Monday, January 01, 2007

2007: The Year of the Squeaky Wheel

I worked the past three New Year's Eves, and walked out with an average of $75 over that span. So, with the reduced capacity at work and yet another limited open bar package determined, I decided that if I was going to lose money, it would be on my terms.

Being as this was my first NYE free in five years, I decided to check out Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings at the always classy Park West. There were moments where I nearly regretted the decision. And it started almost from the moment I transferred to the Red Line at Roosevelt, where a groups of kids would not. Shut. UP!! It must've been their first NYE out on the town as legal drinkers, because it made me wonder if I was that stupid at their age.

Leaving the train at Fullerton, I come upon another NYE staple: the spray-tanned blond wearing a strapless cocktail dress, with no coat or wrap to cover her bare shoulders, her arms clenched together in an effort to keep warm, giving me and everyone else the stink-eye for staring at her mass of hard nipples and goose flesh. I know it was mild outside last night, but the wind picked up considerably after 8 p.m., and fifty degrees felt like thirty-five. But this happens every year, even when the temperature is in single digits. But then, high fashion has never been susceptible to common sense. Which is why, in my favorite cashmere duster, I was both toasty and fierce rocking.

The show itself was amazing. Opening act the Budos Band straddled the line between aping old school funk and soul and aping Fela. Done right, you have Antibalas. Done wrong, you get Chicago Afrobeat Project. The Budos are somewhere in between. Some of their tunes just kick you where you need to be kicked, others sound like endless chase scene music from an episode of "Starsky & Hutch." But they have an energy that is undeniable. Jones, however, is a whirlwind, reminding the crowd with her voice and her dance moves just how influential James Brown r
eally was. Any act that can keep my eyes off the lesbian floor show two stools down from me is worth mention.

Yes, there was some drunken lesbian fondling going on at the always classy Park West last night. To be fair, it was more like one straight girl feeling a buzz and making out with a hard core lesbian who wanted to slide into home. This woman's hands were moving like quicksilver all over the straight girl's, fingers sneaking everywhere.

From what I saw.

I left the show early to catch the final bus back to Bridgeport, and was immediately confronted with the remains of Amateur Night. There were people fighting over cabs, girls in torn dresses and thin heels walking - no, STAGGERING - into traffic; drunken frat types arguing to get into Gamekeeper's; dwarfish male thug types looking for an excuse to throw down; petite girls asking why I looked so "sad." I wasn't sad. I was trying to veil my disgust at the scene.

It's my own fault for venturing out. But the force of nature that was Sharon Jones was worth it.

I only have one resolution for this year, and that's to work. Recently, I've been taking steps to re-establish some semblance of a freelance writing career. I'll be indebted to the people who've given me advice, some of it obvious, some that I forgot, all of it vital. In addition, it's no secret that things at work have been hit-or-miss lately. I still love my job, but at some point I think about my well being, as well. If that means that I have to make a change, then I have to be receptive to it.

With that in mind, I've resolved to be pro-active in pursuing more freelance work and making whatever primary gig I have the best it can be. Moreover, I plan on taking that approach to all facets of my life. So, no more waiting for folks to contact me for gigs; I'm looking for them. It's the "squeaky wheel" theory. Sometimes the grease goes to the wheels that don't need it. No one's going to know who I am if I don't tell them. It requires persistence and focus.

We should all be squeaky wheels this year. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to finish my champagne.

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