I dreamed I was in a band last night. It’s been almost ten years since I’ve been on stage. I miss it
sometimes a lot. I like group creative projects – I often need something larger than myself to continue, to finish work, and the group is more than “just me”. The dynamic is exhilarating, usually fun, sometimes frustrating – rarely boring. Though I haven’t been making music, I have been in a collaborative project for months now, and it is informing my solitary work in a good way (I’m painting again), and I am waking up with the desire to create almost over all else.
In my dream, Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica, Damn Kids) was on guitar. I don’t know the other members – I think Francis DiDonato (Youth Gone Mad, Direct Action, Apple) was on guitar, too. In my waking life, I was in bands with both Paul and Francis for a large part of my music career, they are incredible musicians – real artists.
The place we were playing was small. The stage and the walls were painted matte black. It was an old man’s bar recently taken over by hipsters. Afternoon light from outside was coming in through the open door and front window while we did sound check.
The show was last minute, or maybe I arrived last minute. Before the show, I was in a hotel on an elevator with my sister Kerry and we were talking on the phone with my mother. We promised to visit her. I was planning on driving out to see her after the show.
While the stage was being set up, I went for a walk doing my vocal exercises in the street. I was wearing a white linen shirt and jeans. I walked to a bar on the Lower East Side and put my makeup on. Fushia blusher on my cheeks and eyelids and black eyeliner. My hair was cropped to about three inches all around my head. It was kind of dirty, so it was easy to dishevel and shape. (This was truly a last-minute gig, normally I am all about getting dressed up for a show).
Three women in the bar were watching me put makeup on. They were dressed like flappers, with bob cuts and feathered headbands, cigarette holders and sequined dresses. When I was ready to leave, they got on their hands and knees and crawled on the worn astroturf carpeting out of the bar and fell into a heap on the sidewalk, their skirts flipping up to their waists as they kicked their feet and laughed. I had to climb over them to get out the door.
It was five minutes til showtime and I couldn’t find a cab – so I started to run back to the club, while singing scales. Everything was pale grey, six lanes of Houston Street took forever to cross. Once I was on the sidewalk again, the buildings pulsated, like they were breathing, and they swayed in the breeze. I knew I was dreaming, so I relaxed and walked.
When I got back to the gig, everything was exactly as I had left it, except for the light coming in through the door and the window – it had shifted from late afternoon white to twilight blue. Neon red, blue and white reflected from above a wall of booze onto the polished bar. The open door aired the place out slightly, the atmosphere thickening toward the back of the room.
Sound check was still going on. I did some toe touches and stretched my arms and legs. I climbed onstage to check my monitors. My boyfriend (who is a former boyfriend in real life) followed me to tell me he googled my mother’s town and that no way was it an hour and a half drive. More like four hours.
I looked at him, shrugged, and turned toward the mic. Stay in the moment. Music happens in the moment.
I woke up. My alarm had been going off for about an hour.
My real boyfriend texted me: Love my tea.
I opened my shades. Snowflakes. Pine tree tops. Sun.
A completely different life.
This video by Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra looks like so much freakin’ fun.