Tuesday, March 11, 2008

India on the Hudson

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...And Jesus Rockers in Hoboken

My car found a spot right in front of India on the Hudson, which solved where to have dinner before I went to Maxwell's backroom to hear my colleague and friend Linda's friend Christian Bauman give a reading from his book, In Hoboken. The book came out today. it began promisingly, with, "The stink was how they found out."

I didn't recall that there would also be music as part of the evening, let alone music played, sung and written by Linda. Linda, I discovered tonight, was the first person I knew that had a Wikipedia entry featuring her. Till the art part of the evening began, I felt immensely awkward in my business suit, since everyone else was dressed like a folk-singer.

Almost everyone else *was* a folk-singer, including two of Linda's three sisters, who were there with her to perform. The third sister was in India. How fun it was to see three sisters onstage, playing off of each other's harmony and instruments, since I'm one of three sisters. My favorite song by Linda was, "A Little Will Do."

The words I caught included:
When I dream, I want it all, but a little will do....If I can't give a dollar, a quarter will do....When I'm missing my mother, I can still call my dad, or visit my sisters, the best friends I ever had....I want it all, but a little will do....

She called it her "gratitude song" and I loved the sentiments.

I came, feeling jealous of others' creativity and wishing I were more prolific and left, feeling inspired and happy and awe-filled, rather than bitter. Upon leaving, I smiled for two blocks in the wrong direction, passing the golden elk sculpture outside the Elks Lodge and the spring-green, neon sign for Elysian Cafe before realizing that 12th Street was four blocks in the opposite direction.

Linda and her fellow musicians all were raised ardently Christianly, or came to the religion by the time they found each other, and some of their music made references to Christian imagery. It was another reason that I was anxious to be there. Was I going to relate to the songs?

As it turned out, my favorite one by Christian Bauman and Gregg Cagno, "The View From Here," referred to Michaelangelo's view while lying prone to paint the Sistine Chapel's ceiling. I loved it like I loved Kirk Franklin, like I've been comforted by C.S. Lewis' thoughts, and Thomas Merton's.

Tonight, at India on the Hudson, I saw the tiny candles lit atop a Ganesh sculpture and thought about how they probably lit them nightly just prior to opening for dinner. Many needed meaning in their lives; the kindled Ganesh; the lyrics about Michaelangelo; and the Jewish blessing over my meal, which I recited prior to eating the Dal Makhani and Chicken Tika Kebob, all gave our lives the meaning they needed. What could be wrong with any of our traditions?

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