Celebrating a Friend, Dancing with Leonard and Random Act of Kindness

This thing we have has been going on for a few years now.  I’m still in awe at how life’s cards get shuffled and played.  Julie has made a regular appearance on this here blog and today I feel like adding just how much I appreciate our friendship.  It’s funny.  We went to high school together but were never in the same class (she, with the brainiacs; me, with the troublemakers), didn’t do sports together or hang out together but were friendly without being friends per se.  A few years ago, I found out we were in the same kindergarten class!  Not that either of us remembers the other from then.

We had high school reunions and saw each other at those but I feel it was especially after the 150th anniversary of our school (September 11, 2005) that we really started to connect.  She, at the age of 40, had recently become a widow with two young boys, ages 2 and 3. Her story was so tragic.  Her husband was hit by a car in downtown Montreal.  It’s ironic to say now, but I couldn’t imagine what she was going through, then.

Julie and Martyne, Liette and me

Back in high school, Julie and Martyne were good friends, Martyne and Liette were, and still are, best friends and Liette and I were good friends and participants in sports – handball, basketball, volleyball.  Somehow, Julie and I have since become great friends.  I love her to bits.

After this particular get-together, we met for lunch and realised we had a lot in common.  Vive Facebook for keeping us connected.

I was shocked when she showed up at Mick’s funeral because we still weren’t where we are today.  But, having been through what I was going through, she felt compelled to come.  I can still see her walking towards me with her beautiful, warm smile and remember it taking me a few extra seconds to register who she was.  That whole unexpected/out-of-context thing.  From this point on, things changed.  We now had another thing in common. In the past couple of years we have become more than just “cultural chicks”.  (I think we just use those events as excuses to get-together because often times, the best part of our afternoon or evening is the connection we have by sharing stuff.)

Speaking of which.  This time Julie is the one who snagged a couple of tix for a show without knowing who would accompany her (yeah, right!)  Those tickets were for Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM), Dance Me, music of Leonard Cohen.  After holding on to those tickets for one year, the night finally arrived.  We met upstairs from where I was supposed to park.  How in-synch are we?  Neither had her coat.  We both assumed we would eat at one of the restaurants in Complexe Desjardins (where I parked), which we did.  One of the many great things about Montreal is the possibility of making our way underground from one venue to another.  After a shared plate of calamari, our salads of ahi tuna and a glass of wine, we made our way back to Place des Arts.  What fantastic seats we had!  Row F, seats 1 and 2.

No zoom – pretty darn close

Of course, we had to do our usual “us” shot 😉

What. A. Show.  Especially since the last three ballets we saw were less than stellar.   BJM gets criticized for having no soul or emotion while being very energetic and athletic.  I beg to differ.  Obviously, the music was sublime.  The costumes were sobre, pantsuits in blacks and greys, long beige shirts and one in a burgundy dress.  Discussions were had with Leonard himself when the dance company secured the rights to use his songs and he requested they keep his personal life out of things and just focus on the music.  I think they did so brilliantly.  As in most dance creations, there are always little parts that make me wonder where the hell they got that idea from but that in the end, I care not because it is breathtaking to watch.

“Dance Me to the End of Love” had particularly frenetic movements that worked well.

At one point, one of the cast members sat on her knees, a guitarist stood behind her and she sang the sweetest rendition of “So Long Marianne”, not a dancer in sight.  So beautiful.

“Lover, Lover, Lover” was rather humourous.  One male dancing with one after another woman until he falls in exhaustion.  His fellow men come and help him as he regains his strength.

And what can I say of “Suzanne”?  It was sultry and evocative.  I was totaly entranced and was surprised to find myself with tears in my eyes.  I was a good girl and filmed nothing so all I can do is show you a snippet…   Just know that once he picked her up, her feet did not touch the ground until the end of the song.  Insane.

The did not only use Cohen’s older music.  They used three songs from his last album “You want it Darker” including “Steer Your Way” and “String Reprise Treaty” as well as the title song.

