Sunday, June 03, 2007


I’m sitting on the variegated marble floor waiting for the enactment of Steve Reich’s music for 18 musicians at the Bang on a Can all night music marathon surrounded by bearded David Lynch fans from the looks of things at the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan short steps away from where bodies of people thudded down onto the pavements not long ago. I’m sitting in my best Om position and my ankle is starting to hurt but not in an unwelcome way. The nervous insomniac in front of me keeps twisting around – his thick convex glasses weirdly capturing the ambient light from nearby commercial advertisements for chocolate and jewelry. I feel a bit like a guy I heard on This American Life who went to a conference full of geeks and found himself feeling strangely comfortable. So these are the sort of people who stay up till 4:30 am to hear avante garde minimalism: bearded geeks who twitch convulsively behind plastic eyewear.

Odd to be here in this glass cosset next to a mature palm tree. I stuff the core of my apple into the twitchy man’s discarded Odwalla fruit shake container. The 18 musicians are dressed all in black and look normal and awake. Maybe I’m normal too despite being wide awake? It looks like dawn is breaking on the outside of this glassed in world of the weird. A hush falls among us as the lights on the stage ignite – only the hum of the air-conditioning remains. The band from Grand Valley State looks poised. One of the high water marks of Western civilization begins. It’s beautiful. Beautiful like the sound a bottle makes when it shatters.

The music cycles and repeats, evolves, twisting up through the silent palm trees reflecting off the windows protecting us from outer space and bouncing around us – the weirdoes always already awake at the dawn of light.

A couple people snore behind me open bottles of mysterious substances still in hand.


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