Sunday, August 16

Vincent Gallo

Three days ago Atiya and I saw Vincent Gallo play music at the Coronet. He was crouched on the floor so we could see his dreamy-ass boxer briefs, switching between guitar and bass and then looping them. He jammed with two guys who were adding slow, percussive compliments with clanging effects. As they played on the three would -synch- and it was serene and pleasant. Afterward there was an intermission and then Sean Lennon and his girlfriend played music from their new band.

The audience was, as you'd imagine, great looking and very well dressed. One of the two regrets I sustained from the night was that Atiya and I didn't arrive earlier because we could have made friends (and drank more).

My other regret was that I did not have the woman sitting next to me ejected from the theater. I had made an active effort to stop at the theater at 7:05 so I could sit third-row-center, but my neighbor (age: 55) and her husband's seats were slightly more central. Before the performance the staff of the Coronet (a lush, red velvet theater) implored the audience that talking and texting and photography and recording to make ringtones are not allowed at all and that they will be watching for rule-breakers. Ten minutes into Vincent Gallo's set the woman seated next to me began mumbling to her husband regularly and laughing aloud. She paired it with big, animated, outlandish body movements - looking behind her to the right, sitting up high to see the faces of the people in front of her, lashing herself to the left, keeping her flattened hand above her forehead - "looking" for the audience's response. It was stupid and distracting so I caught her eye. Instead of being embarrassed, she crept to my ear and said, "Do you love this?"
"Yes," I instantly replied, "can I have your seat?"
She told me that I couldn't, which I sort of expected, and then actually stayed still for the rest of the performance. She was either trying to understand it, or bizarrely mocking the calm behavior of someone who was "actually" enjoying it.

When intermission started Atiya and I went straight to the bathroom, and the long line formed behind us. While I was in a stall I heard a newly familiar voice whining, "pretentious!" and "a big fuck-you to the audience."

Upon returning to my seat the woman was already back and immediately made eye contact with me.
"You're back," I said.
"Wha?" she clucked.
"You're back. I'm surprised."
"Let me ask you, let me ask you - what did you like about that?"
"It's the kind of music I like."
"What kind of music is it?"
"Experimental music."
"Experimental music?" It was akin to chatting with an aggressive, judgmental, middle-aged parrot. "What does that mean?"
"It means they're experimenting and trying new things with sound. It's a genre of music."
"So it's like jazz?"
"O.K. O.K. So does that mean there are other places where you can see this type of music?"
"Name some."
"Pehrspace, the Smell, Echo Curio-" I dislike being on trial when I'm right so I asked her, "What kind of music do you like?"
"Let me ask you-"
"What was the last show you went to?"
"CONCERT. What was the last concert you saw?"
"Don't try to turn this on me."
"Why not?"
"Don't you think this is the kind of music you could make in the basement with your friends after a few joints?"
"Didn't you think the whole thing was just pretentious?"
No. Pretentious is the adjective of people who feel left out based on their mental inferiority and inability to locate educational resources. I wasn't begging the woman to explain Julie & Julia so I could attack and torture her.
"Didn't you think [Vincent Gallo's] turning-his-back on the audience was a big Fuck You to the audience?"
Nope. "Just because he's famous doesn't mean he has to act like a rock star."
"Oh so it's about the FAME, I get it."
"NO!" You deaf hag!
"So you thought that drummer was keeping a good beat?"
"Yes. They were creating two separate beats that correlated but didn't match."
"They make disconnected connections," Atiya addded in, also annoyed her attention was being pooled into this.
"A disconnected connection," the woman repeated to herself. "That's interesting." It wasn't interesting. None of it was interesting. The lights went out for Sean Lennon to begin, and people started clapping and I couldn't hear anything, and the woman tried to continue our debate so I, like so many times before, told her "No."

For about 70 seconds I thought the Sean Lennon set was going to be great. He was sitting in a chair with a wa-wa pedal, playing licks while an extremely thin woman played an old piano on the far left of the stage. It sounded really good. After those 70 seconds the woman left the piano and sat next to Sean Lennon and put a tambourine in her lap. It then became apparent that they were both chewing gum.

I was surprisingly in a lot of pain during Sean Lennon's set. He and his model girlfriend made annoying banter, including jokes about chewing gum and an extensive background of every song, and then played boring folk with corny, faux-literary lyrics. The woman-next-to-me and her husband loved it. They cheered hysterically and she cackled after every anecdote. Sean Lennon and his girlfriend called up an unrehearsed drummer who proceeded to play a slow di-dah with rough, fifth-grader's-first-kit form. I prayed for sleep but sleep would not come.

When it was finally over I stood up and hovered over the woman seated third-row-perfectly-center.
"I didn't like that," I easily admitted to her. "But you didn't know! So next time you go to a show and YOU don't like it, follow MY example."
I turned around and exited the aisle. "What did you like about it?" she shouted after me. "You didn't like it?" She had run after me and put her hand on my shoulder so I walked faster and then rolled my shoulder toward my chest. "Wasn't that engaging?"
I flipped around. "I don't need to be engaged, I have a boyfriend." And then I weaved away and left the theater.

I don't really know what I meant by my last comment, but I really don't understand the person who feels a connection or an ability to relate to, who feels they more easily have a friend in the son of a Beatle and his model girlfriend than a man who got to the stage solely by his art. And I think if we were stoned in a basement, my boyfriend and I could probably make the music of the former - but I'd need to lose a little weight first.


  1. We handle talking audience members so differently. I went to a Boris Karloff double-feature on Saturday, and the people next to me wouldn't shut up. I let it go during the first movie, but by the time the second one rolled around I said, "Could you guys please whisper or something? And not talk at a normal volume? Kay, thanks." They left about 15 minutes later, but not before quietly mocking me.

  2. I really like Vincent Gallo and not Jess Goodwin