Friday, June 13, 2008

I don't think I will make a habit of this

          After the show tonight, some friends and I went to a dueling piano bar.  Now, I generally enjoy piano bars because I love to watch people play the piano.  Oh, also I can sometimes be uncomfortable or feel a bit awkward at a bar because it is too loud to talk and I am not much of a drinker, but a piano bar--now there you have something to do (remember? watch someone play the piano...).  Most of the ones I have been to are pretty chill and acoustic.  They play songs like Fire and Rain by James Taylor and Son of a Preacher Man by Dusty Springfield.  Sure, they can get a little rowdy because, let's face it, it's a bar--but for the most part, it's fun music that everybody can sing along to.  

       But Howl at the Moon is another story.  Lots and lots of people are squished up together in a room where the music is thumping so loud that you can't distinguish between your heartbeat and the bass drum.  But, there are live musicians--two pianists, a bassist, an electric guitarist, and a drummer.  Oh, and everyone has a mic.  For me, watching accomplished musicians jamming is a good time.  I could be flipping through the tv, and if I see someone playing something live and well--then I stop and listen.  It arrests me.  Even if it's music I would never buy, I enjoy seeing it played live.  So, here are all these musicians obviously loving their lives on a Thursday evening, wailing on the mics and just doing what they do.  Then they announce they are going to have a dance competition.  Each table can elect one female to go up onstage and just dance.  Maybe it's because I have been watching So You Think You Can Dance like it's my job, lately. Maybe it's because I once went to see Jay Leno live and did not volunteer to enter the dance competition there, and have since regretted it (I really think I could have won the t-shirt, anyway).  Maybe it's because all my friends encouraged me.  But, whatever it was, I had this light-hearted feeling and just went up there.  I mean, I am a dancer after all--how bad could it be?

        Turns out, pretty bad.  Not for me so much, but the other girls were pretty disgusting.  I couldn't help but think that their mothers did not teach them to act this way.  Where was their dignity, their pride, their sense of value?  I was the last to go, and let me tell you--it was a long 20 seconds.  I did a sensible backbend, a nice high kick, and some other cute, dancey things.  It was not the booty-shaking affair the other ladies offered up, though.  My mama taught me better than that. I did not win the competition, which was fine with me.  A gentleman by the name of Byron did come up to me afterwards and say, I could tell you are a beautiful dancer, classically trained; you must be a ballerina.  You were in an altogether different class than the skanky dancers up there before you.  Well, thank you, Byron; I am glad you noticed.  

   I probably won't do it again, but it was interesting.  And I feel sorry for those girls, really sorry.  

  On another note, life has been sweet lately.  I have been writing new music, running outside, reading new books, spending time with God, and enjoying good people.  I also saved the life of a baby bird, I think...At least, he had fallen from his nest onto the sidewalk and his parents were freaking out (I am no expert, but their flying seemed a little more frenetic than is normal for birds).  I remembered that humans are not supposed to touch baby birds (something about the mama bird shunning the baby bird if they smell like a human?  Or am I confusing that with what the Amish do?), so I found a big exotic leaf and managed to get the baby bird to hop onto it.  Then, I placed him back in the grass, under his tree, and near his frantic bird-parents (all without actually touching him, mind you).  At least then he was off the sidewalk and wouldn't be so easily stepped on.  When I ran back that way a little later, he was gone.  So, I like to think I saved his life.  Oh, and when I am not rescuing baby birds and everything else I mentioned, I am doing 8 shows a week.   



jason j said...

Its a shame what dancing means to a lot of people. One of Susan's best friends teaches dance up in Boston. When I talk about her and tell people she's a dancer, they usually give me a look and I have to say.. NO, not that kind of dancer.. :-P

I'm glad you were able to bring a moment of class to any otherwise not so classy even.

Mom said...

Well, you've proven the saying that when a child grows up, she will not depart from the teaching of her youth. I'm glad you are able to go where you go and maintain your purity. It's what Christians are supposed to be able to do. And, of course, I fully agree with Byron!

Anonymous said...

Funny, but I also thought Christians were not supposed to judge other people....I guess it just goes to show that we have our faults, crude dancing techniques or judging others.

KathieK said...

I agree with Jason and your mom, Jess. Good for you for being true to least one person there recognized and appreciated class.

I love to dance and don't have many opportunities to do it, but John and I do attend the annual Christmas party his company has. I am very spoiled by my ex-dance instructor husband so I don't dance with other guys, they're just not usually as good. If John gets tired and I still want to dance, I'll just dance by myself or dance with some of the other women. One year, though, some guy asked me to dance. I was in a very dancy mood, and John didn't want to dance, but I thought, "it's okay, this guy looks harmless". Suffice it to say that I had to put my arm up twice to keep him an appropriate distance from me. I have never danced with another guy since.

Susan Marie said...

I went to the "Howl at the Moon" club that they have in Baltimore (at least, I think it's the same thing- maybe it's slightly different). I had a similar reaction to the unbelievable level of crassness that seemed tolerated- and encouraged- by the patrons. I went with a group of nurses from Mercy Medical Center, and I was a bit embarrassed because the piano guys kept calling us the "slutty nurses" and insinuating that we were women of easy virtue. It just seemed so inappropriate to be representing a Catholic hospital as little more than a brothel. But maybe that was because I was the only one not completely drunk at the time.
Anyway, thanks for being a beacon of light! Also, it's great to hear that you are getting a chance to live life, write music, and save lives (even if they are avian lives)!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Anonymous, I definitely agree with you that I have my faults! However, there is a difference between judging people mercilessly and having wisdom. I could see that some of the things these ladies were doing were beneath them; simply and truly, they were objectifying themselves. I am a dancer. I love hip-hop and other forms where you do a significant amount of booty-shaking. But when you are drunk and taking off clothes, that's not dancing. That is losing self-respect and allowing a lecherous crowd to have too much of yourself. And I felt compassion for the one girl, specifically, who did that. Does that make sense?

Tiffany said...

I'm catching up on blogs.:) What a hero this guy John is for holding the keyboard. Yesterday, I was holding a bag in one hand, Daniel in the other and had to beg Keith for help. :)
Boy the first part of blog,Sun., June 8, I can relate to. Remember, I'm new to a lot of what is going on around me right now. I'm sure I've been sensitive recently.We can pray for each other.
In another blog you talked about baby steps toward a dream. I'm SO proud of you for taking them! At 38I'm thinking of making a long, lost dream come back to life.
Jess, you are an encourager and an inspiration. Tiff

Anonymous Also said...

To anonymous: Compassion combined with discernment is a totally different thing than judgmentalism. How sad it would be if we couldn't tell the difference between right and wrong! Our lives would become fully chaotic. But knowing that we all have faults, compassion flows out of us when we see another person choosing to do something that disrespects herself. Discernment and mercy are both important. What we are not to be are people who condemn others.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Tiffany--how awesome! Would you mind sharing what dream you have? Or is that too personal?

Tiffany said...

I kind of feel like sheltering the dream for a bit. Kind of feel like when Joseph told his family about his dreams and look what happened. I want to chit chat with God about it some more because it's HUGE! but must, must start with baby steps. :)

Jessica Latshaw said...

I totally understand--but it sounds like an exciting time for you! You shelter it for as long as you need to:-)