Today, Ralph, world’s best husband to my lucky mother, drives me out to the Valley to pick up my mom’s 1984 Peugeot 505 station wagon from the Peugeot specialist who has been fixing it up for my tour–this is a gift from Ralph and my mom. I have never seen so many Peugeots in one place at one time. I feel as if I have joined a club. Rene, le mechanique, is so charmante. He shows me the engine and the dashboard. I take notes.
The West Hollywood neighborhood where my alma mater, Fairfax High School, stands, was once known as the Borcht Belt, and was colorful in a shtetl sort of way.
Now it is part of the Design District, peopled by creatives working in the film, recording, home decor, restaurant and fashion industries. The boho scene on Melrose Avenue “began” with the establishment of Aardvark’s Odd Ark, a used clothing store in the 1970s. Now Melrose is shoulder to shoulder coolness, with dozens of small, unique businesses, for example, Shrine, which sells what the staff calls “club and rock and roll clothing”, but which is, more specifically, goth couture.
I awoke from my two-day stupor long enough to drive over to West Hollywood to have a sauna and massage at Brooks Baths, which have been part of LA since the ‘fifties. The three young women I met in the sauna all had movie jobs–writer, costumer, actress. Massage erased the week of packing, cleaning, and airport shlepping. Bliss.
I did not sleep the night before I left Maui. I kept organizing and packing all night. I knew I would be traveling non-stop for almost a year. The whole week I had hardly slept, working against the deadlines of the moveout and the plane ride. Early in the morning, my friends Laurel Murphy, Gil McCrary, and Kitty Olsen gathered around me with help, flower leis, visions of success. The whole tour is a group effort, created through the cooperation of dozens of old and new friends. I am buoyed by their generosity, hospitality and love.
My partner, Joe Gallivan, himself preparing to leave in two days for London to record two more CDs–he recorded two others there in March–walks me to the gate. We feel jet streams rustling our wings. Joe makes recordings with a minimum of rehearsal, no retakes, no overdubs. His improvisations soar effortlessly. He works with other musicians who compose and perform simultaneously. Mastering this art form takes more training than brain surgery.
I will see him again in June, in New York City, when he plays (drums and percussion) at the Knitting Factory as part of the Bell-Atlantic Jazz Festival with his group, the Rainforest Initiative, with saxophone luminaries Elton Dean, Evan Parker, Charles Austin and John McMinn, wonderful Marcio Mattos on bass, and two great Hawaiian chanters, Lei’ohu Ryder and Mahalani Poipoi.
You can check out Joe’s works at joegallivan.com. He is the only musician based in Hawaii whose works are reviewed (all favorably, I might add) in the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD, the authoritative work on the subject.
Joe’s trio at Pacific O’s in Lahaina, Maui, includes Shiro Mori on guitar and Gene Argel on keyboards
My mother and stepfather meet me at the gate in Los Angeles. They radiate kindness. We gather up my flock of luggage and extract ourselves from the artificial reality of LAX. After I get to their comfortable home, I sleep for two days.