Of course they did Hallelujah… This time sung by a male singer, with the same woman offering her sweet soprano for the Hallelujas…and the dancers slowly appeared.  Just sublime.

The set, the lighting effects, the dancers, the music.  Brilliant.  Honestly, one hour and twenty minutes of non-stop bliss.  For this show, we never doubted we got our money’s worth.   It has been playing for a couple of years now, touring all over, and if it comes to your neck of the woods, I would not hesitate to recommend it.

We made our way to the exits, still wrapped in the music and the movement, the chatter around us adding to the buzz. Julie insisted we must make a pitt stop.  We made our ways to the ladies’, sure the line-up would be atrocious, but it turned out not too bad.  And suddenly I got the most intense burn that went from my back to my chest, up to my throat.  This was a whole ‘nother level of heartburn.  Julie could see in my face that all was not well and concern immediately transformed her face.  “Are you okay?”

“Holy shit this is painful,” I grimace.  “Why, oh, why do I not carry ‘Tums’ in my purse?”  I am taking deep breaths, hoping the pain will subside but it is not working.  I scare the shit out of Julie when I say, “You know, women are more likely to feel major heartburn when they are having a heart attack.”  Of course I don’t really think I’m having a heart attack but… I bend over in pain then stand upright, trying in vain to will this agony away.

The lady in front of us in the line-up turned to me and said “I do.  I have some.”  She took a bottle out out of her purse and tapped out two tablets into my hand and then a grey capsule also came out. “Take this as well.  It is charcoal.”  And I know, from my grandmother’s preference for treathing anything naturally, that this is not a bad thing to take.

My gratitude to this generous stranger cannot be suitably expressed.  I gratefully accept her gift, dry-swallowing the charcoal capsule then crunching the two tablets and continue breathing.  By the time a stall liberates for me, I am feeling better.  The pain subsides ever more as Jules and I make our way to the exits.

In the lobby, there is a sculpture that fascinates me every time I go to this particular hall.  I cannot believe I had not photographed it before.  And what did I do this time?  Yes, I did.  BUT, I forgot to get the name of the artist and no amount of Googling at this late hour is helping.  I guess I’ll just have to return and get that info.

We went our separate ways and once settled into my car found that I felt pretty normal.  Got home and shortly thereafter received a text:  “Are you feeling any better Cara? You had me worried there.”

I responded that I had me worried there!

Got another text checking up on me this morning.

 

Belt It Out Serena!

I really enjoy getting to know Canadian singers and songwriters.  I didn’t always appreciate it.  Probably because I listened to radio stations like Q92 or MIX96 which play(ed) the latest hits over and over ad nauseum, or CHOM that were stuck in their old “Classic Rock” genres.  You know the type of typical radio station?  Led Zeppelin seem to have only four songs, Aerosmith as well, AC/DC has two and Kiss has one.  Ugh.  As for new stuff?  Fuggedaboutit.  You never heard anything new.  Of course Classic Rock does imply they play the “classic” stuff.  But again, they would only play the same few songs from the same old groups.  Hey, I love me a dose of “For Those About To Rock” once in a while, just not necessarily once or twice a day.

Now, I’m not saying things are still the same over there.  I have occasionally tuned in and been surprised to hear a Serena Ryder song.  So, I’m thinking they are realising that we do have some really good Canadian rockers that are not old enough to be classics.  Yet.  As for Canadian content?  Maybe a little bit of Bryan Adams or Rush or Sam Roberts Band because they are actually known south of the border…

What doesn’t help is that here in Quebec, the English rock or folk hardly gets played at all.  Except on my now favourite CBC Music.   So I can actually watch the Junos (Canadian version of Music Awards) and know who is being nominated!

I digress.  I know, I know… I often do!  Back to my originally scheduled programming!  I bought my two Serena Ryder tickets ages, nay, eons ago, without knowing who would join me. Put up a Facebook message and one friend, Tony, agreed to join me.

