The victory celebrations around the OSU campus after the Buckeyes’ victory over the Miami Hurricanes produced the usual drunken hooligans, but did not erupt into car-flipping, Dumpster fires, and couch-burning, as I had predicted and feared. Saturday afternoon, after Susie was finished at Hot Times in Olde Towne East, I made a trek all the way to Upper Arlington to return some electronics at MicroCenter, and then went to Kafé Kerouac. (I’m proud to say I was rather productive there–wrote my first poem in God knows how long and also completed a 2½-page diary entry, all of it in longhand.)
The poem had been percolating for some time, and I felt confident enough that I went to College Town while the game was in progress and bought a Roaring Spring single-subject notebook specifically for the purpose. The finished product was almost three pages long. I need to type it up, and then decide what lucky publication will get first crack at it. I’m arrogant enough to be considering either The New Republic or The New Yorker. I celebrated this productivity by buying (for $5!) a hardcover copy of I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg, by Bill Morgan, which I had not read previously.
Steve had borrowed my Kodak EasyShare camera, so I had to reacquaint myself with the other Ph.D. camera in the house, Susie’s Digital Blue camera, when I wanted to take pictures of the girls performing at the Hot Times Festival. (Hot Times is 100% volunteer-run. Some people describe it as a mini-Comfest, and that’s a valid comparison, but if it’s like Comfest, it’s minus the topless women, public urination, and pot-smoking.) Susie and friends performed at high noon, so she and I had to be there at 11 a.m. for check-in and warm-up.
This meant we were there as the food vendors were setting up. I bought her a hot dog after she left the stage, and I’m sure I made her want the earth to swallow her up when the man gave us the hot dogs. He said, “Condiments are right there,” pointing to the ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, and mayonnaise in front of us. I declined saying, “I don’t use condiments, I’ve had a vasectomy.” (I recycled a line I’ve used when a co-worker who moonlighted as a Realtor tried to evangelize me about “why [I] need to buy a condo.”)
Suzie Simpson, the director of Girlz Rhythm and Rock Camp, was grateful to the girls who came, since quite a few seemed to be laid up by seasonal allergies and autumn viruses. I felt badly for Susie because she composed a song at camp she wanted to perform yesterday, but her guitarist/accompanist was one of the ones who was sidelined by the bug. (I’ve been sneezing so hard I thought I had broken my nose, so I have sympathy for the girls who weren’t there.) As it turned out, Susie had to sing a non-original song a Capella to fill out The Moonlight Band’s gig, holding an MP3 player to her ear for accompaniment. (When I lived in Boston, a trumpeter frequently played on the subway platforms. At his feet was a boom box–then known politically incorrectly as “ghetto blasters”–the size of an attaché case–labeled The Band in big letters.)
Susie and her portable accompanist.
This is as good a time as any to mention that Girlz’ Rhythm and Rock Camp
can always use donations and support. Pearl Jam contributed $14 thousand several years ago, which helped with buying instruments, equipment, and electronics, but they will always welcome a tax-deductible contribution. To that end, immediately after the show ended, Susie took the jar and went to work in the crowd. We heard both the clink of coins and the ruffle of dollar bills.
Wouldn’t you be quick to open your wallet and
checkbook to someone with this sunny a countenance
when she comes to solicit funds (fundz?) for girls to
go to camp?
I roamed High St. for much of the evening after leaving the sanctuary of Kafé Kerouac. My motives were not pure. If honest-to-God rioting broke out, I was going to take a few dozen pictures and let my blog’s readership be the first to see the action in all its glory. (I take after my maternal grandfather, Charles Lester McKee, in that respect. In September 1925, he was home in Caldwell, Ohio and saw the crash of the USS Shenandoah (ZR-1), the Navy’s first rigid airship, in a squall line, which tore the ship to pieces and killed its commanding officer and 13 of its crew. My grandfather, aged 30, saw that the ship was about to tear apart and crash, so, being the Christian and Good Samaritan he was, what did he do? He ran home and got his camera. By the time he came back, there was debris scattered everywhere and people were tearing off scraps of the hull fabric as souvenirs. I’ve watched eBay for hull fabric on sale for a year now, so far in vain.)
The worst thing I saw all night was a guy leading three or four boys, the oldest of whom was maybe 12, selling candy bars for Buckeye Youth Basketball. They had boxes of the fundraising Anthony-Thomas candy bars, and they were out there around 9:30 p.m. amidst all the drunkenness, open containers, airborne bottles, and sidewalk vomiting. Kids shouldn’t be out selling at that hour on the most tranquil of nights, and this definitely was not one of them.
I only snapped two pictures of the crowd, neither of which came out very well. The flash on the camera illuminates a radius of millimeters, so after dark, you capture more silhouettes than people. I took a picture of the interior of The Sloppy Donkey, a bar that occupies the site of the former Larry’s Bar, where OSU dropout Phil Ochs (“Draft-Dodger Rag,” “I Ain’t Marchin’ Anymore,” and “Outside a Small Circle of Friends”) had his professional debut. Larry’s, the only bar which offered classical music in its jukebox, is now a sports bar. (As a loyal Democrat, the name offends me.)
Post-game interior of The Sloppy Donkey. May Phil
Ochs’ unhappy ghost haunt them night and day.
I was intrigued by the restroom at Kafé Kerouac. Its walls are decorated, floor to ceiling, in items found between pages of books returned to the OSU Library over the years–letters, court orders, photographs, notes, scratch pad pages, postcards. I could stay in there for hours and read them.
Some samples of the pictures displayed in the Kafé Kerouac restroom. This holds my attention much more than “For a good time, call…”