It’s hard to think of where to begin in processing Sunday’s epic Perfect Lives Manhattan. I feel like I need to start somewhere, so I’d like to briefly discuss one major change from June’s performance to this one.
Our arrangements were totally seat of the pants last time, and the way we generally developed them was while walking from one site to the next. Particularly memorable for me where practicing the “coo coos” on Driggs Ave between the Park & the Bank and moving with a larger herd on Lorimer St, all dolled up & excited before the Church.
Part of the specialness of Perfect Lives Brooklyn was the intimacy I felt we created amongst the five of us in our first action as a group. Another part was the intimacy with the small but loyal audience. Barry & James and Mendi & Keith were strangers to us before June 7th, but are endeared forever to us because they happened to check the right website on the right day and made a go of it.
Of course we knew all along that Perfect Lives Manhattan would be a different animal, but as I walked with Gelsey, my girlfriend Lynn, and someone else (Woody?) up Lafayette St near our Living Room location, it hit me rather hard that I hadn’t gone anywhere with Paul all day since he was traveling via car (without which we could never have realized our amplification & equipment goals). I got to share this piece I love so much with so many more people, on a much grander & more polished level, but those interactions were of a very different quality. It wasn’t our neighborhood as much, it wasn’t our homes, it wasn’t the intimacy of our own voices without reinforcement. I realized so much I didn’t know about what we were doing & what Perfect Lives is on Sunday, things that four months of planning couldn’t prepare me for, and most of them are excellent things. For whatever reason, this bittersweet one is the first one in my head. I’m usually a relentless optimist.
I’m not expressing disappointment, I’m expressing what I think is bodily surprise. Like when you go to a Thanksgiving dinner without your family for the first time, and it’s a great celebration, you’re smiling, you’re being fed delicious food, but somewhere you insides are confused at the change in ritual practice. But rituals are always evolving.