We met at the Burgundy Lion Pub which is right next door to my now-favourite venue, The Corona Theatre, for a burger and a steak.  It was early so we got a table… right beside the courtyard.  I dunno man, I know we Quebecers will stretch out our eating outside as long as we can but heaters or no heaters, it was bloody cold.  And they kept opening the door – first to turn on said heaters, again for the fools to attempt to sit out there, and finally for those said fools to come back in once they realised how foolish they were being to find a spot inside!

The Corona is a first-come, first-served theatre so I didn’t want to go in last minute.  I figured there would be a line-up starting around 6:30-7:00 so we made sure to leave the pub by 7, latest.  Turns out, they were letting everyone in because of the rain.  Cool. Walk in.  Damn.  It’s a standing concert.  I am too old for that shit…  Kinda wished I was up in the balcony but that section was closed off.  Guess they didn’t sell that many tickets after all.

I had no idea there was an opening act for Serena Ryder.  What a wonderful surprise she turned out to be!  Jordane (Labrie), with her guitarist Clément Desjardins, blew me away.  The girl’s got a set of pipes on her!  Her first album comes out mid-January.

And, for a reason I cannot fathom, I did NOT capture any of Jordane’s original French songs but took two little snippets of her singing in English.

During their train trip across Canada, Clément’s guitar got badly damaged and he acquired the banjo from a pawn shop.  He was quite pleased with himself for learning how to play it 😉

And then Jordane had to sing that song that she had been listening to since she was a young girl… Patsy Cline’s Crazy:

A lovely twenty-minute set, I must say.  To hear her sing in French, just click here.

A short break and in came Serena by herself with nothing but her guitar.  She interacts with the audience and of course, she was right there so we felt we were in her inner circle.  She sang a few songs alone on the stage before her band of two came in… a guitarist and drummer (which, unfortunately I cannot remember their names and have given up with the Internets).

A little “Weak in the Knees”…

The Corona is such a great venue.  Would be fabulous if there were seats, but hey… I sat for Andy Kim’s Christmas special and I sat up on the balcony for George Ezra.  Now I can say I’ve had the full experience!  Numb toes and all (you realise after a certain amount of time that the floor is on a slight slant…)

Of course, I shall leave you with a few snippets…  “Oh What I Wouldn’t Do” and “A Little Bit Red”

I was most pleased to have been able to see Serena live in such a perfect venue.

 

 

Why I Love CBC Radio 2 – Tom Allen

It took the death of another icon, Montserrat Caballé, to remind me I had this post in my “drafts folder”…

When did I write the “intro“?  25 July, 2017!  Sheesh.  Won’t bother chastising myself.  That said, I have not so much made a resolution as made a promise to myself to finish what I started.  An issue I have.  We Aries are fabulous at starting things, but finishing them?  Not so much.  And I know, I know, I am generalising because there are plenty out there who do finish what they start…

Without further ado, my main reason for loving CBC Radio 2 is the fabulous Tom Allen –  not the English comedian Tom Allen, who was born after I graduated high school (which I discovered while Googling) – but the Canadian broadcaster/musician/writer/storyteller/et al, Tom Allen, who was born just a few years before moi.  😉  I originally got to “know” him when he was hosted the morning classical program called “Music and Company”, way back in 1998, and which he continued to host until 2008, when the program changed to “Radio 2 Morning” for about a year.

Things moved and shifted big time at CBC Radio 2, morning people got moved to afternoon, afternoon people go moved to week-ends and I thought, that’s it, I won’t be tuning in…  Nope, nope and nope.  I found there were many things to enjoy.  Tom Allen was no longer the morning guy, but we could still catch him now on Shift, a perfect programme for him (probably designed by him 😉 where he shifts from classical to contemporary rock without you even noticing…

I mentioned in my intro post how much I enjoyed Tom’s stories and, in Googling him to find recordings and whatnot to share with you, (and having to sift between the other guy’s stuff), was reminded of so many other things.

