Monday, October 30, 2006

Sleuth of Rock

It's rock month at Lord Zim, apparently. "Rocktober," as those wags on the radio like to say. Not like I planned it or anything. We don't have an editorial calendar here ... there's no 12-month schedule of topics, excursions, obsessions, weird celebrity sightings, and general moodiness. Nope, it's all very seat of the pants in these parts -- a posteriori. And that's what gives the product its crisp, fresh, lively mouthfeel. That, and a wasabi-ketamine speedball every four hours.

OK, speaking of addictions and freshness, hard on the heels of last week's remarkable house party, Lord Zim had a sort of referred rock 'n' roll sighting yesterday.

The setting: Fairway. (For the sake of readers outside the TriState area, we'll note that Fairway is a gourmet supermarket that manages to be upscale, personal, and mass-market all at once, in a very New York way.)

Dramatis Personae: Hundreds of shoppers, dozens of store employees, and me. And one person on the clock.

I'd just filled a basket with food and was waiting to pay and get out. The end of the shortest line put me behind an unmanned cart filled with dozens of quarts of orange juice and milk, plus two big boxes of Twinings tea, and unusual quantities of everything else.

"Craft services," I thought. If you don't live in L.A. or New York or work in TV/movie production, you might not know that craft services refers to the people who provide food and drink on sets. Yet I'd seen no evidence of a production anywhere in the neighborhood (74th and Broadway). Coincidentally, the one time I visited Fairway's supersized Red Hook branch I'd witnessed a $5,000 shopping spree conducted by a brisk Latino in a "Sopranos" sweatshirt. The entire checkout area was in a low-grade uproar, because his six carts were causing a serious traffic jam, yet as a known and highly valued customer, he had everybody's full attention. In the parking lot, when I asked, he explained that it's his craft services company and he does the shopping himself to ensure that the finickier actors are happy with their provisions. Brooklyn, Hollywood -- stars are true to form everywhere.

Back on Broadway, a blonde in jeans and a black sweatshirt showed up behind the cart. She had the capable, gregarious, yet disinterested look I usually see on lesbians (insert hate mail here), but because I'd paused to let her pass earlier, she acknowledged me briefly on seeing me again in line.

Aha. The famous lips and tongue logo on her sweatshirt. The enormous radio clipped to her belt. The major event at the nearby Beacon Theater later that night.

"Are you also picking up bottles of Jack Daniels and Rebel Yell?" That was me, the smartypants, posing an annoying question. She looked at me with studied blankness and replied, "Why would you say that?"

"Well, you've got a cart full of craft services, the Stones are playing across the street tonight, and you're wearing the logo on your sweatshirt."

She smiled slightly and bent to unload the cart. "Well, you guessed right, so we're good."

Seemed like a weird way to shut me down, but I bet she gets that "Say, aren't you --" kind of wiseacre commentary all the time. As if regretting her brusqueness, she added, "I wear this because it's the free stuff they give you. Plus I've got this giant radio on my ass, too. Kind of gives it away. Are you going to the show?"

"I'd love to, but the tickets are probably out of my range." And then, rather than take the opportunity to abase and prostrate myself in pursuit of a backstage pass which would never have happened, I took the opportunity to validate a longheld belief. "Is it true that Keith always has to have a bottle of Jack Daniels and bottle of Rebel Yell in his dressing room?" I'd heard this years ago, back when I was drinking the Yell like lemonade.

"You're right about the Jack."

"No Rebel Yell?" I must have looked crestfallen, because she said something like, "Maybe at other venues."

Well, I still like it.

As for the tickets ... I later read in the Observer that the show was only for those worthy burghers who donated upwards of $60,000 to the Clinton Foundation, which is hosting it as part of the former President's 60th birthday hullabaloo.

Longtime LordZim readers may recall that I met Wm. Jefferson last year at a speaking engagement in L.A. He was speaking, not me. In case you were wondering. Yes, there is a photo of the handshake, but I posted a far livelier picture from the same event, in which the well-known ladies man appears to be puckering up to lick my friend Steve's grandmother's hair. See for yourself. I love that picture.

Here's what the Glimmer Twins and their entourage were sucking down backstage last night, exclusive of whisky.

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