This event began exceptionally well, only to prove in the end that, with extremely rare exceptions, there is apparently no such thing as being able to enjoy anything or have a good day as long as Chi is around to fuck it up.  What did he do this time? (Samuel Beckett, eat your heart out!)

An alternate take on this tragicomedy: This is what happens when musicians don’t get their need met to be performing constantly…they go insane! 

Listen while you read to “Halley’s Comet”, (another Panache piece we have no definite plans to record despite having loads of ideas on how to develop it) in honour of Chi’s unearthly wack behaviour. Yes, I realise that makes no sense. Neither will what you are about to read….

04 September 2012

Well, the evening started out as an unusually enjoyable date.  I was lucky enough to get us comped in to a concert by the L.A. Philharmonic at Hollywood Bowl featuring Russian pianist Denis Matsuev and Polish conductor Krzysztof Urbański performing works by three Russian composers I happen to like very much.  Since we had to leave immediately upon my return from the day job, Chi had prepared a picnic dinner and a couple bottles of wine and other items of comfort to bring along, and off we went to catch the metro to the Bowl.  (We had learned the lesson of what an utter and completely needless pain in the keister it is to get to the Bowl via private transport (I’ll bet it would even suck taking my scooter!) at the Eagles concert we went to a couple years ago that sadly resulted in our missing nearly half of it!)We got to our seats just in time as the conductor and pianist came out on stage, and after opening with Stravinsky’s take on the Star Spangled Banner, Matsuev proceeded to blow our minds with his spectacular playing of Prokofiev’s 1st piano concerto followed by a couple selections from Stravinsky’s ballet “Petrushka” arranged for solo piano.  He demonstrated stunning technique and successfully stayed on the right side of the fine line between impassioned, virtuoso playing and gratuitous bombast, and demonstrated a huge range of expression from the most sweet and nuanced to physical violence.  Even Chi was profoundly impressed, and he is usually viciously critical of practically any performer just on general principle, which gets rather tiresome.  Perhaps he missed his true calling and should have been an arts critic instead of a musician and actor.  Rather than reinvent this wheel myself, here is what the L.A. Times had to say about this concert.Chi and I expressed our mutual admiration and delight with the concert as we ate and drank our way through the lovely feast that he had prepared.  The transition between the first half of the concert with its exuberant, pyrotechnic selections and the intensely grim, introspective 10th symphony by Shostakovich that made up the second half was a bit jarring, but I was mesmerized for the longest time over how a carefully constructed, complex, well performed piece of instrumental music could sustain energy and interest for such a duration, building and building, cresting, falling and writhing, for that length of time, especially in this era of ubiquitous, disposable, never- exceeding- three- minute utterly forgettable radio hit format songs.  The Shostakovich 10th is just over one hour in length, and my attention span began began to show signs of wear about 45 minutes in.

Right around that point, Chi turned to me with that look on his face that I have come to recognize as a “code red alert” for an impending tantrum and said (in English) “This is Rich Man Sound”.  Whatever-the-hell that’s supposed to mean.  He then started doucheing at me (in Japanese) about the conductor, who I thought was very good, so I resolutely faced forward and kept listening to the remainder of the piece with growing apprehension of what misery Chi was planning on inflicting on me for the balance of the night.

When the concert ended we stopped to use the plumbing on the way out, and then made our way to the escalators.  Staring intently into my eyes, Chi informed me that for the first time since he was in kindergarten he peed and shat simultaneously.  Perplexed, I asked offhandedly if that was unusual for men.  He kept staring at me as if some cataclysmic event were in progress and elaborated that he’d missed the toilet and tried to clean it up.  I had absolutely no fucking idea what his problem was at this point.  He carried on further that it was because of the music.  HUH?!!  What can I say to that?!  And what point would there be in saying anything anyway??  We walked back to the metro station in tense silence.

Chi has been obsessing over our next door neighbors, especially the Woman with the Red Van and the Woman Who Lives Next Door.  Practically every single day regardless of his blood alcohol content, he starts babbling nonsense at me about them to a degree that is more than mildly insane.  This time just as we’d taken our seats on the train and begun the trip home, he started yammering about how the Woman with the Red Van is working some sort of Voodoo magic against him, and do I have any ideas on how to deflect it.  Even though I do, I knew that engaging with him would only accelerate the trajectory his illness was taking now, so I opted out with a passively dismissive “no”.  He then started vituperating at me, going on about how I am 51% on the side of the next door neighbors and thence his enemy, and his (deceased) mother would come back to avenge him and I could not win; and at that moment since we were (THANKFULLY!!) on the Metro so I had the option of changing seats to get away from him available, that is exactly what I did.

At the end of the ride I led the way back to where we had parked our truck through the new civic park that had recently opened and marveled at how spectacularly beautiful the fountain looked lit up at night, and thought it was a pity that the Idiot Child was unable to appreciate or even perceive beauty like that when doing his sickness.   When we arrived back at the parking garage he demanded that I drive, which I refused to do.  I knew perfectly well where he was going with that, and would rather walk home than suffer that miserable bullshit, and besides, I need to be consistent in my reaction whenever he does that petty tyrant spoiled toddler shit at me so he learns to connect the dots.  I tersely said “goodbye” and took the elevator back up to the street level and started walking home.

I thought he would take a solid 15 minutes or so to find his way out of the garage without me there to guide him, but he surprised me and appeared in just a couple minutes and stopped to let me in the truck.  I got in apprehensively, but knew that there are several traffic signals during the one-mile trip, and if he behaved unacceptably, I could just get out and walk the rest of the way in peace.  Fortunately it didn’t come to that.

When I went in my home office to get the information for his acting job the next day, he came in and announced in his petulant spoiled toddler voice that he was not going to do the job and demanded that I call up and cancel.  We’ve been through this idiotic bullshit a number of times and according to what has become my usual practice, I totally ignored him and carried on with what I was doing.  He apparently got the point that he wasn’t going to get anywhere trying to pick a fight with me to suck my energy, and after awhile I heard him start practicing.  That was my cue to get his wardrobe ready and put his information on the kitchen table with no further hassle.

Apparently the weed calmed him down and after awhile he came back into my office with his guitar and asked me (politely this time) if I would listen to something.  I grudgingly agreed, and it turned out that he had just worked out an interesting intro to a fragment of a new piece we are working on.  Fortunately I had our Zoom® recorder close at hand so I could grab a recording.  I wonder how many other highly gifted, prolifically creative people are as big of a hot mess as Chi? My intuition and some experience says “quite a few”….


Update:  Well I’ll be damned!  Just prior to publishing this post I had another look around and found this review of the concert we saw that night and it vindicates Chi!  Not that I think it’s at all fair or okay for him to take out his personal sturm und drang on me every fucking time he gets his knickers in a twist over any damn thing, especially when it’s something I have absolutely no control over, but just to be fair….