I don’t click the “regional artists” category often. Connotations of “not really up there” attach to notions of local or regional fame, if you get caught up in the mentality of a silver medal means you didn’t get the gold. (Anyone remember that great slogan from the Olympics in Atlanta? How’s that for a tribute to the athletes raking in the money for Coca-Cola, and Nike and – but this is a sidebar.)
In my dreams, I sang back-up to one of the songs on the program at l’ibère familier last night while one of my friends from the choir played groupie with one of the musicians. In real life, this friend whom I’ll be seeing again in a few hours at rehearsal, did no such thing. She stood up in mid-concert, crossed the room to where I was sitting and with utter seriousness, took my hand and led me to the side of the stage: where we started to dance. Joined, eventually, by two other women. Call us the backup dancers.
My friend is tall and in her thirties. Slim makes it sound as if she had some padding, somewhere. I am in my mid-sixties. I am short; words such as willowy need not apply.
Meanwhile, my friend’s boyfriend sat off to the other side in one of the more comfortable chairs, propping up his bandaged hand while his two children took in every note and every move the musicians made. The middle finger on his left hand is undergoing reconstruction, using bits of fat and skin culled from other places on his body. I watched his face, from time to time. Sometimes, the rythm and the energy lifted him and carried him along. Sometimes, he looked submerged by his own bodily sensations of the unpleasant kind. Sometimes, he looked plain tired.
The cast is starting to assemble for the first draft on the next story. There may be one artist of international renown in the mix. She’ll have to be a product of sheer imaginative powers. A few of the artists I’ve known were stars; some of them were real people with real lives. Most of the artists with whom I’ve worked never received top billing anywhere. Some of them were never mentioned by name on the poster or on the screen.
These days, most of the ones I know are street artists. They give their all in performance and for those moments when nobody cares about names, addresses, professional standing and bank accounts gone AWOL or MIA. Not to mention those brief moments when even physical pain washes away.
(I clicked Animals, didn’t I, Ah yes, a friend’s dog resting her head on my knee for a good part of the concert. Then, disappearing with the friend – now you see them, now you don’t.)