Posted by: normanlgreen | August 30, 2011

Dream, August 30 2011, unprepared to play

Dream, home 5:15 am

Stephen has secured a musical gig for the pair of us to perform at a hotel. I have visited this town before, a gentrified string of old warehouse spaces – converted to bars and restaurants and antique stores. He is to play the house piano, and I carry the old Gibson. We stay at a mid-range hotel on the less fancy end of the strip and walk toward the posh end where we are to entertain a convention group. I look at the buildings trying to remember if they are the same establishments that I visited in a dream from four years ago. I think I spot one, an oyster bar in a single store brick structure with neon signs in the windows. If the hotel does not feed us, we can eat there.

As we get closer to the gig,I realize that we have not practiced together. Stephen is unconcerned. Inside the main lobby I see that this is very expensive place with guests in custom clothes and pricey jewelry. The staff of the hotel is uniformed and uncomfortable that we have entered where the guests arrive. We are escorted by a woman in a black pants suit and white-white shirt further into the hotel, closer to the kitchen that serves the many meeting halls that branch away from the center at odd angles. The light is exactly enough to operate, not too bright nor too dim. Chandeliers of long poles of cut glass diffuse the light from far above us. I see, through a corner entrance, the bar area where we are to play. A group of people exit the bar to gather and seat themselves in an audience area where someone will be giving a talk. I overhear Stephen tell the concierge that we are call Velvet Underground. I consider this odd and confusing, as we will be playing requests from the sixties and seventies pop catalog. At the edge of the arrangement of chairs for the attendants to the lecture, a career military man and I have a brief conversation. His smile is warm, he appears to be in his middle sixties and wants to make me comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. “They want to enjoy your show,” he says. “They are on you side.” He gives my hand a squeeze then turns his attention to the unattended podium.

I ask Stephen about sheet music or lyric sheets. He admits that we have none – or maybe a couple of things back at our hotel. We walk quickly out of the Hotel where we are to play and take a short-cut through an amusement park. In the late afternoon light, kids run from one ride to another. Everything looks well-kept. The white paint is unscuffed and there is a Buzz Lightyear theme to the portion through which we trot. Back in our room, which looks suspiciously like the office in the basement of my waking world, I fish through boxes looking for song books, fakebooks, lyric sheets, anything that will help us when we are hit with a request for some song we barely know. But there has been a flood in the last year, and all such materials were destroyed. Stephen hands me a photo illustrated band biography for some 80’s big-hair group. There is a picture of the vocalist leaning outward from the stage, his mic stand at an angle. He has one foot on the prone figure of a reluctant middle-aged audience member who has either passed out or possible been killed by the band. There are no lyrics in the book and I doubt that anyone would request any of their tunes. I eat the book like a sandwich.

Off of the lobby of our hotel there is a bookstore that is closed for inventory.  Half of the lights have been turned off, but the woman within waves us in when we look through the open doorway.  Her accent suggests that she is Jamaican.  Packages of paper products, paper towels, TP, etc have been stacked on top of the inventory of books.  She tells us that we may move things to get access to the stock.  We carefully set things to the side as we fish through baskets and boxes of books.  I think they must have missed us by now, back at the fancy hotel — they may be relieved that we have gone away.


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