Friday, March 7, 2008

Warsaw, Pt. 1: Court and Sparklehorse

When Melody first moved to New York, she settled into an apartment with two gay roommates. This seems to be some sort of unwritten law for young actresses, the 'queen of your very own gay kingdom' syndrome, the 'they live vicariously through my makeup and shoes' rite of passage. This is a very curious thing for a boyfriend to go through. Where does the jealousy go when the guy doesn't want to sleep with your girlfriend but wants to BE her?

Melody was like the Pied Piper-ette of Gays. She walked the streets of Williamsburg and light-stepping men fell out of tea shops flipping their scarves and apologizing for gushing over her pumps and the dress cut on the bias. They would rave about her hair, ask to caress her hips, pledge undying love. Occasionally they mistook me for a fellow worshipper instead of the king of the castle.

During her time in that hip-tropolis, a club opened that has since become a fixture. It is called Warsaw and it is the former Polish meeting house or some such. You go see a rock show and the fluorescent lit white tile kitchen pumps out kielbasa and sauerkraut. The main room is a big square wood floor space with giant paintings of Polish men riding horses in breeches and boots. One can't help but picture a sparsely attended meeting of the Polish Businessmen's Association as they wrestle with the question of how to compete with spaghetti joints and Korean grocery stores.

Whoever opened Warsaw was shooting for the moon. The room seems to drink in sound and give it back to you. It is almost a perfect square and there are no obstructions to viewing the stage. Melody had introduced me to a band called Sparklehorse who were coming to town...

My memories of New York are strange to is as if it was one long fever dream, 8 years of swimming upstream, worn raw but defiant. The specifics of the Sparklehorse concert have disappeared behind me in the current. I know I went. I know I must have stood in the throng with Melody on my arm. I know her wardrobe by heart so I can even picture the different things she might have worn.

But that is the problem. I would be inventing my own memory. As it is, the only picture I posess upstairs is the lead singer, tall and bearded, swaying slightly off balance behind his microphone stand. I remember thinking about how heroin had nearly killed him. I don't remember walking to the show, eating pierogis, kissing Melody, although I know I did all of those things.

It is much like the old tree-in-the-woods question. If a man goes to a concert and doesn't remember it, was he ever actually there in the first place? I must have been because I even have the ticket stubs somewhere.

So today when I thought of beginning a Warsaw trilogy with the Sparklehorse concert, all I could think of was Melody trailing gay-postles down the streets of Williamsburg. Which, when you think about it, might be a better memory anyway.

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