Tag Archives: NYC

Concerts I’ve Attended (Nine Truths and a Lie)

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Recently on Facebook, folks I know were playing a game in which they listed ten concerts they’d been to. The trick was, one item on each list was a lie, a concert that person had not actually attended. Friends got to guess which concert was a lie. It was a fun game, but too time-consuming for me to write it all out on my phone. So here today I’m sharing the concerts I’ve attended in my life–nine truths and a lie style.

Can you guess wich concert I did not attend? Leave your guesses in the comments section below.

#1 Information Society at Disney World during Grad Nite. Samantha Fox and New Kids on the Block played at that Grad Night too, but I couldn’t get anywhere near the stages. I saw them from a distance, and they looked like ants.

#2 Tribe 8 (Bay Area queer punk rock) at Zeitgeist Theater in New Orleans.

#3 Crash Worship on two occasions. I don’t remember the venues. Once I was really high on really nice drugs. Once I was totally sober. Both shows were great!

#4 Toshi Reagon at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. I believe in kindness too.

#5 Billy Idol in some big arena. I told my parents I was spending the night at a friend’s house. I used my babysitting money to pay for my ticket.

#6 Barenaked Ladies at the House of Blues. My roommate bought me the ticket as an early birthday present.

#7 Blues Traveler. Blues Traveler. Blues Traveler. Once at Jazz Fest. Once at Tipitina’s. Once some place I don’t remember.

#8 Blue Scholars in NYC. Hip Hop fantastic!

#9 Bo Diddley at House of Blues. I won tickets from a local radio station and got a man I had a crush on to go with me. Bo Diddley rocked the House!

#10 Ani DiFrance on two occasions. Once at House of Blues where I met up with the woman I had a crush on who told me she’d had sex with the man I had a crush on. (It was a very Ani DiFranco moment.) Once at Jazz Fest where C.J. Chenier (who played before her) must have thought he had a huge new lesbian following.

 

 

 

Book Review: North of Ithaka

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North of Ithaka: A Granddaughter Returns to Greece and Discovers Her Roots
This book tells the true story of Eleni Gage, a young American woman who spends almost a year in the Greek village where her father was born, overseeing the restoration of her ancestral home. The home had been abandoned for decades after communists used it as a headquarters and a jail in the late 1940s during the Greek civil war. Those same communists executed Gage’s grandmother for helping her children escape the village and for (allegedly) hiding treasure.

Despite these unhappy circumstances, Gage keeps this memoir fairly upbeat. This book is not a downer. It didn’t make me cry. It didn’t make me sad.

I did get a little tired of Gage’s self-doubt. There was more waffling here than in an Eggo factory. She wondered a lot if renovating the house was the right thing to do. Members of her dad’s family were upset by her decision to remodel the place of so much pain. But what were the neighbors thinking? Were they upset by her actions too? Of course, Gage never asked because she was afraid of the answer. I’m all for questioning motives and actions, but it just kept going on and on in every chapter. Am I doing the right thing? Am I upsetting people? Should I just quit? If Gage were truly concerned about the feelings of her fellow villagers, perhaps she should have actually discussed those feelings with them and explained her motivation. Instead, she did what she wanted to do without soliciting input, but tried to look good in the eyes of her readers by letting them know she really did (constantly) question whether or not she was doing the right thing.

I found two aspects of the book very strange.

#1 Gage got the idea to go to Greece and restore the ancestral home “the weekend after Thanksgiving 2001.” (For those who may have forgotten, that was less than three months after the September 11th attack on New York City.) At the time, Gage was living in New York City, yet there is not one single mention in this entire book about the September 11th attack. Gage does not mention how the attack influenced her decision to leave the U.S. She doesn’t mention how the aftermath of the attack made getting her paperwork in order or her actual travel more difficult. One could read this book and think the attack of NYC on September 11, 2001 never happened.

I lived in the Midwest at the time of the September 11th attack, and folks there couldn’t put the attack and related events out of mind for a long time. To New Yorkers, the attack was (understandably) a HUGE deal. It seems strange for a New Yorker to fail to even acknowledge the attack and related events in a book covering the time period from late 2001 through December 2002.

#2 Where’s the money coming from? Gage mentions (at least twice) that her father (the author Nicholas Gage) is paying for the renovation of the family home. Fair enough. But Eleni Gage quit her job in NYC to spend almost a year in a tiny Greek village where she never references a paying job. Who bought her plane ticket? Who’s paying for her rental car (and its fuel), her Greek cell phone, and the internet access on the new computer she bought in the city? Who’s paying for her to eat? Who’s paying the expenses for the several side trips she writes about? Is she living off her savings? Is she getting paid for free lance writing she’s doing about her time in Greece? Is she living off the advance she received on the deal for this book? When a twenty-seven-year-old woman spends a year abroad and doesn’t mention gainful employment, I think the reader deserves to know how such a thing is possible.

The parts of this book I enjoyed most were the ones where Gage explained the cultures of her region of Greece. Although I’m not religious myself, I enjoyed reading about the villagers’ Easter preparations. I liked reading about the “Gypsy” wedding. (Isn’t the proper term “Roma”? If so, someone should mention that to Gage.) I liked reading about festivals and dancing and name day celebrations.

Gage does a great job of weaving Greek history (ancient and more modern) in with her own experiences. I like having context for why people do what they do. Gage knows how to give that context.

The book ends with six recipes and a bibliography. A glossary of Greek terms would have been nice. (Greek words were defined in the text, but I certainly don’t remember every new word I encountered while reading this book. A glossary would have been a handy reference tool.)

All in all, I did enjoy reading this book, but I have no desire to read it again.