Seriously, I had always enjoyed classical music but he has brought an extra oomph to it with his stories.  Here are three to entertain you…

 

I once tweeted to him, following some comparison between musicians like Metallica and Chopin, (not really, I can’t remember who he was comparing but it was just as far-fetched), that he was the Alton Brown of Music.  Cool thing?  He tweeted me back with a “That’s good, right?”  And I responded with a “He is to cooking what you are to music…”  The man is a seemingly endless fount of musical information.  From classical to heavy metal.  He blows me away pretty much every day.

He is a musician, a storyteller, an author, a producer, a musical host… oodles of talents that I shall have to explore further.

Thank you, Tom, for making classical music so very approachable and fun.  I love to tune in from 1 till 3:30 pm… It ain’t long enough, but I’ll take what I can get!!

Oh hell… one more 😉

 

Woodstock – Fare Thee Well – You Rocked Us

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last one in my little Woodstock series… Time to wrap it up and move on to the next adventure… Since I didn’t really share any pictures of the official town of Woodstock, I thought I would here as a fare thee well…

Thursday morning came way too soon.  The end of our little getaway-from-reality-and-live-in-the-moment escape was almost over.

We – okay, I – made one last breakfast using whatever leftovers from our little grocery expeditions:  smoked turkey, peppers, cheese, bread, and made a variation of a high-end grilled cheese.  B, of course, had a couple extra crêpes as well.  Any leftovers were going home with him and since I had made a ridiculous quantity, he was sure to have himself another breakfast back home; and, if his daughter was lucky, she might have some too!  (I did learn later that he did share…the pancakes but not the garden vodka!)

We had to pack up and be out of the Airbnb by 11 am so, after breakfast and a shower, we packed up and loaded our cars.  Then, loathe to part so soon, we took one last drive into the town proper, parked the car and strolled, while we chatted and I snapped pics.  We marvelled at how easy our three days had been.  We had become friends on line and our three days together just solidified that friendship.  We had found our beat and went with it.  A suggestion here, an idea there and we were in total cahoots. So very glad I can never say I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The town really does have a nice artsy vibe to it and shows how it has been, not just a hippie town (though, of course, it still is) but a town that welcomes artists of all kinds.  They still hold various festivals to this day.

You have the requisite head shops because, you know, Woodstock!

And there are lovely homes and buildings of all sorts.

As well as really funky joints and places to sit.

Though this sign explained the reason for the sad state of the flag, it was the car that drew me.  I had the feeling the car has been there as long as the flag has in memory of 9/11.

One last one before I go…  A lovely stream goes through part of the town, so I had to capture it.

There was still much to see but no more time to do so.  B drove us back to my car, we hugged and kissed and went our separate ways, basking in the memories we created.

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again”
Jimi Hendrix

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Woodstock For Real – Wait, What?

This is the way to hear music, I think, surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, under a big sky.

– Michael Lang (Co-creator of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival)

As promised… here’s the next installment of our Woodstock Wander in Mid-July.  How can it be almost mid-August already?

Wednesday morning was THE day.  We were finally going to visit the site of THE Rock Concert of all time!  To say we were excited, is to put mildly.  Two Fifty-somethings all a-giggle, I tell ya…  By now we have watched countless videos about Woodstock, totally immersed ourselves into the whole experience as much as two born-too late-to-have-been-there peeps could be. (And if we had been there, would have been too young to remember and would have had beyond-cool (or crazy) parents… Just sayin’).  One hour, some 60-ish miles away.  I swear, we are still trying to wrap our heads around a Woodstock that never took place in Woodstock.  I think B’s wonderful intro post to our adventure says it best here.

