Summer means lots of thyme

Okay summer is now in full swing.  Lucky for me I have a country get away to avoid the hot, sticky, smelly subway. It's funny, people ask me all the time how I can handle performing in the subway. It does take a certain amount of settling in, a few days tops and then suddenly I forget the crazy surroundings, the sounds, the smells, the rushing commuters, the strange daily events that are too hard to describe. It's the movement of bodies, the heart and soul of a city.  The collective coming together of flesh, blood, metal, wood, air and water.  But for now it's crickets and cool breezes, wild turkeys and honey bees. And it takes me no time to settle into this kind of environment.

Taking a break is a resourcing for me and being someone who doesn't actually know how to stop "working," I am full of doing other wonderful things.  I've never actually had what I call a "real job" except when I was in my teens first working at Bob's Surplus in Middletown, CT, folding jeans, working the cash register and then display (that's when I learned to drink my coffee black), and later a brief stint as a drive-up teller at a Liberty Bank in Portland.  The branch manager one day seeing my cash stored in every direction, took the bills dumping them on the counter in a huge pile as a crazy way to teach me how to organize in one direction face up. Of course I never made that mistake again. I still organize bills that way. I was starting my first gigs at the same time and soon learned it was certainly more interesting and fun to embark on a career in music. Who knew I'd still be doing it happily all these years later, the highs the lows the good money and bad.  "You got to love life to live life, and live life to love life." :Thornton Wilder, Our Town. Along the way I've always had a passion for other things that mean using my hands  like sound engineering, but other non musical things like cooking, building and repairing things, gardening, photography, and community work.  

Today I woke up and pulled weeds in our thyme garden and like I always like to say with a laugh, "we've got plenty of thyme." I walked the pups down a gravel country road, and am now back sitting at the computer writing.  Last night Michele and I and some friends went to Hudson, NY for an outdoor concert series along the river called Hudson.Water.Music. produced by Rob Caldwell and owner of the most fun and eclectic "community" music store in America called Musica.

There were performers from Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, wandering the grounds, and hoola hoops everywhere for anyone to take a spin. There was a wonderful performance by The Edna Project with Liz Queler and Seth Farber and their very talented 12 year old son Joey on the Cajon.

Edna St. Vincent Millay lived in Austerlitz, NY on a fabulous piece of land she named Steepletop, where she escaped NYC with the rest of her angels and demons to write and celebrate her very intense and eclectic life. She was a rock star of the day (1920's). I remember my grandfather Raymond Gomez who emigrated from Antigua was a fan of Vincent's and could recite stanza's of her poetry. What was wonderful about The Edna Project is Liz and Seth have created wonderful musical accompaniment to the words of Edna St. Vincent's. My friend Sherry commented last night that the lyrics sound as contemporary as anything we listen to today.  Seeing Seth was great fun as I had hired him back in 1998 to perform the B3 organ for a project I was producing (he is a fantastic keyboardist). Joey had just been born, so it was fun to see him play last night 12 years later. And Play he does, with so much passion and groove, while others like yours truly picked up one of the many hoola hoops laying about and took a twirl. Ah childhood memories. I think Edna St. Vincent was smiling.

And in the life is a small world category, sitting in chairs just next to us were Dini Lamot and Windle Davis (formerly of the group Human Sexual Response) old friends from my Key West days in the mid 1980's.  I haven't seen them since.  They are now happily living in Hudson, have a wonderful B&B The Inn At Hudson and have been together 36 years. They will officially marry next Tuesday. Congratulations.

Later Sweet Soubrette performed a lovely set. A fun trio of Violin, Uke, and yes Marimba while they performed the hot July sun set behind them along the Hudson river horizon.

As the next weeks go on I'll catch up on my many clips from the past months performing in the subway.  You can look forward to more What's Your Inspiration? clips, and some really fun spontaneous jams from commuters passing by.  And mostly I'll get out into the country and fill myself with nature before heading back to the Underground and parts unknown.

Happy Summer.


ha, ha, we have lots of thyme.....

