Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Angels on the Airfield

In which a cyclist is reborn, and Blaiser enjoys a left turn at Albuquerque.

Last year, over Memorial Day Weekend, I broke my first bone in an ironic attempt to demonstrate a speedy hill descent, on a mountain bike, to my son...

It was 39 years old, this bone, and I discovered the hard way it would no longer absorb the force of bodyslamming macadam like it did in its younger days. And so, the brand-y new road bike I had purchased the month before did not, in fact, aid me in reducing my waistsize. Rather, it sulked in the bedroom and tried to maintain dignity as a silver-and-black clothesrack.

When one is no longer a kid, injuries take longer to really heal. So....One year later, and I'm fully back in the saddle as a bike lover, having made peace with the shift from cross bars to road bars, attacking hills, exploring twice or three times a week (via semi-serious rides) the best North Jersey has to offer in the way of scenic pavement. The effort has taken me comfortably south of 200 lbs. Pants are starting to fit well, again. It's nice.

Good thing, too, because I attended a wedding in Los Angeles over the weekend. Now, I have to say, I'm an Easterner, as my grandma would say, and as such, I don't really recognize LA's right to exist, what with what I perceive to be a mostly nonsensical lifestyle: Botox available on the beach, executives who have the gall to "develop" reality shows, and a dearth of decent public transportation, encouraging everyone to enmausolate* themselves in gas-guzzling cars that smogify the planet more and more each day. Oh, and the earthquakes, and the just, plain weirdness of Southern California (note irresistible marketing banner).

The nuptials, however, were fab, and pulled off as a bit of matrimonial performance art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

They don't really "allow" weddings there, but my buddy, a minor deity of American public radio who shall remain unnamed, had the audacity to act on a good thing when he saw it, and I don't just mean securing the hand of his elegant bride. The guests convened around dusk...

The lamps were lit...

a bride and groom emerged from the smog, became man and wife in a swift, yet moving ceremony--at arguably LA's most romantic locale--and then processed into the modernist concrete courtyard.

Delicious foods were served at the reception and a vinyl-spinning DJ brought the noise. Again, I don't mean to pull back the Venetian blinds that shield the secret and wild nightlives of public-radio personalities, but Holy Crap can that Krista Tippett dance a mean Limbo...

A beautiful wedding aside, bad things tend to happen when I visit California. Once, I went to San Francisco for a gig and awoke to a medium-sized earthquake, which seemed to say, "If you've wondered what it would feel like if you won the slots in Vegas, and then fed all 200 quarters into the vibrating, heart-shaped bed at the same time, ponder no further."

This time, I went to Venice Beach for the first time, and somewhere nearby, Dennis Hopper expired; Gary Coleman had turned up his toes the day before. Now, the narcissism of blog-writing aside, I'm not implying my movements have any effect on anyone, really, but could there be some link? An MD Super-80 extends its flaps at Dallas/Ft. Worth, and a dimuntive actor in Utah suffers a brain hemorrhage?

I don't mind admitting that it got me thinking, though, and so I did some research into my whereabouts when the world lost Hervé Villechaize on September 4, 1993. And you know what? I have absolutely no idea what I was doing. Probably sweeping the dance floor at the Joyce.

Alors, I'll impart the following bit of wisdom: If you're a middle-aged celebrity under 4'-8", you better make sure your affairs are in order if I either reach for a broom, or board a jetliner.

Writing of which, I am a huge fan of periodic jet travel, even though you now have to pay for checked bags, blankets and bad food, and despite the fact that we were never intended to be up there in the first place-- otherwise we'd have spray feathers available to us in random office buildings in LA instead of spray tans.

The flight back was direct, but due to bad weather somewhere in the middle of the country, we hung a Louie in New Mexico and hauled ass for the Great Lakes.

Then around the stretch we came, and BAM! We were over Manhattan and swung wide over the Atlantic before sliding into the Rockaways, and the airfield formerly known as Idlewild. Given the freakin' traffic on the Van Wyck on the way outta there, I wish they had left the damn golf course alone.

* Good word, huh?


  1. sounds like a good time - the wedding, not the bike wreck. as for mr. coleman? heard his death has forced the writers of "Avenue Q" to consider re-writing his character in the show - it would somehow (apparently) be worse to make such fun of him after he's dead?

  2. I dunno, but Van Gogh allegedly only sold one painting when he was alive, right? You see the parallel?

  3. Interesting trip! Now I won't have to always wonder what killed Gary Coleman.

  4. Surely you cannot take the blame for all of this, unless like me, you are Catholic. Despite your unwarranted guilt, it sounds as though the wedding was wonderful. What a creative idea for a wedding venue. I'm glad you made it home safely. Now you can catch up on all the wretched news like people wanting to Nuke the oil spill. You weren't at that meeting, were you?