But first, we needed sustenance.  I had brought my crêpe mix so of course I had to make those.  But then, I pimped ’em up.  We needed to fuel up, after all!  A little bacon, some Swiss cheese and a fried egg on top was sure to do the trick – add to that some Québec maple syrup and we had ourselves a breakfast of champions…

No matter how many videos we had watched – and we watched many there (not to mention tons more since our return), we were still amazed to drive through the winding country roads towards Bethel.  We tried to imagine all those thousands of cars simply left willy-nilly to block the road for three, almost four, days.  Insane.  Did you know that 37 rental cars were lost?  Thirty-seven!!  Just one of those little snippets of information discovered…

We finally get to our destination…

… and there are huge, I mean HUGE parking lots… now 😉  We chose a shady area to park the car and made our way to the main building.  How did I manage to NOT take a picture of the outside?  I dunno… So I have nabbed the one on the site…

I don’t know how to explain the myriad emotions this place evoked.  Maybe it was just us.  But I don’t think so.  Maybe we had created an expectation by reading about it, seeing movies, documentaries, listening to the music.  While neither one of us had this destination at the top of our bucket lists, we were still thrilled and awed that our desire to meet had directed us to this place.  Just how did the Universe sneakily direct us here?  Our love of music, culture and history might have had something to do with it.  Whatever it was that did bring us here, we felt we were on hallowed ground.  Or we gave it that descriptive.

Or maybe, just maybe, we each have a little Hippie in our Hearts.

We purchased our tickets and entered, looking forward to – we had no idea what!

“We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

—John Fogerty recalling Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 3:30 am start time at Woodstock”

There were so many things to see, notes to read, we could have stayed in there for hours on end.

It’s funny… I didn’t take the picture of the sign explaining the fence but felt this other sign said it all.  This concert was going to be way bigger than anyone could have anticipated (Imagine how parties have gotten out of hand with the advent of Facebook?  Could you even imagine?)  People were not going to let some fence stop them from getting in…  Might as well give in.  And they did!  In the name of peace.  And debt.

So many details, so many stories, so many things to see!

There is a small theatre within the museum that shows a 20-minute movie about the event.  So, of course, we watched it!

So many acts played in those three days, that spilled into part of the fourth.  Sha Na Na?  Really?  John B. Sebastian wasn’t even scheduled to play.  He was a “filler” and, according to Ira Brooker from “A Talent for Idleness” Sebastian was the ultimate hippie.  I dig, I dig.  And, I didn’t know him.  And now I do.

Time to go outside and see just where this party took place.

The grounds around the museum are beautiful and a stroll was in order.

Though he never made a sound, I could sense B was itching to get to the site itself and I quickly snapped a couple more pics before joining him.

I don’t know why I never realised how much of a hill it was!  You see the pictures and there are masses of people but somehow, I just never focused on the terrain itself.  This sign gives you such a perspective of the size when you are in front of the field.  I purposefully left just a smidge of said sign in the second pic showing the road (we felt it would be disrespectful to walk on the grass itself – at that time, anyway!) we took to get down to the bottom to show you a portion of it.

As we made our way down, we could see, right in the middle of the field, a huge Peace sign cut into the grass (like a crop circle 😉 )  Too bad they have been suffering from lack of rain because it is a tad difficult to see, no matter how much I enhanced it.

We, of course, went to the official memorial monument (which bizarrely is NOT where the stage was…)

The stage is left of and further down from the marker when looking up the hill.  It was confusing to us at first but then I could see the demarcation of the sort of square where the stage was.

Standing on the “stage”, looking up I could not imagine 500,000 people.  I’m sure the 600 acres Max Yasgur rented out spilled out beyond… Plus, I do not have a wide lens… but still.  It takes your breath away.

I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world–not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you’ve proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place. We have had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that, you’ve had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you’re taken care of… they’d enjoy a vote of thanks. But above that, the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is that a half a million kids–and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you–a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!

— addressing the crowd at Woodstock on August 17, 1969
Peace and Love…

We made our way back to the car, our souvenirs in hand (of course I got a Tye-died shirt) with new memories created and oh-so happy we had made the trek.  We may have missed out on actually being part of the whole Woodstock experience 49 years earlier, but walking those grounds sure brought us closer to the feeling that we would have fit right in.

