Sunday, August 15, 2010

star turtle summers

The summer after my freshman year in college I worked part time at the Wherehouse. My duties consisted largely of alphabetizing now-archaic media, explaining to people that no, we could not just open up another register every time there were more than two people in line because you have to count out the drawer and shit, and occasionally being sent home for wearing a T-shirt beneath my red apron. Because we were supposed to be a classy polo-shirt-and-red-apron-wearing joint.

But it was actually a great job because it was so much easier than the hardcore journalism training I was spending the rest of my summer doing. The training was full of unpleasant surprises: What’s a budget meeting? What do you mean you mean the lead dancer at American Ballet Theater isn’t available for an interview two hours before my deadline?

At the Wherehouse, all I had to do was alphabetize in a kind of Zen fog accompanied by the soundtracks of that summer: Dave Matthews Band’s Crash and Harry Connick Jr.’s Star Turtle. I liked the latter so much that I bought it (on cassette) and listened to it in my parents’ Suzuki Samurai as I commuted to Daily Bruin training.

I’d kind of forgotten how much I liked Harry Connick Jr. until Stephen mentioned he had extra box seat tickets to see Connick’s show at the Bowl. AK and I had never sat in box seats before and would have seen Carrot Top there if it meant liberal leg room, a great view and helpful people (in polo shirts) delivering little tray tables to your booth. I felt like Carrie Bradshaw flying first class to Abu Dhabi.

But as an added bonus, Harry Connick Jr. was the best performer ever. Croony for the first half, jazzy-bluesy for the second, funny and charming the whole way through as he joked with a crazy drunk lady named Denise in the first row and performed theatrical pantomimes with his trumpet player.

“George Clooney’s got nothing on him,” I whispered to AK. He (Connick, not Clooney) is one of the few celebrities I find genuinely sexy. Funny is part of it. Singing voice is part of it. And, wait—

“He’s tap dancing now?”

“What can this guy not do?” AK said. “God, he must be a nightmare to be married to. Just charming everyone right and left wherever he goes.”

Suddenly he and his trumpet player had turned around, lifted their suit jackets and were scooting across the stage, shaking their asses to rival any chick in a hip hop video.

“Is he krumping now?”

Being ready to have a great time after a few solid days of being sad was part of it too. Sometimes there’s nowhere to go but fun. Sometimes you just have to take a clue from all those New Orleans musicians and play your blues and shake your ass as you do.


Sizzle said...

I've seen Harry live and it's a BLAST. He's hilarious and sexy and so talented. I suppose his model wife can keep up? I heard him tell a story on American Idol (I know) that when he met Frank Sinatra he was riding in an elevator with his girlfriend (now wife) and he said something to HER not him.

He's just a doll. Glad you got to go and enjoy the show!

Cheryl said...

In my mind he's totally been flying under the radar for the past ten years, but apparently he's actually been on American Idol and Will & Grace. Maybe that's why the Bowl was so crowded.