I Graduated From University Today.
Nevertheless, the weeks leading up to it have been fantastic. I’ve tried to soak up as much of NYC as possible this semester and the last few weeks have included some particularly great experiences.
The opportunity to portray James Agee in a reading of the Agee/Evans project, a new play based on Agee’s novel Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, directed by Obie Award winner Rachel Chavkin.
Cock…No but really you should see it
Trips to museum(s)
Sunrise walks along the Brooklyn Bridge…did you go see cock?
A woman’s attempt to lead me in glossalalia
Boat Ride around the city
(A kind of savory octopus filled zeppole covered in seaweed and fish skin flakes…mad tasty…but seriously you should see Cock)
But one event in particular stood out in this week leading up to graduation which I’d like to share with you now.
my friend Brandon Pfeltz invited me to a Glen Hansard concert.
Hansard is an Irish songwriter famous for his work with his band The Frames, the folk duo The Swell Season, and the movie Once.
Brandon is a huge Hansard fan. He’s seen him 9 times and had recently gotten free tickets to a very small private set that Hansard was performing for about 40 people at the Living Room in the Lower East Side.
I, on the other hand, had never listened to Mr. Hansard’s music and Brandon felt that this would be a prime opportunity for me to become initiated into the musical world of the Irish busker.
He was right.
Personally, “folk music” has always been somewhat of a dirty word to me. Although I often love folk music…local (often working class) music that is isolated from the commercialism or elitism of mainstream music…the genre of “folk music” has always conjured in my mind the American variant of watered down blues and country music which has been Anglicized and intellectualized beyond recognition of it’s emotional and physical roots. No Soul.
So with Hansard sometimes being labeled as “folky” I was unsure of how I would respond.
Well, I have to say…
Loads of Soul.
Seated 5 feet away from Glen Hansard, I experienced one of the most beautiful, energetic, and intimate performances I’ve ever been to.
The room was electric (as they say…who are they?…I don’t know) , but not in a sharp way, more like a low buzz. Surrounded by his close friends (and possibly some family members), Brandon and I later realized we were some of the few members of the audience who were not friends or family of Hansard.
The Last Song
As the set was wrapping up, I felt very content. Pleased that Brandon had invited me to such a performance. Hansard asked us to join him in singing “The Auld Triangle”…the last song.
He then informed us that a buddy of his was going to sing with him.
That buddy, was Bono.
Now in living in New York, I’ve often tried my best not to express excessive excitement over celebrity sightings which occur every so often.
However, I must admit that I was pretty excited to be 5 feet away from Bono as he sang in a room not much bigger than my living room at home. (I quivered a bit…you ever quiver?)
Glen Hansard and Paul Hewson aka Bono
Afterwards I had the pleasure of thanking Glen Hansard for his set and asked if he would mind if I gave him my CD. He was very generous with his time and I think would have allowed for a longer conversation had I prepared anything beyond my simple…”uh…thanks.”
All in all, twas quite the way to end the semester.
And for those of you who are unsatisfied by written word and photographs, thankfully they were filming the performance that evening so I can share the performance itself with you. Enjoy.
Do you know what this is?
It’s a cock of hay…(but seriously, go see Cock.)