Five States in Two Days
I'm writing this post in the stupor of near exhaustion after a few days of circumnavigating the Northeast. I passed through five states in two days--Massachusetts for an open mic, Pennsylvania for a birthday party, through Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to get where I needed to go, and then back home for a two-hour stint volunteering at the Milford Oyster Festival. I guess I need a better event planner. Thursday evening I played an open mic night (Hootenany) at the Guthrie Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Nestled in the Berkshires, Great Barrington is a beautiful town two hours north of here. We met up with friends from Second Life, including Alex Whitmore, (Capos Calderwood in SL) and had dinner at Gypsy Joynt Cafe, a family owned restaurant and live music venue with a colorful hippie vibe. It was great to finally get a chance to eat there after hearing about it a year ago when I was playing FODfest. Jordan Weller, who also played FODfest last year, books the musical talent. I really wanted to go introduce myself to him, but shyness got the better of me. I am really lousy sometimes at speaking up about myself.
Signup for open mic started at 7pm, but we had heard the list fills up amazingly quickly, so we finished up our dinner and headed over to the Guthrie Center. Housed in the Old Trinity Church (the place where Alice lived in the movie Alice's Restaurant), the Guthrie Center serves those in need in the community and offers educational, spiritual and cultural programs. We were lucky enough to arrive just before 7, and even though they weren't officially open, we were invited in. Alex and I signed up for the fourth and third spots, getting our names on the list before anyone else did.
While we were inside, a storm was brewing outside. Flashes of lightning and echoes of thunder created the backdrop for our show inside the church. Open mics bring a range of talent, and the spectrum was covered that night. My own voice was weak due to a sore throat I just couldn't kick. As a result, my three songs didn't have the strength and energy they usually do, so I was disappointed in my performance, but the crowd was appreciative. Alex played three songs after I did and the crowd really enjoyed them. After we listened to a few more musicians, it was time to go. We were worried about the weather and how treacherous that might make the long drive home, but we were graced with some beautiful lightning illuminating the sky and a few sprinkles of rain. By the time we finally pulled into our driveway, it was midnight.
Friday dawned, bringing with it the task of a three-hour drive to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for my sister-in-law's surprise birthday party. The sun was shining and it was hot and humid, but it was clear, which made it perfect for driving. I left the house just before 1pm, hoping not to get stuck in any traffic. My wish was not granted, however. There were pockets of traffic all along the way. Nevertheless, I arrived three hours later. The weather forecast for the next several hours was not good. I had seen some nasty looking clouds gathering on my way in. The thunder, wind and rain came as we were outside setting up for the party. Luckily, it only lasted an hour, and then the sky brightened. It was a nice party. My sister-in-law was truly surprised and everyone had fun. I had brought my guitar and was supposed to sing, but the moment for it never happened. The party had a good groove going and sometimes it's hard to introduce something like that without breaking the rhythm. I'm not sure my voice was all that good anyway--it was still recovering from the sore throat/cold thing. By the time the party ended and all the guests had gone home, it was 2am. So much for a good night's sleep. Saturday came too quickly, and I woke up anticipating the day's three-hour drive home.
At around 10am I made my way back home, making good time till I got to Connecticut. The turnpike was backed up much of the way, and I was running out of time. I needed to be at the Milford Oyster Festival at 3pm for my two-hour volunteer shift scooping kettle corn for the Perry House, and I was in desperate need of a shower. I managed to get home about 1:30, and arrived at the kettle corn booth at 3:15. By 5:10, my shift was finished and I was dead on my feet. I received a large bag of kettle corn for my efforts. Afterwards, we went out for dinner with friends and I got home in time to get ready for my only Second Life show of the day. I was truly exhausted right before my show, but somehow the crowd kept me going. What a great way to close out the day. Needless to say, I've got nothing on my schedule for the next few days...