The performance art piece that Eric came to Houston to participate in was a project by Susanne Bocanegra, whom I know from her connection to her husband David Lang (who wrote the Little Match Girl Passion that the chamber choir sang a couple seasons ago). Her project, held at the MFAH, was very cool; it's called Bodycast, and it is a sort of autobiographical narrative about her experience wearing a body cast from age 12-14, and the influence it had on her art. It includes excerpts from some other pieces of hers, including a ballet interpretation of a chart of dot counts in a Seurat painting and a song composed according to an equation a mathematician made to describe a yarn organizer she got at a garage sale. Eric sang the song. It was pretty cool.
After the show, Reggie and I waited around for Eric to come out, and were about to go upstairs and look at some art when Eric called me back. We had got through introductions and were about to catch up and maybe go eat some food, when an old man with a commanding presence interrupted and asked if Eric was the one who sang. He was. The guy must have thought Reggie and I were just there to congratulate Eric on his singing, and wanted us to finish our conversation before he did his spiel, but Eric informed him it'd be awhile, as I was an old buddy, so he should just go ahead.
And so this guy introduced himself as An Artist with a gallery in the Heights and an HBO special about his art, which is composed of unclaimed ashes from crematoria apparently, and he wondered if Eric would be interested in composing a ballad to go with one or more of the six pieces he was currently working on. A death ballad for death art. And he really wanted Eric to see it right now so he could tell if he would want to participate in it. He said he'd drive Eric to his gallery and right back or his hotel or wherever he wanted to go. Eric looked at me I think to confirm the weirdness and see what I thought, and it looked like a significant opportunity if this guy wasn't a total nutcase, so I told him he should go, and he should text when he got back and we'd see about hanging out later.
I went to Hobbit with Reggie and didn't end up seeing Eric again on Saturday, but Reggie and I had a good hang (that is still a new enough regular occurrence that I have to savor it thoroughly). I also mentioned the story to Aaron and admitted text message wasn't the best medium to tell it through, so when Reggie and I got back from getting frozen yogurt (I had a craving), we Skyped with Aaron and tried to explain the day. I think we got the kind of surreality across, and it was good to see and talk to Aaron and introduce him to Reggie.
Sunday was the chamber choir gala, for which I Dressed Up. We had to sit with the donors this year and eat dinner sociably, and I wasn't exactly monopolizing the conversation (I was at a table with Joanne Ritacca, who can tell a good few namedropping stories), but I think I managed to be reasonably charming. And a bunch of different people (most effectively Michael Walsh, who is always nice to me but whom for some reason I believe when he gives me compliments) told me I looked great, so I suspect the outfit was a success. I even wore heels and makeup. Imagine. Or don't, I think there must be a picture around somewhere. Reggie told me to take one, so there should be one from before I even left.
We schmoozed and hors d'oeuvred and finally got to sit down to the salad (heels are not my favorite thing to stand around in), and converse pleasantly with our tablemates. It had been planned that my table would also be manned by Erik, who is one of my favorite people in the chamber choir, but that was before Brad realized Erik was on the MS-150. So, no. No gala for Erik. But it was all right, anyway, and then they did the little Rusk Elementary program plug and we all went up to sing and my pick flew out of my hand on Stomping Bride but I think I thumbed the strings loud enough anyway, and we went back and got our weird dessert, and it was finished.
And Eric was back at the Lancaster, which was only two blocks from the Rice where the gala was, despite the thunderstorm pouring. I walked it happily, and in heels no less, and got to just lounge around with Eric for several hours till I had to flop on home so I could get up for work in the morning. He walked back to the car with me for an adventure, which was lucky, as the cathedral garage had closed for the night. But we conquered it with teamwork; he raised the gate by main strength, enough that I could slither underneath it and click the Open button so he could get in too. It did open automatically when I drove the car up to it, though.
So, an atypical weekend full of oddly displaced friends and surreal conversations. It was strange but good.
- (no subject)