Last night Jenny & I went to go see John Wesley Harding's Cabinet of Wonders featuring The Citizen's Band (Angela McCluskey, Nina Persson & Rachelle Garniez), Nick Hornby, Stephin Merritt, Eugene Mirman, Aaron Neville, & Emma Straub. Sounds like a mouthful; well, it was! It was at City Winery-- it always is, near as I can tell-- & I headed down there after work. Well, to be quite honest, after a stressful day at work-- haunted by the mistakes of a less experienced Mordicai early in the fiscal year-- Terra & I walked down to Kat's apartment, hung out for a bit, then I walked down to Chinatown to pick up Jenny. Dinner was good: duck rillette, scallops & brussels sprouts to start with, then braised short ribs for Jenny & lobster & saffron pappardelle for me. We started with the on-tap Sauvignon Blanc, then moved to a Grenache...but there was a bit of a misunderstanding with that that made me look like a jerk! Well, not too bad. Jenny ordered it before the lights went down on the performance & since the staff was busy it took a while for them to bring it to us-- after the show had started, in fact. The waiter brought a white wine over, poured, I tasted it & said it was fine, he poured a full glass for Jenny...& Jenny notice, you know, it wasn't what she ordered, since she, well, ordered red. I didn't know, & I had just facilitated the whole thing to try to make it quick, since the show was on & I didn't want to be rude. It worked out in the end, so I can't complain. We were sitting next to Sarah Vowell, who I don't have a relationship to as a reader, but then Nick Hornby came out & sat next to her & Jenny found that very distracting, in a good way. Since a big part of Nick Hornby's shtick as a writer is being really invested in enjoying things, it was nice to watch him immerse himself in the performance, what was her thing. They shared a laugh at one of Eugene Mirman's jokes.
The set was fun. I hadn't met John Wesley Harding when we were publishing Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer, so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. As the emcee, he wrote a lot of poems & provided interstitial music, some of which I'd heard before. On NPR; I mean, look at that list, of course the whole thing was being recorded by NPR, that is like their bread & butter crew. The Citizen's Band really charmed Jenny; they had an election themed set of songs, which I enjoyed but just ticked her pink. Emma Straub read from her new novel; she reminded me very much of a genuine version of what some people have pretentions of being. I thought she had a sort of charisma, the sort that comes from being a good version of yourself. I guess I sort of aspire to that, myself, come to think of it. Eugene Mirman was very funny; he had a set about a bachelor party that I found to be somewhat accurate to my prior experiences at strip clubs. Oh, & talked about "coze," the Norwegian verb of "cozy." John Wesley Harding was missing when he finished his set, so he workshopped a bit about marrying two people with two women from the audience. Stephin Merritt was next & wait, doesn't everyone have an intense connection to 69 Love Songs? People in the audience were reacting like they were hearing some of the songs from it for the first time, which is crazy. Listen, if you don't already adore 69 Love Songs, I assume it is because you haven't heard 69 Love Songs, so stop what you are doing & go listen to all three albums right now. You're welcome. Nick Hornby read next; the first piece was about football-- soccer-- & he admitted to sort of trolling the American audience by reading it. I get it, though, I think; I assume that people feel about sport teams the way I feel about Community or something, right? Finally, Aaron Neville closed out the night. I don't know who he is as an R&B singer, but as a Doo-wop singer, he killed it. His voice did all those crazy things it is suppose to do. Oh & he's in his seventies & rocking like a boss. Kira's stepdad Robert is the same way. I guess I aspire to be an invincible septuagenarian too, when it is my turn to spin the wheel.