Monday, October 4, 2010

If you're reading this, get out your checkbook.

Sublime jazz guitarist Pat Metheny's current Orchestrion tour is stopping off at the Calhoun School on the Upper West Side on October 26 to play a benefit for the school. A generous gesture, a great cause, and because it's a benefit, the tickets are $200 each. But $500 will get you a backstage pass, where, presumably, West Side private-school parents can mix with the performers over a glass of Pinot Noir and some nibbles. (Rock and roll!)

Pat Metheny, by Latifa Metheny
A few years ago, Primus was in the same class as Pat's older son at the West Side YMCA's Co-op Nursery School, and I often ran into Pat when his schedule gave him time to do the drop-offs and pick-ups. I was always pleased to see him -- not because of his musical celebrity, but because it reminded me that there was one class father who was not only older than me but also generally untidier. (Although I was always more pleased to see his stunning and charming wife, Latifa, also a photographer.)

But I had no inkling he could have charged me for the encounter! Now I know that I was getting all those freebies, I wish we'd covered more than just the kids' snack schedules and the viscosity of homemade Playdough. Doh.

And this gives me an idea. I don't match up to Pat Metheny's multi-Grammy-award-winning fame, but there is a tiny sliver of the mystery-reading community that may still have a copy of An Embarrassment of Corpses on their bookshelves, so I'm not a complete unknown.

Anyway, that woman who called me over yesterday while I was struggling with half a dozen heavy Stop & Shop bags to ask directions to the place she was already parked beside: you owe me $27.50.

Anyone who stops me on the street to inquire what breed of dog Leila is, $20 for the first terse "mutt" and a further $15 if you want me to specify that DNA testing suggests she has a lot of Japanese akita in her. (20% discount if your motivation is to tell me she's beautiful.)

And that a**hole who called me on my cellphone at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night while I was standing under the stars beside a boy scouts campfire and assured me he was entitled to ignore my listing on the "do not call" register because he wasn't trying to sell me the home insurance he was so clearly touting, $499.99 plus tax, you bastard.

In the way of these things, I get to hear about this event taking place 25 miles south of my current location via my friend and former Calhoun mother, Gina, who lives in Australia but sent me the email from Cambodia.

About eight years ago, when we were all in Manhattan, Gina took her son, Jack, then a young teenager, to a Pat Metheny concert, his first grown-up concert-going experience. Jack really enjoyed it, and I had the chance in the next day or so to tell Pat that he'd just played a significant role in a new fan's life. Pat sent greetings, I passed them on, and "Uncle Alan's" coefficient of cool was, all too briefly, stratospheric. Jack just celebrated his twenty-first birthday, and I don't want to know how.

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