Summer Is On

The past month has been pretty fun and interesting for NYCSubwayGirl

I met and jammed with musicians from Amsterdam in the Staten Island Ferry Terminal and of course got a wonderful What's Your Inspiration? clip from them.  In halting English including no accent Billy responded "this might sound cheesy, but love." I met amazing Sustainability champion Roberto A. Sanchez who gave me such a succinct definition of Sustainability.

I had the chance to sing at a few weddings so far, one of them was for my cousin Michael who not only had the honor of marrying the wonderful Alex, but as Stage Manager of the hit Broadway Show Book Of Mormon, also became part of a Tony award winning team.  All in the same weekend.  How's that for a high time in your life!  Congratulations Michael and Alex.  They made a youtube clip of my singing La Vie En Rose for the first dance

It was rainy last weekend both for my Garden Party gig to benefit Spencertown Academy Arts Center and my visit to Bobby The Carriage horse, living happily at Equine Advocates Sanctuary in Chatham, NY. Here's a clip I made of Bobby's re-Birthday celebration. Bobby was rescued on June 25, 2010 by Equine Advocates and the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.  He was then shipped to Equine Advocates Rescue & Sanctuary in Chatham, NY where he has been retired.

Of course the big news occurred Friday evening June 24th when the NY State Senate passed the Marriage Equality Bill 33-29 and then signed by Governor Cuomo. Congratulations to everyone on what I believe is the right side of history. To the others I say, in time like so many of our Country's 200+ years of history has shown, that we evolve.

On June 18th I performed at the 2nd annual Hudson Pride. Here's my blog about the day in Hudson, and some clips from my weekend.

My performance clip at Club Helsinki, and I am especially proud of a clip I made of Matthew Hamilton whose "I might be straight, but I'm not narrow" t-shirt prompted a fun exchange.  

Here's Matthew's "make it happen" clip

and event organizer Trixie Starr's What's Your Inspiration Clip.

Summer reading is also something I look forward to as I spend less time performing and more time being inspired by others and the countryside around me. I've already begun with these two:

Fellow Music Under New York performers, Heth and Jed Weinstein's book  Buskers: The On-The-Streets, In-the-trains, Off -the-Grid Memoir of two New York City Street Musicians (now that's 36 characters shy of a full tweet).

Margaret Roach "And I Will Find Some Peace In There." 

Why do these books resonate with me? With Heth and Jed's book, it's their life of discovering an underworld of possibility by performing in public spaces of NYC, something I know about intimately. And in Margaret's book, it's about following a passion begun by a single act of purchasing a weekend home, and then leaving a corporate job for the unknown adventure of living there full time surrounded by nature. My partner Michele and I bought and built on a piece of land in 2002, and this past month she left her corporate job of 14 years for the unknown.  Stay tuned.

Happy 4th of July weekend.  

When subway heats up

hotter than Hades 34th st platform.  Need to get to ferry terminal for 2:30 ferry

Service cuts no more W line need to rely on R or switch to 5 at 14th st for Bowling Green.  Another train comes it's an N.  My back is dripping sweat, very hot.  Door stays open longer than usual so I hop in.  It's cooler, I can decide at 14th st if I want to switch to an R or go upstairs lugging my stuff to the 5.  Subway musicians spend a lot of mental energy figuring out where escalators and elevators are.  Unfortunately we don't know when they are running. Life with the subway is a series of decisions to move closer to where we need to go. Rats, just realized the N is local meaning I could miss the R connection, so I look out the window to see if an  R speeds by at 23rd st.  So far so good.  Hedge my bet at 14th st no matter what.  At least it's cool.

Earlier  I walked past the MUNY spot at 34th st a solo pan flute player played a mournful sound fit in with the oppressive heat.

Today is my last booking for July and August but quite a commute to be able to perform in an air conditioned terminal on Staten Island.  Off at 14th st sounds like Natalia (Saw Lady) is playing.  Wow it's too hot for this spot.  We ARE a crazy bunch.