Joni Mitchell didn’t make it either, but all say she captured the feeling exactly.  I was torn between the video where Joni explains why she wasn’t there – with a little catch in her voice – or the one she did right after the concert… So I put both!

Part 1

Part 2

Fun Night With The Piano Guys

I have to thank Frank, I think, for introducing me to The Piano Guys on his blog.  If it wasn’t him… no… it was him, I’m fairly certain…  I then caught a video here and there on Facebook, which led me to watching one after another on YouTube.  Well, don’tcha know, way back in February, the 8th, to be precise, tickets went on sale for The Piano Guys.  They were going to be in Montreal for three nights.  Woot!  Without further thought, I bought a pair of tickets.  For Wednesday, August 1st.  Six months away.  Had no idea who would be joining me and it didn’t matter because I knew I would find a willing accomplice.

Only thing is, not many people in my crowd know who they are.  No matter.  I mentioned it to Julie, that kinda friend who is willing to join me for pretty much anything (Cubano Sammy Search? Check!, Ballet tickets sold to me from another friend? Check!) “Who are they,” she asks?  “Google ’em,” I say.  Same day, I get an “I’m in!”  Like I was surprised.  This chick is a lot like me.  We dig good stuff.  We like to explore, we love cultural activities… we were even asked if we were sisters as we walked to the venue!

So, let’s start at the beginning of our evening.  Yes, we went to a favourite restaurant in the Gay Village:  Mozza Pâtes et Passions (where I have brought about 13-14 people so far – I’ve lost count).  It’s good food quality/price-wise, it’s bring-your-own-wine and it’s the best place to people-watch as you sit on the terrasse (terrace for you non-Quebecers) – and lemme tell you, there are some wild ones.  We smiled and nodded at the ones we could not help but admire…. coz seriously, that scrawny guy in the floppy hat, yellow dress, fishnet stockings and platform sandals, not walking but sashaying in a way that said… “This is me, bitch!” deserved a smile.

Plus, where else can you dance in the bathroom?  (Yes, I am sitting on the toilet, looking up!!)

We decided to take a chance (dissing the weatherman’s predictions) and walk to Place des Arts from Mozza – we are talking a good 20 blocks, 1.7 km (a bit over a mile).  Now that is not so bad, a twenty minute walk or so, and part of it in the middle of St.Catherine Street which is closed off to cars during the summer and strung up with balls representing the LGBT flag. Fun stuff.

We made it, with time to spare, and sat in our front-row tickets on the first balcony, right in the centre.

What a show, with each half lasting one hour, a 20-minute intermission separating them.  Time flew.  These guys are hilarious, ridiculously talented and wonderful performers who who interact with their audience as well as each other.

So, why are they called The Piano Guys when there is a pianist and a cellist?  Oh, and two other guys who are officially part of the group, so to speak?  Well, it’s like this, see.  It was all part of a social media strategy… Paul Anderson had a piano store called, you guessed it The Piano Guys.  Jon Schmidt (the pianist of the group) came into the store to practice piano when he was in town.  Paul asked Jon if he could film him and upload it to YouTube to share on Facebook and such to sell his pianos.  Jon agreed.  However, Paul saw a video Jon had uploaded of him and Steven Sharp Nelson (the cellist of the group), doing one of their mash-ups they are so famous for, which had received more than one million hits.  He asked the two guys if they would allow him to make professional videos of them, which would be uploaded to YouTube and the store’s Facebook page, all to promote his store.  Paul then brought in his neighbour, Al van der Beek (singer and music arranger) into the fold.   They chose the craziest locations, places one would never expect to find a piano, to sell his pianos.  Not a single piano was sold.

But.

