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watsky

He was singing and lovely and every time he got close enough to the mass of people they rushed forward in a sudden attempt to touch him.

Hands reached up like they were stretching for the very last hanging apple in a starving world. But they weren’t really starving. Or were they? They didn’t know why they wanted to touch him. Or maybe they did.

The crowd surged forward in front of me, but I stood still in my tiny concert space, my hand still raised and waving in the air. The eight feet between me and the front of the stage, once spread thick with people, suddenly emptied; the twelve or fourteen inches at the front, the “front row”, suddenly full of all of those bodies who had once taken up much more space. Had needed more space. Had been people dancing and waving their arms. Not hungry apple grabbers. Not humans stretching for something they couldn’t quite reach.

I understood what was happening. I was a part of it too, am a part of it, I won’t pretend not to be. If anyone else had spit water into the crowd, a drop of it landing on my forehead like holy water, well, I wouldn’t be referring to it as holy water, now would I?

I’ve seen this so many times, I’ve experienced this so often, but I still go back. I still put myself in crowds of hungry people. I still am them.

“I touched him!” someone squeals after the wave of people returns to resting position. They grin, eyes wild, laughing at their own excitement, unsure.

Religion will always exist, even after all the gods are killed by man. Putting people on pedestals, whether or not they deserve it, whether or not anyone can ever deserve it, will always happen.

It’s ok, it’s fine. Isn’t it?

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Not everyone can be everything. This is still something I’m struggling with. Someone has to be onstage at a concert, someone has to be the crowd. Someone has to mop the floors at McDonalds, someone has to collect the neighborhood’s trash. Someone has to work at  that grocery store for thirty years, wearing the same blue-collared shirt until it goes threadbare, wearing the same faded black pants until the boss declares it’s time for a new pair. Not everyone can be everything. Not everyone wants to be. This is still something I’m struggling with. The cashier likes her job, she likes to talk to people. The janitor hums while he mops. They aren’t in constant pain. They’re okay. I can’t understand it. I’m not like that.

“This is why there’s smog in L.A., because if there wasn’t, if people could see the stars, they’d realize how tiny they are, and they’d never audition for a McDonalds commercial ever again.”

At a concert, someone’s on the stage. In the crowd, the people stand, watching, swaying, singing, bobbing their heads. The performer has his dream, but the people have dreams, too. They want something like what’s on that stage — maybe not that exact thing, but something. Not everyone can be everything, but everyone can be something. I don’t understand what happens to those dreams. This is something I’m still struggling with.

As a writer-y sort of person, sometimes I find myself watching spoken word poetry on Youtube. There’s some really great stuff out there – some fantastically talented poets out there. Cruising the Youtube, however, is not how I found out about today’s Good Music Monday artist. No, I came across this talented human being on the Facebook. Yes, my friends tend to be those sorts of people – the Facebook DJs. But, I think that’s okay. Music – especially good music – is to be shared.

Ok, enough about social media websites! Sheesh. Let’s talk about…

Watsky

George Watsky, aka Watsky, is a spoken word poet/rapper from L.A. His stuff is really different from everything else that I listen to/have heard. He’s more of a rapper than a poet/more poet than rapper. Get it? His music has meaning, and it’s fun it listen to.

Here’s the first Watsky video I ever saw (the one my friend posted!).

This is George’s super-popular video on the ‘Tube. He raps fast, y’all.

Here’s something a bit different – one of my favorite Watsky songs.

Ok, one more. If you want more Watsky – He’s on Youtube. Of course!

George Watsky (Watsky!) is a great example of a kid who took his dream and made it his reality. I really look up to him!

Watsky is going on tour! I saw his show in Detroit, MI last summer – definitely not a waste of time. Check out his soon-to-be-released album and his tour dates on his website: http://georgewatsky.com/cardboard-castles/

Follow Watsky on Twitter (another social networking site! Sheesh.): https://twitter.com/gwatsky

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So, remember that one time I wrote about how I never do things alone and that doing things on your own can seem strange, difficult – maybe even impossible? Stuff like going to the movies alone, or out to eat at a restaurant all by yourself?

Being the sort of person who always has other people with me when I go do things, the thought of being alone with myself in public, like, doing things, was a scary thought.

Then, I did it. Twice. No, three times. Well, actually – four times.

