Earlier this week, my friend Damien invited me to a house concert at which his artwork would be featured. The concert took place last night.
I love going to house concerts- the energy is amazing! Smaller crowds and familiar settings make for a very intimate experience, and usually afford one the opportunity to speak directly with the performer(s).
Historically, the house concerts I have attended have all been at the home of friends who live in the neighbourhood I grew up in; this meant a chance to pop in and visit my parents for a bit before the show, the comfort of "going home", so to speak, and of course, an excuse to visit with some wonderful people with whom I don't get to spend nearly enough time ...
This house concert would be different- first of all, Damien is a visual artist; I'd not seen a static display done at a house concert before- interesting. Of course, with a group name like "The North End Artists' Collective", having a visual artist at a house concert doesn't seem all that odd.
Secondly, while the hostess and I are acquainted with one another, I'd certainly never been in her home before (this sort of thing is pushing the envelope a little, for me, I'm rather shy).
Thirdly (and perhaps best of all) ...
The concert was two blocks from my home. Walking distance- wow! As it happens, I went over to a friend's house (there's safety in numbers, when you're stepping outside the comfort zone, even if it's only a little bit), and we walked to the concert together.
Before I start going into details: Best evening in ages.
First of all, apart from Damien, I wasn't familiar with the performers. I knew one of them vaguely from Boo's school, but the musician was new to me.
I admit I was a little nervous ("what if I don't like her style of music?"), but with my friend by my side, I ventured forth.
The parent I knew from the school, Kim, performed scenes from her Fringe show. Oh. My. Goodness. She had the entire houseful (we were spread out across three rooms and a hallway!) in stitches with her very direct, sometimes graphic, incredibly honest monologues about marriage, sex and the 'joys' of womanhood. Some of her words might have made people squirm, simply because while many of us have probably had the very same experiences as she was describing, most of us are 'too embarrassed' to admit out loud what she was willing to say on-stage. Brilliantly witty.
Her performance was interspersed with songs by the musical performer, Harmony Parent, whose style, I am happy to report, I truly emjoyed. Her voice was full and powerful- she had excellent pitch, and a keen eye and ear for her audience. Her guitar-playing was not perfection, but it was decent, and she made no claims to being the next Liona Boyd, sharing with her appreciative audience how she had started playing the guitar about 10 years ago- self-taught.
She had a CD of her music for sale, and by the time she was halfway through her first song, I had decided I would be buying it.
Heck, I'd also decided I would love to sing *with* her sometime... But that's a dream for another post.
There was a brief intermission, during which people circulated through the kitchen to get refreshments and snacks (the invite said "BYOB and a snack to share"- there was no shortage of either).
During the intermission, I managed to grab a hug from and catch up with Damien- thanks to the magic of facebook, we are frequently in contact, but as is so often the case these days, rarely actually see one another face-to-face. His artwork is beautiful, he has a good eye for seeing and celebrating the divine feminine. But don't just take my word for it, check it out for yourself!
My friend who accompanied me to the concert introduced me to her neighbour, and her neighbour's friend (another neighbour). Nothing odd about that, of course, it's always wonderful to meet other people from The 'Hood.
What took me by surprise, however, was how they reacted when she introduced me; they knew my name?!
Well, more correctly, they knew me by one of my titles.
"Oh!" they exclaimed, "You're Boo's Mum?!" Turns out, both of them have worked in the school for a number of years, and they have both gotten to know Mr. "I am not a Drama Guy". He makes quite an impression on people, I knew that, but apparently not just on us, (his family). As a matter of fact, the lovely ladies were incredulous when I mentioned we'd only been living in the neighbourhood for 3 years ... (this came up after they'd asked the names of our older children- and were surprised to only recognise one).
It's really interesting to see your children through the eyes of other people ...
As I said previously, one of the nice things about house concerts is the opportunity to meet the performers in a relaxed, informal setting. I was not only able to speak with Damien, but also with Harmony, and Kim, too!
Since Kim and I have seen one another at school functions, starting a conversation was fairly easy "Nice to finally meet you!" ...
She asked me how many children I had at the school, what grades they were in, etc.
"Oh, wait, you're Boo's Mum?!" that took me aback, but before I could even ask how it was she already knew him, she turned to her husband, introducing me to him as "Boo's Mum". She then turned back to me, and said "Boo is friends with our son, J--"
Now it was my turn- "Oh, you're J's Mum? Oh, that's too funny ... I gather they're working on a film together ... "
Sounds like the "tying up the loose ends" you'd see in a TV series or film, doesn't it?
Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
On top of being a fantastic performance, it was enlightening to learn that my youngest son is something of a neighbourhood celebrity ...