“9 AM in Harlem” was the Saturday meeting time Darwin chose for our drive up to Hamilton University. So I dutifully cut my Friday night short, woke after five hours of sleep, and made the hour trek up to 119th St. Upon arrival, the only person in sight was Angela (the girl from the Spring Dance video, Darwin’s Cornelius video, etc.). Darwin’s cell phone was off, and Nick’s (Nicholas Young, our sometimes-drummer) apartment had no doorbell in sight. We milled about on the sidewalk for a bit, sipping coffees. Greg showed up. Finally, at 9:30, we were let in to the apartment only to discover Darwin still in his underwear, stretched out under blankets on the sofa bed, smiling and guiltlessly greeting us, “Good morning!” Darwin and Nick slowly gathered themselves over the next half an hour while I wistfully imagined what that sixth hour of sleep would have felt like. Then we were off to upstate New York.
There are two things true about most college shows. 1. They pay the most money, yet are badly attended. 2. No matter what sort of room the stage is in, you still can tell that you’re playing in the middle of a school. Both were true about Hamilton, and our show two days earlier at NYU, as well.
Darwin was still feeling inspired by Nick, the frontman from !!!, and was determined to personally go all out for this performance. He really went for it. In between every phrase he sang, Darwin would burst over to one side of the audience or the other, leaning into them with his guitar and hyping them up. During the Wonky Beats rap, Darwin plunged into the middle of the crowd. When Radar Detector came, Darwin went against instinct (which is to cautiously guard his onstage laptop) and invited the entire crowd up on stage. They unhesitatingly obeyed.
In the midnight hour, we danced and drum circled at a nearby college house party. The apex of the night was when Darwin iPod DJed “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails and lit up the room.
On Sunday, we dropped Nick off at the Orpheum theater to do an afternoon run of Stomp. Then Darwin, Greg, Angela, and I hopped over to Williamsburg to eat eggs at one of my favorite diners, Gran Morelos. I realized that the original Spring Dance cast was reassembled, in the original Spring Dance neighborhood, in the original Spring Dance season (Spring! It was one of the first warm New York City days since winter). Two years later. So much has happened since that day.
Eventually, we ended up in the Lower East Side, at the apartment that Darwin is getting evicted from. Darwin escorted me back beyond the courtyard (site of that old Darwin Deez band photo shoot) and into this nasty dilapidated rear building. We squirmed past discarded debris into a side room full of mildew and with no lights. “What’s back here?” I asked. “All my earthly possessions,” answered Darwin. We began carrying boxes out to Darwin’s trailer. We paused to open a few and rummage through their contents. “Darwin Deez memorabilia, anyone?” Darwin offered sarcastically, holding up the handwritten signs from the end of the Winter’s Splinter video. It’s funny. There might be some Darwin Deez fans out there who would really dig having some of those items, but it would be a lot of work to sort through it and auction or sell or give away everything, and it would probably appear too presumptuous if we did. And so all those special little Darwin Deez trinkets ended up on the curb, headed off to a New York landfill. So it goes.
The next day Darwin, Michelle, and I, along with special guests Angela Carlucci, Toby Goodshank, and Tess Igarta, rallied in my apartment and recorded an improvised album of pointless lo-fi jams. Happy birthday, Darwin!