Last night I went to see the Eilen Jewell band in Jim Thorpe at the Mauch Chunk Opera House with my friend Zesty. The performance warm, quietly energetic. What I mean by that is there were moments when as an audience member I just wanted to close my eyes and drift along the swoon-worthy melodies of Eilen Jewell's honeyed voice and other moments when I wanted to get up and shake my everything like those girls in old beach movies.
If you are unfamiliar with Eilen Jewell, it's like Patsy Cline and Julie Cruise had a secret love child and that love child went on to write amazing soundtracks for noir films. (I stole about half of that description from Zesty.) Of course, as with most forms of art, the best thing to do is let the art speak for itself rather than read my efforts to cheer-lead for it in a clever way. You can find more about them here: http://eilenjewell.com/home.cfm
The Mauch Chunk Opera House was built in the 1800s and is in and of itself worth seeing. More about that here: http://mauchchunkoperahouse.com/
So, a little backstory leading up to the event. Zesty and I are both artists who find ourselves (as many artists do) entrenched in the struggling phase of our efforts. By struggling I do mean that we work service jobs with low pay and therefore do not frequently have the funds to do fun stuff. We are also a quirky sort of folk so the fun stuff that is usually offered does not necessarily qualify as fun for us.
Random acquaintance: Hey, Reggie do you want to do see that porkball bat game this weekend?
Me: "Are you talking about sports?"
Random acquaintance: "Of course."
Me: "Um, no."
(I should qualify that I don't really have anything against sports, it's just that unless there's the promise of some other sort of mischief on the side then I'm probably not up for it.)
So, Zesty and I compiled a list of things we both want to do that we never get to do and have made it a goal to do more of those things this year. One of the things on Zesty's list was that he has wanted to see Eilen Jewell play live. They have played the Opera House before and apparently every time it is during bad weather.
We got wind of the possibility of a shitstorm a week in advance, so every night we watched the weather with fear and trembling in our beleaguered, audiophilic hearts. Would we be able to go? (Okay, Zesty watched the weather while I messed around on facebook playing categories and he called to fill me in.)
At a certain point I put my foot down, shook my fist at the sky and shouted, "Shitstorm be damned! ZESTY AND I WILL DO THIS FUN THING WITH OR WITHOUT YOU!"
Since I was the driver, my decision held firm. We planned around the shitstorm. I figured, we're Pennsylvanians. We should not be so panicky about the white frosty stuff. The drive there was uneventful. It did start to snow shortly after we got to Jim Thorpe, which was kind of cool because that town is unbelievably beautiful in the snow. We ate, we drank fruity alcohol-laden beverages, we drank heavily caffeinated coffee (and by that I mean there were many shots of espresso involved.)
Music was imbibed.
And all was well...