It seems that I’ve grown up, grown old, grown tired, or all of the above. I haven’t done anything worth writing about, lately. If my brother Kevin wasn’t becoming famous for dancing with convicts, I wouldn’t have anything to write about at all.
Then Maria called.
Maria is one of “The American Fab Four” – Marianne, Geralyn, Maria, and me. We’re drinking buddies who have been partying together for decades We’ve traveled all over New York, New Jersey, and Connecticutt and partied with the best of them.
Maria wanted to let me know that The Mavericks were playing at the Bowery Ballroom. Did I want to go?
Of course I wanted to go. They are one of my favorite bands, though I’ve never seen them in person. Even though I am heterosexual, Raul Malo’s voice makes my knees get weak. Raul is the lead singer for the Mavericks. He’s like a fun-loving Roy Orbison, even though he usually loses the girl in most of his songs. He makes getting dumped sound like good fun.
So, I said, “Yes” immediately. I was thrilled to finally be getting off the couch and enrolling in an adventure, and I was sure it would be an adventure. The Bowery Ballroom? When I think of the Bowery, I think of The Bowery Boys and winos, certainly not ballrooms. Back in the day, it had a seedy reputation. I heard it had cleaned up, but I wasn’t sure just how clean.
“We don’t have tickets,” Maria said.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to pick up some tickets at the door,” I said, wondering how many people could possibly be heading to a place called The Bowery Ballroom on a Monday night.
“It’s sold out. Standing Room Only.”
“No problem. We can get in.”
“You think so?”
“Definitely.” By myself, I had no chance of getting a ticket to a sold out show, but I wasn’t by myself. I would be with Maria. We would get in. One thing I learned from decades of partying with Maria, Marianne, and Geralyn was that they could talk themselves into any club. They have talked hotel night managers into opening the pool at 4 a.m. so that we could go for an after-hours swim. “I’m sure we’ll get in.”
“Okay, I’ll meet you there,” she said.
When I got there I noticed that the area had cleaned up a whole hell of a lot from “back in the day.” In 5 blocks, I only passed one panhandler, and he looked more like an undercover cop. There wasn’t a wino or a Ripple bottle to be seen, and the bar next to the Bowery Ballroom looked warm and inviting. I expected to see Maria in there, but she was next door waiting for the box office to open.
I suggested we wait at the bar. We ordered drinks and we mentioned to the barmaid that we were hoping to get tickets for the show next door.
Less than 10 minutes later, an imposing looking black man walked in and walked straight up to me. “You looking for tickets?”
I froze for a second. The guy reminded me of Hawk in the old Spencer for Hire TV Show. He probably was used to this reaction, so he quickly added, “I work next door.”
The barmaid had called him. I guess they had some mutually satisfying arrangement for scalping tickets. I recovered my composure and said, “Yes, I’d like two tickets.”
He gave me two tickets at face value, no added scalpers fee, so I tipped him, and he then offered to get us a table, as long as we got there before 8 o’clock.
We didn’t realize what a big deal this was until we walked in. The place looked like a school basement with a stage at one end and a bar at the other. There were no seats. Standing room only. Upstairs there were two small balconies with a couple tiny round tables. He led us to one of these tables overlooking the stage. Sweet.
When the doors opened to the general public the ticket holders flowed in and packed the place. The fastest ones immediately filled the remaining tables and then everyone else crammed onto the floor in front of the bandstand.
Maria and I had a table for three, so I joked about auctioning off the third seat, but then a pretty young blonde girl asked me if she could sit there, and the auction was cancelled. We introduced ourselves. Her name was Linda. She was a writer for the Village Voice, reviewing the show. In her blog, she thanked us for the seat.
The show was great, and we saw it all from a balcony just about 20 feet from the band. You can go to YouTube.Com and search on Mavericks at Bowery Ballroom, there are a few clips posted from the show.
It felt good to get off the couch for a change. I’ve got to do that more often.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,