Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Can't Ski, Can't Dive

It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

I mean, they make it so easy. Park once, party twice.

By reporting to Balliceaux, multiple itches were scratched.

Walking in, I was delighted to see the poet, who was enjoying dinner with a friend.

She may or may not have referred to me as her cultural conscience, but I'm hoping she meant it in a good way.

In the back room, Secretly Y'All, Tell Me a Story was fast filling up. Tonight's theme was "Work: Boss stories"

Sure, I had a boss/work story if I was the public storytelling type.

It happened back when I was working at a radio station.

It involved a promotion, the suggestion of illegal activities, my introduction to tequila and being kissed in an elevator as part of the interview process.

No details forthcoming, but let's just say I got the job.

Others had their own stories. We heard about "Rationalization Girl" (we've all had one) being beaten out by Reality Girl.

One storyteller prefaced her story with, "I'm very hire-able," to preclude any misconceptions. Later, she had an existential crisis.

Local music writer Shannon Cleary's story was about how it sucks to be a teenager, but my laugh-out-loud moment came in a reference to AFI ("I'm pretty sure I knew that was A Fire Inside").

A story of splinter-gathering in one's rear end yielded, "My boyfriend tried to get the splinters out. But he's a carpenter so that didn't work out."

A woman who was 22 in 1974 and making less than $2.25 an hour told of her boss wanting to play "Midnight Scrabble."

So that's what they were calling it in the '70s.

A former music critic shared how his appreciation for Mark Knopfler got him a job. Another time, a James Brown imitation did not result in him being hired.

He talked about "before Alley McBeal, before the whole Al Green resurgence" when he saw Reverend Green and a few notes in, the woman sitting next to him had clutched his thigh in rapture.

"Excuse me, I just had to touch a man." she said, echoing the kind of passion I recall when I saw him a year and a half ago, here.

After intermission and running into the recluse and meeting his main squeeze, three more storytellers shared their stories of depression, seduction and, last but certainly not least, Sea World of Ohio.

Because besides San Diego and Florida,where would you expect them to expand their empire?

The storyteller explained, "They wanted the slutty girls for water skiers. I got to be a pearl diver."

Kind of says it all, doesn't it?

By the end of an evening with Secretly Y'All, I've always heard things I couldn't have imagined, didn't need to hear or I had no business hearing.

That's why I love it.

Even better, it was followed by RVA Big band playing, meaning that with no effort other than scoring some Monferrato "Bricco de Conte" Barbera and a slice of chocolate cream pie, seats were in place for the next show.

It's my third time seeing RVA Big Band and I saw a few different faces, keeping it fresh and no doubt giving others an out when they need it.

Marcus Tenney, whom I'd seen just Saturday with The New Belgians, was here playing as usual.

On his first sax solo he had his hood up but by his second and third, it had been shoved back.

Playing swing is hot work.

Finding two completely different things to do in the same room is easy as pie.

Chocolate cream, that is.

Proof positive, with a barrel like that, any idiot can do it.


  1. This will not stand! I refuse to become a character known as "the recluse" who pops up in a blog every once in a great while! No.

  2. May I call you "the smiler" then?

  3. The "new man"? The "old rocker"? The...what then?

  4. I SAID "It's your blog..." I don't care what you call me. Just call me. Oh- you don't have a phone, ya damn Luddite.

  5. Come on, Paul. Every now and then you have to admire my Luddite-ness.