A phenomenon was born.   They blend classical and contemporary music which they put together as a “Mash-up”, i.e. The Mission’s Gabriel’s Oboe with How Great Thou Art – so beautiful.  They did, thankfully, play this one while the video played in the background.  Gorgeous.

They don’t limit themselves to this mix of genres.  They do straight-up classical or straight-up jazz, as well.  Jon played a beautiful solo piece he wrote when he was 17, called “Waterfalls”.  Hard to believe he was 17 when he wrote it.  Then Steven played his famous “The Cello” piece, as he calls it, by Bach, that he does for 8 cellos.  I was wondering how he would manage to pull this one off as he cannot be on 8 different cellos at the same time in a live performance! He showed us with all his accessories.  I must apologise for my video.  I was trying not to disturb others, so I had my hands covering the screen and was trying to place the phone between the bars.  Not quite so successful but voilà.

They played, they teased each other, they told their story.  Then they brought out the two others.  Al has quite a nice voice and he sang, “Okay”, getting the audience to sing along.

This is the type of concert where you half expect a rather sober experience.  Or a slightly “stiff” one.  So not the case!  Julie said she thinks she laughed more with these two guys then at the “Just For Laughs” shows she went to!

You do not expect four grown men to run around a piano, plucking the strings, banging the cover against the back, three sets of hands on the keys, slapping the sides like a percussion instrument and such.  I kinda wish I had taped it for you to see..

They brought in four local bagpipers to play “Fight Song”

Did one last “run around the piano piece” and took a final bow.

We were just so happy to have had the chance to see these wonderful performers and I highly recommend that you go if they come to your neck of the woods.  It was an unforgettable experience.

Still talking about the show, we stepped outside of  PdA, into the rain.  Remember, we have twenty blocks or so to walk.  Like two kids, instead of fifty-something broads, we gleefully just started walking, chatting away, laughing at those running – dudes! don’t bother!  We got totally soaked.  It was such a warm rain we didn’t care.  A red light, a bus hut, a quick selfie and we laughed the rest of our way to our cars.  A perfect night with a wonderful friend.  Thanks, Jules!  So glad you are my partner in culture and that Michael doesn’t mind me taking you away from him now and again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Not Woodstock?

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, Live the life you’ve always imagined.
~ Henry David Thoreau

Without going into any woe-is-me sob story (which is not my style, anyway), many of you know there have been challenges sent my way over the years.  I don’t think these events changed the way I already thought and acted or reacted, but maybe they just magnified the who that I am.  I can tell you that they gave me the power to not be afraid of:

  1. being alone (not that I want to remain so forever, but if I do, I will survive)
  2. doing things by myself for myself
  3. putting myself out there, either by writing or travelling or whatever opportunity presents itself.

Why have I gone on with this preamble of sorts?  Because I must explain how the hell I ended up in Woodstock, baby!  I cannot honestly say it was ever a destination on my “bucket list” (if I were to have one, that is).  Yes, I adore the music of that time and love the idea that 400,000+ people could gather in the conditions that they were and not turn to violence… you know like rioters do now when their team friggen WINS

Anyway.

Last February, I “met” a blogger on another blogger’s blog (say that ten times quickly 😉 ).  We exchanged miles of comments until it was suggested by moi to chat elsewhere.  Good thing because I am quasi-positive there is some sort of blog etiquette on hogging another’s comments section.

Our exchanges – via text, voice, video chat – occurred almost daily.  We discovered that we had so many things in common and felt we could share pretty much any and everything.  A true friendship was born.  We started joking that it would be great to meet in person.  Little snag was we lived about eight hours apart by car.  Still.  What about meeting half-way?  Great.  We did talk about New York City which would have had a coolness all its own though is not quite an even half-way point but I was willing to do the extra.  Problem was, who in the name of all that is holy wants to go sweat in NYC in July?  Besides, there was nothing available hotel-wise.  So that was that.

