My Salon, A Thank-You (Part II)
March 11, 2010

Salon: An Evening Celebrating the Arts
Saturday, February 13, 2010
7:30 p.m.

Now for the humorous and charming conclusion of the Salon.

Mr. Hoppe continued the Valentine’s theme with a dramatic reading of a 1936 pamphlet by no-name Hugh Morris, entitled “How to Make Love.” The guide is as unlikely as it sounds, and it delivers exactly what you would hope: mockably out-dated advice about courtship, lacking sufficient details to live up its title. Mr. Hoppe’s reading had people laughing and gasping for air. He paused; he licked his lips; he unbuttoned the top two buttons of his shirt; he caressed the piano. He made everything that is frighteningly funny about the text in 2010 uncomfortably hilarious for everyone. A success.

Mrs. Walker Edin provided the audience with a seventh-inning stretch. Chairs were struck and an open space was made in the salon. She led the group in some yoga poses for expecting mothers. With right hands on our hearts and left hands on our stomachs, we breathed and energized and calmed. As the poses became increasingly difficult, some of the audience members tacitly competed to be the most flexible, especially the men. Mrs. Walker Edin’s demonstration of the poses was even more impressive since she was the only one who had the “handicap” of actually being pregnant.

After a short intermission, I picked up the guitar and played a song called “Love and Life,” which is the title song of the album I had the fortune to record in Ecuador in 2006. I wrote the song to get over my weakness for forgetting lyrics; in the song, I spit out words at Jason Mraz speed. My kind “fans” (i.e. friends) then requested “Red, Red” and “Love My Rock.” The first is a little more “country” and part of my on-going acoustic project. The second is a parody song I wrote for The Taste, a band project inspired by the great hard rock hair bands of the 80s. I’ve usually been a bedroom guitar player, but with the encouragement of a generous audience, I played and sang these songs better than I ever have.

Ms. Luttrell read a selection from her short story “Down in the Well,” which tells of the vapid life of Jeff, a young cowboy coming to terms with his mother’s death, his father’s projected rodeo dreams and his own fear of riding bulls. The phrase “down in the well” refers to the deadly situation a rider faces when the force of a spinning bull’s vortex pulls him under. With its natural prose, Ms. Luttrell’s story transported the audience to a small Texas town where a lingering desperation and fatality haunt Jeff’s life.

The western scene now set, Ms. Cherones and I led the group in an old-fashioned, campfire-styled sing-a-long with Stephen Foster’s classic “Oh, Susanna!”. Carrying on a Salon tradition, Ms. Cherones revealed her secret talent on the harmonica; I accompanied on guitar. Everyone sang. After several leisurely rolling choruses, we sped up, kicking the song into high gear. There were at least four “one more time!” calls.

Although this was the last performance of the evening, the party did not end here. And will not end here! Thank you to everyone who performed and attended. Let’s do it again soon.