Friday, August 31, 2007

Dinosaur Walk


This morning on my way to work I stopped in front of a certain 3rd Street club for a chat with a friend who lives there and was moving the bikes from one side of the street to the other. As we talked I looked at the door which was once painted with a fearsome image and recently destroyed by the NYPD in a raid, to be replaced with a plain grey one. I miss that fearsome black door.

Looking at it made me flip through the catalog of memories I share with this club, not all good: Being held hostage in the Lismar til late in the night by one of their outer borough members on a psychotic, drunken tear. I talked myself out of hysteria in the mirror in the bathroom and went back out and calmed him down enough to be able to close the bar and leave with myself and the remainder of the patrons intact… Seeing innocent people get seriously hurt just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time...Getting choked for voicing my opinion too stridently during a brawl. Watching Donna jump on one of their backs in the middle of that same brawl. Getting hosed down with the soda gun at the Scrap Bar by one particularly loose cannon, only to get a sincerely apologetic visit at my job from the higher ups the next day. I think there were even flowers involved, and after that offender disappeared, not that I believe it had anything to do with me.

So I have very mixed feelings regarding the organization, but some great memories too:

Hanging with my band, drinking beer on a stoop and watching Circus of Power play at the annual 4th of July party. Watching a Eurotrash asshole harass everyone in the Lismar and then get on one of the bikes out front. We all clapped as he went sailing through the air... Regularly hanging out after working my shift at the crappiest of all dives ever created (the Pit Stop) with one of the members I considered a real friend. He was a Viking bear of a man, but spoke gently to me about how my time behind the bar wouldn't last forever. He never once hit on me and was the first one to arrive for the afore-mentioned official apology. I was very sad when he died in a motorcycle accident, as many of the ones I knew well have, and I never pass the club without thinking about how special he was. There are a couple of other members who I consider to be real friends, and there is something to be said for their old-dog, continued refusal to let go of the lifestyle. They're a remnant of my old hood and I'm grateful for that.

Then I passed the shell of CB's, which currently has flowers and cards strewn in front of it with the words, "RIP. We'll miss you Hilly." spraypainted on the gate. I didn't know Hilly personally and never had that much attachment to saving CBGB's bc I believe everything has a shelf life. But I do feel for the people who knew and loved him, and it's still sad to pass it every day, another reminder of gigs gone past and the heavy wheels of change.

I got to work and took a look at some new sequined dresses we received yesterday which have the image of Jim Morrison painted on the front. I know the person who created the dresses and although she's talented and a nice person, I also know that she doesn't listen to the Doors. It's depressing but I see shit just like it every day.

Then I turned on my computer and a google alert announced that a certain spoiled, ridiculous, vapid, Almost Famous wannabe is shouting over the internet that she is very tight with my boyfriend and subsequently his band. I wouldn't mind if she actually cared about the music, but it's just about using someone who actually does rock to prove some non-existent depth, the same way Morrison is being used for those dresses. Even the rock groupies of this generation have no integrity! It reminds me that I need to start a preferred reader list for these blogs, btw. At the moment I'm too lazy and am just doing friends only.

So I know I sound depressed, but I'm really not. There are a couple of kids in the store who really get what's cool and what isn't, and they ask me all the time what it was like back when the EV was a true community of musicians, artists, performers, and yes, bikers. They sneak in music (Pat hates rock) over the store sound system that even I forgot. They brought back Natasha's fabulous dresses from late 70's/early 80's St. Marks Place. Every time I look at them hanging in a row I feel a small sense of relief, not so much for the nostalgia, but because I am witnessing a desire for a certain pioneer spirit rather than a mere unimaginative rape of imagery. Every time Natasha comes in the store we greet each other warmly with a kiss. We were mere acquaintances back then, now we feel like war buddies.

And once I got into the office another 20-something co-worker complained about the NYU twats that took over the bar she was in last night and how she ended up dumping a beer on one and having him thrown out of the bar. She said it felt great and she asked me if I thought NY would change because even she hates it now. I wanted to hug her for noticing.

So yeah, I'm old and bitter and still singing the same tedious dirge about what's happened to my hood and to subculture in general. But I feel okay this morning. I have a slew of brilliant memories that other people only dream about. I'm grateful I was here during such a special time. Today it felt sort of peaceful to watch the bikes get moved for the millionth time, and it makes me happy to have a few of the "kids" I work with really get it. I genuinely want to see them able to create whatever they want, it doesn't have to be what we did, just something of true rebel heart. It's also comforting that Patricia still plays by her own demented rules and continues to provide a home for the freaks (albeit dysfunctional) while the neighborhood around us grows upward in glass and steel. And who knows, maybe the real estate market will crash and things will get interesting once more.

Crazier things have happened.


1 comment:

Natalee Zee said...

Thank you for being you.