This summer, I went to four concerts by myself. Well, that’s an outright lie – once I took a friend along to help me sell “merchandise” (wow, that looks sketchy! I swear, it was T-shirts and CDs – nothing illegal!). Then – the next night – I went to the same concert in a different city (this time actually alone) and sold “merch”, again. But, here’s the reason I don’t really count this experience as being “alone” – because I had done it before, and was, technically, meeting someone there  – the guy I was going to sell stuff for. I had an agenda. I wasn’t really going alone.

It all happened about a month later, in late July. Twice.

So, remember that one time I wrote about Father John Misty? Yeah, me too! Well, that musical discovery led me to the additional discovery that Father John himself was going to perform a show in Michigan. My hometown! (state. My homestate?) I had to go!

Only – none of my friends liked Father John Misty! None of my friends really knew about Father John Misty. Same went for my family. No one cared! No one wanted to go to Pontiac, Mi with me! Nooooo!

So, I decided not to care about whether someone else could go. I could go! So, I would! And, so, I did.

Going to a concert alone was basically everything I expected it to be. As I considered myself a concert pro after attending two-in-one-weekend a month earlier, I knew some moments could get awkward. Oh, and they did! Think: standing in the middle of a room surrounded by groups of friends, staring blank-faced towards the stage, waiting almost two hours for the show to start. I stood. I stared. I swayed (not to any music, just from foot-weariness). I was most definitely alone. I did, however, find a companion in the crowd who was there with her parents (so, kind of alone), and we struck up a conversation. See, this is how it’s done! Being alone! You meet people! It’s great!

Father John Misty was just fantastic. A true musician and performer. He danced! He played the tambourine! He danced while playing the tambourine.

The Man Misty

He was beautiful, and tall, and his voice was beautiful, and the band was beautiful, and the music, too, was beautiful. I stood, and stared, and swayed (this time to the music!). The crowd was really into it. I was alone, but it didn’t matter.

After his set, the headlining band came out to play. Youth Lagoon. I had never heard of them. Neither had my new there-with-her-parents friend.

They took a long time to get set up. I thought about leaving. FJM was done, and I was alone standing with groups of friends again – should I just go home?

No, I decided. I would stay. It had already been awkward. I had already stood there alone for 4 hours. Bring it, clock. I was waiting for Youth Lagoon, gosh dang it. Whoever they were.

Thirty minutes later, a short, skinny, bushy-haired boy came out from backstage and sat down at the newly-placed piano. He looked sort of like young Bob Dylan. He sang sort of like young Bob Dylan. He was freaking good. It was freaking weird music. It was freaking fantastic. I was freaking alone and it didn’t matter.

It didn’t matter because that music made us all into a single-brained creature. It was like jamming in a garage with a guy with a guitar. He sang, and rocked out on his piano for long periods of time. He just played.

We swayed. There was head bobbing. Everything became that boy on his piano. There wasn’t a crowd. There weren’t people. There was loud, strange, flowing music. I wasn’t alone; I was no longer there.

The next night, I did it again – went to a concert alone. A different concert, this time. I went to Detroit, Mi (to the coolest concert venue ever, Saint Andrew’s) to see this kid named George “Watsky“. He’s from Youtube. He’s a poet/rapper/awesome person.

Watsky!

His show was so different from the Father John Misty show. First off, the crowd was totally different. At FJM and Youth Lagoon’s show, there were young, hippy sort of kids. Clean cut, pop-drinkers. At George’s show – more young kids. Younger, I think. A lot more males. A lot more baseball caps on backward. A lot more head-bopping and fist-waving. It was cool, though. If a little crowded (we were in the basement!). Also, there was a minute there when I thought I was going to die. (No biggie.) Can you say, everybody in this already-sardine-can of a room rush to the front of the stage as fast as possible? Me, I clung onto a ceiling-support beam and allowed the mass of people to surge by.

It’s really hard to feel alone when there is a human stampede happening all around you.

While these alone-adventures were scary, they were also really rewarding. I felt proud of myself for stepping outside of my comfort zone, and for proving to myself that I really didn’t need other people to go out into the world and do and see cool things.

More and more, I’m realizing that doing things you are afraid of moves you closer and closer to the person you dream of becoming.

So, who do you want to be? Are you good at being alone?