let me start here:
we call her Stassia. sometimes Ana Stassia. sometimes, simply: the Bosslady. a very talented singer and songwriter with whom I have been working a good deal the past year and half.
meetings can be curious and this one is but not so curious as all that. after all, it was black coffee that made what you see above the twinkling of a smote of an idea way back when. it was a mutual friend who made said coffee (professionally, might I add) who brought all our musics into the same room. it was in Brooklyn we all first met. it was the conjoining ground of various accidental destinies. that first project, that first session, is nothing like all this. but art-in-general (and music-in-specific) is an ever shifting ground. one year to the next, a casual meeting can turn into one of the “main things”. and so it was with Bosslady.
point being, only a few months ago did things congeal into what they are now. still nascent, still new, still tentative — for all the confidence being laid down above. and when Stassia presented the opportunity to take this still infantile-project to Moscow for a show or two — how could I resist? To bring what has been a brooklyn living-room, LES high-rise, sometime publicly performed thing to the big stage. in Москва.
so, hustling. scraping. scampering up hill, yet gaining momentum — we set the gears in motion. and it was a long-shot. even now, sitting in my hotel room on the fifth floor of the Melody Hotel (just a few scant blocks away from Red Square and The Kremlin), it still seems a long-shot. even now, after three separate performances here, after running around the city in a jet-lagged haze, after finding two local musicians to hold down the bass and drums, and getting pictures and posters and cards completed. After standing up together on the stage at the Durov Theater and taking a final bow — it seems like this could have all been some grotesque but awesome dream. some fitful feverish fantasy that I will wake from any instant and be back in my moldy apartment covered in cat hair and strewn with the requisite wretched mess of lead-sheets, set lists, CDs, used coffee mugs.
but, i remind myself, i AM here. have been here some four days! quite nearly on the other side of the world. and yet, not fallen apart. not dissipating into my tiniest discrete molecular bits. no great catastrophe of being or being being. but rather, we are here. we have been ourselves. and, against all the odds, made our little music known in a great big, unknowable place. the sensation is dreamlike, to be sure. but it is real. this kind of thing, when you are young musician struggling day in and day out to pay the bills, feed yourself, learn the music, make the gig, and all that regular rigamarole… this kind of thing, for all its heartache and stress and terror, it is the most vital and virile kind of living. it is what Socrates told Phaedrus is: being beingly being.
suffer my strange utterances a few more times, friends. in the end you will find, what seemed mad is most sensible. for how could it not? i am here! the thing is done! tomorrow we fly home to god knows what. back to the scraping and scampering and requisite regular wretchedness. and, in so short a time as you might not even note its passage, this will have seemed as ethereally impossible as it once was.
but tonight — in Muscovy — it is real.
and as it is time for me to drag my foolish heart and wandering mind to bed: here endeth the lesson. part one: we came, we saw… we conked out.