It's tax time again. My once a year soul-searching confessional came early this time, since it's the first April I can remember that I didn't file an extension to prolong my agony into August.
If you, too, are self-employed, you might know what I mean. I finally hired a tax lady from H&R Block to begin "legitimizing" me. She asked me what I charged to do karaoke for a private party. I began spouting off my usual pricing rhetoric...two hours this, 150 bucks that...with 3 you get eggroll...when I flushed and realized whom I was talking to. The priestess could see right through me, if she wanted to. She had my whole career year in front of her and there could be no wool pulling. I stammered something like "Well, how much can you afford?" in a voice meek enough to tame a pissed off parent, but not before we both started laughing. She actually had me in mind for an up-coming company function, but I was booked already. And, for some reason, scared.
The anxiety of trying to catalogue a year's work as an entertainer hits about as hard as the commonly asked question: "So what's your real job?" Multiply said year by many, many more, and you come to my dilemma. Tax time evokes the ghosts. Every girl who ever said..."I wish I had your voice, I can't even sing in the shower." Or, "Why aren't you famous! You should think about going per-feshin-il!"
Fact is, I DO get paid to sing, so I guess that makes me a professional. It's especially weird when someone goes on about how lucky I am to have such a fun, easy job. Sometimes they're even surprised I get paid. Like I'm the Easter Bunny of Bar Fun, or something, mysteriously appearing for that special person's night out.
So where do songs come from? They come from the aforementioned people. They come from new and broken relationships. They come from doing prison gigs, after school shows, dinner parties, weddings and boat races. They come from everywhere, if you can only make time to write them.
IF that's what you want to do, better to learn how to type.
I respect the performers who work their butts off to enhance your night while remaining appreciative of the audience in return. Kimmet and Doug surprised me like that. I was impressed that an acoustic duo would strive to be so audience friendly. Or, as one fan told me, they can be downright politically incorrect. That, we know, is not always appropriate, but it sure is funny sometimes. I've been dropping by Dutch's Tavern on occasion after finishing my gigs at Jake and Elwood's. I was taken aback by the rippin' Led Zeppelin medley this duo presented. Jane's Addiction, too. Doug makes small sound big. Kimmet, I think, knows every song that exists. Doug cut his hair. Most importantly, however, Kimmet and I share a great love for the best television show ever, Law and Order. Lots to talk about there.
En route to a new store on Bardstown Road, I passed the Egg Roll Machine/ Mimosa Cafe. For several weeks, there was a sign on the door that said they were closed because... KITCHEN ON FIRE!! I assume they finally put the fire out, because guess who was eating there! Jean West, anchorwoman, that's who. She wasn't very tall, but she still has a radiant smile.
I wrote her a letter a few years ago to request she quit talking about Oprah so much. I like Oprah okay and everything, I just don't think a talk show is newsworthy.
Anyhooo, I was headed to Ringo's Rags. This store sits right next door to Wick's Pizza, brightly coloring up the block with it's festive facade. I walked inside, looked around and asked the owner; "What kind of store is this, anyway?" At first I thought it was another Grateful Dead joint, what with the bears and tie-dye and all, but I soon forgot about that (not being a Deadhead) as I lost myself in all the goodies. Lotsa little toys. Beaded curtains. Plastic animals you move with your fingers. Jewelry, incense matches, lava lamps - yep, hippie stuff, but fun stuff . There was a guitar and amp for sale as well as rhythm makers.
Owners Karen and Kirk Marsella are fun to hang out and talk with. It feels personal, specialized in Ringo's. Ringo is the family boxer (dog), popular to all he meets. They're in the store that used to be The Gothic Shop. Bet it looks a lot different now, though. Happy environment to be in, all pink, purple and playful. Karen notes the fact that she has a lot of "funky chick clothes." Many are imports, but she makes some of it herself. Big "ugly" patchwork pants, the uglier the better! Those sell great. Because they're so hip, dontcha know.
While I was in there, some guy from a band called V-Groove phoned about coming in for gig clothes. ( I don't know if I spelled the band name right, but who gives a sh**, he doesn't know I was eavesdropping, anyway, huh?)
Funny coincidence, final feature . . .Kirk told me tales of playing music with Paul Moffett some twenty years ago, for some of the best times he's ever had. The band was the ad hoc Post Nuclear Spanish Opera House and it literally set the stage for open mike Mondays at the Rudyard Kipling, thanks to the 5-year emceeing efforts of your host, Paul Moffett.
My time is up! Thanks for reading, and feel free to contribute.
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