Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Adventure 3: Rock & Roll sites part one

I felt like a little kid seeing several rock & roll places in NYC.  Not sure Emma was as excited but had little choice except to accompany me.  She will thank me at some point in the future as "somebody" (other than me) is bound to be impressed by these sights and will recognize her with many "cool points" if those remain cultural currency.  I can only hope that I live long enough to say "See, I told you those were important places.  Aren't you glad we went?!"  I can dream, can't I? 

Started off at Madison Square Park for some live music (not really what we were expecting) and lunch at Shake Shack.  We then walked down Broadway through Union Square Park into the East Village and down to 96-98 St. Mark's Place.  It served as the cover of Led Zeppelin's "Physical Graffiti" (though they edited out one floor to make it fit the cover) and #98's stoop was where the Rolling Stones filmed their video for "Waiting on a Friend".  It's changed "quite a bit" since that time.  There are now locked gates at the sidewalk, most likely to keep people like me from emulating Mick Jagger on their front porch.  

I did my best Mick pose (legally) on the sidewalk between 96 & 98 and Emma snapped the picture. Okay, I admit I'm not the snappy dresser that Mr. Jagger is and I have "a few pounds" on him, (I am however, much taller) but if you watch the video you'll understand the pose-Really!  Our space for taking pictures was limited because there were delivery trucks on both sides of us, but you can still "get the picture." Emma clearly recognized that we were probably the least hip of anyone in the surrounding area.  I prefer to believe it was just the opposite.  Oh well, to each his own delusion . . . . .

We then walked across 8th Street into Greenwich Village (still a very "FUN-ky" place) to 52 
West 8th where Electric Lady Studios are still in operation. It was built by Jimi Hendrix in late 1968 as his studio.  I'm not sure but Emma may have actually been impressed by this (or possibly just humoring me in hopes of scoring some treat immediately following).  

Next, we headed south to 115 MacDougal Street to Cafe Wha?  
This was Bob Dylan's old haunt and where Chas Chandler of the Animals "discovered" Jimi Hendrix with the help of Keith Richard's girlfriend (psst: she discovered him but Chandler gets all the credit).  Admittedly, this is not the original Cafe Wha? which was across the street from its current location, but it will do just fine.  This is a very cool neighborhood!

Lastly, we walked south on Mercer Street into SOHO for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex to see the the John Lennon exhibit. Saw lots of Elvis jumpsuits (cotton, not leather as I had always imagined) and other effects; Michael Jackson's "We Are The World" 'uniform' (complete); Jimi Hendrix' Rainbow Bridge shirt/jacket and Monterey medallion (very cool!); Handwritten lyrics to the Four Season's hit "Sherry" originally spelled "Cheri".

The last part was the Lennon exhibit.  Well worth the money! Of particular note were the original handwritten lyrics to "Working Class Hero", "God", and "Imagine" (very tiny and on a scrap of paper-perhaps a receipt??); many correspondences involving his fight to stay in NYC.  Emma was moved by a video that's part of the exhibit that had scenes of the results of "conflicts" in terms of human casualties, most notably Hiroshima, Nagasaki, the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq (1980's), Bosnia etc.  We used the scenes to talk about lots of "things" I thought we might discuss a few years down the road, but no time like the present.  We signed a petition that will be sent to the President at the end of the exhibit and got to see the bag of "possessions from patient #???" that was returned to Yoko Ono in February 1981.  It is all of John Lennon's possessions collected at Roosevelt Hospital on the night he was murdered.  It most closely resembles a brown paper shopping bag still wrapped in a clear plastic bag. That's it.  It is amazingly powerful in its simple presentation.

We left to board a train back to Roosevelt Island, both of us exhausted.  Emma seemed to have enjoyed the day after all.  I was glad and grateful she accompanied me.  My little buddy rocks!

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