Scene4-Internal Magazine of Arts and Culture
Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Fuck. I Forgot the Feta

I'm done with my show, got my paycheck, cashed it & spent it, so even with a concert to start polishing, I have a little time on my hands. This leads me to ask a question: What do syphilis, Walter Cronkite & Fred Silverman have in common?

But first: how bout I list bullet points of all the crap that has fallen out of the sky in the past month? The thing is I'm afraid the list will only confirm that a year ago, it was the same.  Personal, that is. Not political. I don't do political. I live with it as do we all, but I'm addressing the micro not macro.

I'll admit I have no idea where I'm going with this; I have my earplugs on & Spring_17 folder on the mp3 is playing. There's a scrap of paper on the mirrored door behind me, with a comprehensive list of all the pieces coming up, in numerical order, by conductor (of which there are five). Eighteen pieces I have eviscerated, some copied to MuseScore so I can set Alto I to harpsichord or mandolin to isolate the part for drilling. Some are set in the small ensemble CChor folder for special attention, some are endowed with click tracks, like the Monteverdi with its 10-part polyphony. Yet another is singled out for the Practice/Pronunciation folder because the orthodox Russian is tricky, not to forget the two Spanish ones, my favorite of which is performed by a Cuban group that is so fucking free!...words don't do it justice. 

The list on the door gives me a way of approaching performance level so that nothing gets totally ignored til the last minute because I forgot it—which is code for meh, either because the recording I've been listening to is substandard, or the piece itself is not something I could get excited about—& I can update the standing of a piece & also see where I am overall.

So, I made the mistake of saving this document file, in the same folder as the rest, & noticed that there was no Scene4_April_16. Where was I? That made me re-read the one before—March—& the one after—June, in hopes that the explanation would be there. Instead I see to my horror that I was going on about prep for April concert. & about my mother. & theater longings.

This is atrocious. Don't I have anything new to write about?

Well, yes, there was recent dust-up with my mother over the conception (literal!) of her older sister. Seems sa soeur was begot a wee bit on the far side of the wedding. Picture two French sisters, one 96, the other 93, in a flap over the inappropriate tongue-wagging of the latter about their parents' private doings in—o, let's see— 1919 or so.  She (my mother) had the temerity to reveal this to one of her sister's daughters, now 65, as if she gave a crap. Of course that's how she (my aunt) found out. My cousin ratted my mom out to her mom. I told my mother that I wouldn't take part in gossiping about how my family gossips.  Took about a week to blow over.

Or my younger brother who has lost all patience with tolerance, & screens his calls; if it's our mother, he doesn't pick up unless he can hear that she's in real trouble. He's had it with the TV that doesn't come on (she accidentally unplugged it); the new oven doesn't heat up (she presses the on button & then before she chooses what temperature to set it: < or >, she pushes the off button, so nothing  happens) & he has a skin condition that is exacerbated by stress, so...

Or my older brother, who 10 years ago found in his loneliness an affinity for French cidre-brut & French beer & French wine...he blames it on being there for a few months at an old girl-friend's house, on his own in the day time while she went off to work. He hated Paris & so fled to the country. Back in the US, in search for stuff as good as he imbibed in la Belle France & for a price he could afford, he pays another price, for having French genes I suppose. Exploding capillaries & a bad pancreas, & a surgeon who now says no more booze for you, my friend & a week in hospital convinces him that it is probably true.

& on top of concert prep, I had signed up for 17 performances extra-curricular as it turns out including closing night, & after got to have pizza & wine & hobnob with the cast. That was the capper. All fun & no pressure. No responsibility except showing up on time, doing your thing for an hour.  Stop me if I already said How fun is this!! For some reason this gets me a sort of dispensation from being available for so much family shite. (Except the hospital thing, of course. That trumps all. Learned our lesson last year on that one. Plus how can you not quick go get your brother some hearing-aid batteries so he can at least hear what the doc is saying?)

I always forget how many years' work I've put in. & here's the really entertaining pay-off: his nibs & I were at the BART station to go home (since he had wanted to see the play again for the last time) & a tiny ancient fella with clipped white mustache, gray felt hat, sparkling eyes behind little wire glasses yells out hey, you two! I followed ya here & I'm followin' ya home!  He was in SF to see Assassins, which as it turns out was being directed at a black box theater by a guy I've known for years, with a couple of actors I know, too. He was tickled that I had just trod the boards myself, as I fell into the spell he cast waving a program around that he insisted I keep. Says he lives in Yountville, which of course is three hours away, no getting there on BART. O, no! Staying with a couple in Kensington, they'll pick me up. He names them & I furrow my brow—where have I heard that woman's name? O my lord & feathers. It's my Auntie Em, circa 1994.

Just tell her you met the Wicked Witch, I say.

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Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades.
She writes a monthly column and is
a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2017 Claudine Jones
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine




April 2017

Volume 17 Issue 11

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