Sunday, November 01, 2009

finding the party again, two days later

In a basement by the beach, the Friday before Halloween, several young people—ears pummeled, minds stratospheric, hearts open, faces alive—witness a no-shit epic show of talent and power and noise, just below sea level. One of them is dressed as a drawing, and, if you look at her face, you know that she is having the time of her life—that her mind is flashing with thought, her heart is exploding again and again and again and her only concern is that she be able to write about this one day and let people who didn't get to be there know how perfect life felt perfect it is capable of feeling.

And that's what a great party does, you know? At its apex, you question nothing—life's good, you're so fucking lucky and you know it. I'd like to find a way back into that party-brain space because I know Everything in those moments. That's capital-E "everything"—like all there was and ever will be to know. Because often, two days later, rational brain at the wheel, it's hard to get back in there and touch the place where it all once made sense. Hard to say more than “You had to be there,” which I never say because, who needs more exclusion in this world? We should all just become better journalists—relentlessly detailed, sensitive and perceptive with photographic memories and wide open hearts.

I am drunk and high and dancing, dressed as a drawing beside a tall friend in face paint and a cowboy hat. To my right, is a girl dressed as a biker cat—sleek and tough, and electrically blasé. Behind me, a dapper friend and his charming, dancer companion who fits so well into our group it's confusing. The air is packed with sound and joy because before us two young men—one a bear, one a birch—are playing the shit out of an electric guitar and a set of drums. The stage is way too small for them and that is appropriate somehow—a visual clue that what's happening here is more than you usually get. More than should rationally be expected. The pair of faces on these two young musicians is just beautiful—the tension between trust and belief and nerves and grace is more than palpable. It is a feeling that goes right to your heart if your eyes are open wide enough.

The bear's right hand plays at hummingbird speeds with home run power. His face is wet with effort, his eyes--so shut, his mouth roaring, his body believing every moment of this. Behind him, in the forest of Eleanor's construction, the birch drums furiously with an earnestness and devotion that could break your heart if you let it. His face all “I'm not so sure about this” and his hands answering “What are you talking about? Look how easy it is to be amazing!” Together, the bear and the birch—Brendan and Pete—fill their stage with a vision of what it looks like to get to do what you want: it's fucking messy and beautiful and loud and when you strut out into the audience knowing exactly what the hell you did to make life feel so fucking beautiful right now, you can feel that they want to embrace you, but you can feel them hold back because they're not as brave as you...yet.

How many transcendent events are happening in the corners of this city at any given moment--a dizzily impossible question to answer. Still, every now and then you might find yourself in the middle of one, with a friend, or in a crowd or all alone and think “well, at the very least, this is happening to me right now, so let's start the count at one.”

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