East Side Story

shark v jetGreat news! Turns out my rectum is fine after all -the doctor says I can go back to eating as many mixed nuts as I want!

I’m trying to think if anything else happened this week…; nope.

There’s at least one thing ready to happen soon, though -tonight, in fact, for many of you, Friday, the 11th of October, to wit Tommy Carns and Aaron Spade, ex-Hitchhikers and prodigal sons, two good old friends having a bit of a reunion at the Prodigal Son in Hyannis.

They’ve both spent the last few years primarily in California, but Aaron came back to stay in July, while Tommy’s just in for a visit. Some of you may remember my raving about Tommy’s solo album “Get Up and Fall Down” (Indo) a year or two ago; he’s an interesting, idiosyncratic musician as well as an engaging performer and a compelling songwriter -as is Spade, whose “work” locals may know from the dreaded Incredible Casuals; they should perhaps consider going anyway.

I’ve known them both for years, having seen them as teenagers at a Nauset High talent show where Aaron did a ridiculously good Mick Jagger imitation on the Stones’ “Off the Hook” (great choice.) Aaron was also in The Greatest High School Musical of All Time, the Nauset High production of “West Side Story”; in fact, it was his friend Ed Andrews who was pressed into the pivotal role of Tony at the last possible second when the original actor became unavailable, giving the performance of a lifetime, a performance that high school theater people still talk about in hushed, reverent tones. It was a milestone.

I believe Aaron himself was a gang member, though I don’t recall whether he was a Shark or a Jet; certainly, the Puerto Rican-via-Hyannisport accents on the Sharks were another high point. I would pay big money for a video tape of this legendary production. I’d mow lawns… I’d even pick up my room.

Please, let there be someone, somewhere, who has the video tape. Call me any hour of the day or night -this is my private number: 508 240 2733. Call collect. I’ll do anything. You can come over to the manor for dinner; I’ll have the glittering, unbelievably sparkly, and relentlessly phosphorescent Mrs. K whip up a soufflé. (By the way, that’s pronounced “soo-flay”, not “soo-ful”; it’s practically French, y’ know.)

Some of you may remember my having a bit of an identity crisis here a couple of weeks ago over my unexpected approval of the new James Taylor album (I thought I was hipper than that.) As you may recall, I was pretty depressed over it, and I ended up trudging down to the record store to buy other records by washed up has-beens I’d given up on to see how deep the problem ran. I even bought a Bruce Springsteen album (well, used -I’m not entirely insane!), and was relieved to see that I still find him kind of grunty.

I mean, you know his heart’s in the right place, but on most of “The Rising” (Columbia), he kind of sounds like he has a touch of Bono’s Disease, which causes taking yourself too seriously. He sounds like an honest man, straining under the weight of a great burden -could it be the Mantle of the Future of Rock?

Fortunately, there’s an exception to the rule, which is a tune called “Let’s Be Friends (Skin to Skin)”, the latest in a long line of rip-offs of the song “Groovin’” by the Young Rascals. “Groovin’” is a wonderful song, and a lot of the songs that have trod in its footsteps have come out pretty well -apparently, you can scarcely go wrong with that whole summer-y, good vibes kind of thing, and the Boss doesn’t; in fact, he sounds positively relieved to be singing something that isn’t Important.

The song is an oasis, but it’s also a mirage, as the rest of the album seems duty-bound; even on “Mary’s Place”, the chorus of which goes “Meet me at Mary’s place -we’re gonna have a party”, he still sounds kind of grim, as if this party is going to be a lot of work, but if we all pull together, somehow we’ll pull through. Jeese. So I still don’t love Bruce Springsteen -I’m going to be well again! And did I tell you the good news about my rectum?

By the way, my next-door neighbor Anne McKenna pointed out that I spoke in error last week in my praise of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” when I identified the show’s creator as Larry Gilbert -that’s not his name, that’s some other guy. The real “Curb Your Enthusiasm” guy is Larry David, and he is indeed funny as hell. So, sorry. Go ahead, sue me.

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