Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Northport Library - Luminescent Orchestrii - old people

A friend told me that "Luminescent Orchestrii" would be playing at the Northport Public Library at 7PM.  Since my 3-year old is learning to play the violin and the band includes (2) female violinists in the front perhaps I would be interested?  Indeed I was.  On their MySpace page, the group is self-described as "Gypsy Tango Klezmer Punk".  I wasn't exactly enamored by the clips I heard but figured a group such as this is best appreciated live.  I also hoped the exposure would broaden my daughter's appreciation of the violin, allowing her view it from a different lens. 
Alas, the performance was cancelled at the last minute.  I was maybe 10 minutes from the library, having rushed dinner before fumbling around the house for last minute essentials in a storm of panic and profanity.  Which library is it at, Northport or East Northport?  The libraries share the same website and pdf bulletin.  There was no distinction made regarding the location of the performance.  
/* Side note: at first blush I thought to myself, Wow, this library has a nice website -- much better than my local Farmingdale library.  Look Honey, I hollered from the kitchen table excitedly, members can log in and track the books they've taken out!  But that was a superficial assessment.  The web site sucks.  Basic information like, Calendar of Events, is obfuscated.  Useful information is obtained by downloading a pdf of the most recent bulletin, a decoupage of clip art and goofy fonts.  */
Another great tragedy is that I had my wife last-minute-cancel dinner with the mother-in-law in order to make the gig.  The wife was appropriately disgusted about the cancellation suggesting this was yet another in a long series of atrocities committed by yours truly.  The most fabled of all was when my mother-in-law took it upon herself to invite her son and his (2) rowdy boys to participate in a simple birthday ceremony I organized for my daughter that was intended for nuclear family consumption only.  These are the sort of kids that were bound to put a damper on things -- a duo of sullen, surly boys that are completely unresponsive to authority.  Anyway, I had to call up both mother and brother-in-law and do the uninviting that sad day.  And from that moment on I ceased to be a team-player and was labeled capricious and tacky.
Back to tonight and Luminescent, my wife made it clear that since she was unhappy about the cancellation she would refuse to have fun and resolve herself to a disposition that was grey and mealy.  After dinner and last minute panic, I call the library whilst driving and ask if Luminescent Orchestrii was playing that night.  That was intended as a rhetorical question designed only to give context to my real question: Are they playing at the Northport or East Northport Library?  But even this was a challenge.  I'm at a red light, I'm running 15-minutes late, I have (2) addresses.  I need to finger one of those addresses into the GPS before the light turns green and I have to drive on a dark highway.  What, the Illuminati? is the response.  No, Luminescent Orchestrii.  Let me see, she says.  Long long pause -- the other traffic light turns yellow -- my phone's low battery indicator beeps -- Hello, is anyone there?  No, sir, I don't have any such event scheduled for tonight.  Goddammit, I say, I know for a fact the band is playing but I need to know where -- put me on the phone with someone who knows things.
But like I said before, the band cancelled.  I decided to go to the library anyway -- maybe go to the children's section and let the kids traipse about.  Upon entering, I play dumb and ask the front desk attendant where Luminescent is performing and hear of the cancellation; a band member's mother had past away.   However, another act has filled the void -- go downstairs and see.  A gnarled finger, white as whale bone, points to a downward flight of stairs, the Ghost of Christmas-yet-to-come.  I hear faint music and what sounds like a cow bell.  We all follow the gaze of the specter and enter this room filled with old people.  There may have been young people there but only the old ones stood out.  They were that breed of old people I expect attend every free event offered at the library -- concerts, seminars, movie afternoons.  Every fold out metal chair is occupied.  The faces are disconsolate and drawn.  They look at me with plaintive eyes because they are trapped in the midst of an incomprehensibly lame performance and for whatever reason felt obliged to sit and suffer.  For the sake nobility?  Who can say.  I don't know the fellow's name, and even if I did probably wouldn't write it here to avoid offense, but he's a jolly Bert one-man-band sitting down with some home-made instrument resembling a pedal steel but not worth a tuppence in tone.  He has a small drum set, too -- snare, bass, tom and ride cymbal.  Unseen from my vantage, an incessant triangle or bell.  
A woman came to my side and sympathetically whispered in my ear that this wasn't Luminescent Orchestrii and I didn't have to stay.  Gee, thanks for the permission.  When I left the room, I heard (2) library workers bemoaning the fact that everyone inside looked like prisoners, that they weren't obligated to stay, and were trying to work a strategy where they could make a non-offensive announcement giving people the freedom the leave.  I laughed to myself.  All those poor old folks.  Under what circumstance would they deem it safe to leave? 

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