On Beauty and Beth Keats’ Birthday Party

Last night, for a moment (or, more accurately, several moments) good triumphed over evil.  This past week has been a hard one for us… no need to go into details here, but let’s just say that we learned, once again, that pettiness plays real rough and always on its own terms.  Everything up in the air… housing, jobs, food– to some degree… but last night, we allowed ourselves to be swooned by all the beauty, to rest in her loving arms.  We entered in and were blessed.

Beauty crops up in the most unlikely places, like a sunflower cracking through so much cold pavement.  Her manifestations are infinite and ever changing; she cannot be contained, nor contrived.  When beauty descends, we are unable to comprehend her, or speak her, even with the drunkest of tongues.  But maybe we can sing her: last night we tried.

Chinatown loft.  Lots of strange things on the walls… a psychic machine brought to mind Big Hanks: Sarnac was quiet last night, but we were not.  Window propped open by a two by six… smoke blowing in and out, ash swirling in little pools next to large spool table.  Night sounds echoed into the street below, announcing that this 1/2 was the right one.

When I eagerly climbed the steps to the din, I was greeted by beasties sung by birthday girl Beth… a sign of things to come, familiar songs sung in different contexts… we jumped from Meat Loaf to Sinatra without stumbling over the technicalities of transition… projected words bounced from PC to wall to eyes to ears to mouth.  Some people got really into it, even with backs to spectator friends.

I chose to sing David Lee Roth’s version of Just a Gigolo/Ain’t Got Nobody.  God, I love that song; I think it is the defining point of his entire, storied career.  Despite the infectious jubilance of the song, it is tremendously sad– one realizes this especially and uniquely when they sing it: it is a vocal marathon, I left my voice in the loft.  Over and over, “No one!” or “NOBODY” (cares for me)… I am sure Dave means those words when he sings them (I wonder if he still sings this one in the shower)…

My friend Tim knows someone who had the good fortune of sharing a fence with David Lee Roth’s parents somewhere in California.  Around 1998 or so, at the absolute basement of Roth’s career, he moved back in with ma and pa.  Dave’s ma would often scream at him to stop ‘bringing those prostitutes into the house’ and to ‘pick up his garbage’ which was ‘strewn all over the house’… I was recently in Calgary and I stayed with my folks; again, I can sympathize with Dave (minus the prostitutes)…

If the party last night was incarnated, I think it would look a lot like David Lee Roth (Crazy from the Heat era)… feathered hair and all.  All insecurity was left in dirty chinatown street below, right next to the faux bonsai trees, surrounded by pavement.  We sang!  To an audience of friends, most of whom sang along with us.  It was a great night.  Thanks to all who were there, to the guys who hosted and to Beth, for being born!

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2 Responses to On Beauty and Beth Keats’ Birthday Party

  1. Barb says:

    Beth’s Mom wishes she had been there, no…I don’t mean for the birth event (which was pretty exciting but no singing) but for this event. Evenings like this become rare as you age, Grasp every one and sing like David Lee Roth (or like a bird) whenever you can!
    I enjoyed your story, thanks.

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