squirrel."  So naturally that was my request for her to play.  I got it on video and was thrilled to hear her do it live.



Getting back on track with these posts.

1984.  If you asked me before I set out to listen to these playlists in chronological order what year was going to be the best year for music, at least in the 1980s, I would have said 1984.  I seem to have a fondness for the year.  And while 1984 turned out to be pretty damn good, I don't think it holds up 1981 or 1982 like I thought it would.  Close, but not quite.

As I just looked over the playlist again, I can tell you a couple of things.  First and foremost, it's the year I really started getting down with the sassy black divas.  This year had "The Glamourous Life" by Sheila E, it had "Centipede" by Rebbie Jackson, "Let's Hear It For The Boy" by Deniece Williams, "I Feel For You" by Chaka Khan, but more importantly, it had the big breakthrough for the Pointer Sisters and the triumphant comeback of my favorite artist of all time, Tina Turner.  And I can remember vividly how I found out Tina was on her way back.  There was a full page ad in Billboard magazine touting the release of "Let's Stay Together."  I remember looking at the ad and thinking Capitol Records wasted a lot of money on this train wreck.  Little did I know that after seeing the video once, I'd be hooked for life.  The video was cheesy as hell, but considering when it was made and for a budget I'm guessing was next to nothing, it did what it needed to do.  Tina was back and the rest became the stuff legends are built on.

1984 was the year I graduated high school and about the only thing I can associate with my senior year is Bruce Springsteen.  I've never been a huge fan of his, but I don't really dislike many of his hits.  And he was all over the radio that year.  He was all over EVERYTHING that year.

Other highlights for me were the final (until 2001) album by the Go-Go's, one of my favorite bands ever, the start of Alison Moyet's solo career ("Invisible" was my jam for 1984), Romeo Void, Nena (discussed in an earlier post), seeing Rick Springfield's bare ass in the movie Hard To Hold and the joy that is This Is Spinal Tap.

This is the year I also started developing my mad crush on Howard Jones, which I will admit, has barely faded in the last nearly 30 years.

Looking through my playlist, I was pleasantly surprised to see my album collection started growing.  Here's what I added that year.