Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm Black But Comely, Our Night Shot With Stars


Tonight was what might best be described as an evening salvaged...

I was on my way to OHSU, where as many of you know, I work with sleep disorder patients, at about 6:45 when I passed, under a green light, through the intersection of SE Madison and Grand. Unfortunately another fella, whom we'll call Charlie, was also on his way to OHSU, to visit his pneumonia-stricken daughter. He passed, under a red light, through the very same intersection. At exactly the same time. I T-boned him on his passenger side. Now it could have been much, much worse. If I'd been a hair further ahead and he'd been a hair further back, he'd have T-boned ME on my DRIVER side, which probably would have sent me to the OHSU emergency room. When all was said and done, nobody was hurt (except for a couple of cars). My crappy green Subaru, even more crappy at this point, was pushed to the side of the road, Charlie gave me a ride home in his barely functioning car, we exchanged information, and I called the sleep lab to inform them of the situation.

The lab manager, Candi, was able to cancel my patients and put in a shift's worth of sick time for me (Candi rocks), and I set about dealing with the matter at hand. I called the police and was informed of the standard procedure for this sort of thing (download an accident form and present it to the DMV within 72 hours). I then called A&B Towing to arrange to have my car towed back to my house, and set off on foot to meet the wrecker (whose wife, it turned out, weirdly, works at OHSU). Once my poor dead crappy green Subaru (I'm pretty sure it's totalled) and I were home, I downloaded the DMV form. It was 9:30. There was nothing left to do.

I decided something good had to come out of this evening (make lemonade as they say...), so I headed off, on foot of course, to the Doug Fir to check out the Baby Dee show.

I got there about halfway through the set of the evening's opener, fellow Portland homeboy Holcombe Waller:


Holcombe's remarkably warm and soothing voice, which resides in the mid-to-high register, is very similar to that of Jason Mraz. His singing is simlar to Jason's as well, although the songs themselves are a bit more restrained and cryptic than Jason's. Holcombe's solo set was split between guitar and piano based numbers, a notable one being a fantastic cover of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," which incorporated an interesting guitar-based percussion loop with his piano stylings.

Next up was Baby Dee:


Originally from Cleveland, "Bilateral Hermaphrodite" Baby Dee has in recent years become something of a phenom in the Lower Manhattan performance art scene. Dee's clocked time as a church organist, circus sideshow performer, and adult tricycle riding avant harpist (she is, in fact, classically trained in this instrument). Her set this evening exhibited just the sort of challenging contradictions you would expect of such an artist as I've just described, an artist who bravely, if blithely, walks an uncomfortable and un-nerving line between the sacred and the profane. Her voice, wavering between masculine and feminine, and at times combining the two, evoked a drunken brawl between Ethel Merman and Tom Waits (with Baby Gramps shouting encouragement at both sides for good surrealistic measure). A prodigious instrumentalist, she jumped easily between etherial harp-driven freak-folk and the waltz-inflected piano madness of an id freed of all restraint. She barked and growled. She chirped and whooped. And like an old soul, she just didn't give a fuck. She scooped us up with her man hands, held us for a moment to her bosom, and threw us back to the floor to be astounded, broken Subarus be damned. It was exactly what I needed on this night.

I'm always amazed at how a moment of artistic transcendence takes the mind off more mundane and earthly matters...

2 comments:

Dr. Virago said...

Dude, that really sucks. Do have decent insurance? If you do, you may find that they'll pay more for your totaled car than a dealer would pay for it as a trade-in, which is a kind of silver lining I suppose.

Still. That sucks. But I'm glad no one was hurt, especially you.

tommy said...

I've got pretty bare-bones insurance. If I'd gotten collision on this car, the deductible would've been at least the value of the car, so I didn't bother. But we'll see how it shakes out... And thanks for being glad I wasn't hurt (I'm glad for that as well)!