Looking at maps, one place than another was suggested until he said:  Why not Woodstock?  A true half-way point for both of us, easy access, lots of places to stay plus the potential of visiting THE musical site of musical sites of all times…

It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves.
~ Carl Jung

And so, in May, Woodstock was booked.  Now we had to wait until July 16th.

So. Far. Away.

Till it was here.

We had discussed the official meet-up, who would bring what – I was gonna introduce this Yank to Clamato… welcome him to the Canadian Bloody Caesar (rare are the Canucks who do Bloody Marys).  Not only that, I was making my special “Garden mix” vodka. I warned him I would probably ruin him for future Bloody Marys… He was bringing beer and stuff that comes to mind when one thinks of Woodstock – and what we would do.  We had checked out the surrounding areas and found there were various places to hike so that was definitely on our agenda.  Plus, of course, visiting the venue.

We aimed to meet at the Airbnb for 1 pm on Monday.  Excellent.  We would then go for lunch to break the ice and then do some grocery shopping for some of our meals, eat in on Monday night and then go with the flow and the weather.

Yesterday’s just a memory, tomorrow is never what it’s supposed to be.
~ Bob Dylan

The morning was perfect.  My bags had all been packed, the booze, the crepe mix, my clothes.  According to Google Maps, if i Ieft by 8:15, I would arrive at my destination for 1.  I left at 7:55.  Got to the border at 8:50 – record time as there was zero traffic, stopped off at Duty Free for a coffee, some water bottles and made my way to the border itself.  One car ahead of me.  The border guy asked where I was going, of course, and wished me a fun time.

Set my cruise control to 118 kph (73 mph) because I am a lead-foot and need to be restrained and off I went.  My first pleasant surprise was when I filled my gas tank.  Down to 1/4 tank, I don’t mess around and stopped as soon as I could.  I forgot that trick of using the three digits in my postal code and adding two zeros because the stupid gas tanks ask for a zip code… so I had to pay inside.  The cashier asks me how much, so I say “fifty bucks”.  She says not to worry, whatever amount I use is all I’ll be charged for…  Cool. Press the lever and it pops at $23.38.  What?  Press again and a few cents’ worth is added.  Holy moly!  Or rather… FUCK!  We pay way too much for gas in Quebec!!  3/4 of a tank would have cost me at least $45…

Continue on and arrive in Woodstock.  GPS tells me to turn into the driveway and I can’t see the address but trust it. It is 12:55 and no one is there.  Not even the owners.  Hmmm…  So I sit on the porch.  It feels like it’s 100 degrees.   I walk around and feel that maybe this isn’t right.  Hmmm… I can’t remember there being a pool in the pics.  I do remember 3 doors on the carriage house but don’t remember the colour.  That should have been my first “Hello? may be at the wrong place?”  Just as I am about to jump into my car and drive a bit further, I get a text.  “I’m here.”  I respond, “Me, too”.  “Huh?”

Dumbass.  I was at the house next door.  Way to make a great first impression, Rogerson.

Drive into the nice and narrow drive where I was supposed to be…

A smile and a nice long hug and a glad we made it, we left my stuff in my car because the house wasn’t ready for us.  Using his car we made our way into town for lunch. Our chatter picked up exactly where it had left off the night before.  We knew it.  The comfort level was exactly what we had expected/hoped it would be.

We chose the Oriole 9 which had a fabulous selection of salads and sandwiches and beers… we were good!  Enjoyed our lunch (I was starving), found a grocery store, picked up some items and back to the carriage house.

The sweet owners, Emy and James, were the perfect hosts, made sure we were well-connected to their smart TV and that we lacked for nothing – then we never saw them again!   We connected to YouTube and focused on everything Woodstock.  How neither one of us thought to do any research before hand is beyond us both.  This turned out to be a good thing.  We were able to absorb everything together.  Cooking supper, enjoying each other’s company, watching videos.  We were good.

And seriously, how ironic was it that we were there from July 16-19 and 49 years earlier, the famous concert of concerts was held August 15-18?

The spell had just begun….