Samantha Urbani is a most special lady. Tonight after the Friends set I was talking to her with Darwin, and I complimented, “You’re the Gwen Stefani or our generation.” Darwin immediately warned me, “She doesn’t like when people say that. I said the same thing. But she wants to be more than that, she just wants to be Samantha.” I changed my compliment to, “Soon they’ll be saying, Gwen Stefani, that was the Samantha Urbani of the 90s.” Sam said, “I wanna be the me of the 90s!” She is totally the her of the 90s. Friends set sounded so crisp and clear and exciting and beautiful tonight. They are a disparate bunch, an odd cluster of weirdos convening onstage. Cleveland kids clapping in jubilation at Beachland tavern. it’s a beautiful thing.
After the set, Sam told me a little bit about her past as a visual artist. She told me about this project she was working on where she was going to cover a wall with 400 plaster casts of 400 people’s faces. Each face’s chin would be attached with a wire to the ceiling, and that wire would go back down and connect by a ring to the forehead of the same plaster cast. The viewer could then pull the string and reveal, underneath the cast, a real photograph of the subject, taken by Sam. The viewer would then lift the photograph and reveal a handwritten note or drawing created by the subject. Sam’s made 60 of these so far, and they exist in her crazy mother’s basement in Connecticut. She told me that she made one plaster cast of a friend who died a few months later, at 21, of heroin. Powerful information.
Today we drove by a few stranded motorists hustling down the shoulder of the expressway on foot. At the suggestion of Darwin, we were good Samaritans and drove them to the gas station and back. It was a long drive. And now we have a tad more good karma.
Nicki Shapiro from Friends came up with a funny inside joke during homemade curry dinner. It was “You are what you eat. Am I rice, people?” (in place of the Nicki Shapiro catchphrase, “Am I right, people?”)
We went to the rock n roll hall of fame today. Bands get in for free if you bring a CD. Saw Michael Jackson’s bejeweled glove. Saw the thriller red jacket, Joe Strummer’s battle-worn electric guitar, and saw Pete Townsend letters giving frequent Baba shout outs. I was particularly struck by all the handwritten lyrics, and how little corrections most of them have. The original lyrics for “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division was one, “Whiplash” by Metallica was another. Those motherfuckers just dove in and churned out verses and choruses, quick, unhesitant, and proud. They’d cross out a “but” and replace it with a “yet”, but that was often the whole of the editing. It made me want to be more bold.