All My Teachers Inspirations Influences Appear With Me At Every One Of My Prayers and Gigs
It was my birthday and I had a day full of gigs and teachings. I brought a load of papers with me as is my custom, over-prepared, and began the day with a roomful of people teaching the holy entry into the Days of Awe from a re-spiritualized I must be nothing in order to be something perspective, quoting the verse from Psalm 100 that I learned from the Language of Truth. I turned out the overhead lights and used only the goofy make-up lights dialed down by rheostat half-way in what must have been the dressing room for the theater next door. Big room, must have been 100 people stuffed in.
I am still walking with a cane so my beloved daughters helped me carry all my bags and papers and guitar over to the location. They stayed for all my events; I begged them to go do their work but I think they were worried I couldn’t get around. I have never felt so well taken care of. They also really got into the teachings.
I missed my teacher so I called him during the day. He’s been ill lately and his conversation was somewhat confused but it was good to hear his voice. I wanted to tell him I saw him in my dream as a young man, and he saw me, but I didn’t. It wasn’t the right time.
I did three events that day, the last event a concert in the big theater. I had all my papers but I decided to fully engage the audience in the Baal Shem Tov manner and remove all separations. Not show business, ceremony.
All my stories are full of dates and numbers and details I generally don’t remember but I put the papers away, slung my lousy leg over my good leg, and sat on top of a stool without moving for an hour and spoke poetry and sang my cholungen out. I chose every word carefully and didn’t go where I wasn’t comfortable; my voice opened up about half way through and control was excellent. I played with dynamics in a demagogic fashion and the theater belonged to me. Breath, inhale and exhale, in unison. A rare and cosmic event.
One fellow came up to me and said quietly, “you’re teaching a kind of secret, uncommon wisdom, aren’t you?” I loved the phrase uncommon wisdom.
Everyone wanted to know when I was coming back and if I choose to retire here, I’m set up. My son too showed up for the last gig so all my kids were with me, we sold a load of CDs and went out to birthday dinner.
Dinner was from Korea and delicious. Afterwards the girls and I went to a movie about an unknown singer from Detroit who became popular in South Africa. It was one of the finest movies I have seen in a long time and began with the testimony of the producer of the singer’s first record who I knew from the homeland. As the story unfolded I was drawn into the beauty of the mystery character’s being in an engagement I haven’t experienced from a movie in a long time.
The audience applauded when the movie ended. There were quite a few South Africans at the movie and they were all talking about it afterwards outside the theater. I stopped and talked with a few of them; their perspective from the South African angle, mine from the Detroit angle. We had a wonder-ful conversation, exchanged names and such, everyone in the theater had been so stimulated by the movie that the conversations spilled out of the theater all around.
It was a great birthday. I got to unpack my craft in my idiosyncratic way, I think it has become quite sophisticated and well received; during my concert several people hollered out “when are you coming back.”
I may never leave. I told them in my homeland I pay people to come to my prayers and gigs. They thought I was serious and though I was fibbing there is some truth to the searching out an audience, whatever it is called, that has not been simple for me.
How much does it cost to join your synagogue? Someone asked me.
How much do you want?