BUMPED FOR JUDY COLLINS
This appeared on the Ann Arbor Observer blog last week. If you’ve already read it, please skip down to Side B.
Last year at The Ark, my klezmer show got bumped for Judy Collins. She took my slot.
Ann Arbor ukulele-master Gerald Ross, who was a sideman, emailed me then: “I saw The Ark schedule. I don’t think we’re playing Feb. 9 , because you’re not Judy Collins.”
I had a lock on that date! I emailed The Ark. The Ark said how about another date? I suggested a couple more Saturday nights. The Ark said how about a Friday night.
I don’t play Friday nights if I can help it. I like to stay home for Friday nights — shabbat. Sometimes my shabbats are just a couple hours, but they’re always on Friday night! I once heard a Reform rabbi say, “Say a prayer over your pizza if you’re out with your kids on Friday night.” I’m all for that. I “hold” by that. (“Hold” means “I follow that custom.”)
I reluctantly took the Friday night slot last year, but didn’t put Friday in my publicity.
I got up to Ann Arbor on Friday afternoon and met up with an old college friend, Charlie Burch. He had just donated his 1960-70s political buttons to an archive in the Graduate Library. I wondered who still used the library. The answer: Charlie. (His buttons were No Nein Nyet Non Lo; March on Washington; Go Michigan Beat Thailand.)
Charlie pointed out where various stores don’t exist anymore. Like Centicore Books, Borders Books, Orange Julius and Miller’s Ice Cream.
I like touring Ann Arbor. It’s the only place I’ve lived other than Cleveland. I graduated U-M in 1973.
I said a private shabbat prayer in a Mexican restaurant, Sabor Latino, before my gig. I opened the gig with “Shalom Aleykhem” (a well-known Friday night song) and wished the Jews at The Ark “shabbat shalom.”
I had a good one — a good shabbat. But playing publicly on Friday night is not optimal for me.
Yiddishe Cup plays Saturday night this year –- this Saturday, Feb. 8 . Praise the Lord!
180-degree turn . . .
MILK IS MY ILK
I shot a cow once. It was crippled and couldn’t walk. My dad sold the dead cow to the Amish for meat. We couldn’t sell it to anybody else because it wasn’t “choice” grade.
My dad loved everything having to do with cows: barns, ice cream, blintzes. He had me pitching balls against the side of our barn, like Bob Feller. My dad thought I could be the next Rapid Robert even though I was a near-midget.
I planned to go to Ohio State to major in dairy science after high school. But my high school friends — all non-dairy guys — talked me into Michigan, where I majored in diary science (creative writing). A big mistake.
I spent a year in Israel after college, at a kibbutz, milking cows in the refet (dairy barn). The kibbutzniks were impressed.
I still like unpasteurized milk, but it’s hard to find these days.
I order milk at bars. Women overhear me and say, “You’re like James Cagney!”
I hope so. I have zero tolerance for the lactose intolerant.