Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Cowboy Riding on A Steel Horse

To paraphrase an old "Hee Haw" skit, "It's been an exasperating week."

I hosted a small get-together at my apartment last weekend. I say small because only a handful of people who confirmed to show up on the evite actually did. Anyway, I tend to over-prepare for these things. So the full menu of salmon horseradish mousse, spinach garlic dip with vegetables and pita, coconut shrimp, strawberries and cream, and roast beef and green onion appetizers was pared down to the mousse, dip/veggies/pita, and roast beef.

Of the twenty-or-so folks who did show up we managed to drink half of the half barrel of Bells Oberon I bought for the party. So it's nice to know that even though we're getting older, my friends can still tear into some free beer.

Monday Night at HotHouse the popular South African singer/guitarist Vusi Mahlasela performed. I missed the last time he was in town; all accounts from people were that he tore the house down. So I was glad to be behind the bar for this one.

The show was amazing; Mahlasela has a beautiul tenor, a clean guitar tone, and his presence on stage kept everyone's attention. However, his singing- if not his songs themselves- were touched with an undercurrent of sadness. Mahlasela has been on the road for the past three months touring solo. His life has been and endless succession of strange hotels, antiseptic airports, and one-off gigs in clubs like HotHouse. The toll of being so far away from home and family are hard for even the strongest of us to bear.

It's one of the economic realities of being a touring musician in America. If he were touring Europe or Africa Mahlasela could command the performance fees necessary to front his full band. But here he has to pare it down in order to make some money. After the concert he came up to me, shook my hand, and offered an apology for "keeping (me) here so late." I assured him that he owed no one any apologies for doing what he loves. I wished that we had started the concert later so people could stay and see him.

Back to the party Saturday: I enjoyed putting it together so much I want to do one in a couple months where we really do get to screen a movie like I originally planned. I have this weekend off so I have plenty of time to rake and clean the backyard. Anything to get Emmy out of the house.

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